Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rumsfeld Names Iran World's Top Sponsor Of Terrorism...

Hell, Iran I thought they had been telling the world it was Iraq for the last 4 years. CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS ASSHOLE

Reuters Louis Charbonneau February 4, 2006 at 08:56 AM

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused Iran on Saturday of being the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, a charge that his Iranian counterpart rejected as "ridiculous" and "outrageous."

"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," Rumsfeld told an annual security conference in Munich where talk of Iran's nuclear program was at the top of the agenda.


The Reagan-Saddam Connection: "We Create These Monsters And When It's Not Convenient We Cover Them Up"

Alex Constantine

Link Here

Iran-Contra Connections to 9/11 - Part 1

Iran-Contra Connections to 9/11 - Part 2


Prosecutor's Report Says Cheney Aide In Broad Web Of Deception, Lied Repeatedly About CIA Outing...

Washington Post Carol D. Leonnig February 4, 2006 at 08:54 AM
READ MORE: Patrick Fitzgerald, Valerie Plame, Scooter Libby, Investigations, Halliburton, Dick Cheney, CIA

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case alleged that Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff was engaged in a broader web of deception than was previously known and repeatedly lied to conceal that he had been a key source for reporters about undercover operative Valerie Plame, according to court records released yesterday.

The records also show that by August 2004, early in his investigation of the disclosure of Plame's identity, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald had concluded that he did not have much of a case against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby for illegally leaking classified information. Instead, Fitzgerald was focused on charging Cheney's top aide with perjury and making false statements, and knew he needed to question reporters to prove it.


Fury Over Mohammad Caricatures Intensifies…

Syrians Storm European Embassies...

Reuters Nidal al-Mughrabi February 4, 2006 at 08:20 AM

Furious Syrians set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies on Saturday as protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad showed no signs of abating despite calls for calm.

Oil giant Iran, already embroiled in a dispute with the West over its nuclear programme, said it was reviewing trade ties with countries that have published such caricatures.


In China, to get rich is Glorious

More than 300,000 Chinese have a net worth over $1 million, excluding property, according to Merrill Lynch & Co. And mainland millionaires control some $530 billion in assets, Boston Consulting Group estimates.

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(from 1997 Statement of Project for New American Century)

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile TO OUR INTERESTS AND VALUES;
• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Elliott Abrams
Gary Bauer
William J. Bennett
Jeb Bush
Dick Cheney
Eliot A. Cohen
Midge Decter
Steve Forbes
Aaron Friedberg
Francis Fukuyama
Frank Gaffney
Fred C. Ikle
Donald Kagan
Zalmay Khalilzad
I. Lewis Libby
Norman Podhoretz
Dan Quayle
Peter W. Rodman
Stephen P. Rosen
Henry S. Rowen
Donald Rumsfeld
Vin Weber
George Weigel
Paul Wolfowitz
http://www.newameriancentury.org/ - updated frequently with neocon news, articles & plans for global domination

As Alito takes Supreme Court seat, Ohio GOP guts election protection

Ohio's GOP-controlled legislature has passed a repressive new law that will gut free elections and is already surfacing elsewhere around the US. The bill will continue the process of installing the GOP as America's permanent ruling party.
Coming with the swearing in of right-wing extremist Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, it marks another dark day for what remains of American democracy.

Called HB3, the law now demands discriminatory voter ID, severely cripples the possibility of statewide recounts and actually ends the process of state-based challenges to federal elections---most importantly for president---held within the state.

In other words, the type of legal challenge mounted to the theft of Ohio's electoral votes in the 2004 election will now be all but impossible in the future.

Section 35-05.18 of HB3 requires restrictive identification requirements for anyone trying to vote in an Ohio election. Photo ID, a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check or other government document showing the name and current address of the voter will be required.

This requirement is perfectly designed to slow down the voting process in inner city precincts. It allows Republican "challengers" to intimidate anyone who turns up to vote in heavily Democratic precincts. It virtually eliminates the homeless, elderly and impoverished from the voting rolls.

Election protection advocates estimate this requirement will erase 100,000 to 200,000 voters in a typical statewide election. By way of reference, George W. Bush allegedly carried Ohio---and the presidency---by less than 119,000 votes in 2004.

The ID requirement is the direct result of intervention by two high-powered Republican attorneys with ties to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

Congressman Bob Ney allowed the Bush-Cheney re-election national counsel Mark "Thor" Hearne to testify last March as a so-called "voting rights advocate." Hearne, whose resume shows no connection to voting rights organizations, was responsible for advising the Bush-Cheney campaign on national litigation and election law strategy during the 2004 election.

Hearne, with the help of Republican attorney Alex Vogel, concocted a story that the problem with the 2004 elections in Ohio was the NAACP paying people with crack cocaine to register voters.
(read the rest at the link)

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Coretta Scott King body on display

Coretta Scott King body on display

03:40 (AEST) CORETTA Scott King, the late widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior, on Saturday became the first woman and the first black person to be honoured with a public viewing in the Capitol of the southern state of Georgia.

Presidency runs low on gas

George W. Bush has some convincing to do after his State of the Union set-piece speech this week, reports Washington correspondent Geoff Elliott
February 04, 2006
'TO give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation's history to develop America's own alternative sources of fuel - from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun."

That was Democrat president Jimmy Carter in 1979, in his famous speech outlining an economic and spiritual malaise in America. Now George W. Bush has taken a line or two from Carter's book to try to convince Americans to end their "addiction to oil" and find economic salvation in alternative fuels.

What makes Bush's call so extraordinary is not so much that he once made his living as an oil man in Texas, nor that he is a believer in free markets, but that Carter is regarded by Bush's Republicans as something of a joke and here's Bush echoing him.

In 1979, with soaring inflation and long queues at petrol stations, Carter made this pledge: "Beginning this moment, this nation will never again use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 - never."

On Wednesday, in his annual State of the Union address, Bush said technology would enable the US to "help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 per cent of our imports from the Middle East by 2025". That is to be achieved through alternative fuels such as solar, wind and conversion of vegetable products into ethanol. Incredulity is probably the kindest way to describe the reaction from energy experts to Bush's plans.

The US is the largest producer, consumer and net importer of energy in the world. There are more 200 million cars in the US. Americans guzzle 20 million barrels of oil a day. That's the equivalent of 1.5 billion litres of petrol a day, or put it another way, 5 litres every day for each of America's 300 million citizens, young and old.

Oil provides 97 per cent of the energy for US transportation. And save for a period after Carter's efforts to curb oil imports by introducing quotas, petrol rationing and a directive to force energy utilities to burn more coal rather than oil, imports of oil have kept rising. In 1973, the US consumed 17.3 million barrels of oil a day. Now that stands at 20.6 million but the percentage of imported oil has risen sharply. Then America imported 35 per cent of its oil needs, now it's running at 60 per cent.

It's no coincidence, nor hardly surprising, that the call from presidents over the years for US energy independence has been greatest when oil prices are highest. In 2004 dollar terms, oil peaked in 1979 at $US80 a barrel.

President Richard Nixon also faced soaring oil prices in 1974, OPEC using oil as a diplomatic bludgeon for leverage after the Arab-Israeli War in October 1973. Nixon said then that America's goal should be that "in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need".

Now oil is nudging $US70 (about $90) a barrel and Bush is championing a new green future talking about producing ethanol for use in cars made from "wood chips, stalks or switch grass".

It was too much for the conservative The Wall Street Journal. In a mocking editorial this week it said, "President Bush has seen the energy future, and he has two words of advice: wood chips. Somewhere in his cardigan sweater next to a fireplace, Jimmy Carter is smiling.

"To the casual observer, one of the most striking things about President Bush's State of the Union address was his wholesale adaptation of the Democratic Party's rhetoric regarding energy," adds Jerry Taylor, scholar and energy expert at the free-market thinktank Cato. "Veterans on all sides of the energy debate in Washington cannot fail to detect a strong whiff of political cynicism in the air."

It's not lost on Bush that his job approval numbers reflect the price of petrol and are down in the low 40s. Critical mid-term elections are coming up in November and with the mood of the country turning sour, Bush is trying to shore up support to ensure there's no loss of Republican majorities in either the House or Senate, or both, in Congress.

Thomas Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said Bush's energy pitch was a "dramatic rhetorical change" but added the policies to implement his goals were "embarrassingly modest". "Without higher fuel efficiency standards and/or energy taxes, the objectives can't be taken seriously," Mann says. "As for the goal of reducing our dependence on Middle East oil by 75 per cent, it's almost meaningless. Bush and his party now look bereft of ideas, diminished by perceptions of incompetence and corruption, and at risk of losing their political control of Washington. The speech did more to underscore that vulnerability than to overcome it."

Indeed, Bush probably outlined, even better than his critics, the sense of insecurity Americans are feeling at the moment, largely thanks to the war on terror but also because of the rise of economies like China and India.

"We really are the envy of the world - our economy is the envy of the world," Bush said in Nashville the day after his Congressional address. "And yet people are changing jobs a lot, and there's competition from India and China which creates some uncertainty.

"My worry is that people see that uncertainty and decide to adopt isolationist policies or protectionist policies. In other words, in uncertain times it's easy for people to lose confidence in the capacity of this country to lead and to shape our future."

In this, there's another echo of the sentiments Carter enunciated in 1979. A sense of vulnerability. At one point this week Bush described himself as "Educator in Chief". But Bush, with three years left to run, will hope any parallels to Carter stop there - in 1979 Carter's presidency was sliding into oblivion. Instead Bush has charted a new optimistic vision of an energy-independent America.

The President's week began well when the Senate confirmed federal judge Samuel Alito as a Supreme Court justice 58-42, despite Democratic Party misgivings Bush's nominee would tip the country's highest court to the Right. But no sooner had Alito joined the court than he voted against three other conservatives, chief Justice John Roberts and judges Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, confirming a stay of execution in Missouri.

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US sights set on China

US sights set on China

A MAJOR review of US military strategy has singled out China as the country with the greatest potential to challenge the United States militarily.

BHP chiefs could face charges on Iraq wheat deal

BHP chiefs could face charges on Iraq wheat deal

EXECUTIVES of the world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, could face criminal prosecution for breaching UN sanctions over a deal to provide $US5 million worth of wheat to Iraq in exchange for rights to explore for oil.

Editorial: A crisis for Canberra

Iraq oil scandal blows up at BHP

IN the years following the first Gulf War in 1991, BHP's then head of petroleum, Irish-born John O'Connor, found himself in a tricky position on account of the small, but precious, green card in his wallet.

The Bush doctrine: give them liberty

In his new book, George Packer traces the intellectual basis for a war that is nearing the start of a fourth year despite the successful invasion by the US, Britain and Australia in 2003
February 04, 2006
WHY did the United States invade Iraq? It still isn't possible to be sure - and this remains the most remarkable thing about the Iraq War. Richard Haass, director of policy planning in the US State Department in the lead-up to the war, said that he will go to his grave not knowing the answer.

It was something that some people wanted to do. Before the invasion, Americans argued not just about whether a war should happen, but for what reasons it should happen - what the real motives of the Bush administration were and should be. Since the invasion, we have continued to argue, and we will go on arguing for years to come. Iraq is the Rashomon of wars.

The answer has something to do with September 11. But what, exactly? The year-and-a-half between the terror attacks and the invasion of Iraq was crowded with large, aggressive ideas. Like the liberal revolutions of 1848, or the Bolshevik surge of 1917, or the utopian spring of 1968, September 11 gave political intellectuals plenty of work.

Throughout 2002, as the Bush administration pursued its course of inevitable confrontation with Saddam, at the same time, outside the walls of power, there rose a clamour of arguments about the coming war, the nature of the enemy, the role of America in the world. Ideas burned hot across an astonishing assortment of minds.

Some of these minds were granted access to the highest offices of government. Bernard Lewis, the eminent British-born professor emeritus of Middle Eastern studies at Princeton, who had first been introduced to official Washington in the early 1970s by Richard Perle [a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and former chairman of the Defence Policy Board and a Reagan-era assistant defence secretary], became the administration hawks' chief guide to the Arab world, along with Fouad Ajami, a suave Lebanese-born scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where his friend Paul Wolfowitz [until last year deputy secretary of defence] was dean during the 1990s.

In 2002, Lewis and Ajami were summoned to meet Dick Cheney. They told the US vice-president what everyone else could read in books such as Lewis's What Went Wrong? and Ajami's The Dream Palace of the Arabs.

The once-great Arab and Muslim world is a sick man, afflicted with corrupt dictatorships, repressed populations, extreme ideologies, paranoid conspiracy theories, cultural and economic backwardness. For decades, even centuries, this civilisation has steadily fallen behind as the West and the rest of the world progressed into modernity.

This decay is a source of humiliation and rage to millions of Arabs and non-Arab Muslims. In recent years, the sickness has produced a threat that ranges far beyond the region. American power has helped to keep the Arab world in decline by supporting sclerotic tyrannies; only an American break with its own history in the region can reverse it. The Arabs cannot pull themselves out of their historic rut. They need to be jolted out by some foreign-born shock. The overthrow of the Iraqi regime would provide one.

"Above and beyond toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein and dismantling its deadly weapons," Ajami wrote in early 2003, "the driving motivation of a new American endeavour in Iraq and in neighbouring Arab lands should be modernising the Arab world."

The inevitable outcry from Arabs should be discounted as "the 'road rage' of a thwarted Arab world - the congenital condition of a culture yet to take full responsibility for its self-inflicted wounds".

Ajami and Lewis were experts, area specialists. They were joined in championing the coming war with Iraq by a motley crew of generalists - writers, journalists, professors, activists. There was, to begin, [foreign-policy scholar and author] Robert Kagan. He and [editor of The Weekly Standard] William Kristol had supported John McCain as the candidate of "national greatness" during the 2000 Republican primary; George W. Bush's call for "humility" and narrowly defined interests in foreign policy represented everything Kagan had argued against during the '90s. But after September 11, President Bush began to sound like a neoconservative, and The Weekly Standard [published by News Corporation] became his most influential journalistic champion, enjoying the same privileged relationship that the early New Republic had with Woodrow Wilson when he brought America into World War I.

Writing in January 2002, Kagan and Kristol urged military intervention in Iraq as part of America's reassertion of global leadership: "The failure of the United States to take risks, and to take responsibility, in the 1990s, paved the way to September 11." Nothing short of the survival of "liberal civilisation" itself depended on American action in Iraq.

There was the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank whose tentacles extended deep into the administration. At seminars and in papers, AEI's resident fellows began to incubate grand theories of an unrivalled and unapologetic American empire, more powerful than any in history, which would spread democracy by force, securing national interests by exporting national values, beginning in Iraq. "You have to start somewhere!" exclaimed Danielle Pletka, a vice-president of AEI and former aide to former Republican senator Jesse Helms.

"There are always a million excuses not to do something like this." Pletka wrote the pro-war testimony that Ronald Reagan's secretary of defence, Caspar Weinberger, gave to Congress in August 2002, including these words: "People say there will be chaos. I disagree, but I must confess frankly that even chaos would be better than Saddam."

An apocalyptic cast of mind, and the desire of a small group in possession of a big idea to push history in a dramatically new direction, belongs exclusively to neither the Left nor the Right. Often, it's a characteristic of individuals who migrate from one flock to the other without pausing to graze on tasteless facts under the dull sky of moderation. The original neoconservatives had once been leftists themselves - not ordinary Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy liberals, but Trotskyists, Lovestoneites, Schachtmanites and other exotica of the hothouse world of New York intellectuals in the 1930s and '40s.

Christopher Hitchens, the British polemicist, told me: "That crowd, the neocon group, somewhere in their cortex is the name of Leon Trotsky. If I were to say 'Kronstadt' to [former Senate majority leader] Trent Lott, I don't think I'd get a whole hell of a lot for my trouble," Hitchens said, referring to the 1921 mutiny of Russian sailors that was put down by Trotsky's forces. "But if I were to say 'Kronstadt' to Paul Wolfowitz, I think he would more than know what I was talking about."

Perhaps this explains why several of the most prominent Iraq hawks came from the Left. Most prominent of all was Hitchens himself. After the terror attacks, he broke with comrades such as Noam Chomsky and Edward Said, jettisoned his long-standing column at The Nation magazine, became a vocal Bush supporter, and heartily girded himself for battle with what he called "Islamo-fascism".

Hitchens could be as gracious and thoughtful in private as he was scathingly contemptuous in public and in print. When I sat down with him for lunch near his apartment in Washington in late 2002 - an expensive, all-afternoon business - he seemed to have rediscovered his youth in the New Left. The [exile] Iraqi National Congress of Ahmad Chalabi had taken the place of the revolutionary socialist movement, and Hitchens relished the coming war.

"I feel much more like I used to in the '60s, working with revolutionaries," he said. "That's what I'm doing, I'm helping a very desperate underground. That reminds me of my better days quite poignantly. Waving a banner with Saddam Hussein's slogans on it, namely, 'No War on Iraq', which confuses Iraq with Saddam, which is what he wants - that's not revolutionary politics to me."

An American-led overthrow of Saddam would be "revolution from above" - a phrase coined by none other than Trotsky, to describe Stalin's concentration of power in the hands of the Communist Central Committee. Trotsky meant it ironically; I was fairly certain that Hitchens did not.

Having spent most of his life attacking American foreign policy, Hitchens had come to the conclusion that "after the dust settles, the only revolution left standing is the American one. Americanisation is the most revolutionary force in the world."

The whole appeal lay in its audacity - to put an American political and military stamp, with a friendly government and permanent bases, in the heart of the region where al-Qa'ida drew most of its recruits. With will and imagination, America could strike one great blow at terrorism, tyranny, underdevelopment, and the region's hardest, saddest problem. Ideas as big as this attract strange bedfellows. The pairings both for and against grew so weirdly promiscuous that it was less useful to think in terms of Left and Right than of interventionists and anti-interventionists, or revolutionaries and realists.

Old-fashioned realists from the US Republican Party establishment found themselves on the same side of the debate as anti-imperialist leftists and far-Right isolationists, while liberal veterans of humanitarian war became uneasy allies of administration hawks. Brent Scowcroft was tangled up with Gore Vidal and Pat Buchanan; Michael Ignatieff woke up next to Paul Wolfowitz.

Throughout 2002, those officials who were actually charged with making policy on Iraq were not talking about liberal civilisation or revolution from above. It wasn't at all clear that Bush's inner circle shared the dreams and visions of war intellectuals outside government. The basis for war - the casus belli - was clearly and narrowly defined by the Bush administration, beginning with the President's own warning in his State of the Union address: "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." If there was to be war, the reasons would be syllogistic, not eschatological: Saddam has had and still seeks weapons of mass destruction; he has used them on his own citizens in the past; he might now give them

to al-Qa'ida or another terrorist group; terrorists want to destroy the United States. Therefore, the United States must disarm or overthrow Saddam.

The President's "axis of evil" speech, coming just weeks after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, signalled the next stage in the war on terrorism and the basis for further action. The speech dramatically expanded the theatre of the war, but it did so on relatively narrow grounds. As Wolfowitz told an interviewer after the fall of Baghdad, WMD was the least common denominator: "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction."

Wolfowitz suggested that he himself had bigger ideas - a realignment of American power and influence in the Middle East, away from theocratic Saudi Arabia [home to so many of the September 11 hijackers], and toward a democratic Iraq, as the beginning of an effort to cleanse the whole region of murderous regimes and ideologies. This would have been a much broader case for war than WMD and closer to the arguments of influential people outside the administration, such as Lewis, Ajami and Kagan. Resting on a complex and abstract theory, it would also have been much harder to sell to the public.

Throughout the year, WMD remained the administration's rationale for a war it had in all likelihood decided upon as early as November 2001. [There was a recurring locution that expressed the diplomatic doublespeak of the prewar period and that officials continued to use up to the very brink of invasion, as if the administration were being dragged against its will into hostilities with Iraq that it was doing everything possible to avoid: "If or when war becomes necessary..."] Having settled on WMD as the cause for war - if or when there was to be a war - the administration was stuck with the limits of its own argument.

In July 2002, Richard Dearlove, Britain's head of foreign intelligence, reported back to Tony Blair and his top officials about meetings in Washington. According to a secret memo made public in May 2005, Dearlove told his colleagues: "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

Even as Bush and his war cabinet made their particular case on Iraq, they laid out a far-reaching grand strategy for the use of American power in the world. The President began to articulate it in a series of speeches to the military academies. [Then National Security Adviser and now Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice codified it in a document prepared under her supervision and titled The National Security Strategy of the United States of America.

The first draft, written by Haass, was too long and mild for Rice's taste, and she turned over the revision to Philip Zelikow, a University of Virginia professor who had been her colleague on the National Security Council under the first president Bush. Zelikow produced a short, eloquent statement of principles with a new passage on pre-emptive war, which, when the document was released in September 2002, was immediately taken as a justification for war with Iraq.

The new document announced a new Bush Doctrine. This doctrine promised "a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests". It would seek to promote "a balance of power that favours human freedom". Bush and his national security adviser Rice seemed to be splitting the difference between the realism of Bush's father and his national security adviser, Rice's mentor Brent Scowcroft, and the idealism of the neoconservatives who were now ascendant.

But in fact, the new document's high-flown language and, even more, its substance marked a decisive break with the foreign policy establishment. The "balance of power" was out; in the new era, the old Cold War policies of containment and deterrence no longer applied. Rogue states and global terrorists could not be deterred. America, pre-eminent and without rivals, would ensure the peace in part by pre-empting threats to peace. It would do so within the existing international framework if possible but with ad hoc "coalitions of the willing" if necessary, or even alone.

After the terror attacks, the world's superpower could no longer be neutral toward the politics practised inside other countries, where "stability" might actually be a dangerously advanced form of decay. America would now actively promote freedom around the world.

Freedom was the key word of the 2002 document, whose opening lines are these: "The great struggles of the 20th century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom -- and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise." In its long struggle for the soul of the Republican Party and American foreign policy, neoconservatism had finally triumphed. The first chance to test the creed was coming up fast, in Iraq.

The worm in the apple, the seed of future trouble, is easier to see in retrospect. The leading figures of the Bush war cabinet had all worked at high levels in at least one previous administration; some of them had served in three or four. No Democratic contemporary could claim anything like their experience. Counting his years in Congress, Cheney had been an influential insider under every Republican president since Nixon. Except for the [Bill] Clinton years, Wolfowitz's career in government extended through every administration from Nixon to the second Bush. George W. Bush's foreign-policy advisers were vastly experienced, they were aggressively self-confident, and they were peculiarly unsuited to deal with the consequences of the Bush Doctrine.

They entered government in the aftermath of the trauma in Vietnam, and they were forged as Cold War hawks. They devoted their careers to restoring American military power and its projection around the world. Through the three decades of their public lives, the only thing America had to fear was its own return to weakness. But after the Cold War ended, they sat out the debates of the 1990s about humanitarian war, international standards, nation-building, democracy promotion. They had little to say about the new, borderless security threats -- failed states, ethnic conflict, poverty, "loose nukes" in postcommunist Russia, and global terrorism.

Bush himself came into office with no curiosity about the world, only a suspicion that his predecessor had entangled America in far too many obscure places of no importance to national interests. Wolfowitz alone among them supported the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, but his world view left even him unprepared to deal with or even to acknowledge a stateless organisation with an ideology of global jihad.

When September 11 forced the imagination to grapple with something radically new, the President's foreign policy advisers reached for what they had always known. The threat, as they saw it, lay in well-armed enemy states. The answer, as ever, was military power and the will to use it.

Edited extract from The Assassins' Gate by George Packer, published by Faber & Faber,

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Protesters torch embassies

Protesters torch embassies

CROWDS set fire to the Danish and the Norwegian embassies in Syria in protest at cartoon depictions of Mohammad.

IAEA reports Tehran to UN

IAEA reports Tehran to UN

THE UN nuclear watchdog has reported Iran to the Security Council over its nuclear activities, sparking an immediate and defiant response from Tehran.

US: Rice warns Iran to heed 'clear message'

Reaction: IAEA inspections shut down Retaliation:

Retaliation: Tehran resumes nuclear enrichment

Unbelievably Cowardly

Captain was first to flee, say survivors

Link here

Survivors said they were ordered to take off lifejackets

Survivors of the Red Sea ferry disaster have said the captain and his crew were first to flee the burning ship by lifeboat and abandoned them to their fate.

Some passengers plucked alive from the sea or from boats after the ferry caught fire and sank early on Friday said on Saturday that the crew had told them not to worry about a fire below deck and even ordered them to take off lifejackets.

The survivors said a fire broke out below deck shortly after the 35-year-old vessel left the Saudi port of Duba on Thursday evening.

Shihata Ali, an Egyptian survivor, said the passengers had told the captain about the fire but he told them not to worry.

"We were wearing lifejackets but they told us there was nothing wrong, told us to take them off and they took away the lifejackets," he said. "Then the boat started to sink and the captain took a boat and left."

Another survivor said: "The captain was the first to leave and we were surprised to see the boat sinking."

Other survivors also reported that the crew played down the gravity of the situation and withheld lifejackets.

Abd al-Rauf Abd al-Nabi said: "There was a fire but the crew stopped the people from putting on lifejackets so that it wouldn't cause a panic."

Nadir Jalal Abd al-Shafi, another arrival on the same rescue boat, said: "There was a blaze down below. The crew said 'Don't worry, we will put it out'. When things got really bad the crew just went off in the lifeboats and left us on board."


An Update on things since Rossi done went and posted everything already.

$100,000.00 Per Minute for the Iraq War.

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Afghanistan battle leaves 25 dead

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53% of Americans Now Believe goergie lied them into Iraq.

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Art For My Aussi


Roadside Bomb, Firefights Claim 5 U.S. Soldiers

At least 2,247 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes six military civilians.

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Afghanistan: Fierce fighting in Kandahar:23 Killed:

US-led coalition planes bombed Friday an area of southern Afghanistan where a fierce battle had erupted between Taliban-linked militants and police, leaving about 23 dead, officials said.

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US forces battle Sadr militia in Baghdad

Sadr’s militia and US forces clash in heavy gunbattle in Baghdad's Sadr City, killing four Iraqis.

BAGHDAD - Four Iraqis were killed in a heavy gunfight that broke out before dawn Thursday reportedly between the Mehdi Army militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and US forces in Baghdad's Sadr City.

A US military spokesman said fighting began around 1:00 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) when the coalition forces came under attack during a raid in the poor, predominantly Shiite Baghdad district.

"The coalition forces conducted a raid in Sadr City to search for a known terrorist from Ansar al-Sunnah group," the spokesman said.

"Ater conducting the raid one of the helicopters of the coalition forces came under fire from some men on a nearby rooftop following which another helicopter of the coalition forces returned fire to eliminate the threat in which four individuals were killed."

He did not say whether the four were members of the Mehdi Army, though an interior ministry official said the fight was between US forces and the Mehdi Army.

The official added that a woman was killed in the fighting.

Sadr's militia and the US military have often clashed in the past, most dramatically in August 2004 when the fiery cleric waged a bloody rebellion in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in which hundreds of his men were killed.

In other violence, a high-ranking official at the industry ministry, Mary Hamza al-Rubai, was kidnapped on her way to work. Two cars filled with gunmen stopped her car, released her driver and took her away.

The interior ministry also reported that gunmen in a large SUV, of the kind used by foreign security details, opened fire on a commuter microbus south of Baghdad, killing two and wounding seven.

On Wednesday, two Iraqi journalists were snatched after leaving a press conference at the headquarters of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party.

Gunmen attempted to assassinate the police intelligence officer responsible an area south of Basra, but only succeeded in killing his driver.

In a separate incident, insurgents attacked an oil storage facility near the northern city of Kirkuk setting off a massive blaze, an official with the Northern Oil Company said.

He said the attack occured at 3:00 am (midnight GMT), adding the blaze was still continuing as the sun rose.

The US military said two children died in the town of Hit during a gunfight between security forces and insurgents on Wednesday.

It said insurgents attacked an Iraqi-US patrol in which one Iraqi soldier and four other civilians were wounded.

A number of bodies were discovered around the country on Thursday, including two in Nabaie north of Baghdad that were believed to be among an ill-fated expedition of police hopefuls from Samarra in mid-January.

At least 60 young men had been returning from Baghdad after failing to be accepted by the police academy when their bus was stopped by insurgents and they were taken off into the desert.

So far, police and medical sources have identified 39 corpses from the group, mostly in the region around Nabaie.

The hospital in Samarra also reported receiving the body of a civilian shot in the head, with no information about what happened.

The body of a policeman kidnapped Wednesday was found in an eastern suburb of Baghdad, riddled with bullets, while the interior ministry reported another seven bodies found at the edge of Sadr City.

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Iraq, Niger, And The CIA

By Murray Waas, special to National Journal

Vice President Cheney and his then-Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were personally informed in June 2003 that the CIA no longer considered credible the allegations that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger, according to government records and interviews with current and former officials.

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Iran has no bomb but it will hit back, US told

IRAN'S clerical regime is supremely confident, has a firm grip on power and is ready to retaliate against attacks by the US or Israel with missiles or by activating terrorist allies, the latest American intelligence assessment says.

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War pimp alert:

Report: Iran Carried Out Nuke Tests:

Iran Experiments with high explosives, possibly linked to future nuclear weapons tests, were carried out as recently as 2003 in Iran, sources tell CBS News.

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Russian MP: US-Israeli anti-Iranian moves, premeditated assassination
of Iranian nation:

He said, "Having the full cycle of producing nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, too, is Iran's natural right, and it is neither logical, nor possible to deprive your country of that legal right resorting to unreasonable pretexts."

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China's UN Envoy: Won't Support Sanctions Against Iran :

China would never support sanctions against Iran as a " matter of principle," the Chinese ambassador to the U.N. said Friday, adding that his nation still prefers a low-key approach in confronting Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

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U.N. nuclear watchdog agency passes resolution reporting Iran to U.N. Security Council for its nuclear program

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Ugly phrase conceals an uglier truth

January 10, 2006

Behind the US Government's corruption of language lies a far greater perversion, writes Salman Rushdie.

BEYOND any shadow of a doubt, the ugliest phrase to enter the English language last year was "extraordinary rendition". To those of us who love words, this phrase's brutalisation of meaning is an infallible signal of its intent to deceive.

"Extraordinary" is an ordinary enough adjective, but its sense is being stretched here to include more sinister meanings that your dictionary will not provide: secret; ruthless; and extrajudicial.

As for "rendition", the English language permits four meanings: a performance; a translation; a surrender - this meaning is now considered archaic; or an "act of rendering"; which leads us to the verb "to render" among whose 17 possible meanings you will not find "to kidnap and covertly deliver an individual or individuals for interrogation to an undisclosed address in an unspecified country where torture is permitted".

Language, too, has laws, and those laws tell us this new American usage is improper - a crime against the word. Every so often the habitual newspeak of politics throws up a term whose calculated blandness makes us shiver with fear - yes, and loathing.

"Clean words can mask dirty deeds," The New York Times columnist William Safire wrote in 1993, in response to the arrival of another such phrase, "ethnic cleansing".

"Final solution" is a further, even more horrible locution of this Orwellian, double-plus-ungood type. "Mortality response", a euphemism for death by killing that I first heard during the Vietnam War, is another. This is not a pedigree of which any newborn usage should be proud.

People use such phrases to avoid using others whose meaning would be problematically over-apparent. "Ethnic cleansing" and "final solution" were ways of avoiding the word "genocide", and to say "extraordinary rendition" is to reveal one's squeamishness about saying "the export of torture". However, as Cecily remarks in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, "When I see a spade, I call it a spade", and what we have here is not simply a spade, it's a shovel - and it's shovelling a good deal of ordure.

Now that Senator John McCain has forced upon a reluctant White House his amendment putting the internationally accepted description of torture - "cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment" - into American law, in spite of energetic attempts by the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, to defeat it, the growing belief that the Bush Administration could be trying to get around the McCain amendment by the "rendition" of persons adjudged torture-worthy to less-delicately inclined countries merits closer scrutiny.

We are beginning to hear the names and stories of men seized and transported in this fashion: Maher Arar, a Canadian-Syrian, was captured by the CIA on his way to the US and taken via Jordan to Syria where, says his lawyer, he was "brutally physically tortured".

Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Kuwaiti-Lebanese origin, was kidnapped in Macedonia and taken for interrogation to Afghanistan, where he says he was repeatedly beaten. The Syrian-born Mohammed Haydar Zammar says he was grabbed in Morocco and then spent four years in a Syrian dungeon.

Lawsuits are under way. Lawyers for the plaintiffs suggest their clients were only a few of the victims, that in Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria and perhaps elsewhere the larger pattern of the extraordinary-rendition project is yet to be uncovered. Inquiries are under way in Canada, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

The CIA's internal inquiry admits to "under 10" such cases, which to many ears sounds like another bit of double-talk. Tools are created to be used and it seems improbable, to say the least, that so politically risky and morally dubious a system would be set up and then barely employed.

The US authorities have been taking a characteristically robust line on this issue. On her recent European trip, the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, more or less told European governments to back off the issue - which they duly, and tamely, did, claiming to have been satisfied by her assurances.

At the end of December, the German Government ordered the closing of an Islamic centre near Munich after finding documents encouraging suicide attacks in Iraq. This is a club which, we are told, Khaled al-Masri often visited before being extraordinarily rendered to Afghanistan. "Aha!" we are encouraged to think. "Obvious bad guy. Render his sorry butt anywhere you like."

What is wrong with this kind of thinking is that, as Isabel Hilton of The Guardian wrote last July, "The delusion that officeholders know better than the law is an occupational hazard of the powerful and one to which those of an imperial cast of mind are especially prone … When disappearance became state practice across Latin America in the '70s it aroused revulsion in democratic countries, where it is a fundamental tenet of legitimate government that no state actor may detain - or kill - another human being without having to answer to the law."

In other words, the question isn't whether or not a given individual is "good" or "bad." The question is whether or not we are - whether or not our governments have dragged us into immorality by discarding due process of law, which is generally accorded to be second only to individual rights as the most important pillar of a free society.

The White House, however, plainly believes that it has public opinion behind it in this and other contentious matters such as secret wiretapping. Cheney recently told reporters, "When the American people look at this, they will understand and appreciate what we're doing and why we're doing it."

He may be right for the moment, though the controversy shows no signs of dying. It remains to be seen how long Americans are prepared to go on accepting that the end justifies practically any means Cheney cares to employ.

In the beginning is the word. Where one begins by corrupting language, worse corruptions swiftly follow. Sitting as the Supreme Court to rule on torture last month, Britain's law lords spoke to the world in words that were simple and clear. "The torturer is abhorred not because the information he produces may be unreliable," Lord Rodger of Earlsferry said, "but because of the barbaric means he uses to extract it."

"Torture is an unqualified evil," Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood added. "It can never be justified. Rather, it must always be punished."

The dreadful probability is that the US outsourcing of torture will allow it to escape punishment. It will not allow it to escape moral obloquy.

Salman Rushdie is the author of The Satanic Verses, Fury and many other books.

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Mexican clinic where Coretta King died shut down

Associated Press in Mexico City
Saturday February 4, 2006
The Guardian

The Mexican clinic where Martin Luther King's widow, Coretta Scott King, died suddenly this week has been closed, US embassy officials said yesterday, and American patients had been given three days to leave the country.

Mexican officials were not immediately available to explain why the clinic, which specialises in alternative treatments for patients with incurable illnesses, was shut on Thursday. The US consulate in nearby Tijuana was helping the 20 American patients who had been at the clinic, according to a spokeswoman

"None of them were in serious enough condition that we had to get them back in an ambulance," she said. "Lots of them had family with them or means to get back on their own. Those that don't, we'll be working with them, and the hospital will be helping them as well."
Coretta Scott King, 78, travelled to the beachside Santa Monica health institute in the Mexican beach resort of Rosarito, 16 miles south of San Diego, last week, seeking treatment for advanced ovarian cancer and a stroke she had suffered several months ago.

However, the doctors at the clinic said they had been unable to begin treating her before she died. "She came here with half her body paralysed," Rafael Cedeno told reporters after her death. "She was in really bad condition."

Mrs Scott King's death raised questions about the safety of alternative medical clinics across Mexico, many of which are not closely regulated.

The clinic's founder and director, Kurt Donsbach, was sentenced to a year in prison by a federal court in San Diego in 1997 for smuggling more than $250,000 (£141,000) worth of unapproved drugs into the US from Mexico. He was charged with introducing unapproved drugs into inter-state commerce, smuggling merchandise contrary to law and income tax evasion.

In 1988, the US postal service ordered Mr Donsbach and his nephew to stop claiming that a solution of hydrogen peroxide that they sold could prevent cancer and ease arthritis pain. Mr Donsbach was not available for comment yesterday, and no one was at the clinic's corporate offices in San Diego. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the clinic's closure.

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President Carter: "We did not need to go into Iraq. We went in there under false pretenses"

02/01/05 "CNN" -- -- Larry King Live - Interview with President Carter

KING: Do you support the Iraq war?

CARTER: No, I haven't supported it from the very beginning. In fact, I wrote a major, I thought it was a major editorial in "The New York Times" a few months before we invaded Iraq pointing out that it was an unnecessary and unjust war and the editorial was repeated on full page ads in a lot of other newspapers.

So, I've always been against the war. But once we got there, obviously we need to give our young men and women our absolute and full support, so I'm not in favor of an immediate withdrawal. I think we ought to decide as a nation that we will turn over as quickly as possible not only the military responsibilities to the Iraqi people but also let them manage their own economic affairs.

I don't think we have any idea now of turning over their oil supplies and let them handle who gets to manage the oil, like even France and Russia and I hope we'll back off and let them run their own political affairs.

But, what I believe is that there are people in Washington now, some of our top leaders, who never intend to withdraw military forces from Iraq and they're looking for ten, 20, 50 years in the future...

KING: Why?

CARTER: ...having major American military board -- well, because that was the reason that we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the Gulf region and I have never heard any of our leaders say that they would commit themselves to the Iraqi people that ten years from now there will be no military bases of the United States in Iraq.

I would like to hear that. But that's one of the things that concerns Iraqi people. And when I meet with Arab leaders around the world they all have noticed this. They're the ones that have brought it to my attention and I think it's an accurate statement.

KING: Do you believe that's the intent of the administration to keep the -- when you say high officials do you mean the Bush administration wants to keep troops in Iraq ad infinitum?

CARTER: Yes, I do and I hope I'm wrong. I don't think there's any doubt that we did not need to go into Iraq. We went in there under false pretenses, either inadvertent misunderstanding of intelligence or maybe deliberate. I'm not saying it was deliberate. I don't think President Bush was deliberately misleading us, maybe some of his subordinates.

But, I think it was a mistake to go in and I think that the United States has got to make sure that the Iraqi people know and the surrounding neighbors know we're willing to get our troops out of Iraq when and if a government is established and I hope that will be soon and the Iraqis are able to maintain order.

And, I think a lot of the violence that takes place now in the streets of Iraq are caused by the fact that American troops are still there. I think that will in itself that change will automatically reduce the terrorism considerably.

I was with Bob Woodruff by the way. He was with me in Palestine the night of the election and he interviewed me, he and his cameraman and after that he immediately left immediately and went to Iraq and unfortunately was seriously injured and I pray that he'll be OK.

KING: We'll be right back with more of President Jimmy Carter. And, again, this auction takes place over the weekend and you can get online now and make bids at www.cartercenter.org. Don't go away.

Transcript in full - http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0602/01/lkl.02.html

Rumsfeld & Cheney Supported Wiretaps under Gerad Fold Administration - deja vu

Papers: Ford White House Weighed Wiretaps

Saturday February 4, 2006 4:16 AM

AP Photo WX106


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - An intense debate erupted during the Ford administration over the president's powers to eavesdrop without warrants to gather foreign intelligence, according to government documents. George H.W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are cited in the documents.

The roughly 200 pages of historic records obtained by The Associated Press reflect a remarkably similar dispute between the White House and Congress fully three decades before President Bush's acknowledgment he authorized wiretaps without warrants of some Americans in terrorism investigations.

``Yogi Berra was right: It's deja vu all over again,'' said Tom Blanton, executive director for the National Security Archive, a nongovernment research group at George Washington University. ``It's the same debate.''

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings begin Monday over Bush's authority to approve such wiretaps by the ultra-secretive National Security Agency without a judge's approval. A focus of the hearings is to determine whether the Bush administration's eavesdropping program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law with origins during Ford's presidency.

``We strongly believe it is unwise for the president to concede any lack of constitutional power to authorize electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes,'' wrote Robert Ingersoll, then-deputy secretary of state, in a 1976 memorandum to President Ford about the proposed bill on electronic surveillance.

George H.W. Bush, then director of the CIA, wanted to ensure ``no unnecessary diminution of collection of important foreign intelligence'' under the proposal to require judges to approve terror wiretaps, according to a March 1976 memorandum he wrote to the Justice Department. Bush also complained that some major communications companies were unwilling to install government wiretaps without a judge's approval. Such a refusal ``seriously affects the capabilities of the intelligence community,'' Bush wrote.

In another document, Jack Marsh, a White House adviser, outlined options for Ford over the wiretap legislation. Marsh alerted Ford to objections by Bush as CIA director and by Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft over the scope of a provision to require judicial oversight of wiretaps. At the time, Rumsfeld was defense secretary, Kissinger was secretary of state and Scowcroft was the White House national security adviser.

Some experts weren't surprised the cast of characters in this national debate remained largely unchanged over 30 years.

``People don't change their stripes,'' said Kenneth C. Bass a former senior Justice Department lawyer who oversaw such wiretap requests during the Carter administration.

Lisa Graves, senior counsel for legislative stratety at the American Civil Liberties Union, said comparing the Ford-era debate to the current controversy is ``misleading because no matter what Mr. Cheney or Mr. Rumsfeld may have argued back in 1976, the fact is they lost. When Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978, Congress decisively resolved this debate.

``Unlike the current administration, the Ford administration never claimed the right to violate a law requiring judicial oversight of wiretaps in foreign intelligence investigations if Congress were to pass such a law.''

The National Security Archive separately obtained many of the same documents as the AP and intended to publish them on its Web site Saturday.

The documents include one startling similarity to Washington's current atmosphere over disclosures of classified information by the media. Notes from a 1975 meeting between Cheney, then White House chief of staff, then-Attorney General Edward Levi and others cite the ``problem'' of a New York Times article by Seymour Hersh about U.S. submarines spying inside Soviet waters. Participants considered a formal FBI investigation of Hersh and the Times and searching Hersh's apartment ``to go after (his) papers,'' the document said.

``I was surprised,'' Hersh said in a telephone interview Friday. ``I was surprised that they didn't know I had a house and a mortgage.''

One option outlined at the 1975 meeting was to ``ignore the Hersh story and hope it doesn't happen again.'' Participants worried about ``will we get hit with violating the First Amendment to the Constitution?''

CIA Director Porter Goss told lawmakers this week that recent disclosures about sensitive programs were severely damaging, and he urged prosecutors to impanel a grand jury to determine ``who is leaking this information.'' The National Security Agency earlier asked the Justice Department to open a formal leaks investigation over press reports of its terrorism wiretaps.

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Boehner's Empire Resembles DeLay's

WASHINGTON - Over the years, new House Majority Leader John Boehner has built a political empire with similarities to the fundraising machine of the man he's replacing, Rep. Tom DeLay.

The Ohio congressman, who won an upset victory for the House GOP's No. 2 post, has distributed roughly $2.9 million to Republicans from his political action committee since 1979, according to the campaign finance Web site Political Money Line. Some of the recipients this week returned the favor in voting for him.

Boehner (pronounced BAY-nur) is an avid golfer with a perpetual tan, and, like DeLay, he has played host at many fundraising golf outings. Some of his staff members, following the career path of those who worked for DeLay, have become Washington lobbyists.

Boehner, 56, was characterized as an agent for change by Republican supporters who elected him over Rep. Roy Blunt (news, bio, voting record) of Missouri. But like DeLay and Blunt, Boehner has connections to indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

He accepted at least $30,000 in political donations from Abramoff's tribal clients between the 2000 election cycle and 2004.

The Pestilent Presidency

The Pestilent Presidency

A Nation Conditioned

By Manuel Valenzuela

02/02/06 "ICH" -- -- The continued dismantling of America’s very essence, the decimation of its founding core and its evolving surface, has been a product of both purposeful malevolence as well as incompetent ignorance. While the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans continue to deteriorate, each day losing more knowledge, freedom, democracy and economic survivability – though with many remaining ignorant or blinded to their actual plight – the other America, that of the elite and the corporate world, has risen in exponential fashion to take the complete reigns of power away from the rest of us. As a result, the America of times past, where the People still ruled, has given way to the America of tomorrow, a corporatist ruled land where citizens are pawns and corporations kings.

In the five years since George W. Bush was anointed to the presidency a pestilence of decrepit efficiency has overtaken the nation, accelerating and magnifying what was already an empire in rapid decline. Since early 2001, very little has gone right in the America of working and middle class citizens, both of progressive and conservative beliefs, young and old, hundreds of millions strong, divided by differing opinion yet bonded by economic and social interests. At the same time, however, the reign of George Bush the Lesser has become a bonanza to the corporate and elite world as the nation is plundered of treasure and altered from deep within the halls of Washington, its wealth and resources reallocated to and misappropriated by the Establishment, thereby transforming a government once of, by and for the People into one strictly and efficiently receptive only to the interests of corporations.

The America born in 2001, first with the ascension of Bush and later with the psychological war on Americans begun on 9/11, has degenerated according to plan, methodically and perniciously engineered by entities intent on corporatist control, molded into an immovable ship on a collision course with a giant iceberg. In order for America to sink its people had to be molded to one day accept the fate awaiting us. Our brains had to be programmed and altered, our minds controlled and conditioned, our beliefs brainwashed and engineered. For years this has been achieved by the systematic evisceration of education, gutting knowledge and reason and learning in schools, transforming young sponge-like brains into rotting grey matter devoid of free thought.

Millions upon millions of citizens never stood a chance as the decrepit state of American education gutted all semblance of knowledge, our innate ability to learn manipulated instead to follow, obey and never question, with schools slowly but surely creating a nation of soldier ants and worker bees, teaching us historical propaganda and patriotic drivel, programming us to place unyielding devotion to flag and country, instructing us about the vast consortium of lies and fictions that comprise American history. We were brainwashed into always placing blind faith and trust in government and leaders, told to never question or dissent or protest the actions rising out of Washington.

Over years of anemic education, lacking the tools that makes the human mind free, devoid of reason, logic and analytical thought, with parental roles having become extinct, indoctrinated, taught and reared by the warm glow of television and the corporate world that controls it, our brain waves reprogrammed to the fictions and fantasy radiating from our monitors, with the brainwashing and controlling manipulations of our church, and with our minds becoming the receptive antennas to the voices and opinion of paid talking heads and media hacks tens of millions of us became, naturally, the very essence of the automatons our upbringing had systemically sculpted. >>>cont

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US crops left to rot as Mexicans leave the fields for better-paid jobs

Low pay, harsh conditions and security checks force immigrant workers into other sectors

Standing in the early morning darkness just 50 metres inside the United States, Roberto Camacho is doing his best to ward off the cold. Dressed in a black bomber jacket with a baseball cap pulled low over his brow, he shuffles from foot to foot as he waits for a lift to work.

After 15 years working in the fields of California for American farmers, Mr Camacho has found a new life: two months ago he started working at the Golden Acorn Casino.

"It pays better," he says. "In the fields you work all hours, it's cold and hard and you don't get more than $7 an hour. With this job I have regular hours, I know when I'm going to work and I know what I'm going to earn."

The migration from agriculture is taking its toll on one of the largest industries in the US - and particularly on California's $32bn a year sector. Faced with an exodus of labour to the construction industry as well as to the leisure and retail sectors, farmers are struggling to get their crops in. Ten percent of the cauliflower and broccoli harvest has been left to rot this year, and some estimates put the likely loss of the winter harvest as high as 50%.


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Al-Jazeera Succeeding Under Pressure

*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail

*DOHA, Qatar, Feb 3 (IPS) - Its foreign bureaus were bombed by U.S.
warplanes, it is banned from reporting from four Middle East countries -
and Al-Jazeera is only growing in popularity.*

An interesting, and sometimes tragic path has led to the success of
Al-Jazeera since its launch in November 1996. Its difficulties have also
been its success; the ban from reporting in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and
Algeria has done nothing to reduce a fierce loyalty from more than 40
million viewers.

The Al-Jazeera bureau in Afghanistan was bombed by U.S. warplanes in
2001. During the invasion of Iraq, U.S. tanks shelled Al-Jazeera
journalists in a Basra hotel. Shortly after, its office in Baghdad was
hit by a missile from a U.S. warplane; correspondent Tareq Ayoub was killed.

Al-Jazeera reporters have been detained by U.S. forces and placed in
prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It has weathered verbal
attacks from U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and from government
officials in many countries in the Middle East..

"I can definitively say that what Al-Jazeera is doing is vicious,
inaccurate and inexcusable," Rumsfeld told reporters Apr.. 15, 2004
after Al-Jazeera showed the bodies of women and children killed by U.S.
bombs in Fallujah.

U.S. President George W. Bush attempted to convince British Prime
Minister Tony Blair to agree to bomb the headquarters of Al-Jazeera in
Doha in Qatar in November that year, according to a report in Britain's
Daily Mirror citing "top secret" minutes of the meeting where this was

At an Al-Jazeera forum on the media in Doha this week, IPS asked Samir
Khader, programme editor for Al-Jazeera, if the report of a plan to
attack their headquarters had affected their work.

"Do you think that because of such a memo we have to stop working," he
said. "Of course we can't. We have to do our job. If the memo was true
and George Bush wanted to bomb Jazeera, what can we do? They can do
that, and the whole world will know."

Khader, who was featured in a well-known documentary on the network
called 'Control Room' added, "It's not that because a journalist is
threatened he will not do his job."

Asked if Al-Jazeera received an explanation on the report, Khader said,
"No. The official spokesman of the British government said there was
nothing in that memo that referred to Al-Jazeera, and Tony Blair also
said that in the House of Commons. But in answering other enquiries from
British nationals, the same spokesman recognised that this memo exists,
and there is a reference to Al-Jazeera. So there is a contradiction in
their own statements.."

Khader said Al-Jazeera is still waiting for a response from both

Managing director Wadah Khanfar told IPS there is a driving force within
the media outlet that propels it through challenging times.

"Sometimes the only thing that keeps us forward is the support of our
audience," he said. "But also because we have really great people
working here as well as professionally trained fixers, stringers and

Khanfar said the channel is building on its reputation of succeeding in
the face of hostility.

"There is a culture now we've created with our style of reporting that
oppressive regimes have more trouble now stopping Al-Jazeera," Khanfar
said. "If you, as a journalist, would like to be loyal to your
profession, you know it is going to be difficult to get the story
sometimes, but you have to do it anyway if it's at all possible."

This attitude prompted its reporters in Fallujah to obtain footage of
civilians killed by U.S. soldiers. This reporter also witnessed the
attacks on civilians and ambulances in Fallujah at the time..

Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the senior U.S. military spokesperson in Iraq during
the April 2004 siege of Fallujah, had said then, "The stations that are
showing Americans intentionally killing women and children are not
legitimate news sources."

A young female journalist who writes for Al-Jazeera's English website
was reluctant to give her name, but when asked if she faced pressure
from the U.S. military or repressive governments in the region, said,
"Not directly, but since we know we're being so highly scrutinised, I
feel a greater responsibility to do my job well."

Did other Al-Jazeera journalists feel the same way? "Doesn't every
journalist feel that these days," she said.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.

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No Bravery

Friday, February 03, 2006

Blessings in Disguise

by Karen Kwiatkowski

Voltaire was not a man of faith. He claimed that he prayed only once to God: "Oh. Lord, make my enemies ridiculous."

This prayer, Voltaire tells us wryly, was granted.

Freedom-loving, republic-preserving, excess in government-combating optimists in America have been similarly blessed.

Our enemies are again made ridiculous. The latest outrage might be the Bush appointment of neocon bully John Bolton as Negroponte’s replacement at the United Nations.

Arguably, this appointment is no worse than the outrage of Central American mobster John Negroponte as America’s representative to the United Nations and the president’s representative to 23 million occupied Iraqis.

Or is President Bush outdoing another of his outrageous outrages – that of appointing John Bolton to do arms control at the State Department in the first place?

Some see this as the continued rise of the neocons. But it looks to be just one more example of a pathetic and bankrupt George Walker Bush weakly showing gratitude for past neocon infusions of noble "missions" and counterfeit "courage."

Of course, to rational people, rewarding neoconservative policy failures and ideological idiocy seems unthinkable – mistakes and violation of the Constitution and other laws should be punished, the low and lying performers fired. But rational people miss the wondrous point of the Bush presidency.

It begins in the mind of poor George Walker Bush, and his life up to and including Texas governor. A morally impoverished Connecticut born and educated "Texan" with political bloodlines but no commitment to true conservatism, simmering with resentment of his Poppy and burning with embarrassment for one too many business failures, Dubya was a dream come true for neoconservatism – a populist born-again Christian with instant political name recognition, and yet as intellectually and morally hollow as a dry well.

Until George was adopted by the neocons, he had no identifiable sense of mission or moral courage. For neoconservatism, Dubya was the missing link. Here was mainstream acceptance, credibility, a promise of neocon dreams of transforming the Middle East into a vast security buffer for Israel, American oil, and the necessary Balkanization of aspiring Middle Eastern nation states, some increasingly uppity in their politics and economic perspectives.

Prior to his adoption by the neoconservative horde, George was the bad seed in a family that already seemed as troubled, lawless and whacked-out as any we might enjoy on reality television.

Like reality television, the entertainment is staged, and so is the neocon persistence in Washington. Staged, I mean. The show is just beginning.

The impossibility of intelligence reform – where ego driven mediocrities like Porter Goss reach the pinnacle of their career only to find the hours are long and that John Negroponte stands in his way at every turn – is another blessing God has granted those who love our vulnerable Republic. Trust that they will devour each other and the sounds of ripping flesh in the anterooms of the oval office will be music to the ears of those who suspect the politicization of intelligence is out of control.

Wolfowitz at the World Bank when that house of cards comes fluttering down? It couldn’t happen to a better guy. Global anti-Americanism compounded by extreme and unbacked American debt to those that do not enjoy our company, no longer buy anything we make, and don’t fear a military emasculated by morally festering occupations and cowardly senior leadership – I’d say the U.S., er…World Bank is in for some fun. Things have changed from the glory days of Bretton Woods and petro-dollar gluts. Who are we to begrudge such joy to Wolfie? Can no one rid us of this turbulent priest of neoconservatism? Indeed, the most loyal insiders will have done exactly that by sending the logic-impaired empire maker from the Pentagon into the doomed World Bank

Bolton at the UN seems hideous. But in the run up to the midterm elections – where so many conservatives and the Republican Party have already awakened to the present and future disaster of the radical Bush presidency – its assault on the taxpayer, the military, the Republic, other countries, its disregard for the bill of rights, State’s rights, and citizen’s rights. The UN – or rather having the UN to kick – is of huge political importance. The UN exists to be shunted, admonished, ignored – and what better man that Bolton to do it? Bolton will serve Bush well – by helping shift the 2006 Republican voter blame for all the failed Bush foreign policy and much of his domestic policy to other known "evil" entities.

It is sheer genius to send Bolton the Unbearable to the UN – where he will be sabotaged every moment, in a million invisible ways, even as he sleeps. More importantly, Bolton as influential neocon is done for by the very irrelevance of the UN to Bush policy development.

Consider the coming Goss-Negroponte festival of bloody backstabbing, the immense financial catastrophe waiting like smoldering coals for the blast of hot air that is Paul Wolfowitz, and the irrelevant-by-definition United Nations serving the far higher purpose of driving an already marginally sane John Bolton into muttering madness.

We are indeed greatly blessed.

March 9, 2005

Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.

Karen Kwiatkowski Archives

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Zahn moves CNN even farther to the right

For some time now, CNN has been an effective mouthpiece for the Bush administration, mostly through innuendo, flag-waving, and omission. Now, with Paula Zahn's help, the network's shift ever farther right has become more overt. Media Matters for America has documented several of Zahn's recent stunts, including this one:
In a conversation with Paul Begala, Zahn said:

But security is still going to be a huge issue in this country, and whether you like it or not, you've got a lot of people out there saying, if you're Republican, we're going to keep the country safe, you know, if you vote for a Democrat, that basically you want to be bombed.

Media Matters has also documented Zahn's cheerleading for Rush Limbaugh. According to Media Matters' records, in the last six weeks, Zahn has aired clips from the Rush Limbaugh Show five times, and on three of those occasions, she offered no countering argument.

Zahn has often used Republic talking points, referring to Social Security privatization as "Social Security reform," announcing that Sojourners "admitted" it was a liberal publication, and "confronted" Al Franken with "lying" when he joked that he was writing a book about abstinence education.

The irony is that when Zahn was on Fox News, she was, more often than not, articulate and insightful--the only one on Fox who went beyond the surface of the issues being discussed.

Posted by Diane E. Dees on 02/01/06 at 01:25 PM

Link Here

Release: Veterans Call on Beauprez to Apologize

By Alan Franklin - Feb 2nd, 2006 at 10:34 am MST

UPDATE: sign the petition: ask Beauprez to apologize.

Veterans Call on Beauprez to Apologize

Thursday, February 2, 2006
CONTACT: Michael Huttner
(303) 991-1900

Denver - Veterans called on Congressman Bob Beauprez to apologize for publicly parading in a military-issued uniform when selective service records revealed that Beauprez avoided ever serving.

"We are calling on Mr. Beauprez to apologize for misleading us," stated retired Sergeant Jim Hudson, a Vietnam Veteran.

This photo of Congressman Bob Beauprez was taken at the Front Range Airport in Watkins, Colorado in June, 2004.

The Selective Service Classification History for Robert Louis Beauprez indicates that he requested and received three different student deferments.

The records also indicate that Beauprez came up for the draft based on his lottery drawing for 1970 of #160.

Yet on August 6, 1970 the records indicate that Beauprez was "excused" because of a "physical reason."

"Mr. Beauprez appears to want it both ways: he publicly parades in a military-issued uniform, and yet the records show he never served," stated retired Staff Sergeant Michael D. Collins, a veteran who served in Vietnam with the 1st Air Calvary Division.

"While Beauprez claims he's for veterans, he has the worst voting record on veterans' issues of any of the Colorado members of Congress," noted Collins.

According to the Disabled American Veterans, Beauprez has the worst voting record of any member of the Colorado congressional delegation, as he voted against them on every one of their key votes for both 2004 and 2005 (www.dav.org)

Hudson and Collins joined other veterans today in their call for Beauprez to apologize. They also launched a new group "Veterans for Progress", Link, and asked other veterans to join them to hold elected officials accountable.

Sen. Roberts Backs Domestic Spying

Sen. Roberts Backs Domestic Spying

The Associated Press


Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts on Friday strongly endorsed the Bush administration's argument that the president has the authority to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance in the U.S. in pursuit of terrorists.

Presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush have intercepted communications to ascertain enemy threats to national security, Roberts, R-Kan., said in a letter to the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Despite legal analysis by some critics, I am confident that the president retains the constitutional authority to conduct" such spying when the primary purpose is the collection of foreign intelligence information regarding foreign powers, Roberts wrote in his 19-page letter to Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Leahy is among Democrats who have questioned President Bush's authority to conduct the domestic spying program.

Link Here

Bush hug boosts Democrat opponent's fundraising

Associated PressSAN ANTONIO -

A photograph of President Bush cupping the face of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar has prompted a surge in online donations to one of Cuellar's rivals in next month's Democratic primary election.
Former U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, who hopes to regain the District 28 seat he lost to Cuellar two years ago, received nearly $12,000 in campaign donations Thursday.

The 263 online donations were made within hours of a call to action by two left-leaning bloggers, the San Antonio Express-News reported in its Friday editions. ActBlue, an online clearinghouse for Democratic fundraising, tallied the donations.

The photograph was taken at this week's State of the Union address and shows Bush holding a smiling Cuellar's head between his hands. Cuellar was standing at the doorway to the House chamber where Bush entered on the Republican side of the aisle.

Oscar Sanchez, a spokesman for the Rodriguez campaign, said the photo struck a nerve with Democrats.

"It really shows that Democrats want a real Democrat in Congress," Sanchez said.

Some Democrats have criticized Cuellar for being too close to Republicans. He supported Bush over Al Gore in the 2000 election and served as Texas Secretary of State under Republican Gov. Rick Perry. In Congress, he has cast a number of votes with Republicans to the chagrin of some in the Democratic leadership.

Cuellar spokesman Colin Strother dismissed the reaction to the photograph as a "one-day story."

"There's a jeering section that stands up on Ciro's behalf whenever Henry so much as looks at a Republican," Strother said.

Cuellar, of Laredo, represents a traditionally Democratic district that stretches from San Marcos to the Mexican border. In addition to Rodriguez, he faces a March 7 primary challenge from Victor Morales, a high school teacher from Crandall.

Cuellar and Rodriguez had been friends before the 2004 race, with Rodriguez campaigning on Cuellar's behalf when Cuellar sought to unseat Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, in 2002. Cuellar defeated Rodriguez in the bitterly contested 2004 Democratic primary in which an apparent Rodriguez victory was reversed after recounts of ballots.

The incumbent leads in fundraising. Cuellar begins the year with $292,833 in cash on hand, compared to more than $43,000 for Rodriguez and roughly $11,000 available to Morales, according to campaign finance reports released by the candidates.

Link Here

(Tom) DeLay's defense fund in red

DeLay's defense fund in red
Congressman raised $590,000 last year but still owes hundreds of thousands more

WASHINGTON - Embattled U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay raised more money for his legal defense in 2005 than ever before but still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawyers, according to documents released Tuesday.

DeLay, fighting an indictment in Texas on charges of illegal fundraising while facing scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Washington for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, raised $181,851 between Oct. 1 and the end of the year. That amount brought the total raised for his legal defense fund in 2005 to $590,520 — significantly more than the $439,550 recorded in 2004.

But during 2005, DeLay's legal expenses topped $1 million, said Brent Perry, a Houston attorney who administers the fund.

"We paid out well over $500,000 in legal fees (in 2005)," he said. The payments would leave DeLay owing lawyers at least $500,000, a figure Perry said was probably low.

Link Here

AP: Cheney, Rumsfeld Fought for Wiretaps for foreign intel 30 yrs ago

Edited on Fri Feb-03-06 07:14 PM by Buford Pusser

Bush recently said he needed wiretapping authority because FISA was old law, remember?

So what could be the rationale for the Cheney's and Rumsfeld's identical actions, pre-FISA?

Link Here
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