They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Blow to premier's vision of a very British Europe

Thescotsman: Jack Straw's face said it all. The Foreign Secretary had expected France to reject the European Union constitution - but its "Non" was fundamental. This was not just a rebuttal of the treaty, but of Britain's vision of Europe.

The scenes of celebration chilled British policymakers. The economic reform that the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has been preaching to Europe for years was being denounced in the streets as "ultra-liberalism" and capitalism run wild.

Some of the No celebrations looked like the 1968 student protests: red flags were being flown to hail a victory of workers and students. This is not something that the Prime Minister will be able to negotiate his way out of.

Mr Straw understood this all too clearly. France does not want Britain's low regulation, its flexible markets or its open competition. It blames such policies for its 10 per cent unemployment: it does not want more.

The No was from young people, who are tilting French politics in a left-wing direction. There is a rich mix with anti-globalisation. The phrase "Anglo-Saxon" - the common insult to attack the treaty - usually translates as British-American. Read more

Friday, May 27, 2005

'No' to the constitution - 'Yes' to "liberte, egalite, fraternite"

Asiatimes: The French always thought they were being sold a "social Europe" - where social standards would always be pushed upward, toward the highest levels of worker protection, wages and benefits. Britain has always blocked this approach. In the constitution, the "non" identifies a trend of bringing standards down to the lowest levels.

The constitution is viewed by the "non" as an attack on public services - which in France are at the heart of a very high quality of life and social solidarity. France has arguably the best medical system in the world, a metro system in Paris that is a model of efficiency, fabulous railway and postal systems, a very good, secular school system and tremendously rich cultural life - all indispensable elements of social cohesion. This entails government regulation - profitable parts of the system are always able to cover for others.

..Contradictions abound. When an American such as Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Washington-based Foundation on Economic Trends, praises the European dream, he talks about Europe's preeminence in security, health, education and even scientific research. This has not much to do with catching up with the US. The "non" argue that Europe's superior education system simply cannot be smashed for the benefit of short-term profit: this would mean Europe cannot assert itself as an alternative to the US. A key argument for the "oui" to the constitution is a strong Europe standing up to the US. It's curious to note that most American politicians as well as corporate media - but not the neo-cons - support the "oui" (even though they complain about the popularity of precisely this "standing up to the US").

Neo-liberalism is inevitably at the heart of the debate. The "non" says that a victory - fueled by grassroots movements and the Internet - will be a political tsunami, generating all around Europe waves and waves of social awareness. Like Bob Dylan's "the times they are a-changin", Europe would awake to an alternative to hardcore capitalism. It's a very romantic idea. The "non" is trying to sell a very appealing ideal to the world: modern life not as a marketplace where everything can be bought. They genuinely believe that a "non" will lead, by popular pressure, to a radical transformation of the EU - toward social harmonization from the ground up, universal right to social services, a progressive industrial policy, opposition to all forms of neo-colonialism, the cancellation of all the South's debt, and inevitably the end of NATO. Not by accident France's proud motto is "liberte, egalite, fraternite". Read more



We citizens, trade unionists, associations and organisations,


The project for Europe that is being proposed to us is entirely organised around a unique principle: the market, the generalisation of competition. This allows and organises the attack against public service and pensions, the incentive to the extension of working time and flexibilisation as well as the encouragement to social regression in each of the countries of the European Union. Whereas the aim of the constitutional treaty which is submitted to us is to set the broad lines of what will be tomorrow's Europe, we note that the future the treaty prepares for us is everything but the future we long for.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Iraq: Now add 'judicial' death to the dirty war

The Washington Post reports that capital punishment is back in Iraq, and that three men - found guilty of murder, rape and kidnapping (particularly vile and repulsive crimes to whip up some blood lust) - are to be hanged "in the next ten days".

There is nothing very democratic about killing your own citizens - for whatever reason. In that moment all countries that practice it become totalitarian. But - whatever - people in some countries do like a primitive response of this kind towards the perpetrators of particularly gruesome and inhuman crimes.

That's alright then in a way, I guess.

On the other hand given statements like this: "Now, the government has pledged to make broader use of the death penalty, as it struggles to put down an insurgency that has taken more than 600 lives in the past month." suggest to me that it's not just the child-killers and kidnappers who will be subject to death - but rather those engaged in the insurgency - or that might be. You can be guaranteed that plans are underway to televise the hangings [hello Orwell again] - perhaps serving to enhance even further the already massive rating of 'Terror in the Grip of Justice' which appears on the US funded Al-Iraqiya TV.

What with the activities of the 'death squads' and now 'judicial' death running in parallel, this dirty war just got dirtier.

Ronald D Sugar - Living in the 'crumple zone'

Ronald D Sugar - Chairman, CEO and President Northrop Grumman Corporation: "Some people ask why we would need the multiple systems of a layered missile defense. To offer a more familiar analogy, it's like designing a modern automobile to really ensure passenger safety. A safe, modern automobile has a front bumper, it has a crumple zone to absorb frontal impact, it has seat belts and finally it has multiple airbags."

DB: We are all in the crumple zone. Go to Northrop Grumman for more evidence that it is the war on drugs and not the one of terror that needs our support.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Northrop Grumman - selling death, and UK ID/IT services

Northrop Grumman [NOC] want to help George Bush conquer the world - land, air, sea and space. They also want to sell the UK government IT services utilising "capabilities originated in the Department of Defense and the intelligence community". They seem to be achieving their goals (see below). As Blair once more attempts to push his unpleasant, unbritish ID card legislation through ('papers please!') parliament, you've got to ask yourself - do we want these people's hands on our data? It may be a safer option to just sell your own ID on the street to the highest bidder - and at least make some money.

Bush links

No other arms manufacturer boasts as many insider connections as Northrop Grumman (see Right Web connections) - one of the top Defense Department contractors - which manufactures the B-2 bomber and the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, and serves as a subcontractor on various jet fighter (the Joint Strike Fighter and the F-18), satellite system, nuclear submarine, and aircraft carrier programs.

The CEO is crazy

February 15, 2005 - Ronald D. Sugar Chairman, CEO and President Northrop Grumman Corporation - Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington

"The ultimate goal is to deter bad behavior on the part of those who would harm us... It can help influence the decisions of our potential adversaries and shape them in the right direction. - Let me give you three examples:

First, on offense, a more potent long-range precision-strike capability. Such a system could be based on a future combination of unmanned bombers and hypersonic suborbital vehicles. A second deterrent, this one on defense, will come from a layered missile-defense system with a high probability of stopping ballistic missiles. Key to this layered system would be the deployment of the boost-phase kinetic energy interceptor. Such a system will greatly reduce the incentive for rogue nations to invest in such a destabilizing ballistic missile technology in the first place. And third, a combined offense and defense approach, which would be an employment of both interceptors and offensive missiles, supported by space-based and ground-based sensors enabling us to rapidly counter-strike in the event of an attack. Such a system would make deterrence even more robust and complete.

A weakened U.S. presence around the globe invites adventurism and aggression. It excites the fevered dreams of despots and alters the calculus of power to the detriment of peace. We have seen time and again over the last century that credible American power is the necessary pre-condition for international stability. To be credible, that power must be global in reach. And it must provide superiority in all domains - on land, in the air, in space and on the seas.

......Space, it is often said, is the ultimate high ground. If we don't control it, if we don't defend it, we will be challenged there."

Their snout in our 'IT' trough

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - JAMES R. O'NEILL - Corporate Vice President and President - Northrop Grumman Information Technology:

"Our key programs today are e-911 systems. We run it in 25 states, four provinces in Canada and two countries in Europe. In addition, we recently won the U.K. IDENT system, which is an identification system; if you will, a national identity card for the United Kingdom as well as Scotland and Wales. In Texas, managed IT services - we are very large in the state of Texas. [ thats your cars stupid]

..Our international business is growing dramatically. We've won lots of contracts, especially in the United Kingdom over the last year. Our latest is IDENT, which will afford us the opportunity, as the IDENT owner, to bid these other four programs. The National Police Intelligence capability - and these are all U.K.; e-Borders - so we believe by having the IDENT system, it positions us well to bid these international large IT infrastructure, bringing out what Northrop Grumman does best. A lot of our heritage and programs that we have today, much of the capabilities originated in the Department of Defense and the intelligence community so we're bringing the best of the capabilities in these particular regions to state and local, and in this case, to foreign countries." [DB emphasis]

Outsource to China

Ethically, there is obviously no problem with the government doing IT business, using taxpayers money, with companies like Northrop. OK then - we may just as well outsource the thing to China. They have kept their citizens tracked and checked and scanned and approved/disapproved for longer than anyone else. Their programmers could write the code cheaper than the annual expense account of one Northrup sales exec. I think I read somewhere that China executes around 5000 of its citizens a year (sorry China if I am off a little on the numbers) which, whilst plainly excessive, does not of itself exclude the option of getting a quote in. Because it will be no worse than doing business with the madmen at NOC.

read The CEO is crazy in full
read Their snout in our IT trough in full

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dozens Have Alleged Koran's Mishandling

latimes: ..Some of the alleged incidents appear to have been inadvertent or to have resulted from U.S. personnel's lack of understanding about how sensitive Muslim detainees might be to mishandling of the Koran. In several cases, for instance, copies were allegedly knocked about during scuffles with prisoners who refused to leave their cells.

In other cases, the allegations seemed to describe instances of deliberate disrespect.

"They tore it and threw it on the floor," former detainee Mohammed Mazouz said of guards at Guantanamo Bay. "They urinated on it. They walked on top of the Koran. They used the Koran like a carpet."

"We told them not to do it. We begged. And then they did it some more," said Mazouz, a Moroccan who was seized in Pakistan soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Recently released, he described the alleged incidents in a telephone interview from his home in Marrakech. Read more

Monday, May 23, 2005

Three months for beating a prisoner to death

Informationclearinghouse [AP]: A military policeman has been sentenced to three months in prison after pleading guilty to assault and two counts of making a false statement in the 2002 beating to death of a prisoner in Afghanistan.

In a plea bargain, Army prosecutors agreed not to pursue a charge of maltreatment against Spc. Brian E. Cammack. Cammack also agreed to testify in other cases related to the deaths of two inmates at the Bagram Control Point.

Cammack was sentenced Friday during a court-martial at Fort Bliss. He will be demoted to private, fined more than $3,200 and given a bad-conduct discharge.

"I have come to realize what I did was wrong," Cammack said. Read more

DB: Sentences like this - representing the rule not the exception - expose just how RACIST in nature Bush's Wars really are. Like the Geek before him, the Raghead is a worthless sack of shit - and that's official. These sentences are so utterly laughable, no one is even PRETENDING to dispense justice.

Why are the sentences so short? Because they're imposed by racists and because there is a lot more guilt out there - at the highest levels (Donald) - than anyone wants to admit. If justice were ever permitted to get her teeth into the situation it might mean that not only were senior military figures held accountable, but senior lawmakers too. The flack that they face from a couple of items in the NYT or Guardian concerning light sentencing is nothing on what they would face if found to be guilty of promoting torture themselves. To impose heavy sentences on their own instruments of torture and murder would be counterproductive, and would only serve to encourage those who would also bring the politicians and the generals to account. Its called a conspiracy. They are looking after their guys.

Bush's Dangerous Wishful Thinking In Iraq, George W. Bush has demonstrated an old truism of geopolitics – wishful thinking mixed with bellicose rhetoric makes for a deadly cocktail, as it certainly has for tens of thousands of Iraqis and more than 1,600 U.S. soldiers. The question now is: can the U.S. political system wean itself from an addiction to this poisonous brew of swagger and delusion?

So far, the Bush administration shows no sign of getting on the wagon and looking at the facts with a clear eye. Instead, it's still talking tough and demanding that everyone concentrate on the few glimmers of progress amid the death and destruction.

"We don't have an exit strategy" Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld boasted during a trip to Iraq on April 12. "We have a victory strategy." Read more

DB: Victory for the US in Iraq is highly unlikely; unless it was always the aim of the US to broker a rapprochement between Iraq and Iran, or become a recruiting vehicle for al Qaeda, or to lose its 'leader of the free world' status. The US is now a leader in lawlessness and abuse (challenged only, perhaps, by China) - evidence available everywhere - and rather than extinguish these damaging flames, the US continues to conspire and pervert the truth with the aim of maintaining its strategy and avoiding accountability - beyond the prosecution of the occasional 'grunt'.

I would guess that for Donald Rumsfeld victory might mean staying out of prison as a convicted war criminal. If that's so, victory may end up being his - but not America's.

Seymour Hersh: The 10 inquiries into prisoner abuse have let Bush and Co off the hook

Guardian: It's been over a year since I published a series of articles in the New Yorker outlining the abuses at Abu Ghraib. There have been at least 10 official military investigations since then - none of which has challenged the official Bush administration line that there was no high-level policy condoning or overlooking such abuse. The buck always stops with the handful of enlisted army reservists from the 372nd Military Police Company whose images fill the iconic Abu Ghraib photos with their inappropriate smiles and sadistic posing of the prisoners.

It's a dreary pattern. The reports and the subsequent Senate proceedings are sometimes criticised on editorial pages. There are calls for a truly independent investigation by the Senate or House. Then, as months pass with no official action, the issue withers away, until the next set of revelations revives it. Read more

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Iran Policy Committee: Pentagon Mouthpiece, MEK Supporter

Cryptome: The Iran Policy Committee (IPC) has a website up and running at The IPC made the news in February of 2005 when it released a report titled "US Options for Iran.[pdf]" In that report, the IPC recommended that a terrorist group known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) be removed from the US government's hit list ( The authors of the IPC report equate the terrorist MEK with the African National Congress that fought long and hard against the despicable all-white South African regime and its US supporters so many years ago. Of course, the implication here is that the MEK will somehow produce a Nelson Mandela, or at least is on the same playing field as Mandela's group was.

Those two wacky thoughts should be enough to dismiss the eleven IPC principals, their mission and their clumsy report as nonsense. But here inside the Washington, DC Beltway, it's never wise to dismiss ignorance - until performing background checks on the individuals and their affiliations. The record shows that the IPC operates in very close proximity to the US intelligence community, has the support of 150 members in the US Congress, and is linked to individuals/groups who successfully lied and led the US into another Vietnam-like war, and whose primary purpose is the creation of a US empire that controls the world's resources and protects a greater Israel. Crazy is selling these days and the loonies are in charge.

The IPC is supported by the neocon all-stars that we've come to know and love such as Doug Feith, Frank Gaffney, Mike Leeden, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, et al. But these first benchers are running out of political muscle as their war in Iraq continues to drain the resources of the American people on all political, economic and military fronts. What's worse, perhaps, is their "with us or against us" mentality that has caused new political and economic alliances to form (example: South America-China-Iran) and that has accelerated both conventional and nuclear arms races. Having failed on so many fronts, they recognize that to get the US into Iran, some new faces are needed and that's where the IPC back benchers are critical to the forthcoming anti-Iranian/Persian propaganda operations. Read more

[DB] Jack Straw speaking in the House of Commons on March 1st 2005 said "The MEK is a proscribed organisation; indeed, as Home Secretary I proscribed it in the first batch of proscriptions following the Terrorism Act 2000. There are changes in the position of MEK and I should be happy to brief the hon. Gentleman in detail about that. There has been more co-operation, as I think he may have been informed, between the coalition forces in Iraq and the Government of Iran in respect of MEK, which is a nasty terrorist organisation that has to be contained".

Report implicates top brass in Bagram scandal

Guardian: A leaked report on a military investigation into two killings of detainees at a US prison in Afghanistan has produced new evidence of connivance of senior officers in systematic prisoner abuse.

The investigation shows the military intelligence officers in charge of the detention centre at Bagram airport were redeployed to Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003, while still under investigation for the deaths of two detainees months earlier. Despite military prosecutors' recommendations, the officers involved have yet to be charged.

The Bagram case also suggests that some of the prison guards were given little if any training in handling detainees, and were influenced by a White House directive that "terrorist" suspects did not deserve the rights given to prisoners of war under the Geneva convention.

The prosecution dossier from the army's investigation into Bagram, leaked to the New York Times, deals with the deaths of detainees Dilawar and Habibullah (both, as is common for Afghans, taking a single name).

Dilawar was a taxi driver who appears to have driven past a US military base soon after a rocket attack. Habibullah was handed over to the US by an Afghan warlord, and was identified as the brother of a Taliban commander. Both men were seized in late 2002, interrogated, beaten and killed in a hangar used for holding detainees who were being vetted for dispatch to Guantánamo Bay.

The two were chained to the ceilings of their cells for days at a time and beaten on the legs. They had been subjected to a blow known as the "common peroneal strike", aimed at a point just below the knee and intended to disable. Coroners in the Habibullah case said his legs "had basically been pulpified" and looked as though they had been run over by a bus. Read more

Scott Ritter: In the belly of the beast

Guardian: In the recent parliamentary elections, the British people, given the choice between standing for the rule of law or embracing partisan politics, chose the latter, voting with their pocketbooks, even though it meant re-electing a man who led Britain into an illegal war of aggression, based on lies and misrepresentation of fact.

Tony Blair is a man who has shown himself more subservient to an American president with empire in his eyes than to a British tradition of respect for the rule of law that dates back to the Magna Carta. There is at least one politician, however, that the citizens of Britain can today be proud of, regardless of how one views his politics. This is a man who, back in 2002, had the courage to stand up to Blair and George Bush, calling Blair a liar and declaring that both were behaving like "wolves" towards Iraq. For speaking the truth, he was castigated, thrown out of the Labour party and smeared with false allegations of corruption - at the same time as the US government hid its role in enriching Saddam Hussein's government with illegal kickbacks. He has now charged back, winning a parliamentary seat previously controlled by the very party that evicted him.

And now the same man has done something that no other British politician has been brave enough to do: cross the Atlantic and confront the United States over the lies spread about the reasons for war with Iraq, the oil for food agreement and the failure of US lawmakers to do their own job when it comes to the rule of law. Read more

Friday, May 20, 2005

How the Sun may have got its photographs of Saddam

...."I want him in his fuc*ing pants!" Rupert snarled as he set out his terms. Tony knew it wouldn't be easy, but with the help of Scarlet and the Americans he might just be able to pull it off. "don't mention this to Cherry" said Tony sheepishly "and there's no chance of you getting them until after the election".

As his driver pulled up to the Kerb Rupert poked a finger deep into Tony's chest, causing him to wince in pain, and through gritted teeth spat the words "if you mess with me I will fuc*ing kill you........... don't mess with me". Tony grinned nervously "alright Rupert, keep your hair on".

As Tony walked back to Downing Street he placed a call to Alistair Campbell "Alright mate, howd'it go?" said Alastair "Brilliant" said Tony "what did you 'ave to give 'im?" "Just some pictures of Saddam on his knees" said Tony "is that bloody all?" "Yea" said Tony "Magic" said Alastair "you're a little fuc*ing miracle worker" "thanks" said Tony.

Iraq: Terror TV It's the sinister TV show that's got all of Iraq engrossed. But is parading insurgents on tv and forcing them to confess really the right way to restore confidence in the new government? 'Terrorists in the Hands of Justice' airs six times a week on prime time tv. "It's like a police-detective show," raves one viewer. But humiliating and degrading the mostly Sunni suspects on national tv is increasing ethnic tensions in Iraq. There are allegations it has prompted revenge attacks and that the interrogations are staged. And the fate of most of the alleged insurgents who appear on the show remains unknown. Link

Realplayer movieclip [14 min 35 sec]


[DB] Itend to see the ghost of George Orwell everywhere these days. Certainly in the story above.... Quote from 1984: In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out 'Swine! Swine! Swine!' and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

'Eco-warriors' to confront space based terror? Lets hope so!

BBCNews: Eco-terrorism has become a serious US domestic security threat, a senior FBI official has told a Senate committee.

Counter-terrorism expert John Lewis said groups like the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front were now a law enforcement priority.

The threat posed by environmental and animal rights activists was serious and widely underestimated, he said.

He said eco-warriors committed 1,200 criminal acts between 1990 and 2004 causing millions of dollars of damage. Read more of this

DB: 1,200 criminal acts between 1990 and 2004? Is he serious? That is less than 100 so-called criminal events per year, which begs the question - where are the "Eco-warriors" and isn't it time they started to get it on? (oops, was that a BAD thing to say that will bring the forces of law and order down upon my head? Probably not, I don't think we have descended quite that far in the UK, yet)

I do indeed expect to see, hopefully, an increase in militant 'Eco-warrior' style activity in the coming years, starting relatively soon. It is not that I am in touch with any 'Eco-warrior' sleeper-cells (but how do I know for sure?) but more that the path down which the current US administration is sleepwalking demands it. Bush's policies are set to do for Eco-warriorism the same favor that they did for Al-Qaeda - generate a recruitment bonanza.

The latest developments relating to space based weapons - more precisely the public request from the US Air Force to Bush for permission to begin deployment - illustrates clearly that this particular US administration has zero regard for the planet/universe and has become not only the US's but the worlds most alarming security threat. The desire to Zap Earth with space based lasers and nukes (this is not fiction) is surely ample evidence that the beast known by the name Military-Industrial Complex is spinning out of control at an increasing velocity. Already billions of US taxpayer dollars have been spent on the technology - the project has a massive amount of momentum. Without mass protest - not excluding action by so called Eco-warriors - the real terrorists will soon have their way. If this happens, the world will be pushed a step nearer a catastrophe the scale of which cannot be overestimated.

The US administration understands that certain policy decisions it has made in the past, and continues to make, will sooner or later cause a domestic reaction, be it violent or not. They are preparing for that reaction. The Patriot Acts (and potentialyPrevention of Terrorism Act in the UK) will be used to suppress it, and in order to do so it is necessary for the Bush administration to begin the process of domestic conditioning along the lines illustrated in the BBC item above.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Michael T Klare: Energizing New Wars

Asiatimes: From Washington to New Delhi, Caracas to Moscow and Beijing, national leaders and corporate executives are stepping up their efforts to gain control over major sources of oil and natural gas as the global struggle for energy intensifies. Never has the competitive pursuit of untapped oil and gas reserves been so acute, and never has so much money as well as diplomatic and military muscle been deployed in the contest to win control over major foreign stockpiles of energy. To an unprecedented degree, a government's success or failure in these endeavors is being treated as headline news, and provoking public outcry when a rival power is seen as benefiting unfairly from a particular transaction. With the officials of numerous governments coming under mounting pressure to satisfy the needs of their individual countries - at whatever cost - the battle for energy can only become more inflamed in the years ahead. Read more

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

US troops fire on Afghan students killing two

Guardian: Afghan police and U.S. troops opened fire to control hundreds of rioting students Wednesday angered at alleged abuse of the Quran at the U.S. jail in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, killing two protesters and injuring 40, officials said.

The shooting occurred in the eastern city of Jalalabad, where demonstrators smashed the windows of cars and shops and threw stones at a passing convoy of American soldiers. Mobs also broke into U.N. compounds and burned two cars. No U.N. staff were reported hurt.

"They are very angry and are spread over all over the city,"' intelligence chief Sardar Shah told The Associated Press. "There are police, army and Americans shooting into the air. ... We've tried to get control but I think it is impossible.''

At one point, officials said students chanting "Death to America"' and "Death to Bush"' threw stones at a group of American military vehicles. U.S. troops had fired into the air before quickly leaving the area, he said. Read more

Fisk: America's shame, two years on from 'Mission Accomplished'

Theindependent: Two years after "Mission Accomplished", whatever moral stature the United States could claim at the end of its invasion of Iraq has long ago been squandered in the torture and abuse and deaths at Abu Ghraib. That the symbol of Saddam Hussein's brutality should have been turned by his own enemies into the symbol of their own brutality is a singularly ironic epitaph for the whole Iraq adventure. We have all been contaminated by the cruelty of the interrogators and the guards and prison commanders.

But this is not only about Abu Ghraib. There are clear and proven connections now between the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the cruelty at the Americans' Bagram prison in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Curiously, General Janis Karpinski, the only senior US officer facing charges over Abu Ghraib, admitted to me a year earlier when I visited the prison that she had been at Guantanamo Bay, but that at Abu Ghraib she was not permitted to attend interrogations - which seems very odd.

A vast quantity of evidence has now been built up on the system which the Americans have created for mistreating and torturing prisoners. I have interviewed a Palestinian who gave me compelling evidence of anal rape with wooden poles at Bagram - by Americans, not by Afghans.

Many of the stories now coming out of Guantanamo - the sexual humiliation of Muslim prisoners, their shackling to seats in which they defecate and urinate, the use of pornography to make Muslim prisoners feel impure, the female interrogators who wear little clothing (or, in one case, pretended to smear menstrual blood on a prisoner's face) - are increasingly proved true. Iraqis whom I have questioned at great length over many hours, speak with candour of terrifying beatings from military and civilian interrogators, not just in Abu Ghraib but in US bases elsewhere in Iraq.

At the American camp outside Fallujah, prisoners are beaten with full plastic water bottles which break, cutting the skin. At Abu Ghraib, prison dogs have been used to frighten and to bite prisoners.

How did this culture of filth start in America's "war on terror"? The institutionalised injustice which we have witnessed across the world, the vile American "renditions" in which prisoners are freighted to countries where they can be roasted, electrified or, in Uzbekistan, cooked alive in fat? As Bob Herbert wrote in The New York Times, what seemed mind-boggling when the first pictures emerged from Abu Ghraib is now routine, typical of the abuse that has "permeated the Bush administration's operations".

Amnesty, in a chilling 200-page document in October, traced the permeation of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's memos into the prisoner interrogation system and the weasel-worded authorisation of torture. In August [2003], for example, only a few months after Bush spoke under the "Mission Accomplished" banner, a Pentagon report stated that "in order to respect the President's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign, [the US law prohibiting torture] must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority." What does that mean other than permission from Bush to torture?

A 2004 Pentagon report uses words designed to allow interrogators to use cruelty without fear of court actions: "Even if the defendant knows that severe pain will result from his actions, if causing such harm is not his objective, he lacks the requisite specific intent [to be guilty of torture] even though the defendant did not act in good faith."

The man who directly institutionalised cruel sessions of interrogation in Abu Ghraib was Major-General Geoffrey Miller, the Guantanamo commander who flew to Abu Ghraib to "Gitmo-ize the confinement operation" there. There followed the increased use of painful shackling and the frequent forcible stripping of prisoners. Maj-Gen Miller's report following his visit in 2003 spoke of the need for a detention guard force at Abu Ghraib that "sets the conditions for the successful interrogation and exploitation of the internees/detainees". According to Gen Karpinski, Maj-Gen Miller said the prisoners "are like dogs, and if you allow them to believe they're more than a dog, then you've lost control of them".

The trail of prisons that now lies across Iraq is a shameful symbol not only of our cruelty but of our failure to create the circumstances in which a new Iraq might take shape. You may hold elections and create a government, but when this military sickness is allowed to spread, the whole purpose of democracy is overturned. The "new" Iraq will learn from these interrogation centres how they should treat prisoners and, inevitably, the "new" Iraqis will take over Abu Ghraib and return it to the status it had under Saddam and the whole purpose of the invasion (or at least the official version) will be lost.

With an insurgency growing ever more vicious and uncontrollable, the emptiness of Mr Bush's silly boast is plain. The real mission, it seems, was to institutionalise the cruelty of Western armies, staining us forever with the depravity of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bagram - not to mention the secret prisons which even the Red Cross cannot visit and wherein who knows what vileness is conducted. What, I wonder, is our next "mission"?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bush fights them on the beaches of Latvia for freedum

latimes: [Bush in Latvia] - "From the vantage point of this new century, we recognize the end of the Cold War as part of an even broader movement in our world. From Germany and Japan after World War II, to Latin America, to Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe, and now to the broader Middle East, the advance of freedom is the great story of our age," he said. Read more

[DB] I disagree. The great story of our age is is how a clique of dangerous nationalists, militarists and sociopaths gained control of US foreign policy.

Hitler's old soldiers - instead of parades, secret meetings

DW-WORLD.DE: - ..The two retirees [Wolfgang Gribkowski 79, Friedrich Paarmann 79] went to public institutions and Hamburg government agencies, asking for funding for the simple granite stone, with a bronze inscription. They were rejected at every turn.

"They thought we wanted to romanticize the war," said Paarmann, 79, who still lives in the city small town outside of Hamburg where he was raised. "We just wanted to remember our friends."

No one could blame Paarmann and Gribkowski, also 79, for wanting to set a public remembrance for the battle at Seelow Heights in March 1945, in which close to 50,000 soldiers died. But the two were Wehrmacht soldiers, charged with the suicide mission of holding the coming Belorussian Front before it descended on Nazi Berlin. They fought for Hitler, something that left not only battle scars but forever changed the way they were allowed to remember those battles. Read more

[DB] When a nation finally awakes and turns in disgust from illegitimate acts of war perpetrated in it's name, yesterday's heroes become uncomfortable reminders of previous illusions and sins. This is not unique to post ww2 Germany and calls into question the fake abstractions of glory, honor etc that Chris Hedges speaks of - "The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with stories of courage and comradeship..."

Bush's worldwide push for freedum [aka markets, resources and strategic advantage] is founded on the same 'mythic war narrative'.

Monday, May 09, 2005

''Washington Loses Control of the O.A.S.''

PINR: With the election on May 2 of Chile's former interior minister Jose Miguel Insulza to the post of secretary general of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.), that alliance will, for the first time since its founding in 1948, have a chief executive who is not the preferred choice of the United States.

The O.A.S., which groups all of the independent states in the western hemisphere - except Cuba - into a loose strategic and economic bloc, has since its inception and until recently functioned as an instrument of Washington's global geostrategies under the general principles of the Monroe Doctrine that exclude extra-hemispheric attempts to control the political systems of states in the region. As the Monroe Doctrine has evolved in response to changing global power configurations, it has come to include the aims of establishing regimes favorable to Washington - preferably, market democracies - throughout the hemisphere and isolating regimes that do not conform to that requisite.

Washington's control of the O.A.S. is most starkly illustrated by the ease with which it got the alliance to expel Fidel Castro's Communist regime in Cuba in 1962 and its ability to foreclose the possibility of sanctioning right-wing dictatorships favorable to Washington's perceived interests in Argentina, Brazil and Chile during the 1970s and 1980s. Although the installation of market democracies is Washington's best-case scenario, it has been willing to embrace authoritarian regimes when it perceives that they are fending off political forces that would establish alternatives to capitalism and cultivate the support of powers outside the hemisphere for their experiments. Even recently, after the adoption in 2001 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which commits O.A.S. members to honoring democratic processes, Washington briefly backed an unsuccessful coup attempt in 2002 against Venezuela's quasi-socialist regime led by President Hugo Chavez.

Washington's hold on the O.A.S. began to falter after its support of the anti-Chavez coup. In 2003, the alliance's General Assembly refused to seat Washington's candidate Rafael E. Martinez on the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, leaving the Commission without a member from the United States for the first time in its history. Even more severe resistance to Washington's desires came in 2004 when an O.A.S. observer mission refused to condemn the vote in a referendum to recall Chavez, which he won by a comfortable margin. Read more

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Execution of wounded Iraqi - expect a brutal response in the absence of justice

ReutersAlertnet: Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq vowed on Friday to avenge the fatal shooting of a wounded unarmed Iraqi in a Falluja mosque by a U.S. Marine last year, after he was cleared by the Marine Corps, according to an Internet posting. "O nation of Islam, do not be surprised (by the ruling to clear the Marine) ... as they are crusaders and Jews who have declared war on Islam and Muslims," said a statement from Al Qaeda Organisation for Holy War in Iraq on an Islamist Web site.

"We are determined to avenge our brother and we shall not let off or rest until God's law rules the land," said the posting from the group, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Its authenticity could not be verified.

After a five-month investigation, the Marine Corps said it determined that the Marine corporal fired in self-defence and would not face a court martial for the shooting in November, shown in blurry images on a widely aired videotape.

The Iraqi was one of five wounded left in the mosque after the Marines fought their way into the formerly rebel-held city of Falluja.

The group led by Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks against U.S. troops and the Iraqi government.

DB: When the US marine (see below) pulled his trigger to execute this wounded, unarmed Iraqi resistance fighter - inside a mosque - two things were easy for anyone to predict; the marine would 'get off' with it, but inevitably a price would be paid in blood - the blood of innocent Iraqis (who no doubt will get caught up in the revenge attack) and the blood of 'coalition' forces who played no part in the original crime. Why the US military cannot comprehend this basic law of cause and effect I do not understand. Maybe they do, but just don't care.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Venezuela Urges the US Congress to Reject Terrorism

Presnalatina: The Venezuelan press is circulating a document issued by the Venezuelan Supreme Court demanding the extradition of Posada Carriles, who had requested political asylum in the US territory.

Venezuela reiterated its condemnation to the decision of ex Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso to protect the terrorist with a presidential pardon, violating the extradition agreements signed between Panama and Venezuela.

Caracas also requested Washington to report about the situation of Posada Carriles in its territory and immediately carries out its extradition.

The government of President Hugo Chavez encourages - at the same time - the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations and the International Community to join efforts to achieve the arrest and extradite of one of the most dangerous terrorists known in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Venezuelan congress presented evidences to request the extradition of Posada Carriles such as ordering the bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner that killed all 73 passengers and organizing a bombing campaign that targeted tourist hotels in Cuba in which Fabio di Celmo, a visitor from Italy, was killed in one of the explosions.

see Venezuelan Torture Victim Denounces Posada Carriles

DB: George W. Bush has made it clear that he makes "no distinction between those who harbour terrorists and the terrorists themselves" - it looks like it's time to carpet-bomb Florida.

Blair May Have Tough Time as Ally on Iraq

Yahoo-AP: Tony Blair paid at the polls for his friendship with George W. Bush and his backing of the Iraq war. Now he may have trouble playing the role of faithful U.S. ally [db-puppy] on any future military mission.

The prime minister was able to drag Britain into war despite resistance among the public and even within his own Labour Party largely because his huge majority of 161 seats in Parliament gave him a broad mandate to dictate foreign policy.

He will probably no longer be able to swim against the tide of public opinion with his new majority of just 66 following Thursday's election.

Blair said he heard the voters' message."I have listened and I have learned," he said Friday. "I know that Iraq has been a deeply divisive issue in this country. That has been very, very clear. But I also know and believe that after this election people want to move on."

Emblematic of how domestic concerns may now start limiting the prime minister internationally, the Kremlin said Blair decided Friday to skip one of the most high-profile international gatherings of the year: Victory in Europe commemorations Monday in Moscow.

The reason he gave Russian President Vladimir Putin was that he would be too busy forming a new Cabinet - itself an indication that policy changes also may be afoot.

While the parliamentary cushion of 66 seats may be enough to push through reforms on social and economic policy, Blair faces anti-war factions in his party that would now almost certainly have the numbers to block any attempt to follow any new military initiative by President Bush.

"One of the conclusions of this is that he certainly does not have a mandate to launch another war along with George Bush," said Robin Cook, who resigned as foreign secretary to protest the Iraq invasion. Read more

Michael Meacher: Now for an even newer world order

Newstatesman: A new power configuration across the world is being silently fashioned to counter, or at least limit, American supremacy. The newly elected British government will need to refashion its approach to the US to take account of this highly significant shift in international power relations.

A doctrine for US power was shaped at the outset of this Bush presidency by the Project for the New American Century. The plan called for unprecedented hikes in military spending, the spreading of American bases in central Asia and the Middle East, the toppling of recalcitrant regimes, the militarisation of outer space, the abrogation of international treaties, a willingness to use nuclear weapons, and control of the world's energy resources.

The goal, it was made quite clear, was "full-spectrum domi-nance". The think-tank's document was explicit: Iran was "perhaps a far greater threat" to US oil hegemony than Iraq, and other nations, including Russia and China, had to be brought to heel - by military means or economic dominance, by conquest, alliance, or silent acquiescence - and forcibly prevented from "challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role". The Bush administration has never deviated from this blueprint. Now it faces a concerted challenge.

In the struggle for global dominance, oil is the central currency. Its indispensability for industry, agriculture, transport and military capability, along with the near-certainty that oil production will peak around 2010-2015, is refashioning conventional power rivalries. A new regional and superpower coalition of China, Russia, India and Brazil is emerging, and attracting the close interest of major oil producers, such as Iran and Venezuela, as a counterweight to American power. The coalition already covers 75 per cent of the world's population and 80 per cent of its natural resources. Iran also looks poised to join, after its recent $200bn energy deal with China, while Venezuela under Hugo Chavez may turn out, even more than Iran, to be the next centre of confrontation for oil supremacy. Venezuela, the biggest Opec producer outside the Gulf, and a major supplier to the US in the past, is offering to help China build a strategic oil reserve. Read more

Friday, May 06, 2005

Hitler's Drugged Soldiers

Spiegelonline: The Nazis preached abstinence in the name of promoting national health. But when it came to fighting their Blitzkrieg, they had no qualms about pumping their soldiers full of drugs and alcohol. Speed was the drug of choice, but many others became addicted to morphine and alcohol. Link

US killer of wounded Iraqi in mosque 'broke no rules'

Guardian: A US marine who caused an international furore when he was filmed shooting dead a wounded and unarmed Iraqi will not face a court martial after the military authorities determined he had not broken any rules, it emerged yesterday.

The news is likely to inflame the insurgency in Iraq, which continued yesterday with a wave of bombings and ambushes in Baghdad that left at least 24 people dead and wounded scores more.

Videotape of the Falluja episode, which showed the marine storming a mosque in the city and shooting dead an Iraqi lying on the floor, caused widespread horror when it was broadcast around the world last November.

The scene was filmed by an NBC journalist embedded with US forces in Falluja, and is accompanied by audio of a marine screaming at his comrades that the Iraqi was pretending to be dead. Then a gunshot is heard, and a marine is heard to say: "Now he is."

After it was broadcast, the marine corporal was disarmed and sent to the US to await an investigation.

However, Major General Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division, said the marine corporal had acted according to the rules of engagement, and that it was a common tactic of insurgents to lure US troops by faking injury or death.

"He has determined that the actions of the marine in question were consistent with the established rules of engagement, the law of armed conflict and the marine's inherent right of self-defence," a statement on the US marine corps website said yesterday.

Autopsy results and ballistic tests revealed that three Iraqis were killed by gunshots fired from the marine's M-16 on that day. "The corporal reasonably believed that they posed a hostile threat to him and his fellow marines," the statement from the marine corps said. Link

DB: "Gentlemen, I must ask you to steel yourselves against all considerations of compassion. We must destroy the Jews [Muslims] wherever we find them, and wherever it is at all possible, in order to maintain the whole structure of the Reich...." Joseph Goebbels

Bush is not Hitler, the Neocons are not Nazis. That said, the Americans are pursuing their objectives without mercy or compassion - as a matter of policy. Time and time again the US military, with the blessing of the Bush administration, has made it clear that 'anything goes' in Iraq - they view Iraqis (certainly those who oppose them) as a subhuman species.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

U.S. Officials Suspected of Embezzlement in Iraq

latimes: The U.S. government has opened a criminal inquiry into suspected embezzlement by officials who failed to account for almost $100 million they disbursed for Iraqi reconstruction projects, federal investigators said Wednesday.

Auditors have been unable to fully document how the money was allocated to Iraqi workers by a small group of officials working from a U.S. outpost in Hillah, according to an audit report released Wednesday by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

[..]The case is the first time U.S. government officials have been investigated for a suspected major corruption scheme involving the Iraq reconstruction

[..]In one case, two U.S. officials left Iraq after completing their tours of duty without accounting for a total of $1.5 million. The manager of the cash funds zeroed out the balance on a spreadsheet - an apparent attempt "to remove outstanding balances by simply washing accounts," the audit report says. The officials, like all others in the audit, were not named.

In another case, the U.S. on May 30 ordered the removal of the official in charge of the overall cash program, but he remained in the job until June 20. When told he had failed to account for $1,878,870, the official returned exactly that sum three days later - leading to suspicions that he had "a reserve of cash and turned in only the amount" needed to complete the clearance process, the report says. Link

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

48 hours to go: Iraq, the issue that won't go away

Theindependent: Tony Blair's hopes of keeping Iraq off the election agenda were dashed yesterday by the killing of the 50th British soldier in hostile action since the conflict began two years ago, renewed violence on the streets and accusations from the brother of the murdered British hostage Ken Bigley.

Writing in The Independent Paul Bigley claims Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, privately urged him to issue a public apology to Mr Blair to avoid criticism of the Government damaging the Prime Minister's bid for a third election victory.

Mr Straw, who was accompanied by a private secretary when the alleged conversation took place, denied last night that he had raised the election issue with Mr Bigley. But Mr Bigley insisted that he had a "vivid recollection" of the conversation, which he says took place after a memorial service for his brother in Liverpool last October.

Mr Bigley said he was backing Reg Keys, whose son died in Iraq, in his stand against Mr Blair in his Sedgefield constituency.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed yesterday that Anthony John Wakefield, 24, of the Coldstream Guards, died after being hit by shrapnel while on patrol near the southern town of Amarah at about midnight Iraqi time (9pm BST) on Sunday. Guardsman Wakefield, from Newcastle upon Tyne, who was married and had three children, is the first British soldier to die in hostile action in Iraq this year. His death takes to 50 the number of UK service personnel killed by hostile action since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the 87th fatality of the overall British military operation.

Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Williams, commanding officer of 1st Battalion the Staffordshire Regiment, which is serving alongside the Coldstream Guards, said Guardsman Wakefield was acting as the "top cover sentry in the second of a two-vehicle patrol" at the time of the blast. Colonel Williams said: "What appears to have been an improvised explosive device detonated ­ disabling the vehicle and injuring another soldier."

Mr Blair was at a campaign press conference when he was passed a note by his special adviser, Hillary Coffman, informing him of the soldier's death.

Anthony Wakefield's wife, Ann Toward, last night added to the pressure by blaming the Prime Minister for his death. Link to full

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Draft U.S. paper allows commanders to seek preemptive nuke strikes

Kyodonews: The U.S. military plans to allow regional combatant commanders to request the president for approval to carry out preemptive nuclear strikes against possible attacks on the United States or its allies with weapons of mass destruction, according to a draft new nuclear operations paper.

The paper, drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, also revealed that submarines which make port calls in Yokosuka, Sasebo and Okinawa in Japan are prepared for reloading nuclear warheads if necessary to deal with a crisis.

The March 15 draft paper, a copy of which was made available, is titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" providing "guidelines for the joint employment of forces in nuclear operations...for the employment of U.S. nuclear forces, command and control relationships, and weapons effect considerations."

"There are numerous nonstate organizations (terrorist, criminal) and about 30 nations with WMD programs, including many regional states," the paper says in allowing combatant commanders in the Pacific and other theaters to maintain an option of preemptive strikes against "rogue" states and terrorists and "request presidential approval for use of nuclear weapons" under set conditions.

The paper identifies nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as requiring preemptive strikes to prevent their use. Link