Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Funniest Blog Of The Year

Yesterday I read the following piece for the first time ... and I'm still laughing. It was the 2004 Koufax Award winner for Most Humorous Post and I can see why... Read Poker With Dick Cheney by The Editors of The Poor Man.
The Editors: We'll take three cards.

Dick Cheney: Give me one.

Sounds of cards being placed down, dealt, retrieved, and rearranged in hand. Non-commital noises, puffing of cigars.

TE: Fifty bucks.

DC: I'm in. Show 'em.

TE: Two pair, sevens and fives.

DC: Not good enough.

TE: What do you have?

DC: Better than that, that's for sure. Pay up.

TE: Can you show us your cards?

DC: Sure. One of them's a six.

TE: You need to show all your cards. That's the way the game is played.

Colin Powell: Ladies and gentlemen. We have accumulated overwhelming evidence that Mr. Cheney's poker hand is far, far better than two pair. Note this satellite photo, taken three minutes ago when The Editors went to get more chips. In it we clearly see the back sides of five playing cards, arranged in a poker hand. Defector reports have assured us that Mr. Cheney's hand was already well advanced at this stage. Later, Mr. Cheney drew only one card. Why only one card? Would a man without a strong hand choose only one card? We are absolutely convinced that Mr. Cheney has at least a full house.

Tim Russert: Wow. Colin Powell really hit a homerun for the Administration right there. A very powerful performance. My dad played a lot of poker in World War 2, and he taught me many things about life. Read my book.

TE: He's extremely good at Power Point. But we would like to see the cards, or else we can't really be sure he has anything to beat two pair. We don't think he would lie to us, but ... well, it is a very rich pot.

Jonah Goldberg: Liberal critics of Mr. Cheney's poker hand contend that "he doesn't have anything". Oh, really, liberal critics? Cheney has already showed them the six of clubs, and yet these liberals persist in saying he has "nothing". Why do liberals consider the six of clubs to be "nothing"? Is it because the six of clubs is black?
Read the whole piece (you'll have to scroll down the page to see it, but it's well worth the effort).

Belated congratulations to The Poor Man.

Oh No!

According to this article from CNN, during his interview with Larry King, Dick Cheney confirmed something I have suspected for a long time.

The criminals in the White House intend to stay forever.

He didn't say it in exactly those words, but what how else can I interpret this passage?
On the issue of Iraq, Cheney ... predicted the fighting would end before the Bush administration leaves office.
They have already told us that this war will not end in our lifetimes. And that means this administration intends to last at least that long.

Oh, by the way, in other big breaking news: Dick Cheney doesn't take Amnesty International seriously. Who could even pretend to be surprised? Not William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, who said:
It doesn't matter whether he takes Amnesty International seriously.

He doesn't take torture seriously; he doesn't take the Geneva Convention seriously; he doesn't take due process rights seriously; and he doesn't take international law seriously.

And that is more important than whether he takes Amnesty International seriously.
And yet if he doesn't take Amnesty International seriously, how could Amnesty International possiby offend him? CNN says Cheney told Larry King that he was
offended by Amnesty International's condemnation of the United States for what it called "serious human rights violations" at Guantanamo Bay
I ask myself: Could Dick Cheney possibly be lying?

Bush On Horns Of Dilemma

Aside from the usual trouble between the USA and Venezuela, or maybe because of it, the Luis Posada Carriles issue is making big waves which seem to be rocking every boat. Or at least that's the Venezuelan side of the story.

The Americans say it was all just a little mistake which the Venezuelans could rectify quite easily if they really wanted to.

Does any of this sound familiar?

US officials may face Caracas ban
Venezuela is threatening to refuse entry to US officials in response to the decision to bar Venezuela's top judge from entering the United States.

US immigration officials cancelled Supreme Court President Omar Mora's US entry permit last week.

The US cited an "error" on the visa, described by Venezuelan Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel as a "slight to Venezuela's dignity".
Mr Mora last week insisted the cancellation of his visa was linked to calls by Venezuela for the US to extradite Luis Posada Carriles, wanted by Caracas for the bombing of a Cuban plane in 1976.

Mr Posada Carriles is currently in US custody facing immigration charges, after the US refused a Venezuelan extradition request it described as "flawed".

Thousands of Venezuelans marched through Caracas last week in support of the government's call to extradite Mr Posada Carriles.
You see, there's really no problem here that can't be fixed ... The visa had an "error" and the extradition request was "flawed" and the Venezuelans will never get their hands on Luis Posada Carriles because he's the Bush family's favorite terrorist. There. Now, wasn't that simple?

Oops! I wasn't supposed to mention that, was I? I don't think I was supposed to mention any of this because it shows so clearly that the so-called "War On Terror" is nothing but a sham.

Oops! I wasn't supposed to mention that, either, was I? Well Ex-Cuuuuuse Me! It's hard work keeping track of all the things I'm not supposed to mention, ok? So Give me a Break!

Sorry about that, folks. I don't mean to be more snarky than usual... I guess sometimes it just comes out that way. Oh well.

If you would like to read more from the BBC about the Luis Posada Carriles situation, you can explore these links:

May 17: Cuban 'bomber' arrested in US
An anti-communist militant accused of bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976 has been held in the US.

Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles is wanted by both Cuba and Venezuela in connection with the attack.
Recently declassified documents show Mr Posada Carriles used to work for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Bad luck on the timing of the declassification, eh what?

May 18: Profile: Cuban 'plane bomber'
Terror suspect Luis Posada Carriles poses a double headache for the United States: his alleged crimes relate to Cuba and its ally Venezuela, and he is a former CIA employee.

The 77-year-old was detained in Miami by immigration agents after apparently slipping into the US illegally.

But he is wanted abroad for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, in which 73 died, and for 1997 bomb attacks on hotels in the Cuban capital Havana, which killed one.
Before his detention in Miami, Mr Posada Carriles, who was born in Cuba but has Venezuelan citizenship, insisted his "only objective" was to fight for Cuba's "freedom".

Reports suggest he was involved in operations against leftists across Latin America over the decades, from Guatemala to El Salvador.
All over the hemisphere, over the decades, what's the difference? And remember to translate the phrase "operations against leftists" into plain English, will you?

May 19: Cuban bomb suspect charged in US
A Cuban exile wanted for the bombing of an airliner in 1976 has been charged with illegal entry into the US.

Anti-communist militant Luis Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami on Tuesday, weeks after he smuggled himself into the US.

He will be held in custody until an immigration court hearing on 13 June, US immigration officials said.

Venezuela wants him extradited to stand trial over the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people in 1976.

Both Cuba and Venezuela have accused the US of protecting Mr Posada Carriles by delaying the extradition process.

The US says it will not deport him to any country that would hand him over to Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba.

Venezuela said on Wednesday it would not hand Mr Posada Carriles over, and Mr Castro said he would be happy to see him tried there.
I'm sure he would!

May 20: US accused of 'terror hypocrisy'
Venezuela has said the US will be guilty of double standards on terrorism if it does not extradite a Cuban exile wanted over the bombing of a plane.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the man, Luis Posada Carriles, was "a self-confessed terrorist".
But was the confession extracted under torture or the threat of torture? Posada Carriles, with his CIA background, would certainly be capable of torturing himself to obtain a confession, wouldn't he? And then that confession would be worthless, wouldn't it?

May 27: US rejects 'bomber' arrest plea
The US has rejected Venezuela's request for it to arrest a Cuban-born man, Luis Posada Carriles, over a 1976 airline bombing that killed 73 people.

Washington told Caracas, which wants to see him extradited, that there was not enough evidence to back the request.
Earlier this week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he would consider breaking diplomatic ties with the US if the extradition request was knocked back.

But on Friday, a statement from Venezuela's foreign ministry said Mr Chavez's comments "cannot be considered an ultimatum".
Gotta love that one. "If you don't do this then we'll do that." "Is that an ultimatum?" "No."

May 29: Venezuela rallies over Cuba exile
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have rallied in the capital Caracas to demand the US extradites a Cuban exile accused of bombing an airliner in 1976.

The march comes a day after the US rejected Venezuela's request for it to arrest Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles, saying there was not enough evidence.
Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took to the streets of the capital, blowing whistles and chanting anti-US slogans.
"Bush is protecting a terrorist while he is supposedly fighting against terrorism - that's hypocrisy," Pedro Caldera said.
And so president bush finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Protesters In La Paz Say They're Staying

Your lowly and nearly frozen blogger has been watching the news from Bolivia fairly closely and thinks you might want to read this article: Bolivians stage huge gas protest
Thousands of protesters have converged on the Bolivian capital La Paz for an angry demonstration over ownership of the country's gas reserves.
President Carlos Mesa accused protest leaders of organising a coup.
The protests remained peaceful on Monday but there are concerns they may be stepped up on Tuesday, when Congress meets for the first time in weeks to discuss the political agenda.
The mainly indigenous protesters are demanding the nationalisation of the Bolivian energy industry, saying a law passed by congress, that increases taxes on foreign gas investors, does not exert enough control over the country's resources.

They are also demanding regional autonomy and changes to the constitution.
The president ... is backed by the armed forces, which last week sacked two officers after they claimed to represent a new nationalist movement in the military.

But the protesters said they would stay in La Paz until they had achieved their aims.
What next? Who knows? Interesting times are ahead for Bolivia.

Jerry Springer Rips US TV "News"


The headline reads Springer attacks 'slow' UK shows but
Springer ... reserved his strongest criticism for US TV news, calling it "sensationalistic, inaccurate, not important, teasing".

Springer said his US chat show, The Jerry Springer Show - which regularly shows confrontations between members of the public - cannot be criticised in the same way.

"Ours is entertainment. Big difference. Our show is a circus, period," he said.

"You want to be part of the circus, with a big wink? Come on. But if you say 'this is what's happening in the world, this is news,' you have a responsibility to be truthful."
I never thought there would come a day when I would say "Hooray for Jerry Springer" but I think I just did!

Monday, May 30, 2005

In Memoriam

photo courtesy of Aljazeera

Reports of the use of napalm in civilian areas are widespread, as are many other frightening allegations.

photo courtesy of Aljazeera

The attacks on the hospitals and medical facilities in Falluja are also in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions.

photo courtesy of Aljazeera

"The accounts I heard ... will live with me forever. You may think you know what happened in Falluja, but the truth is worse than you could possibly have imagined"

-- Dr Salem Ismael, aid convoy leader

photo courtesy of Aljazeera

But as Richard Perle, a senior adviser to US President George Bush, said at the start of the Iraq war: "The greatest triumph of the Iraq war is the destruction of the evil of international law."

photo courtesy of Aljazeera

These photos are links. Captions courtesy of this article.

In Memoriam

photo courtesy of AntiWar.Com

Click on the photo to read Honor Our Children's Sacrifices: An interview with Cindy Sheehan of Gold Star Families for Peace by Kevin B. Zeese

Sunday, May 29, 2005

In Memoriam

The Bill of Rights
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

In Memoriam

photo courtesy of The Memory Hole

Click on the photo for Photos of Military Coffins at Dover Air Force Base courtesy of The Memory Hole.

One Hundred Names

From Diane at Daily Kos: One Hundred Names You Won't Hear This Memorial Day

"America will not tolerate outlaw regimes"

According to this article, george bush told the graduating class at Annapolis that
"America will not tolerate outlaw regimes"
Let's hope this lack of tolerance begins at home. Soon.

Two Thumbs Up for Pamela Troy's "Dangerous Clowns"

Winter Patriot signals two thumbs up for "Dangerous Clowns", an essay in four parts written by Pamela Troy and published by BuzzFlash.

Rather than trying to find a "most representative quote" from each part, or from the whole, I'll repeat the quotations Pamela Troy chose herself, to introduce each section. I hope these samples will entice you to click on the links.

Part One: Dangerous Clowns
His blood carries not honor, and honesty, rather criminality, fraud, hypocrisy, lies, the lust for defilement, and the lust for murder ... a race that has drives toward the unnatural and toward criminality cannot recognize natural moral laws. -- Julius Streicher, on the Jews

... the Democrats – far too many of them – are evil, pure and simple. They have no redeeming social value. They are outright traitors themselves, or apologists for treasonous behavior. They are enemies of the American people and the American way of life. -- Joseph Farah, "Baghdad Bonior," Worldnet Daily 10/8/02

Liberalism is a mental disorder that has undermined our families, our society, and our national security … -- Michael Savage, Newsmax.com interview 2/1/03
Part Two: “Outright Traitors”
… the day will come when the German people will awake … and that day will be sealed in blood. -- Julius Streicher 1924 DS #22

If the Christian people work together, they can succeed during this decade in winning back control of the institutions that have been taken from them over the past 70 years. Expect confrontations that will not only be unpleasant, but at times physically bloody … -- Pat Robertson, Pat Robertson’s Perspective, October/November 1992

When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors. -- Ann Coulter at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 2002.

If guns are outlawed, how can we shoot liberals? -- Originally a quote from State Sen. Mike Gunn. It is now a popular bumper sticker.
Part Three: Taking Names
We must be feared, so that they will think twice before opening their mouths. -- Eric Heubeck, The Integration of Theory and Practice

I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough around so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for. -- Rush Limbaugh, quoted in TAKE THEM AT THEIR WORDS, by Bruce J. Miller with Diana Maio
Part Four: The Sleep of Reason
“Why do the French make war on us?” she asked.

“Why do you make war on the Poles?” I said.

“Hum,” she said, a blank over her face. “but the French, they’re human beings,” she said finally.

“But the Poles, maybe they’re human beings,” I asked.

“Hum,” she said, blank again. -- From William Shirer’s Berlin Diary
Click those links. Read this essay.

Thanks, Pamela

Friday, May 27, 2005

Bush Not To Be Confused With Groucho

The headline reads Bush-as-Groucho posters spark debate but it should say "Bush-As-Groucho posters torn down". Debate would have been a lot more ... civilized.
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Posters that depicted President Bush with a Groucho Marx-style mustache and cigar were ordered torn down at a high school after a student complained.
Did you catch that? One student complained!
Principal Kenny Lee ordered 100 posters removed from the campus of El Camino Real High School in the Woodland Hills area last week on grounds that they promoted smoking and "endorsing one ideology over another."

"That's our take on the student speech and conduct," Lee said.

The school-funded posters advertised the students' play, "The Complete History of America (Abridged)," which satirizes U.S. history.

A senior who supports the president wrote a complaint letter to the administration, teachers and students said.

"We had one student who was very upset," Lee said. "If something is bothering a student on campus, we're going to address it."
Oops! He forgot to add: "as long as that student supports the president ... otherwise he can stay bothered".
The poster ban infuriated some students.
And rightly so! Let the drama group make posters for their play! What harm would it do?
"It taught us that the First Amendment certainly does not guarantee the right of free speech," said Jes Shah, 16, a junior in the school drama program.
No, Jes, it certainly doesn't. Not this year, anyway. And maybe never again in our lifetimes.

This weekend, for Memorial Day, I suggest a moment of silence in memory of all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution which have been taken away or otherwise abrogated since the hoax that changed everything.

Beware the Wolf Brigade

Dahr Jamail's latest piece on Iraq Dispatches is called "Sketchy Details" and begins like this:
Yesterday Iraq’s Minister of Defense, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, announced that starting Saturday 40,000 Iraqi troops will seal Baghdad and begin to “hunt down insurgents and their weapons.” Baghdad will be divided into two main sections, east and west, and within each section there will be smaller areas of control.

There will be at least 675 checkpoints and al-Dulaimi said this is the first phase of a security crackdown that will eventually cover all of Iraq.

Keep in mind that most of Iraq has remained in a “state of emergency” since the beginning of the siege of Fallujah, on November 8th.

“We will also impose a concrete blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing, and God be with us in our crackdown on the terrorists’ infrastructure.”

Also at the press conference was Bayan Jabor, the Minister of Interior who added, “These operations will aim at turning the government's role from defensive to offensive.”

This is really, really bad news.
Wow! Is it ever! Read it again, slowly, if you will. Every sentence is loaded with horror. As if things needed to get any worse.

Then, this passage quoting a Baghdad doctor:
“Iraqi forces now have what they call “liwaa al deeb,” which means the Wolf Brigade. This is a very American name, and is an ugly name which gives the impression of violence. In the past the Iraqi troops held names of some famous Muslim and Arabic symbols which were more accepted. Anyway, the name wouldn’t matter if their behavior was straight….they now practice a kind of state sponsored terrorism.”

He went on to give an example of their not-so-straight behavior…

“Eyewitnesses in Al-Saydia area to the south of Baghdad told me that recently when a car bomb detonated and destroyed the area nearby, people were astonished to see the so-called police looting a destroyed mobile phone store that was nearby! The police now are a bunch of thieves. Many of then are already criminals who were released from Abu Ghraib prison before the war.”
What is this Wolf Brigade? Is this the Iraq version of the infamous Salvadoran death squads?

It's not so far-fetched a question. Some of the people who have been involved in Iraq were involved in the creation of the terrorist death squads in El Salvador two decades ago. And some of those same people were running the terrorist "Operation Phoenix" in Vietnam ten or fifteen years before that.

The Pentagon mentioned a while ago that they might do something similar in Iraq. They even called it "The Salvador Option". Some people thought it was a trial balloon which wouldn't fly; others [more credibly, in my opinion] said that if they were talking openly about it as a possibility this meant they were already doing it.

Even if the Wolf Brigade is not a third-generation incarnation of Operation Phoenix, it still bears close scrutiny. As does this recent plan. What surrounds Baghdad, cuts it in half, then breaks it into little pieces? And what happens then?

You can read Dahr Jamail's entire post here. And you should set a bookmark on Iraqi Dispatches.

May we never again be victims of mass deception. And may the Iraqi people be free of American military intervention as soon as possible.

Making Torture Appear Normal

It's good to see the New York Times taking torture seriously. At least I think that's what they are doing. And I think it probably is good. But I could be wrong. It could be that the New York Times is simply helping the administration weave torture into the national fabric. Maybe it's too soon to tell.

Here, extended quotes from and comments on Bob Herbert's op-ed piece of May 26.
With the Gloves Off

A photo of President Bush gingerly holding a month-old baby was on the front page of yesterday's New York Times. Mr. Bush is in the habit of telling us how precious he thinks life is, all life.

The story was about legislation concerning embryonic stem cell research, and it included a comment from Tom DeLay urging Americans to reject "the treacherous notion that while all human lives are sacred, some are more sacred than others."

Ahh, pretty words. Now I wonder when Mr. Bush and Mr. DeLay will find the time to address - or rather, to denounce - the depraved ways in which the United States has dealt with so many of the thousands of people (many of them completely innocent) who have been swept up in the so-called war on terror.
Yes, totally depraved. It's not as if all the victims of American brutality are terrorists. Most of them are completely innocent, picked up becase they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because someone with a grudge mentioned their name to the wrong person. Argggh! This is how we bring democracy to the world? This is how we liberate people?
People have been murdered, tortured, rendered to foreign countries to be tortured at a distance, sexually violated, imprisoned without trial or in some cases simply made to "disappear" in an all-American version of a practice previously associated with brutal Latin American dictatorships.
Sadly, the practice previously associated with brutal Latin American dictatorships was -- and continues to be -- exported there, by ... guess who?
All of this has been done, of course, in the name of freedom.
Yeah, and liberty and democracy and religion and every other iconic American code-word you can possibly think of. Falsely, in every case.

You want to know what ticks me off the most? It's not just that they lied. It's that they had to lie. They could never have told the truth about this. No matter how depraved Americans may seem, the government simply cannot tell the American people "We're doing this for money and oil and power." People would get upset. Some of them, anyway. And that would make it difficult for the would-be dictator.
The government would prefer to keep these matters secret, but we're living in a digital age of near-instantaneous communication. Evidence of atrocities tend to emerge sooner rather than later, frequently illustrated with color photos or videos.
Right. And that's been worrying Donald Rumsfeld. So he may decide to do something about it. But in the meantime...
A recent report from Physicians for Human Rights is the first to comprehensively examine the use of psychological torture by Americans against detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The employment of psychological torture, the report says, was a direct result of decisions developed by civilian and military leaders to "take the gloves off" during interrogations and "break" prisoners through the use of techniques like "sensory deprivation, isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, the use of military working dogs to instill fear, cultural and sexual humiliation, mock executions, and the threat of violence or death toward detainees or their loved ones."

"Although the evidence is far from complete," the report says, "what is known warrants the inference that psychological torture was central to the interrogation process and reinforced through conditions of confinement."

In other words, this insidious and deeply inhumane practice was not the work of a few bad apples. As we have seen from many other investigations, the abuses flowed inexorably from policies promulgated at the highest levels of government.
I couldn't agree with you more, Bob. No wonder the New York Times is sometimes accused of being a liberal paper. Speaking of which, where's the coverage of massive election fraud, you "liberal" paper, you? Oh, sorry, I wasn't supposed to mention that, was I?
Warfare, when absolutely unavoidable, is one thing. But it's a little difficult to understand how these kinds of profoundly dehumanizing practices - not to mention the physical torture we've heard so much about - could be enthusiastically embraced by a government headed by men who think all life is sacred. Either I'm missing something, or President Bush, Tom DeLay and their ilk are fashioning whole new zones of hypocrisy for Americans to inhabit.
Well on one hand that's exactly right but on the other hand we have infinite hypocrisy already. Who needs more hypocrisy zones?

So the fact that the administration is building more of them can only mean one thing.
There's nothing benign about psychological torture. The personality of the victim can disintegrate entirely. Common effects include memory impairment, nightmares, hallucinations, acute stress disorder and severe depression with vegetative symptoms. The damage can last for many years.
Or for a lifetime.
Torturing prisoners, rather than making the U.S. safer, puts us all in greater danger. The abuses of detainees at places like Guantánamo and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq have come to define the United States in the minds of many Muslims and others around the world.
And many Americans, as well.
And the world has caught on that large percentages of the people swept up and incarcerated as terrorists by the U.S. were in fact innocent of wrongdoing and had no connection to terrorism at all.
Exactly. The world has also caught on to the fact -- and this is perhaps the most horrible part -- the United States refuses to release most of these prisoners for the very reason that they are innocent. They know too much to set free; they have no power where they are now. They are more dangerous 'out' than 'in' and therefore a great many of them may very well die in prison.
Bitterness against the U.S. has increased exponentially since the initial disclosures about the abuse of detainees. What's the upside of policies that demean the U.S. in the eyes of the world while at the same time making us less rather than more secure?
Aha! The ultimate rhetorical question! Or maybe it isn't rhetorical at all.

The upside is this: if the rest of the world is against us and we are less secure, then we must need more weapons. No problem! There's always another 80 billion dollars to be had for the next round of expenditures. And the companies which supply our so-called "defense" department have never been happier.

Nor have the power-brokers in this country who think the majority of the people have too much freedom.
The government, like an addict in denial, will not even admit that we have a problem.
It can't. Like Stalin or Hitler before him, Bush has portrayed himself as infallible. Any admission of mistake now would destroy the entire facade. Despots over the years have killed millions of their countrymen rather than admit a mistake.

But they don't think we do have a problem. Or, more precisely, they don't think that they have a problem. They are not the ones burying their kids or their parents or their spouses ... and they don't care about the tax burden either. They're getting most of the tax breaks, plus they're making money on the war. What could be better?

I'm serious. What could possibly be better? We are engaged in a war which looks as if it might go on forever. This is exactly what our so-called "leaders" want. And that's why they are not even trying to win. They're only desire is to make it last as long as possible.
"We're in this Orwellian situation," said Leonard Rubenstein, the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, "where the statements by the administration, by the president, are unequivocal: that the United States does not participate in, or condone, torture. And yet it has engaged in legal interpretations and interrogation policies that undermine that absolutist stance."
In other words, the president and his spokesmen tell lies. What else is new? Complicated lies, interconnected lies, new lies built upon older lies and big lies built out of smaller lies. Orwellian indeed.

It's the old theory of "give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile". Once we accept the notion that "the government sometimes faces situations in which it must lie to its people", we're very close to a world where the government never feels compelled to tell the truth at all.

Just one short step ... Or is it?

Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. Maybe it's only a short step to a place where the government can start telling the truth about torture. We're already being prepared for it, according to this recent piece by Adam Green which appeared in the New York Times on May 22.
Normalizing Torture, One Rollicking Hour At a Time

The acclaimed Fox series "24" has received a lot of attention over its four successful seasons: for its innovative real-time format, its braided storylines, its heady brew of national security and sentimentality, and its uncanny topicality. From Balkan nationalist revenge to rogue agents with biological weapons, wars on and of terror have been portrayed in exacting detail, shaping entertainment out of headlines that often stretch the imagination.

This is even more true of the current season [...] it's possible that this year's "24" will be most remembered [...] for its portrayal of torture in prime time.
I don't watch "24" so I hadn't realized -- until I read this piece -- how much torture there has been in prime time, and how unrealistically it has been portrayed. Not that this surprises me.
[O]n the present season of "24" torture has gone from being an infrequent shock bid to being a main thread of the plot. At least a half-dozen characters have undergone interrogation under conditions that meet conventional definitions of torture. The methods portrayed have varied, and include chemical injection, electric shock and old-fashioned bone-breaking. Those subjected to these treatments have constituted a broad range, too, from an uncooperative associate of the plotters to a Middle Eastern wife and son linked to an operative to the teenaged son of the current season's secretary of defense...
All styles served here, and to all comers. How 'quaint'.
What is most striking about torture on "24" is how it affects not only politics but also emotional and professional relationships. The C.T.U. data technician Sarah Gavin, interrogated with tasers to discover if she were a terrorist mole, subsequently returns to work showing no signs of trauma. Indeed, she marshals the clarity of mind to renegotiate her terms of employment with her superior, who approved her interrogation just hours earlier. The war-protester son of Secretary of Defense Heller, more alienated than ever after a session of sensory deprivation in a C.T.U. holding room, receives a strikingly paternal lecture from his father about why that treatment was appropriate. Even Audrey's husband, Paul, somehow rises above his grievance to view his erstwhile tormentor as a buddy, helping Jack extract documents from a defense contractor and fend off attack - and even loyally taking a bullet for him. In all of these interactions, torture doesn't deaden the feelings between people, rather it deepens them.

It is often noted that torture goes against the tenets of human community in two fundamental ways. Because torturers deny the basic humanity of their victims, it's a violation of the norms governing everyday society. At the same time, torture constitutes society's ultimate perversion, shaking or breaking its victims' faith in humanity by turning their bodies and their deepest commitments - political or spiritual belief, love of family - against them to produce pain and fear. In the counterterrorist world of "24," though, torture represents not the breakdown of a just society, but the turning point - at times even the starting point - for social relations. Through this artistic sleight of hand, the show makes torture appear normal.
What do you think? Is "24" alone in its portrayal of torture? Are similar things happening elsewhere on TV? I don't know; I don't watch much television.

But more to the point, is the New York Times helping to expose an evil agenda, or are they part of that agenda? Is Bob Herbert's column going to stir the masses, or is he playing the role of the token liberal idiot railing against things that are best ignored?

You want my opinion? I think that depends on you! If you are willing to be stirred, if you are ready to take constuctive action, then Bob Herbert is a hero. But if all you want is to sit on the couch and watch "24" then he's just another token liberal idiot...

In any respectable country, the citizens would have been out in the streets -- by the millions -- a long time ago. So ... What's it gonna be, America? What are you waiting for?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Leading The Way

Amnesty accuses US over 'torture' says the BBC headline. Did you notice how the BBC uses the quotes to distance itself from the charge? But we have to give them credit for running the article.
Governments around the world betrayed their commitment to human rights in 2004, Amnesty International says.

In a 300-page annual report, the group accused the US government of damaging human rights with its attitude to torture and treatment of detainees.

This granted "a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity", the human rights advocates said.
Also please notice that after only three sentences, our friends at the BBC cut to the ever-present White House spokesman for the ever-present denial of reality.
In Washington, a White House spokesman branded the allegations "ridiculous and unsupported by the facts."

"The United States is leading the way when it comes to protecting human rights and promoting human dignity. We have liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have worked to advance freedom and democracy in the world," said Scott McClellan.
"Leading the way"?? Is that not the funniest thing you have ever read? Unfortunately, none of this is funny.
Published on Wednesday, the report accused governments of adhering stubbornly to "politically convenient" but inefficient tactics to address terrorism in 2004, despite what Amnesty saw as a lack of success.
Speaking of lack of success, look at this story available simultaneously on the BBC website: Huge US raid on western Iraq town, in which the BBC does it up right, complete with a very nice photo of somebody being liberated.

When foreigners enjoy the liberation of their own country so heartily that our soldiers have to blindfold them and write on their foreheads, you know we really are Leading The Way.

Another Crack In The Wall

The Australian blogger "Gandhi", writing on his blog, Bush Out (by Gandhi), has lately been reporting on [and may have helped to cause] another crack in the propaganda wall.

Here, excerpts from [and links to] a few posts which seem especially significant:

Background from a Jan 24 post: Iraq The Model: The Full Story
It's no secret that the Iraqi blog "Iraq The Model" - run by brothers Omar, Mohammed and (till recently) Ali Fadhil - provides US neo-conservatives with a magnificent piece of public relations. The Fadhil brothers say they want to tell the world about all the good things that have been happening in Iraq since the US invasion, and they do so even while ignoring the endless violence, the growing anarchy and the horrific scandals which grab the attention of most other Iraqi bloggers. While the world was being shocked by photos from the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, for example, the Fadhil brothers were earnestly discussing the merits of the new Iraqi flag. Arch neocon Paul Wolfowitz has frequently cited the blog while urging the global media to take a more positive line on events in Iraq. In the lead-up to the 2004 US elections, two of the Fadhil brothers even met with Wolfowitz and George W. Bush in the Oval Office.

Rampantly pro-war websites regularly link to the blog as proof that ordinary Iraqis love what America is doing in Iraq, despite any number of polls showing that the Fadhil brother's views are totally out of touch with popular Iraqi thought. "Iraq The Model" is not quite the PR equivalent of the rose-petal-strewn streets that neocons once predicted would greet US troops, but it's about as good as it gets for these militant ideologues. Even the name fits snuggly with the neocon mantra that Iraq will soon become a model for other countries in the region.


"Iraq The Model" provides an online oasis for people who would rather ignore the harsh facts of daily life in Iraq under US occupation. It's the perfect information cocoon for those who - like neocon leader Douglas Feith - would rather dwell outside the "reality-based community". And it goes a long way to explaining how George W. Bush achieved four more years in office.


I can accept that many Iraqis, keen to be rid of Saddam Husseins' brutal tyranny, welcomed the US invasion with open arms. And I can understand that people overwhelmed with bad news might want to set up a blog for good news stories, if only to cheer themselves up. But the Fadhil brothers' unquestioning support of all things US, coupled with their seeming disinterest in the suffering of their fellow Iraqis, was more that a little strange.

If these guys really are Iraqi dentists, I thought, why aren't they talking about the decaying state of Iraq's hospitals, or the appalling lack of medical supplies? And why do they tolerate the outrageously militant, rude, racist and otherwise abusive comments by some visitors to their blog, while banning pacifists like me who seek to engage in honest debate?

In my opinion, there was only one rational explanation. The "Iraq The Model" blog exists not for the sake of its authors or their fellow Iraqis, but for the sake of its many pro-war US visitors, who have already donated over US$10,000 to the Fadhil brothers, plus another US$14,000 for the brothers’ off-shoot political party, the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party.

So are the Fadhil brothers just a bunch of opportunistic Iraqis making money from dumb Americans, I wondered, or are more sinister forces at work? I started digging through the links at Iraq The Model to find out what was really going on.
Click here and read the rest of the article to see the results of the early digging. Lots of connections, lots of money, very interesting stuff. And this issue has been simmering on the back burner at Bush Out (by Gandhi) ever since.

Just recently, there's been a a break in the story, as Gandhi reported on May 21: Ali Fadhil Exposes Spirit Of America Lies
Well, about time. Ali Fadhil has finally explained what really happened between him, his brothers and Jim Hake's Spirit of America "charity". I congratulate Ali for speaking up:
I'm disappointed because they lied to us, both Iraqis and Americans. They used my brothers (and still are using them) to get to their goals which have nothing to do with the interests of Iraq or America. They are reassuring Americans that a great job is being done in Iraq through their donations, where in fact the good things that were accomplished are so small and so lacking that they should be ashamed of mentioning them. Not to mention that there are harmful things done without them caring to do anything about it.

I'm not sure what SoA's real agenda is but it seems to me that Jim has some personal political ambitions that he wants to achieve through SoA. This has become more obvious to me before and during that trip to America. But let me offer some details about my personal encounter with SoA's team (which I tried to avoid mentioning) and why I grew suspicious about them...
Ali looks closely at SoA's stated goals in Iraq and reveals how little of substance has really been achieved.
There were 7 objectives included in SoA "Friends of Democracy" project. What happened to these projects that were receiving donations for months now and that are still featuring on their website? I'll tell you what I know...
Ali also reveals some "strange behavior" from original SoA bigwig (now sacked) Kerry Dupont.
Besides her unacceptable behavior, Kerry Dupont told us lies after lies. One of which and the easier to mention here is that she told us that if Jim did not approve of the budget then she has 300 000$ that we could use to do what we want, but we told her that we prefer to deal with SoA...
Now where would Kerry Dupont have got $300,000, unless she had a very big piggy bank, or some very close ties to the people handing out cash in Paul Bremer's Iraq?

Ali says SoA CEO Jim Hake was shocked to hear about Dupont's offer, but more concerned that the scandal would mess up his planned meeting with the Fadhils, Bush and Wolfowitz in the White House. Here's Ali's analysis:
That should tell us something about the man's priorities and how important that trip was for him. He wasn't concerned about the "great job" we were about to do or the great relationship that was ruined; no he was only concerned about the trip.

Jim wanted to meet Bush SO bad and he knew he would never get that chance without our help, which is what he admitted to Mohammed later. But he didn't even ask for our help. He used us to get to what he wanted while telling us lies and giving us a vague schedule for the trip. I told my brothers more than a month before the trip, "these people want us to meet Bush" they didn't believe me at that time....

The "deal" about the meeting was also that Bush would mention SoA in one of his speeches, and don't ask me who set up this deal because I really am not sure who's the other part and what were they benefiting, but it is what I heard from Mohammed who heard it from Jim himself.

Anyway, it seems that Bush was not very impressed with SoA's work and did not mention them as far as I know, yet Jim got a huge propaganda after this meeting that helped him promote his organization and expand its activities.


Ali concludes:
Does this look like an honest NGO to anybody? Does it look to anyone that these people are really concerned about Iraq or America? And what about their un-done, hugely publicized projects? If anything happened that prevented them from following their original objects, shouldn't they inform their donors about it? Should I have just ignored all this mess and "grabbed" what ever I could for myself or even to help my country? What about the Americans who are giving all this hard earned money with a real love for Iraq and their country? Shouldn't that matter to me? Maybe money grows on trees in America... but even that wouldn't be an excuse to accept all this deception and abuse.

Some people seem to think that we probably shouldn't judge charitable organizations that harshly when they follow their own agenda. Ok, what about the blood that is being spilled on a daily basis in Iraq; American and Iraqi blood, and the huge amounts of money America is pouring to Iraq? Should we be gentle with people whom all that they could see in this horrible bitter war is a chance for a political promotion??


Following the recent exposure of Arthur "Good News" Chrenkoff as a liar and an employee of an Australian Senator in John Howard's "war party", these new allegations also makes it look like the whole tight-knit mob of rightwing "warbloggers" may soon have some explaining to do.
There's more -- a lot more -- but it's well-written and in my opinion worth a read. But that's just the beginning. He's still digging -- maybe more determined than ever now -- and he's posted two updates since then.

May 23: A Good Look At "Spirit Of America"
It seems the only people on the right who are taking Ali Fadhil's accusations seriously are the people he has accused of incompetence and lies - Jim Hake's supposed charity, "Spirit of America". Today yet another page appears on their website trying to convince donors to keep sending money.


Ali accuses Hake's team of massive dishonesty, corruption and incompetence. He says that SoA's accomplishments are "so small and so lacking that they should be ashamed of mentioning them" - Hake, of course, takes care to mention every one of them in detail. And yet a good look at SoA's projects indicates that Ali's allegations are totally true: donors' money has been used for US war propaganda purposes and little else.
There's much more, of course, if you're interested.

Now the second update: May 25: "Spirit of America": Where Does The Money Go?
We could ask Jim to explain where this money went. But what the heck, eh? I mean, in the current environment of anarchy and chaos surrounding Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be the easiest thing in the world to fake some receipts, bribe some officials, launder some cash... whatever! In this case, I think the testimony of a (previously) loyal person like Ali is a lot more indicative of what's really going on.

I also think they key thing here is to realise that Jim Hake is not on a money-making mission so much as a mission to glorify the neocon vision of a benign US global empire (benign as long as you play their game, of course). What's interesting is that the website strongly features all the minor programs, for which relatively small funding has been allocated, yet it doesn't explain where the big money is going. And when the money does get handed out, it seems that it gets handed out not by SoA staff but by US Marines and other uniformed US troops. In other words, as Ali complained, the propaganda element is always the key.

Or, as George W. Bush once said:
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.

Catapult the propaganda? Kind of!
Over and over again, for the truth to sink in.
How much does that cost?

Bush admitting he's feeding the catapult?

There's a lot more here, too, of course.

Another Crack In The Wall? Well I don't mind a bit. The more the better!

You thought I was going to quote some Pink Floyd now, didn't you?

Well, all right. This one may be more relevant to my previous post than to this one, but in my opinion it's Roger Waters at his best.


Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
And shorter of breath, and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Time is of the essence, fellow patriots!

Hang on to your hats! Here comes a monsterpiece.

Michel Chossudovsky's Fabricating Intelligence as a Justification for War : "The Intelligence and Facts were fixed around the Policy"
is a Preface followed by seven annotated lists of links. The preface tells the story in broad outline; the links provide all the detail you could ever want. There's more than enough evidence here to put the war criminals in prison -- for a very long time. So I thought you might like to see it.

The links are categorized as follows:

1. Phony Intelligence on Iraq's "Weapons of Mass Destruction"
2. Official Documents and Secret Memos
3. The Niger Intelligence Sting
4. The Plagiarized Intelligence Report
5. Fake Biochemical Terror Alerts as a Pretext for War
6. Political Assassination: The David Kelly Affair
7. Retrospective on Yugoslavia: Confirmation Intelligence was also Fake

and the Preface starts this way:

Phony intelligence was created and fed into the news chain with a view to justifying the invasion of Iraq.

The balance-sheet of lies and fabricated intelligence presented in this selection of articles provides detailed and overwhelming evidence.

We have included news reports dating back to 2002, background analysis, commentary, leaked intelligence documents and transcripts, secret memos and the reports by weapons inspectors.

The collection which is intended to provide key references, also addresses a number of important issues, which have been shoved under the carpet, including the circumstances of David Kelly's death, plagiarism in the drafting of intelligence documents, the fabricated biochemical terror threats, etc.

War Criminal in High Office

The implications are far-reaching: those in high office who ordered "the intelligence and facts [to be] fixed around the policy" are responsible for war crimes under national and international law.

Despite the public outcry, particularly in Britain, there has been no visible shift in the war and national security agendas. Quite the opposite: both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have been re-elected to high office under the stamp of parliamentary democracy. The war agenda has remained unscathed, with more than 400 billion dollars allocated in the US to defense. Moreover, the United Nations is directly collaborating with the US-led occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, in blatant violation of its own charter.

In fact, most of the major political actors, behind the fake intelligence dossier, including George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, Jack Straw, John Negroponte, Condoleeza Rice, etc. are still in high office.

Critical Juncture in Our History

We are at a critical juncture in our history. Duly elected war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority which enable them to decide "who are the criminals", when in fact they are the criminals.
Some of the war criminals in high office were not duly elected, of course. But they claim legitimacy anyway.
This fake legitimacy gives them carte blanche. It enables them to proceed without encroachment to the next phase of the war in the Middle East.

It also provides them with a mandate to redefine the contours of the judicial system and the process of law enforcement under the guise of Homeland Security.
I disagree with the term "mandate" as well. I would say it gives them a pretext.
In other words, what we are dealing with is the criminalization of the State and its various institutions including the criminalization of Justice.

The truth is twisted and turned upside down. State propaganda builds a consensus within the Executive, the US Congress and the Military. This consensus is then ratified by the Judicial, through a process of outright legal manipulation.

Putting the War Criminal behind Bars

The evidence detailed in this collection of articles and documents would be sufficient to put the war criminals behind bars.

Yet in the eyes of a large section of US public opinion, the issue of fake intelligence is casually dismissed: "it was all for a good cause", which consisted in fighting the "war on terrorism" and ensuring the security of Americans.

Acts of war are heralded as "humanitarian interventions". Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as "peace-keeping". In the US, a de facto consensus in favor of war crimes permeates the US Congress and the Judicial. The consensus is also endorsed by the corporate establishment.

In turn, supported by the mainstream media, war crimes are no longer recognized as such. They have been re-categorized as a means to fighting "evil terrorists" in what is described as a "clash of civilizations". Western public opinion has thus become accustomed to dismissing the lies and war crimes as inconsequential.
Some of us are trying very hard to reverse this trend, but it isn't enough, is it? How many lowly and nearly frozen bloggers does it take to equal the weight of one mainstream publication?
War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is galvanized into supporting the rulers, who are "committed to their safety and well-being".

War is given a humanitarian mandate. Media disinformation has instilled within the consciousness of Americans, that somehow the lies are acceptable and that the issue of phony intelligence regarding WMD can be disregarded.

The use of torture, the existence of concentration camps, extra judicial assassinations, all of which are happening, are no longer being concealed. Quite the opposite they are presented as "acceptable" and perfectly "legit" in the context of an effective war on "Islamic terrorists".

Under these circumstances, war criminals in high office within the State and the Military no longer need to camouflage their crimes.
Quite true, of course, and utterly disgusting.
Realities are turned upside down. The derogation of civil liberties --in the context of the so-called "anti-terrorist legislation"-- is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic security" and upholding civil liberties.

And underlying these manipulated realties, "Osama bin Laden" and "Weapons of Mass Destruction" statements, which continue to circulate profusely in the news chain, are upheld as the basis for an understanding of World events.

In other words, the legitimacy of the war criminals is no longer questioned. A sense of righteousness prevails.
Maybe that sense prevails, but we are still trying to fight it. Chossudovsky's work cannot but help the cause.
America's global war agenda is firmly established, beyond the premises of the pre-emptive war doctrine as a means to spreading democracy and the "free market".

New National Defense Strategy: From "Rogue States" to "Unstable Nations"

In March 2005, the Pentagon released a major document, entitled "The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America" which broadly sketches Washington's agenda for global military domination. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2005/d20050318nds2.pdf

While the NDS follows in the footsteps of the administration's "preemptive" war doctrine as outlined in the Project of the New American Century (PNAC), it goes much further in setting the contours of Washington's global military agenda.

Whereas the preemptive war doctrine envisages military action as a means of "self defense" against countries categorized as "hostile" to the US, the new Pentagon doctrine has gone one step further. It now envisages the possibility of military intervention against countries, which do not visibly constitute a threat to the security of the American homeland.

It calls for a more "proactive" approach to warfare, beyond the weaker notion of "preemptive" and "defensive" actions, where military operations are launched against a "declared enemy" with a view to "preserving the peace" and "defending America". The document explicitly acknowledges America's global military mandate, beyond regional war theaters. This mandate also includes military operations directed against so-called "failed states" or "unstable nations", which are not hostile to the US. Needless to say, that in the case of an unstable nation, fake intelligence on WMD will no longer be required to demonstrate that a country constitutes a threat. A military operation can be launched if the country is categorized by Washington as an "unstable nation. And already, a list of 25 unstable nations or failed states has been drawn up by the newly created Office of Reconstruction and Stabilisation.

The 2005 National Defense Strategy (NDS) consists in "enhancing U.S. influence around the world", through increased troop deployments and a massive buildup of America's advanced weapons systems. From a broad military and foreign policy perspective, it constitutes an imperial design, which supports US corporate interests Worldwide.
The USA is in grave danger of becoming an "unstable nation" or a "failed state" itself. And what then? Would this stop it?

Clearly the USA is a "failed democracy" and it's so-called leadership is "unstable", but does that count? In other words, when do we invade ourselves?
The Next Phase of the War

The existence of fake intelligence to justify US-UK war plans, has not weakened the war agenda. Nor does it ensure that disinformation will not used by politicians to justify the next phase of the war.

In fact, fake intelligence has already been created and fed into the news chain to justify the bombing of Iran which is slated to be implemented as a joint US-Israeli operation.

Meanwhile, in the US, Britain and Canada, the Homeland Security apparatus is being further developed, leading to the militarisation of civilian institutions and the derogation of Constitutional government.
All this is part of the same plan ... how can it be stopped?
The World is at an important crossroads.

The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.

Iran is the next military target. The planned military operation, which is by no means limited to punitive strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, is part of a project of World domination, a military roadmap, launched at the end of the Cold War.

Military action against Iran would directly involve Israel's participation, which in turn is likely to trigger a broader war throughout the Middle East, not to mention an implosion in the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey is closely associated with the proposed aerial attacks.
Take a good long look at a map, if you haven't done so lately, and try to understand the vastness of what we're talking about here. Chossudovsky is not exaggerating when he says the future of humanity is threatened.
Reversing the Tide of War

High ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military and the US Congress have been granted the authority to uphold an illegal war agenda.

One can therefore expect that war criminals in high office will repress any form of dissent which questions the legitimacy of the war in Iraq and/or its extension into Iran. In this regard, the anti terrorist legislation is eventually intended to be used in a cohesive way against the anti-war and civil rights movements.
In other words, we can't wait! Time is of the essence, fellow patriots!

And pay close attention to this next bit:
Reversing the tide of war cannot be achieved through a narrow process of regime change in America.

It is not sufficient to unseat elected politicians and elect a new government. Those in the seat of political authority are instruments, they are power brokers, on behalf of the oil companies, the military industrial complex and the Wall Street financial establishment, which ultimately call the shots on US foreign policy.

Antiwar sentiment does not dismantle a war agenda. What is required is a grass roots network, a mass movement at national and international levels, which challenges not only the legitimacy of the main military and political actors, but the broad structures of the New World Order.

To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled.

The corporate sponsors of war and war crimes must also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda machine.

Michel Chossudovsky, 22 May 2005.
I've had a few quibbles with earlier statements, but I cannot argue with any of the conculsions expressed above.

Want to see more? Click this link to read the entire monsterpiece at globalresearch.ca.

Bob Koehler Hits Hard

He's been an eloquent guest on The Brad Show and I've been reading his columns. His piece on Depleted Uranium hit me hard and I wrote about it here. Now Bob Koehler has hit me hard again, with his newest column, The Counter-Recruiters: All the charm of the draft — and then some. I was doing ok until I got to this part:
"We have to understand that one of the things that happens in war is, truth dies," said Ray Parrish, a Chicago-based counselor for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, who left a well-paying job with full benefits to work with GIs returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

And he's hearing the same expressions of disillusionment, anger and betrayal that he heard when he counseled Vietnam vets and battled the VA to get them their rights. He's seeing the same shattered psyches, the same wrecked lives, the same post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The first vets over there are the ones having the worst time," he told me recently. "During the invasion part of the war, there was very little thought put into pulling the trigger and a lot of innocent civilians were being killed. The ones who pulled the triggers are the ones who are having the car accidents now."

Values stand-down or no values stand-down, the recruiters will not begin telling teenagers anytime soon about post-traumatic stress disorder; high vet suicide rates (among Vietnam vets, it has been estimated to be triple the number of names on The Wall); or today's equivalent of Agent Orange, depleted uranium, which, when breathed in, can devastate health over the long term and, especially cruel to young couples, cause birth defects.

Supplying this information is the job of the counter-recruiters, and the fact that they're out there is one of the most important stories of the war. The vets themselves are the counter-recruiters, telling the truth to high school students.

This is the way back from post-traumatic stress disorder - the way for shattered men and women to redeem themselves and rejoin the human race. "It's part of the healing," Parrish said. "That's what the vets are doing - making sure the recruiters don't sell at all."

Suppose they gave a war and nobody came? This is what we're witnessing, slowly, one wised-up teenager at a time.
Thanks, Bob. Got me again!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Buried Treasure from the Washington Post

This piece by Walter Pincus, originally titled "More Evidence of Bush Aide's Doubts on Iraq -- Analysts Questioned Most Intelligence" and featured on the front page of the Washington Post, was later given a softer headline and moved to page 26. Apparently there's something in here that we're not supposed to be noticing. I wonder what it could be?
Prewar Findings Worried Analysts

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 22, 2005; A26

On Jan. 24, 2003, four days before President Bush delivered his State of the Union address presenting the case for war against Iraq, the National Security Council staff put out a call for new intelligence to bolster claims that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear, chemical and biological weapons or programs.

The person receiving the request, Robert Walpole, then the national intelligence officer for strategic and nuclear programs, would later tell investigators that "the NSC believed the nuclear case was weak," according to a 500-page report released last year by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

It has been clear since the September report of the Iraq Survey Group -- a CIA-sponsored weapons search in Iraq -- that the United States would not find the weapons of mass destruction cited by Bush as the rationale for going to war against Iraq. But as the Walpole episode suggests, it appears that even before the war many senior intelligence officials in the government had doubts about the case being trumpeted in public by the president and his senior advisers.

The question of prewar intelligence has been thrust back into the public eye with the disclosure of a secret British memo showing that, eight months before the March 2003 start of the war, a senior British intelligence official reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair that U.S. intelligence was being shaped to support a policy of invading Iraq.

Moreover, a close reading of the recent 600-page report by the president's commission on intelligence, and the previous report by the Senate panel, shows that as war approached, many U.S. intelligence analysts were internally questioning almost every major piece of prewar intelligence about Hussein's alleged weapons programs.

These included claims that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium in Africa for its nuclear program, had mobile labs for producing biological weapons, ran an active chemical weapons program and possessed unmanned aircraft that could deliver weapons of mass destruction. All these claims were made by Bush or then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in public addresses even though, the reports made clear, they had yet to be verified by U.S. intelligence agencies.

For instance, Bush said in his Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address that Hussein was working to obtain "significant quantities" of uranium from Africa, a conclusion the president attributed to British intelligence and made a key part of his assertion that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program.

More than a year later, the White House retracted the statement after its veracity was questioned. But the Senate report makes it clear that even in January 2003, just before the president's speech, analysts at the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center were still investigating the reliability of the uranium information.

Similarly, the president's intelligence commission, chaired by former appellate judge Laurence H. Silberman and former senator Charles S. Robb (D-Va.), disclosed that senior intelligence officials had serious questions about "Curveball," the code name for an Iraqi informant who provided the key information on Hussein's alleged mobile biological facilities.

The CIA clandestine service's European division chief had met in 2002 with a German intelligence officer whose service was handling Curveball. The German said his service "was not sure whether Curveball was actually telling the truth," according to the commission report. When it appeared that Curveball's material would be in Bush's State of the Union speech, the CIA Berlin station chief was asked to get the Germans to allow him to question Curveball directly.

On the day before the president's speech, the Berlin station chief warned about using Curveball's information on the mobile biological units in Bush's speech. The station chief warned that the German intelligence service considered Curveball "problematical" and said its officers had been unable to confirm his assertions. The station chief recommended that CIA headquarters give "serious consideration" before using that unverified information, according to the commission report.

The next day, Bush told the world: "We know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile weapons labs . . . designed to produce germ warfare agents and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors." He attributed that information to "three Iraqi defectors."

A week later, Powell said in an address to the United Nations that the information on mobile labs came from four defectors, and he described one as "an eyewitness . . . who supervised one of these facilities" and was at the site when an accident killed 12 technicians.

Within a year, doubts emerged about the truthfulness of all four, and the "eyewitness" turned out to be Curveball, the informant the CIA station chief had red-flagged as unreliable. Curveball was subsequently determined to be a fabricator who had been fired from the Iraqi facility years before the alleged accident, according to the commission and Senate reports.

As Bush speeches were being drafted in the prewar period, serious questions were also being raised within the intelligence community about purported threats from biologically armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

In an Oct. 7, 2002, speech, Bush mentioned a potential threat to the U.S. mainland being explored by Iraq through unmanned aircraft "that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons." The basis for that analysis was a single report that an Iraqi general in late 2000 or early 2001 indicated interest in buying autopilots and gyroscopes for Hussein's UAV program. The manufacturer automatically included topographic mapping software of the United States in the package.

When the list was submitted in early 2002, the manufacturer's distributor determined that the U.S. mapping software would not be included in the autopilot package, and told the procurement agent in March 2002. By then, however, U.S. intelligence, which closely followed Iraqi procurement of such material, had already concluded as early as the summer of 2001 that this was the "first indication that the UAVs might be used to target the U.S."

When a foreign intelligence service questioned the procurement agent, he originally said he had never intended to purchase the U.S. mapping software, but he refused to submit to a thorough examination, according to the president's commission. "By fall 2002, the CIA was still uncertain whether the procurement agent was lying," the commission said. Nonetheless, a National Intelligence Estimate in October 2002 said the attempted procurement "strongly suggested" Iraq was interested in targeting UAVs on the United States. Senior members of Congress were told in September 2002 that this was the "smoking gun" in a special briefing by Vice President Cheney and then-CIA Director George J. Tenet.

By January 2003, however, it became publicly known that the director of Air Force intelligence dissented from the view that UAVs were to be used for biological or chemical delivery, saying instead they were for reconnaissance. In addition, according to the president's commission, the CIA "increasingly believed that the attempted purchase of the mapping software . . . may have been inadvertent."

In an intelligence estimate on threats to the U.S. homeland published in January 2003, Air Force, Defense Intelligence Agency and Army analysts agreed that the proposed purchase was "not necessarily indicative of an intent to target the U.S. homeland."

By late January 2003, the number of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf area was approaching 150,000, and the invasion of Iraq was all but guaranteed. Neither Bush nor Powell reflected in their speeches the many doubts that had surfaced at that time about Iraq's weapons programs.

Instead, Bush said, "With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region." He added: "Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own."
Thanks to Walter Pincus. Other than unreserved praise for the Washington Post. It's great that they printed this story. It would have been greater had they left it on the front page where it deserved to be. The implications are enormous.

So ... let's recap what we have learned: Every major piece of the "intelligence case" against Saddam Hussein was questioned. Not a single bit of it was verified. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction, nor any means to produce them. Therefore, Iraq was declared "a grave threat" and it had to be destroyed before it became "an imminent danger".

You got that? Good. I just wanted to get it straight.

Sometimes we get upset over stories being moved or headlines being changed. But in the long view, it really doesn't matter what page these stories run on. The truth is out of the bottle now and it is not going to go away. There are too many patriots to let that happen, and by now they are all paying attention.

Reading David R. Hoffman

You can find a lot of great stuff at PRAVDA. And you can find a lot of other stuff there too. Sorting it out can be time-consuming.

Thanks to a tip from Peg C. at the Brad Blog, I've been reading David R. Hoffman lately. He's the Legal Editor of PRAVDA. And it looks to me as if he's a man who knows what he's talking about. Here are some links and samples...

January 3, 2004: Bush vs. Hitler
Although the quest for or preservation of "democracy" is often used as a justification for war, history has incessantly revealed that such a quest is often little more than a thinly-veiled attempt to install a puppet regime.

Nazi leader Herman Goering once remarked that it was easy to lead people into war, regardless of whether they resided within "a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a communist dictatorship." All that was required, Goering argued, is for their government to "tell them they are being attacked, and [then] denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger."

Many years ago, when I was younger and more idealistic, I would have viewed Goering's statement as an anachronism. After all, millions had suffered immensely during the nightmare of World War II, and it seemed that this historical imprint alone would have indelibly reminded people about the folly of blindly following leaders into war. Also (and despite Goering's assertion) democracy appeared to offer additional protections from this folly as well, particularly in wealthy, industrialized nations like America, where freedom of speech and press permitted the free exchange of ideas, which in turn served to balance emotion and reason, and exposed any lies used to rationalize an unjust war. While it is true that America still suffered through the Vietnam era, it did not do so unquestioningly, nor with a blind faith in the nation's leaders.

But the coup by the plutocratic supporters of George W. Bush in the year 2000, coupled with the invasion of Iraq, changed all that, revealing how easily Americans can be manipulated, how willing they are to be lied to, and how vacuous the freedoms of speech and press have become when the bulk of information is filtered through corporate-controlled media that profit from jingoism, propaganda and dishonesty. But, perhaps most disturbingly, these events demonstrated that even though the words "freedom, democracy and human rights" are chanted like mantras by political leaders, many Americans have apparently welcomed, or at the very least are blissfully unconcerned about, the erosion of freedom, the abuse of human rights, and the nation's growing transformation from a democracy into a neo-fascist dictatorship.

January 9, 2004: The truth about modern day America
If there is one axiom to define life under the Bush dictatorship, it is that America is dominated and manipulated by individuals without principles, who automatically denounce the policies and practices of people or political parties they oppose, yet openly embrace commensurate policies and practices that serve their own political agendas or selfish interests.

In fact, the hypocrisy of modern day America reminds me of an event that occurred in my youth. I was playing pool with some friends in a neighborhood billiard hall when, around two o'clock in the morning, three sizable individuals walked in and proclaimed they were looking for some "action." As they proceeded through the establishment, an older gentleman exiting the restroom had the misfortune of passing near them. The tallest of the three intentionally shoved this man, then challenged him to a fight.

Thirty seconds later the bully lay battered and bleeding upon the floor. Yet, despite being the instigator of the fight, he still had the audacity (once he recovered his senses) to whine that he was a "minor," and thus it had been "unfair" to hit him.

This true life story is also symbolic of the bullying hypocrisy of America's so-called "conservative" movement, which persistently engages in dubious political tactics, yet cries "foul" when similar tactics are directly against it.

Recently, for example, many "conservative" critics expressed indignation over political ads submitted to Move On that compared George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler. Yet this "conservative" outrage was conspicuously absent when right-wing commentator Ann Coulter equated television personality Katie Couric to Hitler's mistress Eva Braun, and when right-wing radio personalities routinely referred to former first-lady Hillary Clinton as "Hitlerly Clinton." Radio propagandist Rush Limbaugh coined the phrase "femi-nazis" when describing the women's rights movement, and on the very day that cable television's right-wing propaganda networks (who call their bilge "news") were professing "outrage" over Bush/Hitler analogies, THE NEW YORK POST was running an article comparing Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels and Dean supporters to "Hitler's brownshirts." Yet none of these individuals or groups equated with Nazism, besides Bush, have remotely come close to deceptively leading a nation into war, nor corruptly assumed power in defiance of the will of the majority. In fact, according to THE VILLAGE VOICE, even the wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's partner in deceit, believes that Bush stole the 2000 election.

April 15, 2004: On the verge of extinction
If one believes the "official" versions of modern-day history, it is disquieting to learn of the remarkable number of "coincidences" that have served to lead humanity down the pathways of warfare and destruction.


[D]uring the coup of 2000, when I watched an almost rabid Katherine Harris salivating to "certify" Bush"s electoral theft in Florida, a state controlled by his brother Jeb, and when I learned that the United States Supreme Court, comprised of some of the most unethical "justices" in United States history, appointed Bush the dictator of the United States, I knew there were forces at work more sinister than simply a cabal of corrupt oligarchs usurping democracy. The sensations I felt as I watched these events unfold were so overwhelming and so haunting that it seemed like Satan had indeed touched the United States. And I knew from the lessons of the past that, no matter what the political milieu was, war was inevitable.

I did not write about these feelings in previous PRAVDA editorials because I know that whenever a writer discusses personal feelings, he or she risks losing or isolating readers who have not experienced such feelings themselves. I also knew that the historical evidence I relied upon in interpreting these feelings could easily be attacked by those asserting that "bad" people have also been assassinated and "good" people have prevented wars.

But when this historical evidence was coupled with the sociopathic nature of Bush and those in his dictatorship, the prediction about war's inevitability became more absolute. In law school we called individuals like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and others of their ilk "people without souls," because they have no sense of decency, no sense of humanity, no sense of justice, and no concept of "right and wrong," save for the ideology that whatever aggrandizes or satiates their selfish interests or ambitions is "right," and whatever does not is "wrong."

Perhaps nothing in recent times has demonstrated the callous and sadistic evil of George W. Bush more than his "joke" about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. Thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans have been killed, and are still being killed, and billions of dollars have been spent, and are still being spent, because of the Bush dictatorship"s premeditated lies about Iraq possessing WMDs that posed an imminent threat both to America and the world. Now that the lies have been exposed, the result is not a trial before a war crimes tribunal, but instead an ill-conceived "joke." I wonder how many families who lost loved ones in Iraq are laughing?
September 22, 2004: The Great Allure
Hitler's Germany arose when the perfect combination of anger, bellicosity, fear and hatred coalesced to make the masses receptive to the "allure of fascism." Flash forward to the year 2004, and the machinations of George W. Bush, and it is not difficult to perceive how this same allure is now engulfing America.

If there is one compelling question in modern history, that question is: "How, during the last century, could the nation of Germany, with a rich history that produced some of the world's most renowned philosophers, scholars, artists, inventors and musicians, have succumbed so readily to the machinations of a madman like Adolf Hitler?"

Germany, after all, was not an isolated culture susceptible to superstition, nor was it plagued by a poor educational system or lack of contact with the outside world. Yet, despite all of these positives, many well-meaning people entrusted their families, their futures, their nation and even their lives to a man whose maniacal lust for power brought them nothing but suffering, warfare, torture, and injustice.

While there may be several answers to the above question, one reality is clear: Hitler's Germany arose when the perfect combination of anger, bellicosity, fear and hatred coalesced to make the masses receptive to the "allure of fascism."

Flash forward to the year 2004, and the machinations of George W. Bush, and it is not difficult to perceive how this same allure is now engulfing America. As I stated in previous PRAVDA articles, two fundamental tactics of fascism -- scapegoating and the repetition of "great lies" -- have been openly utilized by both Bush and the deceitful, venal, hypocritical war criminals that personify his corruptly appointed dictatorship.


[P]erhaps the "greatest lie ever told" by the Bush dictatorship is that its megalomaniacal, bloodthirsty, cowardly, thieving, deceitful, hypocritical leader is somehow a "Christian." Even a cursory examination of Bush's legacy demonstrates that he has more in common with Pontius Pilate, the executioner of Jesus Christ, than with the gentle soul from Nazareth.

Pilate zealously exploited the death penalty to increase his grip on power. Bush, while governor of Texas, executed over one hundred and fifty people to bolster his political career. Pilate, as demonstrated by Christ's crucifixion, had little regard for whether those condemned to death were guilty or innocent. Bush routinely denied requests from death-row inmates for independent DNA testing that could have established their innocence, then boasted about the "infallibility" of the Texas criminal justice system and how "no innocent person" had been executed "under his watch."

Yet in August of 2003, thirty-five defendants, primarily African-American and all tried under Texas "law," were pardoned after it was discovered that perjured testimony had been used to convict them. More recently, a report in USA TODAY (8/6/04) revealed that the DNA unit of the crime lab in Harris County, Texas, where the City of Houston is located, had to be closed down in 2002 because of "irregularities in the way technicians were trained, handled evidence, interpreted tests and kept records." And in Angelina County, Texas, on August 20, 2004, after more than forty-one years in prison, Robert Carroll Coney was released after it was revealed that his confession had been extracted by torture.

Pilate, through his minions, avidly used torture. Bush, through his minions, avidly used torture at places like Abu Ghraib prison, while the CIA concealed dozens of "ghost detainees" from Red Cross monitors. Pilate committed atrocities against an occupied people. Bush continues to commit atrocities against an occupied people, having murdered, at last count, over ten thousand Iraqi civilians around Baghdad alone.

Furthermore, the Bush dictatorship's policies and practices bear no resemblance to the teachings of the Christian faith. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." Bush brags about being a "wartime president." Jesus was willing to suffer and die for his beliefs. Bush causes the suffering and death of others, yet during the Vietnam era was too cowardly to risk his own life, choosing instead to use his family's wealth and influence to perform some nebulous National Guard "duties."

Many of the disciples who followed Jesus also suffered and died. Bush surrounds himself with cowards like Dick (five deferments) Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft and Karl Rove, all of whom avoided military service through deferments or other schemes, yet all of whom are willing to callously sacrifice the lives of others. Jesus proclaimed it is as difficult for the rich to get into Heaven as it is for a camel to travel through the eye of a needle.

Bush gives tax breaks to the rich, and calls them his "support base," while Cheney gorges himself on war profits through links with corporations where he has financial interests. Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. Bush's policies caused over one million Americans to lose their health insurance last year alone. The inevitable result will undoubtedly be more sickness and premature death. Jesus consistently rejected the reins of mortal power. Bush used his cronies on the United States Supreme Court to steal such power. In fact the only link Bush has to Christ's teachings is that he personifies the very hypocrisy, corruption, counterfeit piety and self-serving exploitation of religion that Jesus so openly condemned. There is no doubt that America, and the world, would be a much better place without so-called "Christians" like George W. Bush.


Bush has used America's perfect combination of anger, bellicosity, fear and hatred, fueled by the September 11th attacks, to blind Americans to the depths of his evil. He and those in his dictatorship are some of the most depraved human beings on the face of the earth, and they may, either directly or indirectly, be the biggest threat to world peace and stability since Adolf Hitler.

What makes this threat even more imminent is the prospect of the lone voice of reason in the Bush dictatorship, Secretary of State Colin Powell, not retaining his position if Bush wins (or steals) the upcoming election. While Powell has always publicly shuffled obediently behind "Massa Bush," privately he has been a voice of restraint, and possesses the military experience and expertise that most in the Bush dictatorship lack. With his voice silenced, who knows what other evils will spring forth from this newly opened Pandora's box.

Edmund Burke is quoted as saying, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing." Evil has triumphed in America, and if it continues on its apocalyptic course, soon there will be nothing that good people can do.
May 23, 2005: Great Lies of the American free press
In several previous PRAVDA articles, I discussed the Bush dictatorship's prominent use of Adolph Hitler's "great lie theory" - the political tactic where a leader fabricates "great lies," then "eternally" repeats them until a significant portion of the population comes to accept them as truth. The Bush dictatorship also discovered a residual benefit of the "great lie theory": People are often so myopic or so embarrassed by their gullibility that, even after the "great lies" are exposed, they would rather reward the liar than acknowledge the lie.

This benefit, however, has also revealed the disquieting reality that far too many people in the United States, arguably the most powerful nation on earth, do not require legitimate reasons before they will acquiesce to the wasting of billions of tax dollars, and the sacrificing of thousands of lives, in wars based upon nothing but lies.

There, of course, are those who claim the "great lie theory" cannot work in democratic countries like America, because, unlike nations with government-controlled media, there is "freedom of the press." But this criticism is easily muted by the events that occurred a little over fifty years ago, during the height of the "Cold War" era.

In 1950, a politically ambitious senator named Joseph McCarthy, during a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, held up a piece of paper that allegedly contained the names of communists who were employed by America's State Department. This bold announcement helped to usher in an era of hysteria, fear, censorship and blacklisting that only began to wane four years later when an attorney named Joseph Welch asked McCarthy during the televised "Army-McCarthy" hearings, "Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last?"

Both McCarthy's biographers and friends have stated that Hitler's book MEIN KAMPF, which discussed the application of the "great lie theory," played an important role in the development of McCarthy's political strategies. And even though the relatively new medium of television helped to diminish McCarthy's power, the corporate-controlled news media also shared the blame for McCarthy's ability to disseminate "great lies." During the Wheeling speech, no reporter asked to examine the list McCarthy held, and it is said that McCarthy himself later joked to members of his inner circle that nothing was on the paper but a reminder to pick up his laundry.


Ironically, in today's America, people who want real news or honest criticism are better served by not watching "news" programs at all. Comedy Central's satirical program THE DAILY SHOW, for example, often covers current events with more insight than the so-called cable "news" networks, where "discussion" routinely consists of "experts" of dubious qualifications shouting and interrupting each other.

Following the South Park trend, a character on a recent episode of the animated comedy THE SIMPSONS rhetorically asked where America's "koo-koo, bananas commander" intended to start the next "military quagmire." A character on the medical drama "ER" derisively mocked the Chicago Tribune newspaper for endorsing Bush in the 2004 presidential race, while the series itself devoted several episodes to the war in the Congo, where, as one character said, the suffering is largely ignored because "there is no oil."

Finally, on May 15, 2005, the Associated Press reported that many critics were comparing the decline of civil liberties and democracy in the new "Star Wars" movie REVENGE OF THE SITH to the decline of civil liberties and democracy in the United States. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars franchise, acknowledged that much of the film was inspired by "historical transformations from freedom to fascism." Ironically, in a nation that boasts about "freedom of the press," it appears that only the fictitious adventures of characters in a "galaxy far, far away" might awaken Americans to the factual realities here on earth.

For the reasons mentioned above, the hands of America's corporate-controlled news media are now dripping with the blood of those sacrificed in a war promoted and exploited for ratings and profit. May this blood that has been shed for their greed never wash clean, lest we forget how easily corruption, avarice and deceit can usurp democracy, blacken the hearts of humanity, and destroy the soul of a nation.
I hope you'll click the links and read the articles.

Thanks to David R. Hoffman. Thanks to PRAVDA. Tonight's song is by Elvis Costello.

Pills And Soap

They talked to the sister, the father and the mother
With a microphone in one hand and a chequebook in the other
And the camera noses in to the tears on her face
The tears on her face
The tears on her face
You can put them back together with your paper and paste
But you can't put them back together
You can't put them back together

What would you say?
What would you do?
Children and animals two by two
Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We're going to melt them down for pills and soap
Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We're going to melt them down for pills and soap

Four and twenty crowbars, jemmy your desire
Out of the frying pan into the fire
The king is in the counting house
Some folk have all the luck
And all we get are pictures of Lord and Lady Muck
They come from lovely people with a hard line in hypocrisy
they are ashtrays of emotion
for the fag-ends of the aristocracy

What would you say?
What would you do?
Children and animals two by two
Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We're going to melt them down for pills and soap
Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We're going to melt them down for pills and soap

The sugar coated pill is getting bitterer still
You think your country needs you but you know it never will
So pack up your troubles in a stolen handbag
Don't dilly-dally, boys, rally 'round the flag
Give us your daily bread in individual slices
And something in the daily rag to cancel any crisis

What would you say?
What would you do?
Children and animals two by two
Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We're going to melt them down for pills and soap
Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We're going to melt them down for pills and soap