Jun 30, 2006

No Hide No Seek

The US government said it could not find the men that Guantánamo detainee Abdullah Mujahid believes could help set him free. The Guardian found them in three days.

Two years ago the US military invited Mr Mujahid, a former Afghan police commander accused of plotting against the United States, to prove his innocence before a special military tribunal. As was his right, Mr Mujahid called four witnesses from Afghanistan.

But months later the tribunal president returned with bad news: the witnesses could not be found. Mr Mujahid's hopes sank and he was returned to the wire-mesh cell where he remains today.

The Guardian searched for Mr Mujahid's witnesses and found them within three days. One was working for President Hamid Karzai. Another was teaching at a leading American college. The third was living in Kabul. The fourth, it turned out, was dead. Each witness said he had never been approached by the Americans to testify in Mr Mujahid's hearing.

Lies and old rivalries had sent many innocent Afghans to Guantánamo, said Taj Muhammad Wardak, a former governor of Paktiya. "You can investigate these people here. There is no need to send them to Guantánamo," he said. "It is a great sadness between our countries that will last for many years."

Legal Cover For CATCH ALL In Question

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision against the Bush administration's assumption of unconstitutional powers looks to have potentially serious consequences for the claimed legality of the NSA's CATCH ALL program.

Glenn Greenwald gives specifics:

The Court dealt several substantial blows to the administration's theories of executive power beyond the military commission context. And, at the very least, the Court severely weakened, if not outright precluded, the administration's legal defenses with regard to its violations of FISA. Specifically, the Court:

(a) rejected the administration's argument [Sec. IV] that Congress, when it enacted the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force in Afghanistan and against Al Qaeda ("AUMF"), implicitly authorized military commissions in violation of the UCMJ. In other words, the Supreme Court held that because the AUMF was silent on the question as to whether the Administration was exempt from the pre-existing requirements of the UCMJ, there was no basis for concluding that the AUMF was intended to implicitly amend the UCMJ (by no longer requiring military commissions to comply with the law of war), since the AUMF was silent on that question.

This is a clearly fatal blow to one of the two primary arguments invoked by the administration to justify its violations of FISA. The administration has argued that this same AUMF "implicitly" authorized it to eavesdrop in violation of the mandates of FISA, even though the AUMF said absolutely nothing about FISA or eavesdropping. If -- as the Supreme Court today held -- the AUMF cannot be construed to have provided implicit authorization for the administration to create military commissions in violation of the UCMJ, then it is necessarily the case that it cannot be read to have provided implicit authorization for the administration to eavesdrop in violation of FISA.

Jun 29, 2006

Supreme Court Rules Conflict With Al Qaeda Under Geneva Convention

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that President Bush's plan to subject Guantanamo detainees to judgment by military commissions is unconstitutional.

Not only that, but the Court ruled that captured terrorists, including Al-Qaeda, have to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention rules for detained prisoners of war.

From SCOTUSblog (via AMERICAblog):

(T)he Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva applies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever" --including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment...

This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administration has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).

Navy Contractor Arrested For Sabotage Of Computer System

From GovExec:

A Navy contractor was arrested Monday in connection with planting malicious code on a government computer system, in what he told investigators was an attempt to smear the reputation of another contractor who had won out in a bid competition.

Richard Sylvestre until this week was a systems administrator at the Navy's European Planning and Operations Center in Naples, Italy, a sub-surface vessel safety center that tracks the location of ships, submarines and underwater objects to prevent collisions, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, located in Norfolk, Va.

Sylvestre owned and worked for Ares Systems International, a software and systems engineering firm that employed one other administrator at the center. SAIC Corp. recently won a contract to provide a third network administrator at the center, the filing said, beating Ares, which also had submitted a bid to fill the position.

According to the complaint, filed by a special agent with the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, two network computers at the center went offline unexpectedly on May 21. Both Ares contractors were away on travel and the SAIC systems administrator, who had remained onsite, found the computers had been programmed with malicious code that deleted critical operating system files. Further investigation revealed similar code on three other computers, including a network server, although that code had not yet executed.

Later, investigators used computer records and interviews to trace the malicious code back to Sylvestre, who had apparently programmed them to run at a future date shortly before his departure. Sylvestre's colleague at Ares said his boss had made what appeared to be a joke that he should set up a program to operate while the two were away that would make the SAIC contractor "look bad."

When confronted, Sylvestre admitted that he had set up the code for that reason, though he denied any intention to cause a collision by any vessels relying on the system for data on underwater obstacles, according to the filing.

Sylvestre is charged with knowingly damaging a protected computer and causing losses that would have exceeded $5,000 in one year. A trial date has not yet been set, but a Justice Department statement said he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a period of post-release supervision if found guilty.

Jun 28, 2006

Educational Opportunities Abroad For Saudi Students

The Saudi government is now subsidizing higher education abroad for their citizens of both sexes.

This just in from Arab News, an English-language daily in the Middle East: "Saudis Offered Scholarships for Aviation Courses in US," says the headline.

"The Ministry of Higher Education and the General Authority of Civil Aviation are offering scholarships to Saudi men and women to study majors related to civil aviation in the United States," according to a bylined article from Jeddah, and application forms are on the ministry's Web site.

"The scholarships are available in majors such as communications, electrical and computer engineering . . . air traffic control, flight safety, and other majors related to the airline transport industry," we're told.

Jun 27, 2006

The New Rome?

Professor Charles Maier of Harvard University discusses the decades old question of whether the United States is actually an empire -- or is merely a reasonable facsimile -- in his new book, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors.

In Maier's view, Rome remains the most convincing model for discussing the United States because foreign conquest changed it from a republic to an empire. It retained eviscerated republican institutions like the Senate, but power shifted to the emperor, and voting became plebiscitary. According to this view, the US is not yet an empire because its domestic politics haven't yet become Bonapartist. But perhaps it is on the way. There has been a slippage of power from the legislature to the executive, from open discussion to expert control, and from the politics of political parties to the politics of religious and other groups. According to the Bush doctrine of the "unitary executive," the president as commander in chief has supreme power and does not have to be accountable to Congress for its exercise...

Another recurring theme of empire is the psychological satisfactions it provides: heroism, glory, valor, honor, opportunity of service for elite groups, vicarious identification for the masses. It has been seen as an antidote to decadence. Maier has little to say by way of moral evaluation of empire. He writes, that is, as a political scientist or sociologist, not as a political philosopher. He does not consider the role of ideas as influences on forms of rule. This results in a defective discussion of reasons for empire and of imperial collapse. Empires, as Thucydides realized long ago, arise from a belief in the right to rule, and collapse when that belief wanes. To be sure, there is a strong ideological element in the current US drive for empire, especially among neoconservatives in the academy and Washington think tanks. It is based on the belief that the West is best, and will only be secure if the Western way becomes the universal norm. Those who resist the embrace of the West are thought to be savages and must be persuaded, or forced, to recognize the error of their ways. This is classic European imperial-speak, and it is heard in Washington today. However, the doctrine of Western superiority has not yet crystalized into an overt imperial ideology. It lacks the nineteenth-century, as well as the Nazi, ingredient of racism, without which it is difficult to justify rule without consent, though the Soviets managed it for a time.

Jun 26, 2006

Big Oil versus A Fist Full Of Jews

Did the Jews do it?

The US Congress will open hearings this week on the War in Iraq -- a wee bit late one might think. But one question at the forefront of the minds of many on both the Left and the Right is sure not to be asked: Did the Jews do it? I mean, after killing Jesus, did the Elders of Zion manipulate the government of the United States into invading Babylon as part of a scheme to abet the expansion of Greater Israel?

The question was first posed to me in 2004 when I was speaking at a meeting of Mobilization for Peace in San Jose. A member of the audience asked, “Put it together— Who’s behind this war? Paul Wolfowitz and Elliott Abrams and the Project for a “Jew” American Century and, and, why don’t you talk about that, huh? And ....”

But the questioner never had the full opportunity to complete his query because, flushed and red, he began to charge the stage. The peace activists attempted to detain the gentleman—whose confederates then grabbed some chairs to swing. As the Peace Center was taking on a somewhat warlike character, I chose to call in the authorities and slip out the back.

Still, his question intrigued me. As an investigative reporter, “Who’s behind this war?” seemed like a reasonable challenge—and if it were a plot of Christ-killers and Illuminati, so be it. I just report the facts, ma’am.

And frankly, at first, it seemed like the gent had a point, twisted though his spin might be. There was Paul Wolfowitz, before Congress in March 2003, offering Americans the bargain of the century: a free Iraq—not “free” as in “freedom and democracy” but free in the sense of this won’t cost us a penny. Wolfowitz testified: “There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money.”

A "Free" Iraq

And where would these billions come from? Wolfowitz told us: “It starts with the assets of the Iraqi people.... The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the next two or three years.”

This was no small matter. The vulpine Deputy Defense Secretary knew that the number one question on the minds of Americans was not, “Does Saddam really have the bomb?” but “What’s this little war going to cost us?”

However, Wolfowitz left something out of his testimony: the truth. I hunted for weeks for the source of the Pentagon’s oil revenue projections—and found them. They were wildly different from the Wolfowitz testimony. But this was not perjury. Ever since the conviction of Elliott Abrams for perjury before Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings, neither Wolfowitz nor the other Bush factotums swear an oath before testifying. If you don’t raise your hand and promise to tell the truth, “so help me, God,” you’re off the hook with federal prosecutors.

How the Lord will judge that little ploy, we cannot say.

But Wolfowitz’s little numbers game can hardly count as a Great Zionist conspiracy. That seemed to come, at first glance, in the form of a confidential 101-page document slipped to our team at BBC's Newsnight. It detailed the economic "recovery" of Iraq's post-conquest economy. This blueprint for occupation, we learned, was first devised in secret in late 2001.

Notably, this program for Iraq's recovery wasn’t written by Iraqis; rather, it was promoted by the neo-conservatives of the Defense Department, home of Abrams, Wolfowitz, Harold Rhode and other desktop Napoleons unafraid of moving toy tanks around the Pentagon war room.

Nose-Twist’s Hidden Hand

The neo-cons’ 101-page confidential document, which came to me in a brown envelope in February 2001, just before the tanks rolled, goes boldly where no U.S. invasion plan had gone before: the complete rewrite of the conquered state’s “policies, law and regulations.” A cap on the income taxes of Iraq’s wealthiest was included as a matter of course. And this was undoubtedly history’s first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright laws. Once the 82nd Airborne liberated Iraq, never again would the Ba’athist dictatorship threaten America with bootleg dubs of Britney Spears’s “...Baby One More Time.”

It was more like a corporate takeover, except with Abrams tanks instead of junk bonds. It didn’t strike me as the work of a Kosher Cabal for an Imperial Israel. In fact, it smelled of pork—Pig Heaven for corporate America looking for a slice of Iraq, and I suspected its porcine source. I gave it a big sniff and, sure enough, I smelled Grover Norquist.

Norquist is the capo di capi of right-wing, big-money influence peddlers in Washington. Those jealous of his inside track to the White House call him "Gopher Nose-Twist."

A devout Christian, Norquist channeled a million dollars to the Christian Coalition to fight the devil’s tool, legalized gambling. He didn’t tell the Coalition that the loot came from an Indian tribe represented by Norquist’s associate, Jack Abramoff. (The tribe didn’t want competition for its own casino operations.)

I took a chance and dropped in on Norquist’s L Street office, and under a poster of his idol [“NIXON— NOW MORE THAN EVER”], Norquist took a look at the "recovery" plan for Iraq and practically jumped over my desk to sign it, filled with pride at seeing his baby. Yes, he promoted the privatizations, the tax limit for the rich, and the change in copyright law, all concerns close to the hearts and wallets of his clients.

“The Oil” on Page 73

The very un-Jewish Norquist may have framed much of the U.S. occupation grabfest, but there was, without doubt, one notable item in the 101-page plan for Iraq which clearly had the mark of Zion on it. On page seventy-three the plan called for the “privatization....[of] the oil and supporting industries,” the sell-off of every ounce of Iraq’s oil fields and reserves. Its mastermind, I learned, was Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation.

For the neo-cons, this was The Big One. Behind it, no less a goal than to bring down the lynchpin of Arab power, Saudi Arabia.

It would work like this: the Saudi’s power rests on control of OPEC, the oil cartel which, as any good monopoly, withholds oil from the market, kicking up prices. Sell-off Iraq’s oil fields and private companies will pump oil in their little Iraqi patches to the max. Iraq, the neo-cons hoped, would crank out six million barrels of oil a day, bust its OPEC quota, flood the world market, demolish OPEC and, as the price of oil fell off a cliff, Saudi Arabia would fall to its knees.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Cohen told me, at his office at Heritage. It was a dim little cubby, in which, in our hour or two together, the phone rang only once. For a guy who was supposed to be The Godfather of a globe-spanning Zionist scheme to destroy the Arab oil monopoly, he seemed kind of, well...pathetic.

And he failed. While the Norquist-promoted sell-offs, flat taxes and copyright laws were dictated into Iraqi law by occupation chief Paul Bremer, the Cohen neo-con oil privatization died an unhappy death. What happened, Ari?

"Arab economists," he hissed, "hired by the State Department … the witches brew of the Saudi Royal family and Soviet Ostblock."

Well, the Soviet Ostblock does not exist, but the Arab economists do. I spoke with them in Riyadh, in London, in California, in wry accents mixing desert and Oxford drawls. They speak with confidence, knowing Saudi Arabia's political authority is protected by the royal families -- of Houston petroleum.

"Enhance OPEC"

After two mad years of hunting, I discovered the real plan for Iraq's oil, the one that keeps our troops in Fallujah. Some 323 pages long and deeply confidential, it was drafted at the James A. Baker III Institute in Houston, Texas, under the strict guidance of Big Oil's minions. It was the culmination of a series of planning groups that began in December 2000 with key players from the Baker Institute and Council on Foreign Relations (including one Ken Lay of Enron). This was followed by a State Department invasion-planning session in Walnut Creek, California, in February 2001, only weeks after Bush and Cheney took office. Its concepts received official blessing after a March 2001 gathering of oil chiefs (and Lay) with Dick Cheney where the group reviewed with the Vice-President the map of Iraq's oil fields.

Once I discovered the Big Oil plan, several of the players agreed to speak with me (not, to the chagrin of some, realizing that I rarely hold such conversions without secretly recording them). Most forthright was Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who was flown into Baghdad on a C-17 to make sure there would be no neo-con monkey business in America's newest oil fields.

It had been a very good war for Big Oil, with tripled oil prices meaning tripled profits. In Houston, I asked Carroll, a commanding, steel-straight chief executive, about Ari Cohen’s oil privatization plan, the anti-Saudi “no-brainer.”

“I would agree with that statement” Caroll told me, “privatization is a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain.”

Bush world is divided in two: neo-cons on one side, and the Establishment (which includes the oil companies and the Saudis) on the other. The plan the Establishment created, crafted by Houston oil men, called for locking up Iraq’s oil with agreements between a new state oil company under “profit-sharing agreements” with “IOCs” (International Oil Companies). The combine could “enhance the [Iraq’s] government’s relationship with OPEC,” it read, by holding the line on quotas and thereby upholding high prices.

Wolfowitz Dammerung: Twilight Of The Neo-Con Gods

So there you have it. Wolfowitz and his neo-con clique— bookish, foolish, vainglorious—had their asses kicked utterly, finally, and convincingly by the powers of petroleum, the Houston-Riyadh Big Oil axis.

Between the neo-cons and Big Oil, it wasn’t much of a contest. The end-game was crushing, final. The Israelites had lost again in the land of Babylon. And to make certain the arriviste neo-cons got the point, public punishment was exacted, from exile to demotion to banishment. In January 2005, neo-con pointman Douglas Feith resigned from the Defense Department; his assistant Larry Franklin later was busted for passing documents to pro-Israel lobbyists. The State Department’s knuckle-dragging enforcer of neo-con orthodoxies, John Bolton, was booted from Washington to New York to the powerless post of U.N. Ambassador.

Finally, on March 16, 2005, second anniversary of the invasion, neo-con leader of the pack Wolfowitz was cast out of the Pentagon war room and tossed into the World Bank, moving from the testosterone-powered, war-making decision center to the lending office for Bangladeshi chicken farmers.

“The realists,” crowed the triumphant editor of the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, “have defeated the fantasists!”

So much for the Big Zionist Conspiracy that supposedly directed this war. A half- dozen confused Jews, wandering in the policy desert a long distance from mainstream Jewish views, armed only with Leo Strauss’ silly aphorisms, were no match for Texas oil majors and OPEC potentates with a combined throw weight of half a trillion barrels of oil.
-A Soon To Be Released Article By Greg Palast in the July/August issue of Tikkun Magazine

Jun 25, 2006


It remains the case that the sheer extent of the escalation in the violence in Afghanistan in recent months, and the manner in which the United States forces have markedly stepped up their counterinsurgency operations, has not been reported with the detail and attention it deserves.

The Nature Of The War

At the time of the original American operation to terminate the Taliban regime, in October-November 2001, the United States military deployed a combination of special forces, a rearming of the Northern Alliance and extensive use of airpower. The approach proved capable of ending the regime in a matter of weeks, but also allowed most of the militias to melt away without surrendering.

At that time, one of the most striking television images was of the B-52 strategic bombers engaged in carpet-bombing of Taliban positions. Such tactics were used in combination with the extensive use of smaller strike aircraft, some of them carrying bunker-busting munitions targeting caves; the military planners defended their effectiveness, even though they frequently caused civilian casualties.

Most commentators thought those days were past, and that the recent upsurge in Taliban activity was on a much smaller scale. There have even been comments that the current offensive is a last-ditch operation before the Isaf forces are strengthened, but the evidence of the past month suggests otherwise.

One indicator is that Taliban units are now operating in much larger groups. In early 2005, these units were regularly composed of groups of up to a hundred. That alone suggested a much greater degree of organisation and logistic support than would be expected from a sporadic insurgency; but in 2006, the Taliban are fighting in groups of around 400 (see Thomas E Ricks, "U.S. Airstrikes Rise In Afghanistan as Fighting Intensifies", Washington Post, 18 June 2006). Such a capability means that they have plenty of local support, effective supply lines, weapons and munitions caches and all the other materials that are required to operate at this level.

It also reveals a level of organisation that has been a long time in the planning. This supports the argument that the lower level of the insurgency in summer 2005 was less a matter of the Taliban being in retreat but much more a case of their being engaged in planning for the much longer term. This may, in turn, be connected with the new military leadership, with Mullah Omah's recent appointment of the highly skilled Jalaluddin Haqqani now having its effect on the war (see "Afghanistan's endemic war", 25 May 2006).

The very use of the term "war" may seem an exaggeration, but the tactics now being used by the Americans really do suggest that it is appropriate. Three factors are relevant here. First, there are now 22,000 US troops in the country, apparently the result of a build-up from around 18,000 in recent months. Second, there has been a substantial escalation in the use of airpower, with B-52s being employed on a regular basis, along with the US air force's other heavy bomber, the B-1B.

Over the past three months, US forces have carried out 340 air strikes on Taliban positions. While most have been in rural areas in southern Afghanistan and in the mountains close to the Pakistan border in the east, they have also been directed at sites close to Kabul, the city of Jalalabad and even near the large US air base at Bagram.

Third, the intensity of the opposition provided by the Taliban has resulted in military innovations by the US forces. One is to have the heavily-armed B-1B strategic bombers loitering above central Afghanistan for hours at a time; their supersonic speed makes them ready to respond in minutes to requests from US army units almost anywhere in the country. Another tactic is to use the F15E Strike Eagle aircraft equipped with a glide bomb that can be used to attack the entrances to caves at a shallow angle.

None of this resembles a small-scale guerrilla war, and it is coming at a time when the separate Isaf forces under Nato control are preparing to take over many of the operations from the United States, focusing much more on post-conflict security, civil reconstruction, and a "hearts-and-minds" approach. Since much of Afghanistan is simply not in a "post-conflict" environment, it is now doubtful whether this is a viable strategy, let alone whether US forces will actually withdraw many of their personnel as originally planned.

A long campaign

A small but significant indicator of the changing dynamics of the conflict in Afghanistan relates to the British deployments in Helmand province. These were intended to be very much a part of a process of stabilisation, in which possible engagements with Taliban militias were anticipated as being limited to self-defence rather than offensive counterinsurgency. The UK troops number around 3,300, mostly drawn from 16 Air Assault Brigade based at Colchester, Essex; in what would normally be a routine rotation, they will be replaced in the autumn by a similar number of troops from 45 Commando, Royal Marines.

Among this new group will be contingents of mountain-warfare trained troops currently based at Arbroath, northeast Scotland, whence 600 soldiers are due to deploy to Helmand. The aim will be to have troops experienced in high-altitude warfare available for operations against Taliban units through the winter of 2006-07. This alone means that the Isaf military planners are now recognising that there is unlikely to be the usual lull in Taliban activity in the coming winter (see Tim Ripley & Gethin Chamberlain, "Scottish-based commandos to bring mountain expertise to Taleban fight", The Scotsman, 13 June 2006 ).

The news of the deaths of four American soldiers in Nuristan, northeastern Afghanistan on 21 June is a further indication of the spreading challenge to United States and Isaf forces, although the scale is minor compared with the hundreds of Afghans dying each week. Hamid Karzai is so concerned as to echo the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in openly criticising the way the US military is fighting the war.

The Afghan president is well aware that the high level of civilian casualties, and the ready recourse to intense use of airpower, is counterproductive. It is significant that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaida strategist and deputy to Osama bin Laden, has chosen this moment to call for a wider anti-occupation response from Afghans to the "infidel forces that are invading Muslim lands" (see "Al-Zawahiri urges Afghans to fight", al-Jazeera, 22 June 2006).

For more than a year, military planners and observers have envisaged an upsurge in the Afghanistan insurgency in summer 2006. The extensive US deployment of air power and the kinds of deployments the British are planning both make clear that the approaching sixth year of the war in Afghanistan – lasting through next winter and the following summer – may be the most violent and extensive since 2002. The human and political consequences will be large. -Excerpts of Paul Rogers' Afghanistan's War Season

Jun 24, 2006

Angels In The Wild

And so we have regressed to basking in SMC related commentaries of particular cognizance from our most recent of pornofied pasts.
But I ask now, what indeed is a “psy-op” or “info-op” or just plain bullshit anymore these days?
In this age where the doors to psychological manipulation have been swung open as wide as can be, where anyone with the money, know-how or impetus can learn the techniques honed down to the level of the very sheen of what it looks like to have a soul and be able to prick it and make whatever is left of the soul bleed — who is fooling who?
Or is the fooling simply another feature of the vortex which is what an intentional global conflagration of crime looks like? The official government “ops-men” thus being nothing more than another player at the table. Let the dead bury the dead and all that.

When fair is foul and foul fair, what more is there for a centralized psy-op firm to do besides reap the bounty of what it hath sown?
And the meatgrinder grinds on. Hoo-ah! It’s the same war still, but what the Jessie MacBeth hoax does is distract one from the war but only by 90 degrees. Like fixing a sail on a clueless sailboat when the winds have shifted and bearing be maintained.

Looks to me someone’s buying some credibility with their negative energy savings.

What a mind fuck this has all become!

-Dunne IV
And lest we forget:
I read this stuff every day. Sometimes too much of every day. It begins to look like every stinking official story is wrong. I sometimes think if Bush came out and advocated breathing I'd immediately start holding my breath.

The 911 thing is rotten to the core. I haven't decided whether Usama (now called Osama) is 1) long since dead, 2) a misunderstood patriot who just wants those darned US military out of his holy land, 2) a verifiable nutcase, or 3) basking in the sun, drinking piña coladas, collecting his CIA retirement, and generally laughing his head off on some tropical island.

Are there actually any US politicians who haven't been bought and sold and also have a chance in hell of getting a fair hearing in the media?

Are vitamins really totally unnecessary? Do they help me out, or do I indeed have the most expensive urine around?

Is there one tiny chance in a zillion that BushCo is actually right, that people are just stupid suckers to be played and taken for all they're worth—get it while we can, and to heck with all those unfortunates who aren't lucky like we are? Might makes right, treaties are for suckers, rule of law really means rule by bullies? Man, can that really be right, can it?

-Sizzlin' Gizzards

Jun 23, 2006

(getting private)

A neat piece, and a fine one at that. It's writing on a jagged wall.

The Empire is mad, and we don't want to share in its madness and recreate its enslavements in our opposition to it.

Easy enough to say for a disjointed few, cowboy. But said it should be. And now said again it is.

Tripple K Kaukus

Behind the “Delay” in Renewing Law is Scheme for Theft of ‘08

[New York] Don’t kid yourself. The Republican Party’s decision yesterday to “delay” the renewal of the Voting Rights Act has not a darn thing to do with objections of the Republican’s White Sheets Caucus.

Complaints by a couple of Good Ol' Boys to legislation has never stopped the GOP leadership from rolling over dissenters.

This is a strategic stall — meant to de-criminalize the Republican Party's new game of challenging voters of color by the hundreds of thousands.

In the 2004 Presidential race, the GOP ran a massive multi-state, multi-million-dollar operation to challenge the legitimacy of Black, Hispanic and Native-American voters. The methods used broke the law -- the Voting Rights Act. And while the Bush Administration's Civil Rights Division grinned and looked the other way, civil rights lawyers are circling, preparing to sue to stop the violations of the Act before the 2008 race.

Therefore, Republicans have promised to no longer break the law -- not by going legit … but by eliminating the law.

The Act was passed in 1965 after the Ku Klux Klan and other upright citizens found they could use procedural tricks -- "literacy tests," poll taxes and more -- to block citizens of color from casting ballots.

De-criminalizing the "caging" lists

Here's what happened in '04 -- and what's in store for '08.

In the 2004 election, over THREE MILLION voters were challenged at the polls. No one had seen anything like it since the era of Jim Crow and burning crosses. In 2004, voters were told their registrations had been purged or that their addresses were "suspect."

Denied the right to the regular voting booths, these challenged voters were given "provisional" ballots. Over a million of these provisional ballots (1,090,729 of them) were tossed in the electoral dumpster uncounted.

Funny thing about those ballots. About 88% were cast by minority voters.

This isn't a number dropped on me from a black helicopter. They come from the raw data of the US Election Assistance Commission in Washington, DC.

At the heart of the GOP's mass challenge of voters were what the party's top brass called, "caging lists" -- secret files of hundreds of thousands of voters, almost every one from a Black-majority voting precinct.

When our investigations team, working for BBC TV, got our hands on these confidential files in October 2004, the Republicans told us the voters listed were their potential "donors." Really? The sheets included pages of men from homeless shelters in Florida.

Donor lists, my ass. Every expert told us, these were "challenge lists," meant to stop these Black voters from casting ballots.

When these "caged" voters arrived at the polls in November 2004, they found their registrations missing, their right to vote blocked or their absentee ballots rejected because their addresses were supposedly "fraudulent."

Why didn't the GOP honchos 'fess up to challenging these allegedly illegal voters? Because targeting voters of color is AGAINST THE LAW. The law in question is the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Act says you can't go after groups of voters if you choose your targets based on race. Given that almost all the voters on the GOP hit list are Black, the illegal racial profiling is beyond even Karl Rove's ability to come up with an alibi.

The Republicans target Black folk not because they don't like the color of their skin. They don't like the color of their vote: Democrat. For that reason, the GOP included on its hit list Jewish retirement homes in Florida. Apparently, the GOP was also gunning for the Elderly of Zion.

These so-called "fraudulent" voters, in fact, were not fraudulent at all. Page after page, as we've previously reported, are Black soldiers sent overseas. The Bush campaign used their absence from their US homes to accuse them of voting from false addresses.

Now that the GOP has been caught breaking the Voting Rights law, they have found a way to keep using their expensively obtained "caging" lists: let the law expire next year. If the Voting Rights Act dies in 2007, the 2008 race will be open season on dark-skinned voters. Only the renewal of the Voting Rights Act can prevent the planned racial wrecking of democracy.

"Pre-clearance" and the Great Blackout of 2000

Before the 2000 presidential balloting, then Jeb Bush's Secretary of State purged thousands of Black citizens' registrations on the grounds that they were "felons" not entitled to vote. Our review of the files determined that the crimes of most on the list was nothing more than VWB -- Voting While Black.

That "felon scrub," as the state called it, had to be "pre-cleared" under the Voting Rights Act. That is, "scrubs" and other changes in procedures must first be approved by the US Justice Department.

The Florida felon scrub slipped through this "pre-clearance" provision because Katherine Harris' assistant assured the government the scrub was just a clerical matter. Civil rights lawyers are now on the alert for such mendacity.

The Burning Cross Caucus of the Republican Party is bitching that "pre-clearance" of voting changes applies only to Southern states. I have to agree that singling out the Old Confederacy is a bit unfair. But the solution is not to smother the Voting Rights law but to spread its safeguards to all fifty of these United States.

White Sheets to Spread Sheets

Republicans argue that the racial voting games and the threats of the white-hooded Klansmen that kept African-Americans from the ballot box before the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act no longer threaten Black voters.

That's true. When I look over the "caging lists" and the "scrub sheets," it's clear to me that the GOP has traded in white sheets for spreadsheets.

-Excerpts From Palast's Article in Today's Guardian (Not available online as of this posting)

Press Secretary Bitch Slap-Down

I guess Tony Snow thought that public opinion polls were a recent development. Otherwise, he probably wouldn't have been so eager to make such an absurd public comparison.

White House press secretary Tony Snow, on CNN's "Late Edition" on Sunday, said: "The president understands peoples' impatience -- not impatience, but how a war can wear on a nation. He understands that. If somebody had taken a poll in the Battle of the Bulge, I dare say people would have said, 'Wow, my goodness, what are we doing here?' But you cannot conduct a war based on polls."

In fact, there was a poll taken by Gallup from Dec. 31, 1944, to Jan. 4, 1945 -- three years into that war and right in the middle of the bloody Battle of the Bulge, where U.S. casualties were estimated between 70,000 and 80,000. It found that 73 percent of Americans would refuse to make peace with Adolf Hitler if he offered it and that 86 percent of Americans thought there was no chance that we would lose the war in Europe.

The question asked was: "If Hitler offered to make peace now and would give up all land he has conquered, should we try to work out a peace or should we go on fighting until the German army is completely defeated?

"This poll is not a fluke," said Adam Berinsky, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He added: "There were a tremendous number of polls conducted during the war, and President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt knew about them."

Berinsky has been sifting through documents online that belong to the Roper Center in Storrs, Conn., while researching a book he's writing about polling in World War II. Working title: "America at War: Public Opinion During Wartime from WWII to Iraq."

Roosevelt didn't trust pollster George Gallup's firm, Berinsky said -- "he thought they were in the pockets of the Republicans." But another pollster, Hadley Cantril, a Princeton professor who collaborated with Gallup, was deemed more trustworthy by Roosevelt.

Support for the war was bipartisan. About 78 percent of those voting for FDR in 1944 wanted to keep fighting until the German army was destroyed, Berinsky found, and 73 percent of those voting for the Republicans' Thomas Dewey felt the same.

That's in contrast to the Iraq war: A May Washington Post-ABC News poll found that about 67 percent of Republicans support the war but only 19 percent of Democrats do.

Jun 22, 2006

Eagle Eyed Steve

A reader pointed out what may indeed be 3 fuzzy, if not downright incorrect, facts put forward in previous SMC posts on DU.
1. Doug Rokke's has a PhD in Education - apparently not in anything else.
2. Leuren Moret might have dropped out of her PhD program.
3 The 67% claim referenced might indeed be flawed.
None of the above possible errors discredits per se the validity of the general claim that spent DU munitions represent a serious threat to human health and life. It is however, as the observant reader pointed out, important to get as much of the presented facts straight so that screw-ups aren't propogated and exploited by those who would have all talk and study of this important issue of DU risks go away.

More Sand In The Soup

Whether or not you dig Iranian cuisine or get off on their sense of fashion, it remains interesting to compare what they have to say with the words of our great and magnanimous leader, shame-shy Slicky Dicky.
The US is determined to topple Iran's Islamic government whether or not the crisis over the country's nuclear activities is resolved, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said today.

US enmity towards Iran was entrenched, Mr Larijani told the Guardian. "The nuclear issue is just a pretext. If it was not the nuclear matter, they would have come up with something else."

The compromise package offered by the west on Iran's nuclear activities amounted to a "sermon", he said, rejecting outright President George Bush's demands this week that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment.
-Excerpt From The Guardian

Forget Kooks With Nooks - It's Regime Change, Honey Buns

The don't ask, don't tell policy toward Israel's nuclear-weapons program emerged from negotiations between US president Richard Nixon and Israeli prime minister Golda Meir - the same prime minister who also denied the existence of the Palestinian people.

John F Kennedy was the only US president to demand greater accountability of Israel, a nation that has consistently refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which would subject the country to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Talk to average Iranians these days and they are full of such facts. Why, they want to know, is Iran being singled out by the United States when they are surrounded by far worse offenders whom no one confronts? Iran is, after all, a signatory to the NPT, which permits member states to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear technology, as Iran's government claims it's doing.

At a time when Iran's foray into nuclear-power development has come under the international microscope, with the assumption that the "mad mullahs" are busying themselves to get the bomb, Pakistan has thus far avoided such scrutiny, despite the fact that it's an unstable military regime that could easily turn from a nuclear-armed US ally to a nuclear-armed enemy in the time it takes to say "coup d'etat". And what about India? Like Pakistan and Israel, it has a nuclear arsenal and refuses to sign on to the NPT. Yet India is being rewarded for this behavior by US assistance with its civilian nuclear program, an act that is undermining non-proliferation efforts and the treaty itself.

All but forgotten are the provisions of the NPT that require current nuclear states to begin dismantling and liquidating their own weapons system. Instead, the US has begun developing new-generation nukes, violating the very treaty it claims to be defending and potentially setting the stage for another nuclear arms race.

In the case of Iran, the stark double standards of US foreign policy have become more pronounced than usual, and potentially more dangerous to global security. Since 2002 - long before the election of Iran's current president whose scruffy beard, sunken cheeks and provocative outbursts against Israel have all the hallmarks of a villain straight from central casting - Iran was already marked as a member of the "axis of evil". This was at a time when its president was the gentle reformist-philosopher Mohammad Khatami, who pressed for an international "dialogue of civilizations" in hopes that it might melt the long-standing Iran-US cold war and mitigate rising tensions between Islamic nations and the West.

Khatami's overtures were largely ignored. As the elected president of Iran, he was portrayed in the West as a mere figurehead who lacked any real power over the direction of the nation. It's a view that seems more contradictory than ever as the new president, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, is being portrayed as the all-powerful leader of Iran, when in fact he is subject to the same limitations as his predecessor. The same political system, two opposing interpretations from the White House.

A similar about-face can be observed in the case of Iran's original attempts to develop its nuclear capacity in the late 1970s. Iran was then led by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the dictator whom the US had placed in power after its Central Intelligence Agency overthrew Iran's democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had moved to nationalize Iran's oil.

Iran has been the country to benefit most from the war in Iraq. Today it is awash in petrodollars thanks to skyrocketing oil prices that are another side-effect of the Iraq war. (One can only imagine the massive amounts of fuel the war effort itself has consumed, irrespective of the ongoing damage to oil pipelines by insurgents, for everything from Humvees, tanks and aircraft to the never-ending supply lines transporting meals, water, soldiers, ammo and absolutely everything else into the country). And Iran has been able to sit back and watch its two arch-enemies - the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq - be defeated by the United States.

Yet the situation is not exactly comforting for Iran. Today it is surrounded by a nuclear-armed Pakistan, US-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, and a nuclear-armed Israel that did not hesitate to bomb Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, despite subsequent condemnation from the United Nations. (It was the lesson of Osirak that led Iran to distribute its nuclear program at various points around the country, in many cases burying it deep underground, so as not to provide an easy target should history repeat itself.)

And Iran's leadership understands that the main issue in the minds of US military planners and their Israeli counterparts is not nuclear proliferation, but regime change. To back down or show weakness, they believe, is political suicide.
Excerpts From An Article By Deborah Campbell

Jun 21, 2006

Life Magazine - Depleted Lives

Don't miss Life Magazine's photoessay about U.S. soldiers and the devastating effect depleted uranium (DU) has on their lives and families.

Today, more than 240,000 Gulf War veterans are on permanent medical disability and more than 11,000 are dead. They have been denied testing, medical care, and compensation for depleted uranium exposure and related illnesses since 1991.

Even worse, they brought it home in their bodies. In some families, the children born before the Gulf War are the only healthy members. Wives and female partners of Gulf War veterans have reported a condition known as burning semen syndrome, and are now internally contaminated from depleted uranium carried in the semen of exposed veterans. Many are reporting reproductive illnesses such as endometriosis. In a U.S. government study, conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs on post-Gulf War babies, 67% were found to have serious birth defects or serious illnesses. They were born without eyes (anophthalmos), ears, had missing organs, missing legs and arms, fused fingers, thyroid or other organ malformations.

Summer Sand

As of this week, we now have 3 U.S. aircraft carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf.

Expect the worse anytime soon, especially as frontman Bush is back on ominous telepromted cue after his staged hiatus of conciliatory overtures, as he now markedly claims to be impatient with the Iranians.

We have previously bet exceptionally good whiskey on a Q2 strike, projecting June as the likeliest month for the hit on Iran. Looks like we might be proven to be off by a shade but we still believe the hit will hover in the immediate vicinity of a summer strike. Go get your postassium ioide. Dust blows far with a fair wind.

In Slick Dicks We Trust

Watch Last Letters Home -Voices of American Troops From The Battlefields Of Iraq. (Video length: 59 minutes)

Slick Cheney. Slick to use the idealism and loyalty of youth as an exploit to murder by proxy for you, your prostate swollen buddies and their dog-ugly wives, and your frontman bozo. Keep your hands unstained and sucker punch the vernal brave with their very bravery. You're the man when it comes to transforming the noble traits of youth into deadly liabilities. And you always manage to make a buck out of it.

Slick, Dick. Truly so.

Hey There Suckers!

Bushonomics has pushed America beyond the point of no return.

Citizens for Tax Justice in conjunction with the IRS issued a shocking report that puts numbers to the gross unfairness of Bushonian disproportional tax cuts, and it shows the numbers of all citizens by income bracket, how they have benefited or not, with regards to all of the tax cuts have occurred under the Bush Regime. No nation-state in the last 2,000 years has had such an enormous transfer of wealth from the bottom 50% of the population to the top 20% of the population, as has occurred in the United States under the current Regime.

Never before in history has such a transfer of wealth been effectuated.

Jun 20, 2006

Keep Killing Those Kids, Israel

The longest military occupation of the post WW2 era is in many ways a war on children for it's children that bear the devastating brunt of Israel's recalcitrant and violent landgrab - no matter what the spin de jour is. But hey, they couldn't pull it off without our money, weapons, and tacit support.
Three Palestinian children were killed Tuesday during a failed assassination attempt by the Israel Air Force in Gaza. Two of the children, aged five and six, were brother and sister; the third was a 16-year-old boy.

1996 - Last Presidential Election

Time sure does fly when trapped in a nose dive.

Below are 3 video file interviews with Robert Kennedy Jr. Kennedy wrote the recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine on the stolen 2004 Presidential election.

1 Stephen Colbert had Robert Kennedy Jr. as a guest on last night's edition of the Colbert Report - catch the video clip.

2 Wolf Blitzer hosted a debate on CNN's Situation Room between Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and former Bush Press Secretary, Terry Holt.

3 Tucker Carlson hosted Robert F. Kennedy Jr. last night on MSNBC's The Situation.

Clips courtesy Veredictum

Steal Home

[Chicago] Martin Luther King III mentioned to a group of civil rights leaders that I was in the room. King had my book. “I’m going to take Greg’s book and place it on my father’s grave. He will be pleased.”
It was, I admit, hard not to tear up at that moment. Then I thought, “Don’t do that! You’ll get the book dirty!” And I told Martin, “I have a better idea. Let’s march down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and throw the book through the window.”

Jesse Jackson said, “We march, we win. Every time.” Maybe. But I know this. If we don’t march, we lose.

How many times am I asked, “Why vote if they’re going to steal the election?” That’s the point: Make them STEAL it. Make them know they can’t win UNLESS they steal it - Greg Palast
Robert Kennedy Junior told PR Week that he is considering litigation against people responsible for what he says was a stolen 2004 election. -Raw

PRWeek: This story didn't have a 'smoking gun'; was there one person coordinating this entire operation?
Kennedy: There's never going to be 100% certitude that the election was stolen, because the only way you could get that is by recounting the ballots, and the recount was illegally derailed by Republican operatives. The mastermind behind the efforts in Ohio was Kenneth Blackwell, along with…[Toledo elections official] Bernadette Noe. But on a national level, it's [Republican National Committee chairman] Kenneth Mehlman and Karl Rove.

PRWeek: The election is over. Is it too late now?
Kennedy: There's another election soon. And as the Times [just] reported, the same people are up to the same shenanigans.

Jun 19, 2006

Babel Bomb

As coalition commanders were trumpeting a major offensive against the Taliban, a minivan carrying Afghans to their jobs at the main coalition base was destroyed today by a bomb that killed 10 people including five interpreters whose work is considered crucial by the military.

“The loss of interpreters is a big loss for us,” said Innis, who added the coalition employs about 50 such interpreters. “It is a big difference to not have those guys there.”

The explosion came a day after the coalition announced the offensive called Operation Mountain Thrust that aims to root Taliban from their strongholds in rural areas to the west and north of Kandahar City.

Rude Pundit's Mindfuck

Here's an excerpt of a cute mindfuck by way of the Rude Pundit.
Two Captured American Soldiers and the Implied "What If":
Chances are, maybe even by the time you read this, the two American soldiers, captured by Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq, will be dead, probably in some horrible way, probably with their bodies dumped like all the horribly murdered Iraqis in the blood and gore-strewn landscape that are the markers of Iraqi liberation.

The Rude Pundit can't help thinking, though, about the implied "What if" of the capture, on the field of battle, of American soldiers, prisoners of war, if you will.

What if we get pictures of the soldiers, nude, cowering, screaming in a corner, shitting themselves on the filthy floors of a makeshift cell, as their captors hold snarling dogs on leashes just out of bite range of the soldiers?

What if we learn that their captors decide that the soldiers can offer intelligence that can be of use to al-Qaeda and, in order to get that information, the captors put the nude soldiers into rooms that are heated to hellish temperatures, followed by rooms that are impossibly cold with colder water tossed onto them? What if the soldiers are made to stand for days on end? Put into stress positions that fuck up their muscles and limbs? Denied sleep? Had loud music played into their cells? Kept in isolation and fed bread and water for days, weeks on end?

What if they strap one or both of those Americans to a board and hold them underwater until their drowning reflex forces them to panic, thrash, claw desperately for air, only to be brought up to breathe and then placed underwater again? And again? Until the captors get the answers they seek?

What if those captors take the nude, sleep-deprived, shit and piss-covered, nearly drowned and dog-frightened American soldiers and handcuff them to beds with women's panties on their heads, snapping photographs and laughing, talking about publishing the photos so that everyone can see the soldiers with their panty-sniffing heads and terror-shriveled cocks, so that all of al-Qaeda can laugh at what pussies Americans can be made to seem?

What if, and, really, does it need to be said, they are made to stand, hooded, with faux electrodes attached to their nuts and fingers, told that if they don't start answering questions, well, testicles only can take so much electroshock before they just pop like squeezed grapes?

What will our government do? What could it do? Could it condemn the actions as not abiding by the Geneva Conventions? Could it call the actions "torture"? Could it demand accountability? Could it demand that the soldiers be treated as POWs? Could it simply say, "Well, we don't do that shit...anymore"?

And what about the good right-wing punditry? Would Rush Limbaugh look at the photos of the nude, cowering Americans and say it looks like fraternity hazing or some such shit? Would others dismiss it as a media fabrication? Or would they just pathetically overlook everything done in our American names to Iraqis, Afghanis, and others, calling madly for the heads of the captors, not even thinking about the irony of such a statement?

Napalm Spunk - Depleted Uranium (Part 3)

Here's yet another lecture on depleted uranium (DU), this one by Leuren Moret. It's a juggernaut!
(36-minute lecture, 4 MB MP3 file)

In a study conducted by the Veterans Administration on 251 Gulf War veterans in the state of Mississippi, the veterans had children that were normal before they departed to the Gulf War. Of the children they conceived after the Gulf War, 67% had severe illnesses or deformities. They were born without organs, without hands, without brains,...67%! Heard anything of this in the news? That's information and radiological warfare wrapped into one big crime against humanity. Thanks Laura. Thanks for kissing George goodnight for us all.
“Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”
-Henry Kissinger

Leuren Moret earned her B.S. in Geology at U.C. Davis in 1968, and her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from U.C. Berkeley in 1978, her PhD. in the Geosciences at U.C. Davis. She has traveled and conducted scientific research in 42 countries.

She wrote a scientific report on depleted uranium for the United Nations subcommission investigating the illegality of depleted uranium munitions. She has been trained on radiation issues by Marion Fulk, a former Manhattan Project Scientist and retired insider at the Livermore Lab who is an expert on radioactive fallout and rainout.

Leuren Moret is an independent scientist and international expert on radiation and public health issues. She is on the organizing committee of the World Committee on Radiation Risk (WCRR), an organization of independent radiation specialists including members of the radiation committee in the EU Parliament - European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR). She is an Environmental Commissioner for the City of Berkeley.

Jun 18, 2006

Cocktails For Kids - Depleted Uranium (Part 2)

Another war in Iran is perhaps imminent. Scientists and others are expressing concern that the side-effects of (DU) depleted uranium munitions - still a major part of the U.S. arsenal - is responsible for serious illness and deaths to a new generation of U.S. soldiers and civilians.

Doug Rokke, (see his 37 minute lecture!) U.S. Army contractor who headed a clean-up of depleted uranium after the first Gulf War states:,
"Depleted uranium is a crime against God and humanity."
Rokke's own crew, a hundred employees, was devastated by exposure to the fine dust. He stated:
"When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,"
After performing clean-up operations in the desert (mistakenly without protective gear), 30 members of his staff died, and most others"including Rokke himself"developed serious health problems. Rokke now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems.
"We warned the Department of Defense in 1991 after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond comprehension. Yet the D.O.D still insists such ingestion is "not sufficient to make troops seriously ill in most cases."
Because conditions are so chaotic in Iraq, the medical infrastructure has been greatly compromised. In terms of both cancer and birth defects due to DU, only a small fraction of the cases are being reported.

Doctors in southern Iraq are making comparisons to the birth defects that followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. They have numerous photos of infants born without brains, with their internal organs outside their bodies, without sexual organs, without spines, and the list of deformities goes on an on. Such birth defects were extremely rare in Iraq prior to the large scale use of DU weapons. Now they are commonplace. In hospitals across Iraq, the mothers are no longer asking, "Doctor, is it a boy or girl?" but rather, "Doctor, is it normal?"

The following are links to media files featuring Dr. Doug Rokke:
1 Dr. Doug Rokke (37-minute, 18MB Real Player) Excellent presentation!
2 Dr. Doug Rokke Speaking in Los Altos, CA 21apr03 (71-minute, 8 MB MP3 file)

When a DU round or bomb strikes a hard target, most of its kinetic energy is converted to heat " sufficient heat to ignite the DU. From 40% to 70% of the DU is converted to extremely fine dust particles of ceramic uranium oxide (primarily dioxide, though other formulations also occur). Over 60% of these particles are smaller than 5 microns in diameter, about the same size as the cigarette ash particles in cigarette smoke and therefore respirable.

Jun 17, 2006

Hard Sell

Amnesty International in Switzerland broke a new outdoor campaign May 29th that was created by Walker Werbeagentur Zuerich. The campaign uses the tagline "It's not happening here but it's happening now", in various languages, from French to German.

Using the transparent billboards, the campaign aims to show people what is going on in the world, even if it's not happening in front of them at the bus stop. Definitely worth a peek.
-Tip of the hat to Moving On

Cocktails For Guinea Pigs - Depleted Uranium (Part 1)

Here's a lecture (Quicktime Movie) by Dennis Kyne speaking on Depleted Uranium at Arizona State University. The lecture begins 1 minute 45 seconds into the 12 minute clip.

And don't miss this 16-minute lecture by
Dennis Kyne, Los Altos, CA 21apr03 (2 MB MP3)

Dennis Kyne is the award winning author and graduated from San Jose State University's School of Political Science, cum laude in 1995. As a Dean's Scholar and a member of Phi Sigma Alpha's Political Science honor society, Kyne has studied the geopolitical structure extensively. Kyne is a fifteen year veteran of the U.S. Army who served with the 18th Airborne Corps during Operation Desert Storm.

Dennis has been instrumental in the first Depleted Uranium legislation passed to force the government to provide testing on returning soldiers.

Depleted Uranium

How much has been used?
Iraq (1991): 320 tonnes
former Yugoslavia: 10 tonnes
Afghanistan: up to 500 tonnes
Iraq (2003): unknown quantities

Since 1991 birth deformities in
Iraq have risen by 400-600%
cancer has risen by 700-1000%

67% of US Gulf War Veterans' children
have severe illnesses, missing eyes,
blood infections, respiratory problems
and fused fingers

In Kosovo cancer rates
have increased 166%

Baghdad radiation levels are
between 1,000 and 1,900
times higher than normal

Turn Back At Black - Election Selections

African-American Voters Scrubbed by Secret GOP Hit List

The Republican National Committee has a special offer for African-American soldiers: Go to Baghdad, lose your vote.

A confidential campaign directed by GOP party chiefs in October 2004 sought to challenge the ballots of tens of thousands of voters in the last presidential election, virtually all of them cast by residents of Black-majority precincts.
Files from the secret vote-blocking campaign were obtained by BBC Television Newsnight, London. They were attached to emails accidentally sent by Republican operatives to a non-party website.

One group of voters wrongly identified by the Republicans as registering to vote from false addresses: servicemen and women sent overseas.

Here's how the scheme worked: The RNC mailed these voters letters in envelopes marked, “Do not forward”, to be returned to the sender. These letters were mailed to servicemen and women, some stationed overseas, to their US home addresses. The letters then returned to the Bush-Cheney campaign as "undeliverable."

The lists of soldiers of "undeliverable" letters were transmitted from state headquarters, in this case Florida, to the RNC in Washington. The party could then challenge the voters' registration and thereby prevent their absentee ballot being counted.

One target list was comprised exclusively of voters registered at the Jacksonville, Florida, Naval Air Station. Jacksonville is third largest naval installation in the US, best known as home of the Blue Angels fighting squandron.

Our team contacted the homes of several on the caging list, such as Randall Prausa, a serviceman, whose wife said he had been ordered overseas.

A soldier returning home in time to vote in November 2004 could also be challenged on the basis of the returned envelope. Soldiers challenged would be required to vote by "provisional" ballot.

Over one million provisional ballots cast in the 2004 race were never counted; over half a million absentee ballots were also rejected. The extraordinary rise in the number of rejected ballots was the result of the widespread multi-state voter challenge campaign by the Republican Party. The operation, of which the purge of Black soldiers was a small part, was the first mass challenge to voting America had seen in two decades.

The BBC obtained several dozen confidential emails sent by the Republican's national Research Director and Deputy Communications chief, Tim Griffin to GOP Florida campaign chairman Brett Doster and other party leaders. Attached were spreadsheets marked, "Caging.xls." Each of these contained several hundred to a few thousand voters and their addresses.

A check of the demographics of the addresses on the "caging lists," as the GOP leaders called them indicated that most were in African-American majority zip codes.

Ion Sanco, the non-partisan elections supervisor of Leon County (Tallahassee) when shown the lists by this reporter said: “The only thing I can think of - African American voters listed like this – these might be individuals that will be challenged if they attempted to vote on Election Day.”

These GOP caging lists were obtained by the same BBC team that first exposed the wrongful purge of African-American "felon" voters in 2000 by then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Eliminating the voting rights of those voters -- 94,000 were targeted -- likely caused Al Gore's defeat in that race.

The Republican National Committee in Washington refused our several requests to respond to the BBC discovery. However, in Tallahassee, the Florida Bush campaign's spokespeople offered several explanations for the list.

Joseph Agostini, speaking for the GOP, suggested the lists were of potential donors to the Bush campaign. Oddly, the supposed donor list included residents of the Sulzbacher Center a shelter for homeless families.

Another spokesperson for the Bush campaign, Mindy Tucker Fletcher, ultimately changed the official response, acknowledging that these were voters, "we mailed to, where the letter came back – bad addresses.”

The party has refused to say why it would mark soldiers as having "bad addresses" subject to challenge when they had been assigned abroad.

The apparent challenge campaign was not inexpensive. The GOP mailed the letters first class, at a total cost likely exceeding millions of dollars, so that the addresses would be returned to "cage" workers.

“This is not a challenge list," insisted the Republican spokesmistress. However, she modified that assertion by adding, “That’s not what it’s set up to be.”
Setting up such a challenge list would be a crime under federal law. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlaws mass challenges of voters where race is a factor in choosing the targeted group.

While the party insisted the lists were not created for the purpose to challenge Black voters, the GOP ultimately offered no other explanation for the mailings. However, Tucker Fletcher asserted Republicans could still employ the list to deny ballots to those they considered suspect voters. When asked if Republicans would use the list to block voters, Tucker Fletcher replied, “Where it’s stated in the law, yeah.”

It is not possible at this time to determine how many on the potential blacklist were ultimately challenged and lost their vote. Soldiers sending in their ballot from abroad would not know their vote was lost because of a challenge.
-Excerpts From Interview With Greg Palast. The story was first reported for BBC Television Newsnight (UK)

Jun 15, 2006

...And Boltin' Bolton Blubbered, Iran and I ran and I ran

Facing an increasingly hostile group of law students in an Oxford seminar that had somehow gone dreadfully wrong, beads of sweat began to pop out on John Bolton’s furrowed brow. Amidst a rising chorus of taunts, jeers, hisses and outright denunciations, Bolton was swiftly surrounded by his entourage of three American security agents and whisked out the door of the seminar room at Oriel College on Friday, the 9th of June.

Pursued by vocal recriminations from angry and frustrated American students who led the incisive questioning and the equally incisive jeering -- with taunts like, “You should be doing a better job!” Bolton bolted. He turned sharply on his heel and took flight out the door and then fled down the mediaeval passageway and into the relative safety and calm of his bullet-proof diplomatic limousine. Bolton swiftly headed out of Oxford, rudely foregoing the well-established tradition of lingering to talk with interested members of the audience.

Bolton’s swift exit contrasted sharply with Oxford appearances by two other American politicians earlier this term. Both John Podesta and Richard Perle enjoyed lingering for discussions with Oxford audiences after their talks. John Bolton would have none of it, and the reason was obvious. Throughout the questioning, the audience became increasingly hostile and combative towards his neoconservative agenda.

Numbering over one hundred and consisting of a large contingent of Americans intermingled with British and international students, the audience was eager to hold Bolton accountable for the neoconservative arguments he put forward in his talk. The keen attitude of the audience infused Bolton with a noticeable reticence to remain and exchange viewpoints even though it is a time-honoured Oxford tradition. Bolton’s performance was tantamount to arriving late for dinner, wolfing one’s food and then leaving abruptly before the cigars and Amontillado.

Bolton [also] appeared on the influential BBC4 Today programme, where he was interviewed by Jim Naughtie. Naughtie turned to the Iran crisis, and Bolton reiterated the official White House line: the situation remains under negotiation but volatile. Either Iran will acquiesce to the demands placed upon it, or it will face dire consequences including military intervention. Leaving no doubt that Bush and Bolton propose unilateral action, Bolton confirmed that Iran would be a test case to determine whether the UN Security Council could be effective in the war against terrorism.

When interviewed on the same day by the Financial Times, Bolton quashed the concept that the Bush administration was holding out the possibility of a “grand bargain” with Iran. In Bolton’s mind, the terms of the negotiations are focused exclusively on the Iranian nuclear programme and do not encompass diplomatic recognition or the normalization of relations. Far from detente, Bolton’s definition of the process is simple: the US is threatening Iran with war unless they submit to terms which Iran finds unattractive – the cessation of what they state is peaceful research into nuclear energy.

Given his very public actions as exemplified by his statements in the UK and the US, Bolton should now be considered to be functioning as the US Secretary of State.
-Excerpts From Spin Watch

Sisyphean Meatballs

After the MPAA exploited their Bush White House contacts to pressure the Swedish government to sic IKEAville coppers on Pirate Bay and shut them down, the Pirate Bay set up temporary shop in the Netherlands.

Two weeks after that raid, the Pirate Bay is now up and running again - back in Sweden. PSP friendlies have donated much of Pirate Bay's replacement hardware.

As in the case of the Swedish government's secret cooperation with the Bush Administration on the extraordinary rendition programme's kidnapping and torture of her sovereign territory's residents, meatballian government officials vehemently deny any involvement or complicity in the raid. Yackity Yack. M1 knows (most definitely so) better. Since the late 1990's, US infowar czars from a variety of law enforcement and intelligence communities have been in shuttling secret liason with Swedish counterpart assets.

Previous Pirate Bay Posts: 1 2 3
The U.S. government has joined forces with the entertainment industry to stop the freewheeling global bazaar in pirated movies and music, pressuring foreign governments to crack down or risk incurring trade barriers. Last year, for instance, the movie industry lobby suggested that Sweden change its laws to make it a crime to swap copyrighted movies and music for free over the Internet. Shortly after, the Swedish government complied.

Last month, Swedish authorities briefly shut down an illegal file-sharing Web site after receiving a briefing on the site's activities from U.S. officials in April in Washington. The raid incited political and popular backlash in the Scandinavian nation.

Bushy Boy News

Bob Schieffer is a longtime and good friend of President Bush. Bobby Boy's brother Tommy Boy was a former business partner with Bush and was appointed by Bush as ambassador to Australia and then Japan. Bobby Boy landed exclusive interviews with Bush when he was governor. When Dan Rather was forced out, Bobby Boy replaced him as interim anchor for the weekday CBS Evening News upon which the White House announced they did not hate CBS anymore as they now had Bobby Boy as anchor.
CBS executives have decided there is no future role at the network for Dan Rather, making it certain that the man who sat in the anchor chair for 24 years will depart by this fall.

These executives recognize Rather's contributions over four decades and are not trying to boot him because of the controversy surrounding his botched story on President Bush and the National Guard, say network sources who declined to be named while discussing a sensitive personnel matter.

Jun 14, 2006

War Horse

The Afghanistan province being patrolled by British troops will produce at least one third of the world's heroin this year, according to drug experts who are forecasting a harvest that is both a record for the country and embarrassing for the western funded war on narcotics.

"It's going to be massive," said one British drugs official. "My guess is it's going to be the biggest ever." UN, American and Afghan officials agreed.

The smuggling kingpins who control the £1.5bn trade have become rich, powerful and apparently untouchable. Although several hundred low-level couriers have been arrested, not one "big fish" has been tried in Afghanistan - a critical failing according to analysts.

American congressmen are ratcheting up pressure to start poppy eradication using pesticide-spraying planes, a controversial tactic. Aerial spraying ...is trenchantly opposed by British and Afghans officials, who say it would be disastrous in Afghanistan. "It could drive farmers into the hands of the insurgents," said one.

British commanders insists the 3,300 soldiers will avoid tackling drugs in favour of providing security and development funds. "We have to put the things in place that will make it no longer necessary to grow poppy," said a senior officer.

But an American official predicted that without a dramatic drop in next year's crop, spraying could lead to a UK-US rift by 2008. "Spraying will continue to be a cloud on the horizon and it will get darker," he said.

[D]rug experts say it will be impossible to avoid the drugs war. [T]he Taliban has developed close links to drug smugglers, sometimes providing them with weapons and vehicles.
-Excerpts From The Guardian