11 February 2006
‘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.’
10 February 2006(0) comments
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?'"’
‘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.’
‘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."’
‘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.’
‘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."’
‘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?’
09 February 2006
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
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
08 February 2006
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
"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
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
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'
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
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.’
‘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
07 February 2006
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
"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."’
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
06 February 2006
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?