17 February 2006
‘In November 2000 Saddam Hussein demanded Euros for his oil. His arrogance was a threat to the dollar; his lack of any military might was never a threat. At the first cabinet meeting with the new administration in 2001, as reported by Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, the major topic was how we would get rid of Saddam Hussein – though there was no evidence whatsoever he posed a threat to us. This deep concern for Saddam Hussein surprised and shocked O’Neill.
It now is common knowledge that the immediate reaction of the administration after 9/11 revolved around how they could connect Saddam Hussein to the attacks, to justify an invasion and overthrow of his government. Even with no evidence of any connection to 9/11, or evidence of weapons of mass destruction, public and congressional support was generated through distortions and flat out misrepresentation of the facts to justify overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
There was no public talk of removing Saddam Hussein because of his attack on the integrity of the dollar as a reserve currency by selling oil in Euros. Many believe this was the real reason for our obsession with Iraq. I doubt it was the only reason, but it may well have played a significant role in our motivation to wage war. Within a very short period after the military victory, all Iraqi oil sales were carried out in dollars. The Euro was abandoned.
In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against Chavez, reportedly with assistance from our CIA.
After these attempts to nudge the Euro toward replacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency were met with resistance, the sharp fall of the dollar against the Euro was reversed. These events may well have played a significant role in maintaining dollar dominance.
It’s become clear the U.S. administration was sympathetic to those who plotted the overthrow of Chavez, and was embarrassed by its failure. The fact that Chavez was democratically elected had little influence on which side we supported.
Now, a new attempt is being made against the petrodollar system. Iran, another member of the “axis of evil,” has announced her plans to initiate an oil bourse in March of this year. Guess what, the oil sales will be priced Euros, not dollars.’
‘As all students today know, Iraq is the country that the US invaded with the attempt to convert the state and the people from enemy to friend. On the face of it, this sounds rather implausible, of course. Good fences make good neighbours. Friendship and peace are not usually the result of insults, sanctions, invasions, bombings, killings, puppet governments, censorship, economic controls, and occupations. If this generation learns anything from this period, that would be a good start.
Earlier students thought of Iraq as the country that was forever being denounced by the Clinton administration and by Bush's father when he was president. Why? Iraq, it seems, had some crazy notion that the US might attempt an invasion at some point in the future, and thus thought it had better prepare by spending money on its military. Its weapons program, however, was quickly dismantled under pressure from the UN.
Doubtful that Iraq had really given up the idea of creating a viable national defense, the US cobbled together extreme sanctions against the country, preventing it from trading with the world. The standard of living plummeted. Middle class merchants suffered. The poor died without the essentials of life. The child mortality rate soared. The head of the US State Department told a reporter on national television that even if US sanctions had resulted in 500,000 child deaths, they were “worth it.”’
‘The whole world is watching a human drama that is both tragedy and travesty. As if the lessons of Vietnam had been presented to dull students and needed repeating, Americans and peoples of all nations watch as President George W. Bush's pre-emptive and unconstitutional war in Iraq continues. The cradle of civilization is being turned into its grave by a president whose undefined "noble cause" has thus far cost the lives of almost 3000 American soldiers, wounded and maimed almost 20,000 more, and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis.
The land that nourished the first written language and the roots of civilized political order has become a charnel house.
The defeated Iraqi army of Saddam Hussein is no longer the enemy in George Bush's unjust war; its place has been taken by insurgent forces, as well as by al Qaeda and other groups who use the country as a battlefield and guerrilla training ground for their own troops. Added to the tragedy in Iraq is the travesty of Bush's "War on Terror" – a formless justification for the growth of federal government power and the steady erosion of our Bill of Rights through warrantless searches, illegal spying, kidnapping and torture, and imprisonment without either trial or conviction.’
16 February 2006
- Mark Fiore
"Let's start by reminding everybody that under U.S. military law and practice, the only photographs that can be taken are official photographs for documentation purposes about the status of prisoners when they are in military detention. That's it. Anything else is not acceptable. And of course, that is what the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal is all about."
As we look at a couple of the photographs, let's remind people why these are so inappropriate. Under U.S. military law and practice and procedure, you simply cannot take photographs - as we're going to show you some of them right now. You cannot take photographs of people in detention, in humiliating positions, positions that are abusive in any way, shape or form. The only pictures that are ever allowed of people in U.S. military detention would be pictures for documentation purposes. And, clearly, these pictures are not that.
That is the whole issue that has been at the root of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, that it was abusive, the practices in which soldiers engaged in."
meanwhile, a quieter voice …..
“The images make me wonder why the bowels of the earth don't just open and swallow the President every time he makes reference to us "bringing democracy" anywhere. They make violent resistance in Iraq seem like the only justified response.”
‘"If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently.
I would first apologize - very publicly and very sincerely - to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism.
I would then announce that America’s global interventions - including the awful bombings - have come to an end.
And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but – oddly enough – a foreign country.
I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings and invasions. There would be more than enough money.
Do you know what one year of the US military budget is equal to? One year. It’s equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born.
"That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House.
On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated."’
‘In Crude Designs, a report published by the UK-based non-governmental organisation Platform and the US's Global Policy Institute, oil analyst Greg Muttitt says if current plans are approved, Iraqi's will "lose control of more than 85 percent of their oil resources to foreign multinationals."’Who Will Possess Iraq’s Oilfields?
‘It all began, as usual, with the Greeks. The ancient Greeks were the first civilized people to use their reason to think systematically about the world around them. The Greeks were the first philosophers (philosophia – lovers of wisdom), the first people to think deeply and to figure out how to attain and verify knowledge about the world. Other tribes and peoples had tended to attribute natural events to arbitrary whims of the gods. A violent thunderstorm, for example, might be ascribed to something that had irritated the god of thunder. The way to bring on rain, then, or to curb violent thunderstorms, would be to find out what acts of man would please the god of rain or appease the thunder god. Such people would have considered it foolish to try to figure out the natural causes of rain or of thunder. Instead, the thing to do was to find out what the relevant gods wanted and then try to supply their needs.
The Greeks, in contrast, were eager to use their reason – their sense observations and their command of logic – to investigate and learn about their world. In so doing, they gradually stopped worrying about the whims of the gods and began to investigate actual entities around them. Led in particular by the great Athenian philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC), a magnificent and creative systematizer known to later ages as The Philosopher, the Greeks evolved a theory and a method of reasoning and of science which later came to be called the natural law.’
15 February 2006
‘"The U.S. government's use and defense of torture and inhumane treatment [of prisoners] played the largest role in undermining Washington's ability to promote human rights. Any discussion of detainee abuse in 2005 must begin with the United States, not because it is the worst violator but because it is the most influential. The widely publicized abuse at Abu Ghraib paralleled similar if not worse abuse in Afghanistan, in Guantánamo, elsewhere in Iraq, and in the chain of secret detention facilities where the U.S. government holds its "high-value" detainees."
The January 18 response from the White House to this charge was utterly, shamelessly predictable. Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan, rejecting this description of the United States, proclaimed:
"The United States does more than any country in the world to advance freedom and promote freedom and human rights."
What this administration actually does, proclaiming its devotion to human rights, is to exemplify George Orwell's truth: "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
‘That's right, Buster, I said dead.
Our national symbol of peace, prosperity, and plenitude has been slaughtered, cooked and the multi-national ghouls are fighting for the rights to pick its bones! When the rank-and-file American voter rubs the propaganda-induced sleep from his eyes, he will realize that his freedoms are gone, his patriotism is misplaced, and the two buzzards, Democrat and Republican, are picking the lint from his empty pockets.
After bellying up to the bar, buying rounds for our Fearless Leaders, and cheering as our children marched off to their death and dismemberment, we are awaking to find that we have been duped, raped, rolled, and left for dead by both political parties in an act of shameful betrayal that will equal the Fall of Rome in its historical aspect.’
14 February 2006
‘The Pentagon’s plans for engaging in “virtual warfare” are impressive. As BBC notes: “The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.” (BBC)
The enemy, of course, is you, dear reader, or anyone who refuses to accept their role as a witless-cog in new world order. Seizing the internet is a prudent way of controlling every piece of information that one experiences from cradle to grave; all necessary for an orderly police-state.
The Information Operations Roadmap (IOR) recommends that psychological operations (Psyops) “should consider a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, "miniaturized, scatterable public address systems", wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet.” No idea is too costly or too far-fetched that it escapes the serious consideration of the Pentagon chieftains.
The War Dept. is planning to insert itself into every area of the internet from blogs to chat rooms, from leftist web sites to editorial commentary. The objective is to challenge any tidbit of information that appears on the web that may counter the official narrative; the fairytale of benign American intervention to promote democracy and human rights across the planet.
The IOR aspires to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum" and develop the capability to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum". (BBC)
Full spectrum dominance.’
‘The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.
The system - parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development - is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government's latest attempt to use broad data-collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism. But by delving deeply into the digital minutiae of American life, the program is also raising concerns that the government is intruding too deeply into citizens' privacy.
"We don't realize that, as we live our lives and make little choices, like buying groceries, buying on Amazon, Googling, we're leaving traces everywhere," says Lee Tien, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "We have an attitude that no one will connect all those dots. But these programs are about connecting those dots - analyzing and aggregating them - in a way that we haven't thought about. It's one of the underlying fundamental issues we have yet to come to grips with."
‘An attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would signal the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably grow to involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the USA and Iran. The report concludes that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.’
‘During the 1950s, our government succumbed to the fear of Communism hyped by Senator Joseph McCarthy. People lost their jobs, lives were ruined, and many committed suicide in response to the "red scare." Fear pervaded every facet of life, leading neighbours to inform on one another.
CBS newscaster Edward R. Murrow was one of the few journalists who had the courage to stand up to the fear-mongering and bring the truth to the American people. Describing the omnipresent fear that the government was fostering, Murrow told his colleagues, "The terror's in the room."’
13 February 2006
‘The CIA’s top counter-terrorism official was fired last week because he opposed detaining Al-Qaeda suspects in secret prisons abroad, sending them to other countries for interrogation and using forms of torture such as “water boarding”, intelligence sources have claimed.
Robert Grenier, head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, was relieved of his post after a year in the job. One intelligence official said he was “not quite as aggressive as he might have been” in pursuing Al-Qaeda leaders and networks.
Vincent Cannistraro, a former head of counter-terrorism at the agency, said: “It is not that Grenier wasn’t aggressive enough, it is that he wasn’t ‘with the programme’. He expressed misgivings about the secret prisons in Europe and the rendition of terrorists.”
Grenier also opposed “excessive” interrogation, such as strapping suspects to boards and dunking them in water, according to Cannistraro.'
12 February 2006
Whilst Australian citizen, David Hicks, continues to endure his 4th year of illegal imprisonment & torture in America’s Guantanamo Bay gulag, a new report by Joshua Denbeaux, a law professor at Seton Hall, has found that, based on data supplied by the Pentagon, that "55% of the detainees have not committed any hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies." Lawyers: Many Guantanamo Detainees Not Accused
The report finds that "only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all & 18% are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban."
Further, the vast majority of detainees in Guantanamo were not captured by US forces on a battlefield, but either by Pakistan or forces of the Northern Alliance, at a time when the United States was offering very large rewards for the capture of any "suspected enemies."
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, along with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer & Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, have loudly & repeatedly asserted, without any substantiation, that David Hicks is “guilty” of terrorist-related crimes.
Whilst there are currently a number of Australian citizens being illegally detained & tortured by foreign governments, the Australian government wrings its hands & says it knows nothing or can do nothing. In the case of David Hicks, the government claims that it is “satisfied” that he is being treated “fairly” & that he will receive a “fair trial” at the hands of the US Military Commission.
In marked contrast to the bland assurances offered by the Australian government, Corine Hegland writes in the US National Journal that evidence considered "persuasive" in the military tribunals "is made up almost entirely of hearsay evidence, recorded by unidentified individuals with no firsthand knowledge of the events they describe” Guantanamo's Grip.
The failure of the Australian government to secure & protect the human & legal rights of any of its citizens illegally imprisoned & tortured, is a scandalous disgrace.
In the case of David Hicks, the injustice being perpetrated against him, with the deliberate connivance of the Australian government, is even more of a shameful disgrace, given its failure to ensure that he received a prompt trial, in accordance with judicial standards that apply in both Australian & American criminal jurisdictions.
By failing to observe its duty of care to all of its citizens, including David Hicks, the Australian government has marked itself as being devoid of the values that it so loudly & hypocritically professes to be protecting & defending in the phoney war on terror.
‘Yet even if you include the 9/11 casualties, the number of Americans killed by international terrorists since the late 1960s (which is when the State Department began counting them) is about the same as that killed by lightning - or by accident-causing deer, or by severe allergic reactions to peanuts.
"In almost all years, the total number of people worldwide who die at the hands of international terrorists is not much more than the number who drown in bathtubs in the United States" wrote John Mueller of Ohio State University in last autumn's issue of the authoritative American journal Terrorism and Political Violence.
As Mueller concedes, there is a definitional issue: Few insurgents in Iraq are internationals; most are homegrown. And if aspirant terrorists in London or Paris had nuclear bombs, the numbers would become rather different.
Nonetheless, a phenomenon that is scattered, limited and under control, and inevitably transient, has been conflated by Washington with something that is huge and very serious: the desperation among the Muslim masses that is directed indiscriminately against Western nations, which are held responsible for Islamic society's backwardness, poverty and exploitation.’
'A former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney told a federal grand jury that his superiors authorized him to give secret information to reporters as part of the Bush administration's defense of intelligence used to justify invading Iraq, according to court papers.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in documents filed last month that he plans to introduce evidence that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, disclosed to reporters the contents of a classified National Intelligence Estimate in the summer of 2003.
The NIE is a report prepared by the head of the nation's intelligence operations for high-level government officials, up to and including the president. Portions of NIEs are sometimes declassified and made public. It is unclear whether that happened in this instance.
In a Jan. 23 letter to Libby's lawyers, Fitzgerald said Libby also testified before the grand jury that he caused at least one other government official to discuss an intelligence estimate with reporters in July 2003.
"We also note that it is our understanding that Mr. Libby testified that he was authorized to disclose information about the NIE to the press by his superiors," Fitzgerald wrote.’
‘The CIA official in charge of intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of ignoring assessments that sanctions and weapons inspections were the best way to deal with Saddam Hussein, and that an invasion would have a "messy aftermath".
In an article in the next edition of the bimonthly journal, Foreign Affairs, Paul Pillar, has become the highest-ranking CIA official from the prewar period to accuse the White House of manipulating the intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.
The allegations contradict the findings of two official inquiries into the intelligence debacle, which have largely blamed the CIA and absolved the administration. They also emerged on the day it was reported that Lewis Libby, a former aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney, had told a grand jury that he had been "ordered" by "his superiors" to leak classified WMD information to the press to bolster the case for going to war.’Bush Ignored CIA Advice On Iraq, Says Former Spy
‘Laura Berg is a clinical nurse specialist at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, where she has worked for 15 years.
Shortly after Katrina, she wrote a letter to the editor of the weekly paper the Alibi criticizing the Bush Administration.
After the paper published the letter in its September 15-21 issue, VA administrators seized her computer, alleged that she had written the letter on that computer, and accused her of “sedition.”’