Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, March 03, 2007

GI Special 5C2: Army Cheating Wounded Troops - March 2, 2007

Thomas F. Barton

...The Army is deliberately shortchanging troops on their disability retirement ratings to hold down costs, according to veterans’ advocates, lawyers and services members, and the Inspector General has identified 87 problems in the system that need fixing. "These people are being systematically underrated," said Ron Smith, deputy general counsel for Disabled American Veterans. "It’s a bureaucratic game to preserve the budget, and it’s having an adverse affect on service members."...

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Malcom Lagauche

In 1995, two U.S. citizens (William Barloon and David Daliberti) were captured inside Iraq. They maintained they lost their way in trying to visit a friend in Kuwait. Both worked for U.S. civilian contractors in Kuwait. The border, at that time, was heavily reinforced with a deep ditch and towering fences on each side. The pair was well inside Iraq and it would have been impossible for them to have accidentally wandered into Iraqi territory. After they were taken to Baghdad, they were tried as spies and received a sentence of eight years in prison (...) On July 17, 1995, Bill Richardson, who is a current candidate for the U.S. presidency, and, at the time a U.S. Congressman, visited Baghdad to try to obtain the release of the pair. Saddam Hussein granted a pardon and allowed them to leave Iraq. Despite the act of goodwill on behalf of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. kept up the barrage of insults toward Iraq. Very few world leaders would have released two convicted spies with nothing to show in return. There were no "thanks, Saddam" messages coming from the U.S. Instead, Iraq received more threats and many denigrating remarks from the person who visited Iraq to secure the release of the two prisoners. In addition, Richardson was a supporter of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq...

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Some Mothers' Daughters - The Silence.

Felicity Arbuthnot

Where are you Cindy Sheehan? On May 12th 2006 you wrote of: 'A Perfect Mother's Day Gift'. You invoked the horror of Julia Ward Howe, who penned the verses of the Battle Hymn of the Republic : '... so horrified at the carnage of the Civil War that she began advocating for a Mothers Day of Peace' , a Proclomation published in 1870. You are engaged by this writing : 'By 1873 , eighteen cities celebrated (the day) ' ... still, today, we have the enduring legacy of Mothers' Day.' (...) Now there is a new meaning to International Womens Day (with the flacid, impotent UN, silent, as ever.) Three women are to be hanged without trial, legal representation, in Iraq around this time. (Democrocy, US/UK style.) Wassam Talib is thirty one and has her three year old with her in prison. Zainab Fadhil is thirty five and Liqa Mohammed (twenty five or twenty six, but around the age of your son, reports differ) is still breast feeding the baby she gave birth to in prison. Reports say they may be executed today - for allegedly aiding the resistance. Since there has been no meaningful trial, who knows? But resisting an illegal invasion (the 'supreme crime' under the Nuremberg rulings, is entirely legitimate.)...

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Congressman: Bush Administration push for privatization

Ron BrynaertPublished: Saturday March 3, 2007

The Bush Administration's drive for privatization may be responsible for the "deplorable" outpatient care for soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, according to a top Democratic Congressman investigating the scandal, which has already led to the resignation of the Secretary of the US Army.
A five-year, $120 million contract awarded to a firm run by a former executive from Halliburton – a multi-national corporation where Vice President Dick Cheney once served as CEO – will be probed at a Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs hearing scheduled for Monday.
A letter sent by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to Major General George W. Weightman, the former commander at Walter Reed, asks him to "address the implications of a memorandum from Garrison Commander Peter Garibaldi sent through you to Colonel Daryl Spencer, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Resource Management with the U.S. Army Medical Command" in order to better prepare himself for his testimony at the hearing.
"This memorandum, which we understand was written in September 2006, describes how the Army's decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was causing an exodus of 'highly skilled and experienced personnel,'" Waxman's letter continues. "As a result, according to the memorandum, 'WRAMC Base Operations and patient care services are at risk of mission failure.'"
Waxman's letter states that "several sources have corroborated key portions of the memorandum."
"We have learned that in January 2006, Walter Reed awarded a five-year $120 million contract to a company called IAP Worldwide Services for base operations support services, including facilities management," Waxman continues. "IAP is one of the companies that experienced problems delivering ice during the response to Hurricane Katrina."
Waxman notes that IAP "is led by Al Neffgen, a former senior Halliburton official who testified before our Committee in July 2004 in defense of Halliburton's exorbitant charges for fuel delivery and troop support in Iraq."
Before the contract, over 300 federal employees provided facilities management services at Walter Reed, according to the memorandum, but that number dropped to less than 60 the day before IAP took over.
"Yet instead of hiring additional personnel, IAP apparently replaced the remaining 60 federal employees with only 50 IAP personnel," Waxman writes.
Waxman adds that "the conditions that have been described are disgraceful," and that the Oversight Committee will "investigate what led to the breakdown in services."
"It would be reprehensible if the deplorable conditions were caused or aggravated by an ideological committment to privatized government services regardless of the costs to taxpayers and the consequences for wounded soldier," Waxman writes, alluding to the Bush Administration's push for privatization.
A year ago, the Government Accountability Office "dismissed a protest filed on behalf of employees at the Army's Walter Reed Medical Center, ruling that the employee group had no standing to challenge the outcome of a public-private job competition initiated prior to January 2005," GovExec.com reported.
"The American Federation of Government Employees, which provided funding to back the protest, said the impetus to appeal came from Walter Reed managers who were disappointed to see how the competition process played out," Jenny Mandel reported in February of 2006. "While the initial employee bid was $7 million less than that of IAP Worldwide Services, a mid-stream solicitation change resulted in a recalculation of the bids by all parties and in IAP's bid coming in $7 million lower, said John Threlkeld, a lobbyist for AFGE."
The article continues, "Threlkeld said the process for recalculating the employee bid was flawed, resulting in the inflation of the estimate that rendered it uncompetitive with IAP's bid."
On Saturday, the Army Times revealed that the Garibaldi memorandum cited by Waxman states that "the push to privatize support services there accelerated under President Bush’s ‘competitive sourcing’ initiative, which was launched in 2002."
Excerpts from Army Times article:
The letter said the Defense Department “systemically” tried to replace federal workers at Walter Reed with private companies for facilities management, patient care and guard duty – a process that began in 2000.
“But the push to privatize support services there accelerated under President Bush’s ‘competitive sourcing’ initiative, which was launched in 2002,” the letter states.
During the year between awarding the contract to IAP and when the company started, “skilled government workers apparently began leaving Walter Reed in droves,” the letter states. “The memorandum also indicates that officials at the highest levels of Walter Reed and the U.S. Army Medical Command were informed about the dangers of privatization, but appeared to do little to prevent them.”
The memo signed by Garibaldi requests more federal employees because the hospital mission had grown “significantly” during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It states that medical command did not concur with their request for more people.
“Without favorable consideration of these requests,” Garibaldi wrote, “[Walter Reed Army Medical Center] Base Operations and patient care services are at risk of mission failure.”

What Is Missing at CPAC?

The list of republicans goes on and on
If the Country was counting on this lot, to protect their Country, you're beating a dead fish, they dont serve just like the administration in the White House didn't serve.
Everyone is here... Michelle Malkin. Ann Coulter. Newt Gingrich. Duncan Hunter. Mitt Romney. Jeff Gannon. Sam Brownback. Melanie Morgan. John O'Neill... Oh so many heroes of the right...
And me.
And let me tell you - they've really turned out impressive support. At a time when the conservative agenda polls in the thirties, one gets the impression that they are all here.
I'm surrounded!
Something else these folks have done well is turn out the new generation of wingnuts. The average age of the attendee here has got to be below 30 - there are literally thousands of College Republicans moving about in Brownian style from exhibit to exhibit, conference to conference, speaker to speaker, ballroom to ballroom.
Exhibit hall is stuffed to the gills. Freedom Alliance. Blogger's row. Heritage Foundation. American Spectator. Clare Booth Luce Foundation... the Koch group... Regent University. Several candidates have booths. Oddly enough, even the ACLU has a booth (even if they are placed in the back corner furthest from Exhibit Hall's entrance).
Oh... but there's one notable - striking, even - absence.
There are no military recruiters here. No United States Marine Corps. No Army, no Navy, no Air Force or National Guard - hell, not even the Coast Guard is here. Thousands and thousands of College Republicans, but not a single recruiter in sight...
Well, I have a theory or two (Michelle Malkin doesn't agree with me, but more on that later).
Let's try this: CPAC didn't want to be embarrassed when pictures were released that showed recruiters standing around looking lonely. Similarly, recruiters know it's a better investment of their time to troll "the other malls" rather than to recruit these nice white college boys.
I'm not the only one that noticed.
I spent much of my day (I'll post audio at CallingAllWingnuts.com later in the week) talking to female College Republicans. I admitted that many of them were particularly fetching - they are.
But... I was wondering, I asked, given the fact that there are no recruiters at the event - but there are thousands of appropriately aged potential recruits... well... who would they find more attractive? A man in uniform that was willing to stand up for what he believed in, strap on the M-16, climb in the dirt and fight in the greatest moral imperative this country faces? Or a young guy that's willing to put on a suit, travel to an air conditioned hotel and drool over Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.
Every woman, save one, answered that the military man would be more attractive.
The outlier is a repressed liberal. She told me that it would be hypocritical of her to condemn

Attorney General Gonzales: "The American People Lose If I Spend My Time Responding To Subpoenas," Congress

That is what the Thugs of this administration, think and know that they can get away with this congress if they are allowed.
Robert Novak March 3, 2007 02:51 PM

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has indicated he is too busy to answer letters from Democratic congressional leaders about his firing seven U.S. attorneys involved in probes of public corruption, though a lower-level Justice Department official rejected their proposals.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, House Democratic Caucus chairman, had written Gonzales two letters suggesting that he name Carol Lam, fired as U.S. attorney in San Diego, as an outside counsel to continue her pursuit of the Duke Cunningham case. Asked by Melissa Charbonneau of the Christian Broadcasting Network about this column's report that Gonzales did not respond, Gonzales said: "I think that the American people lose if I spend all my time worrying about congressional requests for information, if I spend all my time responding to subpoenas."


A Forbidden Love.

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues

...Well, Nayla and Sami are terribly in Love. They met in 2004 in Baghdad. She is a sunni, he a shia. That was never an issue for either nor for their respective families. They are both young adults and knew that this is "It". The search is over. They got engaged and were eagerly looking forward to their wedding, their final union. Sami needed a little more time. He needed to sort himself out financially so he can start a family and Nayla was willing to wait a little longer. The important thing is that they are together, so they thought. In early 2006, Nayla's family received several death threats and were forced to leave Baghdad. Her father an ex-government employee understood that he was targeted.He decided he was not willing to turn his wife into a widow. They packed some of their belongings, took the little savings he had put aside for his daughter's wedding and escaped to Amman. Nayla was devastated being far from Sami, so was he. But he promised he would join her later on that year. Nothing was going to stand in their way, so they believed...

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Waxman to Force Walter Reed Ex-Chief to Talk About Problems, Contract

March 02, 2007 3:42 PM
Justin Rood and Anna Schecter Report:

A powerful Democratic congressman is challenging the Pentagon, which is attempting to block the former chief of Walter Reed Army Medical Center from testifying before Congress next week.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Henry Waxman, D-Calif., wants to ask Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman about a contract to manage the medical center awarded to a company that had documented troubles fulfilling a government contract to deliver ice to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Pentagon has refused to allow Weightman to testify. Waxman's staff has confirmed the congressman planned to issue his first subpoena as a committee chairman this session to legally compel Weightman's testimony if the Pentagon did not relent.

According to a letter from Waxman to Weightman posted today on the committee's Web site, the chairman believes the Walter Reed contract may have pushed dozens of health care workers to leave jobs at the troubled medical center, which he says in turn threatened the quality of care for hundreds of military personnel receiving treatment there.

Weightman had been slated to testify before Congress on Monday. The Army has tried to withdraw him from the hearing. Waxman's office confirmed the congressman plans to force the officer to appear by issuing a subpoena for his testimony.

The Army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. A call to Weightman's home went unanswered.

In the letter, Waxman charged that the Army used an unusual process to award a five-year, $120 million contract to manage the center to a company owned by a former executive of Halliburton, the scandal-prone government contractor once operated by Vice President Dick Cheney.

In 2004, the Army determined that Walter Reed's federal employees could operate the medical center more efficiently than IAP Worldwide Services, which is operated by the former Halliburton executive, Al Neffgen, Waxman wrote. After IAP protested, the Army "unilaterally" increased the employees' estimated costs by $7 million, making IAP appear cheaper, Waxman said. Rules barred Walter Reed employees from appealing the decision, Waxman wrote, and in January 2006 the Army gave the contract to IAP.

According to an internal memo written by a senior Walter Reed administrator and obtained by Waxman, the decision to outsource to IAP led the center's skilled personnel to leave Walter Reed "in droves," fearing they would be laid off when the contractor took over. In the last year, Waxman found, over 250 of 300 government employees left the center. The lack of staffing put patient care "at risk of mission failure," warned an internal Army memo obtained by the congressman.

Some of the problems recently revealed at Walter Reed "may be attributable to a lack of skilled government technicians on staff," Waxman wrote in the letter.

In a prepared statement, IAP spokeswoman Arlene Mellinger said that currently "there are no critical shortages of employees or skills in any area" of Walter Reed. On Feb. 4, the first day of its contract, 290 IAP employees were at the center, she said; that number is now 305. IAP "looks forward to applying its experience and knowledge of facility maintenance" to support Walter Reed, the statement read.

A message left at the home number belonging to IAP head Al Neffgen was not immediately returned.

Update: Since this report was published, the Pentagon has reversed its position and is allowing Weightman to testify before Waxman's panel on Monday. An earlier version of this post stated Waxman had issued a subpoena to compel Weightman's testimony; in fact, Waxman had threatened to do so, but the Pentagon changed its stance before such a subpoena was issued.


Giuliani's Kids Won't Campaign With Him

New York Times March 3, 2007 10:00 AM

Andrew Giuliani has been at his father's side in campaign commercials and inaugurations since he was a toddler, famously bounding across the stage in a rambunctious manner and mimicking his father's rhetorical flourishes during Mr. Giuliani's 1994 mayoral inauguration.

But Mr. Giuliani's relationship with Andrew has grown strained and distant since his very public and bitter divorce from Andrew's mother, Donna Hanover, and his marriage to Judith Nathan, according to Andrew and others familiar with the relationship.


Stolen Art Found With Spielberg

Associated Press March 3, 2007 09:32 AM

"Russian Schoolroom," a Rockwell painting stolen from a gallery in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, Mo., more than three decades ago, was found in Oscar-winning filmmakerSteven Spielberg's art collection, theFBI announced Friday.

Spielberg purchased the painting in 1989 from a legitimate dealer and didn't know it was stolen until his staff spotted its image last week on an FBI Web site listing stolen works of art, the bureau said in a statement.


Washington Post | March 2, 2007 11:33 PM

Washington Post March 3, 2007 09:38 AM

The White House approved the firings of seven U.S. attorneys late last year after senior Justice Department officials identified the prosecutors they believed were not doing enough to carry out President Bush's policies on immigration, firearms and other issues, White House and Justice Department officials said yesterday.

The list of prosecutors was assembled last fall, based largely on complaints from members of Congress, law enforcement officials and career Justice Department lawyers, administration officials said.


Political Danger For The White House

It Seems to Me...

Nolan K. Anderson, ePluribus Media

...Before the age of their "enlightenment" and their introduction to democracy, the various religious sects within Iraq lived and worked together, but worshiped separately. Today, thanks to their having been given natural resources that our country needs, every aspect of life in "the cradle of civilization" has been turned into an unimaginable hell by our leaders. Today through the CIA, Pentagon and Mossad sponsorship of organized religious strife within the Iraqi society, there is no longer a civilization. Today there is nothing but chaos, hatred and terrorism as each segment of the former culture turns on its neighbor. The culture is feeding on itself. And that is just what our homegrown and Israeli- grown warmongers want...

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Macho Males - The Brutal Rape and Murder of a 14-year old Girl and her Family

Paul J. Balles , Atlantic Free Press

As the Texas decider swaggered across the White House lawn, five of his Best-of-Baghdad troops were brutally raping and murdering a 14-year old girl and her family and then leaving them in a blaze of kerosene. Is this why the American commander-in-chief needed a troop surge — to free up more of our glorious invaders to satisfy sexual perversities with the youngest teenagers of Baghdad? I recently wrote an article about Americans as brutal bullies, and a commentator attempted to demean the issue by saying that history reveals lots of other regimes full of bullies. Is that supposed to excuse the recent crimes? Someone will surely complain that my fussing over the gang rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl is exaggerating an isolated incident. How many such incidents does it take to realize that we shouldn't be there in the first place?...

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Another rape

Roads to Iraq

Islammemo reported that six members of the so called Iraqi army raped a 12 year old girl from Shamar tribe in Diwaniya province – south Iraq. Shamar tribe members and the girl’s family are preparing themselves to attack the Iraqi Army headquarter in the province...

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Edwards campaign: Shame on you, Ann Coulter

Coulter tells conservatives, 'I was going to have a few comments about John Edwards but you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot'

Adam DupontPublished: Friday March 2, 2007

(Update at bottom: Edwards campaign: 'Shame on you, Ann Coulter;' Dean, Human Rights Campaign call on 2008 GOP candidates to condemn Coulter's remarks)>>>cont

"Can you help us raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' this week to keep this campaign charging ahead and fight back against the politics of bigotry?" Edwards' campaign websites asks.


Insurgents have 'won Iraq hearts, minds'

Terror expert: Insurgents have won 'hearts and minds' of Iraqis
Michael RostonPublished: Friday March 2, 2007

An expert on the Iraqi insurgency says that Sunni forces fighting the American military have already won the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.

Evan Kohlmann, who produces the "terrorist communique clearinghouse" GlobalTerrorAlert.com, spoke to Salon's Kevin Berger in an interview published this morning.
Kohlmann's website watches the statements, videos, and other communications issued by Iraqi insurgent groups, and he has subsequently been employed as a consultant by various federal entities, including the Departments of Defense and Justice, the FBI and the CIA.

Berger asked Kohlmann if Sunni insurgents, including al-Qaeda in Iraq, had won the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people during the course of the conflict in the country.

"Unfortunately, I do," he responded.

The failure of the US after the bombing of the Samarra mosque to control the rise of Shi'a militias caused them to go "on a rampage" and cemented the power of the insurgent groups among the Sunni population of the country, Kohlmann argued.

Kohlmann was dismissive of the idea that Iran was the main driver of the conflict in Iraq.

"The most common nationality of foreign insurgents in Iraq has been Saudis. Where do you think all the money comes from to pay for these operations? It's from Saudi donors," he said.

He noted he wasn't blaming the Saudi government, but added, "If we're going to put pressure on Iraq's neighbors, let's put pressure on all of Iraq neighbors to stop contributing to the violence."

Regarding the emergence of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Kohlmann told Berger, "There wouldn't be an al-Qaeda in Iraq if the U.S. wasn't there."

But at the same time, he said American troops should not rapidly withdraw from the country.

"If we withdraw from Iraq right now...there's going to be a war for control of Baghdad and then once Baghdad is ripped to the ground, the battle is going to spread across Iraq. It could potentially be like Rwanda," he warned.

"If we withdraw, a widespread war is going to be entirely our responsibility," Kohlmann continued. "It's easy to say it's Iraqis killing Iraqis. But nobody else is going to see it that way. Everyone is going to affix blame to us. We will ultimately cause a situation that forces us to reinvade Iraq and create even more casualties. It's an awful Catch-22."

But Kohlmann admitted that current options to resolve the conflict were thin and added that he didn't think the Bush administration was smart enough to figure out a way to stop Iraq's violence.

"I thought perhaps, in invading Iraq, they had some long-term view that nobody else could see," he said. "But that hope faded very quickly."

The full interview can be accessed after viewing a brief advertisement at Salon's website.

"Nobody Would Believe The Military Would Do This To Their Wounded"

Now why would you believe that Georgie and his gang of thugs would care about the wounded, to them they are colatoral damage, that is all, just like the 655000 - 700000 Iraq dead are colatoral damage, he has always been the same spoiled little brat who has never accomplished anything good in his life, A thug the American nation felt sure they would like to have a beer with. Well I am sure his colatoral damage would not feel like having a beer with him today.

Washington Post March 2, 2007 11:33 PM

In a sign of the seriousness with which Bush takes the situation, the White House announced that he will soon name a commission to look into whether there are similar problems at other military and veterans hospitals. Administration officials took the unusual step of releasing early the text of Bush's regular Saturday radio address, in which the president will vow to ensure that the government meets the physical and mental health needs of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Most of the people working at Walter Reed are dedicated professionals," Bush will say, according to the text. "Yet some of our troops at Walter Reed have experienced bureaucratic delays and living conditions that are less than they deserve. This is unacceptable to me, it is unacceptable to our country, and it's not going to continue."


Unsold "Yellow Ribbon" Magnets Pile Up As War Support Dwindles

Financial Times March 2, 2007 07:57 PM

But as support for the war fades, demand for yellow ribbons has collapsed.

Magnet America, the largest manufacturer of the product, has seen sales fall from a peak of 1.2m in August 2004 to about 4,000 a month and now has an unsold stockpile of about 1m magnets.


Friday, March 02, 2007

The Clintons' Real Trouble with Truth

By Robert ParryFebruary 24, 2007

Hollywood mogul David Geffen touched a raw nerve with Hillary Clinton when he told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that “everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”The Clintons’ trouble with truth, however, is not just the petty political lying nor is it their quibbling over what “is is” or what “mistake” means. It’s that they have never shown any real reverence for the truth. Too often, they see it as something to be traded away for a transitory tactical advantage.

Read on.

New nuclear warhead design for US

Hypocritical Bastards, who are the Terrorists?
Do what I say, Not do what I do.
The Bush administration has selected the design for America's first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades.

US officials say the warhead will not add to the country's nuclear arsenal, but will replace existing missiles.

Critics have complained it sends the wrong signal at a time when the White House is leading efforts to curb Iran and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.


Cheney's Bagram Ghosts

Roger Morris begins:

"'I heard a loud boom,' Vice President Dick Cheney remembered of the suicide bomb at Bagram Airbase outside Kabul, where he stopped over this week. Said to be aimed at Cheney himself, the attack left him untouched while killing twenty-one Afghan workers and two Americans - still more casualties in Afghanistan's thirty-year, million-and-a-half-dead civil war. In that setting, one hopes Cheney heard symbolically more than a 'boom.' Bagram thunders with relevant ghosts, many of them American."


Iraq Veterans Memorial online

In preparation for the memorial's launch on March 17th, we have also posted a trailer for the memorial on YouTube.

Special present for Women's Day

This is Georgies Democracy and Freedom?

Three Iraqi women will be executed on March 3.

Nermeen Al-Mufti, New Anatolian
01 March 2007

In an interview back in 2003, President Bush said that if his country were occupied he would resist. Indeed he is resisting what he calls "terror" toward making the world safer for Americans and America. An important stage of his "resistance" was invading, occupying and destroying Iraq.

Yet, in occupied Iraq, resistance is being describing as terror and insurgency as long as the occupier is being described as "the liberator." The whole world silently watches the violence, destruction, crimes against humanity and daily bloodbaths brought into Iraq by the American "liberators"! Bush has the right to resist, yet Iraqis don't.

In March, while women all over the world will celebrate International Women's Day, the women of Iraq will have their own very special present. Three Iraqi women will be executed on March 3. The women: Wasan Talib, 31 years old and a mother of three-year-old daughter who has been with her mother till now; Liqaa Omer Mohammed, 26 years old and a mother a three-month-old daughter who was born in jail; and Zaineb Fadhil, 25 years old. According to lawyer Waleed Al-Hilali, a member of the Iraqi Lawyers Union, the court refused to let the lawyers in to defend the three women, who have been in jail for more than a year, accused of attacking the American occupying forces and being "terrorists."

Iraq's "liberators" promised to bringing human rights and especially women's rights to Iraq! Paul Bremer, the former Bush viceroy in occupied Iraq, said during dismantling the Iraqi state that there would be no more death sentences in Iraq!

After a while of this "promise," the death sentence was back "because the situation in Iraq needs it."

The "rights" brought to the Iraqi women were: rape, displacement, imprisonment and poverty. According to IRIN news agency reports, 2 million Iraqi poor women became the breadwinners for their families after losing husbands, brothers, fathers and sons in the ongoing violence, and 60 women were raped and 800 were persecuted in just three months last year. According to the Iraqi Human Rights Society, 2,000 women are in jail for security cases. According to the Iraqi official numbers, thousands of women were among the civilian causalities of the violence; among them were professors, academics, journalists, teachers, and housewives, and most were mothers. Many Iraqi and international organizations, societies and personalities appealed to the Iraqi authorities and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is on record as being opposed to the death penalty, to not execute the three Iraqi women and are still awaiting a reply. The first step toward bringing democracy is to not face violence by another violent action.

Women all over the world will have colorful roses on their international day, while Iraqi women will have the ongoing black and red colors, as a very special present.

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Libby Trial Exposes Neocon Shadow Government

"Day by day, witness by witness, exhibit by exhibit, Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor in the trial of Dick Cheney's man, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, is accomplishing what no one else in Washington has been able to: He has impeached the Presidency of George W. Bush," writes Sydney Schanberg.


What Is Mainstream?

3 Israelis convicted of manslaughter for transporting suicide bomber

By Nir Hasson, Haaretz Correspondent

Three Israeli citizens were convicted Thursday of manslaughter by the Tel Aviv District Court because they had driven a suicide bomber on his way to the site of the attack in Netanya in July 2005. This is the first time that persons who aided a terrorist, but were not involved in the planning or execution of the attack, are convicted of manslaughter.

The suicide bombing took place in July 2005 at a crosswalk near the Sharon Mall in Netanya. Five persons were killed and 30 were injured five of them seriously.

Two of those convicted - Seif Azam from Taibeh and Kfir Levy from Ramat Gan - smuggled the Palestinians from the territories into Israel. On the day of the attack, Asaf Zahran, the handler of the suicide bomber, called Azam and asked him to drive the man into Israel. The two paid NIS 1000 for the ride and crossed the Green Line in Levy's car. >>>cont


How Much Embassy Is Too Much?

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 2, 2007; A11

Mention the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Lawrence Eagleburger and he explodes.

"I defy anyone to tell me how you can use that many people. It is nuts . . . it's insane and it's counterproductive . . . and it won't work," says the Republican former secretary of state and member of the Iraq Study Group. "I've been around the State Department long enough to know you can't run an outfit like that."

The nerve center of Iraq reconstruction efforts, housed in an ornate former Saddam Hussein palace with soaring ceilings and its own espresso bar, the embassy in Baghdad is one of the largest foreign missions ever operated by the State Department. Its complexity and expense, some say, hampers reconstruction efforts and drains cash from diplomatic efforts worldwide.

According to a State Department count, about 1,000 federal employees report to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, not including hundreds of private contractors. State Department personnel are assigned to roughly half the slots in Baghdad, and the rest are reserved for an array of agencies, including about 90 from the Justice Department, 20 from the Department of Homeland Security, and four each from the Commerce Department and the Transportation Department. They are needed, officials say, to rebuild transit and mail services, to assist small businesses, to advise politicians and peasants.

The mission's closely guarded budget is a source of controversy at State, and across the federal government. At $923 million for the 2006 fiscal year, the budget was 20 times that of the Beijing embassy's that year, according to the State Department. More than two-thirds of the money pays for security. Salaries for about 600 staff from other federal agencies are not included in that figure, nor are some expenses.

"Maintaining an oversized mega-embassy in Baghdad is draining personnel and resources away from every other U.S. embassy around the world, and all for what?" said a senior State Department official, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Travel outside the Green Zone requires a security entourage and involves weeks of organization. The embassy is seen as a key target for violence, which, along with fear of reprisals, makes many Iraqis afraid to visit. Consequently, Americans who work there see relatively few of the people they are there to help. >>>cont


Iraq Rape Cases Emerge From the Shadows
by Dahr Jamail

Sectarian Violence Shows No Mercy to Iraqi Children

BAGHDAD, 1 March (IRIN) - The United Nations and NGOs have strongly condemned the continued apparent targeting of children in Iraq's bloody sectarian violence.

The latest mass killing of children occurred on Tuesday when, according to Iraqi state television, 18 boys were killed by a car bomb in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, capital of Anbar province and some 155 km west of Baghdad. The boys were getting ready to play football.

It was not immediately known if the children were the intended targets in the Ramadi bombings, but it would not be the first time that children were killed playing football in Iraq.

Last August, 12 boys and young men were blown apart on a football pitch in Baghdad.


Filmamaker's wife, along with 11 others, abducted by Ethiopian rebels.

2006 Congressional Vote Ratings Released

By Jonathan Stein

I'm going to spoil the big surprise up front: Barack Obama is more liberal than Dennis Kucinich. On a scale of one to 100, with 100 being the most liberal, here are the Dems... On a scale of one to 100, with 100 being the most conservative, here are the Republicans... March 2, 2007


What Doug Feith Left Off His New Website

By Dave Gilson

Doug Feith has been trying to clear his name recently. He helped set up the Pentagon operation that stovepiped bad intel about WMD and Saddam-Al Qaeda links to the White House. Now he says he was just asking "tough questions" about the CIA's work, not trying to peddle bogus theories to justify an invasion of Iraq. Just a skeptical public servant holding those in power accountable. Feith's latest effort in name-clearing is a website that promises to challenge the "media myths" and offers glowing quotes about his character from Donald Rumsfeld and General Peter Pace. Funny, but Feith has conspicuously left off what's probably the most memorable quote about him by a military man he used to work with. Here, let us fix that.

March 1, 2007


Scandal Over Wounded Soldiers Spreads Through Bush Admin

AP March 2, 2007 04:11 PM

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey resigned Friday as the Bush administration struggled to cope with the fallout from a scandal over substandard conditions for woundedIraq soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The surprise move came one day after Harvey fired the two-star general in charge of the medical center in response to disclosures of problems at the hospital compound.


Cuba oil boom may complicate U.S. embargo

The discovery of oil in the Florida Straits and near the Cuban shoreline -- potentially billions of barrels of reserves -- has boosted Cuba's energy prospects and drawn the attention of the U.S. oil industry.

Now, a small Canadian energy company, Sherritt International, says it plans to export Cuban oil for the first time -- a move that could put the crude on a collision course with the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

Details are few, but questions about the move go to the heart of the embargo: Where will the oil be refined? And how could Sherritt International or subsequent handlers keep the Cuban crude out of fuel being exported to the United States? The issues rise as the oil and gas industry turns its gaze to the prospect of oil drilling off Cuba -- currently forbidden fruit for U.S. companies.


The Sherritt International plans drew fire from Cuban-American U.S. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, R-Miami.

'Sherritt is on the `short list' of companies that will have very serious civil as well as criminal legal problems in Cuba when the Cuban people recover their sovereignty and have a government that fights for their rights,'' Díaz-Balart said.

''Their oil investments will involve but a small part of their legal problems once the rule of law returns to Cuba,'' the lawmaker said in a statement e-mailed to The Miami Herald.


Taliban official: Bin Laden is alive (interview aired on UK Channel 4)

LONDON - A senior Taliban commander says Osama bin Laden is alive and in contact with leaders of Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents, according to an interview aired on British television.
Mullah Dadullah said he had not met bin Laden since the fall of the Taliban regime after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, but said "we know he's still alive."

"He's not yet martyred. Such information would be easy to get — his comrades stand shoulder to shoulder with us. They keep us informed," Dadullah said in an interview broadcast Wednesday by Channel 4 News.

The authenticity of the information could not be confirmed. Channel 4 did not say how it had obtained the footage, and it was not known when or where Dadullah made the comments, which were translated into English.


We'll we all knew it was only a matter of time before we'd be hearing about Osama bin fogotten.


US appeals court dismisses CIA torture lawsuit

They just keep getting away with the crimes don't they?

James Vicini, Reuters
Published: Friday, March 02, 2007


A unanimous three-judge panel of the appeals court based in Richmond, Va., agreed with U.S. government arguments that moving forward with the lawsuit by Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin, would pose a risk of exposing state secrets.

The appeals court upheld a federal judge's ruling that dismissed the lawsuit that seeks at least US$75,000 in damages ...

The defendants in the lawsuit included Tenet, 10 unnamed CIA employees, 10 employees of three private companies, and the companies, which Masri said owned the airplanes used to transport him ...

"Regrettably, today's decision allows CIA officials to disregard the law with impunity by making it virtually impossible to challenge their actions in court," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said.


Two oil giants plunge into the wind business

WASHINGTON -- Two of the world's leading oil producers have almost overnight joined some of the biggest players in wind power in the United States, accelerating a trend of large corporations investing in the rapidly growing alternative-energy field.

As global warming and clean fuels have gained more attention, Shell Oil Co. and BP have accumulated impressive credentials. Shell is one of the nation's top five generators of wind power, while BP's Alternative Energy group -- launched 16 months ago -- aims to develop projects that produce 550 megawatts of electricity this year, one-sixth of the projected US wind energy output in 2007.

"Shell and BP see wind as an increasingly important part of the energy industry. They are looking to continue to grow," said Randall Swisher , executive director of the American Wind Energy Association , a Washington-based industry group. "They want to look for new opportunities, and wind is clearly in their sights."

The oil companies bring enormous cash reserves, years of experience in large projects, and a can-do spirit to an alternative-fuels industry that has largely been driven by speculators, small developers, and utilities. Though environmentalists largely praise the interests of the two oil giants, they harbor suspicions of whether the energy giants are adding renewable sources to their portfolios as a way to enhance their reputations with consumers rather than to combat global warming.

Graeme Sweeney , Shell's executive vice president for renewables, hydrogen, and CO{-2} , said most forecasts predict that by 2050, renewable energy will make up a third of the world's power sources.


Democrats send out first round of subpoenas

A House Judiciary subcommittee approved today the first in what is expected to be an avalanche of subpoenas to Bush administration officials. They will likely explore corruption and mismanagement allegations on everything from pre-war Iraq intelligence to the mishandling of the response to Hurricane Katrina.

The first round of subpoenas concern the recent controversial firings by the Bush administration of seven U.S. attorneys, some of whom were pursuing public corruption cases against Republican members of Congress.

The House Judiciary subcommittee on commercial and administrative law, chaired by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), approved subpoenas requiring four former U.S. attorneys to appear at a subcommittee hearing next Tuesday. The former U.S. attorneys include Carol Lam of California, David Iglesias of New Mexico, H.E. Cummins III of Arkansas, and John McKay of Washington state. The subcommittee approved the subpoenas by voice vote; no Republican lawmakers were present.


The House Judiciary Committee released the following statement:

Washington – House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers today issued subpoenas against certain former U.S. Attorneys who were recently fired by the Bush Administration. The subpoenas were authorized by the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Law (CAL), chaired by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez.

The subpoenas require former U.S. Attorneys David C. Iglesias, Carol Lam, H.E. Cummins, III, and John McKay to appear before a CAL Subcommittee hearing next week.

“The former U.S. Attorneys are alleging very serious charges against the Administration and we need to hear from them,” Chairman Conyers said. “We want to hear their stories and we want the Administration to address the charges head on so that we can get to the bottom of this.”

“We decided to issue subpoenas only as a last resort,” said Chairwoman Sánchez. “We need to get to the bottom of whether competency in upholding the law is being sacrificed for political ideology.”

Subcommittee members voted this afternoon in a public meeting. The subpoenas will be issued this evening for the U.S. Attorneys to appear before the subcommittee on Tuesday, March 6, at 2:00 pm in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will consider a bill by Congressman Howard Berman


Exxon to Cede Oil Project Ops to Venezuela by May

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N) plans to hand operations of a multibillion-dollar oil project to the Venezuelan state before a May 1 deadline imposed by President Hugo Chavez, industry sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Chavez this week signed a decree for the government to take a majority stake in four heavy crude upgrading projects in the Orinoco basin by May 1 as part of a nationalization drive toward Cuba-inspired socialism.

The move shows Exxon, the world's largest company, complying with Chavez's order to cede control of the Cerro Negro project despite doubts over whether private companies will in fact meet Chavez's ambitious deadline.

Energy authorities in 2006 extended an initial deadline to take control of oilfields operated by private and foreign oil companies, which operated the fields for three months as negotiations continued.


Libby Jurors Raise Question About Reasonable Doubt

The jury in the Scooter Libby trial sent two questions to the Judge today before leaving early for the weekend. You can view them here.

The one about reasonable doubt is the most interesting.

We would like clarification of the term "reasonable doubt." Specifically, is it necessary for the Government to present evidence that it is not humanly possible for someone not to recall an event in order to find guilt beyond a reasonable


World Bank to boost Iraq presence despite shooting (at a checkpoint in Baghdad)

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - The World Bank's No. 2 official on Friday defended the lender's decision to ramp up its presence in Iraq after a staff driver was caught in cross-fire and wounded at a checkpoint in Baghdad last month.

Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub said the World Bank regretted the incident and had evacuated the Iraqi man to neighboring Jordan for treatment.

The World Bank's involvement in Iraq has been a delicate issue for bank President Paul Wolfowitz, the former U.S. deputy defense secretary. He still faces questions about his role in the planning of the four-year war, which is opposed by some of the bank's biggest members including France and Germany.

A Washington-based whistle-blower protection group this week charged that the bank was trying to cover up the shooting as it prepares to broaden its operations in Iraq and appoint a new country director despite an increase in violence.

"Wolfowitz's apparent determination to use the World Bank to further questionable American military goals in the Middle East is a fundamental distortion of the bank's mission, a violation of its founding Articles of Agreement, and a reckless waste of donor resources," Bea Edwards, the group's international program director, said in a statement.


CIA Leak Scandal Plamegate to Become Major Movie Tre

Politics drove someone in the White House to do a treacherous, potentially criminal thing: a senior administration official leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative. They endangered the agent's life and compromised our national security in a time of war.

Here's what former president George H.W. Bush said about that kind of crime: "Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." That's from a speech on April 26, 1999.

“Variety” reports today that WB secured the life rights of Wilson and Plame, interesting as the CIA appears to already have life rights to Plame. The trade paper says the studio will use Plame’s memoir, “Fair Game,” if the CIA permits her to publish it. Plame made a reported publishing deal in the $2.5 million range last year, and Simon & Schuster is expected to publish late this year. While it would be ironic for Plame’s story to be illegally leaked by the White House, only to have another government branch deny her the right to tell it herself, the CIA has the latitude to silence Plame.The film is co-production between Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” The DaVicni Code”) and Jerry Zucker (the “Aiplane” and “Naked Gun” franchises) and Janet Zucker.

You Decide, Only in America, painless EXECUTION

Humane and homocide do not seem to be coherent terms.

A commission appointed after a botched execution in Florida recommended yesterday that the state take steps to ensure that condemned inmates have been completely sedated before injecting them with two potentially painful lethal chemicals.

The panel also called for more than 12 relatively minor improvements in executioners’ training and practices but made no recommendations that would fundamentally alter the way Florida conducts executions.

The one potentially significant recommendation in the report was tentative and indirect. Although the commission said the three chemicals now in the protocol could be used humanely if the other recommendations were followed, it nonetheless recommended that the state explore “more recently developed chemicals” to substitute for the paralytic drug used “to make the lethal injection execution procedure less problematic.”

Thirty-six other states have similar lethal injection protocols. They are under legal attack in scores of suits in many states, with inmates’ lawyers contending that inmates can face potentially agonizing deaths that would violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.


Time: Firing the Wrong General

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

As the Iraq war prepares to enter its fifth year — a war that the Bush administration and its backers contended would be a cakewalk — the first senior military officer has finally had to walk the plank for screwing up.

But critics who have been long calling for some accountability aren't likely to be appeased. The officer taking the fall, after all, wasn't Tommy Franks, the Army general who as chief of Central Command scuttled Anthony Zinni's more robust war plan and agreed with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that invasion-lite was the way to go. Nope, he got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. So did former CIA chief George ("Slam Dunk") Tenet and L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, who as Iraqi viceroy fired the entire Iraqi army, a move now widely seen as laying the groundwork for a sustained insurgency.

And it wasn't the fellow who replaced Franks, John Abizaid, a fine Army officer by all accounts but one who also stressed the need for a "light footprint" inside Iraq that merely dragged out the death and dying on both sides. He'll retire soon to praise and pension. And General George Casey, Abizaid's underling and overall commander inside Iraq for the past 30 months, has just won promotion to Army chief of staff.

That's why the firing of Major General George Weightman — the guy running Walter Reed Army Medical Center for the past six months — seems so out of line. The Army brass ousted him 10 days after the Washington Post exposed the squalid living conditions — and lassez-faire attitude from hospital staff — that many outpatients experienced. Weightman was replaced, at least temporarily, by Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley, the commander of U.S. Medical Command. But there are two things wrong with that, Army insiders say. Weightman was actually trying to fix problems that arose during the tenure of his predecessor in the job — and that man was none other than Kiley.


Qaeda-linked group says killed 18 Iraqi policemen

02 Mar 2007 17:07:21 GMT
Source: Reuters

DUBAI, March 2 (Reuters) - An al Qaeda-linked Iraqi militant group said on Friday it had
killed 18 policemen it seized in Diyala province after the government ignored demands it
made for their release.

"The Islamic State in Iraq has given the infidel government of (Nuri) al-Maliki 24 hours
to respond to its demands ... but it (the government) did not give any importance for
their blood," said the self-styled group in a statement.

"We will show the film of the implementation (of the execution ruling) soon, God willing,"
it said in the statement posted on the Internet.

Iraqi police found the bodies of 14 policemen shot in the head hours after the group
showed pictures of the 18 men it said were seized to avenge the alleged rape of a
woman last month.


American Justice

By CURT ANDERSON Associated Press Writer

The exterior window in Jose Padilla's 80-square-foot cell in a Navy brig was painted over. At times, he had to sleep on a steel bunk with no mattress. He went months without a clock and was sometimes seen weeping in his cell.


Across America, millions of honey bees are abandoning their hives and flying off to die, leaving beekeepers facing ruin and US agriculture under threat. And to date, no one knows why. Michael McCarthy reports

A tiny parasite, colloquially known as a 'vampire mite,' is devastating honeybees. That worries experts because honeybee-pollinated crops are valued at more than $15 billion a year.
: Rowena Thursby and MP Norman Baker and their investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly.
Hersh discusses how America is now backing Salafist Sunni radicals against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shi’ite radicals in Iraq, every kind of radical but the Shi’ites in Iran, the manner in which American black ops are financed, why this is all worse than Iran-Contra. This is a must listen

"I am an honest and forthright critic of the Bush-Cheney regime. Like many Americans, I welcomed the election of Bush as an antidote to Clinton's gratuitous bombing of Serbia and lying to the American people. Bush criticized the idea of America as world policeman and vowed to abandon that role."

John Bolton, the former American envoy to the United Nations, said the U.S. should pursue ``regime change'' in Iran because European governments refuse to back sanctions tough enough to halt the suspected Iranian nuclear-bomb program.

Israel can deal with the Iranian nuclear threat alone if necessary, Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman Minister told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday.

Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia: Video:

John Pilger vividly reveals the brutality and murderous political ambitions of the Pol Pot / Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime which bought genocide and despair to the people of Cambodia while neighboring countries, including Australia, shamefully ignored the immense human suffering and unspeakable crimes that bloodied this once beautiful country

Major UK childrens charity pulls out of Iraq:

"Save the Children UK" closed its offices in Erbil, northern Iraq. The charity said in a statement the ongoing insurgency had made its work increasingly difficult and the decision to leave was taken "with great regret."

Australia: The New 51st State

By John Pilger

John Howard's servility to the US is even greater than Tony Blair's and has earned him the nickname Bush's deputy sheriff. The conspiracy between Washington, the media and politicians is eroding the country's freedoms.


Wanker of the Decade (UK)

Written by Chris Floyd
Friday, 02 March 2007
From the Guardian (and via a ripped-off concept from Atrios), we give you the UK wanker not just of the day, the week, the month or the year, but surely the whole decade. It is, of course, none other than the rear half of the oh-so-Christian Coalition, Tony Blair, captured here in his palmy student days at St John's College, Oxford. The child, as they say, is father to the man.

Gesture Politics: Young Blair Revealed in Full (Guardian)Excerpt: Disconcerting photos from days gone by can often come back to haunt us. But this one, for a long period, remained at most, a mildly interesting snapshot of the prime minister's younger years.From the waist up - that is.

The image of a fresh-faced, gawping Tony Blair from a time at Oxford University in the 1970s when his band Ugly Rumours was his main concern, has been in the public domain for at least 10 years. Last night, the uncropped version was revealed. And while others in the group strike pretentious poses, along with the odd carnation in the top pocket, it is the future world leader who offers the universally understood gesture.

And wouldn't Blair's near-contemporary in those golden college days of yore -- the other half of the OSCC -- have enjoyed Tony's juvenile gesture of yobbish aggression? Why yes, we think he would.

The guiding lights and godly defenders of civilization, ladies and gentlemen.

Chris Floyd

Once a Thug always a Thug

Yet Another Glorious Victory in the War on Terror

Written by Chris Floyd
Thursday, 01 March 2007
Victoria Brittain gives us the story of another glorious triumph in the "War on Terror," with the military and intelligence forces of the oh-so-Christian Coalition of Bush and Blair combining magnificently to keep all those of godly whitish hue safe from the inherent evil of the darker folk.
How blessed we are all to live in such a time and be led and protected by such men and their minions. And yet how often do the American people -- hoodwinked and bamboozled by the liberal media -- see stories like this, detailing the good works being done in their name all over the world? It's an outrage, it really is. We are glad to help counteract this terrible bias here at Empire Burlesque.


Excerpts: How does a young man from west London find himself landed in a Kenyan police station, hanging from his wrists, his feet tied to buckets of freezing water? How does he find himself, soon after, being dined by MI5 officers at a Nairobi hotel one moment, then imprisoned underground in the desert the next?

Read More

Operation Enduring Idiocy: The Deadly Child's Play of U.S. Politics

Written by Chris Floyd
Friday, 02 March 2007

Arthur Silber, as always, talks good and damning sense about the maddening moral idiocy of the entire American establishment and the whole "national debate" about the Iraq war. He limns with brutal accuracy the inability of our movers and shakers -- and most of the public they manipulate so thoroughly -- to comprehend the true nature of this bloodsoaked hell: that it is a monstrous crime, conceived in evil, steeped in murder, breeding death, brutality and corruption in everything it touches.

Silber's penetrating ire is sparked off by the witless flap over John McCain's remark about the "waste" of American lives in shoddy execution of the war. McCain, like Barack Obama before him, quickly and cravenly apologized for letting this one little sliver of truth escape their lips -- for as we all know, it is poor form, a terrible social faux pas, to mention the rotting corpse beneath the canape table at the great Beltway Cocktail Party. The lives were wasted -- cynically wasted, diabolically wasted -- because they were devoured in the service of depraved criminals seeking loot and dominion, and for no other purpose whatsoever. Yet not only is it impossible to acknowledge this waste in polite company, one cannot even remotely admit that the entire action itself is criminal, that, as Silber points out, it entails not just the waste of tens of thousands of dead and maimed American soldiers but also the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, shredded, chewed, gutted and sent into darkness by the honking goons and lumbering husks who rule us. >>>cont

(Arthur Silber)Excerpts: The truth is infinitely worse than that these lives have been "wasted": these deaths have served to strengthen our enemies and weaken our own country in countless ways that our actual enemies could never have achieved on their own. That these lives have been "wasted" is the best one can say, not the worst. They are the greatest boon our enemies could dream of. These lives have not been "wasted": they are the precious tribute laid at the feet of our enemies, by our own leaders in the pursuit of indefensible and criminal aims.

Of course, the recognition of this truth requires that we act like adults, and that we are capable of coherent thought, shorn of lies. We must be willing to give up the myth of the "noble soldier" who "selflessly sacrifices" his life for the glory of the Perfect and Good United States -- and see that these individuals died in a criminal war of aggression launched to consolidate and expand America's hegemonic role, a goal embraced by almost every leading politician, Republican and Democratic, over many decades of entirely avoidable conflict, chaos and death.

Chris Floyd



Potential oil wars and guerrilla conflicts spell a profitable future for weapons smuggling in Cambodia.

WMR's report yesterday on the U.S. naval buildup in Southeast Asia, particularly in Cambodia, coincides with a major Israeli intelligence and weapons smuggling operation in the region.

Israel has been a major, albeit covert, player in Southeast Asia since Israeli multi-billionaire tycoon Shaul Eisenberg began supplying weapons to Cambodia's genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Eisenberg, a close business partner of China's military, was also an early arms supplier to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. Eisenberg was active with Asia's Jewish community during World War II, not as an compatriot of the Allies but as a close intelligence and business partner of Japan's Imperial government, which was allied with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in the Axis Alliance. Escaping Nazi-controlled Europe, Eisenberg settled in the Far East, making his primary bases of operation Japanese-occupied Shanghai and Japan itself. In Shanghai, Eisenberg, along with Imperial Japanese military intelligence units, formed units of future Jewish terrorist groups -- the Irgun and the Shanghai Betar (Betar was founded in the 1930s by the Polish Zionist Yakob Jabotinsky, a supporter of Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, to battle the British for control of Palestine and the ideological godfather of later neoconservative oracle Leo Strauss). The Japanese taught the Jewish paramilitary forces in Shanghai, including some who escaped from Joseph Stalin's Jewish Autonomous Region creation in the Soviet Far East on the Chinese border, how to disrupt colonial occupiers' logistics and command and control elements, strategies that had been successful against the British, Dutch, French, and American colonial authorities in Asia. The Irgun and Betar gangs would eventually use the knowledge gained from the Japanese in their terror campaign against British and Arab forces in Palestine following World War II. Eventually, Irgun and Betar veterans would form the present-day Likud Party, now headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, a noted extreme right-winger.

After the war, Eisenberg began selling war surplus material, including iron and steel scrap. Married to a Japanese woman, Eisenberg established the Israel Corporation, a huge holding company , which, during the 1970s, began to secretly export Israeli military equipment and weapons to China. Under a Panama-based company called United Development, Inc., Eisenberg also began exporting weapons to Central America's most insidious dictatorships, including that of Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua. Eisenberg's vast holdings eventually included Israel Aircraft Industries and Zim Israel Navigation Company.

As the United States faced imminent defeat in the Indochina War at the hands of the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian communist-nationalist forces, Eisenberg wasted no time in cashing in on America's defeat and the new power alignments in Southeast Asia. He began selling weapons from his new business partner - China - to the Cambodian forces of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. After the defeat of the U.S.-backed military government of General Lon Nol, installed after Richard Nixon's National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, a close friend of Eisenberg, ordered the CIA to overthrow Cambodian head of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia fell victim to a bloody civil war between Vietnamese troops backing Pol Pot's one-time ally Hun Sen and the Chinese-backed "Democratic Kampuchea" government of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. >>>cont

Wayne Madsen Report



While in Southeast Asia, this editor looked into rumors that the Bush/Cheney administration has initiated a major military move into Southeast Asia to secure for itself large oil deposits discovered in the waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The U.S. military push into the region is centered on the Cambodian coast, particularly around Sihanoukville.

With three countries -- Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam -- vying for the off-shore oil booty in seas where maritime borders are contested, the Bush/Cheney cartel hopes to achieve a dominant position to exploit the oil reserves for their oil industry friends and backers.
The recent visit of the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet's USS Gary (FFG 51) to the Ream Naval Base near Sihanoukville on February 9, 2007 was billed as the first visit of a U.S. Navy ship in 30 years. What the Navy and media did not report was that the last U.S. Navy ships to "visit" Cambodia were those in 1975 that pulverized the Cambodian coast in response to the capture of the SS Mayaguez by Khmer Rouge forces.

The visit of the Gary to Ream coincided with the beginning of light building construction by the U.S. Navy at the base to accommodate a greater U.S. naval presence. Photos taken of the Ream Naval Base by WMR show the construction of at least one barracks on the base.

In addition, between 15 and 18 U.S. National Security Agency/Central Security Service signals intelligence (SIGINT) personnel have arrived at Ream to establish an off-shore SIGINT station on one of the Cambodian islands in the Gulf of Thailand. According to a New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) source in Cambodia, the island chosen to host the new U.S. intelligence base is Koh Tang, a location with a prime intelligence-gathering vantage point in the disputed waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Assigned to the nascent NSA contingent are Thai, Khmer, and Vietnamese linguists.

Ironically, the new U.S. naval presence in Cambodia is in the very same area that saw intense fighting between the U.S. Navy and Marines and Khmer Rouge forces that captured the U.S. "container ship", the Mayaguez, in 1975. The 39-man crew of the Mayaguez was briefly imprisoned by the Cambodians on Koh Tang, the suspected site of the new U.S. spy base. Although the Gerald Ford administration contended the Mayaguez was an unarmed merchant ship, it was under contract to the military and may have been spying on oil exploration operations in the Gulf of Thailand near the Wai Islands, claimed by Cambodia. The Cambodians were in the process of releasing the Mayaguez crew when Ford ordered U.S. bombing of the port and airfield of Sihanoukville. Forty-one American military personnel died in the needless attack on Cambodia, most from an accidental explosion. The Mayaguez crew was picked up by the Navy from a Cambodian fishing boat.

With the U.S. support for the September 16, 2006 military coup in Thailand that overthrew that nation's democratically-elected government becoming clear (U.S. ambassador to Thailand Ralph Boyce now sports a yellow tie, a show of support for the royalist-backed coup -- yellow being the color of the monarchy), there is speculation that the U.S. will beef up a presence at Thai bases that were once important during the Vietnam War. This includes the base at Utapao, Thailand, a one-time P3-Orion naval reconnaissance aircraft base and US Air Force base used to attack Cambodia over the Mayaguez incident. Since Thailand was never consulted on the use of Utapao in the attack on Cambodia, Thailand ordered the base vacated by the Americans. The Thais never believed the Mayaguez was an innocent merchant vessel but had somehow provoked the Cambodians to seize it in Cambodian territorial waters.

The Thais continue to be wary of U.S. intentions in Cambodia. The Thai-Cambodian border is in dispute and some Khmers make no secret of their desire to take back historically Khmer territory in eastern Thailand.

Wayne Madsen Report

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