February 28, 2007

The Disappeared

This sort of shit only used to happen in crackpot South American dictatorships, didn't it? New Light Shed on CIA's 'Black Site' Prisons.

February 27, 2007

CHENEY WINS: IRAQ OIL LAW APPROVED

Dick Cheney has just achieved victory in Iraq:

Iraq's cabinet has approved a draft of a national oil law that would share revenues from the country's vast oil reserves among its ethnic groups.

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki described the agreement as a "gift to all the Iraqi people".

Iraq's Shia majority and Sunni and Kurdish minority groups have squabbled over how to distribute oil revenues since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The draft bill must now be submitted to Iraq's parliament for a vote.


There may be some grandstanding in parliament, but it is basically just an up-and-down rubber stamp. Dick Cheney has won. Big Oil will control Iraq's oil for generations to come. The new law states that the oil belongs to "the Iraqi people" but EXTRACTION RIGHTS will belong to Big Oil. This effectively puts big Oil in control of the tap, which they can switch on or off at will. The law, which was written by Big Oil consultants to the US, UK and Iraqi governments, is also intentionally vague about revenue sharing.

This is NOT a victory for the Iraqi people, it is a tragedy, a travesty and a disgrace. Expect major protests across Iraq and neighbouring countries.

Here's Chris Floyd:
The New York Times notes (in the next-to-last paragraph) that Iraq’s oil will controlled by the iron fist of a “central body called the Federal Oil and Gas Council” which will have “a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq” as part of the operation… without telling us that these “oil experts” will in fact be executives and representatives of American and other Western oil companies.
And Pepe Escobar has more at Asia Times Online:
The law was in essence drafted, behind locked doors, by a US consulting firm hired by the Bush administration and then carefully retouched by Big Oil, the International Monetary Fund, former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz' World Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development. It's virtually a US law (its original language is English, not Arabic).

Scandalously, Iraqi public opinion had absolute no knowledge of it - not to mention the overwhelming majority of Parliament members. Were this to be a truly representative Iraqi government, any change to the legislation concerning the highly sensitive question of oil wealth would have to be approved by a popular referendum.

In real life, Iraq's vital national interests are in the hands of a small bunch of highly impressionable (or downright corrupt) technocrats. Ministries are no more than political party feuds; the national interest is never considered, only private, ethnic and sectarian interests. Corruption and theft are endemic. Big Oil will profit handsomely - and long-term, 30 years minimum, with fabulous rates of return - from a former developing-world stalwart methodically devastated into failed-state status. ..

A whole case can be made of SCIRI delivering Iraq's Holy Grail to Bush/Cheney and Big Oil - in exchange for not being chased out of power by the Pentagon. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the SCIRI's leader, is much more of a Bush ally than Maliki, who is from the Da'wa Party. No wonder SCIRI's Badr Organization and their death squads were never the target of Washington's wrath - unlike Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army (Muqtada is fiercely against the oil law). The SCIRI certainly listened to the White House, which has always made it very clear: any more funds to the Iraqi government are tied up with passing the oil law.

Bush and Cheney got their oily cake - and they will eat it, too (or be drenched in its glory). Mission accomplished: permanent, sprawling military bases on the eastern flank of the Arab nation and control of some of largest, untapped oil wealth on the planet - a key geostrategic goal of the New American Century.
UPDATE: The media treatment of this story has been tragic. WaPo buried it in a general report on Iraq. But a big hello to all the bleating, mindless fools who read the crap posted at RedState.com:
A big question in all of this is how the contracts with the foreign oil companies will be structured. Will there be "revenue sharing" to compensate for investment, or will investors have a clear equity stake in the industry? Given the distress of the left at the announcement of the draft law (my favorite is "CHENEY WINS!" and here's a little more from a brief visitor to our RedState community), I suspect the latter, which will have the added advantage of encouraging investment. And perhaps the left should cheer up. Economic imperialism isn't all bad. As nice as it would be for the Iraqis to harvest their oil with their own hands and not contribute a penny (or rather a dinar) to the corrupt and bloated coffers of Exxon and Halliburton, this is simply not a realistic option and Iraq desperately needs to start the flow of foreign capitol into the country...

No, the emergence of a free and independent Iraq might not be happening on our schedule or to our exact specifications, but the crafting of a viable and equitable oil law demonstrates that it is happening. For goodness' sakes, people, let's give it a chance and what the heck, we might even make a buck--not to mention foster a strong democratic ally in the heart of the middle east--in the process. Is it really just Mr. Cheney who has won here?
Redstate.com does not allow comments from non-members, so I will just say the following:

1. The theory that Iraqis are "just feckless children we are encouraging to remain dependent on us" has been coming from the right as well as the left in US politics. In either case, it is a disgraceful abdication of responsibility from an occupying power, and a wilfully misleading interpretation of the facts.

2. Saddam might have been able to channel bribes from companies like the Australian Wheat Board into his own coffers, but it was basically a decade of sanctions that stopped Iraq investing in "infrastructure and maintenance". Then the USA came along and bombed everything. And what the USA did not bomb (esp. oil pipelines) the insurgents did bomb. So to pretend that Iraq's current sorry state is all Saddam's fault is just ridiculous.

3. Many if not most major Middle East oil-producing nations have state-run industries which manage to extract and sell their oil without the need for "help" from US-based Big Oil.

4. Do you really think it is fair that Iraqi law stipulates that foreign oil companies have exclusive rights to extract oil from Iraqi sands, or that foreign oil executives should sit in judgement on all decision-making regarding Iraq's oil? How would YOU feel if a foreign nation exercised the same power over US resources? And how can you still pretend that Iraq is anything like "free and independent"? And how can you dare suggest that this reprehensible oil law is anything like positive proof of that?

5. You people are sick, stupid, dangerous and deranged. The USA's reputation has gone down the toilet and YOU are the main reason for it. Bush's incompetent, corrupt and murderous administration is a direct reflection of your own personal greed, stupidity and moral vacuity. If you don't have the intellect to see things in a more rational and humane light, or the courage to atone for your right-wing idols' murderous misdeeds, at least have the decency to admit your intellectual bankruptcy, walk away from political activism forever, and exercise your democratic right NOT to vote. The world will thank you for it.

UPDATE: It sounds like the Iraqi Cabinet pushed through a half-cooked law because the US was putting huge pressure on them and that is all the factions could agree on. Maybe my initial reaction was overly pessimistic. I certainly hope so. More here.

February 26, 2007

US bombing 'terror targets': World: Iraqi Dossier: News24

US PLANES ARE DROPPING BOMBS ON BAGHDAD

US PLANES ARE DROPPING BOMBS ON BAGHDAD

US PLANES ARE DROPPING BOMBS ON BAGHDAD

US PLANES ARE DROPPING BOMBS ON BAGHDAD


Surely this should be front-page news around the world today. US PLANES ARE DROPPING BOMBS ON BAGHDAD.

What can you say? Here's Juan Cole:
This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.
Think about it, after four years of occupation, US forces are forced to resort to brutal, inhumane tactics like this. When the dead children and women are paraded on TV, will this become news? Or are we only supposed to give a shit when the Al Quaeda terrorists kill innocent people, not the US terrorists?

The New Yorker : fact : content

Sy Hersh's latest piece in The New Yorker looking at Iran planning.

February 25, 2007

Blair's War In Iraq

Blair's War

The post-mortem is not pretty.

February 23, 2007

So who is left in Bush's coalition of the killing?
The Pentagon has stopped publicly listing the countries in the coalition and troop levels.

In a recent count by The Associated Press that includes information from individual coalition partners, 22 countries still have forces in Iraq. Only Britain and South Korea are contributing more than 1,000 each.

The next-largest contingents are Georgia and Poland, each with 900 combat forces; Romania, with about 600 troops, and Australia, with 550.
We are mostly talking about tiny little US dependancies like Guam and Palau, or former Soviet block nations with fragile "democracies" hugely dependent on US support.

More here:
Denmark announced that it would withdraw its ground troops serving under British command in Basra, as other countries review their participation in the coalition force.

Lithuania, which has 53 soldiers in Iraq serving alongside the Danish battalion, also said it was considering a pull-out.

The Romanian Defence Minister said that Bucharest would take a decision on the presence of its 600 soldiers in Iraq, mostly serving under British command, in the next few days. But President Traian Basescu, who is also under pressure to announce a withdrawal timetable, warned that a hasty pull-out of the international coalition forces "would cause chaos and the division of Iraq".

Poland has already announced that it will bring home its 900 troops by the end of the year, and Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Japan and New Zealand have already withdrawn their troops.

South Korea, which has a contingent of 2,300 troops in the northern city of Arbil, intends to withdraw half by April, and its parliament is calling for a complete pull-out by the end of the year.

Australia said yesterday that it would keep 1,400 soldiers in and around Iraq, while the Bulgarian parliament voted to keep its 155 troops beyond the expiry of their current mandate next month.
So practically everybody except John Howard and Bulgaria is at least preparing to leave.

February 22, 2007

Cheney Comes To Sydney

Locals not impressed by low-flying helicopters and traffic chaos.

And he is not even here yet!

En route to Australia the US territory of Guam. The comments from the locals are interesting:
There is already too much racism and prejudice in these forums. Resorting to name-calling, such as "white boy", does not contribute anything of value to our conversations here, and really just demonstrates a level of immaturity.
More happy locals in an outpost of the US Empire, How long before Iraqis enjoy such privileges?

For more on Cheney's visit to Oz, see my Howard Out blog.
I could have easily written this intro myself:
Hating George W. Bush sometimes feels like a full-time job. I get up in the morning, open the paper, and it's Bush World. His ruinous handiwork is all over the place, whether it's Putin threatening to start a new Cold War, another Neanderthal anti-Enlightenment skirmish in the U.S. or some fresh hell in Baghdad. I turn on the TV and there he is, uttering reality-averse platitudes while mangling the English language in his best frat-boy twang. And then there's the Internet, where my bookmarked band of rhetorical assassins stir facts and commentary about his wretched tenure into a damning cocktail that I happily imbibe.

It isn't surprising that Bush is deeply implanted in my brain -- when you're the worst president in modern history, you tend to work your way into people's psyches. But it's still a little strange. I've been forced to deal with this wretched president for so long that hating him has virtually become part of my identity.

This is, as the hippies used to say, a lot of bad karma. To tell the truth, I don't know if I actually hate Bush. I'm not sure if you can hate someone you don't actually know, and I'm not even sure if I really hate anyone. But I definitely feel every other negative emotion you can imagine toward him -- anger, contempt, fear, disgust, outrage -- so let's go ahead and call it hate. And millions of other Americans are in the same boat.

But this is all going to change. Pretty soon, we won't have Bush to kick around anymore. And I've started wondering: What are we going to do then?
So what's Gary Kamiya's solution, after the champagne popping celebrations he is planning for January 20th, 2009?
The challenge, as we prepare for life after Bush, is to hold onto the political passions his dreadful presidency inspired, without becoming a completely political person. To take the negative energy he created and turn it into something positive. To learn to see a full spectrum of ideas and opinions, throwing away the monochromatic goggles we have been forced to wear during the last six years. And to carefully water and tend to our own gardens, which have grown thin and unappealing during these dry and wasted years.
As regular readers know, I have already made this leap with my new blog, Riding The Juggernaut. I am also spending a whole lot more time on my Australian campaign blog, Howard Out.

The Bush administration is now a slow-motion train wreck. The big question is how many more people will be killed, and how much more damage will be done, before the disaster is finished. But watching and documenting the slowly unfolding process prompts the same feelings of morbid revulsion as watching the gossip magazines's 24/7 vigils of Nicole Richie, Britney Spears and/or Whitney Houston.

Unfortunately, it is still vitally important to hold the Bush team responsible for their crimes, to maintain the pressure on the Democrats to build a more responsible system of US government, to make vital changes to the electoral and lobbying processes, and so forth. Bush might be a fatally-wounded lame duck, flapping around misably in a squalid puddle of his own excrement, but it's not time to look away just yet.

UPDATE: When I called the Bush administration a "train wreck" I never expected John McCain to agree with me!

February 21, 2007

SOA Hires Performance Systems International?

Hmmn. :: PSI Performance Systems International are checking out my posts on Spirit of America. What's that all about hey?

Actually I still get quite a few hits searching for info on Jim Hake and his pseudo charity. A story to be told there, if any decent journos are interested...

A Pox On The House

Pat Fitzgerald's closing plea:
In his closing argument, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the chief prosecutor, said that disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s identity was used by the White House to discredit her husband’s assertions that the Bush administration had distorted intelligence to justify invading Iraq. He said the disclosure of her name cast a cloud over the Bush White House in general and over Mr. Cheney in particular.
And more:
"There is a cloud over the vice-president," Patrick Fitz­gerald, special prosecutor, told the jury on Tuesday. "He sent Libby off to the meeting with Judy [Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter] where Plame was discussed. That cloud is something that we just can't pretend isn't there."

A Man With A Story To Tell

You might remember ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff...



... who was hit by a bomb in Iraq ...



and is now in recovery ....



Before he was hit, Woodruff was an eager PR champion for the invading forces. I wonder what he thinks of Bush's war nowadays?

Baghdad Burning: Let's Talk About Rape

Riverbend has a couple of new posts up at Baghdad Burning, discussing the rape of an Iraqi woman by Iraqi security forces.
I look at this woman and I can’t feel anything but rage. What did we gain? I know that looking at her, foreigners will never be able to relate. They’ll feel pity and maybe some anger, but she’s one of us. She’s not a girl in jeans and a t-shirt so there will only be a vague sort of sympathy. Poor third-world countries- that is what their womenfolk tolerate. Just know that we never had to tolerate this before. There was a time when Iraqis were safe in the streets. That time is long gone. We consoled ourselves after the war with the fact that we at least had a modicum of safety in our homes. Homes are sacred, aren’t they? That is gone too.

She’s just one of tens, possibly hundreds, of Iraqi women who are violated in their own homes and in Iraqi prisons. She looks like cousins I have. She looks like friends. She looks like a neighbor I sometimes used to pause to gossip with in the street. Every Iraqi who looks at her will see a cousin, a friend, a sister, a mother, an aunt...

And yet, as the situation continues to deteriorate both for Iraqis inside and outside of Iraq, and for Americans inside Iraq, Americans in America are still debating on the state of the war and occupation- are they winning or losing? Is it better or worse.

Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.
BBC News has more on the fallout from the rape allegations:
Mr Maliki ordered an investigation into the case on Monday night, but cleared the three men hours later.

"Medical examinations showed the woman had not been subjected to any sexual attack," a government statement said.

"The prime minister has ordered that the honourable officers accused be rewarded," it added without elaborating.

February 20, 2007

Dinosaurs Turn Cannibal

Thank you God!!! I have been waiting a very, very long time for this. Australian PM John W. Howard dumps on George W. Bush. Bush dumps on Howard. Too beautiful!

Rest assured, gentle reader, John Howard is scraping the bottom of the barrel right here (cross posted from HowardOut):
Prime Minister John Howard says he told the US President this morning there should be no more significant delays in the process of bringing David Hicks to trial.

Mr Howard says Mr Bush rang this morning for a lengthy discussion about North Korea.

The Prime Minister says Mr Bush acknowledged that there is an intense feeling in Australia that it has taken too long to bring Hicks to trial.

"Well his assurance was - and it was a very direct assurance - that he would again reinforce to the authorities in the United States the need for the matter to be dealt with with all possible expedition," Mr Howard said.

"And I left him in no doubt during our discussion that this was an issue of great concern to the Australian people."
Ooooohhh, yeah baby!!! Where to start, where to start?

How about that word "again"? This implies that Howard has previously asked Bush for assistance, which has not been forth-coming. So Bush has to go back and ask AGAIN for action in support of a major Coalition ally. Which raises the question, did he even make the effort last time, and if so, why was he ignored? Could it have something to do with the fact that he is a lame duck president polling at Nixon levels? Hmmn?

Or what about Howard's earnest plea that this was "an issue of great concern to the Australian people"? How about, "this was an issue that might save my sorry ass"?

Or what about the "North Korea" angle? Bush rang Howard (not vice versa, please note) pleading for help with North Korea. What's that all about? I thought a deal had been struck. Is Bush trying to undermine the diplomatic deal with a renewed threat of violence? It basically sounds like Howard told him to go stuff his head up his arse if he cannot provide a little "wiggle room" on David Hicks.

Here we have two political dinosaurs turning on one another after all other available food sources have been exhausted. It's not a pretty sight, but it is a fascinating one. Stay tuned for more.
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight

Joder, tio! They can't even get the Iran invasion plans right! "More please"? Of this crap...?
The Leader Of The "Free" World

More dirt, if you needed it, via This Modern World. Apparently Bush gave Sharon the OK to assasinate Arafat (mission accomplished) and said that if he caught Bin Laden he would "screw him in the ass".

February 19, 2007

Viva Ted Rall:



I first saw this "blame the lazy, ungrateful Iraqis" meme a few years back on the ITM blog. Seems to be spreading.
I'll be home eight years, Mom:
"I've come to understand that Bobby died in Fallujah and I want to help him come back to life and be the good person I know he is," she said. "I wish he could come home today."

February 17, 2007

Manufactured Crisis Looms


When you have been carefully (indeed, meticulously) preparing for a Constitutional Crisis for over five years, who better to announce it for you than the Democrat Party's Joe Liebermann:
This non-binding measure before us is a first step toward a constitutional crisis that we can and must avoid. Let me explain what I mean by a constitutional crisis. Let us be clear about the likely consequences if we go down this path beyond this non-binding resolution...

February 16, 2007

Bush's GOP: Sheer Frickin' Idiocy Rules OK?

What's surprising, in retrospect, is how something so pathetic could ever have seemed so powerful and cleverly orchestrated.

Now I'm hearing about GOP elected officials who not only believe the earth is flat and does NOT rotate around the sun, they are actually prepared to stake their careers on it! Wow.

What do you do? Quit blogging, grab your popcorn, sit back and watch the show? Or bear witness to the inanity as loudly and as long as you can?

America, we have a problem. And it's not just one guy with bad grammar.
Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser:
"After five years of quite inhumane and degrading treatment, a verdict of innocence would be extraordinarily embarrassing to both governments, perhaps enough to defeat a government as more and more Australians really come to understand the nature of government's betrayal of the rights of an Australian citizen," he said.

"On this analysis, the United States cannot and clearly will not allow a fair trial."

"As the bottom line, if the United States had wanted a fair trial, it would have used the normal court system or military court martials - we could all then have confidence in either course.

"The United States has in fact spent enormous energy to try and guarantee the kind of verdict it clearly wants."
Halleluja!

Well, after four years of blogging, it has come to this. Stop and think for a minute about what is has taken to bring us to this point. Here is a statement by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) on the floor of the US Congress:
The fact is this war was started under false pretenses and much of that information has come out lately. Many of the people who voted to give the President the power to go into Iraq did so under facts, or appearance of facts that were given the American people and this Congress that were false. I remember being at home and watching on television when the President addressed this Congress and talked about Osama bin Laden and talked about what he said were connections between Iraq and 9/11 and it made everybody feel like if you were a red-blooded American, you wanted to do something about Iraq because they had destroyed the Twin Towers, they had killed 2,000 people, Americans and others, and put a devastation in this world that we hadn't seen except in movies.

Well, that information given us was false. There wasn't a connection between Iraq and 9/11. We went to war for reasons that are still not quite clear and known, and this United States of America went to war against a country that was not at war with us and we were an aggressor nation. This is something we shouldn't have done.
Now stop and think how much remains to be done. It's clean up time, folks!
If They Deny It, It Must Be True

Rumsfeld's replacement:
"For the umpteenth time, we are not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran," Gates said. "We are not planning a war with Iran."
Rose-cloured glasses:
A broadly representative Iraqi government would be in place. The Iraqi Army would be working to keep the peace. And the United States would have as few as 5,000 troops in the country.
That's from the slideshows at General Franks’s planning session in August 2002 (when Bush still had not decided to go to war: wink, wink).
US Destroyed The Golden Mosque: Believe It

Some more info from the NYT on the bombing of the Golden Mosque:
“A caretaker at the shrine described what happened on the day of the attack, insisting on anonymity because he was afraid that talking to an American could get him killed. The general outline of his account was confirmed by American and Iraqi officials.

The night before the explosion, he said, just before the 8 p.m. curfew on Feb. 21, 2006, on the Western calendar, men dressed in commando uniforms like those issued by the Interior Ministry entered the shrine.

The caretaker said he had been beaten, tied up and locked in a room.

Throughout the night, he said, he could hear the sound of drilling as the attackers positioned the explosives, apparently in such a way as to inflict maximum damage on the dome”.
Like the World Trade Center attacks, this violence was carefully planned and targetted to deliver a deep and resounding political change. A "catastrophic and catalyzing event". Just the sort of Machiavellian tactic the neocons have long professed.

More here: Information Warfare, Psy-ops and the Power of Myth.
Frikkin' Hilarious

Music by the Electric Six
"Mowing The Lawn" In Iraq

Republican congressman Ric Keller says the US mission in Iraq is like dealing with a neighbour who refuses to mow his own lawn:
"You mow his lawn for him every single week. The neighbour never says thank you, he hates you, and sometimes he takes out a gun and shoots at you," he said. "Under these circumstances, would you keep mowing his lawn forever?"
Of course, you ran over his dog and three kids with your bloody lawnmower, built a massive shed smack in the middle of his front lawn (and a few cubbies for your kids out the back), raped his wife while he wasn't looking, and then kidnapped his brother and sent him away to an undisclosed location. Plus you diverted his gas, electricity and water over to your house, and you're drilling for oil in the middle of his kitchen.

Aside from that, I can't imagine why he is shooting at you.

Maybe it's your friends, the Blackwaters from across the road, who you kindly brought in to watch his house for him (now partying every night in his jaccuzzi)? Or maybe it's the other mafioso thugs with AK47s who have set up nightly curfews and checkpoints along his front fence? Or maybe it's that tall, homeless man with the long beard who now prowls the pavement, screaming "Allah Akhbar!" all night long? Your neighbour never saw that guy before you started mowing the lawn.

Maybe it all started when you sent those pest inspectors scrambling through every room in his house, ripping out walls and kicking down doors as they searched for termites which he kept loudly insisting he didn't have? Of course, you were only trying to be helpful! Some people are just so ungrateful!

February 15, 2007

Anyone who thinks I am a Conspiracy Theorist should go check out Michael Ledeen's Wikipedia entry.
All Hail President Pace!

Did General Peter Pace just save Iran from a US attack?
With the “mainstream media,” that is, the government’s propaganda ministry, bombarding the American public with “news reports” from unidentified sources that the US government has proof that “the highest reaches of the Iranian government” is supplying weapons to the Iraqi insurgency, Marine General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, demurred. General Pace told the Voice of America on February 12 that he has no information indicating that Iran’s government is supplying weapons to the Iraqi insurgency.

General Pace said that “Iranians are involved,” but “what I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows about this . . . I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.”

Unlike the New York Times, Fox “news,” CNN, and the TV networks, General Pace refused to lie for the Bush Regime.
What if he had gone along with the lie? Would Bush have issued his astonishing denial today? I don't think so.

The "misunderstanding" is now being blamed on an over-zealous staffer. Where have we heard that before? And will this anonymous "staffer" face dismissal? I don't think so.

This is not an acceptable situation for the USA or the world. We cannot survive two more years of this. Fortunately, Paul Craig Roberts has a solution:
Perhaps America could regain its reputation if General Pace would send a division of US Marines to arrest Bush, Cheney, the entire civilian contingent in the Pentagon, the neoconservative nazis, and the complicit members of Congress and send them off to the Hague to be tried for war crimes.
The idea of a military takeover of the USA is pretty bizarre, but what the hell. They can't be worse than this lot. One thing about soldiers is they they would mostly prefer NOT to die, which gives them a certain level-headedness when contemplating war.
How can any patriotic American support a regime that has shredded the US Constitution, ignored the separation of powers, violated the Geneva Conventions, forced through a law legalizing torture, launched a war of aggression that has produced 26,000 American military casualties in service of a lie, murdered tens or hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians, destroyed an entire country, and planned an attack on Iran, perhaps with nuclear weapons?

Patriotism is loyalty to country and to the US Constitution, not loyalty to a criminal regime.
I wonder what US soldiers in Iraq would make of this idea? I wonder what all this retired Generals would say of it, given how their criticism of Bush has been ignored?

I wonder how many US soldiers would swear allegiance to the White House, if and when it came to the crunch, rather than to their commanders on the ground?

Don't get me wrong. I can see all sorts of problems with a military coup in Washington. But the fact that we have even got to a point where such discussion is valid, even in a hypothetical sense, says a lot.
How To Exit Iraq

Dennis Kucinich's plan:
1. Congress must deny more funds for the war.
2. The President will have to call the troops home, close the bases, and end the occupation.
3. Initiate a parallel peace process which brings in international peace keepers.
4. Move in the international peace keeping and security force and move out U.S. troops. Peacekeepers will stay until the Iraqis are able to handle their own security.
5. Order U.S. contractors out of Iraq.
6. Fund an honest process of reconstruction.
7. Protect the economic position of the Iraqi people by stabilizing prices in Iraq, including those for food and energy.
8. Create a process which gives the Iraqi people control over their economic destiny without the structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
9. Give the Iraqi people full control over their oil assets, with no mandatory privatization.
10. Fund a process of reconciliation between the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds.
11. The U.S. must refrain from any covert operation in Iraq.
12. The U.S. must begin a process of truth and reconciliation between our nation and the people of Iraq.
I like it. Sounds rather similar to my old plan...
The World Is Watching

The Bush administration has caved in to pressure on Iraq refugees. Well, not really...
The Bush administration agreed Wednesday to greatly expand the number of Iraqi refugees allowed into the country and to pay more to help
Iraq's Arab neighbors cope with the human tide fleeing increasing violence and economic hardship in their country.
"Greatly expand"? That sounds good, doesn't it? So what sort of figures are we talking about here?

Well, to date the figures have been utterly piss weak. Last year the USA allowed a meagre 202 Iraqis in. The total since the start of the war is only 600. This year they are going to "greatly expand" that figure and allow a whopping 7,000 Iraqis in.

Let's put that in perspective. Sure, it's an increase of over 1000% on this year's figure. But the United Nations estimates that 3,800,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the war began. In that context, seven thousand refugee visas is just a PR stunt.

The problem for the USA, of course, is that most Iraqis have now learned to hate Americans, and most support violent attacks on US forces in their country, so how do you let people like that across your border? How do you screen them for attitude?

But then again, whose fault is that? Maybe if the administration had shown some genuine concern for the well-being of ordinary Iraqi citizens from Day One, instead of securing the Oil Ministry and oil wells, things would not have reached this point.

In other news, the United Nations is also seeking $60 million for a worldwide resettlement and relief program. The USA, which is primarily resposible for the Iraqi refugee problem, is offering to pay less than a third of that. Where do they expect the rest of the money to come from? Iran?
War Is Hell

In case you needed reminding...



Yeah, but you should see what the Iraqi guy looks like! Know what I'm sayin'?
Bush: Damn Right I'm Out Of Touch!

ABC reporter Martha Raddatz asked Bush if there is a civil war in Iraq. His reply:
"It's hard for me, living in this beautiful White House, to give you a firsthand assessment. I haven't been there. You have. I haven't."
What would I know? I'm just the President! Hey, did I talk you through all the paintings in the West Wing yet?

Again via Doonesbury
WTF?

TPMmuckraker explains Bush's carefully worded statement in Iran.

February 14, 2007

The Wheels On The Gravy Train Go Round And Round

Then they fall off and everybody runs for cover:
On or about August 15, 2003, after approximately 15 minutes in the suite, [Wilkes] and [Cunningham] escorted Prostitutes "A" and "B" upstairs to separate rooms. At approximately midnight, Wilkes tipped Prostitute "A" $500 for the services;
Much, much more at TPMmuckraker. Remember, Foggo was #3 at the CIA, hand-picked by Porter Goss (who also resigned promptly, and who was hand-picked by Bush).
Dick Cheney Cuts And Runs

So Vice President Cheney will not testify at Libby trial after all. Could it be because evidence already presented at the trial clearly shows he was primarily responsible for Bush's 2003 SOTU lies?
The media is ignoring the revelation yesterday that it was Vice Pres. Cheney who knowingly inserted a false statement about Iraq’s nuclear program into the 2003 State of the Union speech.

They are also apparently uninterested in reporting that both Pres. Bush and his spokesman Scott McClellan lied on the record in July 2003 about how the infamous 16-word statement — “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” — came to be included in the speech.
Here's what Richard Armitage told Bob Woodward:
We’re clean as a whistle. And George [Tenet, then-CIA Director] personally got it out of the Cincinnati speech of the president.

W: Oh, he did? …

W: It was taken out?

A: Taken out. George said you can’t do this.

W: How come it wasn’t taken out of the State of the Union then?

A: Because I think it was overruled by the [Vice Pres. Cheney] types down at the White House. [Then-National Security Adviser] Condi [Rice] doesn’t like being in the hot spot.
And here's what Bush said:
“When [the CIA] looked at the speech, it was cleared. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have put [the 16 words] in the speech. I’m not interested in talking about intelligence unless it’s cleared by the CIA. And as Director Tenet said, it was cleared by the CIA.
– Pres. George W. Bush, July 2003
Imagine Cheney (and even Libby) on the stand under oath being forced to answer questions about this. Imagine the defendant's lawyer leaping to his feet shouting "Objection!" Imagine the judge over-ruling with a stern, "Just answer the question, Mr Cheney." Now THAT would give the media something to talk about!
Fisk: Iraq, CIA, Passports, Asparagus


Another thought-provoking video via Antony Loewenstein.

February 13, 2007

DO Mention The War!

Here's a funny story from the Murdoch press: Cheney to snub Japan minister for Iraq gibe.
Cheney will not meet Japan's Defence Minister during security-related talks next week, an omission interpreted here as payback for Fumio Kyuma's criticism of the American decision to invade Iraq.
Given that most politicians in their right mind today would run a mile to avoid being seen with Cheney, this "snub" offers a new way out - just criticize the war in public and your problems are solved!
Awesome!

Cheney to take the stand:
If he testifies, Mr. Cheney will bring to the jurors the awesome authority of his office and could attest to Mr. Libby’s character as policy adviser and family man, and to his crushing workload and dedication to keeping the country safe.
Like the Buzzflash boys said, remember when the USA used to have "normal" VPs like Dan Quayle?
Iraq Is Great, But I Dunno About Pop...

Bush 43 on Bush 41:
"I'm more concerned about him than I've ever been in my life because he's been paying too much attention to the news."
He doesn't seem too worried about anything else:
President Bush said this morning that a full schedule had, alas, so far prevented him from following any of the Congressional debate on the troop escalation in Iraq.

"In terms of watching the debate, I've got a lot to do," he told C-SPAN. "I've had meetings up until now."

After being apprised that the debate had not actually started yet -- and wouldn't until Tuesday, after yet another delay -- he laughed and said, "I've got a lot to do tomorrow," too, as luck would have it.

Anyway, he had a pretty good idea of what he would hear if he did listen, he said, and laughed again, as he did throughout what would have otherwise not seemed a particularly jolly interview.
Whaddaya reckon? Prozac?

From a review by Melinda Henneberger.
Gaffes, Jibes and Hard Facts

The latest spat between Howard and Obama (covered in depth at Howard Out) recalls the outrageous quote from former Australian Labour challenger Mark Latham:
"Bush himself is the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory."
In retrospect, he was 100% correct and actually rather prescient. Such a comment today would barely ruffle the feathers of the Australian electorate, or even the USA.
Iran Is A Distraction

But that doesn't mean they won't attack Tehran, right? Here's Joshua Micah Marshall:
With all the intensifying intel bamboozlement about Iranian arms transfers to Iraqi insurgents, the essential question is still being ignored. Let me stipulate to my extreme skepticism about the administration's new campaign of charges about Iranian arms transfers into Iraq -- for specifics see this post and Juan Cole's detailed discussion. But let's consider the matter as though the stream of allegations were true.

Would it matter? Or to be more precise, what would be the answer to these three questions: 1) Would it tell us anything we don't already know about the clerical regime in Iran? 2) Is the volume of arms sales a necessary or suffiicient cause of our predicament in Iraq? and 3) Would successful aggressive action against Iran materially improve our current situation in Iraq?

The answer to #1 seems clearly to be, no. We've announced publicly on numerous occasions that we're hostile to the Iranian regime. And we occupy the countries to the east and the west. So it's not surprising that the Iranians would try to make our work in Iraq more difficult. And the people most eager to expand the war into Iran -- especially those folks -- consider the Iranian regime a hostile, aggressive and threatening player in the region. So, on all counts, there are no surprises here.

Question #2 seems even easier to answer. No one believes that whatever small flow of Iranian roadside bomb parts there might be has caused the chaos in Iraq. It might have upped the kill rate for these nasty weapons by, say, 10%, thus throwing a bit more gas on the fire. But the fire is already raging out of control. If Iran is helping kill American soldiers that might be a grievance we note for payback at a point when we're not otherwise occupied. But on the key point, it's clear that Iranian help with IEDs wouldn't be causing the problem. It would at best be aggravating the problem.

The answer to question #3, of course, flows immediately the answer to #2. Since it's not causing the problem, ending it wouldn't solve the problem. It wouldn't even significantly help.

Assume the best possible outcome to the sort of action that the Vice President and his clique appear to be angling for. We attack Iran -- either in crossborder raids or aerial bombing campaigns. The Iranians are duly chastened and stop all assistance, financial and military, to paramilitaries in Iraq. And this accomplishes? For our situation in Iraq, not much. We go from the IEDs of early 2007 back to the old style IEDs of 2006. In other words, for the outside chance of a temporary and marginal degradation of the quality of the IEDs used in Iraq we run all the risks of digging ourselves deeper into the current quagmire , getting still more American soldiers killed and further stoking anti-American animus in the region with the likely outcome of solidifying the regime in Tehran for decades to come. And after all that fun is done with we're back to the same situation in Iraq that we can't figure out a way to resolve today.

Hawk or dove, who denies that Iraq, solving the situation in Iraq is the singular issue of American foreign policy today. And who can honestly say that tangling with Iran helps us achieve that end in any meaningful way? Iran is a distraction. More specifically, this new Iran bogey is an effort to distract us or find a scapegoat for the administration's failure in Iraq. And let's not forget that the underlying charge is likely another fraud.

February 12, 2007

Doug Feith, Reinventing History (via TPMCafe).
I Am Bush's Mini-poodle, Hear Me Bark!

I am covering the Obama-Howard spat over at Howard Out.

February 11, 2007

Must. Nuke. Iran. Gnnrrhh!!!

Judith Miller's old WMD co-writer goes it alone on Iran. Why does this man still have a job at NYT?
Today, in contrast to the Times' report, Dafna Linzer in The Washington Post simply notes, "Yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said serial numbers and markings on some explosives used in Iraq indicate that the material came from Iran, but he offered no evidence."
I wish all the usual programs on US television were suspended for 24 hours and nobody was allowed to go outside until they understood this post by Juan Cole.
GO READ THIS: Gatekeepers Bury Dancing Israeli Movers And Bogus Art Students On DN!. Yeah damn straight it's from Winter Patriot! The man rocks, OK?

R.e.s.p.e.c.t.

What are YOU doing with your life?
The Man In The Mirror

An Iraq Interrogator's Nightmare:
A man with no face stares at me from the corner of a room. He pleads for help, but I'm afraid to move. He begins to cry. It is a pitiful sound, and it sickens me. He screams, but as I awaken, I realize the screams are mine.

That dream, along with a host of other nightmares, has plagued me since my return from Iraq in the summer of 2004. Though the man in this particular nightmare has no face, I know who he is. I assisted in his interrogation at a detention facility in Fallujah. I was one of two civilian interrogators assigned to the division interrogation facility (DIF) of the 82nd Airborne Division. The man, whose name I've long since forgotten, was a suspected associate of Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad, the Baath Party leader in Anbar province who had been captured two months earlier.

The lead interrogator at the DIF had given me specific instructions: I was to deprive the detainee of sleep during my 12-hour shift by opening his cell every hour, forcing him to stand in a corner and stripping him of his clothes. Three years later the tables have turned. It is rare that I sleep through the night without a visit from this man. His memory harasses me as I once harassed him.

Despite my best efforts, I cannot ignore the mistakes I made at the interrogation facility in Fallujah. I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold the standards of human decency. Instead, I intimidated, degraded and humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values. I will never forgive myself.

American authorities continue to insist that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib was an isolated incident in an otherwise well-run detention system. That insistence, however, stands in sharp contrast to my own experiences as an interrogator in Iraq. I watched as detainees were forced to stand naked all night, shivering in their cold cells and pleading with their captors for help. Others were subjected to long periods of isolation in pitch-black rooms. Food and sleep deprivation were common, along with a variety of physical abuse, including punching and kicking. Aggressive, and in many ways abusive, techniques were used daily in Iraq, all in the name of acquiring the intelligence necessary to bring an end to the insurgency. The violence raging there today is evidence that those tactics never worked...
Go read the whole article. Don't be lazy. This is important stuff.
Cheney By Numbers

Cheney is way, way out of control. This post from Daily Kos is just a good attempt at gauging how far gone the Veep is...
The OVP has been out of compliance with executive orders on the classification of sensitive national security information for several years. During that time, they've been inventing their own classification system (and spending taxpayer money for official-looking stamps bearing this fake classification). And now the Vice President's former top aide is on trial in federal court, offering as a defense for his role in the burning of a critical nuclear nonproliferation asset the excuse that the Vice President personally authorized the declassification of sensitive information.

All the while, not reporting it, or complying with any of the presidential mandate covering the secure handling of sensitive national security information.

They still arrest people for that, don't they?
I think this will prove to be yet another case where the Blogosphere drives the MSM reporting. But I just wonder if the 2008-focussed blogosphere is up to the job?

Maybe I should have called this blog CheneyOut?

February 10, 2007

Absolutely Fascinating

New realities on show at TPMmuckraker:
CHADWICK: Former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, thank you for agreeing to come back on Day to Day. And what would be your response to Senator Levin?

DOUGLAS FEITH: Well, what he’s saying is wrong and unsupported. The criticism that is being directed now at my former office is because my office was trying to prevent an intelligence failure. We had people in the Pentagon who thought that the CIA’s speculative assessments were not of top quality; they were not raising all the questions they should raise and considering all the information they should consider. And our people criticized the CIA. And they did not present an alternative intelligence analysis; they presented a criticism. And now, the inspector general is saying that criticizing the CIA was an intelligence activity that policy people should not have engaged in.

CHADWICK: That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying you briefed the president and the vice president, and you said that there was conclusive evidence that there was a meeting between the 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraq spy in Prague. That was doubtful then; it’s pretty much discredited now.

FEITH: No, that’s absolutely not true. I mean, what you’re saying – there are about a dozen factual errors in your question there. It’s just not true. First of all, I didn’t brief them. I mean, that’s part of it. But ...
Rat. Cornered. Not Pretty.
Now, remember, this isn't merely a word game that Feith's playing -- it has real legal ramifications.
Bring 'em on.
9/11 — What Did the Israelis Know?
There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins’. But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. ‘I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.’
Oh My Good Golly Gosh! The Intelligence Was "Fixed"!

Who wouldhave guessed?
The Defense Department's inspector general says the Pentagon undercut the intelligence community in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon insisted in briefings to the White House that there was a clear relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, when there wasn't.

Former Pentagon policy chief Douglas J. Feith took "inappropriate" action by advancing those briefings, but his actions were not illegal, Gimble said.

Feith called the report "bizarre" and subjective.

The White House said President George W. Bush has revamped the U.S. spy community to avoid any repeat of bad intelligence affecting policy decisions.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin called the report a "devastating condemnation."
Let the "partisan" bickering begin!
Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the committee, called the report “a devastating condemnation of inappropriate activities” carried out by Douglas J. Feith, who was under secretary of defense for policy just before the invasion of Iraq early in 2003.

“Well, unfortunately, the damage has already been done,” Mr. Levin said. “Senior administration officials used the twisted intelligence produced by the Feith office in making the case for the Iraq war.”

But Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican on the committee, immediately disagreed, setting the stage for a series of partisan exchanges. “First of all, you can read the same report and come up with different conclusions, which is quite obvious and will be obvious,” Mr. Inhofe said, adding that the report cannot easily be interpreted as “a devastating condemnation,” as Mr. Levin asserted.
Well, of course, you can look at a duck and call it a chicken, too. If you are so inclined.

The Pentagon’s acting inspector general's report said Feith did not break the law. But surely misleading the USA into war is an act that can be considered "high crimes and misdemeanors"? TPMMuckraker has a closer look at the legal issues here. The key seems to be whether this was Intelligence or Policy Work?

Whether it is legal or not, it is clearly repulsive. The GOP, and Bush, should be loudly damning Feith's Office of Special Plans, but they aren't. And why not? Hmmn...?

February 09, 2007

Dem strategery: JUST SAY NO TO BUSH'S WAR.
Planning For Failure

Err, isn't this going to embolden the terrorists? Sidney Blumenthal reveals the Pentagon's not-so-little secret:
Deep within the bowels of the Pentagon, policy planners are conducting secret meetings to discuss what to do in the worst-case scenario in Iraq about a year from today if and when President Bush's escalation of more than 20,000 troops fails, a participant in those discussions told me. None of those who are taking part in these exercises, shielded from the public view and the immediate scrutiny of the White House, believes that the so-called surge will succeed. On the contrary, everyone thinks it will not only fail to achieve its aims but also accelerate instability by providing a glaring example of U.S. incapacity and incompetence.

The profoundly pessimistic thinking that permeates the senior military and the intelligence community, however, is forbidden in the sanitized atmosphere of mind-cure boosterism that surrounds Bush.
It's been a long time since I saw the words Office of Special Plans in the news.

February 08, 2007

Seemed like a good idea at the time:
The Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said Tuesday.

The money, which had been held by the United States, came from Iraqi oil exports, surplus dollars from the U.N.-run oil-for-food program and frozen assets belonging to the ousted Saddam Hussein regime.

Bills weighing a total of 363 tons were loaded onto military aircraft in the largest cash shipments ever made by the Federal Reserve, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did," the California Democrat said during a hearing reviewing possible waste, fraud and abuse of funds in Iraq.

On December 12, 2003, $1.5 billion was shipped to Iraq, initially "the largest pay out of U.S. currency in Fed history," according to an e-mail cited by committee members.

It was followed by more than $2.4 billion on June 22, 2004, and $1.6 billion three days later. The CPA turned over sovereignty on June 30.

February 07, 2007

How Have The Mighty Fallen? Slowly.

What sort of man refuses to testify in his own defence?
Mr. Fitzgerald’s voice turned suddenly abrupt, when he asked: “Isn’t it a fact that you told Ari Fleischer the information about Ms. Wilson was hush hush and on the q.t.”

Mr. Libby’s voice seemed to have lost much of its strength as he replied: “I don’t recall.”
Wimp. Pussy. Girly-man. Etc.

Meanwhile, Paul Bremer says he threw money out the window so the USA would not get into "real trouble". Has he seen the news lately?
Bremer argued that a number of the accounting problems were actually due to the fact that "we had no idea" how hobbled the economy and infrastructure had been in Saddam's Iraq. "It's a fair question to ask why we didn't know more about how run-down the economy was. They were focused on the WMDs, though we didn't get that right, either."

He also faulted pre-war planning, and said he did not have anywhere near enough staff to do the job: "If we'd been focused on the basis of a plan, we would have been more in touch with reality" from the first.

But Bremer has backed the Bush administration's proposal to send more troops to Iraq.
And an investigation into the Dept Homeland Security is being stalled by Dick Cheney's son-in-law.
Team Sodomy USA Inc.

US document shows reported abuse of POWs:
"I noticed that one of the MPs (military police) was lubricating two of his fingers preparing to perform the anal probe instead of the medical person," says the officer's sworn statement, made in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

"Without warning the EPW (Enemy Prisoner of War), and in a cruel way, he push both his fingers into the EPWs anus.

"This caused the EPW to scream and fall to the ground violently."
Another bad apple, obviously. How many is that now?

February 06, 2007

Cheney comes under attack from his own Fund Manager:
"What were we thinking?' Grantham demands in a four-page assault on U.S. energy policy mailed last week to all his clients, including the vice president.

Titled "While America Slept, 1982-2006: A Rant on Oil Dependency, Global Warming, and a Love of Feel-Good Data," Grantham's philippic adds up to an extraordinary critique of U.S. energy policy over the past two decades.
America's Shame!

Republicans block Senate debate on Iraq:
The vote was 49-47, or 11 short of the 60 needed to go ahead with debate, and left the fate of the measure uncertain.
This was a watered-down, bipartisan effort at a non-binding resolution which only sought to register disapproval, not enforce any new rules or changes. The fact that the US Senate cannot even muster the appetite for such a vote - clearly supported by an increasingly frustrated public - is a damning indictment of the US political system.

The system is broken. The system does not work. The system must be fixed, or replaced.

This is NOT any kind of government that anyone in their right mind would ever seriously talk about "exporting". This is not Freedom. This is not Democracy.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall explains the political intricacies:
There were three resolutions in play today. The Warner-Levin anti-surge resolution. The McCain-Graham-Lieberman pro-surge resolution. Then there was a third resolution offered by Sen. Judd Gregg. The key is the Gregg resolution. All the Gregg resolution really said was that it's the Commander-in-Chief's duty to assign military missions and the Congress's duty to fund them. (Constitutionally, it's a ridiculous claim. But let's set that aside for the moment.)

Now, here's the rub. The Democrats wanted them all to go to a simple majority vote. The Republicans wanted each to go to a 60+ filibuster-breaking vote.

How do the two thresholds shape the debate?

If each goes to a simple majority vote, the anti-surge resolution wins, the pro-surge resolution loses and the Gregg amendment probably wins too. But the headline is the repudiation of the president. The Gregg amendment is an afterthought.

However, if each resolution goes to a 60 vote test, the thinking was that both surge resolutions (pro and con) would fail. And only the Gregg amendment would win.

So opposition to the president would lose and the only winning amendment would be one that gets the senate on the record saying that Congress is obligated to fund whatever missions the president chooses.

That's what happened.
To which my response is: WHO CARES???

The people of the USA demanded change at the last election, and their demand has been ignored. The Dems are still pussy-footing around the political realities. You want credibility, Nancy Pelosi? Go hard and go long, baby. Or go home.

The people of the world are watching.
A case for impeachment:
If deceiving the country into war isn't 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' what is?

... The Libby case testimony, centered on the chicanery of the vice president, certainly suggests that impeachable offenses occurred at the highest level of the White House. Just how conscious the president was of the deceits conducted under his authority, what he knew and when he knew it, is precisely what an impeachment trial would determine.
What's Going on in George Bush's Mind?

That's the question asked in the New York Magazine:
Has Bush simply lost touch with political reality? Or has he actually lost his mind? ...

We are looking at a presidency that is, for all practical political purposes, finished—except to the extent that Bush can wreak more havoc by means of his monomania. The cynical interpretation of his recent moves is that he is stalling, trying to buy himself a few more months of time, praying that something, anything, will happen in Iraq that will let him claim a kind of victory, however trifling or evanescent. But I don’t quite buy that theory. The more convincing explanation is that Bush believes he is playing for history now—hence his obsessive focus on the single issue that he believes, rightly, will define his legacy. Where we see a failed president in Bush, he looks in the mirror and sees himself as a leader who pursued a burdensome, painful path and whose vindication will be meted out long after he has left office. As a righteous man who forged ahead in the face of weak-willed and wrongheaded opposition, in particular the impulse toward appeasement. As Harry Truman. As Winston Churchill.

Pathological narcissism? Delusions of grandeur? Res ipsa loquitur.
"Building Our Own Realities": Bush's Truman Show

Inside Bush's Fixation With Harry Truman:
Bush's grasp of history may have been a little shaky, but there is no doubting the force of his conviction. Bush wants his legacy to be the long-term defeat of Islamic extremism. Indeed, senior officials close to Bush who did not wish to be identified discussing private conversations with the president tell NEWSWEEK that Bush's plan after he leaves the White House is to continue to promote the spread of democracy in the Middle East by inviting world leaders to his own policy institute, to be built alongside his presidential library.
Ballad Of A Thin Lady

You walk into the room
With your notebook and you frown
You see a couple of 3-by-8 note cards and you say
"What's going down?"

There ought to be a law
Against you coming around
You should be made to wear
An orange jumpsuit

Coz something is happening
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Ms. Rice?

February 05, 2007

MUST READ

A former CIA chief blows the lid on Bush and Cheney's dirty secrets:
It was Vice President Dick Cheney who talked about the "dark side" we have to turn on. When he spoke those words, he was articulating a policy that amounted to "go out and get them." His remarks were evidence of the underlying approach of the administration, which was basically to turn the military and the agency loose and let them pay for the consequences of any unfortunate -- or illegal -- occurrences...

I once had to brief Condoleezza Rice on a rendition operation, and her chief concern was not whether it was the right thing to do, but what the president would think about it...

From the perspective of the White House, it was smart to blur the lines about what was acceptable and what was not in the war on terrorism. It meant that whenever someone was overzealous in some dark interrogation cell, President Bush and his entourage could blame someone else...

The agency is not blameless, and no president on my watch has had a spotless record when it comes to the CIA. But never before have I seen the manipulation of intelligence that has played out since Bush took office.
Another Bushism:
"I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it."
-- George W. Bush
Via Doonesbury.
So, Condi... How Ya Been?

The New York Times catches up:
At a Senate hearing on Jan. 11, she confronted a wall of opposition from Republicans as well as Democrats. During hearings this week on Iraq, several of her predecessors were pointed in their disapproval of her job performance.

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III took issue with Ms. Rice’s refusal to engage Syria diplomatically. Back in his day, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “We practiced diplomacy full time, and it paid off.”

This week, Senators Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, and John McCain, Republican of Arizona, released three letters demanding that Ms. Rice make public the administration’s requirements for actions to be taken by the Iraqi government to earn continued American support. Along with the letters, and Ms. Rice’s reply — which indicated that the Iraqis had already missed most of the benchmarks — the senators also released an irate statement.

“Secretary Rice finally provided a response” to the senators’ repeated requests, the statement said. “What Secretary Rice’s letter makes abundantly clear is that the administration does not intend to attach meaningful consequences for the Iraqis continuing to fail to meet their commitments.”

And on Jan. 20, The Economist published an editorial titled “The Falling Star of Condoleezza Rice.”

“Condoleezza Rice,” it said, “is not the woman she once was.”
Speaking Truth To Power

A lesson from Bob Dylan.
You Do It To Yourself
Blood And Oil

As the Iraq Oil Law negotiations continue, the US government appears united on the way forward:
"They've got to pass an oil law. They've got to amend their constitution so that all segments of that society feel that the government is for them," Bush said Saturday at an issues conference in Williamsburg, Va., to applause from House Democrats in attendance.
Interestingly, most Americans now think President George W. Bush invaded Iraq at least partly because of its oil.

The question is, are US citizens prepared to force their government to walk away from that oil? Or will they turn a blind eye to the continued suffering of the Iraqi people, complicitly condoning this wholesale thievery?

If so, they will be sorely disappointed in the long run. The thing is: that oil will NOT be going directly into the tanks of SUVs across the USA. It will be going into the hands of corporate Big Oil, who will ensure US citizens pay a high price for it indeed.

Like I said before, Bush may nominally be the captain of TEAM USA, but he is not really on your team. He is winking to his buddies in the corporate boxes. The game is fixed. You are all being screwed.
A couple of big stories from WaPo.

The first says an NIE from 2004 was remarkably prescient and similar to the latest NIEs.

The second suggests that even the authors of Bush's new "surge" plan do not think it will work.

February 04, 2007

Algiers Encore

Bush says he is reading A Savage War of Peace, British historian Alistair Horne's celebrated 1977 account of the Algerian war.

Albert Camus would be pleased. The irony never stops, does it?
Bush presses the flesh. Or tries to:
In town to deliver remarks on the economy, the president walked into the diner, where he was greeted with what can only be described as a sedate reception. No one rushed to shake his hand. There were no audible gasps or yelps of excitement that usually accompany visits like this. Last summer, a woman nearly fainted when Bush made an unscheduled visit for some donut holes at the legendary Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant in Chicago. In Peoria this week, many patrons found their pancakes more interesting. Except for the click of news cameras and the clang of a dish from the kitchen, the quiet was deafening.

“Sorry to interrupt you,” Bush said to a group of women, who were sitting in a booth with their young kids. “How’s the service?” As Bush signed a few autographs and shook hands, a man sitting at the counter lit a cigarette and asked for more coffee. Another woman, eyeing Bush and his entourage, sighed heavily and went back to her paper. She was reading the obituaries. “Sorry to interrupt your breakfast,” a White House aide told her. “No problem,” she huffed, in a not-so-friendly way. “Life goes on, I guess.”
CoW: So Who's Left?

Slovak troops pull out:
"The war in Iraq is unbelievably unjust and wrong," Fico told a news conference.

The Slovak soldiers are now in Kuwait and are preparing for a trip home, the Defence Ministry said.

"The entry of foreign armies into Iraq has caused huge tensions. To speak about any democracy in Iraq is a fantasy," Fico said.

"The security situation is catastrophic... and if somebody wants to say today that the situation there has improved, it would be a lie."

February 02, 2007

The War on Iran has already begun:
When Iran sells oil to a customer in Germany, the German customer asks a European bank to deposit US dollars into an Iranian bank account. The European bank then arranges for the transfer of US dollars from a US bank to an Iranian bank account in Europe. Paulson’s ban prohibits US banks from transferring funds if Bank Saderat and Bank Sepah are involved. (New York Times, October 16, 2006) With oil sales denominated in US dollars, the aim is to impede Iran’s ability to sell oil. The way around the US manoeuvre is to sell oil in Euros, something Iran has already begun to do. (New York Times, January 10, 2007)

This would seem to be a simple enough way of beating the US at its own game. It also raises questions about the prudence of compelling Iran to switch to Euros, since a change to Euros, if adopted by a number of oil-exporting countries, would push down the value of the US greenback. US investment banker John Hermann, a comptroller of currency in the Carter administration, wonders whether the US is shooting itself in the foot. (New York Times, October 16, 2006)

On the surface, these are valid concerns. But Paulson’s aims are broader. In September he let the world banking community know that it should stop doing business with more than 30 named Iranian enterprises. Behind the request lay a veiled threat. Banks that deal with Iranian businesses run the risk of jeopardizing their future access to the US financial system. Already, a number of European banks have taken heed, scaling back their dealings with Iranian banks and businesses. Credit Suisse and UBS in Switzerland, ABN Amro in the Netherlands and HSBC in Britain are starting to steer a wide berth around Iran...

Peek below the surface, and the hostility to our own interests of the recurrent pattern of capitalist-driven expansion at the expense of the sovereignty of other countries becomes evident. Who pays the taxes to pay the interest on bonds sold to investment bankers and hereditary capitalist families to refurbish nuclear arsenals that don’t need refurbishing, to replace tanks, armoured vehicles and helicopters lost in the wars that should never have been fought, and to build war machines to outrage the sovereignty of other countries? Who foots the bill for lucrative defense contracts to make the machinery of war? Who carries the ball to finance the programs of subverting democracy in other countries? Who sacrifices their limbs, eyesight, hearing, sanity and lives to fight wars to secure profitable investment opportunities for the super-rich? In this system, the bulk of us are exploited, while a tiny minority reaps the benefit of monstrous profits. We are the cannon-fodder, the vote-fodder, the tax-fodder that allows the system to run and the super-rich get super-richer. True, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. But we should be clear on who – and what -- the enemy is, who the victims are, and how the victims have a common interest in challenging their common enemy.
The full article is well worth a read.

Meanwhile, Josh suggests a UN Naval buildup in the gulf will coincide with a good excuse to start the bombing campaign.
The Daou Report is now The Blog Report:
With Peter Daou having joined Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as the senator's Internet Director, we decided it was a good time to make the name change.
I was please to get featured at the Daou report a few times, and Peter Daou once said he was a frequent reader of BushOut, which was good to hear. I'm not a big fan of Hillary, but I wish Peter well in the new job - A.B.B., right? Or should that be A.B.GOP now??
Bush Is No Longer A 'Miserable Failure'

Well, not on Google anyway. Well, sort of. A Google search for 'miserable failure' still takes you to stories about how a Google search for 'miserable failure' used to lead you to Bush. You also find photos like this:
Today's NYT editorial:
If Mr. Bush isn’t careful, he could end up talking himself into another disastrous war, and if Congress is not clear in opposing him this time, he could drag the country along.
..

In what passes for grand strategy in this administration, the president’s aides say he is betting that bloodying Iranian forces in Iraq, and raising the threat of a wider confrontation, will weaken Tehran’s regional standing and force its leaders to rethink their nuclear ambitions. Never mind that Mr. Bush’s last big idea — that imposing democracy on Iraq would weaken Iran’s authoritarians — has had the opposite effect.

Mr. Bush seems to be grossly misreading Iran’s domestic politics and ignoring his own recent experience. In a rare moment of subtlety, the Treasury Department has quietly persuaded some banks and investors to rethink their dealings with Tehran. That has made some in Iran’s permanent religious elite — already worried about future oil production — express doubts about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s defiance of the Security Council.

As ever, the one tactic the administration is refusing to consider is diplomacy. Mr. Bush has resisted calls to convene a meeting of Iraq’s neighbors to discuss ways to contain the crisis. There is no guarantee that Mr. Ahmadinejad can be persuaded that Iraq’s further implosion is not in Iran’s interest. But others in Tehran may have clearer heads. And any hope of driving a wedge between Iran and Syria will have to start by giving Damascus hope that there is a way in from the cold.

Mr. Bush’s bullying may play well to his ever shrinking base. But his disastrous war in Iraq has done so much damage to America’s credibility — and so strained its resources— that it no longer frightens America’s enemies. The only ones really frightened are Americans and America’s friends.

February 01, 2007

No Permanent US Bases In Iraq!

The good new is that the Iranian people are thoughtful and intelligent enough to reject both the Bin Laden rhetoric and the US drive for permanent military bases in Iraq. The bad news is that most of the drivelling idiots living in BushWorld seem to think that permanent military bases will somehow lead to peace. Think Progress has the poll data.
RAISE MORE HELL!

Rest in peace, Molly Ivins.
I have a grandly dramatic vision of myself stalking through the canyons of the Big Apple in the rain and cold, dreaming about driving with the soft night air of East Texas rushing on my face while Willie Nelson sings softly on the radio, or about blasting through the Panhandle under a fierce sun and pale blue sky….I’ll remember, I’ll remember…sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people. Mostly I’ll remember people.
Tributes from Alternet and the Nation.
New Abu Ghraib Video Describes Rape And Suicide Of 15-year-old Girl

Alternet has the video, which was removed from YouTube.

IraqSlogger has the transcript:
What was the most fun things?

The most fun thing, umm....definitely the women.

Yeah? They had chick insurgents, man?

No, they didn't have chick insurgents.

***

Something goes down, they just grab everyone around, you know, fuck em. I mean, you gonna have 35 trials? No, you know. People are like, "Oh they're innocent." You know what, I don't give a fuck. As far as I'm concerned, they're all guilty. You know what? They should have kicked Saddam out themselves. Instead, we're there doing the fucking job. We're losing guys.....

***

Were those people in the World Trade Center guilty? No. Fuck them. They fucked us, so now we're fucking them. Fuck them, dude, anyone with a fucking rag on their head is fair game.

***

....girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn't been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So....

***

One of the guys started pimping her out for 50 bucks a shot. I think at the end of the day, you know, he'd made like 500 bucks before she hung herself.

Really?

Yeah.

She hung herself? How's come she hung herself?

I don't know. She wasn't happy.

***

In their culture, it's really shunned upon if you get raped. I guess she would have been stoned to death anyways by her people, you know. It's fucked up.

She was fucked anyway, I guess. In more ways than one.
An investigation is now underway:
According to chief of public affairs Christopher Grey, "CID Special Agents are looking into the matter and take this issue very seriously. I am not able to provide you with any further details of our activity at this time due to investigative reasons."

At this point, there is no way to confirm if the video is a true representation or not. The video has no publicly-identifiable source at this point, the primary subject appears almost completely in shadow, and the footage has obviously been edited down into a concise 3-minute package...

The Abu Ghraib guard video was first posted on YouTube last Monday by a user called "Deathlyillington." Multiple e-mails to the account went unanswered, and Internet research has turned up no other users posting under that name on any other public Websites.
Meanwhile...

In case you haven't noticed, the Bush White House is still trying very, very hard to trigger a war with Iran. Here are the top headlines from Antiwar.com today:
General: US Has Proof Iran Arming Iraqis
US: Iran May Be Behind Karbala Attack
Maliki: Iran Behind Attacks on US Forces
Bush 'Looking for a Fight' With Iran
Senators Warn Against War With Iran
Israeli Internal Assessments of Iran Belie Threat Rhetoric
US Blames Iranian-Made IEDs for Worst Attacks in Iraq
Officials: White House Holding Back Report on Iran's 'Meddling' in Iraq
The Jerk

Like, I said, Bush is a dickhead:
"I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up."

As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety.

"Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another.

White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor.

Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop. He gave reporters a thumbs-up.

"If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward.
"This Prez." IS In Trouble

As Matt Cooper takes the stand in the Libby trial, Jason Leopold and Marc Ash hunt for the real villians:
Cheney's notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday during Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush's vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against Wilson. The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador begs the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA?

Further, the highly explicit nature of Cheney's comments not only hints at a rift between Cheney and Bush over what Cheney felt was the scapegoating of Libby, but also raises serious questions about potentially criminal actions by Bush. If Bush did indeed play an active role in encouraging Libby to take the fall to protect Karl Rove, as Libby's lawyers articulated in their opening statements, then that could be viewed as criminal involvement by Bush.

Last week, Libby's attorney Theodore Wells made a stunning pronouncement during opening statements of Libby's trial. He claimed that the White House had made Libby a scapegoat for the leak to protect Karl Rove - Bush's political adviser and "right-hand man."

"Mr. Libby, you will learn, went to the vice president of the United States and met with the vice president in private. Mr. Libby said to the vice president, 'I think the White House ... is trying to set me up. People in the White House want me to be a scapegoat,'" said Wells.

Cheney's notes seem to help bolster Wells's defense strategy...

Cheney's notes would have read "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others." The words "this Pres." were crossed out and replaced with "that was," but are still clearly legible in the document.

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