10 June 2006

a simple inconvenience ..... 

‘Two brothers arrested following a controversial anti-terror raid during were last night released without charge.

Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, had been held in connection with an alleged chemical bomb plot after an armed operation at their home in Forest Gate, east London, last week.

Mr Abdul Kahar was shot and wounded during the raid.

Questions were last night raised about the actions of police and intelligence services after they were released.

The pre-dawn raid came after MI5 assessed as "credible" that a terrorist attack using chemical weapons was being prepared.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard last night confirmed that both men had been freed and that officers had completed their search of the raided property in Lansdown Road.

He said: "We appreciate the police operation has caused inconvenience and disruption to the occupants of the house.’

Muslim Anger After Terror Raid Brothers Found To Be Innocent

What the heck …. people know it was all an innocent misunderstanding. So, someone got shot, their property was trashed, they were “detained” & “interrogated” in response to unsubstantiated “intelligence”, traumatised & terrorised …. it could happen to anyone these days ….. surely that’s the point?

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heads will waste between my two great rivers ….. 

‘I am Iraq. I am old, and I am sad. Iraq is pronounced EE-RAQ, not EYE-RAQ. Actually, Iraq is not my real name. This name was given to me by the British at the end of World War I when, having defeated the Ottoman Empire (usually referred to as the Turks) with the help of the French and other allies, including the U.S., which joined in toward the end, they carved up the ancient Middle East, and created kingdoms for those whom they believed to be their friends. It was now payday for the Hashemi desert family in "Iraq," who had helped them against the Turks.

East of the Jordan River they created the kingdom of Jordan; on the Arabian peninsula they created the kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and I became the kingdom of Iraq. Syria also became a kingdom, under French control. All this was done in accordance with a so-called League of Nations "mandate." They had no problem finding suitable profit-motivated family members to become kings, and the dynasties they created still rule in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. I was a kingdom for some 40 years. My first King was Feisal I, who had originally been appointed King of Syria; he survived, with British support, until his death in 1933. Since there was no apparent heir, I was ruled by a regency until Feisal's grandson, who became Feisal II, took over in 1953. Kings who are appointed usually have rivals and enemies, and Feisal II was assassinated in 1958.’

I Am Iraq

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illusions ..... 

‘The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a symbolic blow against the al-Qaida network, but it is unlikely to represent a turning point in either the Iraq war or the global fight against terror, terrorism specialists and former administration officials said yesterday.

The elimination of an important insurgent leader was a tactical military success, they said, but there are as many as 60 insurgent groups in Iraq, so the civil strife that al-Zarqawi helped incite will continue.

His death is at least a short-term setback for al-Qaida, with which he merged efforts in 2004, they said. But there is little consensus on what impact, if any, it will have on al-Qaida's global jihad campaign.

"Had we gotten Zarqawi a year and a half ago, you might have seen this as actually a substantial change in the direction of things," said Noah Feldman, a former adviser to the U.S. government in Iraq.

"The man is dead, but what lives on are his methods - the intentional killing of Iraqi civilians as a tactic in the insurgency."’

A Mostly Symbolic Blow To al-Qaida

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embarrassing truths ..... 

‘They got him - the big, bad, beheading berserker in Iraq. But, something's gone unreported in all the glee over getting Zarqawi - who invited him into Iraq in the first place?

If you prefer your fairy tales unsoiled by facts, read no further. If you want the uncomfortable truth, begin with this: A phone call to Baghdad to Saddam's Palace on the night of April 21, 2003. It was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a secure line from Washington to General Jay Garner.

The General had arrives in Baghdad just hours before to take charge of the newly occupied nation. The message from Rumsfeld was not a heartwarming welcome. Rummy told Garner, Don't unpack, Jack - you're fired.

What had Garner done? The many-starred general had been sent by the President himself to take charge of a deeply dangerous mission. Iraq was tense but relatively peaceful. Garner's job was to keep the peace and bring democracy.

Unfortunately for the general, he took the President at his word. But the general was wrong. "Peace" and "Democracy" were the slogans.

"My preference," Garner told me in his understated manner, "was to put the Iraqis in charge as soon as we can and do it in some form of elections."

But elections were not in The Plan.’

The Zarqawi Invitation

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timing is everything ..... 

‘Timing is everything. To the managers of the Iraq War, perception has always trumped reality. From the beginning it was a war of media stunts - the attempt to assassinate Saddam with 50 cruise missiles before the invasion, the Shock and Awe, the bringing down of the statues, Jessica Lynch, Saddam in the hole, the purple-fingered Iraqi voters and many other events staged for media consumption.

The essence of information/media warfare is to seize the advantage, frame the story, and capture the audience's imagination. Its been a key part of modern warfare from the set-up flags of Iwo Jima in World War II to that not-so-safe house in Baquba in Iraq.

And now we have the bloodied head of the feared Zarqawi displayed on TV by the very military that will not allow us to see the American dead coming home. He was brought down by not one but two 500 pound bombs, in an operation that CNN tells us cost $500,000 and has been under way for months.

What a coup! What a show! And what an event for Iraqi "leaders" to show off, using terms like he has been "eliminated." Within hours, the more polished US military spinmeisters were showing the airstrikes at a press conference, declaring a "major victory" and pronouncing another "turning point."

Think also of the timing. Yes, they think about timing all the time. Timing is, as I have said, everything. A day earlier, the NY Times had the defeat of the CIA-backed warlords in Somalia on page one. The day and week before, it was All the Haditha, All the Time, with many commentators like Paul Rodgers, to cite one example, arguing that responsibility for the crimes and the cover-up goes way up the chain of command.

At the Pentagon, this was seen as Not Good. Not good at all. In fact, a very public opinion-conscious administration was aware, had to be aware, that a new AP poll was coming out reporting that well over 50% of the American public was sick of the war.’

The "Elimination" Of Zarqawi: A New Episode Of The Media War

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09 June 2006

the usual hollywood production ..... 

All the usual cocks were crowing yesterday at the reported death in Iraq of the alleged al-Qaeda terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Our little rodent positively salivated at the news, along with his co-conspirators, “aussie tony” & the great decider.

Howard claimed: “The reported death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is great news for the people of Iraq, the real victims of his murderous behaviour.

He has been the principal architect of terrorism in that country.

Not only does his death remove a cruel terrorist but it's also a huge boost for anti-terrorist forces in Iraq.

The determination of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his new government to confront terrorism and the insurgency is something that everyone should support.”

Were it true.

Are we to believe that one renegade is responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians over the past 3 years?

Are we to believe that the ruins of the world’s oldest civilization are the handiwork of one al-Qaeda mastermind?

No reference to the sectarian conflict; no reference to the Shia & Sunni death squads; no reminder about last week’s bushit claim that Iran is the “biggest” sponsor of terrorism in Iraq; no reference to the mindless violence & destruction being wrought by the coalition military forces; no acknowledgement that the so-called Iraqi government is no more than a collection of puppets, whose strings are pulled from within the “Green Zone”?

Nope: it was all the work of the mysterious al-Zarqawi. And now we can all safely go back to sleep.

Forget the convenience this news presents for the US to try & blot out the stench rising from a thousand Hadithas.

No, just the usual hyperbole of “mission accomplished”, made by corrupt politicians, desperate for some “good news” to reassure their domestic electorates, increasingly sceptical as to why western forces are even in Iraq.

Down the road in Afghanistan, the Taliban is resurgent & the puppet government there controls literally nothing outside the capital of Kabul, whilst the transparent lie of bushit’s great spiel of “spreading freedom & democracy” in the middle east is totally evident in the activities of Washington & Tel Aviv to bring down the democratically elected government in the occupied territory of Palestine.

Think again dear readers …….

If Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was everything that our troika of warrior princes claimed he was: if he was single-handedly responsible for the carnage in Iraq, where does that leave usama bin-Laden …. the enigmatic leader of al-Qaeda who has eluded capture for more than a decade?

Why did the US cease its efforts in the mountains of Tor Bora to capture the alleged mastermind of September 11? Indeed, why did the US not take-up the offer to hand him over, made by the Taliban prior to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan?

Whilst there can be no argument that the world is a better place without any terrorist, including Abu Musab al-Zaqawi, the fact remains that it is the ongoing manipulation & interference in the middle east by the US, Great Britain & a host of lesser players, that is fuelling the insurgencies in Iraq & Afghanistan, whilst polarising resistance by the Palestinian people to the colonial ambitions of Israel.

Remember to ask our little rodent in a month’s time why the death of al-Zaqawi hasn’t seen a reduction in the violence & mayhem in Iraq, contrary to the “good news” allusion he tried to spin us yesterday.

And then maybe ask him whether bushit’s “war on terra” is nothing more than a convenient cover for the greatest ever imperialist grab by the US & its acolytes for control of the strategic oil & gas resources in the region, whilst using it as a convenient justification for destroying democratic freedoms at home.

And then, just maybe, you might want to ask him why we are there at all?

read more about the “manufactured” myth of terrorism below …..

‘According to US intelligence estimates, between 30,000 and 70,000 volunteers passed through al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan in 1996-2001, but their long-term impact on the world has been astonishingly small. The average annual number of Islamist terrorist attacks in Arab and other Muslim countries has been no greater in the past five years than in the previous ten or twenty. For most of the people who went to Afghanistan in those years, it was a rite of passage or an exotic form of ideological tourism, not the start of a lifelong career as a terrorist.

The contrast between the received wisdom – that the world, or at least the West, is engaged in a titanic, unending struggle against a powerful terrorist organisation of global reach – and the not very impressive reality is so great that most people in the West believe the official narrative rather than the evidence of their own eyes. There must be a major terrorist threat; otherwise, the government is wrong or lying, the intelligence agencies are wrong or self-serving, the media are fools or cowards, and the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

But there isn't a major terrorist threat; just a little one. The massive over-reaction is due to the fact that 9/11 hit a very big and powerful country that had the military resources to strike anywhere in the world, and strategic interests that might be advanced by a war or two fought under the cover of a crusade against terrorism. If 9/11 had happened in Canada, it would all have been very different.’

The International Terrorist Conspiracy

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those crazy europeans ..... 

‘OK. Where I come from in the ol' US of A, three strikes and you're out.

Were Americans the only people in the world taking terrorism seriously?

On the US side of the pond, security experts are hard at work wiretapping telephones, posting a strong police presence in public locations and constantly reminding people to be afraid of terrorists.

Here, the Europeans were apparently having a picnic.

The Swiss behaving themselves during a celebration, without police keeping an eye on things? The French enjoying a drive across the countryside, without highway patrolmen? The Dutch political representatives being close to and living like the people they represent?

These seem like pretty radical notions in post 9/11 world.

There can be only one explanation: Europe must be crazy.

Society Without Security

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the unravelling ..... 

‘Military commanders in the field in Iraq admit in private reports to the Pentagon the war "is lost" and that the U.S. military is unable to stem the mounting violence killing 1,000 Iraqi civilians a month.

Even worse, they report the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha is "just the tip of the iceberg" with overstressed, out-of-control Americans soldiers pushed beyond the breaking point both physically and mentally.

"We are in trouble in Iraq," says retired army general Barry McCaffrey. "Our forces can't sustain this pace, and I'm afraid the American people are walking away from this war."

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has clamped a tight security lid on the increasingly pessimistic reports coming out of field commanders in Iraq, threatening swift action against any military personnel who leak details to the press or public.

The wife of a staff sergeant with Kilo Company, the Marine Unit charged with killing civilians at Haditha, tells Newsweek magazine that the unit was a hotbed of drug abuse, alcoholism and violence.

"There were problems in Kilo company with drugs, alcohol, hazing [violent initiation games], you name it," she said. "I think it's more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha."

Journalists stationed with the unit described Kilo Company and the Third Batallion of Marines as a "unit out of control," where morale had plummeted and rules went out the window.

Similar reports emerge from military units throughout Iraq and even the Iraqi prime minister describes American soldiers as trigger happy goons with little regard for the lives of civilians.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki says the murder of Iraqi civilians has become a "daily phenomenon" by American troops who "do not respect the Iraqi people."’

Field Commanders Tell Pentagon Iraq War 'Is Lost'

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husbands, fathers, brothers & lovers ..... 

‘Dead women. Fifty-four dead women. Has it really come to this? We know that American women die everyday. They die in hospitals, nursing homes, bedrooms, and cars. They die by accident, disease, murder, suicide, or natural causes. But why should any American women die in Iraq fighting a war?

Yes, women. It is horrible enough when young men in the prime of their life have their arms and legs torn to shreds because of an encounter with an "improvised explosive device," but it is absolutely hideous that we as a country countenance young women – young American women, some of them with children – dying the same grisly type of death. True, they enlisted in the military of their own free will. But where are the fathers, the brothers, and the pastors of these misguided and impressionable girls? What kind of slime do we have for military recruiters that would prey on these women?

As I have argued many, many times before, no American soldiers – men or women – should be fighting in Iraq in the first place. Some Americans are aware that 2,475 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq; few Americans probably realize that 54 of them were women.’

Fifty-Four Dead Women

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back down the looking glass ..... 

‘Now, to see the situation as it is, turn that telescope around. Every firefight we win in Iraq or Afghanistan does little for our pride, because we are so much stronger than the people we are defeating. Every time we get hit successfully by a weaker enemy, we feel like chumps, and cannot look ourselves in the mirror (again, with IED attacks this happens quite often). Whenever we use our superior strength against Iraqi civilians, which is to say every time we drive down an Iraqi street, we diminish ourselves in our own eyes.

Eventually, we come to look at ourselves with contempt and see ourselves as monsters. One way to justify being a monster is to behave like one, which makes the problem worse still. The resulting downward spiral, which every army in this kind of war has gotten caught in, leads to indiscipline, demoralization, and disintegration of larger units as fire teams and squads simply go feral.

Again, this process is fundamental to Fourth Generation war. Martin van Crevald has stressed the power of weakness as one key, if not the key, to 4GW, and he is correct. It shows just how far America’s military leadership is from grasping Fourth Generation war that its response in Iraq has been to order all troops to undergo a two to four-hour "refresher course in core values."

They are caught in a hurricane, and all they can do is spit in the wind. The rest of us should get ready for the house to blow down.’

The Power Of Weakness

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08 June 2006

one of the gang ..... 

A video documentary by Jacques Charmelot & Arnaud Hamelin …..

An historical account of the relationship between America and Saddam Hussein.

Reveals the complicity of America in Saddam's atrocities. Forty years of secrets, incomprehension and incompetence led to the occupation of Iraq.

Saddam: America's Best Enemy

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so tired of bushit ..... 

‘The British public has become increasingly cool towards American policy and critical of its role in the world after the sustained violence in Iraq.

A Populus opinion poll in The Times indicates that fewer than half the public believe that America is a force for good in the world, and nearly two thirds believe that Britain’s future lies more with Europe than with the US.

There is also evidence of a longer-term shift in views about the US. However, while President Bush and his Administration remain unpopular in Britain, Americans as a people remain popular.’

Britons Begin To Turn Away From Alliance With America

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07 June 2006

stealing democracy ..... 

‘Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written a brilliant new article about the biggest political story in the history of the United States: An American politician illegitimately took the office of president by outright theft and fraud. Although such high crimes and misdemeanors have been rumored in previous elections, none in the history of the republic have been so thoroughly documented. George W. Bush is not the legitimate president of the United States.’

Stand Up For Democracy With Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

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06 June 2006

the neon is cracking ..... 

‘“Power,” Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, Jr. tells us “is the ability to alter the behavior of others to get what you want. There are basically three ways to do that: coercion (sticks), payments (carrots), and attraction (soft power).” Today’s American soft power—our ability to influence others overseas through who we are and what we do—is shrinking, as poll after poll shows. This loss of soft power reduces America's ability to shape global developments in ways favorable to the national interest. What can be done about this?

There are several reasons for the decline of America’s soft power. The most immediate is President George W. Bush’s aggressive foreign policy. Since our internationally condemned attack on Iraq, our country is seen as the illegitimate sheriff that shoots first and asks questions later. Contrast this to the worldwide sympathy for the U.S. immediately after 9/11, when we were considered the attacked, not the attacker. Due to our unilateralism, we have lost the respect—to be sure, never universal—that we earned as a world leader resisting the totalitarianisms of the twentieth century.

Second to the aggression is the hypocrisy of Bush's rhetoric. The president proclaims the pursuit of human freedom as his foremost goal while we are becoming a parody of the Statue of Liberty, covered in prison torture garb from Abu Ghraib, obsessed with our own security but with nothing liberating (or even stabilizing) to offer to the rest of the world. Forget the “democratization” programs (also called “transformational” ) hyped by Condoleezza Rice’s State Department. For much of the world, the reality is that we prop up dictators in Libya and Kazakhstan so long as they give us what we want. And, while claiming that America cares about humanity, Bush disregards transnational issues such as the global environment and supports visa regulations that offend foreigners who wish to visit or study in the United States.

A third reason for our loss of soft power is that, with over six years of Bush’s “we’re just plain folks” rule, our cultural exports increasingly fail to seduce overseas. To be sure, the best purveyors of American consciousness abroad don't necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government. Yet, judging by the barometer of pop culture, American style is no longer as "cool" as it was, despite the international success of some Hollywood blockbusters. Culturally, we are more and more perceived as the old New World. “[T]he American brand isn't at its shiniest,” U-2’s Bono recently stated. “The neon is crackling."’

America's Fading Glow

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04 June 2006

buried in bushit ..... 

‘Marine commanders in Iraq knew within two days of the killings in Haditha in November that gunfire, not a roadside bomb, had killed Iraqi civilians but they saw no reason to investigate further, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

A senior Marine officer told the Times that commanders informed investigators they had not viewed the early discrepancies in accounts about how the two dozen Iraqis died as unusual, and that they had no information at the time suggesting that any civilians had been killed deliberately.

But a senior Marine general familiar with the investigation told the newspaper "It's impossible to believe they didn't know," referring to mid-level and senior officers. "You'd have to know this thing stunk," the general, who was granted anonymity along with others who described the investigation, was quoted as saying.’

US Commanders Knew Haditha Deaths From Gunfire

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the missing "bonesman" ..... 

Australia seems to be getting along quite nicely without an American Ambassador.

This month will mark the 16th month that the position has stood vacant, with former Ambassador, John Thomas Schieffer, having packed-up his BBQ & headed-off to Japan back in February 2005.

After forgetting about the position for more than a year, the Bush administration announced the appointment of Robert McCallum as its Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary to Australia, back in March.

At the time of the announcement, I wrote a blog called the bonesman cometh, highlighting the background of Mr McCallum, including the fact that he was a long-time friend of “bushit” junior, with the two of them having been Yale classmates, as well as being fellow members of the notorious Yale sorority, “Skull & Bones”.

I also made mention of the fact that McCallum’s reputation was a little dubious, due to his alleged intervention in a US government lawsuit against members of the US tobacco industry, such that the damages being sought via that suit by the government had been reduced from US130 billion to $10 billion.

Given the public “heat” that the “bushit” administration felt as a result of the derailed tobacco litigation, sending McCallum off to the antipodes probably seemed like a good idea: far away, out of mind, a post offering little challenge or difficulty & in a land that has always been very comfortable welcoming adventurers, carpetbaggers, convicts & miscreants of every type, down the years.

So where is McCallum?

Well, shortly after he was nominated to his 1st Ambassadorial post, things started to hot up at home re the tobacco litigation. In fact, McCallum’s appointment has been blocked pending the outcome of investigations into the affair.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that Associate Attorney General, one Robert D. McCallum, must undergo questioning in a lawsuit by a non-profit group seeking records about the Justice Department's conduct in a landmark case against the tobacco industry Justice Department Official To Be Questioned In Tobacco Case.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the Department of Justice last year after they "ignored the testimony of one of its own witnesses in the tobacco trial and reduced the amount the Bush administration is seeking from the tobacco industry from $130 billion to $10 billion" Federal Judge Allows CREW To Take Deposition Of Top DOJ Official.

Sharon Eubanks, the lead attorney in the case, quit in protest after the decision, saying the amount sought by the US government was reduced after direct political interference: namely by McCallum.

Tobacco industry critics believe McCallum was directly involved in the decision to seek lesser penalties, in a clear case of political interference DOJ Officials Will Testify Says Judge. McCallum was a partner at Alston & Bird, a powerful law firm that had represented tobacco giant, RJ Reynolds.

The ruling will allow CREW to depose not only McCallum, but also the Director of the Office of Information & Privacy, Daniel Metcalfe, Steve Brody, a member of the tobacco team, along with James Kovakas, the attorney in charge of the Civil Division's FOIA processing Federal Judge Allows CREW To Take Deposition Of Top DOJ Official.

Given the pending US proceedings, it could be quite a long time before we get to see McCallum, if at all.

But if you think that the Australian government will voice any dissatisfaction about this situation, notwithstanding the alleged “closeness” of our relationship with the US & the much-vaunted personal friendship that exists between our prime rodent & the illegal weasel in the Out House, don’t hold your breath.

Only a few weeks ago, with little johnnie in the US to pick-up yet another obscure award (at the taxpayers’ expense), “bushit” junior demonstrated his contempt for Australia & our self-deluded international prime follower, by publicly humiliating the little fella, as did the world’s most “brilliant” businessman (according to Peter Costello at any rate), Rupert Murdoch.

Of course, the rodent’s prime meanstership has been marked by his government’s slavish subservience to the US & the “bushit” administration, to the point that we are no longer capable of formulating independent foreign policy & are content to simply “follow orders”, as & when they are issued from Washington. Even insults dished out by the worst President in US history don’t seem to stir even the slightest reaction from Canberra or the lodge.

So, as Robert McCallum prepares to be worked over by the US justice system, Australia just waits & waits for an Ambassador who might never turn up: just like a loyal lapdog is trained & expected to do.

Indeed, given the trouble that McCallum seems to be in, it may well be that both “bushit” & our own “great leader” will have long retired behind their respective picket fences of obscurity, before Australia is next graced with formal diplomatic representation from head office.

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