Tuesday, February 28, 2006

One Nation Under Psy-Ops
February 28, 2006
By Patricia Goldsmith

In my view, Mary McCrory got it right when she said that the Project for a New American Century manifesto reads like it was written in a tree-house. Nevertheless, it is documentary evidence showing the direction the worst aspects of our government - the ones who are now in power - have been taking for the last thirty plus years. Their goal, as laid out in various PNAC papers, is permanent world domination, and for these people, there is no doubt that the ends justify the means. Professor Alfred McCoy talks about that in his book, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror, a history of the CIA's decades-long study of techniques of psychological control, including torture.... http://tinyurl.com/k7v7f

Bush Administration's First Memo on al-Qaeda Declassified
January 25, 2001 Richard Clarke Memo:
"We urgently need . . . a Principals level review on the al Qida network."

...The January 25, 2001, memo, recently released to the National Security Archive by the National Security Council, bears a declassification stamp of April 7, 2004, one day prior to Rice's testimony before the 9/11 Commission on April 8, 2004. Responding to claims that she ignored the al-Qaeda threat before September 11, Rice stated in a March 22, 2004 Washington Post op-ed, "No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration."

Two days after Rice's March 22 op-ed, Clarke told the 9/11 Commission, "there's a lot of debate about whether it's a plan or a strategy or a series of options -- but all of the things we recommended back in January were those things on the table in September. They were done. They were done after September 11th. They were all done. I didn't really understand why they couldn't have been done in February."


US Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006

Zogby International Press Release
Tuesday 28 February 2006

Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll shows just one in five troops want to heed Bush call to stay "as long as they are needed"

-While 58% say mission is clear, 42% say U.S. role is hazy

-Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown

-Almost 90% think war is retaliation for Saddam's role in 9/11, most don't blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks

-Majority of troops oppose use of harsh prisoner interrogation

-Plurality of troops pleased with their armor and equipment

An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.

The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College's Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq "immediately," while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay "as long as they are needed." ... http://tinyurl.com/m8qea
I'm very glad to see this story has gone out on the KR wire and is being carried , among other places, in the right-leaning Arizona Republic. It's about time what the troops really think got out there: http://tinyurl.com/lqzhu

Scooter notes ID'd CIA spy
Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

WASHINGTON - Handwritten notes taken by the CIA show Vice President Cheney's top aide knew the name of CIA spy Valerie Plame a month before her cover was blown.

It appears to be the first known document in the hands of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that directly contradicts Lewis (Scooter) Libby's claim he learned from reporters in July 2003 that Valerie Plame was a CIA employee.

Libby, who was Cheney's chief of staff, has been indicted for perjury in the CIA leak investigation...http://tinyurl.com/jc5cw

Re-thug-lican values:

Nonprofit: IRS audit spurred by DeLay ally was abuse
February 28, 2006
The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – The Austin nonprofit group whose complaint sparked U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's indictment on campaign finance charges accused one of his allies of dirty tricks, saying Monday that U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson of Plano used his influence to prompt a tax audit.

"It's intimidation," said Craig McDonald, founder and director of Texans for Public Justice, which was cleared this month after a 13-month inquiry into whether it violated a ban on partisan activity by tax-exempt groups. "The IRS has every right to audit nonprofit organizations, but we think this was an abuse.

"Mr. Johnson, who serves on the House tax-writing committee that oversees the IRS, wrote the agency's commissioner in mid-2004 urging him to open an inquiry."Anytime I have reason to believe someone may be breaking the law, I have an obligation to report it to the responsible authorities," he said.

Mr. McDonald's group drew Republican ire in March 2003, when it alleged that a DeLay-founded committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, had illegally raised and spent $600,000 during the 2002 state legislative campaigns. The GOP won control of the state House and subsequently redrew congressional districts at Mr. DeLay's urging... http://tinyurl.com/ean2v

Commandante Kristol Unholsters His Cap Pistol (updated)
Posted by James Wolcott

...A subtle chap, almost feline, Bill Kristol isn't crass enough to put it that plainly. But he is crass enough to blame on the Iraq debacle on anybody but himself and his fellow samurai at The Weekly Standard.

... on Fox News Sunday he proposed that the reason the U.S. hadn't quashed the insurgency and prevented the prospect of civil war was because the war had never been properly fought or as he put it, waged with "serious...effort." To which Ceci Connolly raised the pertinent question, Then what has the U.S. military been doing for the last three years? Oh no, our soldiers have performed heroically, Kristol said; it was Pentagon policy that let them down, and he specifically mentioned Donald Rumsfeld and his original drawdown plans.

Ah, they're turning on their own. Sweet. Up to a few months ago, Rumsfeld was still a neocon hero--sharp, blunt, visionary. Indeed, the godmother of neoconservatism, Midge Decter (wife of Norman Podhoretz, mother of John), wrote a book-length mash note lauding the former wrestler to the heavens. And now comes the accusation from Kristol that a too-cautious, thrift-conscious Rummy has shortchanged the mission. Thus the CYA revisionism has begun, as the neocons agitate for yet more manpower and firepower to finish the job in Iraq that only they still see as as finishable (in a week in which William F. Buckley diagnosed the Iraq war as a dead duck). Kristol's antiterrorist policy in Iraq was simple and blunt: "Kill them. Defeat them." Of course if it were that simple, it wouldn't be as hard as it's proven to be. We barely have a decent photograph of Zarqawi, much less a bead on his whereabouts. Easy for Kristol to draw a stern line in the avocado dip. But it would be political suicide for Bush to follow such counsel and lift the troop levels in Iraq to crank the war up an aggressive notch: Iraq 3.0: This Time We're Not Dicking Around. Mind you, I'm all for Bush's political suicide, but what's in it for him? Not much and he knows it. He's lost too much political trust and capital, Americans are tired of the war (more tired than the political class and punditocracy), and the military is stretched max. It's too late for a Victor Davis Hanson cavalry charge into the black heart of the Sunny insurgency led by Kristol and his neocon comrades embedded in cable-news green rooms 3000 miles in the rear, cheering, "Kill them! Defeat them!" at the TV monitor in voices loud enough to be heard but not loud enough to disturb Richard Perle napping in his portable coffin...http://tinyurl.com/aky9j

Pillar to press: Don't get fooled again

Paul R. Pillar, the former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year, writes that the press was insufficiently questioning both in the run-up to war and in its coverage of the 9/11 Commission. He proposes questions reporters should ask -- retrospectively and prospectively -- about the use and abuse of intelligence by policymakers.

...Q. When was the decision to go to war in Iraq made, what beliefs and analysis led to that decision (as distinct from arguments used to muster support for the decision), and where did those beliefs and analysis come from?

Monday, February 27, 2006

POLL: The Second Term Free Fall

The latest CBS News poll puts President Bush’s job approval at 34 percent — an all-time low. Vice President Cheney is doing even worse. Only 18 percent of the public approves of the way he is doing his job.
The American public has a dismal assessment of Bush’s policies across the board:
– 30 percent approve of Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq — an all-time low.
– 27 percent approve of Bush’s energy policy.
– 32 percent approve of Bush’s handling of the economy.
– 5 percent of Americans are pleased with the way the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast is going.
Today, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, “Our focus is on the important priorities of the American people.” Looks like the American people disagree...
Enron Trial Avoids the Real Rip-Off
By Jason Leopold
Monday 27 February 2006

More than 400 pages of documents released by federal energy regulators suggest that former Enron chairman Ken Lay and former chief executive Jeff Skilling were aware that the company's west coast traders may have broken the law by using manipulative trading tactics in California to boost Enron's profits during the height of the state's power crisis.

Skilling and Lay are being prosecuted for securities fraud and numerous other charges in a federal courthouse in Houston. A judge has prohibited prosecutors from introducing recorded evidence related to the California energy crisis in the case against Skilling and Lay, saying it's too "prejudicial."

The transcripts are from recorded conversations between Enron traders, company attorneys and Enron's public and governmental affairs departments that took place at the height of the California electricity crisis in 2000 and 2001. The material provides the most vivid portrait to date of the company's questionable trading practices that ignited California's power crisis, and led to a financial meltdown at the company which Lay and Skilling hid from securities regulators and investors, and which both men are now being prosecuted for.

In the spring of 2001, one of Enron's most powerful Washington lobbyists met with several members of the Bush administration to talk about Enron's opposition to price controls on electricity sales in California.

The lobbyist was told by Tim Belden, the mastermind behind Enron's notorious trading scams, less than a year earlier that Belden and other Enron traders who worked in Portland, Oregon, spent the better part of 2000 and 2001 breaking the rules governing California's power market "when opportunities presented themselves to make money."... http://tinyurl.com/q75m4
Iraq Death Toll Higher Than First Thought
Violence Unleashed Last Week Killed More Than 1,300
By Ellen Knickmeyer and Bassam Sebti
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, February 27, 2006; 7:12 PM

BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 -- Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday -- sprawled, blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies had their hands still bound -- and many of them had wound up at the morgue after what their families said was their abduction by the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr... http://tinyurl.com/gu9w9
Word from 'the values party': (he had a BRIBE MENU!):

From Cash to Yachts, Convicted Congressman Set Bribery Rates

Feb. 27, 2006 — Prosecutors call it a corruption case with no parallel in the long history of the U.S. Congress. And it keeps getting worse. Convicted Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham actually priced the illegal services he provided.

Prices came in the form of a "bribe menu" that detailed how much it would cost contractors to essentially order multimillion-dollar government contracts, according to documents submitted by federal prosecutors for Cunningham's sentencing hearing this Friday. "The length, breadth and depth of Cunningham's crimes," the sentencing memorandum states, "are unprecedented for a sitting member of Congress."

Prosecutors will ask federal Judge Larry Burns to impose the statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The sentencing memorandum includes the California Republican's "bribery menu" on one of his congressional note cards, "starkly framed" under the seal of the United States Congress.

The card shows an escalating scale for bribes, starting at $140,000 and a luxury yacht for a $16 million Defense Department contract. Each additional $1 million in contract value required a $50,000 bribe. The rate dropped to $25,000 per additional million once the contract went above $20 million....

Marc Cooper's notes from:
David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend, a traditional gathering of the right-wing tribes...

Conservative Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake: He pleaded with fellow conservatives to take the high road of liberalized immigration reform in the escalating debate and not go down the immigrant-bashing path. "I encourage Republicans to not repeat what happened in California in 1994," he said referring to GOP support for Prop 187. "It works for one cycle and then you pay a price for a decade."

Former Congressman Pat Toomey, current head of The Club for Growth: "We have to acknowledge we have a President who is not popular… The war in Iraq is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room and a major downturn could drown anything we do… We won in 1994 because we promised small government and going into the 2006 elections this is key idea we have abandoned."

Former Colorado State Senator John Andrews: "I feel the Republican Party in my state and nationally is a party that has lost its way… we need to find our way back to a reason to vote Republican."

Missouri Lt. Governor Pete Kinder on the state of the party: "The demoralization of the base is real. I hear it everywhere."

Conservative Arizona Congressman John Shaddeg on the Abramoff scandal: "I believe these scandals are the end of the 1994 Revolution… all this seriously threatens the Republican majority. It might be hard to shrink government as we promised. But it's not that hard to be honest and we haven't."

I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal—known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?
* * *

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"Freedom is on the march" "Bring'em on" "Mission accomplished", ETC...
Evil and incompetent is a really, really bad combination...unless you're trying to be the worst President ever...and is he really the President...what if they'd counted ALL the votes...?
I bet his dope addled 'party-girl' daughters don't even like him...I sure don't. He's caused the death and maiming of way too many people.

29 Killed in Iraq; Blasts Rattle Baghdad
By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS, Associated Press Writer

Violence killed at least 29 people Sunday, including three American soldiers, and mortar fire rumbled through the heart of Baghdad after sundown despite stringent security measures imposed after an explosion of sectarian violence.

A ban on driving in Baghdad and its suburbs helped prevent major attacks during daylight Sunday, but after nightfall explosions thundered through the city as mortar shells slammed into a Shiite quarter in southwestern Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding 53, police said... http://tinyurl.com/jwrtl

Colonel of truth-
Former Bush insider Lawrence Wilkerson blasts Dick Cheney's "paranoia" -- and says Cheney and Rumsfeld are to blame for Abu Ghraib.
By Mark Follman
Feb. 27, 2006

There's been no shortage of former high-level insiders going public with fierce criticisms of the Bush administration. But since first speaking out last fall, Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, has proved the fiercest. In a watershed speech at the New America Foundation in October, Wilkerson delivered a blistering indictment, charging that on vital national-security matters, the White House was run by an anti-democratic "cabal" led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Wilkerson has also suggested that he and his boss at the State Department were duped by the case for war forged inside the Pentagon and CIA under the close watch of Cheney and his top aides. He and Powell were kept in the dark about doubts over Iraq's WMD capabilities, even as they worked to vet the intelligence before Powell's landmark pro-war presentation to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003. It turned out to be built on a stockpile of fictions.

But Wilkerson said bogus intelligence isn't his principal reason for coming forward -- it's the use of American forces to torture prisoners in the war that it launched. In mid-February, against a backdrop of new revelations about torture at Abu Ghraib and a call by U.N. investigators to shut down the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Wilkerson sat down for an interview with Salon, following a panel on national security at the University of Maryland. Last fall, he had spoken of a "visible audit trail" on torture leading from the soldiers in the field all the way up to Rumsfeld and Cheney.

Wilkerson said that by the time of the Abu Ghraib revelations in spring 2004, he began to realize how "deeply contaminated" the military had become due to post-9/11 interrogation policies. A military man of 31 years, he knew that the widespread abuses could have taken place only if sanctioned from high up in the civilian and military leadership... http://tinyurl.com/mtvzs
From US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT article 12/5/05

From Egypt to Afghanistan, when terrorists and gangsters need a place to meet, to relax, maybe to invest, they head to Dubai, a bustling city-state on the Persian Gulf. The Middle East's unquestioned financial capital, Dubai is the showcase of the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich federation of sheikdoms. Forty years ago, Dubai was a backwater; today, it hosts dozens of banks and one of the world's busiest ports; its free-trade zones are crammed with thousands of companies. Construction is everywhere--skyscrapers, malls, hotels, and, soon, the world's tallest building.

But Dubai also serves as the region's criminal crossroads, a hub for smuggling, money laundering, and underground banking. There are Russian and Indian mobsters, Iranian arms traffickers, and Arab jihadists. Funds for the 9/11 hijackers and African embassy bombers were transferred through the city. It was the heart of Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan's black market in nuclear technology and other proliferation cases. Half of all applications to buy U.S. military equipment from Dubai are from bogus front companies, officials say. "Iran," adds one U.S. official, "is building a bomb through Dubai." Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents thwarted the shipment of 3,000 U.S. military night-vision goggles by an Iranian pair based in Dubai. Moving goods undetected is not hard. Dhows--rickety wooden boats that have plowed the Arabian Sea for centuries--move along the city center, uninspected, down the aptly named Smuggler's Creek...

Top security advisor to US President George W. Bush, Stephen Hadley, pictured in 2005, said the past week's upsurge of sectarian violence across Iraq also presents a real "opportunity" for the country to unite... http://tinyurl.com/eqccw

(...and the little Satyr who sits on my left shoulder whispers in my ear, "wouldn't it be better if some of these guys were gettin' some head rather than scratchin' their heads?")

Conservative columnist George Will this morning on ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: What does civil war look like?
WILL: This. This is a civil war.
By Charles Sullivan

Knowing what I know about the history of my country, it is often difficult for me to fathom how my fellow countrymen have shaped their views. I have come to believe that they have created a mythical America that is not a real place. The perceived necessity of substituting a fantasy world for the real world suggests there is something terribly wrong with the American psyche. If there are corpses buried in our gardens, surely they must gnaw at our conscience and produce pathological behavior, even if we did not put them there. Subconsciously, we know they are turning in their graves trying to be free. We fear that they will awaken and climb out of their graves, forcing their way into our conscience, and revealing our complicity in the crimes committed in our name...http://tinyurl.com/o7cto

Analysts See Lebanon-ization of Iraq in Crystal Ball
By Borzou Daragahi and Megan K. Stack
Times Staff Writers
February 26, 2006

BAGHDAD — Gunmen hold sway over streets lined with concrete bomb-blast barriers and razor wire. Entire neighborhoods are too dangerous for police to enter.

The government, holed up in a fortress behind layers of checkpoints, huddles in emergency meetings and issues proclamations that draw little attention on the streets or in foreign capitals.

And this may be the best that Iraqis and Americans can hope for.... http://tinyurl.com/rf3jw
Here's the GOOD NEWS from Iraq. Good if you're John Negroponte that is...(http://tinyurl.com/65gs9)

Death squad victims piled by the hundred
By Andrew Buncombe

Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, says the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq.

John Pace, who left Baghdad two weeks ago, said up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the city's mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes.

Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shiite groups under the ministry's control.

Much of the statistical information provided to Pace and his team comes from the Baghdad Medico-Legal Institute, next to the city's mortuary.

He said that in last July alone the morgue received 1100 bodies, about 900 of which bore evidence of torture or summary execution... http://tinyurl.com/preyt

Saturday, February 25, 2006

White House 'Discovers' 250 Emails Related to Plame Leak
By Jason Leopold

The White House turned over last week 250 pages of emails from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Senior aides had sent the emails in the spring of 2003 related to the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald revealed during a federal court hearing Friday.

The emails are said to be explosive, and may prove that Cheney played an active role in the effort to discredit Plame Wilson’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s prewar Iraq intelligence, sources close to the investigation said.

Sources close to the probe said the White House “discovered” the emails two weeks ago and turned them over to Fitzgerald last week. The sources added that the emails could prove that Cheney lied to FBI investigators when he was interviewed about the leak in early 2004. Cheney said that he was unaware of any effort to discredit Wilson or unmask his wife’s undercover status to reporters.

Cheney was not under oath when he was interviewed. He told investigators how the White House came to rely on Niger documents that purportedly showed that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country.

Cheney said he had received an intelligence briefing on the allegations in late December 2003, or early January 2004, and had asked the CIA for more information about the issue.

Cheney said he was unaware that Ambassador Wilson was chosen to travel to Niger to look into the uranium claims, and that he never saw a report Wilson had given a CIA analyst upon his return which stated that the Niger claims were untrue. He said the CIA never told him about Wilson's trip.

However, the emails say otherwise, and will show that the vice president spearheaded an effort in March 2003 to attack Wilson’s credibility and used the CIA to dig up information on the former ambassador that could be used against him, sources said...http://tinyurl.com/kvqkv
Replace O'Reilly with Phil Donahue

To: Roger Ailes, Fox News Channel

Dear Your Honor Roger Ailes,

We, the undersigned, are becoming increasingly concerned about the mental health of the host of your 8:00 PM EST show on Fox News Channel...

Sign here: http://tinyurl.com/pmc8t

Friday, February 24, 2006

BAGHDAD, Feb 24 (Reuters) - A curfew in Baghdad and calls for Muslim unity at Friday prayers across Iraq eased sectarian violence that has raised fears of civil war but, amid clashes after dark, police banned cars from the roads for another day.

Gunmen, some firing rockets, attacked Sunni mosques in two Baghdad districts, including the Sunnis' revered Abu Hanifa shrine, police said, adding that police and Iraqi troops repelled assailants who wore the black of Shi'ite militias.

Casualties would add to the 200 dead in Baghdad alone since reprisals against minority Sunni mosques began with a suspected al Qaeda bombing of a Shi'ite shrine on Wednesday pitching Iraq into its worst crisis since the U.S. invasion of 2003...http://tinyurl.com/hznmg
Chaos & Death: It's a good thing! (Wha?)

CNN Pundit: Mosque Bombing Shows Bush Strategy Is Working In Iraq

This afternoon, Terry Jeffery — the editor of Human Events who is paid by CNN to provide political analysis — was asked about the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Iraq. Jeffery said the bombings — part of a wave of violence that have left 200 people dead in the last 24 hours — is evidence that the Bush strategy is working.

WOLF BLITZER: Terry, is Iraq falling apart right now?

TERRY JEFFERY: Well, I certainly hope not, Wolf. But I think actually these attacks on Shia shrines can be attributed to the potential success of the Bush strategy...http://tinyurl.com/e6n7e

Only on Fox: "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"

Summary: Fox News featured two onscreen captions during a segment on escalating violence in Iraq that read: " 'Upside' To Civil War?" and "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"

A segment about escalating sectarian violence in Iraq on the February 23 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto featured onscreen captions that read: " 'Upside' To Civil War?" and "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"
The segment, guest-hosted by Fox News Live (noon-1:30 pm hour ET) anchor David Asman, featured commentary by Fox News military analyst Lt. Col. Bill Cowan and Center for American Progress senior fellow Col. P.J. Crowley....

IRS exams found nearly three out of four churches, charities and other civic groups suspected of having violated restraints on political activity in the 2004 election actually did so, the agency said Friday.
(From the AP Wire:http://tinyurl.com/kf8z3)
The Brutal Christ of the Armageddonites
Religious fanaticism in American foreign policy
by Jon Basil Utley

...The major reason the Armageddonites have become so powerful is that most journalists can't comprehend that millions of Americans could really want, in this day and age, their God to destroy most of the human race, much less that they are donating millions to promote it (subsidizing settlements on the West Bank and paying for Russian Jews to immigrate to Israel in order to fulfill prophecies faster). Nor do most Americans know that Armageddonites are in the highest levels of government. But it was erstwhile House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who argued that the Iraq war should be supported because it is a precursor to the second coming of Christ. He also tried to undermine the Bush "roadmap for peace" when he visited Israel.

The Armageddonites have also backed brutal tactics in pursuit of their favored policies. Lt. General William G. "Jerry" Boykin is deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and was heavily involved in the torture scandals. Christian Zionist Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma was the only senator to publicly condone torture of prisoners of war. Other torture-supporting politicians were almost all from insular, religious red states with little knowledge of or concern for the outside world. Almost none of the leading fundamentalists outside of government have condemned torture (with the notable exception of Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship)...http://tinyurl.com/gnp4s
Maybe we've pulled out of Iraq? And in a few days when Bush finds out, he'll announce it. Wasn't that it? The civil war begins IF we pull out?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Dozens of Mosques Attacked, Over 100 Dead, Thousands Protest

CNN reports that 7 US GIs were killed in Iraq on Wednesday.

There will be a curfew in the core Sunni Arab areas, including Baghdad, to prevent the worshippers from rioting afer the Friday prayers ceremony.

Sunni Arabs in Iraq blamed US troops for not protecting Sunni mosques and worshippers from violence. The US military ordered the US soldiers in Baghdad to stay in their barracks and not to circulate if it could be helped. [Later reports said some US patrols has been stepped up.] This situation underlines how useless the American ground forces are in Iraq. They can't stop the guerrilla war and may be making it worst. Last I knew, there were 10,000 US troops in Anbar Province with a population of 1.1 million. What could you do with that small force, when the vast majority of the people support the guerrillas? US troops would be useless if they hcad to fight in alleyways against sectarian rioters. If they tried to guard the Sunni mosques, they'd have to shoot into Shiite mobs, which would just raise the level of violence they face from Shiites in the south.

Reuters reports that ' The main Sunni religious group said 184 Sunni mosques had been damaged, some destroyed; 10 clerics had been killed and 15 abducted. The Muslim Clerics Association accused Shi'ite religious leaders of stoking the anger by calling for protests. '... http://tinyurl.com/ja66n
Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post 9/11 orders
Julian Borger in Washington
Friday February 24, 2006
The Guardian

Hours after a commercial plane struck the Pentagon on September 11 2001 the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was issuing rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, according to notes taken by one of them.

"Hard to get good case. Need to move swiftly," the notes say. "Near term target needs - go massive - sweep it all up, things related and not."

The handwritten notes, with some parts blanked out, were declassified this month in response to a request by a law student and blogger, Thad Anderson, under the US Freedom of Information Act. Anderson has posted them on his blog at outragedmoderates.org.

The Pentagon confirmed the notes had been taken by Stephen Cambone, now undersecretary of defence for intelligence and then a senior policy official...http://tinyurl.com/mjrk8

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm hoping Lincoln is suggesting he go see a play.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Attack deepens Iraq's divide
Blasts at a major shrine set off widespread Shiite protests.
By Dan Murphy Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

BAGHDAD - An attack Wednesday that destroyed the soaring gold dome of one of ShiiteIslam's holiest shrines is being interpreted by most Shiites here as a direct attack on their faith - and has sharply raised sectarian tensions.
It's unclear if any people were killed in the massive explosion in Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. But the destruction of the shrine may be the most emotionally charged of attacks on Shiite targets thus far in the war, and could set back already hamstrung efforts to form a government of Shiite and Sunni unity.
As citizens deserted the streets of Baghdad in the wake of the attack, many said they feared this could be a seminal moment in Iraq's low-intensity civil war.
"The war could really be on now,'' says Abu Hassan, a Shiite street peddler who declined to give his full name. "This is something greater and more symbolic than attacks on people. This is a strike at who we are."
The attack occurred shortly before 7 a.m. in the largely Sunni city of Samarra, which has remained an insurgent hotbed despite years of US operations there. It was carried out by a small group of men who somehow gained access to the usually heavily protected Askariya shrine, set demolition explosives, and then fled.
Though the shrine dates back 1,000 years, it has been rebuilt numerous times. Its current dome was built in 1905. There are no records of previous attacks on the building or its predecessors.
"This could be a tipping point,'' says Juan Cole, a historian of Shiite Islam at the University of Michigan. "At some point, the Shiite street is going to be so fed up that they're not going to listen any more to calls for restraint."
From the last pResidential campaign:

Bush to Kerry "I'll NEVER Hand Over America's Security to Foreign Leaders"

How Neo-Cons Sabotaged Iran's Help on al Qaeda
Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (IPS) - The United States and Iran were on a course to work closely together on the war against al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002 -- until Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped in to scuttle that cooperation, according to officials who were involved at the time... http://tinyurl.com/ru3jh

The genesis of a lie: How George Bush fabricated the Iraqi WMD myth
By Dennis Rahkonen
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Feb 21, 2006

Maybe we’ve forgotten. Or perhaps we just weren’t paying attention in the first place.

But, before 9/11, the Bush administration itself denied the existence of WMD in Iraq:

"He (Saddam) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." --Secretary of State Colin Powell, in Cairo, Feb. 24, 2001

"We're working toward what will be a significant change in our approach to Iraq in the United Nations . . . The focus is on strengthening controls to prevent Iraq from rebuilding military capability in weapons of mass destruction, while facilitating a broader flow of goods to the civilian population of Iraq." --State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, May 17, 2001

The first quote categorically confirms that no WMD threat, or even a conventional one, existed. The second underscores that fact, by declaring Saddam would have to “rebuild” a capability he didn’t have at the time.

Just weeks before 9/11, Bush himself said the following, with his typically choppy syntax:

"He's been a menace forever, and we will do -- he needs to open his country up for inspection, so we can see whether or not he's developing weapons of mass destruction." --Aug. 7, 2001

Well, Hussein did in fact allow such inspections, and they were ongoing until the immediate lead-up to war. As former inspectors have themselves since said, they’d have found nothing if Bush’s unprovoked aggression hadn’t cut short their task...http://tinyurl.com/pdny2

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush dismisses GOP leaders' demand to block seaports deal
By William Douglas
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - Brushing off public demands from the two top Republicans in Congress, President Bush said Tuesday that a deal allowing an Arab company to run six major U.S. seaports should go forward and that he'd veto any effort by Congress to stop it.
Both House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said that the proposed port takeover by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned company from the United Arab Emirates, posed potential national security risks.
Both said they wanted the deal stopped immediately pending a more thorough review. And Frist said that if Bush wouldn't stop the deal, he'd introduce legislation to force a halt, echoing a call by a growing number of lawmakers from both parties...http://tinyurl.com/hfucm

From the CIA World Factbook:

"the UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug producing countries; the UAE's position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering; anti-money-laundering controls improving..." http://tinyurl.com/6l9gz
'Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?'

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The Dirty Little Secret Behind the UAE Port Security Flap
Politicians and the media are loudly decrying the Bush administration's proposal to turn over port security to a firm owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - a country with ties to terrorists. They are talking tough about national security - but almost no one is talking about what may have fueled the administration's decision to push forward with this deal: the desire to move forward Big Money's "free" trade agenda.

What does "free" trade have to do with this? How about everything. The Bush administration is in the middle of a two-year push to ink a corporate-backed "free" trade accord with the UAE. At the end of 2004, in fact, it was Bush Trade Representative Robert Zoellick who proudly boasted of his trip to the UAE to begin negotiating the deal. Rejecting this deal might have set back that trade pact. Accepting it - regardless of the security consequences - likely greases the wheels for the pact. That's probably why instead of backing off the deal, President Bush - supposedly Mr. Tough on National Secuirty - took the extraordinary step of threatening to use the first veto of his entire presidency to protect the UAE's interests. Because he knows protecting those interetsts - regardless of the security implications for America - is integral to the "free" trade agenda all of his corporate supporters are demanding.

The Inter Press Service highlights exactly what's at stake, quoting a conservative activists who admits that this is all about trade:

"The United States' trade relationship with the UAE is the third largest in the Middle East, after Israel and Saudi Arabia. The two nations are engaged in bilateral free talks that would liberalise trade between the two countries and would, in theory at least, allow companies to own and operate businesses in both nations. 'There are legitimate security questions to be asked but it would be a mistake and really an insult to one of our leading trading partners in that region to reject this commercial transaction out of hand,' said Daniel T. Griswold, who directs the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based libertarian think tank."...http://tinyurl.com/z3q5c
Check Your Conscience at the Door -- We're Building an Empire
Date 2006/2/21
by Jason Miller -- World News Trust

Blaring its typical jarringly cacophonous morning radio jabber, the suddenly welcome sound of my alarm rescued me from the maelstrom of a nightmarish Neocon world spawned within my unconscious mind. As consciousness flooded my being, I had an epiphany. My breed of human being is a pariah in the American Empire. In the minds of the Regime's loyal foot soldiers (the Neo-Tories of the Twenty First Century), American society is waging a domestic war between those they define as liberals and those they qualify as conservatives. Since 9/11, Fox News and the Bush Regime have brain-washed them into believing that terrorists and their sympathizers are lurking around every corner, poised to infect them with a lethal virus, slice them with box cutters or obliterate them with a suicide bomb. In the black and white perspective of the Neo-Tories, you are with us or against us. If you do not fit into their narrow and misguided notion of conservatism, you must be a "liberal." The American media/propaganda machine (which the Empire's power moguls have brilliantly portrayed as "liberal" to obfuscate the fact that six corporate conglomerates own 90% of the mainstream media market) has sharply defined the “treasonous,” “ineffectual” nature of "liberals," portraying them as soft on crime, sympathetic to those demonic terrorists, Socialists and Communists, immoral, and militarily weak...http://tinyurl.com/lud9n
Floyd R. Turbo Lives!
This from the Anchorage Daily News Letters to the Editor section:
Liberal left defiles good Americans' memories by using deaths for hate
With every passing moment, the liberal leftists in this country continue to demonstrate their disregard for the preciousness of life. And I'm not even talking about the abortionists. They have vilified the memory of Terry Schiavo. They have vilified the memory of Casey Sheehan (that's right, I just said it). They now have vilified the memory of Coretta Scott King, and they continue to vilify the memories of our fallen heroes heeding the call of duty in Iraq.
How? By standing on their corpses and using their deaths as a platform from which to spew their hatred. I'd like to have said "forward their ideas," but that wouldn't be true because the liberal left has no ideas. Howard Dean said it himself. All the mainstream Democrats have is hatred. Hatred for our president. Hatred for our military. Hatred for God. Hatred for all that is good and just. Hatred for democracy and, last but not least, hatred for our Constitution. That's why they use their judges to overturn the massive winning popular vote against gay marriage in California and why they pray and pay tribute to the George Soros crowd. That is communism. That is a social oligarchy. And that is the mainstream liberal Democratic left. Love me or hate me, I'm right.
---- Jacob LoMonaco

Monday, February 20, 2006

UAE Would Also Control Shipments of Military Equipment For The U.S. Army

There is bipartisan concern about the Bush administration’s decision to outsource the operation of six of the nation’s largest ports to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of that nation’s troubling ties to international terrorism. The sale of P&O to Dubai World Ports would give the state-owned company control of “the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.”
A major part of the story, however, has been mostly overlooked. The company, Dubai Ports World, would also control the movement of military equipment on behalf of the U.S. Army through two other ports... http://tinyurl.com/gyflb

How an internal effort to ban the abuse and torture of detainees was thwarted.
Issue of 2006-02-27
Posted 2006-02-20

One night this January, in a ceremony at the Officers’ Club at Fort Myer, in Arlington, Virginia, which sits on a hill with a commanding view across the Potomac River to the Washington Monument, Alberto J. Mora, the outgoing general counsel of the United States Navy, stood next to a podium in the club’s ballroom. A handsome gray-haired man in his mid-fifties, he listened with a mixture of embarrassment and pride as his colleagues toasted his impending departure. Amid the usual tributes were some more pointed comments.

“Never has there been a counsel with more intellectual courage or personal integrity,” David Brant, the former head of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said. Brant added somewhat cryptically, “He surprised us into doing the right thing.” Conspicuous for his silence that night was Mora’s boss, William J. Haynes II, the general counsel of the Department of Defense.

Back in Haynes’s office, on the third floor of the Pentagon, there was a stack of papers chronicling a private battle that Mora had waged against Haynes and other top Administration officials, challenging their tactics in fighting terrorism. Some of the documents are classified and, despite repeated requests from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, have not been released. One document, which is marked “secret” but is not classified, is a twenty-two-page memo written by Mora. It shows that three years ago Mora tried to halt what he saw as a disastrous and unlawful policy of authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects.

The memo is a chronological account, submitted on July 7, 2004, to Vice Admiral Albert Church, who led a Pentagon investigation into abuses at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It reveals that Mora’s criticisms of Administration policy were unequivocal, wide-ranging, and persistent. Well before the exposure of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, in April, 2004, Mora warned his superiors at the Pentagon about the consequences of President Bush’s decision, in February, 2002, to circumvent the Geneva conventions, which prohibit both torture and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” He argued that a refusal to outlaw cruelty toward U.S.-held terrorist suspects was an implicit invitation to abuse. Mora also challenged the legal framework that the Bush Administration has constructed to justify an expansion of executive power, in matters ranging from interrogations to wiretapping. He described as “unlawful,” “dangerous,” and “erroneous” novel legal theories granting the President the right to authorize abuse. Mora warned that these precepts could leave U.S. personnel open to criminal prosecution...http://tinyurl.com/lp3ye

"The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur."

I have, what I believe to be, a sound business idea and I don't know where to go with it. Can you help me?
It's become clear that there's a huge market throughout the world for GWB effigies.
It's a multi-faceted idea.
On the one hand there's millions to be made and on the other what says 'DEMOCRACY' better than a burning effigy?
So get in touch if you want to make some 'real money' and spread the word about 'real freedom'. It's a win-win deal, baby.

NSC, Cheney Aides Conspired to Out CIA Operative
By Jason Leopold
Monday 20 February 2006

The investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson is heating up. Evidence is mounting that senior officials in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and the National Security Council conspired to unmask Plame Wilson's identity to reporters in an effort to stop her husband from publicly criticizing the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence, according to sources close to the two-year-old probe.

In recent weeks, investigators working for Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald have narrowed their focus to a specific group of officials who played a direct role in pushing the White House to cite bogus documents claiming that Iraq attempted to purchase 500 tons of uranium from Niger, which Plame Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had exposed as highly suspect.

One high level behind-the-scenes player who has been named by witnesses in the case as a possible source for reporters in the leak is Robert Joseph, formerly the director of nonproliferation at the National Security Council. Joseph is responsible for placing the infamous "sixteen words" about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from Niger in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

It's unknown when Fitzgerald will present the grand jury with additional evidence related to this aspect of the case or if he is close to securing indictments. The sources said the Special Prosecutor is very "methodical," and they expect the investigation to continue well into the spring.

The new grand jury hearing evidence in the leak case was empanelled in November. Right now, the jurors are still absorbing two years' worth of evidence Fitzgerald presented to the jurors a couple of weeks after the previous grand jury's term expired at the end of October. Sources said the jurors have raised numerous legal questions about unnamed senior Bush administration officials against whom Fitzgerald is trying to secure indictments...http://tinyurl.com/fdd9e
... Around 9:35 on the morning of 9/11, Cheney was lifted off his feet by the Secret Service and hustled into the White House bunker. Cheney testified to the 9/11 Commission that he spoke with President Bush before giving an order to shoot down a hijacked civilian airliner that appeared headed toward Washington. (The plane was United Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field after a brave revolt by the passengers.) But a source close to the commission, who declined to be identified revealing sensitive information, says that none of the staffers who worked on this aspect of the investigation believed Cheney's version of events.

A draft of the report conveyed their skepticism. But when top White House officials, including chief of staff Andy Card and the then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, reviewed the draft, they became extremely agitated. After a prolonged battle, the report was toned down. The factual narrative, closely read, offers no evidence that Cheney sought initial authorization from the president. The point is not a small one. Legally, Cheney was required to get permission from his commander in chief, who was traveling (but reachable) at the time. If the public ever found out that Cheney gave the order on his own, it would have strongly fed the view that he was the real power behind the throne...http://tinyurl.com/omanh

Sunday, February 19, 2006

February 20, 2006
Facing Pressure, White House Seeks Approval for Spying

After two months of insisting that President Bush did not need court approval to authorize the wiretapping of calls between the United States and suspected terrorists abroad, the administration is trying to resist pressure for judicial review while pushing for retroactive Congressional approval of the program.

The administration opened negotiations with Congress last week, but it is far from clear whether Mr. Bush will be able to fend off calls from Democrats and some Republicans for increased oversight of the eavesdropping program, which is run by the National Security Agency.

The latest Republican to join the growing chorus of those seeking oversight is Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Graham, a former military prosecutor whose opinion on national security commands respect in the Senate, said he believed there was now a "bipartisan consensus" to have broader Congressional and judicial review of the program.

"I do believe we can provide oversight in a meaningful way without compromising the program," he said, "and I am adamant that the courts have some role when it comes to warrants. If you're going to follow an American citizen around for an extended period of time believing they're collaborating with the enemy, at some point in time, you need to get some judicial review, because mistakes can be made."

Four other leading Senate Republicans, including the heads of three committees — Judiciary, Homeland Security and Intelligence — have said they would prefer some degree of judicial oversight. Their positions, if they hold, could make the negotiations more difficult...http://tinyurl.com/effb9
Arianna on MM on MTP:

As it happens, I wasn't sure I had entirely woken up today. Indeed, I felt locked in a horrible nightmare -- because today's installment was a true horror show.
If you tuned in, you already know what I'm talking about: Mary Matalin.
Oh my God.
James Wolcott called her "a car wreck in repose" and "the Beltway's Madwoman of Chaillot." Crooks & Liars has video here and here.
Let's start with the unavoidable: what was she wearing? First, the brooch. Or was it a sculpture? Or was it perhaps some bizarre new NSA listening device? It was so, well, there, that hard as you tried you could not avert your eyes from it.
And then there was the black Asian pajama top to match the black eye makeup and the scarlet red nails to match the scarlet red lips. It was impossible to watch her without thinking of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. And then there was her manner, which was so incredibly nasty that it was hard to focus on her ludicrous talking points...http://tinyurl.com/r3h7a
White House Working to Avoid Wiretap Probe
But Some Republicans Say Bush Must Be More Open About Eavesdropping Program
By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 20, 2006; A08

At two key moments in recent days, White House officials contacted congressional leaders just ahead of intelligence committee meetings that could have stirred demands for a deeper review of the administration's warrantless-surveillance program, according to House and Senate sources.

In both cases, the administration was spared the outcome it most feared, and it won praise in some circles for showing more openness to congressional oversight.

But the actions have angered some lawmakers who think the administration's purported concessions mean little. Some Republicans said that the White House came closer to suffering a big setback than is widely known, and that President Bush must be more forthcoming about the eavesdropping program to retain Congress's good will... http://tinyurl.com/g6l2j
Prober: Libby plays traitor card

WASHINGTON - Vice President Cheney's indicted former top aide was accused yesterday of threatening to divulge America's biggest national security secrets in court unless a prosecutor backs off.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald compared Lewis (Scooter) Libby to America's worst traitors by saying he's using the favorite legal tactic of spies trying to avoid a trial or death sentence.

Fitzgerald urged a judge to reject Libby's request for 277 CIA-prepared documents from 2003 known as the President's Daily Brief - the most sensitive national security memos in the U.S. government - by arguing it was just a ploy to kill the case.

"The defendant's effort to make history in this case by seeking 277 PDBs - for the sole purpose of showing that he was 'preoccupied' with other matters when he gave testimony to the grand jury - is a transparent effort at 'graymail,'" Fitzgerald said in new court filings... http://tinyurl.com/j55pa
Report: Pentagon Warned on Torture, Abuse
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 19, 2006; 2:49 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Navy's former general counsel warned Pentagon officials two years before the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that circumventing international agreements on torture and detainees' treatment would invite abuse, according to a published report.

Legal theories granting the president the right to authorize abuse in spite of the Geneva conventions were unlawful, dangerous and erroneous, Alberto J. Mora advised officials in a secret memo. The 22-page document was obtained by The New Yorker for a story in its Feb. 27 issue.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said Sunday she had not read the magazine story.

The memo from July 7, 2004, recounted Mora's 2 1/2-year effort to halt a policy that he feared would authorize cruelty toward suspected terrorists.

It document also indicates that some lawyers in the Justice and Defense departments objected to the legal course the administration undertook, according to the report.

Mora said Navy intelligence officers reported in 2002 that military-intelligence interrogators at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were engaging in escalating levels of physical and psychological abuse rumored to have been authorized at a high level in Washington... http://tinyurl.com/hfz95
The Sunday Times (UK)
February 19, 2006
Bush and Blair have brilliantly done Bin Laden's work for him
Simon Jenkins

Is Osama Bin Laden winning after all? Until recently I would have derided such a thought. How could a tinpot fanatic who is either dead or shut in some mountain hideout hold the world to ransom for five years? It would stretch the imagination of an Ian Fleming.
Now I am beginning to wonder. Not a day passes without some new sign of Bin Laden’s mesmeric grip on the governments of Britain and America. His deeds lie behind half the world’s headlines. British policy seems obsessed with one word: terrorism. The West is equivocating, writhing, slithering in precisely the direction most desired by its enemy. He must be roaring with delight.
On any objective measure, terrorism in the West is a trivial crime. True, New York and London saw outrages in 2001 and 2005 respectively. Both were the outcome of sloppy intelligence...http://tinyurl.com/8qcnq

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Front Row Seat by Caleb Weintraub
They Blinded Us With Science
Stephen Leahy
BROOKLIN, Canada, Feb 17 (IPS) -

Evidence is mounting that U.S. scientists have been prevented by the George W. Bush administration from telling the truth about global warming and other environmental and health issues.
In January, one of the United States' leading scientists, James Hansen, accused the administration of keeping scientific information about climate change from reaching the public.
Hansen, director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said scientists researching climate change at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are being gagged.
"It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States," Hansen was reported as saying at a public panel about science and the environment Feb. 10 in New York City.
Last fall, administration officials ordered Hansen to remove data from the Internet that suggested 2005 could be the warmest year on record. A few months later, 2005 was confirmed as the warmest ever by several scientific institutions.
Officials have also prevented journalists from interviewing the scientist about his research.
"Things are even worse at NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency," Hansen said in a television interview.
NOAA has consistently discounted any connection to global warming in its scientific summaries about the record number and destructiveness of hurricanes in 2005, despite ample evidence of a likely connection from other leading climate scientists...http://tinyurl.com/e2egh

Friday, February 17, 2006

Conservatives Endorse the Fuhrer Principle
Our leader über alles
by Paul Craig Roberts

Last week's annual Conservative Political Action Conference signaled the transformation of American conservatism into brownshirtism. A former Justice Department official named Viet Dinh got a standing ovation when he told the CPAC audience that the rule of law mustn't get in the way of President Bush protecting Americans from Osama bin Laden.
Former Republican congressman Bob Barr, who led the House impeachment of President Bill Clinton, reminded the CPAC audience that our first loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution, not to a leader. The question, Barr said, is not one of disloyalty to Bush, but whether America "will remain a nation subject to, and governed by, the rule of law or the whim of men."
The CPAC audience answered that they preferred to be governed by Bush. According to Dana Milbank, a member of the CPAC audience named Richard Sorcinelli loudly booed Barr, declaring: "I can't believe I'm in a conservative hall listening to him say Bush is off course trying to defend the United States." A woman in the audience told Barr that the Constitution placed Bush above the law and above non-elected federal judges.
These statements gallop beyond the merely partisan. They express the sentiments of brownshirtism. Our leader über alles... http://tinyurl.com/7e45y

Further Abu Ghraib Photos: US Constitution RIP
Salon.com has gotten hold of a complete set of images of torture from Abu Ghraib. This is the material that the US government has been declining to release. The pictures are not of new abuse, though it is clear that many of the same sorts of torture as were pictured in 2003 have continued-- including stress positions, hooding, etc.Meanwhile, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has called on the United States to try the detainees at Guantanamo or release them, rejecting the notion that they can simply be held extrajudicially forever.
Sort of sad that the rest of the world has to lecture us about things that at least used to be in our own constitution.

'Amendment V:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VIIn:
all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VIII:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. '... http://tinyurl.com/dm4k4

"Good news, ladies and gentlemen," announced David Letterman after news of the vice presidential shooting spree finally came out, "we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick Cheney."

Letterman scored another direct hit when he observed: "It turns out now that Dick Cheney did not have a license to hunt, and coincidentally, turns out we didn't have a license to go into Iraq."

Jay Leno was equally on target when he explained that: "You can't blame [Cheney]. Bush says you can spy on people without warrants, you can torture people, you can hold people without a trial, so Dick Cheney thinks, 'Oh what the hell, I can shoot a few guys.'"

Ultimately, however, it was "Daily Show" correspondent Rob Corddry who hit the bullseye, when he reported that: "The Vice President is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. Now, according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be a 78- year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Wittington's face." ...http://tinyurl.com/bvumy
Ex-Exec. Pleads Guilty to Fraud in Iraq

(02-17) 11:04 PST Rock Island, Ill. (AP) --
A former executive for a company hired by a Halliburton Co. subsidiary to ship military cargo into Iraq has pleaded guilty to inflating invoices by $1.14 million to cover fraudulent surcharges.
Christopher Joseph Cahill pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Rock Island, where the Army Field Support Command that administered the contract is located.
Cahill, 51, of Katy, Texas, was a regional vice president based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for Eagle Global Logistics, a Houston-based company that won a war contract from Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root in 2002, according to court papers.
The company was hired to fly freight into Baghdad from Dubai, part of a logistics contract between KBR and the government that has paid out more than $11 billion through mid-January, according to the Army Field Support Command...http://tinyurl.com/bz98h
America's Moral Decline and the Rise of False Christianity
by Karen Horst Cobb

“This is the year God wants to make you a millionaire.” The visiting evangelist stomped back and forth on the stage of the rented school building. His “hallelujahs” and “praise God” crescendos were followed by jumping up and down. Sweat ran down his face as he proclaimed that the church members would not need to be afraid if the economy collapses and their neighbors houses are foreclosed upon because they are blessed and will have all of their needs met. The service ended with the explanation that the first step to becoming a millionaire is to pledge $200 of “seed faith money” to the church .
Just prior to the introduction of the evangelist the young single minister with spiky hair introduced the beginning of fellowship “life groups," explaining that the “free market” will decide which ones succeed. Recently, Ted Taggard of mega church New Life Fellowship in Colorado Springs explained that Spirituality is a “commodity “ to be bought and sold. The writings of Milton Friedman are recommended for all new converts. This young minister must also be a free market convert . His small group is a satellite of World Harvest Church. The sermon themes of the mega churches are all very similar and reflect the cause of America‘s moral decline. Christianity is getting a makeover using the classic trappings of Money, domination and military aggression.
It looks like the 50 million dollar Bible theme park which was to be built in Israel by evangelicals will not happen now that Pat Robertson insulted Arial Sharon. Imagine a 50 million dollar Bible theme park protected by nuclear weapons in the holy land and off limits to Arabs. The harvest of the mega church is ready; welcome the gleaners, the seed faith money has matured...http://tinyurl.com/cpdmn

Here are THE questions. Imagine if the last legitimate Vice President, Albert Gore, had shot a guy. He'd be asked these questions.

"Why didn't the Vice President go to the hospital? Did he need time to sober up?"
"Why did the Vice President wait until the following morning to alert the media? Did he need time to sober up?"
"Why didn't local law enforcement do a proper investigation? Was alcohol involved?"
"In many states, hunters are required to take a blood alcohol test after any accidental shooting. Why didn't Cheney?"
"Why can't all the people involved get their stories straight on the issue of alcohol?"
"Why did MSNBC scrub the alcohol reference from their story, and then put something different back in later after the scrubbing was caught?"
"Why isn't the media talking about Cheney's two DUIs?"
"Why won't Cheney hold a press conference? Does he have something to hide?"
"We don't know the facts. I am not saying that Cheney was drunk. But I think the American people have a right to the whole story. Was alcohol involved?"... http://tinyurl.com/ahm59
Great. Death Squads. How Republican. Tastes like that good ol' Fascist (Reaganite) lemon-aid...

Apparent Death Squad Is Linked to Iraqi Ministry
By Nelson Hernandez and Bassam Sebti
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, February 17, 2006; A01
BAGHDAD, Feb. 16 -- U.S. and Iraqi authorities discovered an apparent death squad operating within the country's Interior Ministry last month when Iraqi troops prevented a group of highway patrol officers from killing a Sunni Arab man the officers had arrested, an American military spokesman said Thursday.
The 22 men, dressed in the camouflage uniforms of special police commandos, were stopped by chance at an Iraqi army checkpoint in northern Baghdad, according to Maj. Gen. Joseph Peterson, who gave a detailed account of the incident to the Chicago Tribune for an article published Thursday. When the soldiers asked the police what they were doing, they responded bluntly: They were going to execute their captive. Instead, they wound up in jail...http://tinyurl.com/d888q

AP) LAFAYETTE, Colo. Hours after laughing about Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting mishap, Josh Kayser was himself shot by a friend during a hunting expedition.
The 21-year-old Lafayette man was taken to the hospital Monday night after his girlfriend accidentally shot him while they were trailing a raccoon that had been preying on chickens on his family's property.
"I read that thing about the vice president and said to myself 'how can you shoot your friend with your gun?' And look what happened," he said Tuesday.
Kayser was crouched down to look under a shed where he thought a wounded raccoon was hiding, and his 17-year-old girlfriend accidentally shot him with a .22-caliber rifle. Police have not identified the girlfriend.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Gothic Sentiment within Industrial Archaeology
by Jose Manuel Rojo

“If it can be imagined, then it can be made.” This sentence, exultant and brilliant like an oracle or watchword, does not really celebrate the triumph of the imagination, but instead its overwhelming defeat: it is the slogan of a well-known TV commercial that confuses the imagined desire with an object of consumption. Another recent advertisement insisted on asking what is the limit of our desire (“Can’t you imagine something better?”) to find it incarnated in the form of... an automobile. What surprises us here is not so much the manipulation of the imagination and of desire, but the reaffirmation of the promises of advertising and the world of the consumer as the only imaginary things possible. No longer can anyone doubt that the television screen shows us only the socially-acceptable formulations of all desires...http://tinyurl.com/b5mmj
An Arrogance of Power
By David Ignatius
Wednesday, February 15, 2006; A21

There is a temptation that seeps into the souls of even the most righteous politicians and leads them to bend the rules, and eventually the truth, to suit the political needs of the moment. That arrogance of power is on display with the Bush administration.
The most vivid example is the long delay in informing the country that Vice President Cheney had accidentally shot a man last Saturday while hunting in Texas. For a White House that informs us about the smallest bumps and scrapes suffered by the president and vice president, the lag is inexplicable. But let us assume the obvious: It was an attempt to delay and perhaps suppress embarrassing news. We will never know whether the vice president's office would have announced the incident at all if the host of the hunting party, Katharine Armstrong, hadn't made her own decision Sunday morning to inform her local paper.
Nobody died at Armstrong Ranch, but this incident reminds me a bit of Sen. Edward Kennedy's delay in informing Massachusetts authorities about his role in the fatal automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969. That story, and dozens of others about the Kennedy family, illustrates how wealthy, powerful people can behave as if they are above the law. For my generation, the fall of Richard Nixon is the ultimate allegory about how power can corrupt and destroy. It begins not with venality but with a sense of God-given mission...http://tinyurl.com/dk3nk
"Why do they hate us?"

New Abu Ghraib images broadcast

An Australian TV channel has broadcast previously unpublished images showing apparent US abuse of prisoners in Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail in 2003.
The images on SBS TV are thought to be from the same source as those that caused an outcry around the world and led to several US troops being jailed.
The new images show "homicide, torture and sexual humiliation", SBS said...http://tinyurl.com/77mwb
Can You Say "Permanent Bases"? The American Press Can't
By Tom Engelhardt
Tuesday 14 February 2006

We're in a new period in the war in Iraq - one that brings to mind the Nixonian era of "Vietnamization": A President presiding over an increasingly unpopular war that won't end; an election bearing down; the need to placate a restive American public; and an army under so much strain that it seems to be running off the rails. So it's not surprising that the media is now reporting on administration plans for, or "speculation" about, or "signs of," or "hints" of "major draw-downs" or withdrawals of American troops. The figure regularly cited these days is less than 100,000 troops in Iraq by the end of 2006. With about 136,000 American troops there now, that figure would represent just over one-quarter of all in-country U.S. forces, which means, of course, that the term "major" certainly rests in the eye of the beholder...http://tinyurl.com/cfwg4

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This is insane. Who wants this? And why?:

America's Long War
Last week US defence chiefs unveiled their plan for battling global Islamist extremism. They envisage a conflict fought in dozens of countries and for decades to come.
Simon Tisdall and Ewen MacAskill
Wednesday February 15, 2006
The message from General Peter Pace, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, was apocalyptic. "We are at a critical time in the history of this great country and find ourselves challenged in ways we did not expect. We face a ruthless enemy intent on destroying our way of life and an uncertain future."
Gen Pace was endorsing the Pentagon's four-yearly strategy review, presented to Congress last week. The report sets out a plan for prosecuting what the the Pentagon describes in the preface as "The Long War", which replaces the "war on terror". The long war represents more than just a linguistic shift: it reflects the ongoing development of US strategic thinking since the September 11 attacks.
Looking beyond the Iraq and Afghan battlefields, US commanders envisage a war unlimited in time and space against global Islamist extremism. "The struggle ... may well be fought in dozens of other countries simultaneously and for many years to come," the report says. The emphasis switches from large-scale, conventional military operations, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, towards a rapid deployment of highly mobile, often covert, counter-terrorist forces...http://tinyurl.com/ado8w
Who Will Blow the Whistle Before We Attack Iran?
By Ray McGovern
Monday 13 February 2006

The question looms large against the backdrop of the hearing on whistleblowing scheduled for tomorrow afternoon by Christopher Shays, chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. Among those testifying are Russell Tice, one of the sources who exposed illegal eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, and Army Sgt. Sam Provance, who told his superiors of the torture he witnessed at Abu Graib, got no satisfaction, and felt it his duty to go public. It will not be your usual hearing.
I had the privilege of being present at the creation of the international Truth-Telling Coalition on September 9, 2004 and of working with Daniel Ellsberg in drafting the coalition's Appeal to Current Government Officials to put loyalty to the Constitution above career and to expose dishonesty leading to misadventures like the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Whether or not encouragement from the Coalition played any role in subsequent disclosures, we are grateful for those responsible for the recent hemorrhaging of important information - from the "Downing Street Minutes," showing that by summer 2002 the Bush administration had decided to "fix" intelligence to "justify" war on Iraq, to disclosures regarding CIA kidnappings, secret prisons, and state-sponsored torture.
As former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who leads the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, keeps reminding us, "Information is the oxygen of democracy." And with this administration's fetish for secrecy and our somnolent Fourth Estate, we would likely all suffocate without patriotic truth-tellers (aka whistleblowers)...http://tinyurl.com/c5pev

Monday, February 13, 2006

Am I hallucinating or do these people really look this creepy?