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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 01/20/2008 - 01/27/2008
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Finally...! Back home...!

goddam...! no matter HOW you cut it, it's a long haul back here... 3 hours from northern nevada to houston, a 7-hour layover in houston, and then a 10 hour 40 minute flight from houston to buenos aires... adding an overnight flight to the several nights of not-so-hot, tossing and turning sleep i've had this past week, has left me pretty much one whipped puppy...


a good friend met me at ezeiza (buenos aires international airport), rode with me back to the house, waited while i did just enough unpacking to change into shorts, and then we walked to parque saavedra, one of my favorite neighborhood parks, chatting the whole way, then we swung by the supermercado on the way back where i picked up my usual assortment of provisions, and ambled back to the house... my friend headed back to his end of town, i went over and caught up with my dear landlady, came back, blew out my wireless router (don't ask!), am catching up online, will do some more unpacking, eat a bit, and crash... the temp is in the mid-80s F, there's a nice breeze, the neighborhood is in its saturday evening rhythm, and i'm damn glad to be back...

more later... (maybe...!)

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Watching the political reality show

wow...! i've been a captive audience of cnn in the houston airport for the past several hours... (yeah, i know, i don't HAVE to pay attention, but it keeps sucking me in...) needless to say, it's pretty much all about the candidates, south carolina, the campaigns, the pundits, their endless opinions about every little meaningless detail, etc., etc., ad nauseam... since i almost NEVER watch tv news, to some extent, i'm seeing it with fresh eyes, and the thing that strikes me is just how much of what we're seeing is a carefully choreographed little reality show along the lines of "survivor..." all the themes are woven in - personal attacks, sex, winning, losing, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat... it's about ratings... it's about voyeurism... (did i mention it's about sex...?) it's about pandering to people's latent racism, intolerance, sexism, ageism, you name it... in short, it's just another GODDAM DISTRACTION, something designed to keep us all wrapped up in something that basically doesn't mean jack shit... you and i know that, the way this whole deal works, no matter WHO is elected, not a goddam thing is going to change... no matter who takes the oath of office on 20 january 2009, he or she will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of whoever forked over the most money to get 'im there... i'm disgusted just watching it and can't help but feel that i'm getting out of the country at a good time...

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On the road

i'm sitting here at iah, george bush international airport in houston... i despise the place and that's not just because of the name... it's noisy, crowded, and, like so many other friggin' airports in these days of laptops and wireless, is ridiculously stingy with power outlets... that used to be much more of a problem for me until i got my current laptop a year and a half ago which, to my amazement, runs for well over five hours on battery power, and that's with half a dozen or more sites up concurrently and three of four different programs open... i know the intel centrino processor is considerably more frugal in its power needs than the pentium chip but i think the battery itself is also a lot better...


i got in here about an hour ago and have another five hours to sit on my ass before the flight leaves for buenos aires... aaaargh...

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We're the United States... Obeying the law is for other people...

and we wonder why the rest of the world hates us...
US officials are dragooning Iraq into accepting immunity for US civilian contractors in new negotiations with the Iraqi government just months after a feud over a private defense contractor exploded into an international outcry.

The Bush administration insists that Baghdad give the US "broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law, according to administration and military officials," a front page story in Friday's New York Times reports.

The Administration's proposed security agreement would replace the current United Nations mandate authorizing the US presence in Iraq, which is set to expire Dec. 31, 2008.

No other country working with the US military in Iraq is exempt from local laws.

hey... first of all, as colin powell said, we broke it and now it's OURS, so now we get to do what we want with it, right?... i mean, it's OUR country... in any case, we can't have OUR people subjected to the laws of some piss-ant little country we conquered... but, BECAUSE we can continue to keep up the charade that iraq is sovereign and is indeed foreign soil, OUR people don't have to obey u.s. laws there either... sick slick, eh...?

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Exxon Mobil to earn $10.37B in Qtr 4 (or roughly $75K PER MINUTE)

very likely the highest profit ever reported for an american company...
The company is expected to earn $10.37 billion in the fourth quarter, according to earnings tracker Thomson Financial. That's about $330 million shy of Exxon's previous quarterly profit record of $10.7 billion set in the fourth quarter of 2005 - which also was a record for any U.S. corporation.

Exxon is expected to make $39.2 billion for all of 2007, just shy of its previous record of $39.5 billion in 2006, which breaks down to the company earning about $75,000 a minute.

this is the very definition of obscenity, and the money is coming directly out of the pockets of ordinary folks and into the pockets of those who are already rich beyond our ability to comprehend... my fondest wish is that, somewhere down the road, a report like this will be part of the history lessons we teach to our children as an example of the depth of greed that once enslaved the majority of the people of our planet, and it will be greeted with the horror and disgust it deserves, rather than receiving the laudatory top spot in the financial news...

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

George Soros - The Man Republicans Love to Hate

AFP/Getty Images

Bless his soul...............the Financial Times printed his observations Wednesday.

The current financial crisis was precipitated by a bubble in the US housing market. In some ways it resembles other crises that have occurred since the end of the second world war at intervals ranging from four to 10 years.

However, there is a profound difference: the current crisis marks the end of an era of credit expansion based on the dollar as the international reserve currency. The periodic crises were part of a larger boom-bust process. The current crisis is the culmination of a super-boom that has lasted for more than 60 years.


Globalisation allowed the US to suck up the savings of the rest of the world and consume more than it produced. The US current account deficit reached 6.2 per cent of gross national product in 2006. The financial markets encouraged consumers to borrow by introducing ever more sophisticated instruments and more generous terms. The authorities aided and abetted the process by intervening whenever the global financial system was at risk. Since 1980, regulations have been progressively relaxed until they have practically disappeared.


Everything that could go wrong did. What started with subprime mortgages spread to all collateralised debt obligations, endangered municipal and mortgage insurance and reinsurance companies and threatened to unravel the multi-trillion-dollar credit default swap market. Investment banks' commitments to leveraged buyouts became liabilities. Market-neutral hedge funds turned out not to be market-neutral and had to be unwound. The asset-backed commercial paper market came to a standstill and the special investment vehicles set up by banks to get mortgages off their balance sheets could no longer get outside financing. The final blow came when interbank lending, which is at the heart of the financial system, was disrupted because banks had to husband their resources and could not trust their counterparties. The central banks had to inject an unprecedented amount of money and extend credit on an unprecedented range of securities to a broader range of institutions than ever before. That made the crisis more severe than any since the second world war.


Although a recession in the developed world is now more or less inevitable, China, India and some of the oil-producing countries are in a very strong countertrend. So, the current financial crisis is less likely to cause a global recession than a radical realignment of the global economy, with a relative decline of the US and the rise of China and other countries in the developing world.

The danger is that the resulting political tensions, including US protectionism, may disrupt the global economy and plunge the world into recession or worse.

The greedy bastards!!!!!! It's no wonder Jesus had a strong dislike of the money-changers.

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Read this latest story about Egypt, Gaza, Israel, and the U.S.

cleverly camouflaged in these few short paragraphs are not-so-subtle suggestions of truly staggering arrogance and complicity in war crimes on the part of two countries... see if you can tell which ones...
Egypt began trying to control the masses of Palestinians flooding in from the Gaza Strip Thursday, stopping some from moving deeper into Egypt. But authorities did not attempt to reseal the breached border with the Palestinian territory.

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Israel wants to relinquish all responsibility for Gaza, including the supply of electricity and water, now that Gaza's southern border with Egypt has been opened.

Egypt immediately rejected the idea.

On the Egyptian side of the border, helmeted riot police with dogs used batons to beat the hoods of Egyptian cars and trucks offering rides to Palestinians seeking to buy goods in towns out of walking range.

Dozens of Egyptian guards pushed their way through the crowds but did nothing to halt the thousands of Palestinians moving over the wreckage of a metal wall brought down when Palestinian gunmen blasted it with explosives a day earlier.

U.S. and Arab officials said Wednesday that Egypt had assured the United States it would soon reseal the border.

oh, man... some things just render me at a loss for words... israel wants to wash its hands of gaza, basically saying the gaza people can go starve in the dark, and the u.s. is seeking assurances from egypt that it will reseal the gaza-egypt border to make goddam sure it happens...

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Damn...! We're down the global economic rabbit hole NOW, for sure...!

jumpin' golly gee willikers...
The biggest rogue trader scandal in history hit Societe Generale on Thursday as the French bank accused a junior employee of a fraud costing $7 billion.

France's central bank and government scrambled to shore up confidence in the banking system after "SocGen", France's second-biggest bank, said it had been the victim of massive and "exceptional" fraud.

Its trading losses spiraled to 4.9 billion euros ($7.1 billion) as the bank tried to close out the rogue positions in Monday's sliding market.

The country's top banker dubbed the trader "a genius of fraud". SocGen declined to give a name, but three sources at the bank named him as Jerome Kerviel, 31, a trader on the bank's award-winning equity derivatives desk earning less than 100,000 euros a year. Kerviel could not be reached for comment.

DAMN, sam...!

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Headlines like this make me CRAZY!

oh, and we are SO-O-O-O-O-OOO SURPRISED...!
Justice Nomination Seen as Snub to Democrats

The Justice Department lawyer who wrote a series of classified legal opinions in 2005 authorizing harsh C.I.A. interrogation techniques was renominated by the White House on Wednesday to a senior department post, a move that was seen as a snub to Senate Democrats who have long opposed his appointment.

godrottendammit... if they were going to write anything in the neighborhood of an ACCURATE headline, it would read something like this...

Bush Middle Finger to the Entire World
Remains Fixed in Upright Position

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kucinich on Bush: "We know the State of the Union. It's a lie."

god bless 'im... he's like the energizer bunny... he just keeps on goin'...
Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio may get excluded from Democratic presidential debates, as he has been recently, but no one can deny him the floor in the House.

And today Mr. Kucinich took to the floor to fire off his latest salvo at the Bush administration: his plans to introduce Articles of Impeachment against President Bush on Jan. 28 — the day of Mr. Bush’s State of the Union speech.

Accusing the administration of lying about the need for the war in Iraq, Mr. Kucinich said he did not need to hear the president’s assessment. “We know the State of the Union,” he declared. “It’s a lie.”

He also fired a volley at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California who has maintained that impeaching Mr. Bush is not on the table for Congressional Democrats. “If impeachment is off the table,” Mr. Kucinich said, “truth is off the table. If truth is off the table then this body is living a lie.”

truer words were never spoken...

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Luke has a new post on Sibel following up from yesterday

Sibel Edmonds case: What was found in the translations

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The dismal reality of "The State of the Union"

what can you do but watch and shake your head...?

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Gazans take matters into their own hands and Egypt does the right thing

and who among us, subjected to the same undisguised war crime, wouldn't have done the same...?

photos courtesy of der spiegel...

Tens of thousands of Gazans have broken through the border with Egypt to stock up on scarce supplies such as fuel, cigarettes and medicine after a week-long Israeli blockade. German commentators condemn what they see as the collective punishment of Gaza's population.


Egypt had backed the closure of Gaza but on Wednesday Egyptian border guards took no action as the people of Gaza streamed across the border. Gaza's Hamas rulers had been organizing daily demonstrations on the border in an apparent attempt to appeal to Arab public opinion and pressure Egypt to open the crossing. However, Egypt has been concerned that Islamist militancy could spill over into the country from Gaza if it were to ease restrictions on movement.

the egyptian government isn't exactly known for its humanitarian pratices, but, in this case, it's putting israel to shame, and heaps of blessings on 'em for that... look at those folks - human beings just like you and me...

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Dems throw accountability out the window and continue to sell us down the river - for BIPARTISANSHIP...???

valentine's day is fast approaching too, and we certainly wouldn't want to defile the loving spirit of THAT great day...

from raw story...

Last week it was "pretty certain" that House Democrats would quickly move forward with contempt citations against two Bush administration figures who were stonewalling Congress. Then the economy started circling the drain.

The planned citations now appear to be on hold as Congress and the White House work on a bipartisan economic stimulus package, the central tenet of which involves cutting virtually everyone an $800 check.

Democratic leaders and aides tell The Politico that pursuing the contempt citations in conjunction with the stimulus package would "step on their message" of bipartisanship.

gag me with a spoon... why don't the dems just come right out and say, "hey, we're criminals, just like the r's... cry me a river, build me a bridge, and GET OVER IT...!"

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With nearly a thousand documented lies, when can we expect Bush's resignation?

because i think the information jim put up last night is so terribly important, i'm posting the entire center for public integrity report here... also, since the center's site server is maddeningly slow, this will be a little more convenient for those who want to read it all...

False Pretenses

Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.

It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose "Duelfer Report" established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq's nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.

In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003. Not surprisingly, the officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements, according to this first-ever analysis of the entire body of prewar rhetoric.

President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

The massive database at the heart of this project juxtaposes what President Bush and these seven top officials were saying for public consumption against what was known, or should have been known, on a day-to-day basis. This fully searchable database includes the public statements, drawn from both primary sources (such as official transcripts) and secondary sources (chiefly major news organizations) over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001. It also interlaces relevant information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches, and interviews.

Consider, for example, these false public statements made in the run-up to war:

  • On August 26, 2002, in an address to the national convention of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, Cheney flatly declared: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." In fact, former CIA Director George Tenet later recalled, Cheney's assertions went well beyond his agency's assessments at the time. Another CIA official, referring to the same speech, told journalist Ron Suskind, "Our reaction was, 'Where is he getting this stuff from?' "
  • In the closing days of September 2002, with a congressional vote fast approaching on authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, Bush told the nation in his weekly radio address: "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. . . . This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year." A few days later, similar findings were also included in a much-hurried National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction — an analysis that hadn't been done in years, as the intelligence community had deemed it unnecessary and the White House hadn't requested it.
  • In July 2002, Rumsfeld had a one-word answer for reporters who asked whether Iraq had relationships with Al Qaeda terrorists: "Sure." In fact, an assessment issued that same month by the Defense Intelligence Agency (and confirmed weeks later by CIA Director Tenet) found an absence of "compelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation between the government of Iraq and Al Qaeda." What's more, an earlier DIA assessment said that "the nature of the regime's relationship with Al Qaeda is unclear."
  • On May 29, 2003, in an interview with Polish TV, President Bush declared: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." But as journalist Bob Woodward reported in State of Denial, days earlier a team of civilian experts dispatched to examine the two mobile labs found in Iraq had concluded in a field report that the labs were not for biological weapons. The team's final report, completed the following month, concluded that the labs had probably been used to manufacture hydrogen for weather balloons.
  • On January 28, 2003, in his annual State of the Union address, Bush asserted: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." Two weeks earlier, an analyst with the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research sent an email to colleagues in the intelligence community laying out why he believed the uranium-purchase agreement "probably is a hoax."
  • On February 5, 2003, in an address to the United Nations Security Council, Powell said: "What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources." As it turned out, however, two of the main human sources to which Powell referred had provided false information. One was an Iraqi con artist, code-named "Curveball," whom American intelligence officials were dubious about and in fact had never even spoken to. The other was an Al Qaeda detainee, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who had reportedly been sent to Eqypt by the CIA and tortured and who later recanted the information he had provided. Libi told the CIA in January 2004 that he had "decided he would fabricate any information interrogators wanted in order to gain better treatment and avoid being handed over to [a foreign government]."

The false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, with congressional consideration of a war resolution, then escalated through the mid-term elections and spiked even higher from January 2003 to the eve of the invasion.

Click on image to see larger version

like jim said, this is far from new information for most of us, but it's a big step forward to have the lies both carefully sourced and chronicled, and an even bigger step that some in the usually-comatose u.s. news media are paying attention, unlike the embarrassing silence over sibel edmonds... even as recently as 20 years ago, documented evidence like this would produce a massive public outcry for the wholesale resignation of the bush administration... how have we managed to become so anesthetized in so short a time...?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Volunteers needed to give traitor Marc Grossman hell when he testifies before Congress tomorrow

things are definitely heating up... this is the third post from luke yet this evening...
This is an action alert for those in the DC area. Please try to recruit friends to attend.

Marc Grossman will be attending a congressional committee hearing on Wednesday January 23 (tomorrow) at 10am, at Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Grossman will be appearing in front of the National Security and Foreign Affairs subcommittee of the Oversight Committee on an unrelated matter.

Marc Grossman is a traitor.

We want volunteers to go to the hearing and give Grossman hell,

We want you to hand out flyers and two recent articles to the various Congressmen, their staff, and attendant media. [Flyer here - PDF]

We want you to take video cameras and capture the whole thing.

Marc Grossman – Traitor

UK Times, January 6, 2008:
For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one
well-known senior official [MARC GROSSMAN] in the US State Department was
being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to
black market buyers, including Pakistan.


“He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.”

American Conservative Magazine, January 2008
Found in Translation. FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets

Marc Grossman was recorded by FBI

  • tipping off criminal suspects regarding CIA’s WMD cover company Brewster Jennings in 2001
  • planting criminals in US Nuclear labs to steal secrets
  • picking up $15,000 cash bribe
  • setting free four 9/11 suspects without interrogation


Marc Grossman is a traitor and needs to be held to account.

Contact Henry Waxman: 2157 Rayburn House Office Building, (202) 225-5051

Grossman will be at National Security & Foreign Affairs Hearing Room
Jan 23, 10am, 2154, Rayburn House Office Building.

With the absence of true media...
time for Citizen Journalism

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Better Late Than Never?

Many have known this for a long time, now, somebody has done an actual study of the events that led to our Desert Vietnam.
I urge you to go to the website and read the whole report.Courtesy of the Center for Public Integrity .

Study: False Statements Preceded War

WASHINGTON - A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said he could not comment on the study because he had not seen it.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

"The cumulative effect of these false statements - amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts - was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.

"Some journalists - indeed, even some entire news organizations - have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.

Too little, too late.
The economy has begun its inevitable free fall.
The pieces are all in place to continue the wars indefinitely.
Corruption is protected by law.
Free speech is about to be declared an act of terrorism by law.
The vast majority of elected officials and potential presidents are bought and paid for by big biz.
What's left?
The only thing we ever really had in the first place. Our friends, our families, and our neighbors.
Be Steady, Stand By Your Neighbors, And Don't Be Afraid.

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Luke offers still more on Sibel from Phil Giraldi [UPDATE TO PREVIOUS POST]

there's some momentum building here...
Ex-CIA officer Phil Giraldi has a new strong article out in American Conservative, and we're trying to keep the heat on as much as possible this week

Found in Translation. FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets.

It opens like this:

"Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington's highest levels—sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds's account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators"

and ends like this:

Sibel Edmonds makes a number of accusations about specific criminal behavior that appear to be extraordinary but are credible enough to warrant official investigation. Her allegations are documentable: an existing FBI file should determine whether they are accurate. It's true that she probably knows only part of the story, but if that part is correct, Congress and the Justice Department should have no higher priority. Nothing deserves more attention than the possibility of ongoing national-security failures and the proliferation of nuclear weapons with the connivance of corrupt senior government officials.

keep it crankin'...

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More on Sibel Edmonds: our worthless AND complicit U.S. news media

i've been convinced for some time that there may be nothing more important than getting a full public hearing for sibel edmonds... you can go here to see my efforts...

the real hero, however, is luke ryland... here's his most recent post at let sibel edmonds speak...

The UK's Guardian is running a piece, "US journalists ignore Sunday Times scoop on FBI nuclear scandal," criticizing the US media for not picking up on the latest revelations by their competitor, the UK's Times, in the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds.

The author of the piece is the Guardian's media commentator, Roy Greenslade, a Professor of Journalism and former Managing Editor of the Times. He writes:

It looks to me as though the Sunday Times has landed a genuine world exclusive that should surely have been broken ages ago by US-based reporters.
I agree entirely. Consider what any journalist in the US has known, or should have known, for years.

Sibel's case broke as an espionage story in June 2002 in the Washington Post and an October 2002 CBS' 60 Minutes segment (youtube) where we learnt that foreign operatives had spies working for them in both the Pentagon and the State Department.

Simply following the names and associations of the people known to be involved, any journalist should have been able to piece together the broad outlines of the story simply from public sources.


Roy Greenslade, Professor of Journalism and the Guardian's media commentator, first notes that the story "should surely have been broken ages ago by US-based reporters" then adds that the latest revelations in the Times's latest series (1, 2):
.. looks to me like a very hot story indeed that should surely have been taken up by mainstream newspapers in the United States

not only is our media a laughingstock in the rest of the world, they're also a huge embarrassment to themselves...

btw, the above is only a small excerpt...

in the full post, luke offers this speculation...

US journalists have been either too lazy, or complicit, to report on anything but the most trivial of Sibel's claims...


For one reason or other - incompetence or complicity - not a single American journalist followed up on the important issues in the 60 Minutes report and the Washington Post, and we didn't learn about any of this in the US media in 2002. Instead, we are 'learning' it in 2008 from the British press - and still the US media refuses to publish it, which leads me to believe that the American media is not 'incompetent' but rather 'complicit.'

i passed the point of no return on "complicity" quite some time ago, pretty much the same time i came to the conclusion that "incompetence" on the part of the bush administration was nothing but an acceptable myth, helping us avoid the most unpleasant reality that our government is deliberately trying to screw us to the wall...

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CNN's Jack Cafferty on Bush pardoning HIMSELF for war crimes

retroactive immunity for the telcos, now for bush himself...

how low can you go...?

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Yesterday's financial picture

from the uk independent...

(again, thanks to co-blogger, stu...)

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Global outrage forces Israel to ease up on Gaza siege

ignoring the flood of people from around the world signing petitions and screaming their heads off about the evil of collective punishment, we're supposed to think that CONDI's the one who got 'em to pull back...? cripes...
Israel resumed fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip's main power plant on Tuesday, offering limited respite from a blockade that plunged much of the Hamas-ruled territory into darkness and touched off international protests.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she had voiced her concerns to Israel, which has argued that sealing the borders could make the Palestinians stop rocket salvoes.

"Nobody wants innocent Gazans to suffer and so we have spoken to the Israelis about the importance of not allowing a humanitarian crisis to unfold there," Rice told reporters traveling with her to Berlin for a meeting on Iran.

nothing tops the arrogance of this statement...
"Our approach now is to assess what is acutely lacking, and permit imports on that basis," Israeli Defence Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said.

let that last sink in for just a moment...

imagine that you and your spouse have a small family, two kids let's say, and that you live close to the border of a country through which everything you depend on just to exist from day-to-day must come, and worse yet, that your income is largely dependent on what you can sell on the other side of that border... your country and the country on the other side of the border have fought with each other for over half a century and there seems to be no end in sight... you know there are those in your country who engage in criminal and murderous behavior in the name of fighting their "enemy", but you just want to provide for your family... because you are completely surrounded by the enemy country and only have limited resources on your seacoast, you are 100% dependent on how your enemy decides to control your common border... furthermore, you are not in control of the outlaws in your society who are deliberately provoking the country across the border, who decides, in retaliation, to close the border, effectively cutting off everything you and your family need to live - food, water, medicine, electricity, gasoline, everything... you can no longer use your car, your food shelves are nearly bare, there is raw sewage flowing in the streets, the electricity is off, you are running out of candles, the food in the refrigerator is spoiling, and you are praying that none of you gets sick or has an accident requiring urgent care...

what's wrong with this picture...?

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Lest we be distracted by the financial collapse, remember that S. 1959 is still sitting in the Senate and it targets 9/11 truth

brasscheck tv...

The 911 Truth Movement is being
targeted for criminalization.

Earlier this month, special Brasscheck TV
correspondent Goodman Green posted a
short video about HR 1955.

In just three days over 100,000 people
downloaded and viewed it.

Now the bill is in the Senate under a new
name S 1959.

This bill makes it possible for the government
to criminalize free speech, by declaring it a
form of "terrorism."

Who does this bill target?

Congressional hearings show they're painting
a bulls eye on the 9/11 Truth Movement by likening
it to violent terrorist groups.

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NOW, they're talking recession

how very interesting...
"The economy is still staring recession in the face, but at least the Fed now gets it," [said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist with the High Frequency Economics consulting firm].

anybody with half a brain could see this one coming... look how long it's taken for them to use the "R" word... given these folks' aversion to saying "SHIT" even when they're up to their eyeballs in it, anybody want to place any bets on how long it takes 'em to start using the "C"* word...?

* "C" = collapse

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The BBC offers a bit more realistic view

after all, why would be think our domestic news outlets would give us anything CLOSE to an accurate perspective...
One analyst said the Fed was "obviously panicked" by the threat of recession.

"Unfortunately they have no power to reverse what in my opinion is the worst post-war recession," said Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer in New York.

'This is huge'

The Fed's interest move came as a complete surprise, as it was taken outside its timetabled rate-setting Open Market Committee meetings.

The last two such surprise cuts were on 17 September 2001, shortly after the attacks of 11 September, and on 3 January 2001, in the wake of the dotcom bust.

The last time the Fed cut rates as much as three-quarters of a percentage point was in August 1982, almost 26 years ago.

(thanks to co-blogger, stu...)

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Surprise...!! The Fed jumps in first thing Tuesday morning with a .75% rate cut...

the headline SHOULD be focused in on the fact that the fed thinks things are so goddam serious that it jumped in right after the opening bell on wall street with NOT a half a percentage point rate cut but a THREE-QUARTERS of a point rate cut, not even waiting until their regularly scheduled meeting next week...
U.S. stock futures seesawed Tuesday after the Federal Reserve, responding to a growing financial market crisis, slashed interest rates 0.75 percentage point.

Dow Jones industrial futures, down more than 500 points, or more than 5 percent, before the Fed move, were fluctuating violently an hour before the start of trading, but improved to a level where they were down 206, or 1.70 percent, to 11,900.

The Fed move was unsurprising, given that world stock markets were falling precipitously the past two days, and that U.S. stocks had tumbled last week amid growing fears of a recession in the United States. Still, the markets are still quite anxious, not sure that even interest rate cuts will lift an economy slammed by an ongoing housing and credit crisis.

The Fed's move came a week before the central bank's regularly scheduled meeting, a sign that the Fed recognized the seriousness of the world financial situation.

the other inconvenient little item that should be in screaming headlines is that the dow was down FIVE HUNDRED POINTS on top of last week's THREE HUNDRED POINTS, and that was before the fed stepped in... anybody who thinks we aren't teetering on the edge of a cliff had better crank their eyelids open right quick...

there's no need to read between the lines of this paragraph...

The Fed's decision to slash the federal funds rate — the interest that banks charge each other on overnight loans — apparently was the biggest one-day move by the central bank in recent memory. The Fed cut the rate to 3.5 percent from 4.25 percent — a move that represented the most dramatic signal it could can send of its concern about a recession.

the same article goes on to quote paulson talking to the u.s. chamber of commerce this morning...
"Time is of the essence and the president stands ready to work on a bipartisan basis to enact economic growth legislation as soon as possible," Paulson said in remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


The rush of developments came on the same day that Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress were to meet with President Bush at the White House for talks on economic stimulus legislation. Such a measure presumably would involve tax rebates, business tax cuts and funding for a Democratic-led call for additional food stamp and employment aid.

Paulson said he was optimistic the administration and Congress could find common ground and "get this done long before winter turns to spring." Bush and the congressional leaders are looking for quick agreement on how to pump as much as $150 billion into the ailing economy to stave off a recession. The president last Friday put forward the broad outlines of a stimulus plan that would include tax cuts for individuals and businesses.

The administration's initial efforts failed to reassure global stock markets, which plunged Monday on rising fears that trouble in the U.S. economy could translate into weaker economic activity worldwide.

in something completely in character for the bush administration, paulson leaves out a mere trifling detail...
In his prepared remarks, Paulson did not specifically mention the steep plunge in global markets on Monday, which included declines in many markets that were the largest since the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

i was just telling my son (he, his wife, and the grandsons are getting ready to head out for work and school) about the goings-on and the depth of the shit we're in... he asked if anybody in the administration has actually come out and SAID we're in deep shit, and i said, "of course not..." his comment to that was, "unless they come out and SAY it, nobody's going to pay any attention..." my son isn't anywhere near the news junkie that i am, but he does understand a FEW things...!

the above photo of paulson is from a video clip of january 6 where paulson sat there and listened to bush and didn't say a goddam thing... just look at his face... my theory is paulson is actually a re-animated corpse...

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Asian stock markets down again on Tuesday (and it's heading this way - FAST!)

when i roll out of bed tomorrow morning at 6:30 pst, wall street will already be in its first half hour of trading... since the u.s. stock markets were closed today for the mlk holiday, the tsunami may hit here extra hard tomorrow... i'm not looking forward to getting online and tuning in to the continuing collapse, but, hey...! let's get the goddam thing the hell over with so we can get going on redoing the global financial system...
Global stock markets extended their shakeout into a second day Tuesday, plunging amid worries that a possible U.S. recession will cause a worldwide economic slowdown. The dramatic declines were expected to spread to Wall Street, where stock index futures were already down sharply hours before the trading day began.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index, the benchmark for Asia's biggest bourse, skidded 4.4 percent in morning trading to 12,738.31 points, after dropping 3.9 percent Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 5.2 percent after plunging 5.5 percent the day before.

"Unless we get some positive 'shock effects,' such as drastic measures from the U.S. government, there is almost no hope for a recovery in stocks," said Koji Takeuchi, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo.

let's do it... no more fooling around... we've waiting a long, long time for this collapse... no more screwing around...

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Got Fomentation?

This crap won't stop till Iran smolders.

Iranian sabotage delayed Indian launch of Israeli

The successful launch on Monday of an advanced Israeli satellite was delayed in recent months by Iranian sabotage, The Jerusalem Post has learned from Western sources.

The TecSar satellite - developed and manufactured by Israel
Aerospace Industries (IAI) - was supposed to be launched in September, on the heels of the June launch of the Ofek-7 spy satellite.

Its deployment will dramatically increase Israel's intelligence-gathering capabilities regarding the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, since the satellite can transmit images in all weather conditions, a capability that Israel's existing satellites lacked.

According to assessments recently received, Iran learned of the TecSar's planned deployment from the media and has since applied heavy pressure through Indian opposition parties - particularly the Muslim and Communist political factions - to prevent the launch.

Teheran's attempts to sabotage the operation may demonstrate concerns over Israel's advancing intelligence capabilities. "The Iranians are scared of the potential this new satellite will bring Israel," a Western defense official had said earlier. "They are doing everything they can to prevent its launch."


On Monday morning the satellite lifted off atop an Indian Polar Satellite
Launch Vehicle [PSLV] from the satellite launch pad in Sriharikata.

"The TECSAR is the first satellite of its kind developed in Israel, and ranks among the world's most advanced space systems," the IAI said in a statement. The development and launching of the satellite cost tens of millions of dollars; within two weeks it will begin transmitting images to an IAI ground station in Yehud.

Lemee see, Western Sources? Western Defense Officials?.......... Hmmmmm, wonder who that could be? Can anyone help me out here?

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The humanitarian crisis in Gaza

this is NOT a natural disaster... this is entirely a MAN-MADE, DELIBERATE WAR CRIME... i don't give a shit that israel didn't sign protocol II of the geneva convention which expressly forbids collective punishment... yes, i know israel has been subjected to the horrors of rocket attacks coming from gaza, and they can't sit idly by, but this is nothing less than a crime against humanity and must be stopped...

from al jazeera english service...

(courtesy of juan cole...)

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Here we go some more

last week on wall street, now asia and europe...
Stock Markets in Europe Plunge 7 Percent

Stocks fell steeply in Europe on Monday after sharp overnight declines in Asia, reacting to fears that an American recession was unavoidable and would crimp global growth. The DAX index in Germany closed off 7.16 percent and the CAC 40 in France lost 6.83 percent. British stocks fared slightly less badly; the FTSE 100 lost 5.48 percent. United States financial markets are closed today; Canadian and Mexican stocks were off sharply at midday.

hang on to the side of the toilet bowl if you can...

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Daniel Ellsberg on Sibel Edmonds: "the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped" and "is participating in a cover-up"

i've been doing my part in keeping the sibel edmonds story visible... you can go here to see my efforts...

today we have daniel ellsberg, writing in the bradblog, courtesy of luke ryland and let sibel edmonds speak...

For the second time in two weeks, the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch's London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt U.S. officials promoting nuclear proliferation. But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the U.S. Congress and the courts.

For the last two weeks --- one could say, for years --- the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network. It is up to readers to demand that this culpable silent treatment end.

Just as important, there must be pressure by the public on Congressional committee chairpersons, in particular Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Patrick Leahy. Both have been sitting for years on classified, sworn testimony by Edmonds --- as she revealed in the Times' new story on Sunday --- along with documentation, in their possession, confirming parts of her account. Pressure must be brought for them to hold public hearings to investigate her accusations of widespread criminal activities, over several administrations, that endanger national security. They should call for open testimony under oath by Edmonds --- as she has urged for five years --- and by other FBI officials she has named to them, as cited anonymously in the first Times' story.

It's a measure of how far the New York Times and Washington Post have fallen from their responsibilities...since I gave them the Pentagon Papers in 1971. They printed them then. Would they today?

And this is the time for those who have so far creditably leaked to the Times of London to come forward, accepting personal risks, to offer their testimony --- and new documents --- both to the Congress and to the American press. I would say to them: Don't do what I did and waste months of precious time trying to get Congressional committees to act as they should in the absence of journalistic pressure. Do your best to inform the American public directly, first, through the major American media.

here's a youtube of few clips of ellsberg commenting on sibel edmonds as put together by luke...

i will repeat my fervent plea... can we PLEASE get on with getting the truth out and bringing our lawless government down...?

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The unemployment problem of the highly skilled

the wapo deigns to acknowledge the problem - on page one, no less - of the large number of highly skilled folks floating around out there unable to find jobs...
An unusually large share of workers have been out a job for more than six months even as overall unemployment has remained low, a little-noted weakness in the labor market that analysts said threatens to intensify the impact of the unfolding economic downturn.

In November, nearly 1.4 million people -- almost one in five of those unemployed -- had been jobless for at least 27 weeks, the juncture when unemployment insurance benefits end for most recipients. That is about twice the level of long-term unemployment before the 2001 recession.

The problem is ensnaring a broader swath of workers than before. Once concentrated among manufacturing workers and those with little work history, education or skills, long-term unemployment is growing most rapidly among white-collar and college-educated workers with long work experience, studies have found, making the problem difficult for policymakers to address even as it grows more urgent.

the problem the wapo reports on didn't just appear... it's been around for a number of years... when i was shown the door by united airlines one month after 9/11, along with roughly 10,000 of my fellow employees, i was extremely fortunate to move right into another job... that job turned out to be a delusion which i nonetheless managed to maintain for a year, at which time i was fully at the mercy of the job market...

during a two month period in late 2003, i threw myself into getting a job, a search that included over 80 job apps, 2 telephone interviews, one in-person interview, and one job offer to be a $7.80 an hour customer service rep in an airline reservation call center which, needless to say, i declined... to give you an idea of where my head was at the time, i was actually in discussion to enroll in a school that trains over-the-road truck drivers... i landed a paid contract overseas early in 2004, and it was shortly thereafter that i made the decision to no longer seek full-time work, and instead pursue independent contractor opportunities, primarily outside the u.s...

that strategy has worked reasonably well up until my current dry spell which has continued, with a couple of small exceptions, for over a year now... with my head hung low, i almost took a full-time administrative job with a university last october, but the cosmos intervened and saved me from a mind-numbing, five-day, forty-hour, chained-to-a-desk workweek, buried in organizational bureaucracy, politics, and torpor... were it not for my son and daughter-in-law who have lovingly laid out a permanent welcome mat and kept the light on, and the va from which i receive an outstanding level of health care, i would be up the proverbial unsanitary tributary without the proper means of propulsion... to say that i am deeply grateful for my blessings would be a serious understatement...

my former colleagues tell similar stories, and all of us seem to bounce from pillar to post, wondering if we are going to be able to continue to get enough income to remain self-sufficient and be able to cover what will very likely be our rising health care expenses... an additional exacerbating factor now is our age, a disqualifying trait no prospective employer in his or her right mind would admit, but which we all know is a black mark... yet another one is that we are all highly OVER-qualified, a fact that flies in the face of the desire of today's employers to hire younger, bright-eyed, inexperienced, MUCH more malleable, and decidedly CHEAPER folks who, when someone in authority says "jump," will say "how high?" if for no other reason than fear of losing their jobs...

without breaking my arm patting myself on the back, i think it's a national tragedy to have so many seasoned, experienced, talented - dare i say wise? - professionals sitting mostly idle in the labor pool, particularly at a time when our country is beset with problems that could really use a little mature thinking...

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MLK: "The time has come to speak the truth about this war"

martin luther king jr. speaks to us from beyond the grave...

from brasscheck tv...
Nothing could be more relevant today.

Yet you won't see this speech on US television, nor will you hear it even referred to...even on Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday in the United States.

is it any wonder he was assassinated...?

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Could this be one of the reasons Canada put Israel on its watch list?

speaking of israel and torture watch lists...

juan cole

It is a perfect time for the Israeli government to commit a war crime on the miserable civilians of the Gaza Strip. The US primary season has created a news blackout on US television about foreign news (apparently the public of the world's sole superpower is not estimated by corporate news executives to be able to handle more than one story). So most Americans will never even know that the Israelis have cut off fuel to Gaza's power plant, depriving tens of thousands of people of electricity.

I sympathize with Israeli civilians who have been subjected to illegal bombardment by Hamas. But one has to ask whether the Olmert government has behaved toward Gazans in such a way as to try to achieve peace. And even if military action were justified, it is only legitimate for the Israelis to punish Hamas fighters doing the firing.

Just a reminder that electricity is life and death for some people. And another reminder that the children of Gaza, who I suspect are 2/3s of the population, haven't done anything wrong, to be punished by this blockade...


Here is what wikipedia has to say about the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Note that "protected persons are just non-combatants, i.e. innocent civilians such as children, women and unarmed or injured men:
Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 states: "No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed," and "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices "strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice."

Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment...

note on protocol II...
As of 14 January 2007 it had been ratified by 163 countries, with the United States, Israel, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iraq being notable exceptions. However, the United States, Iran and Pakistan signed it on 12 December 1977 with the intention of ratifying it.

A number of the articles contained in both protocols are recognized as rules of customary law valid for all states, whether or not they have ratified them.

hmmmm... israel has neither signed nor ratified... go figure...

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Canada wussies out

as i posted the other day, canada placed both the u.s. and israel on a torture "watch list..." needless to say, it caused a lot of huffing and puffing in the rarefied air of the upper echelons of both governments, forcing canada to backpedal...
The Canadian foreign minister has apologised for including the US and Israel on a list of states where prisoners are at risk of torture.

Maxime Bernier said the list, which formed part of a manual on torture awareness given to diplomats, "wrongly includes some of our closest allies".

Mr Bernier insisted the manual was not a policy document and did not convey the official views of his government.

The listing was criticised by the US and Israel, who demanded it be changed.

"We find it to be offensive for us to be on the same list with countries like Iran and China. Quite frankly it's absurd," said the US ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Ottawa, Michael Mendel, said the Israeli Supreme Court was "on record as expressly prohibiting any type of torture".

"If Israel is included in the list in question, the ambassador of Israel would expect its removal," he added.

yeah, maxime, we can plainly see you're trying to save face, but, the fact is, the u.s. and israel weren't put on that list by mistake and we all know it... furthermore, i suspect that we were put on the list with a full understanding of the consequences, and an official policy prepared for when the shit hit the fan, as everyone knew it would... regardless of the underlying motivation, mr. foreign minister, i greatly appreciate the service that your country has done for mine by calling worldwide attention to just how criminal our official behavior and that of our "closest ally," israel, has become...

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U.S. accuses Venezuela of trying to horn in on the CIA's lucrative drug business

oh, this is just too rich...! after the previous post, two from yesterday (here and here), and several others (here, here, here, and here), reading something like this is positively hysterical...
A top US anti-drugs official has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of being a "major facilitator" of the trade in cocaine.

The official, John Walters, said Venezuela had become "a haven" for shipments of cocaine manufactured in neighbouring Colombia.

Venezuela rejects the charges, saying it is the victim of traffickers.

But Mr Walters, speaking on a visit to Colombia, said failure to deal with the problem amounted to complicity.

Mr Walters, director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), was meeting Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

US officials say about one third of Colombia's output of 600 tonnes of cocaine a year now passes through Venezuela, most of it going to America and Europe.

once you get an idea of what's REALLY going on, it's incredibly difficult to read this shit without just cracking up...

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The failure of the surge and the "REAL" aims of the U.S. in the region

andrew bacevich lost his son in iraq... whether or not that caused him to re-think his conservative republicanism, i don't know because i am not familiar with his perspective on iraq prior to that... even though he still seems to buy the notion that the u.s. was EVER serious about building a functional government in iraq other than through empty rhetoric designed to deceive and delude, at least he can see through the deeply disingenuous attempts to declare "victory..."
Surge to Nowhere
Don't buy the hawks' hype. The war may be off the front pages, but Iraq is broken beyond repair, and we still own it.

By Andrew J. Bacevich
Sunday, January 20, 2008; Page B01

As the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom nears, the fabulists are again trying to weave their own version of the war. The latest myth is that the "surge" is working.

In President Bush's pithy formulation, the United States is now "kicking ass" in Iraq. The gallant Gen. David Petraeus, having been given the right tools, has performed miracles, redeeming a situation that once appeared hopeless. Sen. John McCain has gone so far as to declare that "we are winning in Iraq." While few others express themselves quite so categorically, McCain's remark captures the essence of the emerging story line: Events have (yet again) reached a turning point. There, at the far end of the tunnel, light flickers. Despite the hand-wringing of the defeatists and naysayers, victory beckons.


[W]hat exactly has the surge wrought? In substantive terms, the answer is: not much.


The U.S. dilemma remains unchanged: continue to pour lives and money into Iraq with no end in sight, or cut our losses and deal with the consequences of failure.

In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won't be coming home anytime soon. This was one of the main points of the exercise in the first place.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. His new book, "The Limits of Power," will be published later this year.

the u.s. went in to iraq based on a plan prepared well in advance of 9/11... we went there with the express intention of establishing permanent bases, gaining control of iraq's energy reserves, establishing u.s. hegemony smack in the middle of the largest energy reserves in the world, and extending our control, by force if necessary, up through the 'stans and the caspian basin... and, just like in afghanistan*, which has proudly reclaimed its number one spot as the world's largest opium supplier funneling all that ready cash into the "right" pockets, iraq is also now being converted to a major drug-producing area**... there has never been any serious intent to bring peace to the area, and certainly no real interest in promoting democracy, a concept antithetical to the aims of those who worship the twin deities of money and power...
* Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world's heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing U.S.-sponsored eradication efforts, the Bush administration reported yesterday.

note the disclaimer - "DESPITE" u.s.-sponsored eradication efforts..." HA...!
** The cultivation of opium poppies whose product is turned into heroin is spreading rapidly across Iraq as farmers find they can no longer make a living through growing traditional crops.

Afghans with experience in planting poppies have been helping farmers switch to producing opium in fertile parts of Diyala province, once famous for its oranges and pomegranates, north-east of Baghdad.

does anyone with an interest in pattern recognition see something interesting here...? and, if you add the following piece of history from 2001 to the mix, it becomes much more interesting indeed...
The unexpected success of the Taliban in Afghanistan in eradicating three-quarters of the world's crop of opium poppies in one season is leading experts to ask where production is likely to spring up next.

The director of the United Nations Drug Control Program, Pino Arlacchi, said there was no chance that opium from other sources would compensate this year for the loss of Afghan crops, and the prices of opium and heroin will rise substantially, with opium already worth five to seven times its usual price. His program helped convince the Taliban that opium is a disgrace to Islam.

lemme see if i get this straight... the taliban had ERADICATED THREE-QUARTERS OF THE WORLD'S CROP OF OPIUM POPPIES IN AFGHANISTAN PRIOR TO THE U.S. INVASION IN LATE 2001... in 2006, largely under u.s. control, afghanistan is BACK TO BEING THE WORLD'S NUMBER ONE PRODUCER... now, poppy growers are - pardon the pun - popping up in iraq like mushrooms after a long, soaking rain... gosh... ya THINK...?

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