11 February 2006

fish rot from the head ..... 

‘Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley led a campaign beginning in March 2003 to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for publicly criticizing the Bush administration's intelligence on Iraq, according to current and former administration officials.

The officials work or had worked in the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Council in a senior capacity and had direct knowledge of the Vice President's campaign to discredit Wilson.’

CIA Leak Scandal Goes To The Top

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it's only money ..... 

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10 February 2006

wedding uglies ..... 

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only war criminals ..... 

‘It was a historic moment at the National Press Club in Washington, only blocks from the White House. On February 2, the preliminary findings of the International Commission on Crimes Against Humanity were read out by Ajamu Sankofa, executive director of the Physicians for Social Responsibility-NY and former national secretary of Blacks for Reparations in America.

Listening to the verdicts, Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, exclaimed: "This is what our German forbearers in the 1930s did NOT do. They sat around, blamed their rulers, said 'maybe everything's going to be alright.'... That is something we cannot do. Because I don't want my grandchildren asking me years from now, 'why didn't you do something to stop all this?'"’

Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

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the old laugh test ..... 

‘President Bush and Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales insist that the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is a necessary "terrorist surveillance program." And polls show that most Americans support permitting the government to tap the phone calls and e-mails of those considered "suspicious."

But what exactly does that mean? A close look suggests that the feds' definition of a "suspected terrorist" may not meet the laugh test.’

A Terrorist On Every Corner

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trust me ..... 

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eeerrr, sort of … maybe …. perhaps staying the course ….. 

‘The Ukrainians are long gone. So are the Norwegians. The Italians and South Koreans are getting ready to leave, and the Britons and Japanese could begin packing their bags later this year.

Slowly but steadily, America's allies in Iraq are drawing down or pulling out as Iraqi forces take more responsibility for securing the country. By year's end, officials say, the coalition - now 25 nations supporting a dwindling U.S. contingent of 138,000 - may shrink noticeably.

The withdrawals and reductions will test the Iraqis' ability to tamp down attacks and rebuild, said Anthony Cordesman of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, warning in a new report: "It is too soon to predict the extent to which Iraqi forces can eventually replace coalition forces."’

Iraq Coalition Shrinking

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the power of persuasion ..... 

‘United States military authorities have taken tougher measures to force-feed detainees engaged in hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after concluding that some were determined to commit suicide to protest their indefinite confinement, military officials have said.

In recent weeks, the officials said, guards have begun strapping recalcitrant detainees into "restraint chairs," sometimes for hours a day, to feed them through tubes and prevent them from deliberately vomiting afterward. Detainees who refuse to eat have also been placed in isolation for extended periods in what the officials said was an effort to keep them from being encouraged by other hunger strikers. The measures appear to have had drastic effects. The chief military spokesman at Guantánamo, Lt. Col. Jeremy M. Martin, said yesterday that the number of detainees on hunger strike had dropped to 4 from 84 at the end of December.’

Guards Force-Feeding Prisoners at Guantanamo

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a certain madness ..... 

‘Has Tony Blair, our minuscule Caesar, finally crossed his Rubicon? Having subverted the laws of the civilised world and brought carnage to a defenceless people and bloodshed to his own, having lied and lied and used the death of a hundredth British soldier in Iraq to indulge his profane self-pity, is he about to collude in one more crime before he goes?

Perhaps he is seriously unstable now, as some have suggested. Power does bring a certain madness to its prodigious abusers, especially those of shallow disposition.

In The March of Folly: from Troy to Vietnam, the great American historian Barbara Tuchman described Lyndon B Johnson, the president whose insane policies took him across his Rubicon in Vietnam. "He lacked [John] Kennedy's ambivalence, born of a certain historical sense and at least some capacity for reflective thinking," she wrote. "Forceful and domineering, a man infatuated with himself, Johnson was affected in his conduct of Vietnam policy by three elements in his character: an ego that was insatiable and never secure; a bottomless capacity to use and impose the powers of his office without inhibition; a profound aversion, once fixed upon a course of action, to any contradictions."’

Iran: The Next War

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a loooooooonnnnnnggggg war ...... 

‘Every four years, the Pentagon releases its Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), more accurately the Quadrennial Defense Rubberstamp. Usually, it offers the same, more of the same or less of the same. That is true of this QDR as well, with one interesting exception. Perhaps uniquely in the annals of strategic planning, this QDR promises strategic failure a priori. It puts that promise right up front, in its first sentence, which reads, "The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war."

Long wars are usually strategic disasters for winners as well as losers, because they leave all parties exhausted. If they work to anyone’s advantage, it tends to be the weaker party’s, because its alternative is rapid defeat. The Rumsfeld Pentagon certainly does not see the United States as the weaker party in its "Global War on Terrorism."

So why has it adopted a long-war strategy, or more accurately lack of strategy, unless one sees national exhaustion as a plus?’

The Long War

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meanwhile, at the hall of horror ..... 

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09 February 2006

terror & tyranny ..... 

‘Following accelerating criticism that the Bush Administration's domestic spying program violated every possible U.S. law and Constitutional amendment, the Bush Administration has now renamed its blatantly illegal domestic spying program the "terrorist surveillance program." Fox News has already adopted the moniker, resorting to classic Orwellian Newsspeak to convince viewers that since this illegal government operation contains the word "terrorist," it must be okay.

Where would George Bush be today without the word "terror," by the way? That single word, it seems, is solely responsible for Bush's continued popularity among simple-minded Americans. Without the word "terror," Bush would have no war, no foreign policy, no justification for decimating the Constitution, and nothing to talk about in his speeches. His entire presidency since 9/11, a few observant people are realizing, is really based on just two things: terror and tyranny. And he's using the former to achieve the latter.

The Terror Of President Bush

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staying the course ..... 

‘British troops will not wait for the end of the insurgency before leaving Iraq and there will be "significantly fewer" in the country by next year, John Reid, the defence secretary, said last night.

He made it clear that it was ultimately up to the Iraqis to look after themselves.

"Our purpose has never been to create a mirror image of our own nation," he said in a speech to the Foreign Press Association in London. It was not for Britain to decide how Iraq should look. "Our purpose has been to give Iraqis the tools to build the kind of nation they want."

He added that there was confusion about how people imagined Iraq would look when Britain cut its 8,500-strong force. "Our key task is not ... to defeat the insurgency ranged against Iraq. It is to ensure that Iraqis have the ability to do that."’

UK Troops Will Leave Iraq Before Insurgency Ends

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08 February 2006

total statists ..... 

‘Bush’s State of the Union included numerous references to freedom and liberty, and even denunciations of protectionism. The dishonest rhetoric persists. As usual, the Republicans like to have it both ways. They love the authority and violence of the state, from the trigger-happy cop on the street all the way up to the bomb-happy president in the Oval Office. But they also love pretending to be enamoured with protecting freedom and the little guy. They feed Big Brother steroids even as they claim to want to get him off your back.

What they really believe, in the end, and especially when they have power, should be clear by now: the unbridled supremacy of the state and especially its executive, its police and its military. They also enjoy shovelling money to their favoured corporate interests, but that’s only icing on the cake. Their true love in life comprises beating people up, sticking their noses into other people’s business, and detonating large explosives in other countries.’

The Republican Ideology of the Total State

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american war games ..... 

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home for the brave in the land of the free ..... 

‘A Halliburton subsidiary has just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide "temporary detention and processing capabilities."The contract - announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and construction firm KBR -- calls for preparing for "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of other emergencies, such as "a natural disaster." The release offered no details about where Halliburton was to build these facilities, or when.

"Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters," says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. "They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."Plans for detention facilities or camps have a long history, going back to fears in the 1970s of a national uprising by black militants. As Alonzo Chardy reported in the Miami Herald on July 5, 1987, an executive order for continuity of government (COG) had been drafted in 1982 by FEMA head Louis Giuffrida. The order called for "suspension of the Constitution" and "declaration of martial law." The martial law portions of the plan were outlined in a memo by Giuffrida's deputy, John Brinkerhoff.’

Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps

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birds of a feather ..... 

‘As the trial of Enron's Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay enters its second week, journalists are again pointing to the connections between the Bush family and administration and the former corporate Goliath. It's certainly not difficult to unearth the laundry list of ties between Bush's tight-knit Republican circle and the company that cheated Americans out of over $1 billion in retirement funds and some 4,500 jobs.

But perhaps the more interesting connection between the Bush administration and Enron is how people from both entities have flouted the law by spinning their own versions of reality and defending their actions with claims of good intent.’

Trial of the True Believers

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keeping us safe ..... 

‘Further evidence suggesting that British security forces were alerted in advance to the danger posed by the leader of the London suicide bombers emerged yesterday.
Reports in the United States indicated American law enforcement officers had raised concerns with their British counterparts over Mohammad Sidique Khan, believed to have led the 7 July attacks.

According to the New York Daily News, the FBI told British officials well before the bombings that Khan "was trouble" and should be "checked out".

The information passed on by the FBI is said to have come from a Pakistani-born al-Qaeda supergrass, who is currently in protective custody having pleaded guilty to a range of terrorist charges in the US. The informant cannot be named in Britain because he is alleged to be connected to men about to stand trial in London charged with terrorist offences.’

FBI 'gave prior warning to Britain about 7/7 bomber'

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duhhhhh ..... 

‘A senior US officer admitted yesterday that the presence of more than 300,000 foreign troops in the Middle East, most of them American, was a "contributory factor" to instability in the region.

The admission was made by Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt - a key strategist in the US central command covering the Middle East - as he spelled out the American military's plan to "reposture" its forces over an area stretching from Egypt in the west to Pakistan in the east, and from Kazakhstan in the north to Uganda in the south.’

US General Maps Out Strategic Refit For Iraq, Middle East & Asia

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waiting on the rule of law ..... 

‘In a new report published on Monday, Amnesty International revealed how the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba is condemning thousands across the world to a life of suffering, torment and stigmatization.

The report “Guantánamo: Lives torn apart – The impact of indefinite detention on detainees and their families”, contains testimonies of a number of former detainees and their relatives and assesses the current state of those who continue to be imprisoned at Guantánamo, including developments in relation to the ongoing hunger strike and suicide attempts.

Five hundred men from around 35 nationalities are detained in Guantánamo. Dozens are currently on hunger strike and there have been numerous suicide attempts. None of them have had the lawfulness of their detention reviewed in a court of law. Nine continue to be held despite no longer being defined by the US government as “enemy combatants”

Guantánamo: A Life Sentence Of Suffering & Stigmatization

A few days before, on February 3, Connie Hegland, of the National Journal Group Inc, provided a detailed profile of the Guantanamo Detainees …….

‘Many of them are not accused of hostilities against the United States or its allies. Most, when captured, were innocent of any terrorist activity, were Taliban foot soldiers at worst, and were often far less than that. And some, perhaps many, are guilty only of being foreigners in Afghanistan or Pakistan at the wrong time. And much of the evidence - even the classified evidence - gathered by the Defense Department against these men is flimsy, second-, third-, fourth- or 12th-hand. It's based largely on admissions by the detainees themselves or on coerced, or worse, interrogations of their fellow inmates, some of whom have been proved to be liars.’

Empty Evidence

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a nice little earner ..... 

‘The oil giant BP sparked fury among campaign groups yesterday after announcing record annual profits of £11.07 billion, only days after rival Shell smashed British business records.

BP, which made the equivalent of £21,000 a minute, faced renewed accusations that it was cashing in on the high price of oil at the expense of road users and the environment.

Although its 2005 profits fell short of the £25,000 a minute set by Shell, the surging price of crude oil meant they were still more than 25 per cent higher than 2004. The company announced it would give billions of pounds back to its shareholders if the oil price remained high. If it stays at $41 a barrel between 2006 and 2008, BP would be able to distribute £29 billion in dividends and share buybacks. If the price was $60 a barrel, shareholders would get about £37 billion.’

Anger As BP Racks Up £11bn Profits

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07 February 2006

the blind, one-eyed cyclops is rampant ..... 

‘Iran signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and insists (correctly) that the treaty assures signatories the right to pursue nuclear programs for peaceful use. And when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claims, as she did last month, "There is simply no peaceful rationale for the Iranian regime to resume uranium enrichment," she is being, well, disingenuous again.

If Dr. Rice has done her homework, she is aware that in 1975 President Gerald Ford's chief of staff Dick Cheney and his defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld bought Iran's argument that it needed a nuclear program to meet future energy requirements. This is what Iranian officials are saying today, and they are supported by energy experts who point out that oil extraction in Iran is already at or near peak and that the country will need alternatives to oil in coming decades.

Ironically, Cheney and Rumsfeld were among those persuading the reluctant Ford in 1976 to approve offering Iran a deal for nuclear reprocessing facilities that would have brought at least $6.4 billion for US corporations like Westinghouse and General Electric. The project fell through when the Shah was ousted three years later.’

Headed For Iran, Juggernaut Gathering Momentum

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defining the moral high ground ..... 

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an extortion racket ..... 

‘Tyson Slocum, acting director of Public Citizen's energy program, said oil companies are taking advantage of consumers. "Oil prices are definitely artificially high," Slocum said, "in large part because of anti-competetive practices by major oil companies. We've documented it, government investigations have documented it." Slocum testified before the Senate on Wednesday about the price squeeze induced by mergers in the oil industry. In the past 15 years, there have been more than 2,600 mergers in the oil industry, which Slocum says make this kind of price manipulation almost inevitable.

"In 2001, the Federal Trade Commission did a major investigation of gasoline markets and found that oil companies could intentionally withhold capacities from the marketplace in order to create some scarcity to drive prices up," Slocum said. "Now when they create scarcity, they're not actually creating scarcity like long gas lines, but they're creating shortages that, in the wholesale market, translate to higher retail prices. If that sounds familiar to you, because that's exactly the economic strategy pursued by Enron and other electricity companies in California, where they literally were taking power plants offline, creating shortages that caused the prices of electricity to skyrocket, and they made tons of money."’
Raking In Profits At The World's Expense

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white supremacy ..... 

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spotting the terrorist ..... 

‘While Cindy Sheehan was being dragged from the House gallery moments before President Bush delivered his State of the Union Address for wearing a T-shirt honoring her son and the other 2,244 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, Turki al-Faisal was settling into his seat inside the gallery.

Al-Faisal, a Saudi, is a man who has met Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants on at least five occasions, describing the al Qaida leader as "quite a pleasant man." He met multiple times with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Yet, unlike Sheehan, al-Faisal was a welcomed guest of President Bush on Tuesday night. He is also a man that the families of more than 600 victims of the 9/11 attacks believe was connected to their loved ones' deaths.’

Bush's Troubling SOTU Guest

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06 February 2006

fear ..... 

‘As the war in Iraq drags on into almost its fourth year with no end in sight, still American soldiers continue to fight and bleed, not for the American people, but for the president, the U.S. government, and the military-industrial complex. No one is fighting and bleeding and dying to "defend our freedoms" or anyone else’s freedoms.

What makes this even more disturbing is that the majority of American soldiers would claim to be Christians or at least identify with Christianity.

American Christian soldiers should know better. Unless they have had their head in the sand for the past three years, and have watched nothing but Fox News, listened to no one besides Sean Hannity, and read nothing but the Weekly Standard, they can’t help but see anywhere they look that this war is not just unconstitutional, unnecessary, immoral, unjust, and senseless, but is also unscriptural.’

What’s A Christian Soldier To Do?

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wheatbix kids ..... 

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