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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Diggers to stay in Iraq: PM

Christy I have come to the conclusion, that this is what Georgie and his goons where able to blackmail pissant Johnnie with, to get us into the Iraq war, looks like our wheat will probably be okay. Maybe

PRIME Minister John Howard confirmed today that Australian troops will stay in Iraq, once their current role protecting Japanese engineers is over.

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Baghdad Sniper: Myth or Menace?:

Renegade Sniper Taking Aim at U.S. Troops and Boasting Online

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In case you missed it:

Juma: Iraqi Resistance Propaganda Video:

WARNING - This video shows the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

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Siniyah: an Iraqi town that is now a prison

By Brian Conley and Isam Rashid

SINIYAH (Iraq): Twice now, an IPS correspondent has been refused entry to this town that has become a prison for its inhabitants. Contact with residents of the town came only at the checkpoint.

A month back, the United States military built a 10 kilometre wall of sand around the town of Siniyah, 220km north of Baghdad. The town is close to Saddam Hussein’s hometown Tikrit and the oil refining centre at Beiji.

Construction of a sand wall around the town began on January 7 in response to repeated attacks against the 101st Airborne US forces stationed in the area. A night curfew has been imposed in the area.

An IPS correspondent could not visit the town to look at the situation within, despite official claims.

“Journalists have not been limited or prevented from travelling in and around Siniyah,” US military spokesman Major Tim Keefe told IPS. “Coalition and Iraqi Forces go to great lengths to make sure journalists are able to do their job in a safe environment.”

That was after soldiers stopped the IPS correspondent entering the town on two occasions. But in the queue to the main checkpoint many people were more than willing to speak to IPS about the situation within.

“On the 7th of January, the US troops started building this wall around Siniyah,” said Mohammed, a 34-year-old engineer from Siniyah. “They are trying to isolate Iraqi fighters who are attacking them every day. The troops have been exposed to attacks near Siniyah by roadside bombs and by different weapons... Also, the resistance blows up the petrol pipelines leading to Turkey.”

The issue of the pipeline is a salient one for residents of Siniyah. The town has been sealed off not because of attacks within the town, but due to the belief it is being used as a staging ground for attacks outside... The coalition forces are attempting to halt attacks directed mainly at the Beiji refinery and at convoys serving the coalition.

The chosen targets have brought general support for Iraqi resistance within Siniyah. Mohammed says the attacks are taking place because “this petrol will go to Turkey and is stolen by occupation forces, or when Turkey buys this petrol the money is taken by the occupation forces.”

Residents of Siniyah speak also of injustices by the occupation troops. The wall of sand is now dividing residents from the Iraqi government, they say.

“Siniyah has become a real battlefield now, and the occupation forces have destroyed many of our homes,” said Sumiya, a 33-year-old housewife. “There is no security inside Siniyah and it is worse than any place in Iraq now. The occupation forces and Iraqi National Guard are raiding Siniyah houses everyday and arresting many people. There is a curfew from 5pm to 5am; in Baghdad it is only midnight to 5am.”

Sumiya said her children have stopped going to school. Everyone in the town is affected. “My problem is that my college is outside Siniyah, and it is very difficult for me to go back and forth everyday with these checkpoints,” said a 20-year-old student who gave his name as Ammar.

“I left my job because it was outside Siniyah, it is impossible to go and come back every day because of this earth wall and these checkpoints on the way,” said 45-year-old Abdullah Jabar.

The US forces say the wall was built with local approval. “Local police, city council members, sheikhs and religious leaders met with leaders from the 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault, to discuss the operation,” Major Keefe said. He declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations.

As the isolation of Siniyah continues, its 3,000 residents appear to be unifying behind the opposition. “I don’t think that the occupation force will stop resistance by these steps, because violence causes violence,” Ammar said. “It is normal throughout history there is resistance in any occupied country. But there is no occupation that used this kind of violence.”

“We are in very bad situation and we live in very big jail for three thousand, one called Siniyah,” said Jabar, echoing sentiments of residents interviewed by IPS last month.

The Multi National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I) have used such tactics before. Walls and checkpoints were used to isolate residents of Samarra and Fallujah before the eventual devastation of the towns.—Dawn/IPS News Service

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US warns its soldiers about Turkish movie

Washington has responded to a newly released Turkish movie set in Iraq that has US soldiers as the villains of the plot.

WASHINGTON - Kurtlar Vadisi is expected to break Turkish box office records.

An articles in the US army’s “Stars and Stripes” magazine said that American soldiers serving in Europe to stay away from cinemas screening the film Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq). The magazine cited an order sent to the US base in Hohenfels Germany.

Apart from recommending US troops stay away from cinemas where the movie is being screened, the order also stressed the military personal should “not to discuss the movie with anybody they do not know.” The magazine added that American soldiers serving at the Incirlik airbase close to the southern Turkish city of Adana should be wary of crowds.

Kurtlar Vadisi has a number of scenes depicting US troops in Iraq in a poor light, showing them abusing prisoners, shooting innocent civilians and even being involved in the illegal trade of organs.

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Auditors Find Huge Fraud in FEMA Aid :

Thousands of applicants for federal emergency relief money after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita used duplicate or invalid Social Security numbers or bogus addresses, suggesting that the $2.3 billion program was a victim of extensive fraud, a Congressional auditor will report Monday.

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A sheep-like nation is allowing Bush to erode our liberties and well-being:

What is it going to take for the American people to wake up to the presidential coup d’état that is now under way, a takeover that is occurring in broad daylight by a president who has declared that as commander in chief he has unfettered power to fight an undeclared and never-ending war on terrorism, even if that means ignoring the courts, disregarding laws passed by Congress and circumventing the Bill of Rights in the process?

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Costa Rica election another blow to US trade pact:

A U.S. free trade pact with Central America, already delayed by a legal wrangle, has run into further trouble at presidential elections in Costa Rica where voters punished the main pro-trade candidate.

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Latinamerican trade surplus with US tops 100 billion :

With oil exporters Venezuela and Mexico leading, Latin America and the Caribbean posted a 100.8 billion US dollars trade surplus with the United States in 2005, up 32.2% percent from the previous year, reported Friday the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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'Bush is certainly not welcome in India':

'Bush is certainly not welcome in India'
Sunday February 12 2006 00:00 IST

NEW DELHI: Seven political parties, including CPI, CPI(M) And Samajwadi Party, on Friday decided to oppose the forthcoming visit of US President George W Bush to the country.

"Under President Bush, the US continues to occupy Iraq and oppress its people. It threatens Syria and has targeted Iran on the issue of its nuclear programme. It backs the naked oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel.

"He is certainly not welcome in India," a joint statement of CPI, CPI(M), RSP, AIFB, CPI(ML) Liberation, JD(S) and SP said after a decision in this regard was taken at a meeting on Thursday.

"We have constituted a broad-based committee against Bush's visit and decided to organise under its banner a massive peoples march and rally to protest against his visit," it said, calling the American leader an "enemy of sovereign nations".

The protest would begin on March two from Ramlila Maidan, the statement said.

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Brazil poised to join the world's nuclear elite:

While the world community scrutinizes Iran's nuclear plans, Latin America's biggest country is weeks away from taking a controversial step and firing up the region's first major uranium enrichment plant.

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Where has all the money gone?:

The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8 billion that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it went.

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Karen Kwiatkowski: Why We Fight:

Why We Fight will eagerly be consumed and digested by millions and millions of real and loyal Americans who are now weary of strange endless wars in far away places and an economy wasting under the demands of voracious spending on "defense."

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Watch it on line:

Why We Fight :

What are the forces that shape and propel American militarism? This award-winning film provides an inside look at the anatomy of the American war machine. Real video.

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War Is Hell:

A young man sat down next to me on a plane leaving Paris for the U.S. I noticed he was a U.S. army soldier.

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US offered exile deal, says Saddam:

US offered exile deal, says Saddam
February 11, 2006

AMMAN: The US offered to let Saddam Hussein live in exile if he would use his influence to end the Iraqi insurgency, a lawyer for the deposed leader says.

Saleh al-Armouti said on Thursday that Saddam had told him the Americans had offered to treat him "like Napoleon", whom the British imprisoned on St Helena island in the Atlantic ocean in the 19th century, "if he called on the resistance to end its activities".

Mr Armouti, who met Saddam in prison in Baghdad last month, reported him as saying the Americans had told him that if he turned down the offer, there was an alternative. "The other offer was for him to be treated like Mussolini," Mr Armouti said, referring to the Italian dictator who was shot and strung from a lamp post by partisans in the last days of World War II.

A US military spokesman in Baghdad, Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Johnson, dismissed the lawyer's report.

"This appears to be some vain attempt by a lawyer to make it look as if Saddam still has some power or authority over people, which he doesn't,"he said.

An American journalist held hostage in Iraq for more than a month appeared in a new video tape aired on a private Kuwaiti TV station on Thursday, appealing for help in securing her release.

Jill Carroll, 28, was wearing a headscarf and appeared in good health in the brief clip aired by Alrai TV. "I'm here with the mujahideen. I sent you a letter written by hand. I'm here, I'm fine. Please just do whatever they want," she said. "Give them whatever they want as quickly as possible. There is very short time. Please move fast."

She said the video had been recorded on February 2.

The chairman of Alrai TV, Jassem Boodai, said the station did not plan to broadcast the contents of the letter, instead handing it to Kuwaiti authorities.

Carroll, a freelance journalist working for The Christian Science Monitor, was abducted in Baghdad on January 7 by militants who killed her Iraqi interpreter.

The Christian Science Monitor said it wanted more information about the letter.

Associated Press, Reuters

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Six marines killed in Iraq:

Six American soldiers were killed in a series of attacks in various parts of Iraq during the past 24 hours.

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France Invades U.S.

(Parts 1-9 click here http://jerryghinelli.com/)
By Jerry Ghinelli

02/11/06 "ICH" -- -- With the French occupation of the US now entering its third year, in a surprising new development, the government of Jacques Chirac today approved vast new economic measures needed to adequately finance the liberation of the US, commonly referred to as Operation American Freedom.

Called the PetroEuro Transatlantic Oil Liberation Act (Petrol for short), effective immediately, all Americans must now convert their dollars into euros in order to purchase gasoline for their vehicles.

France, along with its "coalition of the willing" partner, Germany, invaded America back in 2003 in order to remove illegal American weapons, overturn the brutal repressive regime of the unelected tyrant, George W. Bush, and bring freedom and democracy to all the good people of North America.

But after three years of chaos, tens of thousand of French and German casualties, and at a staggering cost of 250 billion euros, the liberation of America has become bogged down economically, politically and militarily.

The new PetroEuro scheme will help to establish the solid economic foundation France needs to continue to fight its divinely inspired ‘War against Evil,’ said French President Jacques Chirac.

The Petrol Act will work as follows:

All Americans must convert a minimum of $100.00 into euros every time they want to buy gasoline for their cars.

Gas stations throughout the US, now referred to as petrol stations, will no longer be allowed to accept dollars—only euros. Americans are advised to maintain a reserve amount in euros to meet any unforeseen petrol demands, Chirac suggested.

Likewise, heating oil will only be sold in euros. Americans wishing to heat their homes with oil, therefore, must also convert their dollars into euros, and maintaining a euro reserve is recommended for heating oil as well, the French president advised.

Natural gas can still be purchased in dollars, but Chirac warned that this may soon be converted to the euro as is necessary to finance the ‘War against Evil.’

With this development, worldwide oil prices skyrocketed to 90 euros per barrel, creating hardship for millions but an economic windfall for France, and French oil companies.

TotalFinaElf, a major integrated oil and gas exploration corporation in France, is expected to earn a record profit of 36 billion euros from this scheme. Their stock rose dramatically on the news.

The CAC 40, France’s equivalent to the Dow and the German DAX, each rose significantly on this surprising economic development.

The ecology-minded Chirac insists the Petrol Act will also eliminate long lines and reduce gasoline shortages in America. He says those unable to afford the increase should “eat cake” and work it off by walking more and driving less.

The PetroEuro scheme will thus enable the French to print vast amounts of euros and export them to the US in exchange for hard-earned American dollars.

Critics allege this scheme permits the French to print "fiat" or some call "monopoly" money, and export “printed paper” rather than manufactured goods. Opponents charge that France is simply printing money, exporting it to America and using military intervention and intimidation to make Americans, and eventually the world, maintain the euro as the reserve currency for petroleum.

France’s manufacturing base is disappearing rapidly—as evidenced by Peugeot and Renault recently filing for bankruptcy, along with the recent insolvency of Air France—and its deficits are soaring, due not only to the costs of supporting the American invasion but also funding huge tax cuts for the wealthy. These issues, coupled with rampant corruption and mismanagement, have led analysts to suggest that the French Parliament enacted the scheme to prevent the euro from collapsing in value and thus diminishing the French standard of living.

Many critics now wonder whether the primary motive for the French invasion back in 2003 was economic, and Chirac’s claims of threats to France, and the notion of bringing democracy to the American people, were just a ruse or—as some cynics suggest—nonsense.

To those opposing the invasion, it is now becoming clearer that the primary motive of the French was to maintain the euro as the world’s reserve currency, thus ensuring the continuation of cheap, imported goods into France, as the world needs to acquire the euros necessary to buy gasoline for its cars and heating oil for its homes.

When the former US President, George W. Bush, and his Vice President, Dick Cheney—both Texas oilmen—attempted to pass a law prohibiting acceptance of euros, critics allege that French and German intelligence sources concurrently (some say conveniently) discovered massive stockpiles of illegal American nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Chirac claimed he had a duty to protect France from these hideous weapons, and attacked the US. In an attack termed "le shock et l’awe," French and German coalition forces easily defeated the Americans who, said Chirac, were only tough when fighting third world countries incapable even of lifting a plane off the ground.

Chirac failed to mention the brave American troops who helped defeat the Nazis and liberated France back in 1944, however.

The PetroEuro announcement was greeted with optimism by the compliant conservative French media, while liberals criticized the ignorant and apathetic French public suggesting they have no idea what either PetroEuro or reserve currency mean. The majority of French citizens, however, still agree with Chirac that invading America to remove the tyrant Bush and bringing democracy to the American people has made France more secure.

Chirac also went on to praise recent French-inspired elections in the US. The three branches of the US government have now been replaced by a new Vichy-style parliamentary system of government sympathetic to the French.

But radical Christian fundamentalist insurgents, led by their controversial firebrand cleric, Pat Robertson, have also earned some seats in the new American Parliament, to the dismay of the French.

The radical Robertson and his 700 Club have been branded a terrorist organization by the French. After all, Robertson has called for the assassination of democratically elected foreign leaders, notably Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and some of his followers are allegedly responsible for bombing abortion clinics and murdering doctors; one was linked to the Olympic bombing in Atlanta as well.

Unhappy with Robertson’s success at the polls, France’s president, Chirac, praised the elections but criticized the results, and threatened he would not negotiate with Christian fundamentalists who attack our forces and advocate the destruction not only of France, but also of its friend and ally, the democratic, French-speaking Republic of Quebec.

Quebec represents the only true democracy in North America, Chirac reminds us.

Quebec, which seceded from Canada, receives massive military and financial aid from France, supports the occupation of America and claims the Canadian province of Ontario is dangerous.

Ontario, according to the French, is part of an Axis of Evil, along with Nova Scotia and Alberta.

He called on all North American people, except Quebec, to renounce violence, but barely mentioned the “more or less” 30,000 Americans who have been killed. Special praise was offered to the brave French forces who have sustained 2,300 dead and 16,000 wounded at the hands of the American insurgents, but Chirac refuses to attend their funerals or provide adequate facilities for their rehabilitation and long-term care when they return to France.

Neighboring Canada, which opposes the PetroEuro scheme, announced it will allow Americans to cross the 3,000-mile border and continue to buy gasoline in dollars, be it Canadian or American.

Coincidently, Canada has recently come under criticism for attempting to acquire illegal weapons as well.

Canada’s new democratically elected, outspoken conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is critical of what he calls the French occupation of America, and warns retaliation if the French engage in military or economic reprisals against Canada.

Chirac denies that his motive for threatening Canada is economic; rather he claims that Canada is providing “safe houses” for the American terrorists who cross the border, smuggling and/or hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Chirac insists that Canada, and its new prime minister, are threats to world peace, and that Canada is secretly building illegal weapons, which threatens both the French Republic of Quebec and all people throughout the world who yearn to live free under French-style democracy.

Freedom isn’t free, he said, but sometimes we like to put it on sale.

Vive La France!

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Riding-high with Hugo Chavez

By Mike Whitney

02/11/06 "ICH" -- -- Hugo Chavez’s meteoric rise on the world stage has as much to do with his defiance of Washington as it does with his leadership of a hemispheric revolution. At great personal risk, Chavez has consistently lashed out against his witless-nemesis, George Bush, and the coterie of sycophants who do his bidding.

Yesterday, it was Bush’s poodle, Tony Blair, who entered the Chavez crosshairs. Blair has been Bush’s main ally in the illegal occupation of Iraq and the ongoing war of terror. In Parliament this week, Blair admonished Chavez that he should “respect the rules of the international community”, ignoring his own gross violations of the UN Charter and the Nuremburg Tribunal. Chavez responded to Blair with a hearty salvo:

“Don’t be shameless, Mr. Blair. Don’t be immoral, Mr. Blair, that you are one of those who have no morals. You are not one that has the right to criticize anyone about the rules of the international community”…You are an “imperialist pawn” who attempts to curry favor with “Danger Bush-Hitler, the number one mass murderer and assassin there is on the planet.”

“Go straight to hell, Mr. Blair,” Chavez roared.

What Chavez lacks in discretion, he makes up for in candor. While the feckless US Congress quivers at every edict issued from the White House, the barrel-chested Venezuelan fires off another round of grapeshot at the fraudster-and-chief:

“Bush is the world’s greatest terrorist”…”a madman”… (who) “thinks he owns the world and now is making plans to invade Iran, and plans to invade Venezuela, too…The American people are going to have to tie him down one of these days, because if they don’t he’s capable of destroying half the world.”

Chavez is the polar opposite of his arch-rival, George Bush. Raised in a dirt-floor shack, Chavez worked his way up through the ranks of the elite paratrooper-corps dreaming of becoming of becoming a baseball player and moving to the United States.

Bush, on the other hand, is a patrician slacker, who drank his way through high school and college, went “missing” during his tour with the Champagne Unit of the Texas National Guard, and ran three companies (Spectrum, Arbusto, and Harken) into the ground. He finally, found his niche in politics when he realized he could translate his family name and connections into political capital. Since then, he has faithfully served the corporate interests that catapulted him to the presidency; providing lavish subsidies to industry giants, tax cuts to the wealthy, and deregulation to nearly every area of commerce.

The divisions between Chavez and Bush are more than just personal. Chavez imagines a world where government is deeply involved in the health and welfare of its citizens and where certain guarantees of security are provided under the rule of law. He has worked tirelessly to actualize a modern Bolivarian Revolution, loosening the centuries-long grip of colonial rule and binding the continent together in a shared vision of peace and cooperation.

He’s become the bane of the petro-oligarchs who see his efforts to redistribute some of Venezuela’s vast oil wealth into social programs as a direct challenge to their authority. (Ironically, Chavez’s attempts to share oil profits are not nearly as extreme as the many programs initiated by FDR under the New Deal. Even into the 1950s the highest tax rate for anyone making over $200,000 was 92%. This “socialistic” redistribution of wealth explains the explosive growth of America’s middle class following the Second World War)

Chavez has provided clinics and schools in every barrio in Caracas; ensuring that even the neediest citizens will enjoy federally funded health care, literacy programs, and a minimal standard of living. His vision of social justice is sharply contrasted to that of Bush who has consistently hacked away at education, public television, Medicaid, student loans, and the crumbling social safety-net that provides vital resources for the destitute. In Bush-world, the solitary function of government is to enhance the wealth of America’s “privileged few”.

While Chavez is working to create a nationally-owned web of oil and gas pipelines that will knit the continent together, Bush is pursuing a global resource war that has destroyed much of Iraq and killed tens of thousands of innocent people. The Chavez approach requires partnership and cooperation, whereas the Bush strategy is merely a continuation of smash-and-grab imperialism.

Chavez is correct to dismiss Bush’s wars as an expression of “savage capitalism”, the likes of which Latin Americans have endured for more than a century.

Starting in the “lost decade” of the 1980s, the policies which sprouted from the “Washington consensus” have increased poverty and despair throughout the continent on an incalculable scale. The IMF and World Bank forced austerity measures, deregulation, privatization of public services and resources, as well as painful cuts to social programs and education. The “free market” policies have curbed hyperinflation, but left 128 million Latin Americans living on less that $2 a day.

Chavez’s political fortunes are due in large part to the widespread rejection of the exploitative neoliberal policies and market-oriented reforms that have failed to reduce poverty. His ascendancy has breathed life into a vision of socialism that is essentially non-ideological, but deals with the immediate needs of the people and the obligation of government to meet those needs.

Chavez’s new-found wealth and celebrity presents a serious challenge to Washington. The Pentagon issued a report 2 years ago that warned of the dangers of “radical populism” spreading through Latin America. The Bush administration is concerned that real democracy will take root in the region and undermine the dominant role of US industry.

Equally worrisome, is Chavez’s threat to divert vital oil supplies going to the United States to foreign tenders if Washington continues meddling in Venezuelan politics. (Venezuela currently provides 15% of US oil imports.)

Chavez star seems to be rising just as Bush’s is beginning to fizzle. While Bush is mired in scandal and war, Chavez is grabbing headlines by promising to give away $4 billion in aid to his neighbors, provide assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina, and donate cheap heating fuel to the needy in Massachusetts. His generosity has enhanced his stature as a world leader while America’s moral authority vanished sometime between the carpet-bombing of Falluja and the sadistic treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Chavez’s popularity has only grown with every scathing brickbat he hurls at the Bush claque. The public obviously enjoys seeing David tweak Goliath’s nose while the giant stumbles blindly from one bloody conflict to the next.

“We are happy that the maximum representatives of the assassin and genocide Empire attack us and call us what they like,” Chavez boomed. “If the dogs are barking, Sancho, it’s because we are riding”.

Chavez’s comments elicited a sharp response from Donald Rumsfeld who said, “We’ve see some populist leadership appealing to masses of people in those countries” that is “worrisome”…Chavez “was elected legally- just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally-and then consolidated his power.”

“Adolf Hitler”?

That’s a stretch even by Rumsfeld’s standards.

Never the less, Chavez dismissed the Defense Secretary’s remarks saying, “Let the dogs of imperialism bark…that’s their role, to bark. Our task is to consolidate this century and the real liberation of our people right now.”

In recent months, Chavez has been aggressively trying to buy weapons from Russia anticipating another American coup or (possible) invasion. (He said that he has proof of a US plan code-named Balboa that was worked out under the Bush administration) He has vowed to cut off the flow of oil to the US if the Bush administration makes another attempt on his life and promised a century-long war if the US invades. Never the less, the prospect of hostilities hasn’t intimidated the effusive Chavez or caused him to tone down his rhetoric.

“The imperialist, mass-murdering, fascist attitude of the president of the United States doesn’t have limits”, Chavez said. “I think Hitler could be a nursery-baby next to George W. Bush”.


Chavez undoubtedly grasps the gravity of his situation and the likelihood that Bush will take military action against him sometime following an attack on Iran. As he noted last week when he was awarded the prestigious Jose Marti prize by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization:

“They will forever try to preserve the US Empire by all means, while we do everything possible to shred it.”

Chavez is persisting with his ambitious plans for agrarian reform, public housing, free health care, and redistribution of wealth. He is reshaping Venezuelan politics and influencing the way we think about governments’ obligations to its citizens.

As Chavez said, “The world needs development and peace, and the only road to peace is justice.”

Vive Chavez.

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Jonathan Alter | The Shoe (Bomb) on the Other Foot

By Jonathan Alter

Friday 10 February 2006

President Bush's revelation about a foiled bomb plot shows the dangers of declassification for purely partisan purposes.
Poor Porter Goss. First, the longtime Florida congressman leaves his safe seat to become director of the CIA, only to find that he's been neutered by a new bureaucratic setup where he reports to John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence. Then he writes an op-ed piece decrying intelligence leaks in The New York Times on Friday, the exact same day as a story appears identifying today's biggest leaker of antiterrorism secrets in Washington-President George W. Bush.

For crass political reasons-namely to advance his position on the National Security Agency spying story-the president chose to use a speech to the National Guard Association to disclose details of a 2002 "shoe bomb" plot to blow up the US Bank Tower, the tallest building in Los Angeles. While the plot had been revealed in general terms in the past, the White House this week arranged for Bush's counterterrorism adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, to explain to reporters in a conference call exactly the kind of details that Goss claimed on the op-ed page helped the enemy. "We are at risk of losing a key battle," Goss wrote. "The battle to protect our classification system."

That system is at particular risk when it is exploited for political purposes. The president is allowed to declassify whatever he wants; that's one of the privileges of being president. So in this case-unlike the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping-there is no issue of Bush breaking the law. But let's be clear on what this was: a deliberate effort to use declassification for partisan purposes, in this case, defending the administration's policy on NSA surveillance, which Karl Rove says publicly will be a big part of the 2006 midterm campaign.

The White House made perfect political use of the twilight zone of intelligence. While Townsend did not explicitly claim that the NSA surveillance program had foiled the Los Angeles plot, she tried to imply that it might have played a role. "We use all available sources and methods in the intelligence community but we have to protect them," she told reporters. "So I'm not going to talk about what ones we did or didn't use in this particular case."

Let's get this straight. The president and administration officials will suddenly talk about details of the foiled plot-details that were highly classified until now. But they won't say if the controversial NSA program was involved. Given their new willingness to talk at length about the case, can anyone seriously doubt that had the NSA eavesdropping cracked this case, they would have mentioned that? Simply saying that the NSA helped foil the plot-if it had-would not have compromised "sources and methods." You can bet that if this were an NSA case, we'd know it.

The chronology of Bush's politicizing of intelligence goes something like this: First, the president discloses classified information without any good reason to do so. Why now? It's not as if Los Angeles is hosting the Olympics or under some new threat. (To understand how hurried and political this disclosure was, consider the fact that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, wasn't briefed on the foiled plot and has been stiffed in his efforts to meet with the president about homeland security in his city, a problem that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Republican mayors do not have). Then, by implying without stating that the NSA may have been involved, the White House uses sensitivity about classified information as a shield against finding out whether the NSA is relevant to the Los Angeles plot in the first place.

Goss, meanwhile, is left hanging out to dry: he seems to be calling for more criminalization of intelligence leaks in one part of the paper while the president leaks like a sieve in the other. Elsewhere, he makes a big distinction between whistleblowers who seek accountability through proper channels (they're right) and those who go to the media (obviously wrong). Feeling some pressure three quarters into his op-ed piece to offer even one example of how media coverage has jeopardized an intelligence operation, Goss hauls out the same chestnut Bush used in a press conference last month-the revelation that Osama bin Laden's satellite phone had been tapped. The implication was that once the evil American media revealed this fact, bin Laden stopped using the phone and was harder to catch. In fact, bin Laden gave up his satphone after President Bill Clinton used coordinates from the phone to bomb him in 1998. It was Clinton's missiles, not the media, that convinced the Al Qaeda leader he needed a more secure way to communicate.

Will the White House get away with using intelligence as a political weapon? Probably. Imagine if it were Clinton, not Bush, who decided to reveal classified information about the plot against Los Angeles in a politically convenient way. The rightwing gabfests would be having a field day, as well they should. But now the shoe bomb is on the other foot.

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The Land of 10,770 Empty FEMA Trailers

Far from the victims of Katrina for whom they are meant, legions of wide-bodied mobile homes sit empty at Hope's Municipal Airport, a sprawling former military base. After all these months, storm victims can't seem to get the trailers, which are proving a mixed blessing to Hope and Arkansas.

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"It's Not Cool To Love America" At Olympic Games...

New York Times SELENA ROBERTS February 11, 2006 at 08:42 AM
READ MORE: 2006, New York Times

So how is the United States represented here? With the image of Bart Simpson.

In a window of the People's Pub, a small joint with candles on the tables and Budweiser on tap, there is a painting of the mischievous Simpson with a beer in his hand.

He is more than window dressing; Bart is a beloved American here. This is not an easy feat considering the anti-American undercurrent in the Olympic movement.

The latest example of that occurred yesterday when Jim Easton, who, granted, hasn't had an animated moment in decades, lost his executive board seat among the International Olympic Committee powerbrokers when he was defeated, 57-36, by South Africa's Sam Ramsamy in a secret ballot. That left America without a seat on the board.

"To say the United States has less influence in sports is, in my humble opinion, not the case," said Jacques Rogge, the I.O.C.'s president. "Frankly speaking, I don't share that perspective."

To share perspective is to have perspective. No wonder he fails to see how America's Olympic might has been shrink-wrapped since July.


Now they are speaking up — and growing louder.

FOCUS | More Republicans Tied to Abramoff

Three members of Congress have been linked to efforts by lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a former General Services Administration official to secure leases of government property for Abramoff's clients.


Deadly H5N1 bird flu strain found in swans in Italy, health minister says, according to news agencies.

Italy Greece Bird flu Asia

ROME, Italy -- The deadly H5N1 bird flu strain that has killed at least 88 people around the world has been detected in Italy and Greece, according to officials.

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New Nuclear Weapons on the Way?

The Oakland Tribune reported today that lab officials in California are "excited" by the prospect of "designing a new H-bomb, the first of probably several new nuclear explosives on the drawing boards." This threw me for a loop at first—"Hang on, new nuclear weapons? Who said this was okay, again?"—but I think I get what's going on. (Although correct me if I'm wrong.)

It's no secret that the Bush administration has long wanted to develop new types of nukes, including those entirely frivolous "bunker-busters," for god knows what purpose. In Congress, on the other hand, sensible folks such as Rep. David Hobson (R-OH) have instead called for a "thoughtful and open debate on the role of nuclear weapons," and have opposed adding new weapons to existing stockpiles. Good luck with that, right? But in 2005 Hobson introduced the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program as a means of finding a middle ground here.

RRW was supposed to allow scientists to "refurbish" our existing nuclear stockpiles and make them more reliable "without developing a new weapon that would require underground testing to verify the design." Even the "refurbishing" is a bit questionable: our warheads are already plenty reliable, and even warheads labeled "unreliable" by experts can still inflict as much massive death and destruction as anyone could hope for. The current "stockpile stewardship" program set up by the Clinton administration in 1992 has never found any problems with the viability of the U.S. arsenal. (See this Bulletin article for more on this.) Still, RRW would channel the energies of the nuclear establishment away from the task of dreaming up new nuclear weapons and into something relatively harmless. That's useful.

Anyway, it wasn't long before Energy Department officials decided to co-opt and expand upon Hobson's RRW idea, and many administration officials now seem to see it as a means of creating an infrastructure that can eventually churn out new weapons if necessary. All of the sudden, everyone had a different interpretation of what the program actually entailed. Last April, Everet Beckner, deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, told the Tribune, that building new warheads "was not the primary objective [of RRW], but [it] would be a fortuitous associated event." Oh, fortuitous. Right.

That July, as reported by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the Energy Department was presenting plans before Congress for a completely overhauled nuclear stockpile that would use the RRW program to get there. The department's report "envisions a stockpile to meet an evolving or changing threat environment" and recommends that "a new version of RRW" be implemented to "form the basis of the sustainable stockpile of the future."

Now the new explosives currently being "designed" are still, as I understand it, intended to renovate existing stockpiles, and aren't brand new weapons. In fact, Sen. Pete Domenici explicitly prohibited any funds for the purpose of implementing the recommendations in the Energy Department report.) But the RRW program has slowly and subtly been morphing into a program intended to build new nuclear weapons—despite the fact that this was clearly not Hobson's original goal. And the Bush administration is continuing to push it in that direction, and presumably hopes it will continue to morph in the future. So that's something to watch.

More to the point, the overarching assumption here is that we somehow need all these new nuclear weapons. For what, no one can say. It's pretty clear that nuclear "deterrence" hasn't stopped North Korea or Iran from going nuclear—or 9/11 for that matter; and the United States' insistence on augmenting its own arsenal almost certainly undermines nonproliferation efforts. The administration's desire for "low-yield" nukes—weapons that could conceivably be deployed on the battlefield, and lower the threshold for use—seem completely insane, although Congress seems to have put an end to that little fantasy for now.

Posted by Bradford Plumer on 02/07/06 at 01:22 PM

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VA Nurse in New Mexico Accused of Sedition

This is your land of the free, your so called Democracy

VA Nurse in New Mexico accused of sedition

Here is part of the text of a letter to the editor written by Laura Berg, a clinical nurse specialist in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government. The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes!...The public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder....

Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown, and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence....This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil. . . . We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.

Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times.

Berg, who works at Albuquerque's VA Medical Center, wrote the letter to the weekly paper, the Alibi. When it was published in late September, VA officials seized Berg's computer, accusing her of using it to write the letter, and accusing her of sedition.

The head of the human resources management services later acknowledged that Berg's office computer hard drive did not contain the letter, but he defended the sedition charge.

In your letter...you declared yourself "as a VA nurse" and publicly declared the Government which employs you to have "tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence" and advocated, "Act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit." The ACLU of New Mexico has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to the incident, and is asking for a public apology to Berg. In the meantime, Berg has learned that the VA may have contacted the FBI about her, a charge the VA denies.

Posted by Diane E. Dees on 02/09/06 at 09:24 AM E-mail Print

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'New Populists' vs. the West

With linchpins in Tehran on one end and Caracas on the other, a new brand of international populism is rising by fanning the flames of division between Western powers and the "powerless" of the developing world. Leaders, from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, are winning points at home by striking a nationalist and anti-American pose.

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All Eyes on Khuzestan:

A U.S. War Plan?


02/10/06 "Counterpunch" -- -- There's now a serious possibility that the Republicans could lose control of the House of Representatives this fall, and at least a statistical possibility that they could lose the Senate.

Meanwhile, approval of the administration's foreign policy, principally in regard to Iraq, has fallen well below 50% and continues to decline, while the Medicare drug fiasco has driven approval of their domestic policy, never high, to new lows. Moreover, the legal difficulties of the administration's Gauleiters, notably Libby and Rove, are serious, and the bottom could fall out of the ramshackle structure that supports the administration's felonious wiretapping (with some people thinking that there are further revelations to come about that curious episode: why did they bypass FISA, after all?). And it's SRO in the closet for all the Abramoff skeletons.

Cornered rats proverbially fight, however, and if things really get bad as 2006 goes on, with mid-term elections looming, the administration always has their ace in the hole: an emergency, preferably violent. (Imagine where the Bush administration would be, had there been no 9/11/01 attack.) Bush this week produced a suspect account of an almost-emergency, a putative foiled attack on Los Angeles in '02. (Again, the question: why mention it now? Why didn't they prosecute the conspirators at the time?)

Andrew Cockburn has demonstrated in these pages why a full-scale attack on Iran (four times the size of Iraq and not defenseless, as Iraq was) is out of the question. But, acting on the advice of the Truman-era senator who observed that "You can do anything you want with the American people if you scare them enough," the administration has been making headway among Americans with its scare campaign about Iran -- despite the uncomfortable resemblance to the campaign for the Iraq invasion (madmen armed with nuclear weapons, etc.) As our boy emperor himself once memorably put it, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me -- you can't get fooled again." Perhaps not, but the administration is surely trying...

But the administration may have choices other than a full-scale attack on Iran or an increasingly less credible viewing-with-alarm. If things get desperate enough that they need a military emergency to rally support for a beleaguered Bush and Co, there are things that they could do, short of all-out war. (In the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh has described military intrusions -- "special operations" -- by the U.S. and Israel that have been underway in Iran for some time; the administration's new budget, just submitted to Congress, calls for a substantial increase in money for "special ops and psy-ops.")

John Pilger notes that, while the Pentagon cannot seriously plan to occupy Iran, it may be that "it has in its sights a strip of land that runs along the border with Iraq. This is Khuzestan, home to 90 per cent of Iran's oil. 'The first step taken by an invading force,' reported Beirut's Daily Star, 'would be to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province, securing the sensitive Straits of Hormuz and cutting off the Iranian military's oil supply.' On 28 January the Iranian government said that it had evidence of British undercover attacks in Khuzestan, including bombings, over the past year." Last year, the Iranian government announced that it would build the country's second nuclear reactor in Khuzestan...

A U.S. attack by land, sea, and/or air would of course be an act of desperation, driven as much or more by failing domestic politics as by America's long-term policy to control Middle East energy resources. But given that the U.S. has malgre lui constructed a vast self-conscious Shi'ite region (Iran, Iraq, and the oil-producing parts of Saudi Arabia) that is at once in possession of most of the world's oil and hostile to the U.S., a further attempt to control it in this fashion may recommend itself.

Remember that the U.S. doesn't need Mideast oil for its own consumption (one reason that Bush's comments on it in the SOTU speech were so odd), but has for decades insisted on control of it as a way to control its major economic rivals, Europe and northeast Asia. The U.S. will not easily give up control of the spigot. And Khuzestan may be the handle of the spigot.

Carl G. Estabrook is a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois. He can be reached at: galliher@uiuc.edu

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Mike Kress: The Urgency of Now: Stopping the War on Iran:

We have…come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” - Martin Luther King Jr., Aug. 28, 1963

By Mike Kress

02/10/06 "ICH" -- -- “Last winter, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter revealed that George Bush asked for an Iran war plan ready to use by June of 2005. Seymour Hersh, writing for the New Yorker, has reported for some time about US covert operations in Iran. Today we are told that war in Iran is inevitable by the same observers who warned us about the cooked-up war in Iraq.

Evidently, the neo-conservatives who control the US government decided to wage war against Iran long ago.

Now that International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed El Baradei says that Iran isn’t cooperating fully with IAEA inspectors, the neo-cons will use their tool at the UN, Ambassador John Bolton, to help create an international crisis and thereby justify attacks on Iran. Though there’s no evidence to prove that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, Iran’s refusal to halt its lawful nuclear programs will become the pretext for America’s next unnecessary war.

Again, the mainstream sources that most Americans use to get their information will not investigate the facts or give equal time to critics, and the smoke and mirrors of the Bush administration will dominate the debate. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, in the absence of just cause the consent for war will be manufactured.

It now falls upon people of conscience to create and organize a mass movement of nationwide non-violent resistance – in the spirit of Dr. King and Mohandas K. Gandhi – that will stop the war before it starts. At the rate the White House rhetoric is beginning to boil, this movement must start now and swing into full action by the early days of March.

The only way to stop another senseless and unnecessary war is with a mass movement rooted in a moral strategy that brings people together. This movement must also earn the sympathy and trust of those who are undecided about the necessity of another Middle East war. Forget traditional protest rallies – 200,000 people crowding the Capitol Mall make no difference. Large marches that don’t influence the nation’s decision makers will only increase people’s cynicism, as well as the atmosphere of inevitability that the neo-cons wish to create.

Without a moral and unifying strategy that spells out specific non-violent tactics to achieve our goal, the power elite and the corporate media will ignore or marginalize our efforts. Remember the moral claims for justice and the appeals to America’s founding ideals during the civil rights movement, and you’ll understand the type of strategy we need today. Think of the Montgomery bus boycott, the Freedom Rides, and Gandhi’s march to the sea for salt, and you will have inspiration for the actions necessary to stop the march to war.

The leaders of every organization that opposed the Iraq war must reconnect today and formulate a sustained campaign of militant non-violent action that everyone can follow tomorrow. Peace, justice, religious, and human rights leaders must gather and articulate a path to preventing war that people believe is effective – not because that path is safe, but because that path is righteous and they are inspired to overcome their fears.

This path must be part of a moral vision that appeals to the emotions and values of every citizen. Using communication techniques put forth by thinkers such as George Lakoff, we must revive the “revolution of values” that Dr. King called for in his 1967 speech at Riverside Church. In the words of King: “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Simply debating facts will not prevent war.

People for peace must speak with their mouths, pens, keyboards, and bodies against another war for empire. We must push our peace and justice leaders to act. We must work around the corporate media to spread our message. We must tell our elected officials that they will not receive money or votes if they sell their souls for the neo-conservative agenda. We must take risks, and we must welcome the metaphorical stones and arrows of the warmongers, knowing in our hearts that we were right about the last war and that we act today with our consciences clear.

Innocent Iranians, our children, our military, and all the world waits for us to wrest America’s destiny from the hands of the warlords. There is no time to waste. Gradualism is a luxury we cannot afford. The architects of the war against Iran have a head start – but we can prevail if we put our demands for peace into action.

Mike Kress is a Persian Gulf veteran who left the Air Force as a conscientious objector. He served as vice-chair of the Spokane Human Rights Commission and is a member of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (www.pjals.org). He also produces and hosts “Take The Power Back” for KYRS FM www.kyrs.org Comments welcome at takethepowerback@kyrs.org

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Italy may put CIA agents on trial in absentia :

Milan prosecutors expect to launch procedures within a month that could put 22 CIA agents accused of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in Milan on trial in absentia, a senior judicial source said.

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Architects threaten to boycott Israel over 'apartheid' barrier :

A group including some of Britain's most prominent architects is considering calling for an economic boycott of Israel's construction industry in protest at the building of Israeli settlements and the separation barrier in the Occupied Territories.

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A must read: The New Robber Barons:

By Peter Rost

02/10/06 "ICH" -- -- The U.S. Department of Labor claims we have an unemployment rate of 4.9% [1]. According to "the Economist, however, the true unemployment rate in the U.S. is over 8%, or 12.6 million Americans [2]. The difference is due to the fact that the U.S. Government doesn,t count people as unemployed after six months without a job [3].

I recently joined the ranks of our many unemployed citizens. The termination of my employment as a Vice President at Pfizer was subject to intense media interest [4], partly due to the fact that Pfizer notified the press before they informed me.

Contrary to press reports, however, I have received no severance payments and for the first time in my life I am eligible for unemployment benefits; $13,078 [5]. At this annual income level my family of four would actually fall below the federal poverty level [6]; quite a difference from a year ago when my salary was over half a million [7].

I,m also uninsured for the first time in my life and I have to pay the full price for drugs, just like 67 million other uninsured Americans [8]. Contrary to many others, however, I do have a choice. In accordance with federal COBRA law, I was offered the opportunity to continue my health care coverage for 18 months. There was only one hitch; I had to pay $15,269 per year to receive this benefit [9]. I decided that with an income of $13,078 that didn,t make sense.

Clearly the system we have today isn,t just broke. The system is utterly and completely sick and our weakest citizens are paying the price, every day. And while I have belatedly been forced to share some of the experiences of our poor, uninsured, and unemployed, my situation doesn,t even start to compare with people with no resources, no voice, nowhere to go and no one who listens to them. For those citizens we have something that,s called the Government; a government that is supposed to look out for the people who can,t look out for themselves, but instead focuses on "pay to play money.

Today,s system is built on greed. Greed is defined as an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than someone needs or deserves. Greed is not a corporate executive who builds an organization such as Microsoft, creates a lot of jobs, and happens to get rich. Greed is to become CEO for a drug company such as Pfizer, be responsible for a stock price drop of 40% over his five year tenure, twice as much as the AMEX Pharmaceutical Index [10], secure a $100 million retirement package [11] while firing 16,385 Pharmacia and Pfizer employees [12], and get a 72% pay increase to $16.6 million as his reward [13].

According to the New York Times average worker pay has remained flat since 1990 at around $27,000, after adjusting for inflation, while CEO compensation has quadrupled, from $2.82 million to $11.8 million [14]. Our CEO,s are in a position in which they can basically use public companies as personal piggy banks. And this is perfectly legal as long as they get someone else to sign their check. Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage has remained at $5.15 an hour since September 1, 1997. In fact, after adjusting for inflation, the value of the minimum wage is at its second lowest level since 1955 [15].

At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry spends over $100 million on lobbying activities to stop lower drug prices, according to the Center for Public Integrity. There are 1,274 registered pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and during the 2004 election cycle, the drug industry contributed $1 million to President Bush [16]. For an industry that makes $500 billion on a global basis [17], spending one million on a president or $100 million on lobbying is pocket change.

This money was well spent. It stopped legalized import of cheaper drugs and instead we got a new Medicare drug program. This $720 billion law includes $139 billion in profits to drug manufactures and $46 billion in subsidies to HMOs and private insurance plans [18]. The program has been such a disaster for our poor that at least twenty-four states have enacted emergency measures to ensure access to medications in the last couple of weeks [19]. That,s what a million dollars buys in Washington.

So how could this happen? The answer is simple. The American democracy has been stolen by our new class of Robber Barons"the CEO,s of our big corporations. A political system dependent on charity from rich men in hand-tailored suits with $100 million retirement packages is no democracy. It is a kleptocracy [20]. It is not what our founding fathers envisioned.

But we have the power to change this; to free our corporations from sticky-fingered CEO,s, to free our elected representatives from "pay to play money and to free our people from all these tyrants. We have the power to be free, at last.

Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Vice President for the drug company Pfizer. He first became well known in 2004 when he started to speak out in favor of reimportation of drugs and lower drug price.

His e-mail is rostpeter@hotmail.com.

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Robert Scheer.: Bush's War On The Poor:

Where would the Bush Administration be without terrorism? Like the Cold War before it, the "war on terror" is a conveniently sweeping rationale for all manner of irrational governance, such as the outrageous $2.77 trillion budget the President proposed to Congress on Monday.

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Programs Bush Wants to Cut or Kill :

A list of the 141 programs that President Bush proposed to eliminate or cut in his 2007 budget

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Bush's Budget Cuts Elderly Nutrition Plan

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Yahoo the whistleblower: Internet giant gave China details of writer:

[February 10, 2006]

(Daily Mail Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)INTERNET firm Yahoo was last night accused of caving in to China's secret police in the interests of profits.

The search engine supplied Beijing with the web and email details of a writer who was subsequently jailed for eight years for 'subverting state power', it emerged.

Li Zhin's only crimes were to write an online article criticising corruption among local government officials and to fill in an application to join the dissident China Democracy Party - a stern critic of the communist authorities.

Yesterday, a respected international media watchdog claimed that Mr Li, a 35-year- old former civil servant, could not have been jailed without Yahoo's cooperation with Chinese public security agents.

The group Reporters Without Borders said 81 journalists and authors are in prison in China for criticising the government as they try to lift the bamboo curtain on the Internet.

They include 37-year-old journalist Shi Tao, who was jailed for ten years last April for 'divulging state secrets abroad'.

Mr Shi, who worked for Beijing's Contemporary Business News, emailed newspapers and television stations around the world the text of a government message sent to Chinese newspaper editors warning them not to report demonstrations on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The latest Yahoo revelation came a week after Google was caught in the middle of a free speech row after it was revealed that it colluded with Chinese authorities to censor access to the Internet. The world's two biggest search engines, who both have their Chinese language operations based in Hong Kong, deny access to websites which the communist government deems unsuitable.

Rapidly-expanding China is the second-biggest Internet market in the world after the U.S.

Yahoo last year earned GBP 1.15billion. Google earned less - GBP 800million - but is growing so fast that its market value of GBP68billion is twice as big as Yahoo's.

Critics accused both web companies of betraying the Internet's principles of freedom of information and expression in favour of potential profits in the Far East.

Reporters Without Borders said: 'We were sure the case of Shi Tao, who was jailed on the basis of Yahoo-supplied data, was not the only one.

'Now we know Yahoo works regularly and efficiently with the Chinese police.

'The firm says it simply responds to requests from the authorities for data without ever knowing what it will be used for. But this argument no longer holds water.

'Yahoo certainly knew it was helping to arrest political dissidents and journalists, not just ordinary criminals.

'The company must answer for what it is doing.' Yahoo and Google have been invited to attend a U.S. Congressional-hearing nextWednesday into the ethical responsibilities of Internet firms.

Yahoo spokesman Mary Osako said the company was looking into the allegations.

She said: 'Governments are not required to inform service providers why they are seeking certain information and typically do not do so.' She added that Yahoo believes the Internet has a positive influence in China by opening the country to outside influences.

In December, Microsoft shut down a blog (an online diary) at MSN Spaces on Chinese government orders.

China is also trying to limit what news its 1.3billion inhabitants can access. A notice issued to Chineselanguage websites by the Beijing Internet Propaganda Management Office this week listed media sites it said were carrying unlawful information.

It warned: 'Do not use what they report on political news.' Several editors have been sacked for ignoring the edict.


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A picture is worth a thousands words.

A picture is worth a thousands words.


I Never did have my picture taken with Abramoff

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President Bush Forever!

The National Guard honored President Bush with a life-size bust at a gala ceremony in Washington, DC on Thursday. And what's the bronze Bush wearing?

A flight suit.

But that's not the scary part. Notice the inscription on the marble pedestal.

The inscription noting the duration of Bush's presidential term doesn't read "2001-2009." It reads "2001-BLANK." In other words, the statue says he's going to be president from 2001 through infinity! Everyone knows that Bush is supposed to leave office in January of 2009. No mystery. No uncertainty. The 22nd Amendment makes it so. It's the law. No gray area.

Or is there?

I knew this would slip out somehow, but I never thought the leak would come from a statue. Is someone at the National Guard trying to warn us? Does President Bush plan to use his Executive authority under his wartime powers to cancel the 2008 election because a change in leadership here might embolden the terrorists? The statue says 'yes.'
Go to the White House website and confirm that I didn't Photoshop a damn thing. It's absolutely real.



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Intel pros say Bush is lying about foiling 2002 terror attack:

Outraged intelligence professionals say President George W. Bush is "cheapening" and "politicizing" their work with claims the United States foiled a planned terrorist attack against Los Angeles in 2002.

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First of many?:

UK: Lib Dems pull off stunning victory in Brown's backyard:

GORDON BROWN was dealt a major blow to his credibility as the next Prime Minister when the Liberal Democrats sensationally captured the constituency where the Chancellor has his home in a shock by-election result early this morning.

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Your An Asshole

Your An Asshole

A short informational filmstrip about the current U.S.

Administration. If the word 'asshole' offends,

substitute the word 'fascist.'"

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Euro factor to the Iran ‘crisis’

By Finian Cunningham

02/10/06 "ICH" -- -- The referral of Iran to the UN Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency is not a step towards resolving the presumed nuclear problem between that country and the ‘international community’. It is a step towards further confrontation, with the deliberate intention by the US-UK axis to provide political cover for its real aim: subjugation of Iran.

This is phase three of the Anglo-American ‘war on terror’ which, deciphered from its Orwellian doublespeak and put into intelligible language, means the ongoing Anglo-American war of aggression on humanity.

The truly worrying thing is that such are the contradictions between the reckless fantasies of Anglo-American neo-imperialism and the limits of its own power that the warmongers may be tempted to actually trigger the very outcome they say they are trying to prevent: a nuclear conflagration.

First of all, let us dispel the latest smokescreen from the IAEA. Iran is being reported to the UN Security Council for alleged breaches of IAEA protocols. But these protocols, such as research into the enrichment of uranium, were only ever put in place by Iran on a voluntary basis. How can someone be in breach of something that they put forward in a non-binding, voluntary capacity? Besides, the ongoing IAEA arrangement was part of a quid pro quo in which the EU-3, Britain, France, Germany, would in return for Iran’s cooperation provide specific economic incentives and safeguards concerning Iran’s national security.

But as seasoned observer of non-proliferation issues Selig Harrison said: "The EU, held back by the US, has failed to honour this bargain."

The recommencement of uranium enrichment is Iran’s sovereign prerogative. And the plain truth is that Iran has and will be doing nothing outside of the only legally binding statute governing the issue, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which grants all signatory nations an "inalienable right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful, energy purposes," as already pointed out in this newspaper recently by Ghani Jafar.

For two years Iran has been negotiating with the EU-3 over its nuclear programme. Iran’s considerable petroleum and gas reserves are nevertheless finite and like every other fuel supplier the country may indeed have reached ‘Peak’ — the technical term the oil industry uses to mean final reserves — lasting perhaps another two decades. Iran has been prudently making the transition to an alternative energy source - nuclear. (In the same way as US President George Bush urged his country during his State of the Union speech last week!)

Iran has always said that its nuclear programme is about civilian use of energy. Despite allowing the IAEA unprecedented access to its nuclear facilities, and the IAEA not being able to find any evidence of clandestine nuclear weapons production, the same sinister allegations and suspicions of ‘nuclear ambitions’ are relentlessly thrown at Iran by the US and EU.

Several real initiatives put forward by Iran in its efforts to resolve the latest diplomatic ‘impasse’ and head off a referral to the UN Security Council were haughtily dismissed by the EU-3 as "nothing new". And calls for further dialogue by the Iranian foreign minister were rebuffed. It must be said that Britain has taken the lead in adopting this intransigent attitude by the EU troika. Days before the IAEA ruling, British Prime Minister Tony Blair told his parliament that "not only has Iran breached its international nuclear obligations but it is exporting terrorism around the world."

Clearly this is a soft cop, hard cop routine. There was never any intention of a reasonable, diplomatic ‘solution’. The real intention was to set up an appearance of a diplomatic process, which could then be presented as tried, exhausted and failed. Now, it’s over to the hard cop.

Just like phase one and two of the Anglo-American war on humanity in which Afghanistan and Iraq were placed in the firing lines, there were similar attempts to create a diplomatic faÁade. But all the while, the troops were being readied, the tanks cranked up and the bombers loaded. It is to their Machiavellian credit that the Anglo-Americans appear to have now managed to get the French, Germans, Chinese and Russians on board. We are still some way off the trigger of aggression and these last four mentioned may have no intention of going all the way of endorsing Security Council sanctions. But as we have seen with Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington and London didn’t need UN sanctions to launch into aggression; they just need to create a false sense of crisis in world security. This same process is now happening once again.

The collision course with Iran is a central aim of the Project for the New American Century, the real manifesto for which Bush was elected. This geopolitical strategy for full-spectrum dominance has already taken considerable shape, with US-British military penetration into vast areas of the critical energy territories in Western and Central Asia. Iran being the second-largest source of petroleum and gas is obviously a prize even bigger than Iraq. Its strategic importance is underlined by Iran’s existing and potential geopolitical connections to Pakistan, India, China and Russia.

There’s also a revenge factor. Since the Americans and British were kicked out of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 after more than two decades of a cosy arrangement with their brutal client, the Shah, there would be, for them, the immense satisfaction of ‘imperial recovery’.

But here’s the real trigger for a military attack on Iran. It’s Iran’s intention to challenge the all-dominant US petrodollar oil trade by setting up a rival euro oil market.

Many political commentators have pointed out that the deficit-ridden US and British economies have only been able to continue their unsustainable ways because the US dollar enjoys the artificial privilege of being the world’s reserve currency. The world’s two existing oil markets, the NYMEX in New York and the International Petroleum Exchange in London, both owned by US capital, insist on all oil transactions being conducted in US dollars. For this reason, all countries must have substantial reserves of dollars to ensure vital supplies of fuel energy. This means that the US economy can go on accumulating stratospheric debts because they can just keep printing more dollars, knowing that the rest of the world will have to take them in order to keep their oil supplies coming.

American political analyst Mike Whitney points out that the US is now running a total debt of $8 trillion, which makes it by far the world’s biggest economic basket case.

Whitney said: "America’s currency monopoly is the perfect pyramid scheme. As long as nations are forced to buy oil in dollars, the US can continue its profligate spending with impunity. The only threat to this strategy is the prospect of competition from an independent oil exchange, forcing the faltering dollar to go nose to nose with more stable, debt-free currencies such as the euro.

"That would compel central banks to diversify their currency holdings, sending billions of dollars back to America and ensuring a devastating economic crash."

Iran has already given notice to the world that it intends opening this new euro oil market next month. With the devastating blow that this move will cause to the US-British economies, we can expect Washington and Britain to precipitate a pre-emptive confrontation with Iran over its ‘nuclear ambitions’ and ‘threats’, using poor little (nuclear-armed-to-the-teeth) Israel as a proxy.

The profoundly disturbing contradiction is this: the Anglo-American neo-imperialists need to subjugate Iran for economic survival, yet their conventional military resources are pinned down in overstretched geopolitical adventures. The Anglo-American war on humanity could thus reach new depths of illegality and depravity, through the unleashing of nuclear weapons.

The writer is a newspaper journalist based in Dublin. Ireland

Email: finianpcunningham@yahoo.ie Link Here

In case you missed it:

Petrodollar Warfare: Dollars, Euros and the Upcoming Iranian Oil Bourse:

This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous...Having said that, all options are on the table."
-- President George W. Bush, February 2005

By William R. Clark

08/08/05 "MM" -- -- Contemporary warfare has traditionally involved underlying conflicts regarding economics and resources. Today these intertwined conflicts also involve international currencies, and thus increased complexity. Current geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran extend beyond the publicly stated concerns regarding Iran's nuclear intentions, and likely include a proposed Iranian "petroeuro" system for oil trade. Similar to the Iraq war, military operations against Iran relate to the macroeconomics of 'petrodollar recycling' and the unpublicized but real challenge to U.S. dollar supremacy from the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.

It is now obvious the invasion of Iraq had less to do with any threat from Saddam's long-gone WMD program and certainly less to do to do with fighting International terrorism than it has to do with gaining strategic control over Iraq's hydrocarbon reserves and in doing so maintain the U.S. dollar as the monopoly currency for the critical international oil market. Throughout 2004 information provided by former administration insiders revealed the Bush/Cheney administration entered into office with the intention of toppling Saddam.[1][2] Candidly stated, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' was a war designed to install a pro-U.S. government in Iraq, establish multiple U.S military bases before the onset of global Peak Oil, and to reconvert Iraq back to petrodollars while hoping to thwart further OPEC momentum towards the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency ( i.e. "petroeuro").[3] However, subsequent geopolitical events have exposed neoconservative strategy as fundamentally flawed, with Iran moving towards a petroeuro system for international oil trades, while Russia evaluates this option with the European Union.

In 2003 the global community witnessed a combination of petrodollar warfare and oil depletion warfare. The majority of the world's governments – especially the E.U., Russia and China – were not amused – and neither are the U.S. soldiers who are currently stationed inside a hostile Iraq. In 2002 I wrote an award-winning online essay that asserted Saddam Hussein sealed his fate when he announced on September 2000 that Iraq was no longer going to accept dollars for oil being sold under the UN's Oil-for-Food program, and decided to switch to the euro as Iraq's oil export currency.[4] Indeed, my original pre-war hypothesis was validated in a Financial Times article dated June 5, 2003, which confirmed Iraqi oil sales returning to the international markets were once again denominated in U.S. dollars – not euros.

The tender, for which bids are due by June 10, switches the transaction back to dollars -- the international currency of oil sales - despite the greenback's recent fall in value. Saddam Hussein in 2000 insisted Iraq's oil be sold for euros, a political move, but one that improved Iraq's recent earnings thanks to the rise in the value of the euro against the dollar. [5]

The Bush administration implemented this currency transition despite the adverse impact on profits from Iraqi's export oil sales.[6] (In mid-2003 the euro was valued approx. 13% higher than the dollar, and thus significantly impacted the ability of future oil proceeds to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure). Not surprisingly, this detail has never been mentioned in the five U.S. major media conglomerates who control 90% of information flow in the U.S., but confirmation of this vital fact provides insight into one of the crucial – yet overlooked – rationales for 2003 the Iraq war.

Concerning Iran, recent articles have revealed active Pentagon planning for operations against its suspected nuclear facilities. While the publicly stated reasons for any such overt action will be premised as a consequence of Iran's nuclear ambitions, there are again unspoken macroeconomic drivers underlying the second stage of petrodollar warfare – Iran's upcoming oil bourse. (The word bourse refers to a stock exchange for securities trading, and is derived from the French stock exchange in Paris, the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs.)

In essence, Iran is about to commit a far greater "offense" than Saddam Hussein's conversion to the euro for Iraq's oil exports in the fall of 2000. Beginning in March 2006, the Tehran government has plans to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades – using a euro-based international oil-trading mechanism.[7] The proposed Iranian oil bourse signifies that without some sort of US intervention, the euro is going to establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade. Given U.S. debt levels and the stated neoconservative project of U.S. global domination, Tehran's objective constitutes an obvious encroachment on dollar supremacy in the crucial international oil market.

From the autumn of 2004 through August 2005, numerous leaks by concerned Pentagon employees have revealed that the neoconservatives in Washington are quietly – but actively – planning for a possible attack against Iran. In September 2004 Newsweek reported:

Deep in the Pentagon, admirals and generals are updating plans for possible U.S. military action in Syria and Iran. The Defense Department unit responsible for military planning for the two troublesome countries is "busier than ever," an administration official says. Some Bush advisers characterize the work as merely an effort to revise routine plans the Pentagon maintains for all contingencies in light of the Iraq war. More skittish bureaucrats say the updates are accompanied by a revived campaign by administration conservatives and neocons for more hard-line U.S. policies toward the countries…'

…administration hawks are pinning their hopes on regime change in Tehran – by covert means, preferably, but by force of arms if necessary. Papers on the idea have circulated inside the administration, mostly labeled "draft" or "working draft" to evade congressional subpoena powers and the Freedom of Information Act. Informed sources say the memos echo the administration's abortive Iraq strategy: oust the existing regime, swiftly install a pro-U.S. government in its place (extracting the new regime's promise to renounce any nuclear ambitions) and get out. This daredevil scheme horrifies U.S. military leaders, and there's no evidence that it has won any backers at the cabinet level. [8]

Indeed, there are good reasons for U.S. military commanders to be 'horrified' at the prospects of attacking Iran. In the December 2004 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows reported that numerous high-level war-gaming sessions had recently been completed by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel who has run war games at the National War College for the past two decades.[9] Col. Gardiner summarized the outcome of these war games with this statement, "After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers: You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work." Despite Col. Gardiner's warnings, yet another story appeared in early 2005 that reiterated this administration's intentions towards Iran. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's article in The New Yorker included interviews with various high-level U.S. intelligence sources. Hersh wrote:

In my interviews [with former high-level intelligence officials], I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. Everyone is saying, 'You can't be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,' the former [CIA] intelligence official told me. But the [Bush administration officials] say, 'We've got some lessons learned – not militarily, but how we did it politically. We're not going to rely on agency pissants.' No loose ends, and that's why the C.I.A. is out of there. [10]

The most recent, and by far the most troubling, was an article in The American Conservative by intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi. His article, "In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran," suggested the resurrection of active U.S. military planning against Iran – but with the shocking disclosure that in the event of another 9/11-type terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Vice President Dick Cheney's office wants the Pentagon to be prepared to launch a potential tactical nuclear attack on Iran – even if the Iranian government was not involved with any such terrorist attack against the U.S.:

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing – that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack – but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections. [11]

Why would the Vice President instruct the U.S. military to prepare plans for what could likely be an unprovoked nuclear attack against Iran? Setting aside the grave moral implications for a moment, it is remarkable to note that during the same week this "nuke Iran" article appeared, the Washington Post reported that the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Iran's nuclear program revealed that, "Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years."[12] This article carefully noted this assessment was a "consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, [and in] contrast with forceful public statements by the White House." The question remains, Why would the Vice President advocate a possible tactical nuclear attack against Iran in the event of another major terrorist attack against the U.S. – even if Tehran was innocent of involvement?

Perhaps one of the answers relates to the same obfuscated reasons why the U.S. launched an unprovoked invasion to topple the Iraq government – macroeconomics and the desperate desire to maintain U.S. economic supremacy. In essence, petrodollar hegemony is eroding, which will ultimately force the U.S. to significantly change its current tax, debt, trade, and energy policies, all of which are severely unbalanced. World oil production is reportedly "flat out," and yet the neoconservatives are apparently willing to undertake huge strategic and tactical risks in the Persian Gulf. Why? Quite simply – their stated goal is U.S. global domination – at any cost.

To date, one of the more difficult technical obstacles concerning a euro-based oil transaction trading system is the lack of a euro-denominated oil pricing standard, or oil 'marker' as it is referred to in the industry. The three current oil markers are U.S. dollar denominated, which include the West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI), Norway Brent crude, and the UAE Dubai crude. However, since the summer of 2003 Iran has required payments in the euro currency for its European and Asian/ACU exports – although the oil pricing these trades was still denominated in the dollar.[13]

Therefore a potentially significant news story was reported in June 2004 announcing Iran's intentions to create of an Iranian oil bourse. This announcement portended competition would arise between the Iranian oil bourse and London's International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), as well as the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). [Both the IPE and NYMEX are owned by U.S. consortium, and operated by an Atlanta-based corporation, IntercontinentalExchange, Inc.]

The macroeconomic implications of a successful Iranian bourse are noteworthy. Considering that in mid-2003 Iran switched its oil payments from E.U. and ACU customers to the euro, and thus it is logical to assume the proposed Iranian bourse will usher in a fourth crude oil marker – denominated in the euro currency. This event would remove the main technical obstacle for a broad-based petroeuro system for international oil trades. From a purely economic and monetary perspective, a petroeuro system is a logical development given that the European Union imports more oil from OPEC producers than does the U.S., and the E.U. accounted for 45% of exports sold to the Middle East. (Following the May 2004 enlargement, this percentage likely increased).

Despite the complete absence of coverage from the five U.S. corporate media conglomerates, these foreign news stories suggest one of the Federal Reserve's nightmares may begin to unfold in the spring of 2006, when it appears that international buyers will have a choice of buying a barrel of oil for $60 dollars on the NYMEX and IPE - or purchase a barrel of oil for €45 - €50 euros via the Iranian Bourse. This assumes the euro maintains its current 20-25% appreciated value relative to the dollar – and assumes that some sort of US "intervention" is not launched against Iran. The upcoming bourse will introduce petrodollar versus petroeuro currency hedging, and fundamentally new dynamics to the biggest market in the world - global oil and gas trades. In essence, the U.S. will no longer be able to effortlessly expand credit via U.S. Treasury bills, and the dollar's demand/liquidity value will fall.

It is unclear at the time of writing if this project will be successful, or could it prompt overt or covert U.S. interventions – thereby signaling the second phase of petrodollar warfare in the Middle East. Regardless of the potential U.S. response to an Iranian petroeuro system, the emergence of an oil exchange market in the Middle East is not entirely surprising given the domestic peaking and decline of oil exports in the U.S. and U.K, in comparison to the remaining oil reserves in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. What we are witnessing is a battle for oil currency supremacy. If Iran's oil bourse becomes a successful alternative for international oil trades, it would challenge the hegemony currently enjoyed by the financial centers in both London (IPE) and New York (NYMEX), a factor not overlooked in the following (UK) Guardian article:

Iran is to launch an oil trading market for Middle East and Opec producers that could threaten the supremacy of London's International Petroleum Exchange.

…Some industry experts have warned the Iranians and other OPEC producers that western exchanges are controlled by big financial and oil corporations, which have a vested interest in market volatility. [emphasis added]

The IPE, bought in 2001 by a consortium that includes BP, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, was unwilling to discuss the Iranian move yesterday. "We would not have any comment to make on it at this stage," said an IPE spokeswoman. [14]

During an important speech in April 2002, Mr. Javad Yarjani, an OPEC executive, described three pivotal events that would facilitate an OPEC transition to euros.[15] He stated this would be based on (1) if and when Norway's Brent crude is re-dominated in euros, (2) if and when the U.K. adopts the euro, and (3) whether or not the euro gains parity valuation relative to the dollar, and the EU's proposed expansion plans were successful. Notably, both of the later two criteria have transpired: the euro's valuation has been above the dollar since late 2002, and the euro-based E.U. enlarged in May 2004 from 12 to 22 countries. Despite recent "no" votes by French and Dutch voters regarding a common E.U. Constitution, from a macroeconomic perspective, these domestic disagreements do no reduce the euro currency's trajectory in the global financial markets – and from Russia and OPEC's perspective – do not adversely impact momentum towards a petroeuro. In the meantime, the U.K. remains uncomfortably juxtaposed between the financial interests of the U.S. banking nexus (New York/Washington) and the E.U. financial centers (Paris/Frankfurt).

The most recent news reports indicate the oil bourse will start trading on March 20, 2006, coinciding with the Iranian New Year.[16] The implementation of the proposed Iranian oil Bourse – if successful in utilizing the euro as its oil transaction currency standard – essentially negates the previous two criteria as described by Mr. Yarjani regarding the solidification of a petroeuro system for international oil trades. It should also be noted that throughout 2003-2004 both Russia and China significantly increased their central bank holdings of the euro, which appears to be a coordinated move to facilitate the anticipated ascendance of the euro as a second World Reserve Currency. [17] [18] China's announcement in July 2005 that is was re-valuing the yuan/RNB was not nearly as important as its decision to divorce itself form a U.S. dollar peg by moving towards a "basket of currencies" – likely to include the yen, euro, and dollar.[19] Additionally, the Chinese re-valuation immediately lowered their monthly imported "oil bill" by 2%, given that oil trades are still priced in dollars, but it is unclear how much longer this monopoly arrangement will last.

Furthermore, the geopolitical stakes for the Bush administration were raised dramatically on October 28, 2004, when Iran and China signed a huge oil and gas trade agreement (valued between $70 - $100 billion dollars.) [20] It should also be noted that China currently receives 13% of its oil imports from Iran. In the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, the U.S.-administered Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) nullified previous oil lease contracts from 1997-2002 that France, Russia, China and other nations had established under the Saddam regime. The nullification of these contracts worth a reported $1.1 trillion created political tensions between the U.S and the European Union, Russia and China. The Chinese government may fear the same fate awaits their oil investments in Iran if the U.S. were able to attack and topple the Tehran government. Despite U.S. desires to enforce petrodollar hegemony, the geopolitical risks of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would surely create a serious crisis between Washington and Beijing.

It is increasingly clear that a confrontation and possible war with Iran may transpire during the second Bush term. Clearly, there are numerous tactical risks regarding neoconservative strategy towards Iran. First, unlike Iraq, Iran has a robust military capability. Secondly, a repeat of any "Shock and Awe" tactics is not advisable given that Iran has installed sophisticated anti-ship missiles on the Island of Abu Musa, and therefore controls the critical Strait of Hormuz – where all of the Persian Gulf bound oil tankers must pass.[22] The immediate question for Americans? Will the neoconservatives attempt to intervene covertly and/or overtly in Iran during 2005 or 2006 in a desperate effort to prevent the initiation of euro-denominated international crude oil sales? Commentators in India are quite correct in their assessment that a U.S. intervention in Iran is likely to prove disastrous for the United States, making matters much worse regarding international terrorism, not to the mention potential effects on the U.S. economy.

…If it [ U.S.] intervenes again, it is absolutely certain it will not be able to improve the situation…There is a better way, as the constructive engagement of Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has shown...Iran is obviously a more complex case than Libya, because power resides in the clergy, and Iran has not been entirely transparent about its nuclear programme, but the sensible way is to take it gently, and nudge it to moderation. Regime change will only worsen global Islamist terror, and in any case, Saudi Arabia is a fitter case for democratic intervention, if at all. [21]

A successful Iranian bourse will solidify the petroeuro as an alternative oil transaction currency, and thereby end the petrodollar's hegemonic status as the monopoly oil currency. Therefore, a graduated approach is needed to avoid precipitous U.S. economic dislocations. Multilateral compromise with the EU and OPEC regarding oil currency is certainly preferable to an 'Operation Iranian Freedom,' or perhaps another CIA-backed coup such as operation "Ajax" from 1953. Despite the impressive power of the U.S. military, and the ability of our intelligence agencies to facilitate 'interventions,' it would be perilous and possibly ruinous for the U.S. to intervene in Iran given the dire situation in Iraq. The Monterey Institute of International Studies warned of the possible consequences of a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities:

An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities…could have various adverse effects on U.S. interests in the Middle East and the world. Most important, in the absence of evidence of an Iranian illegal nuclear program, an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by the U.S. or Israel would be likely to strengthen Iran's international stature and reduce the threat of international sanctions against Iran. [23]


It is not yet clear if a U.S. military expedition will occur in a desperate attempt to maintain petrodollar supremacy. Regardless of the recent National Intelligence Estimate that down-played Iran's potential nuclear weapons program, it appears increasingly likely the Bush administration may use the specter of nuclear weapon proliferation as a pretext for an intervention, similar to the fears invoked in the previous WMD campaign regarding Iraq. If recent stories are correct regarding Cheney's plan to possibly use a another 9/11 terrorist attack as the pretext or casus belli for a U.S. aerial attack against Iran, this would confirm the Bush administration is prepared to undertake a desperate military strategy to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, while simultaneously attempting to prevent the Iranian oil Bourse from initiating a euro-based system for oil trades.

However, as members of the U.N. Security Council; China, Russia and E.U. nations such as France and Germany would likely veto any U.S.-sponsored U.N. Security Resolution calling the use of force without solid proof of Iranian culpability in a major terrorist attack. A unilateral U.S. military strike on Iran would isolate the U.S. government in the eyes of the world community, and it is conceivable that such an overt action could provoke other industrialized nations to strategically abandon the dollar en masse. Indeed, such an event would create pressure for OPEC or Russia to move towards a petroeuro system in an effort to cripple the U.S. economy and its global military presence. I refer to this in my book as the "rogue nation hypothesis."

While central bankers throughout the world community would be extremely reluctant to 'dump the dollar,' the reasons for any such drastic reaction are likely straightforward from their perspective – the global community is dependent on the oil and gas energy supplies found in the Persian Gulf. Hence, industrialized nations would likely move in tandem on the currency exchange markets in an effort to thwart the neoconservatives from pursuing their desperate strategy of dominating the world's largest hydrocarbon energy supply. Any such efforts that resulted in a dollar currency crisis would be undertaken – not to cripple the U.S. dollar and economy as punishment towards the American people per se – but rather to thwart further unilateral warfare and its potentially destructive effects on the critical oil production and shipping infrastructure in the Persian Gulf. Barring a U.S. attack, it appears imminent that Iran's euro-denominated oil bourse will open in March 2006. Logically, the most appropriate U.S. strategy is compromise with the E.U. and OPEC towards a dual-currency system for international oil trades.

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes...known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few…No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
-- James Madison, Political Observations, 1795


[1]. Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O' Neill, Simon & Schuster publishers (2004)

[2]. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, Free Press (2004)

[3]. William Clark, "Revisited - The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War with Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth," January 2003 (updated January 2004)

[4]. Peter Philips, Censored 2004, The Top 25 Censored News Stories, Seven Stories Press, (2003) General website for Project Censored: http://www.projectcensored.org/
Story #19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq

[5]. Carol Hoyos and Kevin Morrison, "Iraq returns to the international oil market," Financial Times, June 5, 2003

[6]. Faisal Islam, "Iraq nets handsome profit by dumping dollar for euro," [UK] Guardian, February 16, 2003

[7]. "Oil bourse closer to reality," IranMania.com, December 28, 2004. Also see: "Iran oil bourse wins authorization," Tehran Times, July 26, 2005

[8]. "War-Gaming the Mullahs: The U.S. weighs the price of a pre-emptive strike," Newsweek, September 27 issue, 2004. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6039135/site/newsweek/

[9]. James Fallows, 'Will Iran be Next?,' Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, pgs. 97 – 110

[10]. Seymour Hersh, "The Coming Wars," The New Yorker, January 24th – 31st issue, 2005, pgs. 40-47 Posted online January 17, 2005. Online: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050124fa_fact

[11]. Philip Giraldi, "In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran," American Conservative, August 1, 2005

[12]. Dafina Linzer, "Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb U.S. Intelligence Review Contrasts With Administration Statements," Washington Post, August 2, 2005; Page A01

[13]. C. Shivkumar, "Iran offers oil to Asian union on easier terms," The Hindu Business Line (June 16, ` 2003). http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/bline/2003/06/17/stories/

[14]. Terry Macalister, "Iran takes on west's control of oil trading," The [UK] Guardian, June 16, 2004

[15]. "The Choice of Currency for the Denomination of the Oil Bill," Speech given by Javad Yarjani, Head of OPEC's Petroleum Market Analysis Dept, on The International Role of the Euro (Invited by the Spanish Minister of Economic Affairs during Spain's Presidency of the EU) (April 14, 2002, Oviedo, Spain)

[16]. "Iran's oil bourse expects to start by early 2006," Reuters, October 5, 2004 http://www.iranoilgas.com

[17]. "Russia shifts to euro as foreign currency reserves soar," AFP, June 9, 2003

[18]. "China to diversify foreign exchange reserves," China Business Weekly, May 8, 2004

[19]. Richard S. Appel, "The Repercussions from the Yuan's Revaluation," kitco.com, July 27, 2005

[20]. China, Iran sign biggest oil & gas deal,' China Daily, October 31, 2004. Online: Online: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-10/31/content_387140.htm

[21]. "Terror & regime change: Any US invasion of Iran will have terrible consequences," News Insight: Public Affairs Magazine, June 11, 2004 http://www.indiareacts.com/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=908&ctg=World

[22]. Analysis of Abu Musa Island, www.globalsecurity.org

[23]. Sammy Salama and Karen Ruster, "A Preemptive Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities: Possible Consequences," Monterry Institute of International Studies, August 12, 2004 (updated September 9, 2004) http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/week/040812.htm

by courtesy & © 2005 William R. Clark

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