Tuesday, April 25, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, April 25, 2006 Photo: A burning pipeline near Kirkuk, April 23, 2006, on the main pipeline leading from Kirkuk to the Baiji oil refinery. REUTERS/Slahaldeen Rasheed Bring ‘em on: US security forces clashed with Iraqi insurgents in the central Iraqi town of Ramadi on Monday afternoon. There were no immediate reports on casualties. IHA Video Shots: Shot of street with smoke and gunfire Shots of dense smoke rising from buildings Shot of fire trucks going toward incident area Shots of a street in Ramadi with closed shops, sound of explosions Shots of fire trucks at incident area, residents evacuating Shots of firefighters extinguishing fire in a shop, onlookers Bring 'em on: In Haqlaniyah, a village 140 miles northwest of the Iraqi capital, roadside bomb explodes near a foot patrol of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers the director of a school near the site of the blast. He said three American soldiers were wounded and evacuated from the scene, but the U.S. military could not immediately confirm that. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Gunmen kill senior judge in Baghdad. He was gunned down in the insurgent stronghold of Amiriya. Roadside bomb explodes in Baghdad targeting American military convoy in the neighborhood of Baya. No casualties were immediately reported. In Baghdad's neighborhood of Azamiya, roadside bomb explodes near Iraqi police patrol, wounding two policemen and a bystander. Bullet-ridden bodies of two Iraqi men - their hands and legs bound with rope - found in an open area near the neighborhood of Kamaliya in eastern Baghdad. Four policemen wounded when car bomb explodes near police checkpoint near Yarmouk hospital in western Baghdad. Two people killed and five wounded when bomb planted inside mini bus explodes in the Sadr city slum in eastern Baghdad. Baqubah: Gunmen kill four people, including an eight-year-old girl, in separate incidents in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad. Mosul: Roadside bomb seriously wounds Iraqi policeman, Drive-by shooting kills Kurdish civilian as he was leaving his home. Kirkuk: Gunmen kill soldier working in the Oil Facility Protection Service in the main road between Tikrit and Kirkuk. Gunmen shoot dead two soldiers and a policeman who were out of duty on Monday near Kirkuk. An oil institutions protection personnel shot dead on the road connecting Kirkuk and Tikrit. He was hit in different parts of his body, the source added. He added that anonymous armed men opened fire at a 39-year-old school headmaster in the same road. Unknown militants kidnap engineer working for Moscow company. His vehicle was left on the road in Kirkuk. Tal Qasir: Four Iraqi policemen and two “insurgents” killed when “insurgents” attack police station in Tal Qasir, 200 km ( 125 miles) north of Baghdad. Tal Afar: U.S. military confirms a woman was killed making bomb attack on a U.S. military vehicle last week in Tal Afar. Only a few such attacks by women are known to have occurred in Iraq. NEWS Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Maliki says his country's security forces should be ready for U.S. troops to start leaving in 18 months. U.S. ambassador in Iraq on Monday urges Americans to dig in for the long haul. "If God is willing, I am setting myself a timetable of 15 days to finish forming the cabinet and deliver it to the parliament," [Prime Minister-designate Jawad al-Maliki] told Iraqiya television late on Monday. New Zarqawi video: "Your mujahideen sons were able to confront the most ferocious of crusader campaigns on a Muslim state," a black-clad Zarqawi said in the video posted on the Internet. "They have stood in the face of this onslaught for three years." Albright warns Iraq invasion may end up as one of the worst disasters in American foreign policy: In an interview with The New York Times published on Sunday, Albright said she did not think Saddam Hussein had been an imminent threat to the United States. "You can't go to war with everybody you dislike," she said. "I think Iraq may end up being one of the worst disasters in American foreign policy." California becomes second state in which a proposal to impeach President Bush has been introduced in state legislature. And this one includes Cheney as well. REPORTS The $200 million oil-for-food scheme you haven't heard about: United Nations sanctions against Saddam Hussein may have failed to end his regime but they succeeded in enriching both the Iraqi dictator and corporations able to manipulate the scandal-ridden world body's Oil-for-Food program. Among the profiteers was the Australian Wheat Board, a former state-owned monopoly, which funneled $A290 million (U.S. $208,887,000) into Saddam's coffers even as the "Coalition of the Willing" was preparing for invasion. The Oil-for-Food program (OFF) - intended to punish and isolate Saddam while supplying food and medicine to ordinary Iraqis - accomplished neither objective. The Bush administration added that failure, and revelations of endemic corruption within the program, to his shifting case for war, after the danger of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction evaporated as a legitimating cause. But while U.S. French, Russian, and African politicians, businessmen and companies benefited from Saddam's profiteering, the program's worst corruptor was the Australian Wheat Board (AWB), the largest importer of food into Iraq under Oil-for-Food. The growing scandal has rocked Australia over the past few weeks as government hearings exposed a pattern of outright fraud by the AWB. Ironically, the same Australian wheat company officials who benefited before the war were appointed by the Americans after the invasion to help run the ministry of agriculture, where they profited handsomely once again. ”Rebels” have succeeded in crippling Iraq's energy industry: "It has been going on for two or three years now without stopping. Actually it (the rebel campaign) has increased. They have always succeeded in attacking very sensitive sites," Ali al-Alaak [the oil ministry's inspector general] told Reuters in an interview. "Every time we fix the problems because of those attacks, the next day or a few days later they can attack the same site." Asked if rebels had crippled Iraq's energy industry, he said: "Yes". British paratroopers secretly operating in support of the SAS in Iraq are using American uniforms, weapons and vehicles as part of their cover: Although John Reid, the Defence Secretary, only announced this week that the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) had become operational, a company of more than 100 paratroopers has been working for six months in Baghdad. They have reportedly become so successful that American special forces have called on their help. The SFSG was formed mainly because it was found that small groups of highly trained SAS troopers did not have enough firepower to take on large groups of Iraqi and Afghan terrorists. The unit has already seen a substantial amount of action in Baghdad. Whenever the SAS goes on raids to apprehend terrorists in highly dangerous areas of Baghdad, the Paras are used to provide perimeter security. Arriving in US Humvees, dressed in American army fatigues and armed with C7 Diemaco guns - a Canadian made version of the M16, the men have fought several battles with insurgents while protecting SAS colleagues. The troops were also believed to have been used to provide a security cordon as part of Task Force Maroon when the SAS rescued the peace campaigner Norman Kember and two other hostages. The troops deployed to Baghdad at the end of last year after undergoing specialist training at the SAS headquarters in Hereford, including the use of American weapons and equipment. "They wear US uniforms so they can blend in in Baghdad where a British paratrooper would stick out and draw unwanted attention," an intelligence source said. The increasingly unpopular war in Iraq is getting increasingly expensive: According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, the combined costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan this year will hit $117.9 billion - about $9.8 billion a month - if Congress passes the White House's emergency money request, as is virtually certain. About 80 percent of the cash goes to Iraq, where costs have risen from $48 billion in 2003 to a projected $94 billion this year - for a total of $282 billion, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think tank. The White House is planning to ask for an additional $50 billion next year, and the center predicts if the situation does not improve, the Iraq war could end up costing $660 billion by 2016 - more than the Vietnam War, adjusting for inflation. In spite of those grim projections, leaders in both parties predicted Congress would pass President Bush's request. "You have to pay whatever it takes," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. "Once the troops are committed ... you have to spend whatever it takes." Um Jaafar, an Iraqi mother, speaks of life under occupation: (During a US raid Um Jaafar, a woman in her 40s, saw her three sons Jaafar, Haidar and Athir being killed before her eyes). "At 2.30, the night of 21 January, I woke up to a blast that opened the door of our house in the Al-Huriya Al-Thaniya area, west of Baghdad. A group of American soldiers stormed in. With them was an Iraqi translator, through whom they asked me about Mohamed. I pointed to my son Jaafar, whom we call Mohamed at home. Without a single comment, they moved to where Jaafar was sleeping and shot him dead. Athir, Jaafar's 28-year-old half-brother, tried to question the translator about the reason. The response was, 'the matter has come to an end.' And when he tried to go upstairs to seek the help of their elder brother Haidar, 29, an American bullet beat him to it, killing him immediately. Haidar's wife tried to defend her husband and their children, Mustafa and Ali, but one of the Americans beat her back -- on the head, with a baton -- to make way for the bullet that was to kill Haidar. The whole process took no more than a few minutes. In the end my daughter Shaimaa lay among the three corpses, injured and bleeding. Only later did the translator ask me to fetch the identity cards of those killed -- only to realise that there was no Mohamed among them. He said simply, 'sorry, but we have killed them on a suspicion.' And the raiding force left. What happened had not sunk in when they came back, and to this day I still can not believe it; I have not visited the graves of my sons. I lost three sons like that; who would believe me? I do not believe it myself. Trying to comfort me, neighbours and relatives point out that at least I got to bury my dead; there are mothers, they say, who do not even have access to their sons' corpses once they are told they were killed. But I am a mother and my disaster feels the greatest. Tell me, what should I do when I miss Jaafar and his brothers? I miss them. For how long will we keep losing our sons by mistake? Just tell me what to do. Can you help me not miss them?" COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS "We're in two wars!" Do you remember the classic example of "chutzpah"? It's the young man who kills his parents and then asks the court for mercy on the grounds that he's an orphan. The Bush administration's updated version of that is starting a wholly illegal, immoral, and devastating war and then dismissing all kinds of criticism of its action on the grounds that "We're at war." They use this excuse to defend warrantless spying, to defend the imprisonment of people for years without charging them with a crime, to abuse and torture them, to ignore the Geneva Convention and other international treaties; they use it against Democrats, accusing them of partisanship during "a time of war"; they use it to justify the expansion of presidential powers and the weakening of checks and balances. In short, they claim "We can do whatever we want about anything at all related to this war, because we're at war." "War is war," says Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, "and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts. Give me a break."(3) Scalia, in his public talks, implies that prisoners held in the far-flung American gulag were all "captured on the battlefield".(4) But this is simply false. Very few of the poor souls were captured on any kind of battlefield, few had even a gun in their hand; most were just in the wrong place at the wrong time or were turned in by an informer for an American bounty or a personal grudge. The American public, like all publics, requires only sufficient repetition from "respectable" sources to learn how to play the game: Earlier this month many cities of Wisconsin held referendums on bringing the troops home from Iraq. Here's Jim Martin, 48, a handyman in Evansville. He thinks that his city shouldn't waste taxpayers' money running a referendum that means nothing. "The fact of the matter remains, we're at war," he said as he ate his lunch at the Night Owl bar.(5) And here now is Chris Simcox a leader in the Minuteman movement that patrols the Mexican border: "If I catch you breaking into my country in the middle of the night and we're at war ... you're a potential enemy. I don't care if you're a busboy coming to wash dishes."(6) One observer has summed up the legal arguments put forth by the Bush administration thusly: "The existing laws do not apply because this is a different kind of war. It's a different kind of war because the president says so. The president gets to say so because he is president. ... We follow the laws of war except to the extent that they do not apply to us. These prisoners have all the rights to which they are entitled by law, except to the extent that we have changed the law to limit their rights."(7) Yet, George W. has cut taxes tremendously, something probably unprecedented while at war. Facing calls for impeachment, plummeting popularity, a looming Republican electoral disaster, and massive failure in Mesopotamia, Georgie looks toward Persia. He and the other gang members will be able to get away with almost anything they can think of if they can say "We're in two wars!" The 'American Inquisition': Through the mist of time, the Spanish Inquisition has come down to us as one of the most barbarous periods in all of history. Its viciousness peaked in the late 15th century, during the reign of the messianic "Catholic kings," Ferdinand and Isabella. Paranoia gripped Spanish society as the Inquisition coincided with a Christian war against the Muslims of southern Spain. Clandestine trials, secret prisons, rampant eavesdropping, torture, desecration of Islam's holy books, and gruesome public executions created an atmosphere of pervasive terror. Suspects were assumed to be guilty, with no recourse to a defense, to a jury, or to a legitimate court. In the chaos now roiling the Western world, does any of this sound familiar? It is time to ask whether the United States, with some of these same touchstones, is entering a period of its own peculiar Inquisition. Of course, there are no burning places for heretics in America now. No Tomás de Torquemada presides over this period of internal anxiety and investigation. But the word, inquisition, is not exclusive to Spain in the Middle Ages. It is a useful term for historians to characterize phases of history that are distinguished by religious intolerance, by Christian holy war and Islamic jihad, by racial profiling and xenophobia, by show trials, and by snooping of secret police. Paranoia abounds This country, too, is seized with collective paranoia. President Bush knows, as Ferdinand, Isabella and Torquemada knew, that constant warnings about secret terrorists are a powerful deterrent to dissent and a useful tool for consolidating political power. Bush, like his Spanish precursors, presses for a unity of faith and a credo of purification. His faith mixes the secular and the spiritual. Its hallmarks are Jeffersonian democracy for all the world, unquestioning patriotism and revitalized Christianity. Unbelievers in this holy trinity are to be ferreted out. Not to subscribe to the methods in the war on terrorism is not so much dissent as heresy. The American Inquisition began on Sept. 16, 2001, five days after the monstrous attack, when Bush proclaimed his "crusade." That was the defining moment for this era of U.S. history. In the years since, Bush has demonstrated all the passion and single-mindedness of King Ferdinand. The American secret police force is not called the Holy Brotherhood as it was in 1492, for today's brotherhood is more electronic than human. On Capitol Hill, Cabinet members, past and present, call search warrants obsolete. Beware. We are all "mined" for our "data." How different is this really from the spying that went on in the Spanish Inquisition? Suspect words or acts do not change that much with time. In Inquisitional Spain, neighbors were supposed to report a suspicious neighbor to the Holy Office. Now, symbolic words or actions are detected electronically. In the past few months, Americans have been treated to the extraordinary spectacle of a U.S. president arguing for torture in the lofty staterooms of the U.S. government. Memos float around his Department of Defense, stressing that U.S. interrogators should cease their persecution if their victims come close to "organ failure." The world wants to know what is going on in the star chambers of secret U.S. prisons around the world. The U.S. administration scoffs. The Geneva Conventions are called quaint, and the court in The Hague, Netherlands, cannot touch us. Standards for war crimes and crimes against humanity are for non-Americans. Forms of torture For the historian, symbolic acts such as torture often define an era, and the American brand of torture has a particularly medieval quality. "Waterboarding," as it is called (as if it were a sport like surfboarding or skateboarding), uses cellophane instead of gauze with water to subject the suspect to near drowning and suffocation. So today this is called an "enhanced" technique of interrogation. But the pitcher and gauze were just as effective in the 15th century. The intent is really no different from that of Torquemada's interrogators: to make the subject talk even though that talk might be drivel. It is not surprising that a leader, who believes that his Christian God chose him to be president at this moment in history and that his Almighty speaks directly to him, should preside over this American Inquisition. Bush's messianic bent came to light vividly in June 2003, when he announced that his God had inspired him to go fight those terrorists and to end the tyranny in Iraq. What, one wonders, is his God telling him now about the chaos? This supposed pipeline to heaven is, of course, not new for kings and potentates. On his deathbed in 1516, King Ferdinand told his minions that he could not die yet: God had told him that he would move on from the conquest of Granada to lead a great crusade that would recapture Jerusalem. The messianic impulse is commonplace in history. Now, we are just a few years into the Iraq era. The situation is getting worse, and there is no end in sight. When this nightmare ends, years of self-examination are sure to follow as happened after the Vietnam disaster. The Iraq syndrome will be lengthy. In the meantime, American Inquisition takes root. It is more hard-edged and mean-spirited than the Vietnam crackdown ... for one reason. Though Bush's explanations for his wayward adventure may constantly change, though the enterprise may show itself to be a military and moral catastrophe of historic proportions, this American leader and his circle of illuminati are utterly convinced of their righteousness. Toward their detractors they misappropriate, like inquisitors before them, the verse of John 15:6: "If any abide not in me, he should be cast forth as a branch and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he shall burn." America's gulag: Often small things provide the most disturbing evidence for world-changing events, as when naturalists observe the quiet disappearance of some little known species. The CIA's firing of senior officer Mary O. McCarthy is a political event of just this nature. Ordinarily, the firing of some middling CIA officer is not an event to interest many, other than John Le Carre fans and those who linger over cappuccino at the CIA's Langely cafeteria. Not just conservative throwbacks recognize the need for secrecy in many intelligence matters. Ordinarily, the fact that some CIA agent has broken his or her oath of secrecy would not cause much disturbance outside the unhinged James Angleton types who make up some portion of any intelligence community. Surely, out of tens of thousands of employees, this is something that happens with regularity. But Ms. McCarthy's case is different, and it is of interest to the world. She is responsible, reportedly by her own admission during a furious round of polygraph tests, for information supplied to The Washington Post concerning the CIA's vast secret prison system. This CIA-run gulag, and there is no name more fitting, does not resemble the case of a new secret weapon or of a mole planted somewhere abroad. The existence of a secret gulag goes to the heart of democratic values. Is the population of any democratic country not entitled to be informed of so vast and creepy an enterprise? To exercise their franchise based on facts? At some point, any secret operation, if it becomes large enough and affects the lives of tens of thousands, risks undermining the very legitimacy of the government running it. The reputation of the United States abroad has suffered perhaps irreparable damage from the excesses and stupidities of Bush's War on Terror. So much so that Americans are now advised by their own State Department to guard their behavior and even identity when traveling abroad. Are Americans not entitled to be informed of what has caused this? Of what has been done in their name? If you can keep tens of thousands secretly locked away and subject to torture, what prevents this number from becoming millions? Where are the limits without public information? The inherent integrity of American government officials, you say? Three-quarters of the world's people today would laugh caustically at the suggestion. THREE LETTERS
A letter To The Editor of ‘Army Times’:
April 24, 2006 I am a soldier about to embark on my second tour in Iraq. My first tour started in November 2003. When we arrived, Saddam Hussein was on the loose. In December, he was caught. When I came into the military, I signed a contract that said I would defend this country against all threats, foreign and domestic. After spending a year in Iraq, I have found that the Iraqis are not a threat or the enemy. I did find that we are the threat and the enemy to them. They acted as we would if someone came into America and said we are going to change your ways. I feel this war is no longer about taking out a threat. But I believe it is about securing oil commerce for the future. Securing this country and stabilizing it would mean oil contracts and people lining their pockets with money from the oil that my friends have been wounded for and have died for. I hear the president speak with the press and tell them things to appease them and to divert them to a different subject. What I don't see is the president having a conference with the soldiers who have fought on the ground in Iraq. We do not know what we are fighting for anymore; we do not know what our mission is. I am not alone in this thought. My boys need to know what they may possibly die for. Is it for a few extra bucks for Halliburton subsidiary KBR? Is it about the oil? Is it for America? How will this war help my family in the future? Staff Sgt. Christopher Galka Rainier, Wash. BBC's Hotel Journalism: Dear Jim Muir, I hope all is well in Baghdad, at least in the hotel you are in. About your piece "Can a new government rescue Iraq?" (Jim Muir, BBC News website) Are you aware that Iraq has been illegally invaded? Are you aware that at the present there is a cruel, brutal, military occupation? Are you aware that this illegal invasion and occupation killed already hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians? Are you aware that the same occupation has tortured and imprisoned children, women and thousands of innocent Iraqis? Are you aware that the same occupation dismantled and destroyed the State Iraq, violated the Geneva Conventions all over the places and is responsible for the current situation in that country? Are you aware that the government you write about in your piece is simply a puppet government of a country under military occupation? In your piece you write: "... Islamic jihadi militants, many of whom have come from outside." Where do you think the American and British (and the other members of this illegal Coalition of the Willing) have come from? In your 1,100 plus word piece on Iraq, you not even once mention that that country is under military occupation nor any other of the facts I wrote above. It takes non common skills to succeed in such a task. Finally I fully understand what Robert Fisk means when he writes "hotel journalism". Regards, Gabriele Zamparini On Waking Up Sleepless in the Middle of the Night: TO: The President FROM: A former American diplomat SUBJECT: Waking up in the middle of the night Mr. President: Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night? Do you? Do you ever wake up sleepless in the middle of the night? What have you done in Iraq? Do you ever realize, in the middle of the night, what you've done? Do you? 1. You've caused over 2,370 American soldiers to die in an impoverished land that never attacked us. Was that the right answer to 9/11 or the "threat" from Iraq? Do you ever ask yourself that question? 2. Because of your Iraq invasion, thousands of U.S. enlisted personnel are maimed, physically and mentally, for life. What can you tell these victims of your war? That you're honored by their duty towards you, our "mission-accomplished" commander-in-chief? 3. Your decision to go to war has led to the death of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Do you have any remorse for this, Mr. President? Or was it that, for you, Iraqis only really deserved to serve as props in "shock and awe" -- your name for your made-for-TV porno/violence program at the beginning of the war, produced and distributed directly into our living rooms by the mainstream media? (Thank you, Fox News.) 4. Will you ever, ever accept responsibility for making torture all-American at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere? And the Statue of Liberty -- why, tell us why, did you allow it to be replaced by that image of an abused, hooded, helpless prisoner on a box? Aren't you the least bit concerned at how America is seen by the rest of the world because of your war -- as a brutal aggressor nation, dismissive of the opinions of mankind? 5. What about your mercenaries ("Pentagon contractors") that our tax dollars pay for? Who are they? What are they doing in their multi-thousands in Iraq, and to the Iraqis? Do you know? Or don't you care to know? 6. You said you wanted to "rebuild" Iraq -- but isn't it true that all you've really done is construct a Roman-Empire-style camp, a "Green Zone" for Iraqi collaborators (whom you now mistrust) and U.S. personnel in the heart of Baghdad that is an invitation to insurgent mortars? Haven't you -- tell the truth -- destroyed in Iraq more than you have built? Haven't you? 7. You say Iraqis now live in a land of "freedom" -- but what kind of freedom? How can it ever be like the Four Freedoms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- freedom of expression and worship, joined with freedom from want and freedom from fear? As electricity fails and bombs terrify citizens in Baghdad, where is the freedom you promised Iraqis, Mr. President? 8. Your occupation of Iraq has led to a bloody sectarian conflict. Why do you and your ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad now blame the Iraqis for their problems? Don't you share responsibility for the desperate situation they are in? 9. Your trillion-dollar binge of destruction in the cradle of civilization -- who will pay for it? The widows of our soldiers? Our young people, already too debt-burdened paying for their educations? Or their baby-boomer parents who may see their pensions evaporate to support your war? 10. Why can't you truthfully tell us, Mr. President, the reasons you led America into war? Was it for the WMD, for regime change, for the oil, for grand neocon visions, to avenge your father, to win elections at home? What were your real intentions? Are you afraid to tell us? Or is the truth that, deep down, you never really knew? 11. And, Mr. President, as you contemplate another war, this time against Iran, won't you ever wake up in the middle of the night, and stop more madness before it is too late? --- John Brown is a former diplomat who resigned from the State Department over the planned war in Iraq.
Transforming the World into a War-zone: Like everything else, Rumsfeld's promise to "transform" the military has been a lie. The Defense Secretary never had any intention of converting the military into "smaller, more agile units". From the very onset his goal has been to create a global strike-force that operates as the enforcement-arm of the multinational corporations. Rumsfeld has done everything in his power to remove the military from congressional oversight or accountability to the people it is supposed to serve. Under his stewardship, the Pentagon has lurched from one humiliating scandal to the next. From Abu Ghraib to Falluja, from Guantanamo to Bagram; his record has been a dismal chronicle of one disgrace heaped upon another. No wonder the generals are so eager to see him get his walking papers. An article in Sunday's Washington Post "Rumsfeld OKs wider anti-terror role for Military" shows that Rumsfeld's powers are expanding rather than contracting. The article by Ann Scott Tyson outlines the Defense Secretary's strategy for making the entire world a "free-fire" zone for agents of the empire. The details of the plan are still classified, but the documents envision "a significantly expanded role for the military - and in particular a growing force of elite Special Operations troops - in continuous operations to combat terrorism outside of war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Developed over about three years by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, Fla., they reflect a beefing up of the Pentagon's involvement in domains traditionally handled by the CIA and State Department." Just as Rumsfeld initiated Northcom and lowered the standards for using the military in domestic affairs (check the debacle in Katrina) so too, he intends to eschew the conventions restricting the use of the military in foreign countries by deploying "small teams of Army Green Berets and other Special Operations troops to U.S. embassies ...to conduct military operations where the United States is not at war." This ambitious plan has been the military's "top priority" for over three years and is ready to be activated pending another "terrorist attack" on American soil. Even Rumsfeld apologists are probably shocked at the breadth and arrogance of this sinister plan. The military is being hijacked in full view of the American people and turned into the world's most-lethal security apparatus. Under Rumsfeld's direction, special units operating clandestinely around the globe will perform criminal renditions, assassinations, sabotage, and acts of piracy all in the name of corporate profiteering. 53,000 paramilitaries and Green Berets now operate within Special Operations Command (SOCOM) The next terrorist attack will allow the Pentagon to quickly mobilize these troops to "disrupt and respond" to potential threats across the planet ignoring national sovereignty or the laws of war. The surprise appearance of Bin Laden in a video which aired yesterday on Al Jazeera (another Rumsfeld psy-ops?) must have been warmly received by the Pentagon warlords who would like to see their plan executed pell mell. There should be little doubt that Don Rumsfeld's dream of a global military empire, accountable only to the league of corporate mandarins, hasn't dimmed by his abysmal record of failure in Iraq. Left to his own devices, Rumsfeld is determined to put the US military under private control and turn the world into one massive war zone. Meet the new Osama: The Bush Administration needs a new terrorist attack before the fall. It has to keep control of Congress to avoid any impeachment problems, but must keep the polls close enough to be able to continue to use the crooked voting machines without the American public becoming suspicious and trashing them before the next presidential election (the Republicans haven't honestly won a presidential election since 1988, and won't be winning another one soon without a little electronic help). In order to sell the terrorism 'product' they need a new scary guy to front the operation. Bin Laden is past his sell-by date, and Al Zarqawi has been officially retired and really only worked the market for Iraq anyway. I think we now know who the new Osama is, a name from the past. Michael Ledeen introduced the name in a column in January. The President of Iran visited Syria, and Ledeen wrote:
". . . it should not have surprised anyone that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew to Damascus last Thursday to meet with Bashar Assad, nor was it surprising that among his entourage were key Iranian officials in charge of Hezbollah, probably including the operational leader, Imad Mughniyah."
Note that Ledeen didn't really have any information that Ahmadinejad had brought Mughniyah, just that Ahmadinejad had brought Iranian officials with him, and Mughniyah was 'probably' with them. It actually seems highly unlikely that Ahmadinejad would brought Mughniyah along, especially given that Mughniyah is still a wanted criminal, and Syria would not want him around. Mughniyah is thought to be responsible for a number of attacks against Americans, including the 1983 bombing in Lebanon. Actually, only a raving Zionist would find it plausible that the President of Iran would pay an official visit to another country with an entourage which includes an internationally-wanted terrorist. In fact, Ledeen begs lots of questions in assuming Ahmadinejad brought officials with him who were 'in charge of Hezbollah', and the whole article is just more typical Ledeen lies and spin and innuendo. Ledeen's unlikely guess is then repeated (full article here) in the New York Sun (note the completely misleading headline), and cites the meeting as a fact based on foreign (no doubt Israeli) 'diplomatic sources'. Finally, the story arrives fully developed, and as a certainty, in the London Sunday Times (with yet another wild headline). It is now supported by 'senior government officials', who Ledeen says, are convinced Mughniyah was there, despite the fact they don't know what he looks like and don't have his fingerprints. Must be identification by magic. Mughniyah is perfect, as the story now ties together Iran, Syria and Hezbollah with a terrorist known to have a long involvement in attacks against Americans. The new Osama is ready to be held responsible for the next terrorist attack against Americans, and will be able to help the Republicans keep control of Congress without too much electronic help, and point the blame to whatever patsy the Israel Lobby wants to attack next. Nothing short of a military coup and tanks rolling up Pennsylvania Avenue will put an end to this madness: "I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation," Bush growled at the corporate media. "But I'm the decider and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense." Translation: Bush is the dictator ("it would be a heck of a lot easier") decider increasingly unbound by the restraints of law and the Constitution. In ancient Rome, a dictator received absolute power on a temporary basis during times of emergency. It is said our emergency is the war on terror-terror documented to be an engineered fraud-but unlike the Romans before Sulla and Triumvir and the Princeps, Bush's dictatorial power is arbitrary and unaccountable, not subject to law and justification. Bush's emerging dictatorship is the most dangerous kind-unlike the garden variety military dictatorship put in place through a coup d'état, primarily to keep a certain personality (invariably a knuckle-dragging thug) in power (usually representing a particular social or economic class), the Bush (or rather Straussian) dictatorship is extremely dangerous because it represents a totalitarian ideology-and thus akin to the totalitarian dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin. Our "decider" (or rather his handlers) have embraced the theology of state power and corporatism-or as Mussolini called it, fascism. Donald Rumsfeld is crucial to this fascist ideology. A bit of harping on the part of the corporate media-or factions therein squeamish over Straussian neocon tactics (shock and awe mass murder, institutionalized torture, mini-nuke braggadocio)-will not change the game plan, a stratagem devised by the neocons as far back as the first Bush administration (in the good old days, these guys were called the "crazies," and Colin Powell later added a colorful verb before this pejorative). Nothing short of a military coup and tanks rolling up Pennsylvania Avenue will put an end to this madness. On that fateful day, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush will resemble Hitler and his lieutenants hiding in their bunkers as the Russians stormed Berlin. Either that or they will turn the planet into a living hell. What a Great Nation Would Do A great nation is like a great man: When he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits it. Having admitted it, he corrects it. He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers. He thinks of his enemy as the shadow he himself casts. -- Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell, trans. IRAN No Arab or Islamic country armed even with the smallest of atomic bombs will be ready to hit Israel: And that, is because Israel is a small country interwoven and surrounded by Palestinian and Arab nations. The explosion of an atomic bomb will kill the Palestinians and Arabs too. The radio-active fallout will reach the entire Middle-East including Iran itself. Thus the brawl surrounding the danger of the atomic Iran against Israel is silly and is only a pretext to attack that country, similar to the lies about the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq before colonizing it. The Coming Nuclear Epiphany in Persia: Twelve hours. One circuit of the sun from horizon to horizon, one course of the moon from dusk to dawn. What was once a natural measurement for the daily round of human life is now a doom-laden interval between the voicing of an autocrat's brutal whim and the infliction of mass annihilation halfway around the world. Twelve hours is the maximum time necessary for American bombers to gear up and launch an unprovoked sneak attack - a Pearl Harbor in reverse - against Iran, the Washington Post reports. The plan for this "global strike," which includes a very viable "nuclear option," was approved months ago, and is now in operation. The planes are already on continuous alert, making "nuclear delivery" practice runs along the Iranian border, as Sy Hersh reports in the New Yorker, and waiting only for the signal from President George W. Bush to drop their payloads of conventional and nuclear weapons on some 400 targets spread throughout the condemned land. And when this attack comes - either as a stand-alone "knock-out blow" or else as the precusor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like the earlier aggression in Iraq - there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no hearings, no public debate. The already issued orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of the president: he picks up the phone, he says, "Go" - and in twelve hours' time, up to a million Iranians will be dead. This potential death toll is not pacificist hyperbole; it comes from a National Academy of Sciences study sponsored by the Pentagon itself, as The Progressive reports. (Although Bush's military brass like to peddle the public lie that "we don't do body counts" of the enemy, in reality, like all good businessmen they keep precise accounts of their production outputs: i.e., corpses.) The Pentagon's NAS study calibrated the kill-rate from "bunker-busting" tactical nukes used to take out underground facilities - such as those which house much of Iran's nuclear power program. Another simulation by scientists, using Pentagon-devised software, was even more specific, measuring the aftermath of a "limited" nuclear attack on the main Iranian underground site in Esfahan, the magazine reports. This small expansion of the Pentagon franchise would result in stellar production figures: three million people killed by radiation in just two weeks, and 35 million people exposed to dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Bush has about 50 nuclear "earth-penetrating weapons" at his disposal, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Nor is the idea of a nuclear strike on Iran mere "liberal paranoia." Bush himself pointedly refused to take the nuclear option "off the table" this week. But what's more, Bush has made the use of nuclear weapons a centerpiece of his "National Security Strategy of the United States," issued last month, The Progressive notes. While reaffirming the criminal principle of "pre-emptive" attacks on perceived enemies which may or may not be threatening America with weapons they may or may not possess, Bush declared that "safe, credible and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role" in the "offensive strike systems" that are now a key part of America's "deterrence." In the depraved jargon of atomic warmongering, a "credible" nuclear force is one that can and will be used in the course of ordinary military operations. It is no longer to be regarded as a sacred taboo. This has long been the dream of the Pentagon's "nuclear priesthood" and its acolytes, going back to the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For decades, a strong faction within the American power structure has been afflicted with a perverted craving to unleash these weapons once more. An almost sexual frustration can be discerned in their laments as time and again, in crisis after crisis, their counsels for "going nuclear" were rejected - often at the very last moment. To justify their abberant desire, they have relentlessly demonized an ever-changing array of "enemies," painting each one as an imminent, overwhelming threat, led by "madmen" in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, fit only for destruction. Evidence for the "threat" is invariably exaggerated, manipulated, even manufactured; this ritual cycle has been enacted over and over, leading to many wars - but never to that ultimate, orgasmic release. Now this paranoid sect has at last seized the commanding heights of American power. Two of its most venerable and faithful adherents are the central players in the court of the Crawford Caligula: Vice President Dick Cheney and Pentagon warlord Donald Rumsfeld. And they have found a most eager disciple in the peevish dullard strutting in the Oval Office. Under their sinister tutelage, Bush has eviscerated 40 years' worth of arms control treaties; officially "normalized" the use of nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear states; rewarded outlaw proliferators like India, Israel and Pakistan; and is now destroying the last and most effective restraint on the spread of nuclear weapons: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The treaty guarantees its signatories - such as Iran - the right to establish nuclear power programs in exchange for rigorous international inspections. But Bush has arbitrarily decided that Iran - whose nuclear program undergone perhaps the most extensive inspection process in history - must end its lawful activities. Why? Because the country is led by "madmen" in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, who one day may or may not threaten America with weapons they may or may not have. So the NPT is dead. As with the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution, it now means only what Bush says it means. Force of arms, not rule of law, is the new world order. The attack on Iran is coming. And Bush is insisting that the nuclear option remain in the warplans, despite resistance from top military officers, as Hersh reports. The obvious, murderous insanity of such a move in no way precludes its implementation by this gang - as their invasion of Iraq clearly shows. The nuclear sectarians have waited decades for this moment. Such a chance may never come again. Will they let it pass, when with just a word, in just twelve hours, they can see their god rising in a pillar of fire over Persia? QUOTE OF THE DAY:"Our enemies never stop trying to come up with new ways to harm our people, and neither do we." --- President George W. Bush


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