Friday, April 6, 2007

Now She Tells Us?

Did Jeane Kirkpatrick, the neocon godmother, come to believe the Iraq war was a mistake before she died last year? Publishing house William Morrow has sent out this notice:

Just before Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, a legend in international relations, died in December 2006, she had completed work on her first book in more than fifteen years -- an unflinching, eye-opening revisionist assessment of two decades of American foreign policy. HC, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, will publish this seminal work, Making War to Keep Peace (ISBN: 978-0-061195433; $26.95), in May 2007.

Since the end of the Cold War, Kirkpatrick argues, America's relationship with the world has been especially compromised by mutual distrust with the United Nations, and by continuing involvement with rogue nations overseas. She offers a tightly observed chronicle of the result; a period in which the United States has increasingly used force around the world--to mixed and often challenging results. Tracing the course of diplomatic initiatives and armed conflicts in Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, from the first Bush administration through the Clinton years and the second Bush presidency, she offers an insider's perspective on America's foreign policy--and shares her "grave reservations" about the challenging war in Iraq here for the first time.

With the powerful words that have marked her long and distinguished career, Kirkpatrick explores what went wrong--and the lessons we must heed for the future.

Grave reservations? About the war itself--or the conduct of the war? Some neocons have blasted George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld for ruining their war. But this description of the book suggests Kirkpatrick went further when she wrote her book. And a publicist for William Morrow tells me that in this book Kirkpatrick "challenged our intentions and decisions regarding the Iraq war." Intentions? That's rather intriguing. I eagerly await the book to see if the grand dame of the hawks departed from the neocon script before she left this world.

Posted by David Corn at April 6, 2007 12:01 PM


capt said...

Iran takes the wind out of US sails

By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - If the administration of US President George W Bush is paying attention, the drama over the 15 British sailors and marines, whose release by Iran after 12 days of detention was announced in Tehran on Wednesday, was designed to convey two key messages, according to experts in Washington.

First, the initial capture of the Britons by Revolutionary Guards near the entry to the disputed Shatt-al-Arab waterway was meant to demonstrate that, despite its conventional military weakness and diplomatic isolation, Iran retains the ability to strike at Western interests when it feels sufficiently provoked.

Second, when Western powers engage Iran with respect and as an equal, they are more likely to get what they want than when they take a confrontational path designed to bully or humiliate the regime.

Neither message is likely to be well received either at the White House or among the neo-conservative and other right-wing pundits who have tried hard to depict the incident as the latest sign of Islamic or Persian barbarism. Properly understood, however, the messages could form the basis of a new approach capable of yielding still greater results, according to Juan Cole, a regional expert at the University of Michigan.


capt said...

In the heart of Little Fallujah

By Pepe Escobar

Today's "zero point" returns Iraq to its own history, a history written with the ashes of incendiary fires, with its sons fleeing in all directions on the one hand, and its exiles returning to their own homes on the other. I truly do not know if distance today can be defined through the experiences of refugees, or the masses of displaced people, or the exiles returning to burning cities to live out a sense of loss. Distances begin to take on the forms of lines which have been drawn on ashen roads, resembling the traces of people who have lost their way and have never arrived. - Mohamed Mazloom, Baghdad poet, born 1963, exiled in Syria

DAMASCUS - This is biblical exodus - the YouTube version. Welcome to Little Fallujah - previously Geramana, southeast Damascus. The Nahda area of Geramana now boasts at least 200,000 resident Iraqis. They visibly came with all their savings - and made good use of it. The congested main drag of al-Nahda is an intoxicating apotheosis of anarchic capitalism, business piled upon business - Hawaii fruits, Galilia underwear, Call Me mobile, Snack Bambino, Discovery software school, Eva sunglasses, boutique Tout le Monde, all Iraqi-owned.

Street banners promote nightly Iraqi music festivals. Iraqi restaurants rule - such as the favorite Iraqi Palm Tree, with piped bird-singing and a flotilla of Chevy Suburbans with red Iraqi license plates at the door, also popular with Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians from refugee camps and even Somali and Sudanese immigrants. According to a resident, "Druze beautiful girls" in the neighborhood have been replaced by "fat Iraqi men" - a reference to when al-Nahda used to be a little Druze village sprinkled with a few Christians.

A 100-square-meter apartment sells for 2 million Syrian pounds (roughly US$40,000) - four times as much as before the Iraqi invasion. One square meter in prime business premises is now $20,000. Iraqis always pay US dollars cash. No wonder the price of potatoes has also risen fourfold. Not to mention the inflation of hairdressing salons - where Mesopotamian sirens perfect their Christina Aguilera-influenced, multi-shaded pompadours. And right beside al-Nahda is the action - al-Rahda, peppered with smart cafes like the Stop In and al-Nabil not far away from a huge Sunni mosque.


capt said...

Cheney asserts Iraq-al Qaeda link

US Vice-President Dick Cheney has repeated his assertion that the al-Qaeda network had links with Iraq before the US-led invasion of 2003.

Mr Cheney told a US radio show: "They were present before we invaded Iraq."

Hours earlier, a declassified Pentagon report said information obtained from Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein had confirmed they had no strong ties.

Its publication followed pressure from Democrats who suggest intelligence was twisted in the run-up to the war.

The belief that Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda were working together was an important element in the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq.

Critics have since suggested the administration "cherry-picked" from available intelligence to bolster that case.


*****end of clip*****

There is a substantial difference between "cherry picking" and complete balderdash.


capt said...

Bush/Cheney Still Lie with Abandon

What makes George W. Bush and Dick Cheney such extraordinary threats to the future of American democracy is their readiness to tell half-truths and outright lies consistently without any apparent fear of accountability.

While other politicians might spin some facts in a policy debate or a tell a fib about a personal indiscretion, President Bush and Vice President Cheney act as if they have the power and the right to manufacture reality itself, often on matters of grave significance that bear on war and peace or the future of the nation.

Even in the face of growing public skepticism, Bush and Cheney continue to invent new lies and retell old ones, seemingly with the goal of at least keeping their gullible right-wing "base" behind the faux reality depicted on Fox News, the Rush Limbaugh radio show and other right-wing media outlets.

So, on April 5, Cheney showed no hesitancy in telling Limbaugh’s listeners both an old canard about how Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was in league with al-Qaeda terrorists and a new one about how a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq would "play right into the hands of al-Qaeda."

Cheney surely knows that U.S. intelligence analysts have reached the opposite conclusions on both points – that there was no operational relationship between Hussein’s regime and al-Qaeda; that terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was based in a section of northern Iraq outside Hussein’s control; and that the U.S. occupation of Iraq has been a boon to al-Qaeda that the terrorist group wants to extend, not end.

As one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants, known as "Atiyah," wrote two years ago, "prolonging the war is in our interest." The letter, dated Dec. 11, 2005, and obtained by U.S. intelligence after Zarqawi’s death in June 2006, urged that Zarqawi’s jihadists in Iraq show patience and restraint in deepening their ties to Iraqi Sunni insurgents.


*****end of clip*****

As long as Busheney have no fear of impeachment they will lie with abandon.


David B. Benson said...

Green solar cells for cloudy climates at one-tenth the cost of silicon solar cells -- on Science Daily

This looks most promising...

Carey said...


Look who just resigned! Gonzo is right behind.

Report: Gonzales aide resigns

The Associated Press is reporting that Monica Goodling, counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, has submitted her resignation. Goodling's resignation letter does not provide any reason for her departure, but she was sufficiently implicated in problems over last year's prosecutor purge that she has refused to testify before Congress on the grounds that doing so could implicate her in criminal activity.

Tim Grieve

kathleen said...

Many people face the truth just before they die. If Fitzpatrick was on the path of truth I would imagine she would have parted from the neocons radical path of "creative destruction". Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people are dead, displaced and injured due to the neo-cons lies. 3200 American soldiers are dead and 50,ooo are injured. The neo-cons should pay a heavy price for this.

We know what would happen to them if the Mossad was after them.

On NPR's "all things considered" today, they announced that pollster Matthew Dowd (NPR claimed that he was as responsible for Bush's win in 2000 and 2004 as Karl Rove) has soured on Bush. Dowd announced what many of the neo-cons endlessly repeat "THAT WE ALL BELIEVED IRAQ POSESSED WMD'S". When will the MSM stop them from repeating this HORSESHIT.
30 million people world wide marched against the invasion. A huge pile of experts (Madeline Albright, Brezinski, Scott Ritter, Iaea's El Baradei, etc etc) warned aginst the invasion and many warned that the intelligence was fixed.


David B. Benson said...

Wayne Madison has a weird tale to tell about Cheney today...

Carey said...

Forgive me.


capt said...

"Americans cannot escape a certain responsibility for what is done in our name around the world. In a democracy, even one as corrupted as ours, ultimate authority rests with the people. We empower the government with our votes, finance it with our taxes, bolster it with our silent acquiescence. If we are passive in the face of America's official actions overseas, we in effect endorse them." - Mark Hertzgaard

The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance: Benjamin Franklin

"The most effective means of preventing tyranny is to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts.": Thomas Jefferson

Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act." Albert Einstein


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Carey said...

Dr. B,

That Wayne Madsen report is fascinating. Trickling throughout the story are little lights that go on from things we've read before.

Saladin said...

there is something weird going on with this blog.

Capt, I'm out of town so I can't email you, but has something changed with the blog sign-in?

Saladin said...

Liberals push to impeach Bush
By Christina Bellantoni
April 6, 2007

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) (Getty Images)
Congressional Democrats say their constituents are clamoring for something even the most liberal lawmakers promise they won't pursue: President Bush's impeachment.
"I get one call after another saying, 'Impeach the president,' " said Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and one of Mr. Bush's most relentless critics on the Iraq war.
"It's a simple process but a very divisive thing," Mr. Murtha said. "You've got to measure what it's going to do to the country, and at this point I don't see that happening. Instead we'll fight it out on the issues."
Some members speculated that the Democratic takeover of Congress and passage of Iraq withdrawal timetables in both the House and Senate have emboldened liberals across the country who want to see the president embarrassed during his final 21 months in office.
"The timing is all wrong," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat. "If this were the first two years of his administration I would advocate impeachment. A lot of people at home say impeachment, and I'm sure he committed a lot of impeachable offenses, but think about it practically."
Mr. Nadler said impeachment hearings would be pointless and would only distract the country from the presidential election next year.
Democrats say their constituents also want them to target such administration figures as Vice President Dick Cheney, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's chief political adviser.
Rep. Diane Watson, California Democrat, said she hears calls for impeachment from every crowd.
"They say, 'Democrats: Do something. Get Cheney, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales.' They are saying impeachment. I am hearing that more and more and more," said Ms. Watson.
She said she has been receiving "nothing but kudos" for being one of just a few Democrats to vote against the party's Iraq spending bill on the premise that Congress should not keep funding the war.
Although she said she would support impeachment, she speculated that it is "not a strategy our new leadership would want to start with."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, pledged last year not to seek impeachment hearings if her party won control of Congress.
The crux, like the war. It's all about the politics, not the lost lives. They all deserve the same fate. But the people will keep voting for the same murdering traitors. It's just pathetic.

kathleen said...

I just keep thinking that via this AG scandal the right wing radicals are attempting to cast a cloud over the upcoming Aipac/Rosen trial.

Does anyone believe that the Prosecutor for the Aipac trial.... Paul McNulty could be negatively effected by the AG scandal?

kathleen said...

I believe Hagel is going to be the Republicans man. He could really be a bridge on the Iraq war, and inferences to impeach Bush made by him.

Watch Hagel he is going to move to the front of the Republican pack.

capt said...


"has something changed with the blog sign-in?"

Not that I know of.

From the link HELP on the link list are three links that might be helpful:

Blogger Status
Known Issues
Blogger Buzz


Gerald said...

I am always amazed that people near death will suddenly find the truth. Kirkpatrick is a case in point. How much damaged has she inflicted upon people while she was full of piss and vinegar? We are not born to inflict pain and suffering upon people. We are born to help our world to be a better place for all human beings.


capt said...

(lyrics by James Seals; music by James Seals & Dash Crofts, 1973)

Life, so they say,
is but a game and we let it slip away.
Love, like the Autumn sun,
should be dyin' but it's only just begun.
Like the twilight in the road up ahead,
they don't see just where we're goin'.
And all the secrets in the Universe,
whisper in our ears
And all the years will come and go,
take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.

Dreams, so they say,
are for the fools and they let 'em drift away.
Peace, like the silent dove,
should be flyin' but it's only just begun.
Like Columbus in the olden days,
we must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea.
Cast away our fears
And all the years will come and go,
and take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.

So, I wanna laugh while the laughin' is easy.
I wanna cry if it makes it worthwhile.
We may never pass this way again,
that's why I want it with you.
'Cause, you make me feel like I'm more than a friend.
Like I'm the journey and you're the journey's end.
We may never pass this way again,
that's why I want it with you, baby.

We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.

Gerald said...

Easter is the greatest holyday in all of Christianity. Jesus' Resurrection reveals to us that there is life after death. What kind of life will we have after death? Will we truly want to spend eternity with all of God's children or do we prefer to spend eternity with the devil as his discipline? In Nazi America we can see the dividing line very clearly!!!

Gerald said...

In baseball there is a saying, "Some days you win, some days you lose, and some days it rains." Losing Jesus would be our greatest loss!!!

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I'm going off topic, but yesterday was Good Friday, after all.

In recent years, I've cultivated a habit of listening to Lou Reed's album "New York" [1989] on Good Friday, [I may have missed a year here and there] because of the last track, "Dime Store Mystery". It begins as a meditation on the death of Jesus, then segues into a lament for the then-recent death of Reed's old friend Andy Warhol. [Incidentally, original Velvet Underground drummer Maureen "Mo" Tucker plays drums on the track]
Several years ago, I read an article on Warhol which said he had been a devout Catholic his whole life. At first, that puzzled me slightly, since he spent so much of his life among people whose lifestyle choices the Roman and other churches have traditionally deplored. Then I realized what he had been doing: offering friendship to all, and leaving any necessary judging to the LORD. As I see it, Warhol was practicing true Christianity. Indeed, Jesus Himself did not disdain the outcasts and oddballs of His society, and the elite holier-than-thou types critcized Him for that.

Happy Easter from the swamps of Arkansas!

Hajji said...


Interesting Lou Reed/Velvet Underground connecton/observation.

When I'm casually asked, by just about anybody "Whatcha doin'?" I like to reply..."Hangin' out like a Hair on a Biscuit."

"Where in the world did you come up with THAT?" they'll ask.

It comes from Annie Rearick, a bartender/photographer I worked with in Boston.

Annie was married (I think they were married) to Willie (Loco) Alexander an old-school punk who sang and played with VU after Reed.

Willie's music and personality were quite outside the mainstream, to say the least. He was still considered quite strange when I worked with him producing some recordings in the late 80's and early 90's.

"Hangin' out like a hair on a Biscuit," is a phrase that came from their frequent visits to help support families in great financial and social needs in Harlan County, KY, where my parents are from.

"Weird, bizzare, avant-guarde, etc..." and "Christ-like actions and values" are not often attributed to the same people, yet here's a couple degrees of separation (there are many, many more, of course) from a couple of people whose art is often confused with the anti-social and dysfunctional behaviors who gave of themselves with Christ-like abandon.


capt said...

Jesus was no conservative.

Saladin said...

Capt, I don't even know what conservative is anymore. and I bet Jesus would be just as baffled!

capt said...

More Mainstream Media Obfuscation


Two days after that, Bush invaded Iraq.

Now, Waxman is Committee Chairman and is demanding answers to his many questions about that use.

On cue, Peter Eisner of the Washington Post trots out a piece of "investigative journalism" that appears to absolve the White House.

Eisner, who is evidently not much of an investigative reporter, implies that the Bush-Cheney White House first learned about the Niger documents shortly after October 9, 2002, when Elisabetta Burba, an investigative reporter for the Italian newsweekly Panorama, delivered them to the US Embassy in Rome.

But, in 2005, on the eve indictments in the CIA-Plame affair – investigative reporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo posted this blockbuster exposé (part 1 and part 2) at La Repubblica magazine's Web site.

"The military intervention in Iraq was justified by two revelations: Saddam Hussein attempted to acquire unprocessed uranium (yellowcake) in Niger for enrichment with centrifuges built with aluminum tubes imported from Europe. The fabricators of the twin hoaxes (there was never any trace in Iraq of unprocessed uranium or centrifuges) were the Italian government and Italian military intelligence.

"They are the same two hoaxes that Judith Miller, the reporter who betrayed her newspaper, published (together with Michael Gordon) on September 8, 2002."

According to Bonini and D'Avonzo, then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – who President Bush had asked for any "intelligence" the Italians had that might indicate Saddam Hussein was reconstructing his nuke programs – sent Nicolo Pollari, the Italian equivalent of our director of Central Intelligence, to meet with Stephen Hadley (then-deputy to then-National Security Advisor Condi Rice) in the White House on Sept. 9, 2002.

Pollari later told the Italian Parliament's intelligence oversight committee that he told Hadley:

"We had documentary proof of the acquisition by Iraq of uranium ore from a central African nation. We also know of an Iraqi attempt to purchase centrifuges for uranium enrichment from German and possibly Italian manufacturers."

The same week that Pollari met with Hadley [Condi’s deputy], Berlusconi caused an article to be published in Panorama – a magazine Berlusconi owns – entitled "War With Iraq? It Has Already Begun, " wherein the "intelligence" provided Hadley [Condi’s deputy] is "confirmed."


*****end of clip*****

"How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read"

Could read:

"We pay diplomats to tell lies to journalists then pay journalists to print those lies so we all can believe what we read"


capt said...

Jesus was no neocon.

capt said...

McCain says he misspoke in upbeat Baghdad comments

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John McCain said in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday he misspoke in his recent upbeat comments about security in Baghdad, where he traveled under heavy military protection.

The Arizona senator, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, maintains progress has been made in the U.S.-led war in Iraq, according to comments to be aired on CBS' "60 Minutes." Excerpts were released on Friday.

McCain said he regrets comments he made after a tour of Baghdad last Sunday, when he said he could see progress and the American people were not being told the "good news" about the war, according to excerpts of his comments and a press release provided by "60 Minutes."


*****end of clip*****

McCain was too busy running for the Reich-wing to tell the truth.

Misspoke? Everybody knew better. Stick a fork in John, he will never be President.


capt said...

Airman injured in heat-beam test

An airman received second-degree burns April 4 during a test of the Defense Department’s nonlethal millimeter-wave heat beam at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., according to Marine Corps Maj. Sarah Fullwood, spokeswoman for the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator program, Quantico, Va.

The airman was burned as the Air Force’s 820th Security Forces Group was testing a demonstrator version of the Active Denial System, a Humvee-mounted system that produces an intense heat beam.

He was being treated at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga., and is expected to make a full recovery, Fullwood said.

Fullwood said more than 600 people have been exposed a total of more than 10,000 times to the beam, and there has only been one other injury that required medical attention: a case of second-degree burns that occurred during lab testing in 1999.

"We are going to investigate this and conduct a thorough evaluation. The extended user evaluation has been put on hold until the investigation in complete," Fullwood said.

She said the ADS program would continue after the investigation.

Formal acquisition of the system is planned for 2010.

The ADS grew out of 12 years of Defense Department research and development of a weapon to deter people — rather than kill. The Defense Department has spent about $80 million on the ADS effort, which began in 1998 as an Advanced Technology Research Demonstrator at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

The heat beam fires after a generator on the Humvee creates 50,000 volts of electricity, which powers a gyrotron, a tube that bunches electrons in a magnetic field to emit a 130-degree-Fahrenheit directed-energy beam, said Diana Loree, who runs ADS efforts at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland.


capt said...

Questions Linger About Bushes and BCCI


Then, in 1988, George Bush Sr. was elected president. Harken benefited by getting some new investors, including Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half-brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Osama bin Laden himself was busy elsewhere at the time -- organising al Qaeda.

The money BCCI stole before it was shut down in 1991 -- somewhere between 9.5 billion and 15 billion dollars -- made its 20-year heist the biggest bank fraud in history. Most of it was never recovered. International banks' complicity in the offshore secrecy system effectively covered up the money trail.

But in the years after the collapse of BCCI, Khalid bin Mahfouz was still flush with cash. In 1992, he established the Muwafaq ("blessed relief") Foundation in the offshore Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department called it "an al Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."

When the BCCI scandal began to break in the late 1980s, the Sr. Bush administration did what it could to sit on it. The Justice Department went after the culprits -- was virtually forced to -- only after New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau did. But evidence about BCCI's broader links exist in numerous U.S. and international investigations. Now could be a good time to take another look at the BCCI-Osama-Saddam-Saudi-Bush connection.


capt said...

Bob Geiger Saturday Cartoons!

He always has the best collection.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I truly MUST sleep soon, but before I go stack Zs--I would almost bet that within a year after the vaunted heat ray gets its first well-publicized use, someone(s) will come up with a cheap, effective defense against it. What they do waste our tax money on...

Ciao for nao, IBW

capt said...

Detroit Should Thank the Supremes

On Monday, the US Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. EPA, produced what some are calling its most important environmental ruling in a generation, telling the EPA that unless it determines that global warming causes no harm, it must begin regulating CO2 emissions.

The case began with a lawsuit in 1999 by environmental groups, later joined by a number of states, asserting that under the authority of the Clean Air Act, the EPA had to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars. The auto industry then joined in the lawsuit, coming to EPA's defense.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers also brought a separate suit against California after the state passed its own law regulating CO2 emissions in 2002. The bill, AB 1493, sponsored by California Rep. Fran Pavley, requires new cars and trucks sold in California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent by 2012 and 30 percent by 2016. Detroit maintains that California has no right to make its own CO2 regulations because regulating CO2 has to mean regulating fuel economy and that is the prerogative of the Department of Transportation. On that basis, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sued California and two states that adopted its regulations, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Monday's ruling should moot Detroit's lawsuit against California, Rhode Island and Vermont because the Supreme Court made it very clear that CO2 is defined as a pollutant. California has the right to promulgate its own air quality regulations under the Clean Air Act because it had strict air pollution rules in place at the time the act was passed. The Clean Air Act is a minimum standard, and California and other states following California's lead can exceed those standards if they wish.


O'Reilly said...

McNulty claims he was misinformed by Goodling and Sampson before his testified about the US Attorney firings. You may be onto something Kathleen but I don't see it. That is not to say that politicos in the Bush DOJ wouldn't manipulate in order to effect the trial - i think they would and I wouldn't be surprised to find out they did - but I don't understand what angle you see on that.

I wondered if Goodling was the firewall for Gonzalez and beyond [White House interference in US Attorney business including cases slowly prosecuted and cases unjustifiably prosecuted (against Republics and democratic politicians, respectivly)] Now it looks more like she's knows she's committed crimes and she got good lawyers at Akin Gump trying to keep her out of jail. Apparently, her leave of absence prior to her resignation brought her to the five year mark, which may entitle her to extended heathcare coverage or other former federal employee benefits.

Between Carter and Cockburn we finally have some mainstream voices talking sense about the future of peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. Sixteen arab nations have voiced their approval to seeking peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people. The Geneva plan was held in favor by a majority of people, jews and palestinian alike. Bush has destroyed his chance to be the impartial peace broker. The process needs leadership. The door is open, which is a rare occurence. Where will the leadership come from?

David B. Benson said...

O'Reilly --- In a more perfect world, from the U.N...

capt said...

"Bush has destroyed his chance to be the impartial peace broker."

And America's along with it.

So many lost opportunities.


Pat said...

Monica Goodling may have been Alberto's firewall. She was also the conduit between DOJ and the WH. Consider the DOJ did not break the law (as amended) when firing those U.S.As. It became news when so many of them were fired, especially the high-profile Carol Lam on the heels of the Randy "Duke" Cunningham conviction. But there were still loose ends like Abramoff, Jerry Lewis, MZM ... so you get my drift here. Ms. Lam would have been Wonder Woman exposing the truth. They couldn't let Lam and others proceed because it would get too close and too big. Lame Duck or not, there was too much to keep under wraps.

I think DOJ knew they were on shaky ground. They weren't prepared and on the same page when the questions started - and persisted - and they realized you-know-what hit the fan. In their scramble to cover up I believe they became almost tribal where each was only concerned with his/her survival, and hope the chief survives too.

Ms. Goodling's leave may not have been pleasant weighing her options, possibly including baring her soul and self-incrimination, or covering up what she/they did. It's not that I pity her. What she knows and what she did must be quite compelling to resign from a job that was an "honor" for her. What she is facing she will do alone without the DOJ behind her. Perhaps empathy with the U.S.As who were fired will move her to tell the whole truth.

Maybe Ms. G. can cut a deal.

Has anyone heard any new talking points about this?

Is it ludicrous to wonder how a special prosecutor could be appointed now? Just asking.


capt said...

"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser


The media blasted Pelosi for "violat[ing] a long-held understanding that the United States should speak with one official voice abroad" without noting that, according to Republican Congressman David Hobson, who accompanied her on the trip, Pelosi did no such thing. Nor did many news outlets note the fact that when he was speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert urged Colombian military officials to circumvent the Clinton administration and work directly with the Republican Congress. In other words: The media criticized Pelosi for something that even a Republican member of Congress says she did not do, while ignoring the fact that Hastert did do it.


capt said...

Coral Reef Collapse Spells Danger For Millions

Island communities that depend on coral reef fisheries could face a hungry future, according to new research from the University of East Anglia, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and Simon Fraser University in Canada, published in Current Biology.

The report on island coral reef fisheries reveals that over half (55%) of the 49 island countries reviewed were being exploited unsustainably. Fish landings are currently 64% higher than can be sustained. In order to support this level of exploitation, an additional 75,000 km2 of coral reef would be needed – an area 3.7 times greater than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. These figures will nearly triple by 2050, given current human population growth projections.

Katie Newton, of the University of East Anglia’s School of Biological Sciences, undertook a survey of the landing catches of 49 island nations across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

"Millions of people are dependent on coral reef fisheries. We are facing a global crisis among communities which have limited alternative livelihoods or major food sources," she said.

"Coral reef ecologists have tended to focus on specific issues rather than the big picture of the resilience of these fisheries when faced with extensive over-exploitation. Scientists need to work hand in hand with development agencies to address this pressing situation."

Team leader for the study, Dr Nick Dulvy, of Cefas, says: "Unchecked levels of over-exploitation can only lead to long-term social and economic hardship. Management methods to reduce dependence on reef fisheries are essential to prevent the collapse of these valuable ecosystems.

"Apart from over-fishing, sustainability could also be influenced by global warming impacts: the potential abandonment of atolls due to rising sea levels and the loss of reef productivity when temperature-induced bleaching kills coral. So it is likely that alternative livelihoods will be essential for many of those currently dependent on coral reef fisheries."

The authors calculated the ecological footprint of the islands, where 1 equals resource consumption balancing sustainable reef production. One-third of the countries had unsustainable footprints (>1), and nearly half of the island nations were categorised as over-exploited or collapsed.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University Of East Anglia.


capt said...

A Happy Easter - Passover to all!

capt said...


- This Week: The War in Afghanistan/Music in Paraguay (60 minutes), Tuesday, April 10 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings)
- Live Discussion: Chat with reporter Sam Kiley Wednesday, April 11, at 11 am ET

We turn our newsletter over this week to Stephen Talbot, series editor of our international news magazine, FRONTLINE/World, for a preview of Tuesday's reports--


Remember Afghanistan? Overshadowed by the escalating war in Iraq, the effort to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan is often neglected by the media these days and forgotten by many who once cheered the overthrow of the Taliban in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

But in the past year, the Taliban forces have been resurgent, NATO and U.S. troops have engaged in heavy combat, and President Bush has pledged another $10 billion to rebuild the country.

In "Afghanistan: The Other War," FRONTLINE/World reporter Sam Kiley ventures deep into Afghanistan to show what U.S. and NATO forces are up against. Kiley gains exceptional access to British General David Richards, the outgoing supreme commander of all NATO troops in Afghanistan, and follows a small unit of Canadian soldiers attempting to carry out a reconstruction and "good works" mission in southern Afghanistan near the troubled city of Kandahar. It is a unique and sobering portrait.

"Do you think we came here to kill anybody? The answer is, no," Gen. Richards tells Kiley. "We came here actually to secure an environment in which reconstruction and development and good governance can take place and begin to flourish."

But that task has proven exceedingly difficult, given a legacy of corrpution, warlords and now, a revived Taliban on the offensive. In some of the film's most revealing scenes, Sergeant Nicola Bascom, a Canadian, tries to win the hearts and minds of villagers in what had been a Taliban stronghold. She struggles to overcome the wariness of the villagers, local and military bureaucracy, and the skepticism of some of her own troops. "I understand you don't trust anybody," Bascom tells one frustrated member of her unit. "But just to come in here and say everybody is Taliban, everyone should die, all that is completely wrong."

A veteran war correspondent, Kiley reported two previous stories on Iraq for FRONTLINE/World. His insights into the Afghan conflict are timely, provocative and bracing.

This Tuesday we also journey to Paraguay to tell the story of a classical musician and social entrepreneur who has dedicated himself to trying to redeem the lives of poor and neglected children. In "Sounds of Hope," FRONTLINE/World reporter Monica Lam introduces us to Luis Szaran, who rose from humble beginnings to become the conductor of Paraguay's national symphony. Five years ago, Szaran began setting up music schools to teach orphans, street kids and other impoverished children. It's a heart-warming story about a project that is not only bringing music into the lives of the poor, but also, as Szaran sees it, creating "a network for social change" in his country.

And finally, we are airing again "A Little Goes a Long Way," one of our most popular stories about a new way of providing micro-loans online to entrepeneurs in developing countries. Travel to Uganda with PRI radio and FRONTLINE/World reporter Clark Boyd as he shows how the loans work to improve the lives of some very grateful and enterprising people. You'll discover why this story generated such an overwhelming response when we first broadcast it last October.

As always, our Web site has special features linked to these three stories, plus more than 100 other stories from over 50 countries in our video archive.

And, let us know what you think of our "stories from a small planet" at

Stephen Talbot
Series Editor

capt said...

Five more years in Iraq, say defence papers

Britain's "overstretched" armed forces will fight in Iraq for at least another five years.

A confidential planning document drawn up by defence chiefs called the Operational Tour Plot, parts of which have been disclosed to this newspaper, reveals that troops will be serving on operations in the Gulf until at least 2012.

News of the future operations can be revealed just three days after four soldiers, two of them women, were killed in a carefully planned ambush in Basra, taking the British forces death toll in Iraq to 140.

Almost 100,000 of the 180,000 members of the country's armed services have now served in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

Two of the four provinces in southern Iraq are now under the control of official Iraqi forces. Maysan province is due to be handed over later this month and the Iraqi military should take official control of Basra province later this summer. But British troops will remain for at least another five years, the government documents reveal.


*****end of clip*****

Will this cause a dust-up across the pond?


capt said...

Ex-army officer: troops are dying in Iraq for a 'doomed project'

A former captain in the Scots Guards who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq describes both operations as a political and military shambles in a book to be published next week.

Leo Docherty, 30, was formally reprimanded six months ago for breaking the Army's code of silence by criticising the top brass for a catalogue of failures in both countries. He left the Army disillusioned and under a cloud in September, but now risks further ire from his former masters by publishing an account of his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, called Desert of Death.

Mr Docherty, who speaks five languages, including Arabic and Pashto, became a captain in 2001 and was deployed to Basra in Iraq in November 2004. "None of us in the officers' mess believed in the weapons of mass destruction nonsense - we all saw that as a kind of pretext," he said.

But things started to go wrong quickly, and Mr Docherty began to feel that Operation Telic was causing as many problems for the population as it solved.

"There are nearly 10,000 British troops there just getting on with the job, taking terrible risks and dying for the sake of a doomed project, and yet they crack on like it's inevitable, reasonable and sensible to be there," he said. "A lot of what you're doing is often counterproductive, in the sense that it's damaging relations with local people."


capt said...

Ahead in the Clouds

Susan Solomon helped patch the ozone hole. Now, as a leader of a major United Nations report—out this month—she's going after global warming

This month, when the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization release their first major report on global climate change in six years, two things are likely to happen. Some people will dismiss it. And Susan Solomon will grow hoarse explaining why they shouldn't.

A no-nonsense 51-year-old atmospheric chemist, she's a co-leader of the massive new study, along with Qin Dahe, a climatologist from the China Meteorological Administration in Beijing. Solomon will become the public face of the U.N. report, in charge of presenting the best scientific thinking on the subject of global warming and the evidence that it is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. "The science is strong," she says, "and we'll be presenting a consensus view."

To reach that consensus, Solomon logged more than 400,000 air miles over the past four years and held dozens of meetings with the report's more than 500 authors. "This much I can say: the climate is changing and quite noticeably," she says shortly before the report is released. In her paper- and book-crammed office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, she suggests that policy makers (and the rest of us) have reached a critical moment in our dealings with, or failings to deal with, climate change: "The effects will vary from region to region, and the challenge that society will face is to get people to think beyond their own backyards and to make judgments about the risks they're willing to take."

Maybe as the climate continues to warm, the ice caps won't melt; maybe a rising sea level will be offset by some other unforeseen event. She's reminded of the scene in Dirty Harry in which the cop played by Clint Eastwood confronts a criminal: "You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" Solomon says, "That's what we as a society have to decide. Will we choose to go down the same path, or will we make some changes in our behaviors? You could say that the gun of climate change is pointed at us. So, how lucky do we feel?"


*****end of clip*****

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead


capt said...



I'm fed up with the gutless mini-politics of this Congress. Who gives a damn whether they've passed a minimum wage bill? It'll never get past Bush anyhow. Neither will anything else of consequence that this Congress passes.

Unless they don't start challenging the Bush administration directly and forcefully, Congressional Democrats aren't going to do bupkis in two years and people are going to start wondering why they were voted in in the first place. People might even start to think seriously about letting the Democratic Party just wither away.

Wouldn't make much of a difference without it, really, and we might even come up with something better. It wouldn't be too hard to do.


capt said...

Quake lifts Solomons island out of the sea

RANONGGA, Solomon Islands (AFP) - The seismic jolt that unleashed the deadly Solomons tsunami this week lifted an entire island metres out of the sea, destroying some of the world's most pristine coral reefs.

In an instant, the grinding of the Earth's tectonic plates in the 8.0 magnitude earthquake Monday forced the island of Ranongga up three metres (10 foot).

Submerged reefs that once attracted scuba divers from around the globe lie exposed and dying after the quake raised the mountainous landmass, which is 32-kilometres (20-miles) long and 8-kilometres (5-miles) wide.

Corals that used to form an underwater wonderland of iridescent blues, greens and reds now bleach under the sun, transforming into a barren moonscape surrounding the island.

The stench of rotting fish and other marine life stranded on the reefs when the seas receded is overwhelming and the once vibrant coral is dry and crunches underfoot.

Dazed villagers stand on the shoreline, still coming to terms with the cataclysmic shift that changed the geography of their island forever, pushing the shoreline out to sea by up to 70 metres.

Aid agencies have yet to reach Ranongga after the quake and tsunami that killed at least 34 people in the Pacific archipelago but an AFP reporter and photographer on a chartered boat witnessed the destruction first hand.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Uh folks, remember what happened to the Democrats when they DID do something gutsy? Back in the 1960s, the Democrats, along with some honorable Republicans [yes, there used to be such people] did the moral, gutsy thing and ended segregation--whereupon the GOP, abandoning all honor it ever had, promptly instituted the "Southern Strategy" of encoded appeals to racism, which worked so well that the Democrats became the minority party for years, a situation from which they only now are recovering.

I don't blame the Democrats for not choosing heroism, because my depraved and despicable fellow palefaced Americans lost no time in punishing them when they did. The voting performance of a majority of my fellow palefaces during those years constitute a monument to Mencken's statement that "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it, good and hard." Selah.

From the swamps of Arkansas, Ivory Bill Woodpecker

capt said...

"There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust." -- Demosthenes: Philippic 2, sect. 24

We have come out of the time when obedience, the acceptance of discipline, intelligent courage and resolution, were most important, into that more difficult time when it is a person's duty to understand the world rather than simply fight for it. -- Ernest Hemingway

"It's important to realize that whenever you give power to politicians or bureaucrats, it will be used for what they want, not for what you want."-- Harry Browne

"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." -- Pericles, 430 B.C.


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Concerning The Word Christian

The mass media have been deeply complicit in the attempt by evangelical Protestants to appropriate the word "Christian" for themselves. (Don't look for Byrd motets or the Bach Mass in B-Minor in listings of "Christian" music, or St. Thomas Aquinasa's Summas in "Christian" bookstores.) And political reporters have been only too willing to use terms like "Christian right."

It made news when James Dobson said of Fred Thompson, a baptized member of the Church of Christ, that "I don't think he's a Christian." But his spokesman explains Dobson's point: "We use that word—Christian—to refer to people who are evangelical Christians." So it's not just Catholics and Mormons: now all of mainstream Protestantism is "non-Christian" in the view of the Republican ayatollahs. It would be nice if political reporters made that clear to their readers.

But of course it would be nice if political reporters knew anything about religion. Everyone agrees, now, that it's important to know a Shi'a from a Sunni. But my guess is that not one political reporter or blogger in ten could explain the difference between fundamentalism and Pentacostalism, or explain the contrast between the mega-churches and the Southern Baptist Convention. This stuff matters to people, and therefore it matters to the world. Being proud of the fact that it doesn't matter to you is no excuse for not understanding it.


David B. Benson said...

Yesterday I learned that Cerro Hudson is an active volcano, first noticed erupting only in 1971 and must recently in 1991, with one or two very minor eruptions in between. Even the 1991 eruption wasn't much.

Earlier I hadn't even realized there were any volcanoes that far south in Chile...

Gerald said...

Let us all cry out against the slaughter of God's children!!!

April 1: Let the Stones Cry Out

David B. Benson said...

The Guardian today offers a grim picture of the future.

Not for those with weak disgestive systems...

capt said...

Iranians Behind Sept. 11 Attacks: Rudy Giliani

Giuliani Says Nation at War Requires Him

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 6 — As Rudolph W. Giuliani introduced himself to primary voters this week, he rarely talked about the details of New York’s darkest day.

But Sept. 11 was a constant backdrop, and as Mr. Giuliani promoted his vision of a forceful foreign policy that calls for the United States to continue slugging it out in Iraq, he let his audiences know that his was an outlook forged by fire.

"What they say in Washington is not going to affect the fact that there are terrorists around the world that are planning to come here and kill us," he said in Iowa, in the most spirited part of his newly honed stump speech.

Pointing his finger and bouncing up and down on his toes, he declared, "It is something I understand better than anyone else running for president."

Rudy Giuliani’s biography is clearly his message, especially when it comes to foreign policy. He is drawing heavily on his résumé as a crime-fighting mayor who has seen the horror of terrorism to convince voters that he is the candidate who can lead the country in a time of war.


*****end of clip*****

Will the true believers call Rudy a "conspiracy theorist?"


capt said...

Climate scientist 'duped to deny global warming'

A leading US climate scientist is considering legal action after he says he was duped into appearing in a Channel 4 documentary that claimed man-made global warming is a myth. Carl Wunsch, professor of physical oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the film, The Great Global Warming Swindle, was 'grossly distorted' and 'as close to pure propaganda as anything since World War Two'.

He says his comments in the film were taken out of context and that he would not have agreed to take part if he had known it would argue that man-made global warming was not a serious threat. 'I thought they were trying to educate the public about the complexities of climate change,' he said. 'This seems like a deliberate attempt to exploit someone who is on the other side of the issue.' He is considering a complaint to Ofcom, the broadcast regulator.

The film, shown on Thursday, was made by Martin Durkin. In 1997, he produced a similar series for Channel 4 called Against Nature, which attacked many of the claims of the environmental movement.

Durkin said: 'Carl Wunsch was most certainly not "duped" into appearing in the film, as is perfectly clear from our correspondence with him. Nor are his comments taken out of context. His interview, as used in the programme, perfectly accurately represents what he said.'

Channel 4 said: 'We feel it is important that all sides of the debate are aired. If one of the scientists featured now has concerns about his contribution, we will look into it in the normal way.'

*****end of clip*****

The guy was clearly duped and taken out of context.


capt said...

Partial Response to the London Channel 4 Film "The Great Global Warming Swindle"


In the part of the "Swindle" film where I am describing the fact that the ocean tends to expel carbon dioxide where it is warm, and to absorb it where it is cold, my intent was to explain that warming the ocean could be dangerous---because it is such a gigantic reservoir of carbon. By its placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be

very important --- diametrically opposite to the point I was making---which is that global warming is both real and threatening.

Many of us feel an obligation to talk to the media---it's part of our role as scientists, citizens, and educators. The subjects are complicated, and it is easy to be misquoted or quoted out context. My experience in the past is that these things do happen, but usually inadvertently---most reporters really do want to get it right.

Channel 4 now says they were making a film in a series of "polemics". There is nothing in the communication we had (much of it on the telephone or with the film crew on the day they were in Boston) that suggested they were making a film that was one-sided, anti-educational, and misleading. I took them at face value---a great error. I knew I had no control over the actual content, but it never occurred to me that I was dealing with people who would deliberately distort my views.

The letter I sent them as soon as I heard about the actual program is below.


*****end of clip*****

In his own words. Why would the filmmakers of "Swindle" manipulate his message and take his words out of context if they were "selling" the truth? Seems "Swindle" better describes the crap they are trying to pull, eh?


capt said...

A new day, a new dawn of agendas

It's a new day for this Brainster. For those of you who haven't heard already, James and I have decided to go separate ways. I wish him luck. We had a great run with Screw Loose Change, made a lot of waves, shook up the Internet, but, due a difference of opinion about approach, this is for the best.

I know this blog appears to be attacking my roots. Well, I guess it is, but not the mission of exposing the propaganda, but the MEANS we used. It seemed reasonable at first, all's fair in love and war, as they say. But then we lost our way, drifting from exposing "Loose Change" and it's distortions, that now even the creator's admit, to attacking any 911 truther for any reason whatsoever.

Two events were a water shed for me; the Arizona conference and Nico Haupt. At the twoofer con I couldn't help cringing at the mix of wackiness on parade. Chemtrails mixed with for more reasonable, if incorrect research, and it was abundantly clear to me that most participants also felt ambivalent about the diluting of their message. I remain grateful for Stephen's helping me get in, but, frankly, was embarrassed at his antics. I know this didn't come through when I blogged it, but then I had to adhere to guidelines, which I am not free to disclose at this point. And this is not to mention the push to all but invent the crisis of Holocaust denial among the twoof movement, though in fact, it is no more prevalent there than anywhere else.

In the same vein we were to tolerate Nico Haupt and I'd been explicitly advised to visit his news aggregator. At the time it seemed odd, but I then I saw so much that seemed to confirm the "truth" movement was a scam. I should have been more suspicious, but as this was where my head was at the time, I only saw it as validation. This was a point of contention between James and I: first I was supposed to push Nico's 911Blogger parody, that included Nazi imagery as amusing, then I was told I must acknowledge it's offensiveness but defend Nico's free speech rights.

I didn't get into this project to defend someone like Nico Haupt, and I said so. That was our first serious argument and, while avoiding the gory details, suffice it to say, it all went down hill after that.

So here I am, by myself, to expose how our efforts to educate the public were hijacked by other entities. I truly do wish James well; I have no personal animosity towards him or Screw Loose Change as a blog concept. But we made a Faustian bargain and this is the only way I can see out of it.

So fasten your seat belts, hombres: as soon as all my material is together, I'll be showing you what REALLY happened behind the scenes at Screw Loose Change over the last year.

Assuming THEY don't get me. Ha, ha!


*****end of clip*****

The "anti-911 truthers" are full of political and other hidden agenda.

" At the time it seemed odd, but I then I saw so much that seemed to confirm the "truth" movement was a scam. I should have been more suspicious, but as this was where my head was at the time, I only saw it as validation."

When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.


Gerald said...

It is the merit of a general to impart good news, and to conceal the truth.
– Sophocles

Gerald said...

Let us reflect into the future and see Giuliani as president! That should make the reichwingers feel glorified. Rudy says the world needs him as president. The Nazis have only screwballs to run for the presidency. With more screwballs entering the race, George, the war pimp, will have to declare martial law and cancel the elections. The pimp is adored by the reichwingers and they would love to have him back as the Liar in Chief. Our pimping Supreme Court will also back him.

Gerald said...

Troops continue to die for Bush's lies

Gerald said...

Let me make a comment on Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, that is based in New York City.

Not all that he does can be considered off the wall. Bill Donohue is suffering from the sin of PRIDE. Bill Donohue and his Board of Directors read like the Who's Who in the Nazi Party. Catholic Nazis have infiltrated the Catholic League. Bill is an avid supporter of The War Pimp. PRIDE keeps Bill from breaking with Bush. Such PRIDE can be impacting his health, thought processes, and mental health.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I wish the USA had more Catholics like Andy Warhol [RIP] or Gerald and fewer like Bill Donohue. Not that we Protestants are doing any better: Dobson, Falwell, Robertson, Wildmon, et cetera, ad nauseam. On that first Good Friday, the spiritual ancestors of the "Christian" Right could be found in Pilate's courtyard shouting "Crucify Him!"---IBW

capt said...

Bush Spreads Guantanamo Gangrene Around World; Tens of Thousands Held


The miseries of Guantanamo are being multiplied by the "compassionate conservative" in the White House. According to the British "Observer" newspaper, the U.S. operates an "invisible" (and hence illegal) network of prisons stretching from Diego Rivera to Iraq to Thailand, and including prison ships on the Indian Ocean. The Washington Post reported that six days after 9/11, Bush gave the CIA "broad authorization to disrupt terrorist activity, including permission to kill, capture and detain members of al Qaeda anywhere in the world." This order, of course, appropriate for a Roman Emperor, has not the merest shred of legality. By the time of his 2003 State of the Union, though, Bush could crow more than 3,000 suspected terrorists "have been arrested in many countries."

Soon, tens of thousands of men, mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, were being detained. The ensuing brutalities and murders at Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad, have been well documented. Likewise Bagram prison, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, where prisoners were chained to ceilings for days and repeatedly beaten; where they have been put in cold rooms so long their hands and feet became swollen, inflicting excruciating pain and death. As at Abu Ghraib, some Bagram captives were just beaten to death. John Sifton of Human Rights Watch, reported Iraq detainees were routinely beaten. Torture was "condoned and commonly used," he said. The U.S., of course, prefers to commit such crimes in secret. Reminiscent of the odious practices of Stalin and Hitler, the CIA illegally denies Red Cross access to its compound in Kabul, known as "The Pit," and prisoners are illegally kept "off the books," also illegal. An official of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Shamsullah Ahmadzai, told The New York Times that the Afghan police, courts, and prosecutors are all limited by law in how long they can hold criminal suspects, "The Americans are detaining people without any legal procedures. Prisoners do not have the opportunity to demonstrate their innocence."

In Morocco, the "Observer" says, the government has obligingly locked U.S. captives in the Al-Tamara interrogation center near Rabat. In Syria, the U.S. consigns detainees for torture in Damascus. Egypt also gets a flow of alleged militants to be tortured. The U.S. also houses prisoners in Baku, Azerbaijan, at a U.S. airbase in Qatar, and as far away as Thailand. Still other prisoners are alleged to be held in Poland, and some are known to have been tortured in Saudi Arabia and Aman, Jordan.

Many suspects are seized in Europe. Italy has arrest warrants out for a score of CIA agents for nabbing a suspect off the streets in Milan. On January 23 of last year, the Council of Europe put the number of illegally seized men on that continent at about 100. Swiss Senator Dick Marty told the Council: "I believe it is absolutely demonstrated that alleged terrorists or terrorist sympathizers were kidnapped, transported against their will across Europe, detained outside any jurisdiction, deprived of all rights, and sent to countries that, notably, offer no guarantees at all of the respect for fundamental rights."


*****end of clip*****

Psalm 140
1 Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man; preserve me from the violent man,


capt said...

Trying to Stay Out of Iran

House and Senate Democrats must still work out a compromise that resolves the differences in each body's Iraq measure. Then they may find themselves in a constitutional showdown with a veto-wielding President. This won't leave much time for a debate over Iran, says David Corn.

When House Democratic leaders were designing legislation that attached a withdrawal deadline to $100 billion in supplemental funding for the Iraq War, they initially included a provision stating that President Bush couldn't use military force against Iran without obtaining a Congressional OK. For many Democrats, this was a no-brainer. At an issues retreat in early February, retired Gen. John Hoar had told House Democrats there was a high probability of military confrontation. Some Democratic legislators were looking to cut Bush off at the pass. "Once burned, shame on you; twice burned, shame on me," says liberal Representative Jim McDermott. But as John Larson, vice chair of the House Democratic caucus and co-sponsor of a similar Iran measure, recalls, "A funny thing happened on the way to the forum." The Iran provision was pulled out of the Iraq bill.

Appropriations Committee chair David Obey, who had drafted the Iran provision, had an explanation for disappointed fellow Democrats: He had concluded that it was poorly written and Bush could easily circumvent it. But several conservative Blue Dog Democrats had complained about limiting Bush's options regarding Iran, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, looking for votes to pass the Iraq War spending bill, decided to appease them. (Her calculation paid off: The bill passed on a 218-to-212 vote.) Days after the Iran measure was yanked, an upset McDermott spoke at a meeting of House Democrats. "We have to make a decision," he recalls saying, "whether to leave this guy [Bush] with a blank check." Pelosi promised they'd have the chance to vote on the issue.

But politics and policy are in the details. Pelosi could green-light a stand-alone bill compelling Bush to seek Congressional authority before initiating military action, or she could attach such language to a piece of must-pass legislation, such as the defense authorization bill. House Democrats may not have enough votes to pass separate legislation. Last June, Representative Maurice Hinchey proposed an amendment that would have prohibited military action against Iran unless Congress first declared war. It was soundly defeated, with forty-seven Democrats voting nay. (A year earlier Peter DeFazio won only 136 votes for a similar measure.) Although the Democrats have since gained the majority, House aides estimate that there are still dozens of Democrats who would not vote for such a measure. And only five Republicans have supported legislation proposed by Republican Walter Jones that would allow the President to use military force against Iran only after receiving "specific authorization" from Congress (unless Iran attacks the United States or is about to do so). Moreover, Democrat Tom Lantos, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is pushing legislation to intensify sanctions against Iran; and some Democrats would prefer to see get-tough action define their party's Iran policy, not legislation limiting Bush's power.

House Democratic aides note the possibility of combining sanctions with restrictions on Bush. But that would not be to the liking of AIPAC, the powerhouse pro-Israel lobby, which has declared the Lantos bill a top priority. In a recent speech AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr said that legislation restricting Bush's options would be "a sign of weakness." Asked if he can point to a political fight lost by AIPAC recently, Representative Larson replied, "Not to my recollection." But if Pelosi tucks an Iran provision into a compulsory bill, it will have a better chance.

In the Senate, freshman Democrat James Webb has introduced legislation to prohibit Bush from striking Iran without Congressional authority unless it's to counter actual or imminent attack. After taking office Webb reviewed Bush's signing statement for the bill granting him permission to use force against Iraq and saw that Bush insisted he had "constitutional authority to use force" to "respond to aggression or other threats to U.S. interests." This claim was "so broad," Webb thought, that Congress had to prevent Bush from applying it to Iran. Webb had hoped to include his bill in the Senate's Iraq-funding legislation, but the legislation was passed without it. Majority leader Harry Reid supports the idea underlying Webb's proposal. But some Democrats fear that such initiatives imply that Bush has the authority to attack Iran unless Congress declares otherwise, and that if a bill like Webb's were defeated, Bush's hand would be strengthened. "I understand the concern," says Webb, "and I'm not taking any options off the table, just trying to rein in a trigger-happy President."

But before Iran comes Iraq. House and Senate Democrats must still work out a compromise that resolves the differences in each body's Iraq measure. Then they may find themselves in a constitutional showdown with a veto-wielding President. This won't leave much time for a debate over Iran. Given rising tensions between the Administration and Tehran, DeFazio says, "we may not even get to send the President a message before something happens."

David Corn is the Washington editor for The Nation magazine.


capt said...

Texas men's innocence puts a county on trial

DALLAS — Many men claim innocence when staring at iron bars. But James Giles knew he was no rapist — and he believed three fellow Texas prisoners who told him they too were wrongly convicted of rape.

They shared their despair over games of chess and dominoes, worked on longshot appeals together in the law library, and dreamed of the day they would win exoneration from a justice system that failed them.

It has taken nearly 25 years, but with the assistance of DNA testing, the men — all African American — are proving they are indeed innocent. Two were freed from prison. A third was cleared last month, years after serving his sentence. Today, Giles is expected to clear his name and become the 13th man from Dallas County to prove with genetic testing that he was wrongly imprisoned.

Giles, who spent 10 years in prison and was paroled in 1993, is seeking to vacate his 1983 conviction. New evidence suggests that another man — also named James Giles — committed the rape. Dallas County prosecutors more than two decades ago knew about the other James Giles, who lived across the street from the victim, but never told Giles' defense.


*****end of clip*****

If the authorities could have issued the death penalty the innocence of these men would have been silenced forever.


Robert S said...


And if Alberto Gonzales had reviewed the Death Warrants for these innocent men, W. would have signed them all with less than 15 minutes review per warrant.

Robert S said...

GOP-issued laptops now a White House headache
Democrats say a private e-mail system was used in violation of federal rules.
By Tom Hamburger, Times Staff Writer
April 9, 2007

WASHINGTON — When Karl Rove and his top deputies arrived at the White House in 2001, the Republican National Committee provided them with laptop computers and other communication devices to be used alongside their government-issued equipment.

The back-channel e-mail and paging system, paid for and maintained by the RNC, was designed to avoid charges that had vexed the Clinton White House — that federal resources were being used inappropriately for political campaign purposes.

Now, that dual computer system is creating new embarrassment and legal headaches for the White House, the Republican Party and Rove's once-vaunted White House operation.

Democrats say evidence suggests the RNC e-mail system was used for political and government policy matters in violation of federal record preservation and disclosure rules.

In addition, Democrats point to a handful of e-mails obtained through ongoing inquiries suggesting the system may have been used to conceal such activities as contacts with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was convicted on bribery charges and is now in prison for fraud.

Democratic congressional investigators are beginning to demand access to this RNC-White House communications system, which was used not only by Rove's office but by several top officials elsewhere in the White House.

The prospect that such communication might become public has further jangled the nerves of an already rattled Bush White House.

Some Republicans believe that the huge number of e-mails — many written hastily, with no thought that they might become public — may contain more detailed and unguarded inside information about the administration's far-flung political activities than has previously been available.

"There is concern about what may be in these e-mails," said one GOP activist who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject.


Robert S said...

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky on "the Iran Effect"

Robert S said...

In an instant, the grinding of the Earth's tectonic plates in the 8.0 magnitude earthquake Monday forced the island of Ranongga up three metres (10 foot).

Too bad about the coral, although globally coral has been having a bad time of it lately, what with fighting tires in Florida, and other destructive forces generally...but, at least in a time of rising seas, 3 meters may be useful...

Robert S said...

Pearls Before Breakfast
Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out.
By Gene Weingarten
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 8, 2007; Page W10

HE EMERGED FROM THE METRO AT THE L'ENFANT PLAZA STATION AND POSITIONED HIMSELF AGAINST A WALL BESIDE A TRASH BASKET. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.

It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant.

Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he's really bad? What if he's really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?

On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

The musician did not play popular tunes whose familiarity alone might have drawn interest. That was not the test. These were masterpieces that have endured for centuries on their brilliance alone, soaring music befitting the grandeur of cathedrals and concert halls.

The acoustics proved surprisingly kind. Though the arcade is of utilitarian design, a buffer between the Metro escalator and the outdoors, it somehow caught the sound and bounced it back round and resonant. The violin is an instrument that is said to be much like the human voice, and in this musician's masterly hands, it sobbed and laughed and sang -- ecstatic, sorrowful, importuning, adoring, flirtatious, castigating, playful, romancing, merry, triumphal, sumptuous.

So, what do you think happened?


capt said...

Holy Qaqaa!

That (Pearls) is AMAZING. Nobody even tried to steal his instrument? HA!

That is the most interesting story I have read in some time.


Buying/paying for a ticket is pre-validation.

"Never... ever suggest they don't have to pay you. What they pay for, they'll value. What they get for free, they'll take for granted, and then demand as a right. Hold them up for all the market will bear."
~ Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign, 1999


capt said...

Gov. Death would have mocked them - then killed them.

"In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, a number of protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Karla Faye Tucker. "Did you meet with any of them?" I ask. Bush whips around and stares at me. "No, I didn't meet with any of them", he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. "I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with Tucker, though. He asked her real difficult questions like, 'What would you say to Governor Bush?'" "What was her answer?" I wonder. "'Please,'" Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "'don't kill me.'" I must look shocked — ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel — because he immediately stops smirking."

Now he kills by the thousands if not hundreds of thousands and only smirks in private.


capt said...

Death in Texas

By Sister Helen Prejean


In the twenty-first century, a state governor represents the last vestige of the "divine right of kings," because he has absolute power over life and death— especially when such power is entrusted to politicians motivated more by expediency than by conscience. Faced with a pending execution, no governor wants to appear callous about human life. So governors appoint pardons boards and meet with legal counselors, who take the political heat for controversial cases. All governors claim to agonize over death penalty decisions. All claim to scrutinize every possible angle of the cases of condemned persons facing execution under their watch.

George W. Bush during his six years as governor of Texas presided over 152 executions, more than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. Bush has said: "I take every death penalty case seriously and review each case carefully.... Each case is major because each case is life or death." In his autobiography, A Charge to Keep (1999), he wrote, "For every death penalty case, [legal counsel] brief[s] me thoroughly, reviews the arguments made by the prosecution and the defense, raises any doubts or problems or questions." Bush called this a "fail-safe" method for ensuring "due process" and certainty of guilt.

He might have succeeded in bequeathing to history this image of himself as a scrupulously fair-minded governor if the journalist Alan Berlow had not used the Public Information Act to gain access to fifty-seven confidential death penalty memos that Bush's legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, whom President Bush has recently nominated to be attorney general of the United States, presented to him, usually on the very day of execution.[1] The reports Gonzales presented could not be more cursory. Take, for example, the case of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded man of thirty-three with the communication skills of a seven-year-old. Washington's plea for clemency came before Governor Bush on the morning of May 6, 1997. After a thirty-minute briefing by Gonzales, Bush checked "Deny"— just as he had denied twenty-nine other pleas for clemency in his first twenty-eight months as governor.

But Washington's plea for clemency raised substantial issues, which called for thoughtful, fair-minded consideration, not the least of which was the fact that Washington's mental handicap had never been presented to the jury that condemned him to death. Gonzales's legal summary, however, omitted any mention of Washington's mental limitations as well as the fact that his trial lawyer had failed to enlist the help of a mental health expert to testify on his client's behalf. When Washington's postconviction lawyers took on his defense, they researched deeply into his childhood and came up with horrifying evidence of abuse. Terry Washington, along with his ten siblings, had been beaten regularly with whips, water hoses, extension cords, wire hangers, and fan belts. This was mitigation of the strongest kind, but Washington's jury never heard it. Nor is there any evidence that Gonzales told Bush about it.


capt said...

The Petition

Dear Mr. President:

Congress has spoken. The American people have spoken. The Iraqi people have spoken. So has the rest of the world.

It is time to bring America’s misguided adventure in Iraq to a close.

Legislation will soon reach your desk endorsing a timetable for withdrawal of most American military forces from Iraq. We urge you to sign that legislation.

It took 15 years and more than 58,000 American deaths before Congress stepped in to pull the plug on the disastrous Vietnam War.

Congress has now taken action after four years of the War in Iraq because the American people have had enough.

The United States has suffered through numerous failures in Iraq: the failure to tell the truth about why we went to war in the first place; the failure to plan for the war’s aftermath; and the failure to build a stable Iraqi government.

The ultimate price has already been paid by the more than 3,200 American soldiers who have lost their lives and the nearly 24,000 wounded warriors who aren’t getting the care they need.

The price has also been paid by the drastic undermining of America’s respect throughout the world.

We urge you to sign the legislation that will help bring the war in Iraq to a close.


Sign the Petition HERE

Robert S said...


There was one bright spot in the "pearls" article. Every child tried to stop and listen. The down side was that they were all to be pulled away by their oblivious parents.

Robert S said...

Real Good for Free - Joni Mitchell

I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood
And he played real good
On his clarinet, for free.

Now me I play for fortune
And those velvet curtain calls
Ive got a black limousine
And two gentlemen
Escorting me to the halls
And I play if you have the money
Or if youre a friend to me
But the one man band
By the quick lunch stand
He was playing real good, for free.

Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he had never
Been on their t.v.
So they passed his music by
I meant to go over and ask for a song
Maybe put on a harmony...
I heard his refrain
As the signal changed
He was playing real good, for free.

capt said...

New Thread!

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