Thursday, May 27, 2004

Bremmer and the US Tell the Truth!

Iraq is no longer a republic it is now the "State of Iraq."

NPR: Voz del Pueblo? Or Running Dogs of Conformity and Power?

You can guess where the FAIR study on NPR came down on this one.

The Lies of Our Times

Yesterday's New York Times mea culpa on their Iraq coverage (I can't find it online) was incredible that it occurred at all and in its inability to name names. Judith Miller and Michael Gordon were number 1 offenders but they're no Jason Blair, I guess. Remember JB? He fibbed about some stories and the entire editorial brass was canned along with pages and pages of corrections. The Judith Miller/Michael Gordon stories and others led to the deaths of thousands and thousands to come and all we get is an editorial on page 14(?). Here's a commentary on the whole deal by Amy Goodman.

Bad Art

Thanks to Scott for the link to the Museum of Bad Art. Very funny.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

General Zinni on Iraq

One of the casualties of the brass takes his shots at the neocons and Iraq strategy.

Repeating Historic Mistakes in Iraq?

A decent essay on the Brenner government from an academic who interviewed many of them.

World's Oldest 1st Grader

84 year old begins first grade in Uganda.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Wedding Video

A US news agency broadcasts before and after video of bombed wedding in Iraq. As reported by the BBC.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Sistani Calls For Iraq Wide Protests

Influential Iraqi Shia Ayatollah Sistani calls for protests. Could anything more go wrong? Unforunately yes!

Report From Iraq From A Military Man

"About the Army - Man, it hurts my heart to write this about an institution I dearly love but this army is completely dysfunctional, angry and is near losing its honor. We are back to the Army of 1968. I knew we were finished when I had a soldier point his Squad Automatic Weapons at me and my bodyguard detail for driving down the street when he decided he would cross the street in the middle of rush hour traffic (which was moving at about 70 MPH) ... He made it clear to any and all that he was preparing to shoot drivers who did not stop for his jaunt because speeding cars are 'threats.'"

"Unlike the wars of the past 20 years where the Army encouraged (needed) soldiers, NGOs, allies and civil organizations to work together to resolve matters and return to normal society, the US Forces only trust themselves here and that means they set their own limits and tolerances. Abu Ghuraib are good examples of that limit. I told a Journalist the other day that these kids here are being told that they are chasing Al Qaeda in the War on Terrorism so they think everyone at Abu Ghuraib had something to do with 9/11. So they were encouraged to make them pay. These kids thought they were going to be honored for hunting terrorists."

Link to entry.

Powell Admits They Lied About WMD, Does Anyone Care?

David Corn on Colin Powell's admission of lying and the reaction to it.

Why Not ABB: Anybody But Bush?

Even Chomsky has made a slight ABB argument lately! A sad commentary indeed. An old song from this quarter I know but here's a few reasons why the ABB argument is problematic.

Monday, May 17, 2004

When Is Putting Someone Under Water to Obtain Information Not Torture?

When it's described in the New York Times.

Checks and Balances

SY Hersch argues that torture and sexual humiliation as well as kidnapping were part of the plan. This stuff has occurred in the past, El Salvador, Chile, Vietnam, etc.. but my question is how does this kind of thing happen in a supposed democracy? Agencies like the Pentagon can create budgets that have no oversite kidnap and torture people anywhere in the world? This is something of a rhetorical question.

Woodward and Hersch

Here's a good look at the world's of arguably the US's two most respected journalists, Sy Hersch and Bob Woodward. Investigative journalism versus clubby inside politics.


This cartoon pretty well sums it up.


Man in suit holds a document entitled "Privatizing the public sector."
Man with sack is saying: "Don't bother. We privatized it before you."

Friday, May 14, 2004

Woodward's Book Lets Bush of Easy Says Matt Rothchild of the Progressive

"Woodward reveals a couple of secrets about his own actions. He and The Washington Post bowed to the CIA's request, on at least one occasion, not to print a story right away. That story concerned the possibility of a loose dirty bomb. And he also said he had written five paragraphs about how the claims of the Bush Administration on weapons of mass destruction weren't holding up, but his editors convinced him not to proceed. In hindsight, he says, he should have pushed for it to be a page-one story."

Is this not the real scandal about the book? Journalists and editors suppressing stories for the state? This is acceptable in a free society?

Take a Stand Against Censorship

Do something about Disney's censorship of Michael (I support war-monger Wes Clarke?) Moore's film about Bush and co and the house of Saud.

How to Spin Torture

Once again Normon Solomon gets to the point on the media and torture in Iraq. Isn't this a terrible public relations problem?

The Rise and Fall of the FSLN

An insightful critique of the FSLN. Did they have a choice?

The Rise and Fall of the FSLN

An insightful critique of the FSLN. Did they have a choice?

Wanted: New Boogeyman

Found. Watch the news from now on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will now be the new, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Daniel Ortega, Muommar Qaddafi, Ayatollah Khomeni, Brechnev, Fidel Castro...........

A Man of Peace

Israeli government destroys homes of a thousand or so in Gaza.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Torture Manuals

The National Security Archive is an serious research outfit that has researched US foreign policy for years. Think the US has been involved in torture in the past, you bet.

Too Tough for the FBI!

Even the FBI thinks the CIA is a little too tough when it comes to torture.

A Suprisingly Good Article By Eric Alterman

"The shocking sight of US soldiers forcing Iraqi prisoners to simulate oral sex and masturbate in front of their captors brings home the degree to which the Iraq adventure is unraveling, at a pace surprising even to its most vociferous critics. Much of the problem lies with the Administration's incompetence, but a healthy proportion can also be attributed to its deliberate dishonesty--coupled with a cowed media's unwillingness to subject its false contentions to even rudimentary scrutiny. During the run-up to the invasion, America, as Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler observed with euphemistic delicacy, was "taken to war and almost everything we were told before the war, other than that Saddam Hussein is bad, has turned out, so far, not to be the case: the weapons of mass destruction, the imagery of nuclear mushroom clouds, the links between al Qaeda and Hussein, the welcome, the resistance, the costs, the numbers of troops needed. All of these factors were presented by the administration with what now seems, at best, to have been a false sense of certainty." And yet given all that, the likes of Sinclair, the New York Post and their partners in faux-patriotic misinformation and censorship--including corporate giants Clear Channel and the entire Murdoch empire--seek to keep Americans ignorant not only of the lies we've been fed but also of the cost of these lies in lost lives."

The entire article.

How To Get Out of Iraq: 11 Proposals

The Nation has put together 11 proposals for exit from Iraq. Take a look at Mansour Farhang's (#10). Unfortunatly I do not believe that the intent was civil war but most likely will be the outcome. Again, because of the very narrow nationalistic views of our foreign policy establishment the views of #10 are not taken seriously or studied only for strategic advantage. This creates the horror show that is US foreign policy for at least the last 100 years.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Rummy and Race in Iraq

Here's a decent discussion of Rummy's testimony and its implicit racism.

Fallujah a Worse Atrocity?

Doctors Without Borders and the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz have reported on the Fallujah campaign. This campaign was a massacre! Go here for the reports and a discussion.

Martian Solution

Interesting program on Nova last night for the apocalyptic millenialists. The program argues that we are headed for a hot future because of an apparent decline in our magnetic field. This could have a Martian like effect because the magnetic field acts as a umbrella for solar winds that if directly ecountering our atmosphere would burn it up. Ouch!

Our grim fulture?

Listing "Enemies"

Take a look at this site and the comments. The comments are incredible. Do they really believe that this is in the spirit of a "free republic?"

Cuba Woes

Dollar stores closed in Cuba. This is an ominous sign. People in Cuba REALLY depend on these stores. The quality and amount of goods is far more consistant at the dollar stores and even though things are expensive people depend on them for some of the basics.

This taken with the
latest diplomatic problems with Mexico and Peru as well as the recent increased economic pressure by the US do not signal future happiness on the island.

Monday, May 10, 2004

How Many Americans Think

Quote from Maxspeak:

"The Administration's collective negligence reflects a fundamental problem in the way they think. We see this echoed in comic form by the parade of idiot jingo-bloggers. They all think international security is a matter of military force, rather than politics. When military force gives way to political realities, hard-liners console themselves with the thought that it was just a matter of insufficient use of force. They think the role of the Secretary of State is to distract everyone with bullsh*t as a cover for the use of force. No. What a policy needs most is legitimacy and consensus. Then you can get away with murder. They don't get it. They are not fit to rule."

I think this quote nails it. You hear this line a lot when jingos discuss Vietman. They don't get that you don't use nuclear weapons because this would have political ramifications!?!

Eisner Lies About Censorship

Michael Eisner's lame position on what is and isn't censorship.

"New" Imperialism (his word) Needed Argues Washington Post Columnist

What's so new about the "new" imperialism? This column says the imperialists need new international institutions to intervene many more times in the future. Sounds like John Kerry. This is why Kerry will be worse than Bush. Bush and Co. say forget the international coalitions, the US should do it alone if they have to. This will undermine imperialism because people around the world and in the US will resist. This is a good thing. We need to end imperialism not improve it.

Blame the Grunt?

Here's a good discussion of the blame the rogues line that is being put forth by the administration and its supporters on the Iraq prison torture scandal. In the pictures and in a new article by Sy Hersch the idea that this all could go on without higher ups knowing is challenged.

The people that did this should be prosecuted. The people that ordered the troops to "soften" the prisoners up should be prosecuted and receive even harsher terms. The people, the Bush administration, who called for the invasion are ultimately the one's most responsible for this atrocity.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

From the Right

In the run up to the war the argument was made that the invasion and its aftermath would have the exact opposite effect than the stated purpose. Unfortunately this is oustandingly the case. This right winger is correct. This war is a recruiting drive! For Al-Queda!

"Each day's newspapers make the same point: in the misnamed "War on Terrorism," America is losing and losing badly. Osama & Company are having a banner year. The reason is not any brilliance on their part, but gross buffoonery on ours. Specifically, the invasion and occupation of Iraq by America have created the greatest recruiting drive in history--for the other side."

This from a right winger!

Who Should Have Known?

From war promoter Richard Cohen of the Washington Post:

"This week the United States Army did the oddest thing in this Age of Bush: It reprimanded six soldiers in connection with the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal -- not for what they did but for not knowing what others were doing. An Army spokesman put it this way: "They should have known. . . ." If that's the standard, then half the Bush administration will soon be gone."

Here's the entire article.

I would add one more. If you live and write about Washington and US politics your entire life and you are so gullible that you believe and rabidly promote every word from the Bush administration leading up to the invasion... COHEN SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.


60 Minutes II suppressed the story on torture in Iraq for at least two weeks before they broadcasted the story. They had told the US Army that they were investigating the issue and they suppressed it on request from the US. Some free press. God knows what else they are suppressing and have suppressed? Go here for a analysis of the issue.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Naomi Klien on the negative role of the UN in Iraq and proposals for the future.

An Urban World

Next year, sometime, the earth's population will become majority urban for the first time. Read Mike Davis's apocolyptic article on urbanization.

Are We All Guilty of Torture?

This article argues that in a democracy we are all responsible for the crimes of our nation. It also argues that the comments by Bush, the military tops and other politicos to the effect that the individuals who tortured and humiliated the Iraqi prisoners are abberations and are solely responsible for these crimes is false.

"But these photos are us. Yes, they are the acts of individuals (though the scandal widens, as scandals almost inevitably do, and the military's own internal report calls the abuse "systemic"). But armies are made of individuals. Nations are made up of individuals. Great national crimes begin with the acts of misguided individuals; and no matter how many people are held directly accountable for these crimes, we are, collectively, responsible for what these individuals have done. We live in a democracy. Every errant smart bomb, every dead civilian, every sodomized prisoner, is ours."

I reject this argument. This is a democracy? Hardley. I will not take responsibilty for these crimes. I opposed the war. Millions of others oppose this crime. Bush and his supporters are the one's who need to be held responsible for this and many other crimes. This article in a way seems radical but in actuality is an escape from responsibilty. It seems to say "sure these individuals did these horrible thing but we are all guilty because we made them do it." Bologna. If someone asked me to strip and humiliate NAZI's or Republicans in a prison camp I would not do it as a matter of conscience. I suspect millions of others would do the same.

I agree with his point that the pictures put an image to the war that is deserved. This war was a rape and humiliation of an entire people and these pictures are a fitting testimony to this horrible war.

Push Polls

I was a victim of a push poll last night.

Matt Flynn was the offender. Matt Flynn is running for Congress in Milwaukee.

The call took over 17 minutes and the caller would not indentfy who was paying for the poll. In a nutshell a push poll tries to define their opponent, or product, by gauging how people react to certain characterizations of a person or product. The thrust of the poll last night was, Tim Carpenter is a hack and Gwyn Moore is black/WELFARE! Both of these people are running for the nomination.

It's a sleazy tactic. I actually have a little experience with MF, traveling the state with him as a driver when he was running for the Senate in the late 80's. It was a radicalizing experience for me. He was a chameleon and as a young idealist I was horrified that he could be so many things to so many different people.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The Draft

There seems to be lots of talk about it in left wing circles lately about the draft. I would argue this is a very unlikely possibilty. The draft was eliminated after the Vietnam War because of the political problem created by it, people started protesting and killing their officers in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The proposals that have been floated, by Charlie Rangel and others, are partly political, they want people to start to worry about having to be forced to war. This in turn is hoped to undermine support for war in Iraq and other places.

I have some anarchist tendencies but they do not include opposition to the state requiring its citizens, men and women, to do some sort of service (teaching, ditch digging, true defense, conservation efforts, etc...) for the collective. Under our current state however I would be opposed to a draft because it would be used for imperial plunder.

For a further discussion of this issue click here.

How An Eclipse Works

Graphic on the workings of an eclipse.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Graphic Pictures of the Costs of Empire

Here's how to dehumanise!

A warning: these are very disturbing graphic images.

Israeli Hawks and Doves, Kind of Like the US

But as far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned, there is a difference — not in substance — but in style. While Labor has historically preferred to get PA endorsement and consent for Israeli colonization (and the PA has with few exceptions obliged), Sharon has no need for the PA. This explains why Palestinian leaders are prepared to make a fuss when Sharon says something, but remain silent and cooperative when their "friends" in the Israeli "peace movement" say exactly the same things or worse. For Palestinian "ministers" actual peace is not a requirement. All they need is an endless "peace process" in which they are seen as "partners." For this they have repeatedly shown that they will pay any price unless and until pressure from the people they purport to represent stops them from committing irreversible blunders.

From electronic intifada.

The US and Torture an Abberation?

I don't think that the US Armed Forces teach "torture" at West Point and other institutions of "defense" but they do teach persuasion and interrogation. Having said this, war is dirty business and when you are pursuing someone in Manila, Fallujah or in Khe Sanh and you catch them and their buddies have taken your friend hostage you beat them to an inch of their life until they tell you information. The School of the Americas taught torture. The US government has been involved in violations of the Geneva Convention in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous other places. There is a culture of violence in the US that leads to more people being put in prison here, than in just about any other society on the planet.

Seymour Herch's article talks about a systematic abuse in US "prisons" in Iraq. His report is partly based on a US Army report. Amnesty International has also documented reports of torture from the very beginning of the invasion.

This is not isolated stuff. The sad part is that the pictures seem to be the main reason the "respectable" press brought it forward. If I don't see it it mustn't exist.

Press reports on US torture.

Discussion of torture in a historical context.

Hersch New Yorker article.