August 31, 2009

Parsing McCain

He's not really anti-torture, he just wants other countries to do it for the USA, or else make sure there's no publicity.

McCain Whacks Cheney: Torture Violated Law And Helped The Terrorists (VIDEO)
"I think these interrogations, once publicized, helped al Qaeda recruit. I got that from an al Qaeda operative in a prison camp in Iraq... I think that the ability of us to work with our allies was harmed. And I believe that information, according go [sic] the FBI and others, could have been gained through other members."

August 30, 2009

Oh my

Britain's U-turn on Lockerbie bomber: report
Justice Secretary Jack Straw dropped his attempt to exclude Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement after discussions between Libya and BP over a massive oil exploration deal became bogged down, it said.

The oil deal was resolved soon afterwards, according to the newspaper, which cited leaked letters sent by Mr Straw to his Scottish counterpart.

Oh dear

WTF? Travelling from North Korea to Iran???? Intercepted in the Middle East?

Weapons seized from Australian-owned ship

August 29, 2009

August 28, 2009

... So On To The Next Expensive Cover-up!

ADF launches inquiry into Afghan police shooting:
The Australian Defence Force has launched a comprehensive inquiry into the killing of an Afghani police officer by Australian troops.

The soldiers shot the man and seriously injured another, when they failed to stop at a check point in Afghanistan earlier this month.

Late Friday Night News

Nothing to see here folks...

Federal police end probe into AWB scandal
The AFP, Victoria Police and the corporate regulator ASIC set up a task force in 2006 to consider possible prosecution for offences identified by the AWB Royal Commission.

But the AFP says a review has found there is limited chance of a successful criminal prosecution.

Adios To All That

Get Out of Afghanistan and Everywhere Else by Jacob G. Hornberger
Of course, the big bugaboo that the Pentagon now uses to justify its existence (along with the enormous tax burden necessary to sustain its enormous military) is terrorism (as compared to communism, which was the bugaboo prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dismantling of the Soviet Empire).

But the threat of terrorism is a direct result of what the Pentagon did both prior to and after 9/11 as part of its aggressive, interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East. That threat has remained constant, of course, given the continuous killing of people in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last 8 years.

But the Pentagon knows that by withdrawing from Afghanistan and the Middle East, that constant threat of terrorist retaliation plummets. At that point, the only risk of terrorist retaliation would be from some disgruntled person whose family members or friends were killed by the U.S. military sometime in the past. There’s no need for an enormous military to deal with that possibility, and the Pentagon knows it.

If the Pentagon withdrew from the Middle East, military officials know that people might well ask, Why stop there? Why not withdraw from Europe? After all, the Cold War ended long ago. Why not withdraw from Japan. It surrendered soon after the atomic bombs were dropped. Why not withdraw from Korea? The war there ended decades ago. Why not withdraw from Africa? What business do the troops have there?

... and the Brits Wonder Why They Are Still Over There.

Oooh errr...!

BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | US Afghan 'row' worries Ashdown
Lord Ashdown added that undermining the election could have disastrous consequences.

He said: "The effect of it could be to de-legitimise the whole process."

Karzai Gives US The Finger

August 25, 2009

You Remember John Howard's Brain, Don't You?

How did he become a NAB director? Gosh, you'd almost think the banks ran the country (not forgetting Turnbull was a Goldman Sachs boy)...

Sinodinos 'front runner' for Nelson seat
Liberal sources say the seat, the safest federal Liberal metropolitan electorate in the country, is Arthur Sinodinos' if he wants it.

Bradfield includes well-heeled, leafy suburbs such as St Ives, Killara and Chatswood.

But Mr Sinodinos, 52, who is in Melbourne on business as a managing director at the National Australia Bank, has been unavailable for comment.

Coverup Warms Up

So it seems the new AG investigation is aimed at the latest revelations. Certainly there's a whole lot of political and media linkage going on here:

CIA 'threatened' 9/11 mastermind's children

OMFG they did what??? Threatened to hurt children? Ran power drills near hooded prisoners (without touching them of course) in violation of the prescribed legal guidelines? Etc etc. Well, that's not so bad is it? We'll just nab the bad apples responsible....

No, wait a minute. THEY KILLED PEOPLE!!! They killed detainees, they tortured them to death!!!

It was wholesale! It was systematic! It was condoned at the very highest level! They did DEMOS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!

You know what I think? I think this is just Obama's way of pressuring the GOP into supporting his Health Care reforms. And they better not call his bluff, coz he really IS bluffing.

August 21, 2009

Defense Is Offense

Doug Bandow: How Many Enemies, How Much Military Spending?
Defense spending dipped in the early 1990s, but real outlays merely dropped from the Reagan build-up back to the Cold War average. Since then military expenditures (the baseline budget excluding costs of Afghanistan and Iraq) have climbed to a peacetime record. America accounts for nearly half of the world's military outlays.

That is, Washington is spending more today on its military now than it did when the U.S. was confronting the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact, Maoist China, and assorted Third World autocracies.

Whatever could justify such outlays?

It certainly isn't the power of America's enemies.


And Now He Wants You To Buy His Book

August 20, 2009

This Could Be Interesting...

UBS to name 4,450 US clients in tax-evasion probe
Hours after the announcement, the Swiss government said it was selling its nine percent stake in the ailing bank.

August 18, 2009

Another Sad Farce

How many innocent people must die to give this one legitimacy?

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Deadly pre-poll attack hits Kabul
The BBC's Hugh Sykes, in Kabul, says the attacks demonstrate that determined militants can penetrate Kabul's election security.

He says the bombings are likely to make people nervous about going to vote on Thursday.

Let's be honest about what's happening here

At lunchtime today Malcolm Turnbull was berating Rudd for destroying our relationship with China (yes, he is that desperate). Now comes the biggest energy deal in Australian history:

Australia signs $50b gas deal with China - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
A deal has been signed in Beijing tonight for the biggest single investment ever made in Australia.

PetroChina has signed a deal to buy $50 billion worth of Australian liquefied natural gas over 20 years.

What's really happening here is that the media (and society too, I suppose, by proxy) have been co-opted into this fantasy that big money deals are good for everyone, and a "win" like this is good for all Australians.

Meanwhile, far away in Venezuela, people are enjoying cheap energy bills as a result of plentiful natural resources.

Why are Australia's natural resources being flogged off overseas, why are we still paying exorbitant energy costs every quarter, and why are we all cheering on these mammoth sales as if we have any personal stake in the profiteering madness?

August 16, 2009

Why Are We There???

Afghanistan passes ‘food for sex’ law
Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands’ sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation which President Hamid Karzai had promised to review.

A young Afghan woman looks on as she listens during a women’s gathering held to discuss the country’s forthcoming presidential elections in Kabul. AFPThe new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.

“It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying ‘blood money’ to a girl who was injured when he raped her,” the US charity Human Rights Watch said.

August 10, 2009

Why not, Barry?

You almost wonder whether an NYT editor put this bit into Frank Rich's otherwise excellent column:
He promised to smite them.

No president can do that alone, let alone in six months.

Obama has to take it to the people, tell them the truth, and throw a spotlight on all the corporate interests that are destroying the lives of US citizens.

Of course, they will kill him, but at least he will be a martyr.

Life In The Green Zone

Welcome to sunny Iraq...

Briton charged over shooting death of Australian and British contractors in Iraq
Baghdad military spokesman Qassem Atta said alcohol was being investigated as a factor in this morning's shooting.

"The (alleged) perpetrator arrived yesterday from abroad. They drank a lot and afterwards there was a dispute, then he took his weapon and killed the two men," Atta said.

"After that he went outside of the trailer and he shot an Iraqi and injured him in the leg. Security forces surrounded him and he gave himself up," he said, adding the man was under arrest with Iraqi police.

Meanwhile, back in Bushworld:
As tough economic times push more people onto the streets, the number of violent, sometimes deadly attacks against the homeless are becoming a trend in the United States, a report has found.

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) put the number of attacks in 2008 at 106, including 27 deaths, with Florida leading states in the nation at 30 attacks, three among them resulting in deaths. More incidents are thought to have occurred but gone unreported.

The total number of attacks was less than the 160 recorded last year but still far above the 60 listed in 1999.

Although the motive for the violence was often unclear, some attackers said they acted out of "boredom" or for a "thrill" or "fun," according to the report released Friday.

Most of the attacks -- 73 percent -- were committed by individuals who were 25 years old or younger, with the bulk of that group teenagers.
US Army recruiters are not going to be short of cannon fodder, obviously.

Epic Fail

George W. Bush alumni work on social networking site - Daniel Libit -
Currently, the online effort has been coordinated at, which by its appearance seems to be primarily dedicated to the cause of vindicating the former president’s record in office.

"We were there,” the site reads. “And as members of the team, we know the difference between rumor, reality, fact, and fiction. This is our chance to stand up, speak up and set the record straight."

August 06, 2009

Life Of A Blogger

Please help this guy out if you can.

Once Upon a Time...
I'm about to face (again) a choice between food and heart medication. I've eaten through almost all the food I had stored up; in the last week, I've been forced to eat the contents of a few cans of food that had been pushed to the backs of some kitchen shelves. They were very old; perhaps the recent intestinal unpleasantness was the result of something that shouldn't have been eaten. But those particular problems have periodically gone on for a long time now, so possibly tainted food can't be the entire explanation. Eating healthy foods, which would be a good idea given the heart problems, is pretty much beyond my means for good now. Last week, I spent most of a donation from a regular contributor on cat food.

Good Luck With That, Rupert

Online charges to recoup losses: News Corp
The global economic downturn has had a huge impact on News Corporation's results, and it says charging for internet content is likely to become more widespread to support the costs of quality journalism.

Rupert Murdoch announced that his company suffered a 30 per cent decline on last year's performance.

August 05, 2009

People In Glass Houses

Finks argue 'more crime' in govt and police:
"I'm not trying to say all bikers are saints, just like not all politicians or police are squeaky clean," a Finks biker named Ferret said.

"But I would say that there is more organised criminal activity every day in Australia's governments and police services than you would find at your local biker clubhouse."
Terrorism suspect in court outburst:
As he was led from court, Fattal told Magistrate Reardon, "You send troops to Iraq to kill innocent people."

"You call me a terrorist. I never killed a person in my life.

"Your army kills innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Israel takes Palestinian land by force."

A Jail Cell Awaits Erik Prince


Murdoch's "Australian" newspaper ran two major stories yesterday. The shocking admission by Grech that he faked an email to bring down the government, and another story which very conveniently stole the headlines from that one...

Terrorism raids 'brought forward after leak'
New South Wales assistant police Commissioner, Peter Dein, said the operation was expedited because the Australian had the story.

"Yes it was pulled forward because of that and these things happen and we had no control over that," he said.

"I'm not sure exactly how long [The Australian] had it... I think it was a few days, but I was aware because of my involvement with the inter agency relationships.

"There was no set date...but certainly we needed to execute it yesterday because of certain knowledge of the media."

August 04, 2009

"Personal Reasons"?

You. Are. A. Toad.

Now go back down into your little Wollestonecraft hole. Before someone comes after you with a pick.

Howard says media unfair to Hanson - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Tell Me Again, Daddy, How Did They Pull off 9-11?

There's a discernible underlying irony to these supposedly horrifying terrorist attacks, isn't there? The people who contemplate fulfilling them are invariably a few bricks short of a few load, and after some cursory examination always seem laughingly incapable of pulling the stunts off. Which suggests, of course, that there are more intelligent people in the background, manipulating these poor fools. But those people never get caught.

Terrorism suspects 'sought religious approval' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


Godwin Grech's email to Malcolm Turnbull - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
From: Godwin Grech

Sent: Friday, 5 June 2009 10:41 PM
To: Malcolm Turnbull


Perhaps one way of getting me before a Committee to give evidence is to refer the OzCar Guarantee Bill, which is scheduled for Senate consideration in just over a week, to a Committee Inquiry.

Although we will be silly not to allow the Bill through, a short Committee Inquiry could be useful.

But it is important that any inquiry involve only me from Treasury.

Once this gets more momentum, they may try to stop me from appearing and send up one of my bosses instead.

I am the only person in Treasury to have worked on OzCar - quite remarkable really given that they normally allocate teams of about 10 people to such projects; but I have carried this on my own from the very start.

My point is that you will be on firm ground if you demand that only I appear.

I am happy for you to start using my name in Parliament or in media interviews when pressing for this.

In your interview with the ABC this morning, you referred to a Treasury official. I am OK for you to refer to me publicly to make it clear who you are after.

Also, with Swan daring you to haul up the relevant Treasury staff for investigation in Parliament on Thursday - you can simply dare him to follow through with his 'offer'.

I really do believe there is meat in this one.

Swan is probably more exposed than Rudd. Sure he disclosed the fact that he was making representations for Grant - but what is not appreciated is what I did - with the approval of the TO and Swan - in trying to get finance for Grant.

Ford Credit and the subsequent decision by ERC to allow Ford Credit to participate in OzCar - with Swan as ERC chair - is relevant to all of this.

Perhaps we should talk to sort out next steps.

Also, I am happy to meet with you and perhaps Abetz (no staffers) - to show you the various emails I have.

This may help you decide how strong you may want to push.

Let me know what you want to do.


Trickle Down Economics?

Ha ha you fell for it, suckers!

Tax Revenues Post Biggest Drop Since Depression
Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18 percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion.

Is It Fascism Yet?

Glenn Greenwald -
The reason the journalism industry insisted for so long on the ludicrous fiction that corporate parents never violated the sanctity of journalistic independence is precisely because everyone understood why that would be so dangerous. Apparently, they no longer feel a need to maintain that fiction.

August 03, 2009

A New Direction?

Raw Story » Panetta: ‘Reality’ of 9/11 excuses Bush scandals
“The time has come for both Democrats and Republicans to take a deep breath and recognize the reality of what happened after Sept. 11, 2001. The question is not the sincerity or the patriotism of those who were dealing with the aftermath of Sept. 11. The country was frightened, and political leaders were trying to respond as best they could. Judgments were made. Some of them were wrong. But that should not taint those public servants who did their duty pursuant to the legal guidance provided. The last election made clear that the public wanted to move in a new direction.”

August 02, 2009

Criminal Stupidity

Just Don't Mention Clive Palmer Eh??

Politicians just don't DO irony, do they? Or hypocrisy either...

Corruption claims take toll on Bligh: poll:

The Queensland Opposition says voters are losing faith in Premier Anna Bligh, in the wake of the business links controversy.


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