Sorry for not posting for a while - PC probelms...
Hold the War Criminals to account.
December 31, 2003
December 23, 2003
Happy Christmas, Jon...
Over the last month I have been swapping emails with a pro-Bush blogger, Jon Reimer. Jon, who is so enamoured of Bush and his aggressive neo-con agenda that he is joining the US military reserves, says I should have a Comments board so that readers like him can post their opinions.
Unfortunately, I don't have time to respond to everyone's comments on a Comments board, but as a special Christmas present to my new friend Jon, I'll give our correspondence an airing here.
I hope these emails will make interesting reading for others. As you can see, Bush really has polarized US public opinion and it is going to be VERY hard for any Democrat to sway pro-Bush voters like Jon in '04.
P.S. If anyone else has any issues with my Blog, please email me.
It all started with me trying to convince Jon that Bush Thanksgiving turkey was a cheap PR stunt...
From: Jon Reimer
Sent: Sunday, 7 December 2003 1:13 PM
so youre telling me that the pics of George holdin the turkey surrounded by
smiling soldiers was staged with a plastic turkey? and what, actors? and i
find it hard to believe that the president of the united states can be
afraid. especially when surrounded by his own troops.
personally ittl be Bush 04 for me.
ashame your not an american or id ask you which democrat youd vote for
(since we can see you dont like bush)
take a picture of a kangaroo for me
Sent: Monday, 8 December 2003 7:03 AM
To: Jon Reimer
The Bush thanksgiving story was widely reported outside the USA. I guess
you would call the UK Independent (one of the top 5 broadsheets in Britain)
a reputable paper. Here's what they had to say about the turkey story:
"Yesterday it emerged that the Bush turkey, images of which were published
round the world, had been a "model" adorning the end of the buffet line and
that soldiers were served their meals from cafeteria steam-trays."
Similarly, the White House lied about a supposed encounter with a BA
airliner en route to Baghdad. Here's a reputable story from ABC News.
Sorry, Jon, but the man you plan to vote for is an habitual liar.
Unfortunately, Americans always seem to feel constrained to believe their
coutry is a religion and their incumbent president is therefore as far
beyond criticism as Jesus Christ.
And yes, I am not an American, but you could argue that the policies of G.
W. Bush affect my world more profoundly that my own government's decisions.
I can't vote for or against the guy, even though he is probably the most
powerful person in the history of the universe. So my Blog is my vote.
I really hope I can help you change your mind about Bush... any chance???
From: Jon Reimer
Sent: Wednesday, 10 December 2003 2:13 PM
uh, didnt get the plane deal, so they filed as another plane? cool, way to
make it a surprise.
and dont ever compare George to Christ. As a Christian I have a relationship
with Christ because he is my savior. he granted me eternal salvation.
Bush is simply the president of my country and therefore deserves my
allegiance. i have extreme patriotism (obviously) but i do not worhsip or
idolize my country and theres no way my country can compare with my God.
other people maybe, but not me.
btw, if you want to hear more about Christ, Ill tell you, but George he is
not, and George is NOT he.
and GW has alot to do to beat Clintons lying presidency.
Sent: Thursday, 11 December 2003 8:38 AM
To: Jon Reimer
There's a fascinating statistic in US politics. If you go to church
regularly, or synagogue, you vote Republican two to one. If you don't, you
vote Democrat two to one.
Obviously we know which side you are on! But surely you can't just vote
Republican all the time without seriously considering the candidate and the
policies they espouse?
What would it take for you to vote against Bush? I mean, the guy is the most
despised US leader in history, he can't go anywhere in the world without
being cocooned by security people because he is so despised, but back in the
good ol' USA he still has this stalwart, unquestioningly loyal Republican
backing. What would it take for you to change your mind about him?
He has invaded two countries for oil, he has openly launched a new doctrine
of pre-emptive stikes against countries which pose no threat to the USA, he
has walked away from the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse emissions and the
International Criminal Court, not the mention the International
Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, he has sent the US national debt up to record
levels and watched over the deaths of houndreds of soldiers, not to mention
the mutilation of many more, not to mention civilian fatalities... but you
STILL support him!!!
So my question is, really, whether it is worthwhile continuing this
conversation. I imagine that if Bush were tried and convicted of War Crimes
by an international tribunal in the Hague, you would still support him,
right? So what on earth would make you change your mind about him?
What if I proved that he lied, not once but ten times? Would you still vote
for someone you knew to be a liar?
From: Jon Reimer
Sent: Friday, 12 December 2003 9:18 AM
I certainly respect you for your steadfastness.
Find for me one president that hasnt lied. or any nation leader.
now that by no means makes it right, and sure bush has probably made
mistakes, but yup i still back him.
now about war and pre-emption. those countries were obvious threats to the
afghanistan's taliban was a huge backing for al-queda, the cause of 9/11.
what would you have done if terrorists destroyed and devastated two national
icons with thousands of casualties and wouldve destroyed another? sit back?
not america im afraid. we do not stand by and watch or citizens die. the
terrorists have started this war, we are simply bringing it to them. saddam
was a terrorist supporter, and even if he wasnt that he was a tyrannical
despot that deserved a regime change. less iraqis are dying today then when
saddam was in power. the iraqi people are better off because of our
and duh, people die in wars. it is an effect that our soldiers are willing
to accept. personally i am enlisting in our selective service. and if im
drafted (i shouldnt be but anyway) than i will gladly fight for my country,
or the liberation of an oppressed people, or to eliminate terrorists.
dont mention 'nam, i didnt agree with that.
what about ww2? that had millions upon millions of casualties and i dont
hear anyone complaining about fdr being a murderous leader.
and there is no way you can call bush our worst president. you need to work
on your us history. his leadership after 9-11 was unprecedented. if al gore
had been in office i would be ashamed to be an american.
personally, if i was president, i would have invaded all those middle
eastern islamic terrorist-supportin countries. bin laden or saddam has got
to be in one. and they all need reconstructed. i say put the entire us army
in the area to fix it. but thats not possible becuz of islam.
im not sure about all that stuff you said bush walked away from, could be
true, i just havent heard it. and the turkey is embarassing, hey, it was
just a pr coup.
and i totally agree about the church. except you may want to check your
views on authority with christ's.
christianity is a much more interesting topic than politics. ;)
Sent: Friday, 12 December 2003 7:00 PM
To: Jon Reimer
I agree that Christianity is more interesting than politics. Unfortunately I
think the Bush administration has brought about a crisis in international
relations that will determine what kind of world we all live in for the next
thousand years, so I feel obliged - as a Christian who cares for his fellow
men and women - to deal with that right now.
In an ideal world, politicians would do their jobs with honesty, decency and
humility, then we could all forget about politics. Unfortunately, as
everybody knows, politicians today are far from that ideal! No wonder half
the USA doesn't bother to vote, even though the US President is now the most
powerful individual in the history of the planet (in Australia, by the way,
voting is compulsory).
And you are right again - nearly all politicians lie, it's more or less a
necessary part of the job. On the other hand, there are great leaders who
arise from time to time, like Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi, who do not
resort to lies. The US President should be such a person. You should all
demand such a person as your leader. But politics in the corporate
capitalist world is designed so that anyone without powerful financial and
political backers has never got a chance - and who is going to back someone
who always tells the truth? Nobody who matters.
You're also right about the Taleban. They were a ruthless regime that
deserved to be removed from power over a decade ago. And certainly they were
the kind of regime that would support anti-US terrorists at any opportunity.
The threat needed to be removed.*
But the same doesn't apply to Saddam Hussein. He was a ruthless dictator,
but he had been severely disabled by a decade of UN sanctions. Do you know
that on the day after 9/11, General Wesley Clark was on air with CNN and
someone phoned him from the White House and told him to pin it on Saddam?
Clark hesitated, saying there was no proof - and all this time later, there
is still no proof! Just because Bush and his buddies keep linking Saddam and
9/11 in all their speeches doesn't make it true. Even Bush admitted, a few
months ago, that there is no proof to link Saddam and 9/11.
The Bush boys said Saddam represented a threat to the USA. Maybe back when
he invaded Kuwait he did. But at the time the US invaded Iraq, he didn't.
Saddam was trying to save his own ass from his own people and from the UN.
He apparently met with Osama and the Al Quaeda boys about 8 years ago, but
he was not interested in getting involved with religious fanatics - the
Muslim clerics in Iraq and Islamic fundementalists in general were probably
his greatest danger. Saddam wanted nothing to do with Al Quaeda! He never
talked to them again!
So why did the USA invade? Why did the White House try to pin 9/11 on
Saddam, instead of going after the real culprits? Think about it...?!
You say, "the terrorists have started this war, we are simply bringing it to
Sadly, no, you are not bringing it to them. Bush tells the troops they are
better off fighting terrorists in Iraq than back in the USA. But you cannot
call everyone who opposes the USA a "terrorist". It's stupid! A US general
in Iraq recently admitted that they have found very few foreign fighters
amoung the Iraqi resistance. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, and in
fact the support for anti-US terrorists is growing around the world as a
direct result of Bush's oil-grab in the Middle East. The war in Iraq is ding
nothing to help stop terrorism - it is helping it grow!
You say "the iraqi people are better off because of our intervention."
That's easy for you to say, watching Fox News and CNN. But the Iraqi people
themselves do not agree. Just read a few Iraqi Blogs - try
http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ which is a blog by a well-educated,
Westernized girl in Baghdad. Her blog today says:
"Iraq no longer feels like a country- it feels like war spoils: the winning
team gets the pickings."
The Iraqis ARE thankful that Saddam is gone. Now they want the USA gone as
well. Most believe they have swapped one oppressor for another. They are not
getting freedom, or peace, or even justice.
You say "if im drafted (i shouldnt be but anyway) than i will gladly fight
for my country, or the liberation of an oppressed people, or to eliminate
Noble sentiments. I admire you. I am a pacifist myself and I would never
harm anyone, but I do admire your readiness to sacrifice yourself for the
good of others. But would you die just to secure the oil-based energy future
of the US economy? Would you die to help Bush get re-elected?
And as for WWII...!!! Hitler was universally detested, he invaded half a
dozen countries before the world moved against him and he had already
declared his intention to conquer more countries. He was a racial
supremacist who had the strong support of his propaganda-blinded people. You
can't compare Saddam to that, however bad he was.
n the other hand, you COULD compare Bush's moves towards global empire with
Hitler's. You could compare Bush's manipulation of public opinion with
Hitler's. You could compare the amazing phenomenon whereby a whole nation of
people actually go along with this crap... !!
Listen, Jon. Don't you think it's kind of funny that you actually read my
blog and emailed me in the first place? I get the feeling that you are
searching for the truth on all this, it's important to you. I think that is
very admirable - it is what I am after too.
Christ said we should "do unto others as you would have others do unto you".
Put yourself in the shoes of the people around the world who oppose Bush. We
don't get to vote for this guy, but we suffer the consequences of his
actions. We look to US citizens like yourself to vote against him and save
the world from further madness. We believe in the values of truth, justice
and equality which the USA professes to support, but we don't see any
evidence. Instead, we see GREED.
* NB while I agree that both Saddam and the Taliban should have been
removed, Bush should have supported the UN efforts to remove them. Instead
he sabotaged the UN so he could grad the oil. But that's another long
(John's next reply here is missing - I'll dig it up later - but I've quoted him in my reply below)
Sent: Wednesday, 17 December 2003 6:16 PM
To: Jon Reimer
I don't think the Democrat candidates are ridiculous, but I think their
protracted debating across the country does nothing to help their cause and
it does makes them look foolish, particularly against an unopposed
candidate like Bush. It's good to have a public debate on issues, but
perhaps it would be better to choose a candidate by a less public method,
and unite behind that person. I think Dean will win the candidacy, which is
great because he is the only serious contender who consistently opposed the
US invasion of Iraq. He cannot be worse than Bush.
Responding to your other points, there is no doubt that the
neo-conservatives who put Bush in the White House (Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld,
Cheney and others) have a plan for "global empire". They even published a
document declaring this policy about a decade ago - it's called the
"Project For The New American Century" and you can read it at
www.informationclearinghouse.com (or do a Google search). What is
particularly scarey is their
suggestion that they would not be able to implement these "global empire"
ideas without the support of the US people, and that support would only
come about through a dramatic attack like 9/11. This has lead many people
to suspect that the neo-cons allowed Bin Laden to hit the WTC, or even
encouraged the attacks - why else is Bush freezing sensitive documents
which the 9/11 investigating panel is demanding to see?
The neo-cons' crazy ideas were an embarrasment to previous Republican
administrations, but while Clinton was in power the neo-cons grew more
powerful. These people are the new Nazis, in my opinion. You can be quite
sure they already have plans for invading Syria, Iran and North Korea.
You said: ‘Then how come Japan and Germany arent our 51st and 52nd states?’
Fortunately for Japan and Germany, post-WWII USA was quite a different
country to what it is today. Americans are proud of talking about how they
"won" WWII and saved everybody else's sorry asses, but the truth is the USA
probably wouldn't have even JOINED the war if Japan had not attacked Pearl
Harbour. The US has only ever joined in a war if it thought there was an
economic advantage to doing so, and it has benefitted economically from
nearly every war it has fought.
You said: ‘i find the oil charge extremely hard to stomach. first, im still payin a buck 50 for gas.’
Because the Iraqi resistance keep blowing up the pipelines and sabotaging
US efforts to increase oil production. And because a decade of US-sponsored
UN sanctions crippled the Iraqi oil industry and left their oil refineries
rusting and rotting. And because Bush doesn't want you and your family to
get cheap oil, he wants to stock up the Federal Reserve. He wants his oil
baron buddies to make millions by importing cheap oil from the Middle East
and selling it to the US government at top dollar. It's already happening.
They'll bring the price of oil down when it's politically convenient.
You said: ‘and the us army is not "another oppressor", we're simply fighting the
terrorists who are pickin fights.’
Really? Why are they "terrorists" just because they fight against US
soldiers? Surely that is not the definition of "terrorism"? If someone
invaded your country and you resisted, would that make you a terrorist?
Absurd! The whole concept of a "war on terror" is absurd. You have fallen
for the Bush post-9/11 propaganda in a big way, haven't you?
You said: ‘and bush is shootin for a July 04 pull out date for our troops.’
Yeah, just perfect for the elections. Surprise, surprise. Do you really
think the USA will leave the Iraqis to run their own country? Do you think
they won't maintain a massive military presence there for another 20 years?
Do you think they will allow an Iraqi government which is not basically a
puppet regime like in Afghanistan?
You said: ‘lets see who answers the call when either ww3 breaks out, or some oppressed
ppl somewhere cry out for liberation’
Ideally, that would be the UN. That is why the UN was created. The UN had
contained Saddam Hussein. He wasn't a threat to the USA or even Israel. The
UN was doing its job, their weapons inspectors didn't find anything because
there was nothing to find. But that wasn't good enough for Bush. He said
the USA had to invade, they couldn't wait any longer because the UN wasn't
doing its job properly. Remember?
The US government doesn't like the UN because they want to maintain US global
supremacy. That is my fundamental objection to US foreign adventures - they
don't want peace, equality and justice for everyone, they just want it (or
the illusion of it) for the US public. That is not a very enlightened
stance. It condemns the rest of the world to Second Class status, and why
should we be happy with that? Indeed, it is an utterly hypocritical stance
- how can you preach equality for only a select few? It is hardly very
Christian, is it?
As for Revelations, yes I have read it. But if you think that YOU can tell
me exactly what it means and how it applies to US policy in the Middle
East, wel... you are more into conspiracy theories than me!
Sent: Sunday, 21 December 2003 7:56 AM
To: Jon Reimer
Are we making any progress here? Your arguments are certainly not convincing
YOU SAID: "heck ya theres a plan for invading Syria, Iran and North Korea.
on Terror would be inconsistent if those countries werent neutralized as
- Neutralized? Do you really think Iraq has been "neutralized"? Don't you
think there is more real on-the-ground anti-US feeling than there ever was
before the invasion? Not just in Iraq, not just even in Islamic countries,
but around the world? The US is more disliked now than ever, and radical
Islam has been strengthened by the US "crusade" (as they see it).
YOU SAID: "Nazis? Do you know what a Nazi is?... Visit the Holocaust Museum
in Washington, D.C. Look at the pictures of the piles of bodies, the mass
graves, the concentration camps, and the gas chambers. That is what Nazism
means... Bush is a Nazi huh? Yup, just like them."
- Do you know how any Iraqis have been killed since the US began its Shock
and Awe campaign? I bet you don't. Because your government doesn't even keep
a body count of Iraqi. Go have a look at the photos of dead children at
www.iraqbodycount.net , or go read the story at
Of course I realize that Bush's crimes, right now, are nowehere near as bad
as Hitler's holocaust, but - strangely enough - the fact that they are even
comparable doesn't seem to bother you. When Hitler invaded one country, then
two, then three, there will still many people in Europe inclined to leave
him alone, many even supported his ideals until they themselves felt
And the neo-con agenda certainly IS fascist. Go find any definition of
facism and apply it to them - it works.
Regarding WWII, you said "ppl like you ... insist any armed conflict America
into is an attempt to conquer the world. No offense."
- OK , no offense taken. But I think the neo-con agenda for world domination
is NEW, that's what makes Bush and these idiots so scary. Nobody I know
believes the US ever tried to take over the world before. This is a radical
change in US values, yet the US public (ie, you) don't seem to know or care.
That is even more scary.
You said "If the US knew about the concentration camps there is nothing that
stop our military from paying Hitler a not so friendly visit (if he
dominated Europe because we stayed out of the war)"
- The US knew Saddam was gassing thousands of Kurds and Iranians using
chemical weapons that were sold to him by the Reagan administration.
Rumsfeld went to visit Saddam and assured him that the US' public opposition
to chemical weapons was LESS IMPORTANT than their desire to maintain good
relations with Iraq (in other words, less important than the oil pipeline
deal they were working on). The US also knew Pol Pot was massacring hundreds
of thousands in Cambodia 20 years ago, what did they do about that? What
about Idi Amin in Uganda? What about Chinese human rights abuses right now?
When the Agentine junta was "disappearing" thousands of innocent civilians
in the 70's and 80's, the US gave them a nod and a wink and said they
supported their efforts in the "civil war". I could go on... (sigh)
YOU SAID: "You are terribly misinformed my friend."
Yeah, sorry about that. I gotta watch more CNN...
YOU SAID: "Please explain the rejoicing upon the capture of Saddam."
Of course the Iraqi (mostly) hated Saddam. But that doesn't justify what
Bush has done.
YOU SAID: "here in America we believe in human rights."
Tell that to Jose Padilla and the detainees in Gitmo who have been detained
without charge or access to a lawyer for 2 years.
YOU SAID: "North Korea is ruled by a despot that rivals Saddam. He
periodically rounds up the beautiful women in his country, rapes them and
then kills them."
Where did you get THAT story from? I agree that Kim Jong-Il is a sick mofo,
but seriously you are way more into "conspiracy theories" than me... Sounds
like another attempt to demonize the bad guy and find a new face for
Ultimate Evil. Which makes Bush's schoolboy comic book crusades all the more
palatable on US TV.
YOU SAID: "Do the Korean people deserve democracy and freedom? Absolutely. I
assume you stand against that."
- why would you assume that? Of course I don't oppose that, I strong support
it. I just don't thinnk an illegal invasion of their country is the best way
to achieve it. There are peaceful means available. But what about
Mozambiqueans? Do they deserve the blessings of a US invasion as well?
And I mostly agree with your definition of terrorism. YOU SAID: "Terrorists
plant bombs in vehicles, strap them to
themselves and drive to public places and kill armed and unarmed personnel,
innocent Iraqi citizens and American soldiers. The people supposedly
resisting against invasion are killing their own kin. That is terrorism."
Agreed, except for the bit about "armed" personnel and "American soldiers".
WWII French resistance members who atacked Nazi soldiers were not
terrorists, were they?
How come everybody who opposes Bush is a "terrorist"? I suppose I am a
You said you would define the "war on terror" as "someone invading my
country and me resisting" - eh?? That makes no sense to me at all. I still
say the whole concept of a "war or terror" is absurd.
YOU SAID: "I dont know about you but I will not stand idly by
while the Muslims in the Middle East stir up their cesspool of terrorism
caused by the poverty that Islamic leaders create."
Yeah, but that poverty is aided and abetted by the US and Israel. One of Bin
Laden's primary demands after 9/11 was that the US withdraws it's military
bases and stops colluding with the Saudi royal family. Both those goals have
been achieved. Like I said above, the US supported Saddam and even sold him
chemical and other weapons for many years. Talk about not seeing the
"splinter in your own eye"...
YOU SAID: "lay out to me what you think will happen in Iraq and we will
I think Bush will try to stay in Iraq as long as possible and the Iraqi
people will not get a truly democratic government... unless the political
situation in the USA means a full pull-out (a la Vietnam) is the only
alternative to losing an election, or unless Bush is defeated by a principled
Democrat who is willing to stand up to the oil industry and other powerful capitalists.
YOU SAID: "where was the UN when Saddam slaughtered the Northern Kurds? Or
when he invaded his fellow Muslims in Kuwait?"
I don't know if the UN tried to pass a resolution condemning Saddam for
gassing the Kurds, but if it did I assume the Reagan administration would
have opposed it (since they were supporting him at the time). And as far as
I can remember, the UN actually supported the first Gulf War, which was a
totally different can of worms to the present illegal US invasion. Saddam
invaded Kuwait, an illegal (pre-emptive?) strike which deserved to be
opposed. Doesn't make Gulf War II justified.
YOU SAID: "the UN wasn't doing its job properly..."
- partly because the US doesn't let it. How many UN resolutions against
Israel has the US ever supported? I think there have been about 73 and the
US has opposed them all. The UN Security Council doesn't work, it needs to
be revamped, but the US will not even support that. Because the Bush Boyz
think it is in the US interest, as the sole superpower, to have a weak and
control-able UN. They just want it to rubber stamp their own actions and
block anybody else's.
I'll post some of this stuff on my Blog soon, so you can remember what you
Cheers and beers, happy Christmas and a peaceful 2004 for all...
December 22, 2003
Home, Home On The Range...
Beth Ware voted for George Bush in 2000. A few months later, one of the four hijacked 9/11 airplanes crashed in Shanksville, her home town. The residents' lives changed immediately.
"Before 9/11 I'm not sure I'd even heard of Iraq and Afghanistan," says another local. "Now I watch the news every night. I think about the rest of the world and terrorists all the time, and frankly I'm scared."
Despite the recent capture of Saddam Hussein, Beth is uncomfortable with the war in Iraq. She is not sure how she will cast her ballot next year.
"I appreciate the effort but I think it's sad our guys are dying there," said Ms. Ware, a high school teacher whose husband, a paramedic, rushed to the crash site. "Now that we have Saddam, well, I don't think it's bad. But I'm worried that the way America has behaved, we'll always be seen as the oppressor."
"We all have the same concerns about what happened here, and there's relief about Saddam Hussein, but I'm still not sure that entering this war was a good thing," said Paulette Denner, a fifth-grade teacher, emerging from the gray brick public school. "I don't think anyone can really keep us safe. And since we didn't have international support, I worry that we are no longer respected or considered trustworthy and that could be very damaging."
With the USA once again on high level terror alert, there is a real danger for Bush that another serious Al Quaeda attack prior to the election would seriously highlight the ineffectiveness of the invasion of Iraq.
(full NY Times story here).
Quiet Diplomacy versus Lack Of Diplomacy
The Washington Post reports that Libya's surprise declaration giving up its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons was the culmination of a week of intense negotiations that followed months of secret diplomacy, largely from London.
The highly delicate and highly successful negotiations recently included Tony Blair, Colin Powell and Jack Straw. There is no mention of Generallisimo El Busho, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or other hawkish neo-con imbeciles. And little wonder...
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Cheney's tough-talking has derailed months of quiet diplomacy between China, South Korea and North Korea. It seems Cheney steam-rolled the diplomatic efforts when he declared:
"I have been charged by the President with making sure that none of the tyrannies in the world are negotiated with. We don't negotiate with evil; we defeat it." "
Consider the use of the words "evil" and defeat". With the use of the word "evil" he is passing a God-like judgement on the North Koreans. With the word "defeat" he is implicitly threatening military action.
Similarly, George Bush is today reported to have told an Israeli journalist that "We must get rid of Arafat". So much for leaving your options open. Bush's latest gaffe comes at a time when elite Israeli military personnel are refusing to operate any longer in the "occupied territories". Now where the heck did I put that "Road Map" thingy...???
December 21, 2003
David Kay, the CIA man who Bush sent into Iraq with a 100-strong team and a mission to find WMDs, has left the country "for holidays". He is not expected to return, even though his much-heralded final report is yet to be delivered. And his team members have mostly been diverted to other tasks.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has postponed a vote on endorsement of the latest US plans to set up elections in Iraq. The latest plan postpones democratic elections and the finalising of the country's new constitution until 2005, well after the next US election.
And here's a good election platform for '04 for anybody who's interested - how about declaring a "war on poverty" or a "war on ignorance"? Anybody who has seriously studied international terrorism knows that poverty, lack of education and political repression are major root causes which breed terrorists and allow well-financed fanatics like Bin Laden to manipulate zealous followers.
Last year 10.5 million children died under the age of five. 98 percent were in the so-called "Developing World". At a time when a girl born in Japan can expect to live until 85 and a girl born in the United States can expect to live until 81, a girl in Sierra Leone can expect to live only until 36.
December 19, 2003
US Courts Agree: Bush Is A Criminal
Two US courts on either side of the USA have ruled that the Bush administration has acted illegally in detaining US citizens and others as "terrorist suspects" without charging them or giving them access to the legal system. The rulings apply to those being held both within the US and in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In New York, an appeals court has overruled Bush by ordering the US military hand over to civilian custody Jose Padilla, an American citizen who has been designated an "enemy combatant". Mr Padilla has been held without charges in a military brig since June last year.
The court ruling said Bush's constitutional powers do not extend to detaining an American citizen seized inside the US, away from a combat zone, as an enemy combatant.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a federal appeals court ruled that prisoners held at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba should have access to lawyers and the American court system.
“Even in times of national emergency — indeed, particularly in such times — it is the obligation of the Judicial Branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the Executive Branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the 2-1 majority.
As these judgements indicate, it's time to impeach Bush and his neo-con criminal cronies.
December 18, 2003
Saddam - The Aftermath
The capture of Saddam Hussein highlights an important point of agreement between pro-war supporters and anti-war activists. Both agree - for the most part - that the removal and capture of Saddam is a good thing for the world. It's high time the world united against tyrants, despots and dictators like Saddam, and hopefully the fall of his regime will be the first of many such changes in the world. Prime candidates waiting for long-overdue regime change include Burma, Mozambique and North Korea.
Bush, Blair and Howard now try to claim, with a typical twist of "revisionist history", that the fall of Saddam justifies the invasion of Iraq, whether or not WMDs are discovered. If that is so, will they now launch an invasion of Mozambique to topple Robert Mugabe? Will they send troops into Myanmar to confront the military junta that has imprisoned the people's elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for two decades?
Of course not. They do not even exert serious political influence on these barbarians. The Iraqi invasion was, after all, about oil and political influence in the Middle East.
Tyrants are always tolerated by US administrations as long as they do not interfere with US economic interests. In fact, the US has often found it easier to deal with a malleable dictator than a fiesty and unpredictable democracy (witness Pinochet's Chile and the US-sponsored removal of Salvador Allende, or even last year's failed attempt to overthrow Venezuela's elected president, Hugo Chavez).
As Saddam's trial is likely to reveal, the worst of his crimes took place while he was being enthusiastically sponsored by the West.
The US encouraged Hussein to attack Iran in 1980 and start a war that would cost a million lives. Rumsfeld flew to Baghdad in December 1983, pledging continued US support in the Iranian war and negotiating a new oil pipeline across Iraq. Rumsfeld also carried a letter from the then Israeli prime minister, Itzak Shamir, offering to sell arms to a man whose capture Israel now regards as great news "for the democratic world and for the fight for freedom and justice".
We can expect Saddam's public trial to be televised extensively on CNN and we can expect it to hit our screens about the same time as the '04 Republican campaign adverts. We can expect his trial to be used to showcase the "new, democratic Iraq." And we can expect the US-appointed members of the Iraqi Governing Council to make the most of the photo opportunity for their own political ambitions.
But Saddam's trial may only add to Bush's problems for re-election in 2004. Aside from exposing the US complicity described above, it is also likely to highlight the lack of WMDs which were used to justify the invasion. If no WMDs are found, and if insurgents continue killing 5 US soldiers a week for the next year, the US public will be wondering what the USA is still doing there. And then what will Bush tell them?
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot - it's all about terrorism! Right?
December 15, 2003
We Got Him... Now What?
Finally, the US troops in Iraq have captured Saddam Hussein. Congratulations are due, but two questions are worth asking:
a) why did it take so long?
b) who will try him?
It took eight months to find Saddam. It would have been much faster without continuing widespread support from ordinary Iraqis. And the Bush administration's lack of an exit strategy, or even basic dimplomatic skills, is largely responsible for that. There is no justification for US gloating now.
Where and by whom will Saddam be tried? TV reports this morning suggest that Saddam may have already been flown out of Iraq, presumably to Guantanamo Bay or some other US military hideout. The Iraqi Governing Council said last week that Saddam will be tried by Iraqi in Iraq, but the Bush Boyz may have other ideas.
US senators including Republican John McCain are already demanding that Bush do SOMETHING with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, whose legal limbo has dragged on for two years. Saddam's trial needs to be fair and internationally recognized, which is unlikely to apply to any Gitmo kangaroo court.
I know - let's re-establish the International Criminal Court. Bill Clinton supported the ICC but Bush backed away from it... even before 9/11.
December 12, 2003
The S*&T Is About To Hit The Fan On Bush's Stupid Comments
Bush has made a major faux pas by goading international critics of his administration. When asked about how international law would apply to Wolfowitz's ill-timed decision to deny contracts to countries that did not actively participtate in the Iraq invasion, Bush showed a typically un-diplomatic arrogance:
"International law? I better call my lawyer. He didn't bring that up to me."
The response not only typifies Bush's personal ignorance, as well as his administration's lack of tact and experience, it also highlights the US public's widespread ignorance - and indifference - to international realities. Sadly, it's the same insular mind-set which allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place. The "war on terrorism" is going nowhere in a hurry, folks.
Since Bush stole the 2000 US election, the landscape of international relations has been redefined. Bush not only belittled Old Europe while undermining the authority of the United Nations, he also walked away from a host of international treaties including Kyoto, the International Criminal Court, the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. He implemented Steel Tarriffs in defiance of international law, only to withdraw them after 18 months of profiteering. He set up illegal prison camps in Guantanamo Bay in clear defiance of the Geneva Convention.
Bush has no idea, and frankly he doesn't give a damn. The latest comment is just further confirmation of his administration's new agenda of global empiricism, for anyone who hoped to believe otherwise.
Now we all know that it is US versus THEM - the United States against the whole world. Now we know that when Bush said, post September 11, that you are "either for us or against us" he wasn't just talking about terrorism. He was talking about the whole shebang. He was talking about Global Empire.
The horror of this mindset is amplified by the fact that Bush has less than 51% support of the US voting public, at the last count. But as Bush and his "allies" know, that is the magical flaw of their much-hyped Western democracy - you only have to fool around half the people once every four years, and then you can do whatever you like.
Within the US itself, as a direct result of Bush's policies, the public is becoming more divided than any time since the Civil War. Those who support Bush's global empire are rewarded, while those who didn't donate to the Republican war chest are punished. Fortunately, there are still level-headed folk who baulk at the obviously illegal decision-making of Bush's thuggish coterie. Even the decision to with-hold contracts from countries who did not join the Iraqi invasion has been stalled by professionals who realise it probably contravenes WTO laws.
The supreme indictment of Bush's stupidity is that, within hours of barring countries like France, Russia, Germany and even friggin' CANADA from bidding on lucrative Iraq contracts, Bush' people were on the phone asking these same countries to GIVE THEM MONEY!
Now how STUPID is that?????
December 10, 2003
Hypocrites and Parasites...
Bush promised in his election campaign to support Taiwan's moves towards independence from China. Now, hosting a visit by the Chinese Premier, he warns the Taiwanese against a planned referendum on independence.
Bush promised democracy and free elections to the Iraqi people. He urged them to take control of their affairs. Now US forces have imprisoned those who heeded his words, while putting former Ba'athists back in power over Iraqi-elected leaders. Watch for this 60 minutes special.
Just two more Bush Lies.
Our Democracies Are Being Usurped
Japan's decision to send armed troops to Iraq breaches the nation's post-war pacifist constitution, a constitution which was ironically enforced by the USA. Although the Japanese troops will be called a "Self Defence Force" they will be very heavily armed and deployed with the intention of engaging hostile enemies. For all intents and purposes, they will be regular soldiers.
The decision also makes a mockery of another so-called "democratic Western government". Japanese PM Koizumi was only narrowly re-elected last fall and he certainly does not have a mandate for such a decision. Indeed, a majority of Japanese do not even support US bases on their soil, let alone sending troops abroad.
How can we preach Western democracy to countries like Iran, North Korea and Mozambique when our own governments regularly ignore the overwhelming will of the people they supposedly serve?
As Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oe says:
"The prime minister is free to do whatever he wants. He never criticizes President Bush, who can therefore behave as if he is acting with Japan's agreement."
It's the same story in Britain and Australia, Spain and Italy, even Poland. This is the "coalition of the willing" - a coalition of corrupted leaders who are willing to betray the wishes of their people.
Similarly, there has been harsh criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent election win. Election observers say that while the vote was fair on the day, a barrage of anti-opposition media through state-controlled outlets gave Putin's opponents little or no chance of success. Hmmn... governments manipulating the media so they can win elections and then do what they like... Sounds familiar?
The White House expressed "concern" at Putin's win. But it's hard to criticize when your own leader manipulated his election win and your country has just helped overthrow a neighbouring country.
December 09, 2003
Two Weeks For Terrorism
Since 9/11/01, 184 people have been convicted in the United States of crimes deemed to involve "international terrorism". The average sentence? 14 days.
Of course, this figure does not include the Guantanamo Bay captives, many of whom have been held for over a year without charge or access to a lawyer. Will their cases be resolved prior to the 04 US elections? Perhaps not. US offers to send some detainees for trial in Britain have been declined because "any proceedings in British civilian courts would probably end with acquittals through lack of admissible evidence."
December 07, 2003
The End Is Nigh... Really!
You could spend a week just thinking about the implications of this one line in the preface to the revised edition of Hubbert's Peak:
"The year 2000 very likely will stand as the year of greatest oil production."
Production fell in '01 and '02, and looks likely to fall again in '03. The zenith of the Oil Age may have already passed.
What will happen when production slows? By most accounts, a "bidding war" will erupt for the remaining supplies.
But what does that mean, in real terms? We, the rich, will be able to bid top dollar, while the poor will have no oil, no transport, no production capacity. No work. No money. No food. What will happen then? Put yourself in THEIR shoes and think about it... What would you do? Would you attack? Go feral? Terrorize? Or watch your family die quietly?
Now put yourself in Dick Cheney's shoes. He was privvy to this information a decade ago. Does that justify the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan? I think not.
It's time Western governments started telling the truth to voters, and it's time voters started demanding universal (global) equality and justice.
Why don't our governments discuss these major problems? Because they think we are too stupid to deal with it, or because the corporate powers-that-be want to maintain their influence on the decision-making process without interference from idealistic do-gooders?
What kind of world do YOU want to live in?
Create it today.
Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid...
That's right, socks are the new weapon of choice for would-be terrorists.
Truth is, we’re terrorized because we’re hated
Psalm 33: “A king is not saved by his mighty army. "
Robert Bowman flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. Now a Christian minister, he writes:
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism when you explained why we bombed Afghanistan and Sudan. You said that we are a target because we stand for democracy, freedom and human rights in the world. Nonsense!
"We are the target of terrorists because, in much of the world, our government stands for dictatorship, bondage and human exploitation. We are the target of terrorists because we are hated. And we are hated because our government has done hateful things.
"If deceptions about terrorism go unchallenged, then the threat will continue until it destroys us."
WMD Discovered in Texas - and US Media Ignores It!
In the Texan town of Tyler, a man named William Krar recently built a sodium cynanide bomb capable of delivering a deadly gas cloud. That is a Weapon of Mass Destruction by any definition. Tyler also had at least 100 other bombs, bomb components, machine guns, 500,000 rounds of ammunition and chemical agents.
Tyler, his wife and another man were arrested in MAY. The Tylers pleaded guilty two weeks ago to a series of weapons charges. El Busho has been notified. In spite of all that, the story has not been reported outside of Texas.
Tyler appears to have links with white supremacist groups across the country and may even have been supplying arms to them. There are rumours of cyanide bombs in circulation, based on Tyler's personal documents. But none of the three detainees are talking.
Read more about this story here and here.
If a WMD is ever detonated on US soil, don't immediately assume it's the work of Middle Eastern terrorists.
A Revolution in Electioneering
More thoughts on the 2004 US election from Dick Morris, the architect of President Clinton's 1996 campaign victory:
"For years, our politics has been descending into bribery and corruption by the campaign contribution system. And as the cost of waging campaigns has increased, the amount of bribery going on through these campaign contributions has increased geometrically.
"But at the same time that that's happening, the reason the cost of campaigning is going up is that fewer and fewer Americans are watching television. Television viewing rates among men under 40 years old are tiny in the United States these days. And people are watching cable without advertising, or they're online, or VCRs or whatever. Some are even talking to their family.
"And the result is that you have only about a third of the people watching television with advertising. So the politicians are spending three times as much money on advertising to reach them.
"But what Howard Dean did is he went with the voters to the Internet, and he developed a truly mass political base online."
Still, Morris thinks Dean will be too leftist to beat Bush:
"There's a fascinating statistic in US politics. If you go to church regularly, or synagogue, you vote Republican two to one. If you don't, you vote Democrat two to one."
December 06, 2003
Stategic Influence - One Way or Another
Last year Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld disbanded the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence when it became known that the office was considering plans to provide false news items to unwitting foreign journalists to influence policymakers and public sentiment abroad.
"But a couple of months ago, the Pentagon quietly awarded a $300,000 contract to SAIC, a major defense consultant, to study how the Defense Department could design an "effective strategic influence" campaign to combat global terror, according to an internal Pentagon document.
"Sound familiar?" (from the NY Times)
December 05, 2003
Terrorism and Hypocrisy in the Commonwealth
From Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK:
"It is important that Commonwealth members do not use the "war on terror" as an excuse to erode human rights. Unfortunately, many have introduced legislation allowing them to arrest suspects and detain them without charge, and to deport those they deem a threat. The right to a fair trial has been undermined.
"In India, the Prevention of Terrorism Act has granted the police much wider powers of arrest than previously, and allows them to detain "political suspects" for up to six months without charge or trial. Police in Gujarat are using the legislation to arbitrarily arrest and imprison men from the Muslim community. Almost 400 men were detained between March and May, and there are reports of Muslims being held incommunicado, with incontrovertible evidence of torture. The legislation has provided a convenient vehicle for discrimination and persecution.
"Our own government made the UK the only country in Europe to derogate from the European convention on human rights in order to rush through the 2001 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act. It has used it to imprison 14 foreign nationals for up to two years without charging them or bringing them to trial. They face the prospect of remaining in detention indefinitely on the basis of secret evidence that they have not been allowed to see and therefore cannot challenge. These "security measures" are undermining the credibility and viability of basic legal safeguards.
"The clampdown on the right to asylum has seen the Australian government's "Pacific solution" set of policies enable it to hold for months scores of people, who have been recognised as refugees, in detention centres - a policy branded by a UN delegation as "offensive to human dignity". Similarly, the new asylum bill in the UK threatens to criminalise those seeking asylum.
"Despite all Commonwealth members' theoretical commitment to protect individuals' human rights, member states including Jamaica and the Bahamas hand down death sentences, while Nigeria permits punishments that include stoning and flogging. When I was in Uganda in October, where torture is endemic, I heard about a worrying increase in the use of torture by the police, including battering suspects' knees and elbows, precisely to do long-term damage. A commitment to protecting individuals' rights would see President Museveni using the same leadership to eliminate torture as he has been recognised for showing in tackling the Aids epidemic.
"In 1991, members of the Commonwealth signed up to the Harare declaration, which pledged all governments to work for "just and honest government" and to protect "the liberty of the individual under the law [and guarantee] equal rights for all citizens". When the government of Zimbabwe sees the flagrant disregard for basic human rights protection in other countries, the message it gets is that the Commonwealth is not serious about these commitments - and there will be no consequences if you disregard them. The result is that Mugabe believes he is safe to continue his crackdown on all critics of the government. "
US Analyst Defends Aussie Leader's Criticism Of Bush
Dick Morris, the man who engineered Bill Clinton's 1996 election victory, dismissed criticism of Australia's new opposition leader, Mark Latham, who says Bush is dangerous and incompetent:
"Bush clearly made a huge mistake in assuming that there were weapons of mass destruction on sale on every corner in Iraq, and obviously, I mean if you don't like Bush, you think he lied, and if you like Bush, you think he was misinformed, but only if you're an idiot do you think that he was telling the truth and it was accurate. "
December 04, 2003
No, No, No, No, NO!!!!
Australia (where I live) has decided to support the US Missile Defence Program (aka Star Wars).
How stupid is that? The technology is unproven, the costs are astronomical, the logic is cretinous, but the motivation is obvious. Our PM John Howard is desperate to display just how far he can bend over to please his weasely master, Uncle G. W. Sam. As the Australian Greens leader has pointed out, this is a missile defence system for THE USA, not Australia or anybody else. And it's not even a good idea for THEM!
I am so sick of my $%@#*ed up so-called-democratic "government". It's not bad enough that Australians around the world have become valid terrorist targets for a war in Iraq that 82% of us DID NOT WANT, it's not bad enough that we have become international pariahs by violating UN laws on the treatment of refugees BECAUSE OUR GOVERNMENT LIES TO US, now we have to throw money out the window, piss off the neighbours and escalate the arms race once again at a time when the world is crying out for help on global warming, AIDS, hunger, education, poverty....
The great tragedy of the Bush administration is that prior to his election, the USA stood at a crossroads. Victorious in the Cold War, they could have legitimately claimed a victory for the values of truth, freedom and democracy which they championed since the Civil War. Instead, isolated from any true understanding of other nations, they chose isolation and continued escalation. Bush's election was a triumph of greed and corporate capitalist control.
US citizens will learn one day - apparently the hard way - that they cannot survive within a bubble, cut of from the rest of the world, clinging to illusions of safety. The only way to ensure the real security of the USA is to engage with the rest of the world and help EVERYONE achieve equality, unity and mutual respect. At this stage of the game, as the world grows ever smaller, it really is all or nothing. But it would take a leader with vision to communicate that truth to the US public, and Generallisimo El Busho is no such man. Unfortunately, neither is Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
How long till the unwanted US bases in Japan are re-located to Australian shores, Johnny?
December 03, 2003
How Much Truth Can You Handle?
Noam Chomsky is a very articulate and well-informed man who barely pauses for breath as he spits out the facts on Iraq, Bush, the new US doctrine of global empire and the hypocrisy of historical revisionists. Read this interview, it will do you good! :-)
Powell meets authors of alternative Peace Plan, despite Israeli objections.
Iraqi "President" says US can withdraw "tonight".
Antiwar.com Joins Ranks of Major Online Media - way to go, guys!
We Get The World That We Deserve
The US stock market is registering steady growth and, according to some, may even be about to boom again as the housing "bubble" bursts. Is this just electioneering and wishful thinking by the corporate bosses who put Bush in power and want to keep him there for four more years?
Investors put their money in real estate because they were shaken by high-level corporate shennanigans involving supposedly "safe" and "reputable" companies. Has anything really changed from the days of Enron and Arthur Anderson? No. So how can investors return confidently to the stock market?
The answer lies in Human Nature. People don't care that Bush lies as long as it doesn't have a serious and immediate negative impact on their lives. As the Economist magazine reports, the same applies to the stockmarket, where human greed rules:
"Investors don’t give a tinker’s cuss now because they are once again making money, do not want to pass up the chance of making more, and are happy enough to allow any unpleasantness to be swept under the carpet.
"It has always been thus. Nobody much cares about how companies make money when markets rise. That is why investors were so tolerant in the late 1990s, despite much evidence of accounting gimmickry and worse. Only when they are seriously out of pocket do investors shine a light into companies’ darkest corners. By which time, of course, it is too late...
"Stockmarkets ... have shrugged off the collapse of world trade talks, mounting protectionism in America, a potential dollar collapse and more evidence, as if any were needed, that Russia is not quite the land of opportunity that many had assumed (at least, if you do not happen to be in the Mafia or an erstwhile member of the secret service). "
Speaking Out Against Bush
Australia has a new Opposition Leader, Mark Latham, who will be challenging Prime Minister John Howard in national elections next year. While Howard has been one of G. W. Bush's staunchest allies - despite widespread opposition from the Australian public - Latham rose to fame as a political "head-kicker" and has frequently lashed out at Bush, among other targets. Latham has called Bush "flaky", "dangerous" and even "the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory."
In a recently released paper, "Reversing Our March of Folly", Mr Latham said the protests that recently greeted President Bush in London were "evidence of the strategic mistakes he has made in prosecuting the war on terror".
Let us hope the new Labour leader has the courage to maintain his strong views.
No WMDs, No Terrorists - A US military commander has confirmed that US forces in Iraq still have not been able to confirm any links between Iraq and Al Quaeda, even though media reports consitently refer to those fighting the US occupation as "terrorists". The US military consistently deny administration reports of "internationalized" Iraqi resistance. The truth is that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism.
British Airways says none of its pilots made contact with George Bush's plane during its secret Thanksgiving flight to Baghdad, contradicting White House reports of a mid-air exchange. It's become a familiar pattern - the lie gets the big news, the truth comes out a few days later and is barely mentioned. No wonder Fox and Murdoch love Bush & Co.
Diebold backs down - once again. Their threats of legal action appear to be an effort to stifle debate on voting machines before the 2004 elections.
The US Economy Is Not As Strong As It Seems - "The borrowing spree on which the US administration has embarked makes the Reagan balance of payments deficits look like child's play". Will the markets get serious about debt before the 2004 elections?
PS - even Mahatma Gandhi was once called a "terrorist".
December 02, 2003
Winning Even More Hearts and Minds
The US forces' killing of 46 Iraqis in Samarra this week is being hailed as a major victory for the "coalition" and a possible turnaround after the most deadly month since the fall of Baghdad. What is not being widely reported is:
(a) the US convoy which was ambushed was carrying a small fortune in new US and Iraqi banknotes. How did the Iraqi resistance know about this?
(b) the US forces used indiscriminate and "overwhelming" firepower which may have killed many innocent Iraqi civilians. According to one US commander who was involved in the fight:
"I told my soldiers to hold their fire unless they could indentify a real weapon, but I still can't understand why somebody would throw a stone at a tank, in the middle of a firefight.
"Since we did not stick around to find out, I am very concerned in the coming days we will find we killed many civilians as well as Iraqi irregular fighters. I would feel great if all the people we killed were all enemy guerrillas, but I can't say that. We are probably turning many Iraqi against us and I am afraid instead of climbing out of the hole, we are digging ourselves in deeper."
Behind The Scenes: Was Georgia's "Velvet Revolution" Another US Oil Grab?
What if Bush & Co overthrew another oil-rich regime and nobody even noticed? From the Toronto Sun:
"Eduard Shevardnadze, the 75-year-old strongman who has ruled post-Soviet Georgia's 5.1 million citizens since 1991, was overthrown by a bloodless coup that appears to have been organized and financed by the Bush administration.
"Shevardnadze's sin, in Washington's eyes, was being too chummy with Moscow and obstructing a major U.S. oil pipeline, due to open in 2005, from Central Asia, via Georgia, to Turkey. Georgia occupies the heart of the wild, unruly, and strategic Caucasus region, which I call the Mideast North.
"In recent months, Shevardnadze had given new drilling and pipeline concessions to Russian firms.
"He should have recalled the fate of Afghanistan's Taliban regime, which, like Georgia, was a U.S. client and recipient of American aid until it turned down a major pipeline deal with an American oil firm and awarded it to a Latin American consortium....
"Like Gorbachev, Shevardnadze became a hero in the West, but was reviled at home as a traitor and wrecker. Many Russians believed Gorby was a British agent and Shevardnadze a CIA "asset." "