Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Vietnam Yet?






When it comes to writing about the Iraq war, I've tried to follow a rule: avoid references to the Vietnam War. There certainly are similarities (instructive and not-so-instructive). For instance, it's easy to compare the hubris of the "best and the brightest" of the Vietnam generation with that of the necons of the W. years. (And B&B posterboy Robert McNamara ended up at the World Bank, just as did Paul Wolfowitz, though McNamara managed not to be forced out in scandal.) Still, the Vietnam metaphor is too easy to deploy, and the world is different these days.

But--you knew a "but" was coming--I could not help but think of Vietnam when I read David Ignatius's column in Tuesday's Washington Post. The piece starts:

President Bush and his senior military and foreign policy advisers are beginning to discuss a "post-surge" strategy for Iraq that they hope could gain bipartisan political support. The new policy would focus on training and advising Iraqi troops rather than the broader goal of achieving a political reconciliation in Iraq, which senior officials recognize may be unachievable within the time available.



The revamped policy, as outlined by senior administration officials, would be premised on the idea that, as the current surge of U.S. troops succeeds in reducing sectarian violence, America's role will be increasingly to help prepare the Iraqi military to take greater responsibility for securing the country.


This does sound awfully familiar. It's essentially a reformulation of "we will stand down, as the Iraqis stand up." Bush has been saying that for years (literally). Yet if he does drop his goal of an at-peace and fully stable Iraq, that would be a change.

I'm glad to learn Bush is considering a Plan B. That would illustrate he's not as inflexible as he seems. But it might be too late for Plan B--or C or D. After years of training Iraqi troops, the US military has not demonstrated such an endeavor can be truly productive. More important, there's no telling the present surge will indeed reduce sectarian violence in a meaningful manner. And there's this little matter: who's in charge within Iraq? Ignatius writes:

"Sectarian violence is not a problem we can fix," said one senior official. "The Iraqi government needs to show that it can take control of the capital." U.S. officials offer a somber evaluation of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: His Shiite-dominated government is weak and sectarian, but they have concluded that, going forward, there is no practical alternative.

If a new realism is indeed reigning, the administration is left with this (not-yet-announced) position: the US military cannot end the sectarian violence; only the Iraqis can achieve that; but the government in control may not be capable of doing so. Enter the dreaded Vietnam comparison. In the 1960s and 1970s, successive US administrations (Democratic and Republican) backed a series of corrupt and feckless governments in Saigon--all under the banner of it's-the-best-choice-we-have. The results were obvious.

In Iraq, Washington cannot do what Baghdad cannot do. That is the ugly and overarching reality. There will be no "post-surge" success, if there is no surge in Baghdad's ability to lessen sectarian violence and to mount an effective government. If the government of Nouri al-Maliki cannot succeed on these fronts, the United States will continue to waste lives, money and credibility within Iraq. One lesson of Vietnam is that you cannot win if you are backing losers.

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER. For our See You in September File (see the posting below), reader Micki sends the following from a CQ Today article on the Iraq war spending bill under construction in the Senate:

Republicans offered to accept a proposal by Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va., requiring Bush to produce reports in July and September on the Iraqi government's progress toward certain benchmarks. Unless he certified that they were moving forward, reconstruction aid would be withheld.

******

Please send other September warnings, and comments, tips, leads, and complaints to cornblog@hotmail.com. The comments section of this blog was deactivated several months ago, due to repeated hack-attacks on the site. A new comments section may appear in the near-future.

Posted by David Corn at May 22, 2007 10:12 AM

34 comments:

capt said...

Mr. David Corn,


Sadly worse than Vietnam - far worse. Bush lit a fuse and the worst is yet to come. There is very little good news from most of the middle east.

Thanks for all of your work.


Kirk

capt said...

In Iraq, nobody is accountable




BAGHDAD - Killings, crime, lack of medical care, the collapse of education - the list goes on. But with the occupation by US-led forces now into its fifth year, and a supposedly democratic government in place, no one knows whom to hold accountable for all that is going wrong.

It is the occupation forces, particularly the United States and Britain, that must be held accountable, many Iraqis say.

"It is good of these people to discuss accountability for theft, but the most important thing to account for is Iraqi blood," said Numan Ahmed, a human-rights activist from the Adhamiya neighborhood in Baghdad.

The British medical journal Lancet has reported that by last July, 655,000 people had died as "a consequence of the war". It has reported that the risk of death among civilians is now 58 times as high as before the US-led invasion in March 2003.

"By now a million Iraqis have been killed for no reason, and many millions disabled or badly injured just because of some thieves in Baghdad and Washington," Ahmed said. "We are prepared to reveal the documents to condemn them even if takes us a lifetime."

But Iraqis have no means to take action against the occupiers.

More HERE

RoseCovered Glasses said...

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

Politicians make no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703

Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see:

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/inside-pentagon-procurement-from.html

Robert S said...

I just received this in my e-mail:

Dear Mr. S.:

Thank you for your letter concerning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Richard Cheney. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.

In our most recent elections, the American people expressed clear disapproval with the path this country was on. They are tired of partisan politics and of an Administration that pays little heed to the wishes of the American people. They want-and deserve-a Congress that holds the Administration accountable and fulfills its Constitutional responsibility to check and balance the Executive branch. I share this sentiment and am determined to work hard and across party lines in the United States Senate to promote issues that are of real concern to most Americans, including the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, homeland security, global warming, and lobbying and election reform.

At this time, however, I believe that impeachment proceedings against President Bush or Vice President Cheney will only divide the country even further, frustrating our hopes for a meaningful change in direction, while having little chance of success.

I have been deeply disappointed by many of this Administration's actions and have been outspoken in those instances. Nevertheless, given the challenges our country faces I believe that we need to focus on constructive and cooperative steps that would lead us in the right direction.

Again, thank you for your letter. If you have any further questions or comments, please contact my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours, Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

To which I replied:

I can only assume then, that you consider wiretapping Americans without warrants, torture/humiliation of prisoners, invading a country that did not attack us, lying about the reasons to do so, politicizing the Department of Justice, trying to coerce an ill and temporarily incapacitated Attorney General, etcetera, to be not worthy of removal from office. This should outrage every American.

According to the Lancet/Johns Hopkins study, more than 650,000 Iraqis are dead because of George Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq. Each should be an individual charge of murder.

I am not tired of partisan politics; the only alternative to partisan politics is the resort to violence which we observe in too many areas of the world. Thankfully, in Northern Ireland, we may see the rise of partisan politics from the ashes of the troubles. In Palestine to Lebanon, in Iraq, in Somalia, in Sudan, we can observe the failure of political partisanship in the descent into violence. We decry partisan politics at our own peril, the alternative is far less attractive.

End the funding, end the occupation of Iraq, IMPEACH the War Criminals in the White House.

Disgusted,
Robert S.
Los Angeles

capt said...

RS,

"Disgusted"


Is right.

Good letter.



capt

capt said...

From over 2 years ago:

The Unreported Vietnam-Iraq Parallel


[…]

Here are some of the largely ignored parallels:

l. Both wars were illegal acts of pre-emptive aggression unsanctioned by international law or world opinion. Earlier, U.S. interventions involved successive US administrations. JFK's CIA helped put Saddam in power, Reagan armed him to fight Iran. George Bush, 41 led the first Gulf War against him. Clinton tightened sanctions. George Bush, 43 invaded again. Five Administrations--Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford fought in Vietnam.

2. Both wars were launched with deception. In Iraq it was the now proven phony WMD threat and contrived Saddam-Osama connection. In Vietnam, it was the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident and the elections mandated by the Geneva agreement that were canceled by Washington in l956 when the US feared Ho Chi Minh would win.

3. The government lied regularly in both wars. Back then, the lies were pronounced a "credibility gap." Today, they are considered acceptable "information warfare." In Saigon military briefers conducted discredited "5 O'Clock Follies" press conferences. In this war, the Pentagon spoon-fed info at a Hollywood style briefing center in Doha.

4. The US press was initially an enthusiastic cheerleader in both wars. When Vietnam protest grew and the war seen as a lost cause, the media frame changed. In Iraq today most of the media is trapped in hotel rooms. Only one side is covered now whereas in Vietnam, there was more reporting occasionally from the other. In Vietnam, the accent was on progress and "turned corners." The same is true in Iraq.

5. In both wars, prisoners were abused. In South Vietnam, thousands of captives were tortured in what were the called "tiger cages." Vietnamese POWs were often killed; In North Vietnam, some US POWs were abused after bombing civilians. In Iraq, POWs on both sides were also mistreated. It was US soldiers that first leaked major war crimes and abuses. In Vietnam, Ron Ridenour disclosed the My Lai Massacre. In Iraq, it was a soldier who first told investigators about the torture in Abu Ghraib prison. (Seymour Hersh the reporter who exposed My-Lai in Vietnam later exposed illegal abuses in Iraq.)

6. Illegal weapons were "deployed" in both wars. The US dropped napalm, used cluster bombs against civilians and sprayed toxic agent orange in Vietnam. Cluster bombs and updated Mark 77 napalm-like firebombs were dropped on Iraqis. Depleted uranium was added to the arsenal of prohibited weapons in Iraq.

7. Both wars claimed to be about promoting democracy. Vietnam staged elections and saw a succession of governments controlled by the US. come and go. Iraq has had one election so far in which most voters say they were casting ballots primarily to get the US to leave. The US has stage-managed Iraq's interim government. Exiles were brought back and put in power. Vietnam's Diem came from New Jersey, Iraq's Allawi from Britain.

8. Both wars claimed to be about noble international goals. Vietnam was pictured as a crusade against aggressive communism and falling dominos. Iraq was sold as a front in a global war on terrorism. Neither claim proved true.

9. An imperial drive for resource control and markets helped drive both interventions. Vietnam had rubber and manganese and rare minerals. Iraq has oil. In both wars, any economic agenda was officially denied and ignored by most media outlets.

10. Both wars took place in countries with cultures we never understood or spoke the language, Both involved "insurgents" whose military prowess was underestimated and misrepresented. In Vietnam, we called the "enemy" communists; in Iraq we call them foreign terrorists. (Soldiers had their own terms, "gooks" in Vietnam, "ragheads" in Iraq) In both counties, they was in fact an indigenous resistance that enjoyed popular support. (Both targeted and brutalized people they considered collaborators with the invaders just as our own Revolution went after Americans who backed the British.) In both wars, as in all wars, innocent civilians died in droves.

11. In both countries the US promised to help rebuild the damages caused by US bombing. In Vietnam, a $2 Billion presidential reconstruction pledge was not honored. In Iraq, the electricity and other services are still out in many areas. In both wars US companies and suppliers have profited handsomely; Brown &Root in Vietnam; Halliburton in Iraq, to cite but two.

12. In Vietnam, the Pentagon's counter-insurgency effort failed to "pacify" the countryside even with a half a million US soldiers "in country." The insurgency in Iraq is growing despite the best efforts of US soldiers. More have died since President Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" than during the invasion.


More HERE

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

Slap a "victory with honor" slogan on this Iraqi boondoggle and bring the surviving troops home.



capt

Robert S said...


Kucinich blasts 'minimum wage for maximum blood' report
Ron Brynaert
Published: Tuesday May 22, 2007


Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) delivered a blistering speech on the House floor today in response to an Associated Press report that "the latest Iraq Supplemental funding plan, incredibly, will tie an increase in the minimum wage to funding the war through October."

Earlier today, Anne Flaherty reported for the AP that "the next war spending bill most likely will fund military operations and not demand a timeline to bring troops home, although it will contain other restrictions on Bush's Iraq policies," including so-called "benchmarks" that the Iraqi government will be expected to reach.

"The Democrats' new bill also was expected to include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January," Flaherty continued. "White House officials have said Bush was amenable to accepting an increase in the minimum wage, although they and key GOP lawmakers favor larger tax cuts to accompany the measure."

Kucinich said in response, "If this is true, and I hope it is not, it tells American workers that the only way they will get an increase in wages is to continue to support funding the war which is taking the lives of their sons and daughters."

"First blood for oil," Kucinich continued. "Now a minimum wage for maximum blood. Aren't the American people giving enough blood for this war without having to give more to have a wage increase?"

Kucinich asked, "What's happened to our country? We are losing our moral compass. We're losing our sense of justice. We're losing touch with the difference between right and wrong."

"We do not have to fund this war," the 2008 Democratic presidential candidate added. "We must leave Iraq now. Support our troops and bring them home. HR 1234 is a plan to end the war and stabilize Iraq and give Iraqis control of their oil. We must take a new path. We must take a path of truth and justice."

********************************

How ugly can you get...imagine yourself a minimum wage earner deeply, truly and perhaps, shall we say, religiously opposed to this murderous policy.

Tying the minimum wage to the Iraq War funding is the most callous, vicious tactic imaginable.

capt said...

From WMR



WMR has received documents sent to one of the presidential campaigns from Leonard D. Wallace, a former business associate of former Enron Vice Chairman J. Clifford Baxter, that provides details of Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks being financed through Citigroup/Citibank. The document states that Baxter, who was to appear before a congressional committee to testify on Enron's dubious business practices, died from a reported suicide on January 18, 2002. According to the document received from Baxter's associate, the former Vice Chairman of Enron was planning to expose Citigroup's knowledge of Saudi banks, some of which it had a financial stake, were funding the terrorists who were responsible for carrying out the 9/11 attacks.

Wallace writes, "this cover-up of criminal misconduct has certainly been perpetrated both at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC and at Citigroup's 399 Park Avenue address in New York City." The document goes on to state, "Alberto Gonzales, and the U.S. Department of Justice that he heads, have successfully blocked any investigation of Citigroup, despite evidence that has been presented to them."

Wallace also writes, "I was brought into this spider web of greed and illegality by J. Clifford Baxter, a business associate of mine who was at one time vice chairman of Enron. Through his relationship with Robert Rubin at Citigroup's Chairman's Suite in New York City, in August 2001, I became privy to a series of business transactions planned by Citigroup that I began to realize were not only illegal but also aiding international terrorism from Saudi Arabia. I complained to Citigroup's senior executives and their board, and Cliff told me and others that he was going to expose this bank fraud of Citigroup and Saudi banks. Then, about 30 days after my first letter to Citigroup's chairman, Cliff suddenly died on January 18, 2002 from what is to this day still considered a very questionable suicide."

In a letter dated February 14, 2005 to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Wallace presents the background of his case: "I had a prior association in a $1.5 billion armored vehicle project with J. Clifford Baxter, the former Enron executive who died mysteriously in January 2002. As a result of that project, there are two public companies that can corroborate my participation and the integrity with which I conducted myself.

In August 2001, Cliff told me that he was involving me in securing $5 billion in loans and the subsequent investment of these funds. The collateral was to be located at Citibank Singapore, and he said that he would provide me with 4 pages of posting instructions."

The loan deal eventually was handed over to a Citibank Miami vice president -- on September 10, 2001. Wallace writes, "During the next 100 days, up until mid-December, Citigroup, through its headquarters and elsewhere, clearly orchestrated a well-coordinated conspiracy whose major impacts were going to be the defrauding of another bank and the acquisition of ill-gotten gains that would be received and/or distributed to others by Citigroup's senior management. It was represented to me by Citigroup officials and their documentation that the "others" included Account 98 activities, which I later learned were synonymous with the funding of terrorist organizations."

"Citigroup Singapore supplied a false inventory and authentication about Federal Reserve Bonds that supposedly were being used as collateral for the $5 billion loans. Citibank headquarters in Manhattan and Citibank Miami confirmed the authenticity of these bogus bonds. The posting instructions they provided me referred to Account 98s to be managed by unknown operatives in Saudi Arabia at SAMBA Bank, of which Citigroup was a major stockholder." [WMR previously reported on and provided a canceled SAMBA (Saudi American Bank) check written to a group affiliated with Hamas. This editor was personally told by a former chief of Mossad in October 2002 that if one wanted to find out where Al Qaeda received its funding, one would need not look further than the six largest U.S. banks, one of which is Citigroup].

More HERE

Robert S said...


Bush could double force by Christmas
Stewart M. Powell, Hearst Newspapers
Tuesday, May 22, 2007


(05-22) 04:00 PDT Washington -- The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

The little-noticed second surge, designed to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq, is being executed by sending more combat brigades and extending tours of duty for troops already there.

The actions could boost the number of combat soldiers from 52,500 in early January to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year if the Pentagon overlaps arriving and departing combat brigades.

Separately, when additional support troops are included in this second troop increase, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 -- a record-high number -- by the end of the year.

The numbers were arrived at by an analysis of deployment orders by Hearst Newspapers.

"It doesn't surprise me that they're not talking about it," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash, a former U.S. commander of NATO troops in Bosnia, referring to the Bush administration. "I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this."

The first surge was prominently announced by President Bush in a nationally televised address on Jan. 10, when he ordered five more combat brigades to join 15 brigades already in Iraq.

The buildup was designed to give commanders the 20 combat brigades Pentagon planners said were needed to provide security in Baghdad and western Anbar province.

Since then, the Pentagon has extended combat tours for units in Iraq from 12 months to 15 months and announced the deployment of additional brigades.

Taken together, the steps could put elements of as many as 28 combat brigades in Iraq by Christmas, according the deployment orders examined by Hearst Newspapers.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carl S. Ey said there was no effort by the Army to carry out "a secret surge" beyond the 20 combat brigades ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"There isn't a second surge going on; we've got what we've got," Ey said. "The idea that there are ever going to be more combat brigades in theater in the future than the secretary of defense has authorized is pure speculation."

Ey attributed the increase in troops to "temporary increases that typically occur during the crossover period" as arriving combat brigades move into position to replace departing combat brigades.

He said that only elements of the eight additional combat brigades beyond the 20 already authorized would actually be in Iraq in December.

The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., that tracks combat forces heading to and returning from Iraq, declined to discuss unit-by-unit deployments.

"Due to operational security, we cannot confirm or discuss military unit movements or schedules," Navy Lt. Jereal Dorsey said in an e-mail.

The Pentagon has repeatedly extended unit tours in Iraq during the past four years to achieve temporary increases in combat power. For example, three combat brigades were extended up to three months in November 2004 to boost the number of U.S. troops from 138,000 to 150,000 before, during and after the Jan. 30, 2005, Iraqi national elections.

Lawrence Korb, an assistant defense secretary for manpower during the Reagan administration, said the Pentagon deployment schedule enables the Bush administration to achieve quick increases in combat forces in the future by delaying units' scheduled departures from Iraq and overlapping them with arriving replacement forces.

"The administration is giving itself the capability to increase the number of troops in Iraq," Korb said. "It remains to be seen whether they actually choose to do that."

Nash said the capability could reflect an effort by the Bush administration to "get the number of troops into Iraq that we've needed there all along."

************************

Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation
Words and Music by Tom Paxton

I got a letter from L. B. J.
It said this is your lucky day.
It's time to put your khaki trousers on.
Though it may seem very queer
We've got no jobs to give you here
So we are sending you to Viet Nam

[Cho:]
Lyndon Johnson told the nation,
"Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn't really war,
We're sending fifty thousand more,
To help save Viet nam from Viet Namese."

I jumped off the old troop ship,
And sank in mud up to my hips.
I cussed until the captain called me down.
Never mind how hard it's raining,
Think of all the ground we're gaining,
Just don't take one step outside of town.

[Cho:]

Every night the local gentry,
Sneak out past the sleeping sentry.
They go to join the old VC.
In their nightly little dramas,
They put on their black pajamas,
And come lobbing mortar shells at me.

[Cho:]

We go round in helicopters,
Like a bunch of big grasshoppers,
Searching for the Viet Cong in vain.
They left a note that they had gone.
They had to get down to Saigon,
Their government positions to maintain.

[Cho:]

Well here I sit in this rice paddy,
Wondering about Big Daddy,
And I know that Lyndon loves me so.
Yet how sadly I remember,
Way back yonder in November,
When he said I'd never have to go.

[Cho:]

Apparently this song has metamorphosed over time. Here are some of the alternative lyrics.

I got a letter from L. B. J.
It said this is your lucky day.
Time to put your khaki trousers on.
We've got a job for you to do:
Dean Rusk has caught the Asian flu,
And we are sending you to Viet Nam.

We landed in some swampy hole,
We went out on a night patrol.
Just who was who was very hard to tell.
With Martha Raye and thirteen mayors,
Half of Congress and six ball players,
And Ronald Reagan yelling, "Give 'em hell!"

****************************

Viet Nam yet?

Robert S said...

Narco News 2001
Citigroup's Rubin:
Banking on Terror


Citigroup Lobbies to Weaken Anti-Terror Legislation
Anti-Terror Controls Could Clip Bank Industry's Narco-Profits
Senator: Bank Lobbyists "are being very unpatriotic"
Time To Expose the "White Collar Terrorists"

Editorial
By Al Giordano
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
The view is suddenly different from Citigroup headquarters in New York, and from the boardrooms of the large banks and financial institutions that compete with it, too.
We are not speaking of the empty vista of a city skyline where two towers once stood and thousands of innocent lives were lost. The sweat under the white collars of bank executives in New York is not due to fear of suicide bombers. The specter haunting Citigroup and the other large banks is that the fast march of current events could lead to a new public understanding and outrage: that terrorism and the illicit drug trade that funds it could not exist without banks to launder their funds.
The bankers and financiers knew, or should have known, all along that their money-laundering business has caused many atrocities, and would eventually lead to massacres on the scale of September 11th.
Three words must now enter the public lexicon: "White Collar Terrorists."
The kingpins of global organized crime do not wear sombreros nor turbans. They wear suits and ties. They attend political fundraisers. They hire big lobbying firms. They pressure and push lawmakers for loopholes that have, so far, allowed a system of "private banking," "correspondent banks," and "offshore shell banks" to launder the money of corrupt regimes and criminal empires across the world.
Citigroup is the largest financial institution in the world. It has been caught time and time again in narco-money laundering trails in our América and across the globe.
Citigroup, according to the Washington Post, is now lobbying to weaken anti-terrorism money-laundering legislation in Washington.
Narco News has extensively documented Citigroup's history of impunity and corruption when it comes to laundering drug money for corrupt regimes in Mexico and Peru, and Argentina, among other nations. We have also reported on the hypocrisy of Citigroup executive chairman Robert Rubin, who prosecuted Banamex in the Operation Casablanca case when he was U.S. Treasury Secretary, and then orchestrated the former National Bank of Mexico's purchase by Citigroup. Rubin, as alleged in a pending federal lawsuit by a former U.S. Customs Agent against his former department, presided over a Treasury regime that punished, harassed and silenced honest whistleblowers against corruption in his agencies.
In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, President George W. Bush has proclaimed that Washington will now clamp down on the money laundering that funds terrorist organizations. But the White House has, so far, only frozen assets of foreign businesses, all of them from the Arab regions. The executive branch continues to allow impunity and corruption by U.S. financial powers, even as it grandstands against the terror-money trail.
Congress, however, has stood up to take on the real power-behind-the-terror-throne: United States banking and financial interests. The Washington Post reported last week that "Some of the nation's largest banks -- including Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. -- are lobbying to change key provisions of proposed money-laundering legislation."
The Washington Post reports:

Citigroup and other big banks want to change the wording of a provision that would require banks to actively monitor transactions they conduct for their wealthiest clients -- "private banking" customers -- and for clients of other banks -- "correspondent banking" services, sources said.
The banks want to include language that would give the secretary of the Treasury the authority to exempt U.S. banks from having to exercise enhanced oversight when doing business with banks from countries that have weak money-laundering laws, an industry lawyer familiar with the lobbying effort said.
In addition, Citigroup executive Rick Small has proposed language that would soften a provision barring U.S. banks from doing business with offshore shell banks that have no physical office and no affiliation with an established bank. Until recently, Small was one of the Federal Reserve Board's top money-laundering experts. He didn't return calls.

Each of these three areas of Citigroup's business - Private Banking, Correspondent Banking, and relations with Offshore Shell Banks - are keys to a system in which U.S. banks have been allowed to virtually monopolize the drug money trade. While U.S. authorities rail about "drug dealers," "cartels" and "narco-guerrillas," the true kingpins of the illegal drug trade are the banks and institutions that launder the drug money and hoard the profits. It is precisely for them that drug prohibition exists, and that governments protect them by prosecuting the lower levels of the illicit drug trade.
Bush's dishonest "war on terrorism" has so far followed the drug-war model of hypocrisy. He has targeted foreigners and outlaws, while leaving the powerful White Collar Terrorists within the United States to conduct business-as-usual. And thus, the institutional apparatus that funds and ensures future acts of terrorism is left in place, untouched.
Citigroup director Robert Rubin's cynical role as apologist and publicist for White Collar Terrorism did not end when he left his job as Treasury Secretary.
After the September 11th attacks, and the presidential speeches about money laundering by terrorists, Rubin penned a column for the Financial Times of London titled, with a straight face, "Getting Tough on Terror Funding."
"Fighting terrorism on a global scale must include a consistent and co-ordinated approach to stemming the flow of funds to terrorist organizations," began Rubin in his column.

More.

capt said...

FROM WMR



WMR has received documents sent to one of the presidential campaigns from Leonard D. Wallace, a former business associate of former Enron Vice Chairman J. Clifford Baxter, that provides details of Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks being financed through Citigroup/Citibank. The document states that Baxter, who was to appear before a congressional committee to testify on Enron's dubious business practices, died from a reported suicide on January 18, 2002. According to the document received from Baxter's associate, the former Vice Chairman of Enron was planning to expose Citigroup's knowledge of Saudi banks, some of which it had a financial stake, were funding the terrorists who were responsible for carrying out the 9/11 attacks.

Wallace writes, "this cover-up of criminal misconduct has certainly been perpetrated both at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC and at Citigroup's 399 Park Avenue address in New York City." The document goes on to state, "Alberto Gonzales, and the U.S. Department of Justice that he heads, have successfully blocked any investigation of Citigroup, despite evidence that has been presented to them."

Wallace also writes, "I was brought into this spider web of greed and illegality by J. Clifford Baxter, a business associate of mine who was at one time vice chairman of Enron. Through his relationship with Robert Rubin at Citigroup's Chairman's Suite in New York City, in August 2001, I became privy to a series of business transactions planned by Citigroup that I began to realize were not only illegal but also aiding international terrorism from Saudi Arabia. I complained to Citigroup's senior executives and their board, and Cliff told me and others that he was going to expose this bank fraud of Citigroup and Saudi banks. Then, about 30 days after my first letter to Citigroup's chairman, Cliff suddenly died on January 18, 2002 from what is to this day still considered a very questionable suicide."

In a letter dated February 14, 2005 to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Wallace presents the background of his case: "I had a prior association in a $1.5 billion armored vehicle project with J. Clifford Baxter, the former Enron executive who died mysteriously in January 2002. As a result of that project, there are two public companies that can corroborate my participation and the integrity with which I conducted myself.

In August 2001, Cliff told me that he was involving me in securing $5 billion in loans and the subsequent investment of these funds. The collateral was to be located at Citibank Singapore, and he said that he would provide me with 4 pages of posting instructions."

The loan deal eventually was handed over to a Citibank Miami vice president -- on September 10, 2001. Wallace writes, "During the next 100 days, up until mid-December, Citigroup, through its headquarters and elsewhere, clearly orchestrated a well-coordinated conspiracy whose major impacts were going to be the defrauding of another bank and the acquisition of ill-gotten gains that would be received and/or distributed to others by Citigroup's senior management. It was represented to me by Citigroup officials and their documentation that the "others" included Account 98 activities, which I later learned were synonymous with the funding of terrorist organizations."

"Citigroup Singapore supplied a false inventory and authentication about Federal Reserve Bonds that supposedly were being used as collateral for the $5 billion loans. Citibank headquarters in Manhattan and Citibank Miami confirmed the authenticity of these bogus bonds. The posting instructions they provided me referred to Account 98s to be managed by unknown operatives in Saudi Arabia at SAMBA Bank, of which Citigroup was a major stockholder." [WMR previously reported on and provided a canceled SAMBA (Saudi American Bank) check written to a group affiliated with Hamas. This editor was personally told by a former chief of Mossad in October 2002 that if one wanted to find out where Al Qaeda received its funding, one would need not look further than the six largest U.S. banks, one of which is Citigroup].


More HERE

Robert S said...


Cocaine Wars Make Port Colombia’s Deadliest City

capt said...

From now until the day of the presidential election, we are planning to turn up the heat! This campaign is going to be our biggest yet. If we really want to be heard, a HUGE part of this campaign will depend on how many voices we can unite. Here's what you can do to help us make a difference:

1: Spread the Word -- Help Us Get 100,000 Signatures - Ask friends and family to join you in signing the Heat is On petition: HERE

Gerald said...

RS, I agree with capt that you sent a good letter.

capt, you shared an article with us that US is prepared to stay in Iraq for decades. Very true!!! Nazi America will also be hated for centuries. The Muslims have held hatred among themselves and now the hatred for Nazi America will be hated even more. Nazi America will unite the different Muslim factions to stand against Nazi America.

Yes, we are the Nazi occupiers and not American liberators.

Nazi America will continue to fight endless preemptive wars.

There is no difference between the the Dems and the repugs. They are different wings of the same bird, the bird of hatred, murders, torture, war crimes, corruption, decadence, greed, and lies.

What I love about Nazi America is our total transparency!!! What is there not to love about the most evil, vile, and wicked empire???

capt said...

Gerald,

I did like it better when I thought America was better.

Now, as RS put it:

DISGUSTED!


capt

Robert S said...


Hersh: Bush administration arranged support for militants attacking Lebanon
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday May 22, 2007

In an interview on CNN International's Your World Today, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh explains that the current violence in Lebanon is the result of an attempt by the Lebanese government to crack down on a militant Sunni group, Fatah al-Islam, that it formerly supported.

Last March, Hersh reported that American policy in the Middle East had shifted to opposing Iran, Syria, and their Shia allies at any cost, even if it meant backing hardline Sunni jihadists.

A key element of this policy shift was an agreement among Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, whereby the Saudis would covertly fund the Sunni Farah al-Islam in Lebanon as a counterweight to the Shia Hezbollah.

Hersh points out that the current situation is much like that during the conflict in Afghanistan in the 1980's – which gave rise to al Qaeda – with the same people involved in both the US and Saudi Arabia and the "same pattern" of the US using jihadists that the Saudis assure us they can control.

When asked why the administration would be acting in a way that appears to run counter to US interests, Hirsh says that, since the Israelis lost to them last summer, "the fear of Hezbollah in Washington, particularly in the White House, is acute."

As a result, Hersh implies, the Bush administration is no longer acting rationally in its policy. "We're in the business of supporting the Sunnis anywhere we can against the Shia. ... "We're in the business of creating ... sectarian violence." And he describes the scheme of funding Fatah al-Islam as "a covert program we joined in with the Saudis as part of a bigger, broader program of doing everything we could to stop the spread of the Shia world, and it just simply -- it bit us in the rear."

****************************

I know that like I know the back of my own hand...ah, where's the back of my hand, Chief? - Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86

Gerald said...

The Titanic and the United States

Gerald said...

RS shares with us an interesting Hersh article.

I love America because we are a nation of hypocrites. The Iranians cannot help the Iraqis but Nazi America's covert operations in Lebanon and around the world to fund wars and upheavel are acceptable.

I guess it is acceptable because we are a GOOD, HOLY, and SAINTLY empire.

It never ends. There is something prickly about Nazi America.

Robert S said...

I did like it better when I thought America was better. - Capt.


Democracy. An Idealistic Fairy Tale
by Jon Faulkner | May 22 2007 - 2:56pm


Was there some single event - some crushing, lethal blow that brought the U.S. to its current state? Carl Sanburg wrote “The fog comes on little cat’s feet.” Slowly, over many years, a great nation lost sight of its purpose, its identity. “Death by a thousand cuts,” an Arab might say. There was a point, a moment when a line was crossed, when there was no going back. When the nobility, the inspired hope of a great nation’s people could not stand the test of time but remained as a bright, shimmering mirage before dissolving like morning mist.

In the eighties Reagan, prompted by the business community, began the deregulation frenzy and convinced Americans their government was contemptible, of little or no use? The assassination of JFK, followed by Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, stripped away the last of innocence, real or imagined that may have inspired a great nation to remember its dreams. Just two years later four kids lay dead at Kent State, and brought Americans face to face with who they were, and where they were going. The student’s crime had been protesting the war in Vietnam. "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” wrote Howard Zinn, the American historian. Ohio’s republican governor, James Rhodes, celebrated the student’s murders. “They're worse than the brownshirts and the Communist element and the night riders and the vigilantes. They are the worst type of people that we harbor in America." That a man with such low character could find his way to a position of great power and influence in a free democracy speaks directly to the republic’s weakness. Thomas Jefferson knew such men would be drawn to high office. He warned the people. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

The nefarious and insidious Nixon, after promising to de-escalate the war, announced he was sending troops across the Cambodian border. Americans, war weary and increasingly horrified by the daily count of dead U.S. soldiers, protested and Nixon, fearful of a one term presidency, ordered a goon squad to break into DNC headquarters. He was looking for dirt to use against the democrats in his re-election, but was caught and forced to resign in disgrace. He flashed America a peace sign - with each hand - when he left. The second U.S. president, John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

More.

capt said...

"The fog comes on little cat’s feet"


One of my favorite lines.

Ah, memories . . .



capt

Gerald said...

Only the fairies in Nazi America believe that we are a democracy.

Gerald said...

Below is a favorite quotation that is recited at the start of security moms and soccer moms' tea times.

"I could watch a burned infant trying to nurse from its dead mother's breast, see young men with their faces blown away, witness a boy deliberately gutted...and never protest."

—reporter Richard Boyle in Vietnam. The Flower of the Dragon: The Breakdown of the US Army in Vietnam by Richard Boyle (San Francisco, 1972), p. 22. Reprinted in An Intimate History of Killing by Joanna Bourke (Basic Books, 1999), p 199.

Security moms and soccer moms will never protest against wrong and immoral wars. Wrong and immoral wars are their favorite topics of converstation.

Carey said...

Howdy folks.

I break my seclusion for some important keyboard activism. First, have you heard about the presidential directive that gives the Pres. all power to do what he wants in a natural or national crisis. (I think that's what it is.) Thom Hartman is calling for phone calls to Congress. Two numbers are: (877) 851-6437 and (202) 225-3121,

Also, John Kerry has a petition out on global warming.

PETITION LINK



I'm doing alright everyone. Brandon has a therapist and he's plugging along.

capt said...

Carey,

Always good to hear from you and again very sorry for your loss.

Good petition - signed and sealed.



capt

capt said...

Iraq War Funding: "Compromise" or "Sellout"?



"Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops," AP reports. The article notes that "details remain subject to change," but says that the bill "would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year," implying that there would be no meaningful restriction on the President’s request.

Like earlier articles containing basically the same information, the article doesn’t cite any named sources, nor does it provide significant detail, suggesting that the anonymous announcement may be, to some extent, a trial balloon. If the announcement unleashes a tsunami of protest, leaders have left themselves room to back away from it. Hopefully, this is exactly what will happen.But suppose not. Suppose, as may be possible, that Democratic leaders have really committed themselves, as the AP article seems to suggest, to providing all the money for the war in Iraq that the President has asked for, without including any limitation on the duration of the war, nor any other meaningful restriction, regardless of how much protest this generates among opponents of the war - even at the cost of splitting the Democratic caucus. Then what?

"Democrats in both houses are expected to seek other opportunities later this year to challenge Bush’s handling of the unpopular conflict," the AP article says.

No doubt they will. But this raises some troubling questions. Even if one were to accept the argument that Democrats right now don’t have the Congressional votes or public support to further press their case on the supplemental against the White House and Congressional Republicans, it’s still fair to ask - how is the leadership preparing the ground for the next round of conflict?

And there are two troubling questions here.

First: why is the overall funding level set in stone? The supplemental is purportedly to cover the period until September 30, the end of the fiscal year. Even if one accepted the idea of no limitation of the war before September 30, why is $100 billion necessary for this purpose? This has never been explained. If $100 billion were truly necessary for this purpose, that would mean that the rate of war spending was doubling compared to last year. A far more plausible explanation is that the supplemental is not intended to carry the war to September 30, but well beyond that. If the aim of the Congressional leadership is to revisit the issue in the fall, why provide funding well beyond that?

Second: on May 17 the House passed the defense authorization for 2008, "The bill includes $142 billion in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," but "does not require troop withdrawals or place restrictions on the war," AP reported that day. If the intent of the House leadership on the FY 2008 authorization is that passage on May 17 was the last word on the matter, it’s hard to reconcile that with a plan of revisiting the issue of the war in the fall.

If the House leadership is absolutely determined not to fight further for any restriction on the war in this round, and cannot be shaken from this position, then the the questions of the funding level and the 2008 authorization should be immediately revisited. Regarding the latter, while the 2008 defense authorization has passed the House, it hasn’t passed the Senate, and unless the Senate passes it in exactly the same form - an unlikely prospect - the House can have another bite at the apple.

It’s one thing to withdraw from the field with the intention of fighting another day. It’s quite another thing to blow up your arsenal.


More HERE

David B. Benson said...

Well, there went another $2 billion dollars...

David B. Benson said...

With hundreds of billions more to go...

David B. Benson said...

And there went another 5 million.

Notice the time stamp...

capt said...

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?: Eleanor Roosevelt:

=
[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners: Albert Camus:

=
The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic: Joe Stalin, comment to Churchill at Potsdam, 1945

=
The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it: Louis Simpson

=
I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?" - Eve Merriam

===

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World


[…]

Fractional reserve madness


The lure of easy money begins with the government printing press. First, the central banker buys an asset – typically a government debt instrument – writes a check on itself and deposits it into the banking system. Since the bank never "redeems" the check, this is equivalent to creating money out of thin air. The banker, happy to receive fresh "reserves," loans out all but a sliver. This new money ends up back with the banks, is counted again as reserves, mostly lent out, and so on and so on. Through this process of fractional reserve banking, credit is expanded at a multiple of the initial central bank deposit. Through such a system, the creation of money and credit (the promise to pay money) looks like an upside-down pyramid – essentially a pyramid scheme on top of a counterfeiting operation.

As James Grant has counseled, the inflation process gives a finite pool of capital the illusion of an endless sea of liquidity, in effect "turning all the traffic lights green."

Such a scheme is a concoction of government privilege (or mercantilism), not laissez faire. The so-called "capitalists" are no longer efficient allocators of capital to its most productive uses, but beneficiaries of and cheerleaders for a monetary fraud in which capital is debased, taken for granted, and abused. As long as they remain chummy with their friendly liquidity provider of last resort, they can act recklessly without fear of igniting an economic forest fire – or if they do, without fear of having to bear the costs. And as long as the value of their collateral is constantly inflated, they never feel the need to worry about default.

Liberated from the gold standard straightjacket, the system has few restraints. For starters, the counterfeiter has an incentive not to draw attention to his racket. But the effectiveness of his ongoing propaganda campaign has weakened this deterrent. The real inflationary action, however, is in credit expansion. For example, in the last 6 years, the Federal Reserve has grown its balance sheet less than $300 billion while the nation’s money supply has expanded by $4.3 trillion, or 14 times as much. In other words, the central banker can bait the hook, but lenders and borrowers still have to take the bait.

More HERE

capt said...

Pelosi and Reid Stumble Back To Point A



[…]


Both Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer stated the obvious today: that the Democrats don't have a veto-proof majority in either house. Yeah, so? You knew this back in February, as did most everyone else. It was your job and everyone else in the Democratic leadership to fashion a strategy that made the GOP pay a price for rubber-stamping Bush's surge while still pushing your agenda. And you and your Beltway consultants failed. So stop your whining and get back to the drawing board.

McConnell knows that Reid holds all the cards when the 2008 defense budget debate begins in the fall, but by then Bush will have nearly 100,000 combat and 200,000 total troops in the theater, and the Pentagon will be far along in its planning to permanently station thousands in Iraq for decades.

Instead of shifting the burden onto the GOP leadership for finding the votes for a "no-strings" funding bill back in February, and moving ahead with the Democrats’ domestic agenda, Reid and Pelosi got sucked into a futile battle to change course without the numbers or messaging to force such a change. Now, they both will face a hostile Democratic base over the summer while the GOP leadership quietly works towards a face-saving break with Bush late this year. And all the Democrats have to show for it are declining poll numbers, just like Bush.


More HERE

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

We have no choice but to keep up the pressure.



capt

O'Reilly said...

Robert S,

What a fantastic, well-reasoned and eloquently written letter to Sen Feinstien. I could not agree more. Moreover, I think you identified the fallacy that is the main obstacle in holding the criminals in the White House accountable; elevating bipartisan solutions above other values such as the Constitution and a nation of laws.

Nice work RS. Signed,

A Fan
(O'Reilly)

capt said...

Was it good for you too?



Once again, Bush sticks it to the Dems and the country

By DOUG THOMPSON

Voters last November gave Democrats the keys to the kingdom of Washington because they wanted American soldiers out of George W. Bush's failed war in Iraq.

Instead, the Dems greased up their butts, bent over, grabbed their ankles, and let Dubya bung hole them into submission, screaming all the while "please, sir, may I have some more?"

On Tuesday, the last remaining whiff of fading Democratic integrity vanished as Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate backed down on demands for a withdrawal timetable and caved in to Bush's belief that he has absolute authority to wage war any damn way he pleases.

Amazingly, the party with a mandate from an electorate that overwhelmingly wants this country out of Iraq went head-to-head with the most unpopular President since Herbert Hoover - and lost.

Hell, they bent over and gave in to Bush's ass-screwing with such ease that he didn't even have to ask for a reach around.

Only a fool believes promises made in a political campaign and the voters who turned out the corrupt GOP leadership foolishly expected the Democrats to stop Bush's despotic rule and restore some accountability to government.

Silly rabbits. Tricks are for politicians and the joke is on us.

We should have known the fix was in as soon as incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi took impeachment of Bush off the table. She sealed the deal by abandoning her pledge to put ethics ahead of politics and backing corrupt old-boy politician John Murtha for Majority Leader - a stupid political move voted down by other Democrats.

And we already knew not to expect much from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a bribe-taking Nevada pol beholden to any special interest with a checkbook.

Tuesday's capitulation to Bush clearly shows the Democrats weren't ready for prime time. They lack the courage of their self-proclaimed convictions and haven't shown enough competence to lead a Cub Scout pack on an overnight camping trip in the backyard, much less a Congress.

As a result of their failure, Bush's war in Iraq continues as planned. His escalation continues as planned. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, more Americans will die. Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, more Iraqi civilians face death as well.

After five months of unremarkable control of Congress, Democrats have left America naked and vulnerable to the greatest threat to peace the world has ever known - an international terrorist named George W. Bush.

Let's hope the nation's drug stores stock up on an ample supply of KY lubricant.

We're going to need it.

Thanks to the Democrats, the rest of America will be taking it up the ass for at least another 18 months.


More HERE

capt said...

New Thread