May 31, 2007

Gore and Sheehan Join Forces, NOT

Does Marie Cocco actually get paid to write her essays, like "Gore and Sheehan Join Forces."?? Good title. About two-thirds of the way through I thought, hey, good writer. I'm still reading this thing, 'cuz I want to see how they're joining forces. Sorry. Come to find out, they're not. It was just a fluff piece, with conventional (read incorrect) wisdom, like the following, to which I replied.

Eventually these peculiar dark ages will end. We can only hope historians see them as an aberration, not an early marker of decline.

Unfortunately, the history is already being written; we're in decline. Here's a contemporary example with references to someone documenting this decline. Former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson is another who is documenting it.

Watch the real estate situation unravel this summer. Congress will try to save it, placing the burden on future tax-payers (so much for a "free" market in which bad business decisions are allowed to play out). We've seen it before in the same way the S&L double-scandal was swept under the rug. The twin debts will grow. Eventually, foreigners will diversify out of dollars, more so than they are already, and the US will decline like Spain and Britain did. The "hope" is that the US will do so with grace rather than a holocaust.

Putting the Lie to Tony Blair

The following report by Reuters puts the lie to British Prime Minister Tony Bair's pronouncments about progress in Iraq:
Britain is moving most civilian staff from its consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra to the airport because of safety concerns due to the threat of mortar attacks, the foreign office said on Monday.

This is actually old news (2006).


Reuters Security developments in Iraq, Oct 30, 2006LINK

Cindy Sheehan: Moving on and Up

Cindy gets it. Our so-called "democracy" is corrupted by the corporate military industrial congressional complex. Yes. Eisenho original farewell address included the word "congressional" before it was removed. His words are worth repeating, and have been added at the end of this entry.

Cindy gets it, as did some researchers who published in Foreign Affairs. Their conclusion? The United States does not practice democracy. It is an imperial force in the world, driven by commercial and material goals at the expense of human needs. The transition is so deep, encompassing the vast majority of the mass communications media, that only external forces can correct the situation.

I posted several comments on other web sites, over the Memorial Day weekend, in response to reading Cindy Sheehan's "resignation letter." The gist? It seems that Cindy is moving on from the peace movement to the justice movement. My commentary is that we CAN wait for peace, because justice is a priority.

If anyone wants an answer to, "what's next?" it is provided by the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD). If you're serious about change, then you should read through the POCLAD research, which is laid out to some degree in a 10-part self-study program compiled by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (it's a misnomer... they're all about Justice ;-) Their program is entitled "Challenge Corporate Power, Assert the People's Rights."

The three-part activist strategy is worth repeating (Dave Henson gets credit for this):

1) Devote some time to deep, multi-generational struggles, like freeing slaves, women's suffrage, and revoking corporate power.

2) Devote some time to fighting the immediate struggles, like humanitarian relief, saving historical artifacts from destruction, and key legislative battles.

3) Devote some time to developing alternative social structures (solutions to the problems), like alternative economic frameworks, alternative governance and electoral frameworks, and exploring means of positive cultural change.

Excerpt from Eisenhower's Farewell Address

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

May 30, 2007

Improper Media Contact by Security Contractor

Today I read that the U.S. government has outsourced the monitoring of al-Qaida messages to contractor, IntelCenter.

We also read that Ben Venzke at IntelCenter interpret the information, saying the group likely did not believe any of its demands would be met; "It essentially allows al-Qaida to say that it has provided fair warning and is thus no longer responsible for the outcome."

Aside from the obvious security risks of having a for-profit corporation responsible for screening intelligence data, why is the contractor allowed to have contacts with the media? Interpretation of that information for public dissemination
should only be developed by US officials who are are properly accountable.

I certainly hope agents of the U.S. government are spying on IntelCenter.


Associated Press, Al-Qaida video threatens attacks on U.S., ANNA JOHNSON, May 30, 2007.

May 29, 2007

Strategy for War Crime Convictions of the Bush Syndicate

The strategy is simple.

1) Ample evidence exists that Bush has diverted billions in government largess to his special interests.

2) We need that money back, and the tax base re-established in order to pay for his war and other needs of the Nation.

3) We begin bringing war crime charges against numerous people in the Bush Administration, from the bottom up, so the talk.

4) We put the squeeze on, with capital punishment "on the table."

5) We negotiate a settlement: War criminals avoid the death penalty in exchange for a return of the largess to the public coffers.

At this point, Bush has succeeded in a massive redistribution of wealth to the corporate fasicist sector of society. It's vital that we recoup that wealth.

May 28, 2007

No-Legislation Alternative to End the Iraq War

It's a simple premise: Don't send any legislation on funding the Iraq war to Bush, and he can't veto it. It's the no-legislation option, and the Democrats have the power to do it.

The Democrats, who seem to believe the establishment media matters, repeat the false logic that "funding the war" equals "funding the troops." These are only words that serve as a cover. They want to give the impression of "trying," but don't really want to succeed in asserting their power to influence the Iraq war.

The Democrats do not want to take any meaningful action on the Iraq war for fear they will be blamed for the outcome, which will be chaos in the near term. The Democrats have power now. They simply don't want to use it in regard to the Iraq war until after the 2008 election. THEN, the Democratic Party establishment's dilemma will be, "should we use our power and risk the 2012 second term?"

May 27, 2007

Little Joe Turner

Big Joe Turner's name has been tarnished by Little Joe Turner. Little Joe, a "junior"[1] CIA analyst responsible for pushing the aluminum tube story, must live the rest of his life knowing he's significantly responsible for the Iraq war and the "accumulated evil of the whole."[2] This includes abuses to be committed in 30-years by the children of the children of returning Iraq veterans who will themselves be abused by war-tramatized fathers.

Maybe Little Joe Turner fantasized about being the Robert Redford character in Three Days of the Condor. The scoop on Turner is starting to get attention. Back in August 2003, word was coming out via the Washington Post about Joe Turner.[3] But, by then, it was too late.

Recently, Mel Goodman, a 24-year veteran as a CIA analyst on the Soviet Union, with 18 years experience on the faculty of the National War College, commented on Turner's central role in misleading the American Public into the Iraq debacle, starting with Joe's boss:

George Tenet is an apparatchik. I'm not impressed with George Tenet. He should never have been CIA Director. But how did Colin Powell, a military officer, a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, get taken in by the aluminum tubes, which was driven by a kid, a young kid engineer by the name of Joe Turner, at the CIA, who stood up somehow to all of the PhD scientists of the weapons labs, and Department of Energy, because [CIA WINPAC[4] Director Alan] Foley wanted this argument out there to make the case for war. I think Powell could have stopped this.

Larry Johnson, former Defense Intelligence Agnecy (DIA) Middle East chief, puts Turner's role into the context of intelligence briefing material development:

... anything that gets written like this, it's not just because somebody is sitting there on their own saying, "Boy! I've got a great idea for a story!" It is overseen, it is supervised; ... So the fact that someone like this analyst Joe Turner, in WINPAC, was able to run amok, it was not Joe Turner on his own: He was running amok with the witting cooperation of senior CIA officials, with Jamie Miscik, the DDI, with the people of Alan Foley who was in his chain of command. These people participated in that, willingly. These are not ignorant, stupid people.

Apparently, Little Joe need not feel alone in his sense of deep guilt for unleashing the dogs of war and the accumulated evils thereof.


1. See April 2001 entry.

2. During the Nuremberg trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, stated:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

3. August 10, 2003, Washington Post, Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence, by Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus.

4. WINPAC: Weapons Intelligence and Non-Proliferation and Arms Control division of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Why Did Fox News Fire Larry Johnson?

Larry Johnson got fired by FOX News for sharing insights that didn't conform with their right-wing, false view of the World.

According to transcripts cited below, Larry Johnson was an intelligence officer with the CIA from 1985 to 1989. He served in the State Department's Office of Counter-Terrorism from 1989 to 1993. He now provides consulting services and helps the U.S. train military forces carrying out counterterrorism missions.

Unfortunately, Johnson has a loose definition of terrorism, which undermines the intellectual integrity of his cause. He considers the 1995 Iraqi attempted assasination of George H.W. Bush to be a terrorist act. Assasination of a head of state shouldn't be categorized as "terrorism." Terrorism traditionally involves attacks on civilian targets to influence a political goal.

So, back to why FOX News fired Larry Johnson:

I would like to say I was one of those who, before the [Iraq] war started, said, "this is a crock." I didn't. However, I did get fired from the Fox News network as a news analyst for having the audacity in November of 2002 to say, that if we went into Iraq, it would be a diversion in the war on terror.

Of course, we all know, and Johnson should too, that the "war on terror" is also a crock. It's surprising how long it takes some insiders to catch on.

Johnson continues with a commentary on the value of blogs:

And in January of 2003, I put together a paper — this was in my pre-blog days. I'm convinced, if I'd known more about blogs then, and there were more blogs active, we might have stopped the war.


No Quarter Blog, May 24, 2007. The transcript is to appear in the in the May 25, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Why Did Saddam Hussein say "No" to Weapons Inspectors?

Actually, at the end, the inspectors weren't "kicked out" by Saddam Hussein. They left in advance of the pending US assault.

But earlier, Hussein had said no. Why? Because he was hiding something? Mel Goodman, a 24-year veteran as a CIA analyst on the Soviet Union, with 18 years experience on the faculty of the National War College, gives us a good clue why Hussein resisted the inspectors:

... you have to realize that the best source of intelligence that the CIA had, was the fact that they had operational people on the United Nations inspector teams. They had a significant number in every round of inspection. And they were there to collect intelligence, not only in terms of WMD, but on Saddam Hussein, and on a variety of Iraqi chiefs.

When the UN inspectors left, and tried to get back in after Desert Fox, the Clinton bombing attack on Iraq in 1998, Saddam Hussein said no.


No Quarter Blog, May 24, 2007. The transcript is to appear in the in the May 25, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Corroboration of Scott Ritter

Despite efforts by the establishment to discredit Scott Ritter, he says, with the authority or a US Marine and senior United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, that the Iraqi nuclear weapons program was completely dismantled.

At a May 7, 2007 panel discussion at the University of the District of Columbia, Col. W. Patrick Lang spoke about this issue. Lang was chief of the Middle East section with the Defense Intelligence Agency for seven years. Here's what Lang had to say:

Well, I had the advantage of being around in DIA in the first Gulf War, and for several years thereafter, before I left to go into business, and I knew, with great certainty, having participated, along with my friends and companions out at CIA, in the total destruction of the Iraq nuclear program, to the point that—I won't say how we did that, but it was a very thorough job. And that went on for a couple years, and it wasn't any doubt at all, that it was just wreckage, and the only thing left were a bunch of people, maybe 5,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, who were very smart folks who had nothing to work with. And we knew that was just gone.

And then, if you talk about the biological weapons program, that was never more than research, in my opinion. It was research... Every Arab country plays around with biological warfare research. It's kind of a prestige item. It shows "we're big people," you know that "we're doing that kind of stuff."

And then there was the chemical weapons thing. Well, you know, people are frightened of chemical weapons with good reason. In this room here, some sarin would wipe us all out easily. But this is not really a strategic weapon. In fact, this is really a battlefield tactical weapon. Even the most persistent kinds are not persistent for a very great period of time. And it isn't the kind of thing you can threaten the life of a great country with, really. It's harassment basically. Even a real job in the subway in Tokyo, but you know, including in the subway in New York City; yet this is not something which threatens the life of the United States.

... even though I'd been away for a few years—I'd been hanging around the Middle East all that time, since I left—and I knew very well that these things did not fill the bill for the terrible, terrible threat that was being portrayed. And the nuclear program, we'd smashed it up so totally that I didn't see how they could be doing more than maybe trying, after '98—that's when the inspectors left.

This also corroborates my feeling that chemical weapons don't deserve to be classified as weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Doing so dilutes the importance of the concept of WMD; it undermines the phsychological deterrent effect of the concept of WMD by mixing true WMD with weapons that have been used routinely throughout modern history.


No Quarter Blog, May 24, 2007. The transcript is to appear in the in the May 25, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

May 26, 2007

Beautiful Lebanese Aqua River

A great place in lebanon near the village of Crimsonhair's dad.


deviantART water

May 24, 2007

Hope: An Awakening Among the Inside Crowd

For some reason, powerful people turn to author and activist Paul Hawken for advice. Still shivering from being pepper sprayed during the 1999 Battle in Seattle, Hawken received a phone call from President Clinton. Clinton asked what he should say when he came into Seattle the next day.

According to DemocracyNow, "Hawken is a best-selling author and one of the leading architects and proponents of corporate environmental reform." He networks a lot, and is consulted by the powerful, giving him an rare perspective. He shared the following insight, which should give some hope: terms of CEOs, I do know them. And what I do know, in the last twenty months -- I don’t know why they call me, because I’m very outspoken in my criticism. So for them to call me means that they’re desperate. And in the last twenty to twenty-four months, the conversations have changed, which is, it used to be they would call and say, "How do we get this monkey off our back? How do we deal with this problem?” Now, they're calling and saying, “What do we do about the problem?” “We” means we, it means everybody. It doesn’t mean the corporation. It means we have a problem, and there is that recognition now. And that is a big sea change.

I think it’s been brought about by Katrina and climate change. I think the Gore movie made it OK to talk about it. I don’t think it was the cause so much as it legitimized it as a conversational thing that, you know, white charismatic vertebrates could have in conferences with other CEOs. But I do think that there is a real change, that that is, they can see the whites of the eyes of the enemy, and the enemy is themselves. And “themselves” is their business practices, carbon, how the supply chains, what they make, how they make it, and the future. And there is an awakening here.


DemocracyNow, May 23, 2007, Interview with Paul Hawken.

Hawkins, Hawkin

May 23, 2007

ABC News on CIA in Iran

Why the ABC story now on the CIA's "non-lethal" covert plan to destabilize Iran? ABC's Brian Ross reported on May 22, 2007:

Intelligence officials describe the CIA’s Iranian plan as non-lethal, involving a coordinated campaign of propaganda broadcasts, placement of negative newspaper articles, and the manipulation of Iran's currency and international banking transactions...

This story, coming out in May 2006, is very convenient, because the establishment media's buzz about non-lethal CIA operations in Iran masks their lethal ones. However, the beauty of the Internet is that it remembers the ABC story from April 4, 2007.

It opens as follows:

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has hired a Pakistani terrorist group that has carried out a series of deadly terrorist attacks inside Iran, ABC News has reported on Wednesday (April 3, 2007).

It later notes,

The group, called Jundullah, has carried out raids, resulting in the deaths or kidnapping of ordinary Iranian people as well as soldiers and officials.

The group claimed responsibility for an attack in February that killed at least 11 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard riding on a bus in the Iranian city of Zahedan.

ABC cited Pakistani government sources as saying the secret campaign against Iran was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.


Payvand News
CIA hires terrorist group to operate inside Iran: ABC News, April 4, 2007.

ABC News, The Blotter, ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran, April 3, 2007 .

May 22, 2007

Main Arguments Against a Missile Shield

My take on this goes back to the mid-1980s when I came from CA to DC, in part, to work against Reagan's Star Wars.

On the surface, missile defenses seem intuitive; why not defend yourself against possible nuclear attacks?

There's a subtle, yet powerful reason to the contrary: We don't want ANY future leader to gain a false sense of security in regard to using nuclear weapons. We don't want future generations to slip into treating nuclear weapons like another tool in the tool box (We're nearly at that point today).

Adoption of missile shields crosses a psychological line that suggests wars can be fought with nukes. The only known stable policy is "deterrence," and missile shields undermine the strategic foundation of international security.

The other compelling argument has its roots in ancient military technique. Psychologically, an offensive attack is easier if the attacker has a shield in addition to an offensive weapon. Furthermore, the shield makes the offensive weapon more effective by making the fighting unit (e.g., man, shield, spear) more effective.

The same logic applies to nuclear weapons, but with a dangerous additional logic: The advantage goes to the attacker when both sides have missile shields. Missile defense systems create a psychological slippery slope sequence of logic: Who ever strikes first will destroy many of their opponents nukes before they are launched. This gives the aggressor a better chance of shielding the opponent's weakened nuclear response. In short, missile defenses motivate a first-strike posture, which creates a highly destabilized situation if military tensions ever rise (like the Cuban Missile Crisis).

This sequence of logic has been studied in depth, and was a central reason the US and USSR entered into the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Bush has unilaterally withdrawn from the ABM Treaty.

We now live in a more dangerous World because of this policy shift. Missile shields will create strategic instability, thereby reducing our security.

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - A. Einstein

May 21, 2007

Think Thrice about Attacking Iran

Our foreign policy needs to be founded on basic principles. Do those principles include imperialism, in which we use aggressive force to exploit other people's natural resources?

If the answer is "no, we are not imperialists," then we need to get out of Iraq. That should be the moral compass upon which policy and actions are founded.

Unfortunately, Bush Inc. has created "facts on the ground," which are hard to ignore. The most challenging is Shia dominated political power in Iraq. If the US leaves Iraq, Iran will fill the vacuum. This is the real reason US is now unwilling to leave for Republican and Democrat alike. Even the Democrats never talk about 100% withdrawal, with the exception of presidential candidate Richardson who is defining this as an issue.

So, the US strategy options that are unfolding are 1) maintain a presence in Iraq for ever, or 2) attack and weaken Iran before leaving Iraq.

Last summer (2006) the US and Israel conducted a military experiment in Lebanon. They tried to route Hezbollah and failed. That should be a lesson about the risks of attacking Iran, who helped Hezbollah prepare for such an attack.

May 19, 2007

Green Zone Attack Statistics

Updated August 9, 2007

How common are rocket and mortar attacks on the Green Zone? Far more common than the impression given by the establishment media.

Editor's Note:

When I first created this blog entry I wondered whether or not the source of my statistics, the english-speaking establishment media for the most part, were effectively reporting on Green Zone Attacks. I'm aware, for example, that Iraq Body Count's excess death inventory, based on similar sources, significantly under reports the actual figure, now estimated by independent sources to be about one million.

My concern has been echoed in a comment by "Contractor" to this blog entry. He suggests that this blog entry significantly under-reports the actual cases of Green Zone attacks:
you have nothing between June 1 and 14 Oct 2004. I can vouch that between July 20th and October 14th...we had Mortars come in almost every single day. One day we had something like 30 and the following evening another 10.

He continues...

In the entire month of September 2004, everyone put on their vests at 1830 ecause the rounds started coming in around 1900 to 1930 every night.

"Contractor's" experience is verified in a November 2004 Atlantic Monthly piece by William Langewiesche. Langewiesche writes:

On October 14 [2004] the Turkish embassy was bombed, and one person died. Mortar attacks on the Green Zone, until recently unheard of, were suddenly on the rise.

He continues,

There was talk of "sleepers" in the slums on the inside [of the Green Zone]. Even the Iraqis working for the CPA were suspect. Palace defenses, already strong, were made stronger still, so that the Palace became the Green Zone's Green Zone, as it remains today. A "town hall" meeting was called to allay fears, but it had the opposite effect. Work was disrupted. Mortars and rockets came in every night now, almost all of them falling into the Green Zone's open spaces. One of the biggest rockets landed in the Palace parking lot and took out twenty-six cars, mostly SUVs.

Langewiesche gives more insight with several more comments about mortar attacks, like the following:

Like the bombings in the city, the mortaring of the Green Zone occurred in distinct phases over time, whether in the mornings, or evenings, or late at night. Rockets were relatively rare. But the mortar attacks were so predictable at any given time that people working in the safety of the heavy-roofed Palace had office pools going on when the rounds would come in.

Original Posting:

So, how common are attacks on the Green Zone (AKA International Zone) in Iraq. According to Charles Gibson of ABC News, as of May 19, the Green Zone has been attacked 64 times since the surge began (64 attacks in 12 weeks). [1] It's not clear whether this means 64 days or 64 incidents.

My on-going count identifies 29 days in which the Green Zone was attacked since October 2003, tallied below. (obviously, an under estimate).

We just heard of another one during Blair's visit. We heard that a "blast in Baghdad struck about 6:25 p.m., just half an hour before Cheney's wrap-up news conference. It appeared to strike in the vicinity of the heavily fortified Green Zone."[2] According to a GlobalSecurity article on the Green Zone, the first attack on it was October 27, 2003, when three rockets were shot at the Al-Rashid hotel in which Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.

We hear about these notable attacks when a major dignitary visiting. What about the attacks that occur when a dignitary isn't visiting? (Not commonly reported, at least mortars and rocket attacks).

I include videos of the April 12, 2007 cafeteria bombing and a car bombing in a recent blog entry, How Long Can US Hang on in Iraq? In that essay I quote former CIA analyst and White House briefer, Ray McGovern, saying the US won't be able to hold onto it's bases in Iraq for more than a year or two.

Another sign of the erosion of Green Zone security was included in a May 10, 2007 DemocracyNow! headline news piece:

Meanwhile in Baghdad, the U.S. embassy has ordered all staff to wear flak jackets and helmets while outdoors in the Green Zone. The order comes following a wave of recent rocket attacks. The Green Zone is one of Iraq’s most heavily-guarded areas.

The new order came after a May 3 mortar assault that killed four foreign US embassy workers. The attack was at least the third straight day the Green Zone was attacked, according to HeraldNet.

Aside from being a foreign occupying force, walling itself off from an increasingly dismal Iraqi society, the US has a another disadvantage in selecting the Green Zone location. It housed Saddam Hussein's main presidential palace prior to the 2003 invasion, thus representing a psychological symbol to some of the attackers.

Here's an informal Tally of Attacks on the Green Zone:

Note: Many rocket and mortar attacks occur that don't seem to be reported in the establishment media, my primary source. As described in the "Editor's Note," above, this tally is certain to significantly under count the incidents of Green Zone attacks.

October 27, 2003, Al-Rashid Hotel hit while Paul Wolfowitz was visiting. Considered the first attack on the Green Zone according to GlobalSecurity article.

May 17, 2004 A suicide car bomb in Baghdad kills the head of Iraq's Governing Council Abdul-Zahra Othman Mohammad, a prominent Shi'ite politician from Basra also known as Izzedin Salim. More than a dozen others were also killed in the blast at the gates of the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.

June 1, 2004 The second car bomb exploded outside an entrance to the U.S.-led coalition headquarters compound in Baghdad. The U.S. military said three Iraqis were killed and 20 wounded near the area known as the "Green Zone."

October 14, 2004 Two suicide bombers penetrate the highly guarded green zone in Baghdad and detonate bombs in their backpacks. 5 (updated to 10) are killed, 4 of them Americans. 20 others are wounded. US State Department spokesperson Richard Baucher said, "It's not the first time that there have been attacks on the Green Zone. Most of the previous attacks have been mortars and things like that." "You'll also remember it's not -- that there was a explosive device that was found in the so-called Green Zone Cafe not too long ago as well." [Link]

October 27, 2004 The first day of Ramadan, four car bombings took place in Baghdad, including the headquarters of the International Red Cross. The Green Zone was mortared.

December 4, 2004 Two car bombs killed sixteen people and wounded 38 others when they exploded at an entrance to Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

January 29, 2005
A rocket hit the U.S. Embassy compound inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, killing two people and wounding at least four. According to the embassy spokesman, all of them are Americans.

July 14, 2005 We woke today to the muted sounds of thumps and booms. One big one, followed by a smaller one. Then mortars flew over our home. It was another attack on the Green Zone, and it killed two people. The first explosion was a car bomb that hit the fortified complex's entrance that civilians, journalists and even National Assembly members often use to get inside. The second boom was a suicide bomber who rushed into the crowd that gathered following the first explosion and blew himself up.

April 23, 2006 Seven Iraqis died when three mortars hit just outside the heavily guarded Green Zone in the capital, not far from Iraq's Defense Ministry. Police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq said it was hard to identify the seven dead because the powerful blasts and shrapnel severed their limbs and destroyed their identification cards.

April 28, 2006
Two mortars or rockets were fired at downtown Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, where Iraq's government meets and the U.S. Embassy is located.

November 22, 2006 A bomb exploded in an armored car among those belonging to the speaker of Iraq's parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani wounding the American security guard who was driving it out of a parking area in the government Green Zone.

January 25, 2007 Two mortars bring Green Zone under assault. The U.S. military said six people had been wounded, five of them slightly, but little damage was caused to buildings.

March 22, 2007 Insurgents attempt to assassinate United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his visit in Baghdad. The rocket attack caused no injuries but rattled the heavily guarded Green Zone. It struck right after Prime Minister al-Maliki, standing next to Ban, had finished telling reporters that Ban's visit was a sign that Iraq was on the road to stability.

March 23, 2007 A suicide bomber passed through security checkpoints undetected on 23 March and was able to detonate his belt next to Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, Iraq's deputy prime minister, as he left afternoon prayers. Nine people were killed although, remarkably, Mr Zubaie survived.

March 27, 2007 A U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded from indirect fire -- a term usually used for mortars or rockets -- in Baghdad's heavily fortified international Green Zone on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. A U.S. government contractor was killed as a result of a rocket attack on the Green Zone on Tuesday, the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

April 12, 2007, Iraqi Parliament cafeteria hit by suicide bomber invasion, killing at least 26 and injuring 54.

Monday, April 30, 2007 (See May 1)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 (See May 3) Mortar rounds slammed into the U.S.-controlled Green Zone on Tuesday, with one striking within 100 yards of the Iraqi prime minister's offices, a government official said. No casualties were reported. It was the second attack against the Green Zone in 12 hours. The first round of explosions occurred at about 10 p.m. Monday and another round struck at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

May 2, 2007 (See May 3)

May 3, 2007, four Filipino contractors working for the American government are killed in a rocket attack. The deadly incident was at least the third straight day the Green Zone was attacked, according to the HeraldNet

May 9, 2007 Cheney spoke less than an hour after an explosion could be heard in the embassy. Reporters covering the vice president's unannounced visit were briefly moved to a more secure area. (not sure if this was "in" the Green Zone.)

May 15, 2007 (See May 16).

May 16, 2007 At least nine apparent mortar rounds slammed into the U.S.-controlled Green Zone on Wednesday, wounding at least six people, the second such attack in as many days. (actually 10 rounds, two dead, more injured). AP details.

May 19, 2007 Green Zone attacked during British Prime Mister Tony Blair's visit.

May 21, 2007 A mortar shell struck the roof of Iraq's parliament inside Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone on Monday, shaking the building but causing no casualties.

June 14, 2007 Insurgents fired a barrage of rockets into the Baghdad Green Zone, hitting a street Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte had visited just minutes before. Police said there were some casualties but no other details were immediately known.

June 21, 2007 At least four mortar rounds landed inside Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone which houses the U.S. embassy, an Iraqi interior Ministry official said. A column of black smoke was seen rising from the Green Zone.

July 4, 2007 (almost) U.S. helicopters attacked a group of extremists preparing to fire a rocket toward the Green Zone, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

July 7, 2007 Four consecutive explosions were heard by KUNA's correspondent here [in green zone], likely to have been caused by mortar shells, and were followed by the wailing of sirens.
Columns of thick black smoke were seen, apparently from a fire that had erupted at one of the locations.

July 10, 2007 Insurgents unleashed their most intense mortar attack to date on the Green Zone on Tuesday, killing 3 people and wounding 18, according to a statement from the American Embassy. [A]ccording to one American official in the Green Zone who spoke on condition of anonymity, the attack may have involved as many as 31 mortar shells.

At least 20 mortar rounds and Katyusha rockets struck the fortified Green Zone on Tuesday afternoon, killing an American service member and two other people in an attack on the heart of U.S. and Iraqi government facilities in the capital.

August 2, 2007
More than ten mortars fell in the early hours of Monday onto the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, eyewitnesses said. "Over ten mortars landed into the Green Zone in central Baghdad," an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.

Lighter Side:

Jon Stewart video interview with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of "Emperial Life in the Emerald City."


1. Raw Story, Edwards and Sheehan, May 17, 2007, includes video.

2. Associated Press, Cheney visits Iraq to press for progress, May 9, 2007

3. The Atlantic Monthly, William Langewiesche, Welcome to the Green Zone, November 2004.

May 18, 2007

We're Different from those who are in Unaccountable Power

"Internationally-renowned investigative reporter and filmmaker John Pilger talks about the limitless occupation in Palestine, the war in Iraq, the current pathetic state of mainstream journalism, and his new book Freedom Next Time."

That's how Flashpoints Radio casts its May 17, 2007 interview of Pilger. Pilger's clarity of thought, founded on adherence to basic principles and sound logic, accounts for his concise and compelling explanation of current affairs. The following is the first in a two-part series of partial transcripts from the interview.

The interview began with the current situation in Gaza. Pilger understands that context is critical in any discussion. On Gaza he begins,
You have to understand, Gaza is a prison. On one side is the sea. On another side is Egypt, through which there is a boarder, but generally it's closed. And, on the other side, is Israel, which locks people in.

There are more than a million people living there... [he describes the malnourished children and lack of economy]... it's an enforced ghetto. And it's enforced by the United States. When I say the United States, yes Israel does it, but really, all of the wars conducted by Israel, and the impositions of Israel in the Middle East are American-backed, and they're done, as just described, with American aircraft, who happen to be flown by Israelis.

That's very important to understand that, in the reporting, I've just watched a television report here, in which it described the most horrific bombing, as even using that euphemism "air strikes," how anodyne that sounds, and four Hamas militants were killed. How do they know? And militants about what? Militants about running the Country? Hamas was voted in to run the Country, in democratic elections, and that sorely upset the United States, and they decided to stop it.

And the tragic civil war, of a kind, that has erupted in Gaza is entirely caused by outside forces, about people not being allowed to democratically run their own country, choose their own people.

If I sound somewhat strong about this it's because I've been to Gaza and I've seen the conditions there, and it's just unreal to come away from a place like that, and to really know what's causing this, horror, and then to be, sort of, transported into our safe and comfortable world.

Gaza is the metaphor, a very live and bleeding metaphor, for the whole Middle East, and probably for the whole world in terms of the imposition of great power on powerless people.

Dennis Bernstein asked about Pilger's two films and said, "We hear language like, 'a road map'"... "It's a cynical discussion to talk about a map." Pilger replied,

Yes, it's a cynical discussion... and it's a farcical discussion, and it requires the kind of contortion of intellect and morality that most people aren't capable of. In my opinion I think most people live their lives in a straight forward manner. Power does not. We're different. We're different from those who are in unaccountable power. And that's true now in the United States, it's true to a great degree here in Britain, and in other so-called democracies, the word itself has fallen into disrepute.

Yes I made two films. I made the first one, Palestine is Still the Issue I believe in 1975 I think. I made the second one, Palestine is Still the Issue in 2002. And the reason I kept the title was because it was still the issue. Fundamentally over those years, nothing had changed, fundamentally nothing had changed. The Palestinian people were subjected to the world's longest military occupation, were an indigenous people in their own homeland, denied the right of living peacefully in their own homeland. Denied the right to even live peacefully along side those who came later, that is the Israelis. Those who want to believe the Biblical story of three thousand years ago, go ahead, ah [chuckle] ah there are plenty of myths in the world, but we're dealing with lives now.

Israelis and Palestinians could be living together today in peace were it not for the power ambitions of the United States, combining with the more extreme power ambitions of Zionist Israel. I don't say that with a light heart, it's just true. Any any journalist who's been going backwards and forward to that part of the world for so many years, as I have, who denies that truth, because they're worried they're going to be attacked by Zionists and get a blizzard of e-mails, and the usual stuff, then they should stand up to that, because that's the truth.

And until Palestine, until the people of Palestine are given justice, which will automatically give security to the people of Israel, then the rest of the Middle East will remain in a sort of perpetual torment, ah and indeed, much of the world.

Bernstein turned the discussion to Iraq, bridging it with the common theme of the mainstream media coverage [See Part 2].


Flashpoints Radio, WPFA, May 17, 2007.

May 17, 2007

Living in a Mine Field

It's a sick joke I made up: Did you know Cambdia is the only country with a base-five counting system? 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 20. It was developed because they can only count on one hand.

When I visited Cambodia I entered the famous Ankor Wat ruins, not from the front as 99.9% of people do, but rather from a side entrance through the woods. As a travel note, I recommend it. You have the place to yourself and, upon emerging from the woods and seeing the ruins, you feel as if you've discovered the temple for the first time.

Travel log aside, I know what it feels like to be in a mine infested country. Even in areas that have been "cleaned" you're forced to think, "maybe they missed one." I stayed on well worn trails... ususally.

Reuters reports that an estimated 400 million people live in mine infested areas. I'll skip the debate about mine ban treaties.

The Reuters article focused on cluster bombs. These are bombs or missiles that disperse large numbers of smaller bomblets over their target, which each explode independently destroying everything in a wide area. They are effective at destroying small things that are difficult to target, like an advancing group of soldiers that is spread out, or small missile or gun emplacements. However, by their nature, they cause a lot of collateral damage, and conventions preclude their use in populated areas. Worse is the fact that they leave behind unexploded bomblets, often found by curious children and farmers after the conflict has ended.

The Handicap International report, cited in the AP report, said that 98 percent of the casualties of the weapons were civilians "killed and injured while returning home in the aftermath of conflict or while going about their daily tasks to survive."

In 2006, Israel committed what history will record was one of the greatest war crimes involving cluster munitions. Haaretz reported:
"In Lebanon, we covered entire villages with cluster bombs, what we did there was crazy and monstrous," testifies a commander in the Israel Defense Forces' MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) unit.

It's estimated that as many as a million unexploded cluster bomblets were left, and the truly criminal aspect is that Israel launched the vast majority in the final day or two when a negotiated settlement was imminent. It is viewed by many to have been yet another case of Israel's use of collective punishment via indiscriminate use of excessive force (a trifecta war crime). Many of the munitions were provided to Israel by the United States.

As noted above, there are prohibitions on the use of cluster munitions. Israel ignored them, and as a result, we have statements like the following being expressed in the aftermath of Israel's hammering of Lebanon in 2006:
The US Disaster Assistance Response Team Reports that the presence of unexploded ordinance continues to be the most significant security concern in the conflict-affected areas of Lebanon.
- US Government Situation Report, Lebanon, 9/5/06

The term "unexploded ordinance" is so common in these Lebanon situation reports that they have an acronym, UXO. The acronym is widely included comments like the following: Regarding Majdel Silim: "UXO scattered through the village," or "UXO prevents access to homes and agricultural lands", or in Borj Qalaouiye "UNHCR reports contamination by UXO," or in Marjaba village, "UXO significant problem," or Zaoutar Ghariya, Zaoutar Shargiya and Yahmour "90% of the land is inaccessible due to UXO," or in the Tyre District, villages of Deir Qanoun, Qana, Ramadya, Knisse, Henniyeh, Zibquin, Srifa, Maarake "UXO concerns."

And that laundry list is based on my incomplete work developing a Lebanon Village Damage Report.


Reuters: 400 million people live in "minefields": report, Robert Evans Wed May 16, 2007.

United States Government Situation Report, Lebanon Humanitarian Emergency, USAID citing various sources, Index of reports by date.
Web LINK to Index of All Situation Reports

May 15, 2007

Arc of Southwest Asian War

The latest in a string of bombings in Pakistan sent a message: "Those who spy for America will face this same fate." It might be premature to say that Pakistan is unraveling, but when the mainstream media talks about "further instability" and "another sign" of the Afghan war spilling over into Pakistan, you can deduce the situation is probably worse.

And it is worse, when you consider Southwest Asia as a region, stretching from Pakistan to the horn of Africa (Somalia). The US is conducting overt war in Somalia (with illegal proxy assistance from Ethiopia), Iraq, and Afghanistan. The US is conducting covert warfare in Iran and Pakistan. In addition, the US has taken sides with Israel in the war of occupation against the Palestinians, employing divide-and-conquer techniques by arming the corrupt Fatah against Hamas. The US backed Israel in Lebanon last summer in the war on Hezbollah, supplying fuel and weapons (including cluster bombs).

So, what next? The monarchy of Saudi Arabia is composed of the oil barrons (the royalty and their court) and the fundamentalist Wahabbists (the ones who were actually involed in 9/11 if you believe that version of the story). The phrase "further instability" applies to Saudi Arabia too. The American colonies revolted against their monarchy, and the natural drive for liberty will play out in Saudi Arabia too.

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski made a now-famous statement that bounced around the blogosphere back in February. Here it is again:
A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks [that is, Bush's surge fails]; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a “defensive” U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Add Saudi Arabia and Somalia to that list and you might as well call it a World War, as depicted in the map above. We're not quite there yet, but Brzezinski has laid out a formula for getting there, and the Democrats seem to be (unwittingly?) playing into it with their blame-the-Iraqi benchmark approach to Iraq.

May 13, 2007

Reuters Factbox: Security Developments in Iraq

If you want to get a glimpse of the scope of how badly Iraq is unraveling, just google "Factbox Iraq" and a Date; it's an eye-opener. Below is the Factbox tally for a typical day in Iraq:

* MAKHMOUR - Fifty people were killed and 70 wounded when a suicide truck bomb exploded near the local office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Makhmour, near Arbil, 350 km (220 miles) north of Baghdad, Governor Duraid Kashmula of Nineveh province said.

* BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed four people and wounded 10 others near al-Wathba square in central Baghdad, police said. Another police source said the cause of the blast was a roadside bomb.

* MAHMUDIYA - Gunmen killed six people and wounded eight others in Mahmudiya, about 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

* BASRA - Iraqi and British forces detained six people and discovered a weapons cache during a raid in Basra, 550 km (340 miles) south of Baghdad, the British military said. One militia member was shot during the operation.

* KIRKUK - One person was killed and another wounded in a rocket attack in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

* BAGHDAD - U.S. forces detained 35 suspected insurgents during raids targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leadership in Baghdad, Falluja and Tarmiya, the U.S. military said.

* SUWAYRA: A translator working for multinational forces was shot and killed at Suwayra near Madaen, 45 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

* WAHDA - Two people were killed and two wounded when a gunman opened fire in a market in Wahda, 25 km (15 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - The bullet-riddled bodies of 17 people were found in different districts of Baghdad on Saturday, police said.

MAHMUDIYA - Gunmen attacked a flour mill, killing five workers and wounding four in the town of Mahmudiya, about 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

NAJAF - A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded four policemen at midnight in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL - Gunmen killed a doctor near his clinic on Saturday in the northern city of Mosul, police said.


Factbox: Security Developments in Iraq, Reuters, May 13, 2007.

May 9, 2007

Profiles of the Eight Fired US Attorneys

Who were the eight fired US Attorneys? Well, make that nine.

* Daniel Bogden, District of Nevada

Bogden's firing is notable for the role it played in giving voice to bi-partisan loss of trust in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. After Bogden's firing, Nevada Republican Senator, John Ensign was vocal in his anger directed toward Gonzales. Following Congressional hearings Ensign said, ""What the Justice Department testified yesterday is inconsistent with what they told me. I can't even tell you how upset I am at the Justice Department." [1]

* Paul K. Charlton, District of Arizona

Charlton's case is noteworthy because of the Wall Street Journal's coverage of Charlton's investigation of Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz. Although Charlton was initially on the "retain" list, his fortunes changed after initiating the Renzi investigation. Gonzalez's Chief of Staff, Kyle Sampson, wrote to 'we now should consider pushing out.' Charlton's case is also noteworthy because Sampson's correspondence was to then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers, best know for her failed nomination to the Supreme Court. Gives you the creeps to realize someone like her, involved in this slime, had been considered as a Supreme Court Justice.

* Margaret Chiara, Western District of Michigan

Michigan’s first female U.S. attorney, Chiara was removed to make room for a younger, more loyal attorney to be groomed. Her case gives more evidence that the Bush administration was attempting to plant moles in our justice system. One has to wonder about the other 83 attorneys who were not fired.

* Bud Cummins, Eastern District of Arkansas

Cummins looks like a guy you don't want to mess with, but Karl Rove has messed with him. Rove had Cummins removed to make room for Timothy Griffin, a Rove loyalist. It is speculated that Rove wanted to give Griffin experience so that he could later be advanced into a federal judge position. Griffin is currently being exposed as having played a key role in suppressing votes via development of caging lists in the 2004 election. I predict will go to jail.

* Todd Graves, Western District of Missouri

First, Graves is number nine, even though he was fired before the others. He might become known for being at the center of "the story behind the story." The firings are related to Bush administration efforts to suppress minority (read Democratic) votes. Karl Rove sought to create a National hysteria by trumping up bogus "voter fraud" cases. This would create a climate in which state voter ID laws could be passed, knowing it's difficult for inner city voters to obtain such ID, because, statistically, many don't have drivers licenses or other forms of ID. No ID, no vote. Democratic votes are suppressed. Graves' successor brought the charges that Graves refused to bring, but they were later thrown out by a federal judge.

When all is said and done, if this Country is what it claims to be, this will be the story of the attorney firings. David Iglesias was also asked to bring voter fraud charges and he refused.

* David Iglesias, District of New Mexico

David Iglesias is a United States Navy Reserve Captain who was the basis for the character played by Tom Cruise in the movie A Few Good Men. His case is notable because he received a phone call from Republican Senator Pete Domenici pressuring him to file criminal charges against a Democrat before the November 2006 election. Iglesias testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2007 that Domenici hung up on him after he told the Senator that he would not be bringing charges before the elections. Asked how he felt after the call, Igesias said he "felt sick."

* Carol Lam, Southern District of California

Lam oversaw the Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham military contracting corruption case. Given the connections of Cunningham, this case was a thread to be pulled on. She was active in securing indictments against Central Intelligence Agency official Kyle "Dusty" Foggo and contractor Brent Wilkes, both of whom were involved in the Cunningham Scandal. Lam was actively investigating Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis when fired. It is argued that her trail was leading back to people like Karl Rove and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. This suggests that the firing could lead to obstruction of justice charges.

* John McKay, Western District of Washington

A loyal Republican, supporter of the USA PATRIOT Act. So why the can? The Seattle Times noted in February 2007 that, "Some believe McKay's dismissal was retribution for his failure to convene a federal grand jury to investigate allegations of voter fraud."[2] Anyone see a pattern here? Resist fascism, loose your job and career.

* Kevin V. Ryan, Northern District of California

Last, and least, Ryan deserved to be fired. A loyal Bushie, his performance was so bad that a Federal judge threatened to obtain and potentially release copies of his "blistering" negative evaluations. [3]


Thanks to Wikipedia contributors for most of this information.

DemocracyNow , May 14, 2007, Interview with Greg Palast. Must Read.

1. Steve Tetrealt. "Ensign voices ire at agency: Explanations for dismissal of U.S. attorney differ", Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 08, 2007.

David Bowermaster. "Was McKay ousted over 2004 election?", Seattle Times, February 16, 2007.

Dolan, Maura. "Bush loyalist among fired U.S. attorneys", Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2007.

May 8, 2007

Morale Booster in Iraq

AP reports that psychological operations techniques can work both ways. Research funded by the US Army, conducted at the University of California at Santa Barbara, show a significant increase in positive feelings in the presence of certain colors. Referring to colored sand bags, Col. William Buckley says,
We can't use these in many situations, but they work fine for check points and observation posts that are already well known to everyone, including the insurgents.

Army Pfc. Dick Pearl said,
I thought it was a joke. Seriously, you think its always shoot'm up around here, but actually there's a lot of down time, so guys are constantly coming up with pranks. Like, "fill up these colorful sand bags for our check point." I'm like, "yea sure. What date is it?

But it's not April first and this wasn't one of those pranks. Pearl laughed at what he thought was a joke, and his immediate superior quipped that the reverse psyops were already having an effect.
I'm not sure I'm a believer, but they've done the research, and I have to admit on the surface, I look at these things, roll my eyes, shake my head and a little smile comes to my mouth. The neighborhood kids get a real kick out of them. It does seem to lighten things up around here.

Others aren't so sure. Pfc. Alfonse Gonzalez is a skeptic. He has seen too much destruction of life, both friends and civilians, to accept the proven research.

You all laugh now, but wait until one of these check points is hit by a suicide bomb, and these damn bags are strewn around with blood and body parts. You'll never look at them the same way again.

Skepticism aside, the "rainbow bags" are generally accepted as a little point of brightness in an otherwise bleak situation for those who are either arriving in Baghdad for their first tour, or who have returned for their third. They don't undermine the operation, so the Army is taking a wait and see approach to their use.


Credit: Michael Bernstein, "The Sunny Pessimist Takes Cover from the Imperceptible" and Hudson Franklin gallery, 508 West 26th Street, New York. West Chelsea.

Alternative Press, May 5, 2007 G. Day Mahn "Sandbag Spoof or Not?"

May 7, 2007

Ode to Wakeup AM Podcast

Out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, comes Wakeup AM (America), one of my favorite podcasts. Like many things, it's something that has to grow on you (Oh, they'll have fun with that one.)

Butt, seriously. Three woman and a guy named Brian, who sounds like a youngish guy with brown hair (ask Chris the Carpenter), have this great thing going... 72-plus radio shows converted to podcasts, and that doesn't count their local hour.

You've gotta cut them some slack because, 1) I don't think this is a paid gig, 2) They're just real folk like you and I, 3) They're broadcasting at 7am (up north where it's COLD in the winter).

OK. Some substance.

On their May 3 broadcast (Show #72), they devoted a the first part to discussing economic issues (remember "It's the economy stupid"?). They understand the the difference between Wall Street versus Main Street economic measures. They quoted one of my favorites, Paul Krugman, who ranks high in my eyes for exposing the Revolutionary Power that is the Bush regime. They also quote Mike Whitney, contributor to Global Research, who is explaining that US dollar dominance is crumbling, and this represents an opportunity for a more just society.

They note the military clamp down on blogging. That simply means the military is getting desperate. A good sign that the thing is unraveling.

They also talk about Senator Richard (Dick) Durbin who has admitted failing to uphold his oath to protect the constitution. This is something I've blogged on. In short, according to former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, Durbin was not prohibited from telling Americans the truth, so long as he didn't expose sources and methods.

Brian reminds us to follow the principle of asking "Who Benefits?" when we are assessing an issue. The other principle that Meg reminds us of is, "Follow the Money," and it inevitably leads to corporations. I remind everyone that it's not about corporate behavior, but rather about corporate power, and our need to take away that power.

Ugh. They, among others, note that former CIA Chief, George Tenant's book, clarifies his statement about the Iraq WMD "slam dunk." He wasn't saying the WMD intelligence was a slam dunk. He was saying that selling this false story to the American public to justify invading Iraq was a slam dunk. We're all asking, isn't that worse than the original interpretation of the "slam dunk" offense? Shouldn't Tenant go to jail for that? Hello? Are there any law enforcement people out there? Waddya mean the prosecutors have been fired? Do we have to execute a citizen's arrest? Meg is pissed. I mean .... words don't describe. It's really in our hands at this point, 'cuz, as Wakeup AM demonstrates with their coverage of the recent Democratic debate, them Dems ain't gonna do anything about it.

Wakeup AM played clips of Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich from the debate. It's so refreshing to hear honest statements from a politician. Here's an example of Gravel via YouTube:

Senator Mike Gravel

They talk about the Democratic options for getting out of Iraq, and correctly predict the Murtha option of limited funding until August is the likely option. My preference is the "No Legislation" option; don't send Bush a bill he can veto.... just take no action.

AND, they aren't afraid to say there's Someth'n Fishy about 9/11.

Finally, they post funny pictures on their blog.... so, ya gotta like them for that. All in all, a great show. You need to send them money and praise.

May 6, 2007

The "No Legislation" Option to End the Iraq War

Will the Democrats actually try to repeal the Iraq war authorization? I'm not surprised that Senator Byrd of West Virginia has made this move. But now it appears that Hillary Clinton's Wall Street handlers have given her the nod to support the move. Probably because it is just theater.

In a symbolic gesture, the authorization would end on October 11, 2007, exactly five years after the original authorization. Imagine if, as a symbolic gesture, they proposed revoking authority a week earlier, and saved a week's worth of American lives. I suppose that would be cutting too close to the symbolic bone (why not a month earlier then?)

I suspect the Democrats are creating a negotiating chip. It's refreshing to see them on the offensive. But, as my cynical tone reveals, I can hardly believe this is for real.

So, what's the hitch? Do they have the votes? Does the President have to sign the legislation that would revoke authorization? What happens on October 11, 2007? Are preparations for withdrawal to be made before October 11, 2007?

Senator Christopher J. Dodd gives us a hint. According to Sarah Wheaton on the NY Times Political Caucus blog:

While I applaud this effort, sadly, it will not change the President’s course in Iraq. There is only one binding and responsible way to end this war.

"He reiterated his support for the Feingold-Reid legislation, which would not only set a withdrawal timeline but also ultimately cut off war funds." I do wonder, however, if Feingold's redeployment option is just a form of Republican lite.

The best option I've heard is the "no legislation" option. Congress can simply take no action on funding and tell Bush he has to remove the troops from harms way with the resources he has, period. No vote. No veto. No override vote.

The argument made against this is, "Remember what happened to the Newt Gingrich and the Republicans when they shut down the government by refusing to vote for funding." Well, this case is different. Newt was a radical conservative seeking to cut popular programs supported by the public. In the present case, the moderate liberals are seeking to cut an unpopular war that is not supported by the public.


Raw Story report, May 3, 2007, "Senators Clinton, Byrd call to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq," Josh Catone.

May 5, 2007

Cinco de mayo 2007: Inklings of a Revolution

Score another one for alternative media. Dan and his partner give you a feel of what the cops were doing in MacArthur Park and surrounding areas in LA on May 1, 2007. The LAPD is reported to have shot at least 240 "non-lethal" rounds. This is a "must see" video, and I've looked at a number of others.

Independent Videographers Caught in MacArthur Park Police Sweep
May 1, 2007

The image of police in black riot gear with "non-lethal" weapons is becoming very common (See Pentagon Photos). We need to take the riot toys away from the police departments. "Nonlethal" weapons kill people and make it too easy for cops to use excessive force.

In an analysis of 373 incidents in which 969 projectiles were fired, the following statistics were identified:

Recent Growth in Use (reflects only those surveyed for the study):

56 Incidents were from 1985 - 1995
312 Incidents were from 1995 - 2000

Results of 782 Impacts:

680 resulted in a Bruise, Abrasion or Laceration
27 resulted in a bone fracture
14 resulted in a penetration (photo below of a projectile lodged near a man's eye)
10 Deaths

Range of Fire:

60% were shot within 30ft
40% were shot within 20ft

Munition Types:

About 80% were bean bag varieties. The others were baton rounds (various plastic, foam, rubber, wooden projectiles).

Carl Kesser, independent Miami filmmaker, with
a bean bag lodged near his eye.

He was shot while covering the protest of the
Free Trade Area of the America in Miami Florida,
November 2003 [2]

In addition to deaths caused by "non-lethal" projectiles, there are numerous reported deaths due to taser weapons.

In November 2004 Amnesty International published a report detailing its concerns about taser use in the USA, including the circumstances in which more than 70 people had died in the USA and Canada after being struck with the weapons.[1]

The cops need to back off, and stop forming riot lines. The cops need to realize they are working class people, and be prepared to switch sides "when the time comes" and it will.


1. USA: Excessive and lethal force? Amnesty International’s concerns about deaths and ill-treatment involving tasers AI Index: AMR 51/139/2004

2. The city of Miami agreed Tuesday to pay $180,000 to Carl Kesser. After medical costs and attorneys' fees, Kesser said that he was ''breaking even'' by taking the offer. Kesser said he was disappointed the courts did not find Miami violated his constitutional rights, as he'd hoped to make a statement with his suit against the city. On the plus side, he said, ``there's probably 150, 170 cases behind me.'' Article.

Study on the effects of less-than-lethal weapons
[PDF]. IMPACT MUNITIONS DATA BASE OF USE AND EFFECTS, Ken Hubbs ; David Klinger, February, 2004.

Free Press: Excellent Story, "LAPD on May Day March: Strike Now, Ask Later," May 3, 2007 Daniel Hernandez. My lead to YouTube video.

May 4, 2007

Fox 11 Los Angeles: Three Days Later

Ouch! The Los Angeles Police Department really blew it this time. It's OK to beat up anarchists and Latinos from poor neighborhoods; who listens to them? But you don't shoot and beat up mainstream news media personnel. Hard to ignore. Even Bush's FBI is being forced to open a civil rights inquiry into the officers' conduct. Lets hope they go up the chain.

It's three days after the LA cops reminded us all of where the police state is heading if we don't stop it, and the FOX 11 KTTV web page is still dominated by images of the May 1 "Melee." (True, they are also covering Paris Hilton being sentenced to 45-days in jail for parole violation).

If I was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, I'd be pissed I had to cut short my trade mission to Mexico to deal with fallout from police violence.

FOX 11 TV and Univision Footage

Telemundo Report en Espanol


Associated Press, JEREMIAH MARQUEZ, May 4, 2007

More Make Believe from the Democrats: Benchmarks by which to Blame the Iraqis

Democrats seem to understand that they have public support to extract the US from Iraq. They're getting some good press today with Associated Press reporting, "Democrats not backing down on Iraq Bill." They also seem to be considering Congressman John Murtha's idea of limiting the duration of funding through July, contingent on "benchmarks" that the Iraqi government is to achieve.

It's the later part that is generally suspect. True enough that Iraqi's aren't showing the "resolve" necessary to solve the "problems" in Iraq. But the unraveling of Iraq's society is due predominantly to US policies. Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin knew in advance we were going to war on false pretenses, and now hides behind false notions that he was sworn to secrecy and couldn't divulge that fact:

I was angry about it. [But] frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy." Durbin went on to say "We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress.

That, as we all know, is BS. Durbin is also sworn to protect the Constitution against all foes, external and internal. Ray MacGovern, who's getting a lot of air play on this blog reacted to the Durbin blather as follows:

Classification is to protect sources and methods. It’s not to protect presidents, OK? And so, he should have come out and said, “Look, this is not what I’m hearing in the Intelligence Committee. Hold the presses. We’re not going to go to war until I get satisfaction.” He didn’t do that.

And now we're in a war, and Iraq is taking the brunt of it, and these same Democratic politicians are saying Iraq needs to meet benchmarks? As predicted predicted by Robert Fisk and Gary Younge, the US Iraq exit strategy is going to be "Blame the Iraqis." "Oops. They didn't meet their benchmarks for resolving their problems. We gotta go. Sorree." It's pathetic. More make believe by the Democrats.


References to Durbin and McGovern from DemocracyNow, May 1, 2007.

misspellings: Durban, bench mark, ray macgovern, secracy

May 3, 2007

How Long Can US Hang on in Iraq?

I've recently written, and debated on Mahablog, about my sense that the Democrats won't make a move to "own this war" until sometime after November 2008. The Democrats will stay in Iraq even if they take office in 2008, and won't get to choose when combat operations stop.

Then, I made a counter-argument to my position, debating the other side. On the April 23, 2007 Flashpoints radio program, Former CIA analyst McGovern said:

We may be able to have permanent military bases for a year or two, it's not going to be possible to keep them. It's just not possible in this day and age to invade an occupy a country the size of Iraq with 140,000, or if you put in 500,000 it still wouldn't work.

He cites 1.3 billion "ticked off" Muslims, porous boarders, and General Petraus's book on counter insurgency.

Today, we read that a rocket attack on the Green Zone "killed four Filipino contractors working for the U.S. government." We also learned that this "was the third straight day that the zone was hit by rockets or mortars, heightening concerns about security in the area." And we all remember, on April 12, DemocracyNow and others reported:

An explosion has been reported inside the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad. There are early reports at least two Iraqi parliament members were killed and others injured. The blast took place inside a cafeteria where Iraqi parliamentarians were eating lunch. The parliament building is located inside Baghdad’s heavily-guarded Green Zone.

Cafeteria Bombing in Green Zone

Car Bombing in Green Zone

Hmmm... Bush sends 20,000+ additional forces to secure Baghdad, and there are "heightening concerns" about security in the most secure part of Baghdad. I'll grant it makes sense to have more US casualties during this surge, but one would think there would be more security. If the US is counting on attrition to turn the corner, they might want to get more fingers to count on.

If the Democrats wait just a little longer, according to McGovern, the insurgency might do their job for them. I think they're going to wait until at least November 2008.


4 killed in Green Zone rocket attack, Associated Press, May 2, 2007, THOMAS WAGNER.

Photo Credit: This famous picture is the supposedly the property of Corbus-Bettman Archives. It was originally a UPI photograph that was taken by an Dutchman, Mr. Hugh Van Es.