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

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush: "Every picture is horrifying - and the suffering is real"

DB: Bush clearly failed last night to demonstrate that either he or his advisors have any hope at all of getting to grips with the unraveling situation in Iraq. Freedom, OBL, 9/11, Terrorism, Sacrifice, Democracy and more freedom. 'They' are evil terrorist killers - the same ones who took down the twin towers - 'we' are a great nation fighting for the right
of every man - within reason - to be free (this commitment is not absolute and USA reserves the right to deny freedom, terrorise and torture wherever it is felt that the national interest is served).

We are selflessly trying to bring about a better world - and the cost is the sacrifice of our young - which is "worth it". The sacrifice of Iraqis did not figure as prominently.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Michael T Klare: The Saudi oil bombshell

Asiatimes: [..] Most of Saudi Arabia's oil output is generated by a few giant fields, of which Ghawar - the world's largest - is the most prolific.

# These giant fields were first developed 40 to 50 years ago, and have since given up much of their easily extracted petroleum.

# To maintain high levels of production in these fields, the Saudis have come to rely increasingly on the use of water injection and other secondary recovery methods to compensate for the drop in natural field pressure.

# As time goes on, the ratio of water to oil in these underground fields rises to the point where further oil extraction becomes difficult, if not impossible. To top it all off, there is very little reason to assume that future Saudi exploration will result in the discovery of new fields to replace those now in decline. Read More

DB: It's likely that Saudi Arabia's principal oilfields will soon peak, then decline. No country or group of countries will have the capacity to fill the gap in supply. An outrageously optimistic assessment (unaudited by independent experts) of Saudi reserves underpins US energy policy.
Viable alternatives to oil may take decades and hundreds of billions - if not trillions of dollars to develop. The large economies of the world may collapse - along with our current notion of 'society'. Bush's answer? Oil wars, Drilling in Alaska, and prayer. We are doomed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Saddam interrogation screened in silence - Why?

DB on Tour: No apologies for posting this in full - despite the fact that it must be well read, by now, by all. Saddam's human rights are being trampled all over - like the rights of his [alleged] victims I here you say. What most commentators fail to point out is that 'we' are supposed to be the 'good guys' - so why ohhhh why are 'we' allowing this saddamisation of the judicial process? The answer of course is that 'we' are not the good guys at all. In fact that concept is a joke, and is only believed by Americans, bless.

Information Clearing House [Independent]: There he was, just as his victims looked on his own television screens, his words censored, his arguments unknown, his case as undemocratic as the "judicial" courts in which Saddam destroyed his own enemies Iraqis - or, let us speak frankly, the Americans who tried to censor the old reprobate's previous court appearance - decided yesterday that his words would also be censored. That is Saddamism. This is how Saddam ran Iraq. The words were obliterated. And now the Americans and their obedient, Shia-led government, are acting out the same Saddamite line. The pictures, the BBC admitted, were "mute". What in God's name did this mean? Who emasculated the BBC to such a degree that it should say such a ridiculous thing? Why were they mute? The BBC didn't tell us. If Saddam was really being charged with war crimes over the killings of Shias - which I hope he was - then why, in heaven's name, didn't we hear what he had to say? Why use the methods of Saddam himself? The silent film, the assumption of guilt? Or was Saddam telling the court that the United States was behind his regime, that Washington had given him the means to destroy the Halabja Kurds with gas? How can we know? And when so many of our journalistic brethren failed to challenge the reason why this tape should be "mute", what does this say of us? We are told, by Saddam's jailers of course, that he is being questioned about the murder of Shia villagers south of Baghdad in 1982. I hope so. But how do we know? The reality is that Saddam is from Iraq's past, something from the era before "our" insecurity and destruction and the rape and insurgency and death which has now overwhelmed Iraq. Yes, there are those who would like to see Saddam brought to justice. But they want safety and law and order and freedom - freedom from us, too - before they care about this crazed old man's trial. But we insist the Iraqis have bread and circuses before they have freedom. And they must experience our democracy by understanding that the defendant in a court must be shut up and denied his own words in order to appear on the BBC.
©2005 Independent News

Journalists are letting our leaders get away with murder

DB on Tour: It's goddam hot and the reasons for being in Spain are too convoluted and hard-to-beleive to convey here, suffice it to say.......nothing (lest you die). Here is a post....

Guardian: Flattering the popinjays

[..] Today, of course, we have Vietnam II, the BBC is in tatters, Deep Throat turns out to be a mad-eyed geezer with a book deal and Ellsberg is still appealing for whistleblowers when no one will print their revelations unless they involve pierced labia, or Castro having sex with a dog. While all other public figures cannot appear in any format without being at least partially naked, sexually reassigned and/or masturbating a farm animal, our politicians are cocooned by embedded sycophancy. Not that I'd want to see Blair stripped with his parts in a jar and laying hands on a helpless donkey, but equally I am very tired of bombshells such as the Downing Street memo bringing us no nearer a transatlantic war crimes tribunal. Read more

Friday, June 10, 2005

Car dealing Bush fundraiser is new London ambassador

guardian: Car sales boss is Bush's UK envoy

George Bush yesterday nominated Robert Tuttle, a Beverly Hills car dealer, presidential friend and fundraiser, as the next American ambassador to Britain.

The announcement had been rumoured for months but was delayed by wrangling between the White House and the Senate over the nomination of John Bolton, a prominent unilateralist and hawk, as ambassador to the UN.

Mr Tuttle's appointment is also subject to confirmation by the Senate, but it is unlikely to provoke the same degree of opposition, because he is not known as an ideologue.

He served as director for presidential personnel in Ronald Reagan's White House. He was given the rank of "Pioneer" in President George Bush's re-election campaign last year, signifying that he had raised
more than $100,000 in contributions. Read more

Thursday, June 09, 2005

US policy : An Iraq-Iraq conflict fanned by black ops

asiatimes: Exit strategy: Civil war

"In reality, the electoral process was designed to legitimize the occupation, rather than ridding the country of the occupation ... Anyone who sees himself capable of bringing about political reform should go ahead and try, but my belief is that the occupiers won't allow him."

- Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

..Abdul Aziz al-Hakim [..] said that "forces of evil" are trying to "sully the reputation of nationalist movements like Badr so that they can achieve goals that do not serve the interests of the Iraqi people".

One wonders whether Pentagon black ops are also part of these "forces of evil". In October 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld invented a secret army - one of his pet projects. According to the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, the goal of Rumsfeld's army - the 100-member, US$100 million-a-year Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) - would carry out secret operations designed to "stimulate reactions" among "terrorist groups", thus exposing them to "counter-attack" by the P2OG. The stock in trade of Rumsfeld's army is assassinations, sabotage, deception, the whole arsenal of black ops. Iraq is the perfect lab for it. "Iraqification" means in fact "Salvadorization". No wonder old faces are back in the game. James Steele, leader of a Special Forces team in El Salvador in the early 1980s, is in Iraq. Steve Casteel, a former top official involved in the "drug wars" in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, is also in Iraq. He is a senior adviser in - where else - the Interior Ministry, to which friendly militias are subordinated.

(..) The major Iraqi resistance groups are not in favor of targeting innocent Iraqi civilians. Many groups have political liaisons who try to tell the world's media what they are fighting for. Considering that American corporate media exclusively reproduce the Pentagon line, there's widespread suspicion - in the Middle East, Western Europe, Latin America, parts of Asia - of American media complicity in the occupation, incompetence, racism, or perhaps all of the above.

The antidote to the Iraqi militia inferno should be a united Sunni-Shi'ite political front. Former electricity minister Ayham al-Samarie told the Associated Press that at least two guerrilla groups - the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of Mujahideen - were ready to talk with the Jaafari government and eventually join the political process. The conditions though are explicit: a set date for the American withdrawal.

Against all odds, a national liberation front is emerging in Iraq. Washington hawks may see it coming, but they certainly don't want it. Many groups in this front have already met in Algiers. The front is opposed to the American occupation and permanent Pentagon military bases; opposed to the privatization and corporate looting of the Iraqi economy; and opposed to the federation of Iraq, ie balkanization. Members of the front clearly see through the plan of fueling sectarianism to provoke an atmosphere of civil war, thus legitimizing the American presence. The George W Bush administration's obsession in selling the notion that Iraqis - or "anti-Iraqi forces", or "foreign militants" - are trying to start a civil war in the eastern flank of the Arab nation is as ludicrous as the myth it sells of the resistance as just a lunatic bunch of former Ba'athists and Wahhabis.

The Bush administration though is pulling no punches with Iraqification. It's a Pandora's box: inside one will find the Battle of Algiers, Vietnam, El Salvador, Colombia. All point to the same destination: civil war. Read more

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

OAS - 'Democracy is not imposed. It is born from dialogue'

Yahoo-AFP: OAS closing statement omits US proposal to strengthen democracy

The 34-member Organization of American States omitted a US proposal on strengthening democracy in Latin America from the closing statement of its three-day summit.

The unanimously approved statement instead tasked OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza to draw up proposals to "address situations" likely to compromise the "democratic political process or the rule of law" in the region.

Insulza's proposals, the statement added, must abide by the OAS charter which enshrines the "principle of non-intervention and the right to self determination."

The US proposal, put forward at the summit by Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice - who headed the meeting - had raised hackles among OAS members, especially Venezuela, whose Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez said the OAS was "not authorized to make evaluations on the state of democracy in the different countries."

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told Rice at the summit: "Madam president, democracy is not imposed. It is born from dialogue." Read more

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

'Judicial' death Baghdad style

latimes: Justice Is Swift and Deadly in Baghdad

..The defendants said they were welding, plastering and working construction on the morning of the murder. Atiyah, the accused driver of the car, said his brother was a policeman killed by rebels. "How can I cooperate with terrorists?" he said.

He told the judge that the police "tortured me for five days, tore off my clothes and underwear and threatened to rape me and bring my wife and sisters in to rape them."

"Why did you confess?" the judge asked Abdullah. Read more

Rice: "This is not a matter of intervening to punish"

washingtonpost:Rice Urges OAS to Back Democracy

Against the backdrop of growing tensions between the United States and Venezuela, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Sunday for nations in the Western Hemisphere to more actively support democracy and counter authoritarian trends in Latin America.

Speaking to foreign ministers and diplomats from 33 other countries gathered here for the general assembly of the Organization of American States, Rice said that governments in the Americas are no longer divided between liberal and conservative. The divide "is between those governments that are elected and govern democratically and those that do not."

Rice urged the OAS to "strengthen democracy where it is weak" and to "support democracy where it is threatened." But a U.S. proposal to empower the OAS to monitor democratic trends, as a way to head off problems, got a lukewarm reception, with some countries believing it would invite U.S. meddling.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has emerged as a nettlesome foe of the Bush administration, denounced the idea Sunday on his weekly radio program, accusing the United States of trying to impose a "global dictatorship" and forcing its will on the region.

"The times in which the OAS was an instrument of the government in Washington are gone," Chavez said in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. "Are they going to try, through the OAS, to monitor the Venezuelan government? . . . Those who think they can put the peoples of Latin America in a corral are mistaken," he said.

Chavez added: "If there is any government that should be monitored by the OAS, then it should be the U.S. government, a government which backs terrorists, invades nations, tramples over its own people, seeks to install a global dictatorship."

The United States for the first time in 31 years is the host of the annual three-day OAS meeting, and security here was extremely tight. Much of downtown was locked down, and a helicopter hovered above the hotel where Rice and other senior diplomats are staying. President Bush is set to address the meeting Monday.

Speaking to reporters as she flew here from Washington, Rice said the U.S. proposal was designed to make the organization more effective. "I think we have to have a discussion of how the organization can be effective if it does not have mechanisms that help at times of crisis," she said. "This is not a matter of intervening to punish. It's a matter of intervening to try and sustain the development of democratic institutions across the region." Read more

DB: OK, so now we is not enough to be elected democratically, you have got to govern democratically too - it does not take much imagination to guess which imperial power is going to be the judge of what is and what is not 'governing democratically'. Coming from a country where neither ideals apply this is rich, but no surprise. Rice's assertion that "This is not a matter of intervening to punish" rings hollow indeed.

See PINR article "Washington Loses Control of the O.A.S." for good background reading.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

EU constitution a dead Norwegian Blue

It is difficult to fathom just how the political elite of France managed to get it so wrong. With today's inevitable "Neen" from the Dutch the EU constitution would seem to be dead, in fact - "..This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! E's off the twig! E's kicked the bucket, e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!