Saturday, September 29, 2007

No One is Guilty--Gideon Levy

"No one is guilty in Israel. There is never anyone guilty in Israel. The prime minister who is responsible for the brutal policy toward the Palestinians, the defense minister who knew about and approved the bombardments, the chief of staff, the chief of command and the commander of the division who gave the orders to bombard - not one of them is guilty. They will continue with the work of killing as though nothing has happened: The sun shone, the system flourished and the ritual slaughterer slaughtered. They will continue to pursue the routine of their daily lives, accepted in society like anyone else, and remain in their posts despite the blood on their hands."
Substitute United States for Israel in the above quote from Gideon Levy's article (http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=36762&s2=29) about the IDF killing civilians in Beit Hanoun and you see the same dynamic that we have in the U.S. about the massacre of millions
of Iraqis and Afghanis, not to mention the uncounted millions, including the inhabitants of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, and on and on.

These people who have committed war crimes (most of Congress should be included) are "accepted in society like anyone else." This has to stop. They are not like us. Until we shed ourselves of the idea that they feel the same way we do about humanity, we will not be able to combat their hideous plans for the world.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pro-white Backlash Seen in Jena 6 Case--Howard Witt

MYCHAL BELL WAS RELEASED FROM JAIL YESTERDAY, BUT CHECK THIS STORY OUT -- FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES VIA CHICAGO TRIBUNE.


"HOUSTON — No sooner did tens of thousands of African-American demonstrators depart the racially tense town of Jena, La., last week after protesting perceived injustices than white supremacists flooded in behind them.

"First a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena 6 case and urged followers to find them and "drag them out of the house," prompting an investigation by the FBI.

"Then the leader of a white-supremacist group in Mississippi published interviews that he conducted with the mayor of Jena and the white teenager who was attacked and beaten, allegedly by the six black youths. In those interviews, the mayor, Murphy McMillin, praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counterdemonstrations; the teenager, Justin Barker, urged white readers to "realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind."

"The Jena 6 case has drawn scrutiny from civil-rights leaders and hundreds of African-American Internet bloggers concerned about allegations that blacks have been treated more harshly than whites in the criminal-justice system of the town of 3,000, which is 85 percent white.

"David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, last week announced his support for Jena's white residents, who voted overwhelmingly for him when he ran unsuccessfully for Louisiana governor in 1991.

"'There is a major white-supremacist backlash building," said Mark Potok, a hate-group expert at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights group in Montgomery, Ala.

"On Thursday a crowd of at least 20,000 peaceful demonstrators from around the country marched through the central Louisiana town to support the six black high-school students who were initially charged by the local prosecutor with attempted murder for attacking Barker last December. The charges were later reduced to aggravated second-degree battery.

"The racial unrest began when three white students hung nooses from a tree at the high school after black students asked permission to sit under it, triggering a series of fights. The whites involved were charged with misdemeanors or not at all while the blacks drew various felony charges.

Life Behind the Wire--Chris Doyle

PORTION BELOW; WHOLE ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article119


"Imagine if, after an IRA bombing, a British prime minister declared Catholic areas in Northern Ireland to be hostile territory, and threatened to reduce or cut off goods, water, fuel and electricity supplies.

"It sounds implausible but the one and a half million residents of the Gaza Strip, an area the size of the Isle of Wight, may soon face this scenario. The Palestinians of Gaza, already imprisoned, their land, air and sea borders totally closed, are now considered by Israel eligible to have their water, electricity and power cut off. Israeli officials insist that humanitarian considerations will be taken into account, though the Israeli record is not one to reassure Palestinians. These were not a concern when Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant last summer.

"This Israeli decision comes after more Qassam rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel at local communities such as Sderot and a military barracks, where 69 Israeli soldiers were wounded. Israel has a duty to protect its citizens, but are its responses legitimate, commensurate to the threat or even effective?

"This is an expansion of an existing sanctions regime. One of the Israeli Prime Minister’s advisers, Dov Weissglass, chillingly described the Israeli policy a year ago: "It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die."

"It was no joke. Since Weissglass’s comments after the Hamas election victory in 2006, Gazans have indeed learnt how to diet. The World Food Programme lists it as a global hunger hotspot. Out of its 1.5 million residents, 1.1 million have to survive on food handouts. The Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, describes Gazans as being imprisoned in "an enclosed space like battery hens".

"The "moderate" Israeli vice-premier, Haim Ramon has pushed for this, describing it as cutting off the "infrastructural oxygen". Imagine a Palestinian mother having to tell her children that there is no electricity because you are not allowed any infrastructural oxygen.

AND THIS FROM ANOTHER ARTICLE:

"The Israeli army arrested hundreds of under-age detainees since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada which erupted late September 2000.

"They, along with the vast majority of the detainees, were tortured during interrogation and were confined to solitary for extended periods as a sort of psychological pressure.

WHOLE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=36733&s2=28



Thursday, September 27, 2007

Social Security--The Big Lies

MEDIA BLOWHARD Tim Russert once again hyped a rightwing Social Security
scare figure during the NH Democratic presidential debate and the
candidates, predictably, were unable to straighten him out.

Russert uses the threat that the number of citizens on Social Security
is going to double, often without saying when. According to the Census
it will be sometime between 2030 and 2035.

But here is what Russert and others don't talk about: From a budget
point of view, what matters is not just senior citizens but the
dependent population, including children.

While it's true that the total dependent population will increase from
around 32% to 40% by 2030, consider this: during the Kennedy years it
was 45% and there was none of this panic around.

Here are the figures:

1960
Children: 36%
Seniors: 9%
Total dependent population: 45%

2005
Children: 18%
Seniors: 14%
Total dependant population: 32%

2030
Children: 17%
Seniors: 23%
Total dependent population: 40%

Now here are several other things to keep in mind:

1. The projection aren't that hot.

The official project of when the Social Security trust fund will run out
of money has increased 12 years in the 11 years since 1996. At this
rate, we'll never run out of money.

2. The Social Security trustees make three long-term estimates. The one
that politicians and the media invariably use is one that assumes
economic growth so low that you certainly wouldn't want your Social
Security invested in the stock market because it wouldn't be going
anywhere.

3. The trust fund is an artificial accounting creation. If it runs out,
then Social Security can be funded from other sources including the
incredibly bloated military budget. To understand this game, imagine the
defense budget came out of a trust fund. Would we stop defending
ourselves when this fund was drained thanks to typical defense cost
overruns?

Not reported in the MSM: What Ahmadinejad Did on Monday Afternoon

President Ahmadinejad meets Jewish rabbis in New York


Found on WhatReallyHappened.com

Angry Arab: Email on Israeli Soldiers & Psychology of Occupation

I received this email: "I've gone through the trouble of translating / abbreviating an article by Dalia Karpel titled HAMEDOVEVET [=the one who people someone to talk]. The article appeared on the Hebrew Weekend Supplement, on 21 September, 2007. The article is based on academic research which Nofer Ishai-Karen and Psychology Prof. Joel Elitzur, of the Hebrew University published in ALPAYIM Magazine Vol. 31. The article was not translated to English and thus did NOT appear in Haaretz English Language edition. I will appreciate it if you could publish it, as well as EMAIL it to JOURNALISTS and others who may be interested! A NEW ISRAELI STUDY CONFIRMS OUR WORST FEARS. On the academic research which Psychologist Nofer Ishai-Karen and Psychology Prof. Joel Elizur, of the Hebrew University published last Friday, only in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz. We thought you should know! "We - Israeli Soldiers - were put there to punish the Palestinians", says Ilan Vilenda, an Israeli soldier who served in Rafah during the first Intifada. Ilan is the only soldier of 21 who agreed to have his name published, after he was interviewed by psychologist Nofer Ishai-Karen. The soldiers spoke freely to Nofer, who served with them in the same ASHBAL platoon 20 years ago; They disclosing their innermost emotions about the horrendous crimes, in which they took part: Murder, breaking bones of Palestinian children, actions of humiliation, destruction of property, robbery and theft. Soldier "A" testimony: "We decided to turn an old shower in our base to a make-shift detention cell. A Palestinian was brought there, handcuffed and mouth banded so he couldn't talk, or move. We "forgot him there for three days"... Soldier "B" testimony: "I was on my first patrol. Others simply shot like mad. I started to shoot as they did. They 'set my on'. I took my weapon and shot. Nobody was there to tell me otherwise" -- Psychologist Ishai-Karen was shocked to find that the soldiers enjoyed the 'intoxication of power', and had pleasure from using violence. She said: "Most of my interviewees enjoyed their own instigated violence during their Occupation service''. Soldier "C" testimony: "The truth is that I love this mess - I enjoy it. It is like being on drugs. If I didn't enter Rafah, to put down some rebellion -at least once a week- I'd go berserk. Soldier "D" testimony: What is great is that you don't have to follow any law or rule. You feel that YOU ARE THE LAW; you decide. Once you go into the Occupied Territories YOU ARE GOD"." (thanks Asa)

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Which Side Are They On? Guess.

Louis Proyect's blog has the above picture and a column on Columbia
University's penchant for honoring the wrong people, here: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2007/09/25/columbia-university-and-evil-dictators/

Monday, September 24, 2007

What Would William Appleman Williams Say Now?--Thomas McCormick

Article supposing what the influential social critic William Appleman Williams would say about current U.S. policy. The author sums it up in several points. Two of them are below. The whole article can be found here: http://hnn.us/articles/42971.html

"Fourth, Williams would have stressed the centrality of oil in current foreign policy. He would not do so in a single-cause way; contrary to his critics, Williams was never a narrow economic determinist. But he still would have seen the oil issue as crucial—partly because of the economic value of the oil itself, but more largely because of the geopolitical clout over others made possible by control of oil. The struggle for oil is, of course, one that is a century old. But that struggle has, for several reasons, reached a new and critical phase.

"Few new major fields have been discovered since the early 1970s, and predictions are that oil production will peak in the next five to ten years and decline sharply thereafter. More to the point, oil companies believe those dire predictions and have commenced a renewed search for new reserves. But Big Oil, however, has not been a prime mover pressuring the American State to aggressively act in its behalf. The giant multinationals, by and large, are fairly content with their relationship to the Saudis and to OPEC and anxious that war not upset the stability of their arrangements. The push really comes from the independent oil companies like Occidental, Unocal, Murphy and Kerr-McGee and from the Texas-based oil service companies tied to them, like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Bechtel. As their U.S. holdings decline, they have looked elsewhere and sought to influence U.S. foreign policy in ways not seen since the Eisenhower days and the oil depletion allowance. And they have found ready ears in this administration and its aggressive policies in Iraq, Iran and Central Asia.

I ALSO FOUND POINT NO. 2 VERY INTERESTING:

"Second, Williams would contend that in the conflict between those two versions of exceptionalism, the pro-active, aggressive variant has almost always won out. Over time, as he famously put it in the title of one of his books, empire became a “way of life” for American society. For starters, it provided the economic surplus necessary to maintain a high standard of living, even if that surplus was more unevenly distributed than in any other industrial society. Moreover, it provided a kind of psychic substitute for the lack of real community in a society whose only common identity was consumption. Empire offered the public the double thrill of physically dominating others while purporting to uplift and civilize them. And war, that frequent companion of empire, gave American society a chance to express and vent its own internal angst and anger against external, distant enemies. Bread and circuses!

Found on Marxmail list.


Iraq Reconstruction: Blast Walls


Found on Antiwar.com

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Zoltan Grossman: An Endless Occupation?

Zoltan Grossman is a professor at Evergreen State College near Olympia. He was a driving force for the citizens hearing on the Iraq war held in Tacoma around the Watada case. Portion of his article from Counterpunch is below; whole article is here: http://www.counterpunch.org/grossman09192007.html

"Most Iraqis have wanted U.S. troops to leave (and do not view neighboring countries as a threat), whereas many South Koreans at least initially backed a U.S. military presence as "protection" from North Korean attack. If South Korea is Bush's model for Iraq, then North Korea is clearly his model for Iran. Yet the Iraqi leaders he claims want "enduring" U.S. bases are predominantly Shi'as who actually want good relations with Iran. Bush intends to oust-constitutionally or otherwise--the elected Shi'a government that he once called a miracle of democracy, and now sees as too close to Iran. As the only remaining large countries in the region that do not yet host U.S. military bases, Iran and Syria are the last obstacles to a contiguous American sphere of influence (stretching from Poland to Pakistan) situated between the emerging economic competitors of the EU and China. The "Korea Model" would make it easier to target Iran as a perpetual enemy state.

"But rather than following a "Korea Model" in Iraq, the U.S. actually appears to be following a "Palestine Model." Just as the Israeli state uses multiple military posts, checkpoints, and imprisonment to intimidate and control an independence-minded population, U.S. forces are carrying out the same tactics in Iraq--with an identical rationale of fighting Islamic "terrorists." In the name of separating hostile populations, the U.S. occupiers have gone to the point of constructing an Israeli-style separation wall between Sunni and Shi'a neighborhoods in Baghdad. Much as armed settler militias carry out the Israeli military's dirty work on the West Bank, the American forces in Iraq hire private security contractors such as Blackwater, which are now being exposed as mercenary goons who endanger democracy in Iraq and at home.

"Because Bush cannot admit to either Arab states or the American public that the decades-long Israeli occupation is the closest parallel with his long-term plans for Iraq, he has to tout the ridiculous "Korea Model." His calculation is that Congress will accept the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraqi cities, not through a withdrawal out of country, but through a "redeployment" into the heavily fortified imperial garrisons. These bases include Green Zone, Baghdad Airport, Balad (central), Al Asad (west), Tallil (south), Bashur (north), and about ten other major installations covering the Sunni, Shi'a and Kurdish regions. In fact, an "enduring" occupation run from these large bases has been the central plan since Day One of the Iraq War.

Why Did Senator John Kerry Stand Idly By?

Paul Craig Roberts on Counterpunch. Especially, read the tale at the end of the portion below; whole story here: http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts09192007.html Linda


"Usually when police violate constitutional rights and commit acts of police brutality they do it when they believe no one is watching, not in front of a large audience. Clearly, the police have become more audacious in their abuse of rights and citizens. What explains the new fearlessness of police to violate rights and brutalize citizens without cause?

"The answer is that police, most of whom have authoritarian personalities, have seen that constitutional rights are no longer protected. President Bush does not protect our constitutional rights. Neither does Vice President Cheney, nor the Attorney General, nor the US Congress. Just as Kerry allowed Meyer’s rights to be tasered out of him, Congress has enabled Bush to strip people, including American citizens, of constitutional protection and incarcerate them without presenting evidence.

"How long before Kerry himself or some other senator will be dragged from his podium and tasered? [TOO LONG, I'M AFRAID--LINDA]

"The Bush Republicans with complicit Democrats have essentially brought government accountability to an end in the US. The US government has 80,000 people, including ordinary American citizens, on its “no-fly list.” No one knows why they are on the list, and no one on the list can find out how to get off it. An unaccountable act by the Bush administration put them there.

"Airport Security harasses and abuses people who do not fit any known definition of terrorist. Nalini Ghuman, a British-born citizen and music professor at Mills College in California was met on her return from a trip to England by armed guards at the airplane door and escorted away. A Gestapo goon squad tore up her US visa, defaced her British passport, body searched her, and told her she could leave immediately for England or be sent to a detention center.

"Professor Ghuman, an Oxford University graduate with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, says she feels like the character in Kafka’s book, The Trial. “I don’t know why it’s happened, what I’m accused of. There’s no opportunity to defend myself. One is just completely powerless.” Over one year later there is still no answer.

Pentagon's Casualty Report--Surge Still Killing

From a Pentagon Report cited on Juan Cole's blog, Informed Comment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Onward Christian Soldiers (ONLY!)--Atheist Soldiers Not Welcome

"The Army generals who appeared in the video appeared to be speaking on
behalf of the military, but they did not obtain prior permission to
appear in the video. They defended their actions, according to the
inspector general's report, saying the "Christian Embassy had become a 'quasi-Federal entity,' since the DOD had endorsed the organization to General Officers for over 25 years."


Portion of article below; whole thing here: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/091807R.shtml

"A military watchdog organization filed a lawsuit in federal court
Tuesday against the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and a
US Army major, on behalf of an Army soldier stationed in Iraq. The suit
charges the Pentagon with widespread constitutional violations by
allegedly trying to force the soldier to embrace evangelical
Christianity and then retaliating against him when he refused.

The complaint, filed in US District Court in Kansas City, by the
nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), on behalf of
Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist currently on active duty in Speicher,
Iraq, alleges that Hall's First Amendment rights were violated
beginning last Thanksgiving when, because of his atheist beliefs, he
declined to participate in a Christian prayer ceremony commemorating
the holiday.

"Immediately after plaintiff made it known he would decline to join
hands and pray, he was confronted, in the presence of other military
personnel, by the senior ranking ... staff sergeant who asked plaintiff
why he did not want to pray, whereupon plaintiff explained because he
is an atheist," says the lawsuit, a copy of which was provided to
Truthout. "The staff sergeant asked plaintiff what an atheist is and
plaintiff responded it meant that he (plaintiff) did not believe in
God. This response caused the staff sergeant to tell plaintiff that he
would have to sit elsewhere for the Thanksgiving dinner. Nonetheless,
plaintiff sat at the table in silence and finished his meal."

Moreover, the complaint alleges that on August 7, when Hall received
permission by an Army chaplain to organize a meeting of other soldiers
who shared his atheist beliefs, his supervisor, Army Major Paul
Welborne, broke up the gathering and threatened to retaliate against
the soldier by charging him with violating the Uniform Code of Military
Justice. The complaint also alleges that Welborne vowed to block Hall's
reenlistment in the Army if the atheist group continued to meet - a
violation of Hall's First Amendment rights under the Constitution.
Welborne is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

"During the course of the meeting, defendant Welborne confronted the
attendees, disrupted the meeting and interfered with plaintiff Hall's
and the other attendees' rights to discuss topics of their interests,"
the lawsuit alleges.

The complaint charges that Hall, who is based at Fort Riley, Kansas,
has been forced to "submit to a religious test as a qualification to
his post as a soldier in the United States Army," a violation of
Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Look What I Soar--This Give Anyone Else a Funny Feeling?

Stocks soar after half-point rate cut

from Seattle PI here: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/1320AP_Wall_Street.html?source=mypi

U.S. home foreclosures soar in August


from Seattle PI here:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/1310AP_Foreclosure_Rates.html?source=mypi

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chris Hedges on Bill Clinton's Book about Nice Rich Folks

Democrat traitors always seem more so because of the promulgation of the myth of them being the "working man's party." Linda Portion below--whole article here: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070917_giving_and_taking/

"Bill Clinton has written a new book. It is called “Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.” He will give a portion of the proceeds to charity. Giving, the former president informs us, gives us fulfilment in life and is “the fabric of our shared humanity.”

"His book is the political equivalent of “Marley & Me” It is filled with a lot of vapid, feel-good stories about ordinary and wealthy Americans setting out to make the world a better place. It smacks of the philanthropy-as-publicity that characterized the largesse of the robber barons—the Mellons and the Rockefellers—and has become a pastime for our own oligarchic elite. Clinton’s call for charity is the equivalent of well-scrubbed prep school students spending a day in a soup kitchen, doling out food to the people whose jobs were outsourced by their mommies and daddies. It does little to alleviate suffering. But it is a balm to the conscience of the oligarchic class that profits handsomely from the impoverishment of the working class, globalization and our anti-democratic corporate state. The rich love to dine out on their own goodness.

"The misery sweeping across the American landscape may have begun with Ronald Reagan, but it was accelerated and codified by Bill Clinton. He sold out the poor and the working class. And Clinton did it deliberately to feed the pathological hunger he and his wife have for political power. It was the Clintons who led the Democratic Party to the corporate watering trough. The Clintons argued that the party had to ditch labor unions, no longer a source of votes or power, as a political ally. Workers would vote Democratic anyway. They had no choice. It was better, the Clintons argued, to take corporate money and use government to service the needs of the corporations. By the 1990s, the Democratic Party, under Clinton’s leadership, had virtual fund-raising parity with the Republicans. In political terms, it was a success. In moral terms, it was a betrayal.

The Newest NGO: The Rumsfeld Foundation for Public Service

"Word that Rumsfeld is developing a fellowship program surfaced in news reports several months ago. But in the interview -- his first detailed discussion of the foundation -- Rumsfeld described a broader mission, saying the foundation will also help finance loans to "micro-enterprises" in developing countries and try to generate support for Central Asian republics. Additionally, it will fund lectures on various topics."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/16/AR2007091601564_pf.html

Found on WhateverItIsI'mAgainstIt

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gates Rejects Greenspan Claim War is About Oil

"I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil," added [Alan] Greenspan, who for decades had been one of the most respected US voices on fiscal policies.

Whatever turf battle the above statement represents, it is interesting--of course, Greenie could have said this a long time ago! Has anyone seen this in U.S. media? Linda

Portion of article below; whole thing here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4204720a12.html

"With Democratic lawmakers apparently short of the votes needed to force President George W Bush to change course, Gates defended the war, now in its fifth year, and said it's being driven by the need to stabilize the Gulf and put down hostile forces.

"Gates's defense came a day after thousands of anti-war protesters marched in Washington.

"A spokeswoman for one of the groups who organised the march said more than 200 protesters were taken into custody, including at least 10 Iraq war veterans, when they attempted to cross a police barrier near the US Capitol.

"Greenspan, in his new book, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," echoed long-held complaints of many critics that a key motivating force in the war is to maintain US access to the rich oil supplies in Iraq.

"'Whatever their publicized angst over Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction,' American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in an area that harbours a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy," Greenspan wrote.

"'I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil," added Greenspan, who for decades had been one of the most respected US voices on fiscal policies.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Iraq: Corporate Pigs Enhance Their Feasting--Felicity Arbuthnot, UN Observer

Portion of article below; whole found on Uruknet.info here:
http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=36276&s2=15

2007-09-14
| "We live under a system by which the many are exploited by the few - and war is the ultimate sanction of that exploitation." Harold Laski, 1945.

At the end of August, in Dubai and the beginning of September, in London, conferences were held in order to privatise and carve up contracts for every essential service and infrastructure in Iraq. There was not a mega-corporate pig anywhere on earth, seemingly, who did not have its trotters in the trough. As Iraqis flee in an exodus of biblical proportions and die in a genocidal one, US/UK government backed corporate priority is a smash and grab raid of every asset and facility in the "land between two rivers."

Meetings were organised by the Iraq Development Programme, under the auspices of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce ("Arab" clearly secondary, as since Arabic is written from right to left, Britain comes first and the Arabic version, last) ninety five percent of "tendered" ("assumed" seems more apt) contracts are US giants. The UK was thrown minimal bones, with Egypt, Netherlands and Spain getting one each, according the IDP website ( http://www.iraqdevelopmentprogramme.org ) The "best-in-breed" technology is to the brought to Iraq, as it is milked dry.

Trough facilitators include: the misnamed United States Aid and International Development (USAID) U.S. Embassy Iraq, Department of Defence Army Corps of Engineers, (U.S.) Defence Procurement and Acquisition Police, U.S. Government Iraq Infrastructure and Reconstruction Programme (NB: http://www.bechtel.com/iraq ) the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Government Iraq Reconstruction Projects - and on and on. To mix metaphors, potential cash cows don't come bigger than this.

The carpet baggers had a little bit of help from their quisling friends in their illegitimate and illegal carve up. Dr Adel Abdul Mehdi, Iraq's "Vice President," said: "Iraq's new investment law will facilitate investment for both Iraqi and non-Iraqi businesses by providing a secure investment environment." Referring to Iraq's resources, he said the conference presented opportunities across a wide range of industries: oil, gas, agriculture, infrastructure.

Indeed. Up for grabs are: hospital and security equipment, medicines, road and rail machinery, oil production tools, finance and telecommunication systems. Rebuilding of roads, rail, hospitals, government buildings, schools, water purification plants and electricity, information technology, telecommunications, all to move from state owned to the "free market economy."

If Iraqis are down to near no electricity now, due to the liberators' inability to provide what Saddam Hussein's government did within just months after the 1991 decimation, they won't be able to afford it in the future anyway. "Yes we have plans for fully privatising," Iraq's electricity "Minister" Karem Waheed Hassan, told UPI.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Why The Surge Has Caused the Purge (Iraqis Fleeing for Their Lives & Dignity)

Surging...in people's houses in Iraq. (NYT)

Can you please walk a mile--just make it 10 steps--in their shoes???

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Democrats Push Toward Middle--Washington Post

"But moderate Democrats are feeling emboldened, after nearly nine months of taking their marching orders from the more liberal wing of the party.

So it's just as I thought--the mess we have now is a result of "marching orders" from liberal dems. I'm taking my "marching orders" from Cindy Sheehan, my kind of Congressional candidate.

Portion of article below--whole thing here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/12/AR2007091202542_pf.html

Found on Antiwar.com

"Democratic House leaders will watch the fate of each of those measures intently. But they also must watch a brewing revolt by their most ardent opponents of the Iraq war, who have vowed to fight any measure they do not believe will bring the war to a quicker end.

"'Doing it step by step is one thing, but when you have such a short time to do it, you only have time for a few steps," said Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey (N.Y.). "You have to take big ones, not little ones."

"MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group that has spent months pressuring Republicans to turn against the war, is now threatening to turn on Democrats who temper their positions.

"But moderate Democrats are feeling emboldened, after nearly nine months of taking their marching orders from the more liberal wing of the party. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), who is pushing a more bipartisan approach, said the antiwar wing has badly overplayed its hand. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (Calif.), an uncompromising antiwar lawmaker, infuriated colleagues when she encouraged antiwar activists to mount primary challenges against Democrats deemed insufficiently bold.

"MoveOn.org provided Republicans a life raft when it ran a full-page newspaper advertisement Monday taunting Petraeus as "General Betray Us." Ever since, Republicans have spent far more time condemning the ad than defending the war.

"Tanner said he is ready for a fight as he pushes a bipartisan bill that would give the White House 60 days to present Congress with a withdrawal plan. Antiwar activists say the bill will succeed only in giving Republican moderates political cover, easing the pressure on them to embrace stronger measures.

"'When these soldiers, sailors and airmen are buried, they're not buried as Republicans or Democrats," Tanner said. "I care a hell of a lot more about them than I do about partisan politics."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Angry Arab: Picture This--Non-Sectarian Iraqis

Iraqis protesting the sectarian separation barrier in Baghdad. (The sign says: "The Separation Barrier is American Terrorism"). (Reuters).

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

UPDATE: News story on the above. Link to whole story here: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=36188&s2=13

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Hundreds of Shiites and Sunnis marched on Wednesday in protest at the building by US troops of a tall concrete wall separating their northwest Baghdad neighbourhoods, an AFP photographer said.

The protesters complained that the wall would promote sectarianism and demanded its removal.

Residents said that US forces last week began building the two-kilometre (1.25 mile) wall along the border of the mainly Shiite al-Shuala and adjoining Sunni-majority al-Ghazaliyah neighbourhoods without consulting them.

The demonstrators -- tribal leaders, clerics and local residents -- marched from one neighbourhood to the other carrying banners reading "No to the dividing wall" and "The wall is US terrorism."

The protesters demanded in a statement that the government intervene to halt the wall and ensure that the section already completed is demolished.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mounting Death Toll Which Makes a Mockery of US Optimism

Portion below; whole article (found on Angry Arab Newservice) here: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2950298.ece


"By the time General Petraeus had finished speaking yesterday the slaughter in Iraq for the previous 24 hours could be tallied. It was not an exceptionally violent day by the standards of Iraq: seven US soldiers lay dead and 11 injured in the capital; other instances of sectarian violence included a suicide bomb which had killed 10 and wounded scores near Mosul while 10 bodies were found in Baghdad. Three policemen were killed in clashes in Mosul, and a car bomb outside a hospital in the capital had exploded, killing two and wounding six.

"In Baghdad, on the surface the overt violence appears to have diminished. There are fewer loud explosions. But, the city is now being partitioned by sectarian hatred and fear; by concrete walls and barbed wire. Claims that the US military strategy is paving the way for a stable society bear little resemblance to the reality on the ground.

"The US is accused of manipulating figures relating to violence to fit their case, ignoring evidence which shows that the influx of 30,000 troops has done little to end the continuing bloodshed.

"The death of Omar al-Husseini in the Huriya district of Baghdad is one of many which does not even figure in the American reckoning. His killers, masked and carrying guns, dragged him away as his mother wept and his father pleaded for mercy. That was the last time they saw their son alive. Three weeks later they heard that he had been killed.

"Omar was 20. His killers were Shia, he was a Sunni, the victim of a spree of murders which has ethnically cleansed neighbourhoods through the city. But both the US military and the Iraqi police have told his parents that as far as they are concerned the abduction and killings were purely criminal acts. This means, statistically, that his death is not included by the US in the calculations for sectarian killings produced yesterday.

"The causes behind the daily death toll, if addressed at all, draw conflicting accounts. Mourners carried the coffin of a young mother along the streets of Sadr City yesterday. She had been killed, said the locals, along with her two daughters when US and Iraqi government forces had stormed four homes. The US military confirmed they had exchanged small-arms fire during the operation, but insisted they had no reports of civilian casualties. Also yesterday, attendants at the Baghdad morgue did their round of collecting bodies, nameless victims of faceless killers.

What Iraqis Really Want--via Angry Arab Newservice



From Gaza, With Love--Dr. Mona El Farra

"Since my return from the USA and my mother’s death I have not felt a
strong desire to write.

"At the moment I am passing deeply through my grief. Every morning
I think that the telephone will ring and it will be her regular
morning call. I feel that an important pillar of my humanitarian
structure has collapsed. I know I need some time to restore my
balance to be able to cope with her absence; she was always
my great inspiration and support with her endless
tender loving care.

"It was too hard for me not to be able to say goodbye. It was hard to
know that I was not allowed to reach her because of some tiny lousy
scrap of paper, another fragment in the saga of closed borders,
occupation and the long history of Palestinian suffering -
one generation after another since the foundation of Israel
and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, and later
on in 1967 the occupation of what was left of historic Palestine
- Gaza and the West Bank.

"I decided today to resume my walks inside Gaza by the seaside,
my favorite sport. I woke up very early and started my 45 minute
walk at 6 a.m.

"I could hear the sounds of artillery shelling coming from the
east side of Gaza City. The Israeli military operation inside the
Gaza Strip continued, 10 were killed yesterday (Thurs 6 Sep)
17 were injured in AlMagazi refugee camp as well as
Alqarara village, sanctions and borders closure have
continued, along with restrictions of movement.

"Only a few hundred students were allowed to leave Gaza,
the majority were turned back at the Egyptian borders.
I was denied a permit to leave Gaza
for the Women’s World Forum in Seoul (12-15 September)

"Every day patients are prevented from leaving Gaza for
further treatment abroad. Some cross the borders but the
majority do not. Dozens of essential medications are
missing from hospital shelves, poverty is severely
prevalent, 85% of the population depend on international aid
agencies’ food distribution. Essential foods for a balanced
diet, like meat, vegetables, fruit, milk are missing from the
domestic basket - either because people cannot afford to
buy them, or because they are not even in the market.

"Most of the time we do not have regular power supply or
sufficient water. The occupation decides what we should eat
and what we should not, what we should wear and what
we should not, they interfere in the very tiny details of
our daily life, by imposing so many rules and regulation (under
the security pretense), they decide your children’s eye colors
in case you enjoy peace of mind with healthy intimate
personal relationships. The Palestinian situation in Gaza
is economical and political strangulation.

"We have become a small piece of news, not enough to
disturb the world’s sleeping conscience.

"While walking back home I noticed the excessive presence of
Hamas security soldiers. It is Friday, and Fatah called people
for a Jomae prayers protest in the streets of Gaza. Later on
thousands were in the streets, but they were dispersed by
Hamas, some were injured and some of the leaders were
under arrest. There is intense friction between the 2 parties
which adds more and more levels of suffering for ordinary
Palestinian people. We don’t know the way out of this situation
where Hamas controls Gaza and Fatah controls the West Bank.
And now people’s daily talk is of salaries, closure and sanctions,
whereas the main Palestinian issues -- self-determination,
end of the occupation, right of return – are off the agenda.
No-one shows concern or even speaks of them at the moment.
The occupation has achieved its long-term goal, hungry fighting
people can’t think straight.

"This is the strategy of the occupation supported by the
Western powers. As a national liberation movement, we fell
into the trap of authority so foolishly; it is time for both
parties to get on the right track towards our liberation
and independence. While returning home after my 45 minute
walk, I could not help but feel very bad about the heaps of
garbage strewn along my way and the deterioration of
green areas after the continuous razing of land and uprooting
of trees throughout the 7 years of this intifada.

"I remembered my young daughter saying to me as we crossed
the borders to Gaza “it is a sharp demarcation between 2 worlds
- Israel and Gaza – a very sharp demarcation between the world
of the occupied and the occupier.” I nodded my head and made
no comment, but said to myself that one day things will change.
We should all work hard until that dream comes true, when the
land of Palestine is shared between both the Israelis and the
Palestinians in one Democratic state for all its citizens living and
enjoying equal rights and when the Palestinian refugees can
experience their right of return according to UN Resolution 194
and enjoy the justice they have not had for decades.

"For myself, I continue working for the children and women
of Palestine, via different community projects, bearing in mind
how to make the balance between relief and development
projects, remembering the difficulty of development under
occupation and a collapsed economy, but also not forgetting
that patients, women and children are usually the soft targets
in such circumstances - they need all our efforts to keep
them safe and sound whenever possible.

Pigs of War--Cindy Sheehan

Latest installment of Cindy Sheehan's searing indictment of Congress,
portion below, whole thing here: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/09/10/3733/print/

"How do I know that Congress is playing politics with human hearts? All one has to do is observe the lack of action on the part of the red and blue pigs to come to this sad but inevitable conclusion. Apparently, MAJORITY Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) has spent more time over his summer recess trying to convince red pigs to go against George’s war plan than he spent trying to coalesce his blue caucus into something that would not resemble the red pigs so closely that the blur becomes purple. He and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) have already decided that they do not have enough votes to end the occupation just as they decided that impeachment was “off the table” even before they were elected! So they will happily hand over to George more of your tax money and China’s money to continue the killing fields in Iraq. Why are they so miserly with democracy, but generous with our treasury and with our dear human treasure?I got two very overt answers to this question one day in Congress this past spring when I was on the Hill. In one of my meetings with Congressman Conyers, he told me that it was more important to put a Democrat back in the White House in ‘08 than it was to “end the war.” After I recovered from my shock, I knew it was confirmed that partisan politics is exactly what is killing our children and the innocent civilians in Iraq. My next stop was in a Congresswoman’s office who has always been 100% correct about the war. She is a lovely woman with a lovely heart and does not in anyway qualify (and there are a few dozen others who do not) as a blue pig. She had tears in her eyes when she told me: “Cindy, when I go to Speaker’s meetings and we talk about the war, all the talk is about politics and not one of them mentions the heartbreak that will occur if we don’t pull our troops out, now.” People are dying for two diverse but equally deadly political agendas. The red pigs want to keep the war going because they feed out of the trough of carnage and the blue pigs want to keep it going for votes! Either way is reprehensible.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bush Must Accept Bloody Reality and Follow our Fumbling Retreat--Brit Reporter

I keep hearing Robert Fisk repeating, "The Americans must leave Iraq, yet they can't leave Iraq." Here, Brit Simon Jenkins in the Independent, shows here why they will. Also interesting is his quote near the end of the article: "It [Iraq] validates the remark of the philosopher John Gray that “modern politics is really a chapter in the history of religion”. Linda

Portion of article below; whole thing here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/simon_jenkins/article2414611.ece
via Palestinian Pundit

"The resolution in Iraq can start only when the state of denial in the White House and Downing Street ends. This hurdle was well illustrated by the false parallel drawn by Bush last month with Vietnam, from which he believed America withdrew too soon.

"In Vietnam America was aiding an ally against an external foe who sought to conquer and enslave it. The American occupation of Iraq has been utterly different. It was doomed not just by its cruelty and ineptitude but because its neoconservative objective - a pro-western, pro-Israeli, capitalist democracy - was ludicrously utopian. Occupation spurred insurgency and destroyed order. The only real parallel was that in both Vietnam and Iraq intervention led to the outcome America least wanted. In the former it expanded communist influence in southeast Asia. In Iraq it is likely to replace a secular, antiIranian regime with a clerical, pro-Iranian one.

"Meanwhile, the degradation of Iraq has made it the most desperate and dangerous country in the world. A once-rich nation is as poor, chaotic and devoid of hope as the worst in sub-Saharan Africa. Two million people have fled their homes. More than half the professional class has disappeared. Those who have been turned back at the borders face famine, disease and murder in camps disowned by the Americans and the British. Utilities are not repaired and operate at or below their level under Saddam Hussein. Cholera has appeared and child mortality is worse than during sanctions in the 1990s. Iraq’s heritage and its ancient Mesopotamian sites are looted.

I Will Salute No More Forever--Vet for Peace Charles Powell

Mike Ferner, Vet for Peace, put this on Counterpunch.org. I would hope we all
follow Charles Powell's brave example. Linda

St. Louis
.

His government broke his heart but it could not break Air Force veteran Charles Powell's spirit. Fighting back tears, the 64 year-old vet stood tall and resolute in front of 400 of his comrades, describing in verse the final steps of a painful disillusionment.

Each summer during the national convention of Veterans For Peace, time is reserved for a Veterans' Speakout, where any member can rise to say whatever is on their mind.

When the veterans gathered in 2002, prior to the invasion of Iraq, George Bush and the hawks of Washington were pounding away on the war drums. That year, Powell, who had served on a Titan ICBM launch crew during the Cuban missile crisis, read his poem titled, "I Won't Let Them Take My Flag." He noted the warmongers were "again waving my flag" as a buildup to invasion, and he countered what he felt was a manipulation of the national symbol with the following lines reminiscent of the great Langston Hughes.

But to me 'Old Glory' still stands for the liberty, justice and solidarity yet to come. So I still wave it too. I wave it for health care, education, housing and food for all. I wave it for peace and love and I wave it for hope. Most of all, I wave it for the America yet to be.

After four and a half years of war in Iraq, Veterans For Peace convened again this summer and Charles Powell was there as always. As his turn came at the Speakout microphone he struggled a few seconds to compose himself. Then, in a clear voice growing more determined as he spoke, Powell mirrored the pain, regret and anger in the hearts of so many who listened.

I WILL SALUTE NO MORE FOREVER

As a child I learned to Worship that piece of colored cloth.

My family, my school, the movies, TV taught me to believe that fragment of fabric stood for good things.

I watched my father, a World War II Army veteran, give homage to that wad of material.

As an airman I saluted that banner for the four years I served in the Air Force where I stood ready to help launch Titan Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles on command.

Then I became aware that the wonderful things for which that clump of colors is suppose to represent, have not been achieved.

I came to know that awful, unlawful, unwise and immoral acts have occurred under the stars and stripes.

But I still clung onto the belief and hope that someday, somehow conditions would change and the good things for which that rag is still supposed to stand would yet be realized.

However, I've been forced to come to my senses.

Now we have: preemptive war, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, stop loss, neglect of returning veterans, ignored infrastructure, billions of dollars squandered on war and occupation, extraordinary rendition, secret imprisonment, warrantless domestic spying, disenfranchisement of voters, stolen elections, torture, suspension of habeas corpus and denial of due process.

So, even though hearing "America The Beautiful" still increases my heartbeat.

Although seeing those stripes still brings a lump to my throat.

Even though the sight of those stars continues to bring tears to my eyes.

I won't pledge to it anymore.

I won't remove my cap.

I won't stand in respect.

I won't wave it.

I will salute no more forever.

Scott Ritter: Foreign Oil Companies Raiding Iraq's Oil Already--But Couric Busy "Supporting the Troops"

I guess Katie Couric went to Iraq. Didn't see her report, but Scott Ritter did.
Ritter's Conclusion Below; whole article here (from Information Clearinghouse):
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18345.htm

"She [Katie Couric] won’t go visit one of the American mercenary units in Iraq, the private military contractors who challenge the American military for numerical supremacy. She won’t burrow into the never-never land of legal ambiguity that allows these mercenaries to commit murder at will, to treat Iraq (and Iraqis) as second-class citizens in their own nation, and whose continued abuse of Iraq results in a deep and undying hatred for all things American. Katie may catch a movie in a hardened underground theater on one of the Pentagon’s mega-bases, or go shopping in a PX inside the “Green Zone” to get a “feel” of life for our troops, but she won’t venture up north, into Kurdistan, where other secure outposts of foreign occupation sit, out of sight and mind. If Couric would visit the Iraqi Oil Ministry, she might be shocked to witness the legal maneuvering and exploitation carried out by foreign oil companies (including, directly or indirectly, American oil companies).

"Working with local Kurdish officials, small oil exploration and drilling camps are sprouting up all over northern Iraq, where they siphon off the wealth of the Iraqi people. Shipped out of Iraq via Turkey and (surprisingly) Iran, using long-established smuggling routes, these illegal ventures are generating billions of dollars in income for oil companies, and because these ventures aren’t supposed to exist, this income goes unreported. You can’t miss these sites. Any review of Google-Earth imagery would show these facilities springing up like mushrooms over the last few years. The U.S. military knows about them, and yet does nothing. Note to Richard Kaplan (Katie Couric’s producer): If you want to investigate this story, I’ll provide you with the geographic coordinates. Drive up and try to talk your way into the security perimeter. Position Katie well for the camera shot and demand answers. Just look out for the Canadian, South African or American mercenaries who are charged by “Big Oil” to keep this dirty little secret “secret.”

"Instead of going to Iraq to report on why Americans keep dying, Katie could just stay here, in America. There are any number of corporations whose boardrooms she could visit. Or she could smooth-talk her way into a number of country clubs, to interview the human face of the “military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned us about a half-century ago. She might take a look at congressional campaign financing, where the profits from these corporations fund the campaigns of the politicians who continue to do nothing about Iraq. Then, and just then, would Katie come close to answering the question of “Why?”

"But she won’t. Or should I say, she can’t. CBS is owned by General Electric. GE is working hard to get favorable trading status with any number of foreign trading partners. The U.S. trade representative is working hard on GE’s behalf. Hard-nosed “reporting” by the likes of Couric would not go over well in the bowels of the White House, where instructions to the U.S. trade representative are issued. “I’m Katie Couric,” her broadcast could begin. “Tonight I am declaring independence from corporate control over how I report (i.e., read) the news.” Answering the “why” of Iraq requires confronting the layers of corruption and corporate domination of America on so many levels that even if Katie wanted to, she couldn’t—at least not from her perch as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

"In a way, Iraq is a manifestation of all that ails America today. A complete breakdown of fundamental societal checks and balances brought on by greed and hubris. From General Petraeus who will give it, to the mindless corporate-owned minions who populate much of Congress who will receive it, to the entertainment-as-news media which will report on it, and to the American people who will consume it with no foundation upon which to evaluate it, the “Petraeus Report” will have little relevance to what is really going on in Iraq. Once again, Americans will be searching for a solution to a problem they have yet to properly define.

"Just ask Katie Couric. Or better yet, watch her.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Existential Threats

From this guy at Nuclear Mangos:
Name: Andrew Foland
Location: MA

Until recently I was a physics professor at Harvard, where I taught the nuclear and particle physics course, among others. I've recently taken leave of that position to work as an R&D physicist in security applications. I have never done classified weapons work.

Fred Hiatt, Michael Ledeen and the "bomb Iran crazies"

Portion below; whole link here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/09/05/hiatt_ledeen/index.html

"Whenever right-wing warriors want to urge a new war with Iran, they invariably cite [Michael] Ledeen, who serves as "Freedom Scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, a contributor to National Review, and some sort of regular contributor to "Pajamas Media." Simply put, there is no more ridiculous, deceitful, untrustworthy and just outright laughable political figure of influence than Michael Ledeen.

"To begin with, Ledeen is plagued by the single most absurd yet fundamental contradiction one can imagine. His central argument, repeated over and over and now a staple in neoconservative mythology, is that Iran has been at war with the U.S. continuously ever since 1979. We just haven't fought back yet.

"Yet Ledeen played a central role in brokering the sale by Israel to Iran of highly advanced weapons as part of the Reagan administration's Iran-contra shenanigans in the 1980s. A military confrontation with Iran would likely subject U.S. troops to attack from the very same nasty weapons which Ledeen and his friends provided to Iran during a time when, Ledeen and neoconservatives now insist, Iran was waging war on the U.S. As Scott Lemieux, among many others, has noted, providing arms to a country "waging war against the U.S." -- as Ledeen did with Iran in the 1980s if his central premise is to be believed -- is called treason.

"Ledeen's credibility-destroying pronouncements are too numerous to chronicle here. In January, he declared in Pajamas Media that "Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, is dead." Days later, Khamenei appeared in public and gave a major speech, and continues to live. Even Michelle Malkin's Hot Air called Ledeen's announcement "a major embarrassment" for Pajamas. Identically, Ledeen has repeatedly announced that Osama bin Laden is dead, even after he is proven to be alive. This individual -- with this ludicrous record, who does not speak Persian, and who has never even set foot in the country -- is the right-wing's leading and most respected "Iran expert" when it comes to urging war.

FOR AN EVEN MORE AMAZING ARTICLE BY MICHAEL LEDEEN, go here to Hullabaloo:

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/serious-madmen-by-digby-glenn-greenwald.html

Both of these articles found from links on Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog.



The Majority Party is Preparing to Roll Over, Again, on Iraq.

Joshua Holland on Alternet [portion below]; whole thing here:
http://www.alternet.org/story/61506/

"CBS Evening News' anchor Katie Couric said this week of Iraq: "We hear so much about things going bad, but real progress has been made there in terms of security and stability." The contrast between Couric's bubbly credulity and Walter Cronkite's famous 1968 broadcast in which he concluded of the Vietnam war that the US was "mired in stalemate" couldn't be more pronounced.

"At the end of the day, Washington's strategic class is frozen, unable to concede defeat because to admit that the U.S. project in Iraq has failed is to admit that in the 21st century, the most powerful country in the history of humanity can be humbled by a small dysfunctional state whose armed forces it destroyed more than a decade earlier, a country that it spent 12 years slowly and leisurely strangling under some of the harshest sanctions in history before shocking and awing it a second time, dismantling its government and hanging its erstwhile dictator in the process.

"To admit that is to beg the question of whether maintaining all that costly hard power is really worth it in the first place. Leaving Iraq means begging the question of whether America is comfortable with its neocolonial policies, and that's a debate that Bush -- like every imperial-minded U.S. president since Thomas Jefferson -- wants desperately to avoid.

"Ultimately, while Congress is sidelining itself on the most important issue of our time, it will be the Iraqis -- Iraqis from across the country's political spectrum -- who will eventually force a U.S. withdrawal, either by negotiation or by violence, just as they kicked out the Brits before us and the Turkmen, Ottomans and Safavids before them. The tragedy is that a little bit of courage on the part of our own law-makers could go a long way towards making that inevitable withdrawal a lot less painful than it is likely to be.


Tom Toles on "Iraq Metrics"

Found on Palestinian Pundit

Democrats Newly[?!] Willing to Compromise on Iraq

Oh, yes. I HAVE been worried about the Dem's "intransigence." Except my worries about their refusal to END the war, not help carry it on. We need to remind them about OUR intransigence--End the War Now! October 27. http://www.unitedforpeace.org/


Portion of NYTimes article; whole thing here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/06/washington/06cong.html?ei=5090&en=589f21fc413659f6&ex=1346731200&adxnnl=1&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1189092917-mgc0AGkvbAXGBdmtIiatbw


"The willingness to consider alternatives represents a shift by Democrats and is a recognition of changing political and practical realities they face in grappling with Iraq and its future.

"Democrats had been counting on more Republicans to make a clean break from the president after the summer recess, but the White House has managed, at least temporarily, to hold on to much of its support.

"Some Democrats have concluded that their decision earlier this summer to thwart votes on alternatives left them open to criticism that they were being intransigent. Democrats had wanted to keep pressure on Republicans over the summer by denying them votes on Iraq. Now, with the recess over, Democratic leaders are more willing to allow alternatives to a hard withdrawal date to reach the floor to keep pressure on President Bush.

Born in Lakeland[Florida]; detained by Israel

Found here (portion below) on WhatReallyHappened.com: http://www.sptimes.com/2007/09/05/news_pf/State/Born_in_Lakeland_deta.shtml


"LAKELAND -- A large Lakeland family has been split in two temporarily by complex Israeli travel restrictions that forced the mother to leave seven of her children behind when they attempted to fly home.

"On Aug. 18, Wedad Yacoub and 10 of her children -- all U.S. citizens -- were returning from a family visit in the West Bank through Tel Aviv, the same airport through which they had arrived more than two months before.

"Israeli officials initially tried to block the family from leaving, saying they had to go through Jordan, a travel restriction that applies to Palestinian residents of the West Bank. Officials finally permitted Wedad Yacoub and her three youngest children to fly home, but the other seven children are still in the West Bank, two weeks later with no resolution in sight.

"'I can't believe that children who were born in Lakeland could have their American citizenship ignored by a country so friendly to the U.S," said Wedad.

"Even Israeli officials couldn't readily explain it.

"'American citizens born in America can't leave through Tel Aviv, where they came in?" asked Daniel Seaman, director of the Government Press Office in Israel. "This has to be inaccurate. This can't be."

"Seaman says it will take some research to know what happened, which is what he, other Israeli officials, U.S. State Department officials and Florida congressmen are doing.

"'We've called the State Department and we want to solve this, but we don't have answers yet," said Keith Rupp, a spokesman for Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow.

Samarra Under U.S. Attack--Ali al-Fadhily

The U.S. seems to be hanging it's hat on reports of Sunni's joining the U.S. against Al Qaeda. I trust Dahr Jamail's reports much more than I do Gen. Petreus'. Linda

"Four years of occupation have caused this city a great deal of damage," Thul-Faqar Ali, a lawyer and human rights activist who fled Samarra to Baghdad told IPS. "It is true that there was strong resistance to the occupation, but most of those who got killed, injured or detained were innocent civilians. The U.S. occupation forces in Samarra were so brutal that they conducted many executions on site."

Portion of article below; whole thing here:

http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/iraq/000633.php#more

"BAGHDAD, Sep 6 (IPS) - Residents are fleeing Samarra city in the face of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and resistance groups.

"New defiance is rising against U.S. forces following military "crimes", fleeing residents say.

"'On Sunday the 26th of August, there was fierce fighting between armed men and American forces in the Armooshiya district, and I saw Americans evacuate many of their soldiers by stretchers," a man who fled Samarra for Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. "As usual, Americans took revenge by bombing the district."

"A woman who also fled Samarra for the capital in recent days, who gave her name as Iman, told IPS that the U.S. military had "committed another crime in the medicine factory residence area" when "they bombed a house there and killed a woman with her seven children."

"The Sunni and anti-occupation Muslim Scholars Association issued a statement confirming these two assaults, and condemning the "ugly crimes" of occupation forces in Samarra. The Association accused the U.S. military of attempting to break the spirit of Iraqis who reject the U.S. occupation.

"'They think their crimes would stop Iraqis from demanding their rights for liberty and prosperity, but the results are always different from what the American leaders hope," Sheikh Taha from the Muslim Scholars' Association told IPS in Baghdad.

"'They are only pushing more Iraqis to be armed against them, and you can see that the facts on the ground are the opposite of what they tell their people. Their soldiers are getting killed every day and they (U.S. military) are losing in Iraq."

"A young man spoke with IPS on condition of anonymity outside a Sunni mosque in Baghdad where refugees from Samarra were arriving.

"'We will be the thorn that makes Bush's life more difficult," he told IPS. "I am only here to ensure the safety of my family, then I will go back to my city to defend it against all strangers."

Monday, September 03, 2007

Another Black Eye for US Boasts: Brits Flee Basra

UPDATE from another article http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=35918&s2=03:

"Downing Street said the withdrawal from Basra Palace was part of the continuing process of handover to Iraqi forces.

"But the move produced an angry reaction in Washington. Bush administration officials were furious that the operation was launched at a time when the president is begging for more time for his 'surge' strategy to turn the tide of the war.



Portion from Patrick Cockburn on Counterpunch below; link to whole here: http://www.counterpunch.org/

"03 September 2007

"The withdrawal of British forces from Basra Palace, ahead of an expected full withdrawal from the city as early as next month, marks the beginning of the end of one of the most futile campaigns ever fought by the British Army.

"Ostensibly, the British will be handing over control of Basra to Iraqi security forces. In reality, British soldiers control very little in Basra, and the Iraqi security forces are largely run by the Shia militias.

"The British failure is almost total after four years of effort and the death of 168 personnel. "Basra's residents and militiamen view this not as an orderly withdrawal but rather as an ignominious defeat," says a report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. "Today, the city is controlled by militias, seemingly more powerful and unconstrained than before."

"The British military presence has been very limited since April this year, when Operation Sinbad, vaunted by the Ministry of Defence as a comparative success, ended. In the last four months the escalating attacks on British forces have shown the operation failed in its aim to curb the power of the militias.

"The pullout will be a jolt for the US because it undermines its claim that it is at last making progress in establishing order in Iraq because Sunni tribes have turned against al-Qa'ida and because of its employment of more sophisticated tactics. In practice, the US controls very little of the nine Shia provinces south of Baghdad.

Behind the Wall - 'Medical Conditions caused by Political Decisions'

Portion below; whole article here at Uruknet.info: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=35921&s2=03

"September 2, 2007

"On Christmas Eve in 1952, a Swiss priest called Father Schnydrig was on his way to Mass at the Church of the Nativity. He had come to Palestine to celebrate in the birthplace of Jesus. He walked past a huge area filled with tents and saw a man attempting to bury a child.

"This was Dehaishah Refugee Camp. The man was digging in the mud to create a makeshift grave for his own son. His son had literally frozen to death. Father Schnydrig began to question his own place in Bethlehem and wondered how he could be in the city to celebrate the birthplace of Jesus whilst children were suffering so much within a kilometer of the church. Upon returning to Europe he began to fund raise and soon opened Caritas Children's Hospital in Bethlehem. In 1978 Caritas opened a new building, it now has excellent facilities. Conditions at the hospital have improved greatly from an initial fourteen beds in the mid 1950's to being able to treat over 34,000 babies and children in 2006.

"Life has also changed greatly in Bethlehem over this time. Dehaishah's refugees now live in houses instead of tents. Bethlehem itself is now an Occupied city.

"Earlier this year a man walked into Caritas Hospital carrying a small baby in his arms from a refugee camp. The child's feet were blue, they were frozen.this time the child's life was saved.

"Palestine in 2007 is geographically hardly recognizable from Palestine in 1952. Go back a further five years and 'historical Palestine' still existed.

"Now only around 12% of 'historical Palestine' is accessible to Palestinians. Caritas cannot even cater to all of this 12%. Children from Jenin, Nablus, and other cities in the northern section of the West Bank cannot get to the hospital due to travel restrictions, checkpoints, and the series of Bantustans which the Occupation is dividing the country into. Because of this Caritas can only treat children and babies from the southern West bank, the areas around Bethlehem and Al Khalil. Despite this massive reduction in its catchment area, last year saw the largest ever number of patients treated at the hospital.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Radiation sickened 36,500 and killed at least 4,000 U.S. Weapon Workers

Found on WhatReallyHappened.com--portion below; whole Rocky Mountain News article here: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5686694,00.html

The U.S. nuclear weapons program has sickened 36,500 Americans and killed more than 4,000, the Rocky Mountain News has determined from government figures.

Those numbers reflect only people who have been approved for government compensation. They include people who mined uranium, built bombs and breathed dust from bomb tests.

Many of the bomb-builders, such as those at the Rocky Flats plant near Denver, have never applied for compensation or were rejected because they could not prove their work caused their illnesses. Congressional hearings are in the works to review allegations of unfairness and delays in the program for weapons workers.

The Rocky calculation appears to be the first to compile the government's records on the human cost of manufacturing 70,000 atomic bombs since 1945. It is based on compensation figures from four federal programs run by the Departments of Labor, Justice and Veterans Affairs. Many people have been paid only recently.

More than 15,000 of the 36,500 are workers who made atomic weapons. They were exposed to radiation and toxic chemicals that typically took years to trigger cancer or lung disease.

Others were civilians living near the Nevada test site during above-ground nuclear tests; soldiers and workers at test sites; and uranium miners and millers who breathed in radioactive dust until 1972 when the government stopped buying uranium.

At least 4,000 of the 36,500 died. This number reflects cases where survivors could be paid only if their relative died of the covered illness.

West Bank Boys Dig a Living From Settlers’ Trash

Periodically the NYTimes feels compelled to report (somewhat) factually about Palestine. Portion below; whole article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/world/middleeast/02westbank.html?hp
AD DEIRAT, West Bank, Aug. 30 — As the truck unloads, the children pounce on the garbage like flies. Some swing aloft on the hydraulic pistons that open the back, then drop onto the mound of trash to grab a piece of metal, a crushed can, a soda bottle or a stinking T-shirt.

One boy slips and disappears for a moment beneath the garbage as the truck lumbers forward to dump more of its load. He scrambles up again, losing his footing on a pile of animal intestines, grabbing onto a thicket of shrubbery cut from someone’s garden.

Another boy finds a small nylon Israeli flag and tries to tear it with his teeth; yet another unearths a small lilac umbrella, which he holds over his head and shows off to his friends. Most dig diligently for metal, which they dump into the ripped nylon sacks they carry.

Nearby, on a hill of garbage 10 feet high, a boy sat alone. He had found a plastic pack of crackers; he chewed them slowly, almost thoughtfully.

The boys are part of a loose-knit colony of scavengers, nearly 250 people who scramble over fetid hills of other people’s trash to eke out a living for their families and themselves. Most are younger than 16; some sleep here during the week to maximize the hours they can hunt for goods to sell. Many are related, from a few large clans, and they have a kind of organization, with a 23-year-old bulldozer driver who settles disputes, and a code of conduct, so that every digger’s finds are respected.

For all the agonizing about nearby Hebron — how far Israel should go to resolve competing Jewish and Palestinian claims to the city — this desolate spot is a symbol of the impact of Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and of the dire economic state of the Palestinian territories, where about a third of adults are without work. Many of the adults working the site have been unable to get jobs in Israel since 2000 and the second intifada, when Israel instituted stronger security measures to try to prevent suicide bombings.

This dump has become a lifeline, and informal workplace, for them and for the children helping to support poor families in the southern West Bank. The scene is reminiscent of the third world, of places like Manila’s notorious garbage mountain, but this desperate place is next door to a country with the highest per capita income in the Middle East: Israel.