June 30, 2003

For an interesting overview of the fight between liberals and the far-right in the USA, check out this article from Scotland's Sunday Herald.
Israel Cuts Ties With BBC

Further to the media wars discussed below, this story is again from Ha'aretz.
Why do they hate US?

The US forces in Iraq are launching a massive new show of military power in an effort to subdue growing armed resistance.

"We go in with such overwhelming combat power that they won't even think about shooting us," Lt.-Col. Mark Young said before the start of the operation.

It's the same mentality that landed US troops in trouble in the first place. Perhaps if the military budget since the end of the invasion had been diverted to well-co-ordinated humanitarian relief, the armed resistance would now be subsiding rather than growing.

June 29, 2003

The World View

George Bush addressed a political fund-raising dinner in California last night (at US$2000 per head) and claimed:

"It is clear that the future of freedom and peace depends on the actions of America."

So much for the UN, then. Maybe he meant that if Americans can restrain him from further violent attacks, there might yet be a chance for peace?

It is interesting to compare how the Californian fundraiser was reported in the US and abroad. The Hindu in India, for example, showed a picture of protestors at the gate, focussed on the above quote and mentioned that the Bush re-election campaign "hopes to rake in some $170 millions — some GOP insiders believe that $200 millions is not an impossibility. "

By contrast, the San Francisco Chronicle's report is basically an amalgamation of positive, pro-Bush quotes from the dinner guests at the fund-raiser. The anti-Bush sentiment is brushed aside in the second half of this long article:

"Although dissenters lined up outside both events, inside the president was interrupted by applause a number of times and received only praise from his audiences."

The article concludes with an attack on California's state Democratic leader.

June 28, 2003

How embarrassment!

After about a decade of moral freefall under Prime Minister John Howard, Australia has finally cemented its place as an international parriah. This article from the UK Guardian newspaper is a must-read for all Australians, providing a startling insight into how the ill-considered comments of our inept Foreign Minister are seen abroad. It would be nice to think that this was just an abberation, a slip of the tongue, but unfortunately we really do seem to have subscribed 100% to El Busho's (now officially) God-given doctrine.

An except from the Guardian article:

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - The Australian government on Thursday branded multilateral forums such as the United Nations ``ineffective and unfocused'' and said its foreign policy will increasingly rely on ``coalitions of the willing'' like the one that waged war in Iraq.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer also said that in Canberra's view, other nations' sovereignty was ``not absolute.''

As an Australian, I assume that means that our own sovereignty is also not absolute? So if a foreign leader like Malaysia's PM decides it is in his own best interests to attack us, he is also completely justified??? Or are we really getting into religious wars now?

Click here for a link to that Ha'aretz article in which Bush claims he was directed by God to smite Osama and Saddam.

In other news, a brave Ha'arestz reporter asks why the Israeli media gods recently decided to drop the BBC World Service from non-digital cable television? Hmmn... could it have something to do with the same reasons why the BBC was given table number 148, near the toilets and the kitchens, at a major White House event?

Media Wars are afoot... As Bush, Howard and every other would-be totalitarian ruler knows, the best way to discourage dissent is to control the airwaves, TV, newspapers.... but can you control the Blogs?? :-)

June 27, 2003

On a lighter note...

Rumours of his death during the attack on Baghdad have proved untrue and Comical Ali is back!!! The man who "spawned a mini industry in the West involving t-shirts, mugs, dolls and videos, and a raft of websites poking fun at his rhetorical style" now says:

"The information was correct, but the interpretations were not."

Maybe George W. could use that line next time he is asked about WMDs?

Another amusing snippet: George Bush has expressed concern about the situation in Liberia. Dictator Charles Taylor "thanked Mr Bush for his interest".
Whatever Happened to the Freedom Of The Press?

Given the mounting evidence against Bush, Blair and Howard, why are the Western media not screaming for mass resignations? Well, unfortunately media compliance is nothing new.

According to this report in The Guardian newspaper, media commentator and New York Magazine columnist Michael Wolff has accused American television networks of "kissing ass" in their coverage of the Iraq war in return for a relaxation of media ownership rules in the US.

Coincidence? The Australian Government is also trying to push through new media laws and has only been unsuccessful so far because of the opposition of a lone Independent MP.

This article by a renowed BBC and international journalist provides an in-depth and graphic account of how the US tried to oust Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in 2002, with the extreme complicity of the US media.

Here's another story about the US media laying into former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who was accused of implying “that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information.” Trouble is, as the article shows, the lady never said it!

"Are US reporters simply spineless?" is the question asked by BBC reporter Justin Webb in this article from the UK's Independent newspaper.
Now Bush is Blaming GOD!

According to reports from Israeli media Haaretz, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas claims US President George Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did."

There has gotta be a day of reckoning on this one...
There Were No WMDs in Iraq II

They never found the "smoking gun", could this be the "last nail in the coffin"? An Iraqi nuclear scientist claims that, on Saddam's orders, he buried plans and papers for the Iraqi's nuclear program in his back garden - 12 whole years ago!.

This confirms the evidence from other Iraqi scientists who have been interviewed, all of whom state that Saddam ceased his nuclear and biological weapons programs over ten years ago. According to Australia's Bulletin magazine, "the scientists have been threatened, coaxed, offered all kinds of incentives, including safe haven outside Iraq for their families. Nothing changes their stories."

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that there certainly WERE some deadly WMDs in Iraq at the end of Gulf War I. As comedian Jay Leno quipped: "We know Saddam had weapons of mass destruction - we sold them to him!" That's right. UN forces that drove Iraq out of Kuwait discovered deadly toxins which were biologically traced to shipments from the good old USA.

Bush and Blair are now turning on the press. MSNBC reports that intelligence officials, "who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity", have challenged a New York Times story about those so-called WMD trailers. These un-named officials say the two paragraphs report was drafted by “uninformed” State Department experts. At the same time, they concede that the June 2 memo did warn that it was “premature,” to conclude that the mobile trailers were biological labs.

In the UK, Blairs boys are aggressively attacking a BBC report which claimed Blair knew in advance that the claim that Iraq could launch WMDs "within 45 minutes" was false. Sounds like they are trying to claim they were (a) naive or (b) lied to rather than (c) liars.
And the Award For Sycophancy Goes To...

The House of Representatives has voted to award a congressional gold medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow, to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Congress has only awarded such medals twice: posthumously to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1969, and to a sitting head of state, Nelson Mandela, during his final months as president of South Africa.

As Congressman Jim McDermott, a Washington state Democrat who opposed the war in Iraq, says: "this award to Mr Blair is either too late or too soon. If the medal had been awarded when it was first introduced [proposed], before these deceptions were discovered, it would have been smooth sailing. If it is brought up later, perhaps Mr. Blair will have cleared his name. But at this moment we are pre-judging, and perhaps trying to influence the outcome of some very serious investigations."

June 24, 2003


On June 15, former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark appeared on 'Meet the Press' with Tim Russert and said the following:

' I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, "You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein." I said, "But-I'm willing to say it but what's your evidence?" And I never got any evidence.'

In other words, a major US military figure, talking live on CNN while people were still dying in the ruins of the World Trade Centre, was being pressured to blame the 9/11 attacks on Saddam.

According to Clark:

' I think it was an effort to convince the American people to do something... there was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein.'

By whom? Who did that?

'Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House.'

In other words, Bush and his buddies had a pre-planned agenda. There has never been any intelligence linking Saddam or Iraq with 9/11, but the Bush administration saw an opportunity to push their agenda. While the bodies were still burning, they began cynically manipulating the USA's sorrow and anger for their own purposes.
Cognitive Dissonance

Now John Howard is blaming the intelligence people.

"You can never prove anything in a court of law based on intelligence," he said. "And if you wait until you get evidence enough to satisfy an Old Bailey jury, it's too late... You have to make a judgement based on intelligence assessments."

Never mind that there were significant intelligence reports claiming Iraq posed no threat to the USA, let alone Australia, and did not possess WMDs. The question is, will the intelligence services obediently roll over and cop the blame, or will their professional pride compell them to throw the blame back on the politicians? While "intelligence" has always been a shady world of half-truths, the outrageous misrepresentation of information used to justify the Iraq War seems to set a dangerous precedent which cannot be allowed to stand. There are lies, lies and then there are damned lies like this.

Bush first claimed those two weather balloon trucks were WMDs. Then he said looters stole the WMDs before the invaders could find them. He called anti-war protestors "revisionist historians". Bush is still ducking and weaving, despite a few questions belatedly beginning to escape the mouths of Democrat Presidential nominees, but maybe he has nothing to worry about.

New research shows that an incredible one third of the American public believes U.S. forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And 22 percent believe Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons. Before the war, half of those polled in a survey said Iraqis were among the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. Crazy, just crazy.

Whatever happened to "Truth, Justice and the American Way"?

Back in the UK, Tony Blair has had the hardest time justifying the war, and looks unlikely to escape recriminations unless some WMDs conveniently turn up in the next few weeks.

June 23, 2003

Breaking News

On a day when another US soldier was killed in Iraq while one of the precious oil pipelines they were sent to protect exploded (which event was more disturbing to W. Bush, do you think?), a retired US general has vigorously condemned the US adventures in Iraq.

More interesting, perhaps, is the latest speculation about US attempts to compete with the growing influence of the Euro on world financial markets. This could be the great untold story of the last decade, although this newsbite from Venezuelan media sounds a little "consipiracy theory".

June 18, 2003

From the US Federal Register, Executive Order 13303:

"I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that the threat of attachment or other judicial process against the Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations, or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, obstructs the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq. This situation constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
I hereby order:

Section 1. Unless licensed or otherwise authorized pursuant to this order, any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process is prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void, with respect to the following:

(a) the Development Fund for Iraq, and

(b) all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products..."

As the clever folks at UnderReported.com point out, the separation of the Development fund and the oil products in the above list is deliberate.
CIA takes over search for WMDs

Paul Bremer, the new resident of Saddam's Royal Palace, has been given control of all personnel involved in the so-far-futile search for Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMDs). These people used to be under the control of the Pentagon, but recently admitted that they had searched everywhere they could in Iraq and basically concluded - to the embarrassment of Bush, Blair & Co - that there were no WMDs to be found. Bremer, their new boss, is a former consultant for a crisis consulting firm headed by none other than the world's most successful Backdoor Man, Henry Kissinger. According to the Washington Post, Bremer "has had little involvement in Arab affairs or with major reconstruction projects." Now he is basically in charge of Iraq, with a mandate to do pretty much whatever he thinks is "necessary". In Bremer's own words:

"When I came out here, the president said, 'Go out and make an assessment, and draw your own conclusions about what we should do."

According to the Washington Post, "many Iraqis said they feared his agenda was a way to prolong the U.S. presence here and delay self-governance."

But I am getting side-tracked. What I wanted to talk about was how George Bush senior was head of the CIA before he became president, how daddy's CIA buddies helped little W. get elected, and how much power the CIA wields in this post-9/11 world. With Blair, Bush and now even little Johnny Howard facing organised inquiries into their pre-war justifications for urgent action against Iraq, you can be sure that the CIA - with Bremer at the helm in Iraq - will quickly turn up something convenient, probably within a week (although they might have to wait till the airport re-opens, which is scheduled for 1st July - that would make a great Thanksgiving present for George eh?).

A barrel of,... er.... mustard... gets shipped out to Iraq as part of the "humanitarian effort" and turns up a few days later in an abandoned shed somewhere in the desert. A few innocent soldiers, tipped off by the CIA, bring it into the lab and... guess what? Anthrax or something. Who is going to point the finger at Bush, Blair & Co then, eh?

Even if it were possible, which it probably wouldn't be, it would take many years to prove the WMD was a CIA plant. I think the more interesting thing will be HOW MUCH they find. Would a single barrel of liquid justify the whole campaign? Wouldn't Saddam have had a lot more than that? It might be hard for the CIA to smuggle in more than a minimal amount of "evidence". Perhaps if they had allowed UN Weapons Inspectors back into the country earlier, I would be less cynical.

Anyway, even if Saddam DID have WMD's, that still doesn't justify (to me) the invasion without UN support. Who knows, maybe the WMDs are all in Syria now? Would that be a good excuse to invade Syria? How much oil have THEY got?

P.S. By the way, if you have a few months to spare, try working out what Henry Kissinger has been doing since the new Bush administration came to power. If you can penetrate that secret, dark world,let me know!

June 17, 2003

At last, it begins... The Australian inquiry into government lies

Finally, after the Labour party finally resolved its leadership dispute, the move to investigate Australian government justification for the invasion of Iraq has begun. Of course - as one would expect - the investigations had already begun weeks earlier in the UK and US.

Tasmanian Labor MP, Harry Quick, says "American intelligence" is an oxymoron - "You know they produce whatever they need to justify going to war and if we're going to tag along as a third rate partner I just think we should have our own inquiry and see what results ensue from that," he said.

June 15, 2003

Oh, no. Not that dream again...

"This is how they pray: a dozen clear-eyed, smooth-skinned "brothers" gathered together in a huddle, arms crossing arms over shoulders like the weave of a cable, leaning in on one another and swaying like the long grass up the hill from the house they share..."

This article examines the dangerous religious psychology of the far-right US government insiders.

The above article was written by Jeffrey Sharlet, an editor of the online magazine KillingtheBuddha.com and co-author of a forthcoming book: Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible (The Free Press).

June 13, 2003

So the latest Middle East "peace" effort is in tatters. What a surprise.

As Ghandi said (it's on my bumper sticker): "There is no road to peace. Peace is the road."

I loved (not) Bush's response. He said there are people in the Middle East who just "hate" peace. Just like after September 11, the reason the terrrsts did it is coz they "hate" freedom. You know, the way he explains these complex issues, it all becomes so simple to understand. He seems like a very nice man.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer makes it even simpler: "The issue is Hamas. The terrorists are Hamas. They are the enemies to peace, in the President's judgment."

Ah, the President's judgement. You gotta love this "president's" judgement. First Osama bin Laden was the problem, then it was Saddam, now it is Hamas. Or maybe Kim Jong. Or maybe Darth Vader. Or some other easily detested "bad guy".

Errr.... wasn't it Israel who broke the (very) recent, very public "Peace Deal" with an outrageous homicidal helicopter gunship attack which killed innocent civilians? Who are the real terrorists? I do not condone violence or murder in any way. Neither do I condone hypocrisy.

June 12, 2003

If you don't want to believe that George Bush is just a plain old bastard, how about this - ?

Maybe Saddam never really had weapons of mass destruction, but maybe he wanted his neighbours (Iran in particular) to believe he did. During the US-led arms economic sanctions, when Iraq's finances were seriously depleted, maybe it became even more important for him to bluff his potential adversaries. In such a situation, perhaps he deliberately faked an advanced program of WMD as a means of keeping the local hoodlums (Iran and Syria, to name a few) at bay, while also giving the USA something to think about. Maybe the easiest way to do this was to create fake images for US spy satellites?

Perhaps the gentlemen of the CIA and the FBI - people who barely understand the reality of life in the Third World - were seriously confused by this? Perhaps they dutifully reported what they saw, noting the ambiguities and outstanding questions along the way. Then perhaps GEORGE BUSH AND HIS OIL BARON MATES SEIZED CONTROL OF THE WHITEHOUSE WITH A PRE-ARRANGED AGENDA AND MANIPULATED THE SITUATION FOR THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE.

The thing is, you don't start a war and kill thousands of innocent people without 100% reliable intelligence... unless you really WANT TO!

Remember, you heard it here first! :-)

June 11, 2003

May The Air Force One Be With You

I often wonder if George Bush's response to terrorism was inspired by the huge public success of the Harrison Ford movie, "AIR FORCE ONE"? Remember the movie? The president's plane is hijacked by terrrists... the president single-handedly defeats the terrrrsts.... the president declares War On Terror. The End. Run credits. Rake in dollars.

In an era where politicians are overwhelmingly driven by public polls, it seems a reasonable suggestion, particularly given Bush's spontanteous, almost child-like destruction of countless international treaties and decades of international goodwill (more or less) with allies, United Nations, etc. Not to mention his penchant for the dramatic, e.g. his decision to risk landing by plane on an aircraft carrier, when a helicopter was available.

If you ever wondered what it might be like to travel on Air Force One with the Pres, BBC News has the story here. This article explains much of what is wrong with modern politics and the media's unhealthy relationships with their major news tarts.

June 08, 2003

Impeach George W. Bush!!!

Now we are talking! A movement to impeach George W. Bush has begun in the United States and is gaining pace - check it out here. This team has put together a solid legal argument and hopefully their efforts will at least get the US public THINKING...

June 06, 2003


That's right. And... I am going to tell you. Is this the best website in the world or WHAT?!?!

He is in Russia. Remember just a few days before the Americans Humvee-ed into the heart of Baghdad, there was an "incident" where US troops opened fire on a "delegation" leaving the Russian Embassy? Amid much diplomatic confusion and embarrassment, the Russians were permitted to continue on their way and even afforded an apology. They were, they said, on their way out of the country before the US began their final assault.

Of course, most people don't know this because even if they did hear about it on TV, none of the networks got good pictures. Of course, even if they HAD, the spooks would probably have taken them away. Imagine footage of US soldiers raking a Russian diplomatic envoy with gunfire - now that would have RATED! But anyway... If you did hear about it, you probably dismissed it as an isolated incident in the whole crappo media blitzo.

But if you think about it for a little while, it does seem like the most plausible option. The Russians opposed the War (apparently they were owed millions for loans granted to Saddam during the US embargo). They were humiliated and pissed at W. Busho. Doesn't it make sense? Especially if Saddam came with oodles of money etc etc etc...

Now here is an interesting little piece in the English Spectator magazine:


Seems the leader of a small, autonomous (that's important) Russian republic is a devoted fan of Saddam...

You heard it here first! :-)


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