{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Friday, November 25, 2005

Did Bush discuss bombing Al Jazeera again in 2004?

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has warned media organizations they are breaking the law if they publish details of a leaked document said to show U.S. President George W. Bush wanted to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera.

The government's top lawyer warned editors in a note after the Daily Mirror newspaper reported on Tuesday that a secret British government memo said British Prime Minister Tony Blair had talked Bush out of bombing the broadcaster in April last year.

Several British newspapers reported the attorney general's note on Wednesday and repeated the Mirror's allegations, which the White House said were "so outlandish" they did not merit a response. Blair's office declined to comment.

Al Jazeera, which has repeatedly denied U.S. accusations it sides with insurgents in Iraq, called on Britain and the United States to state quickly whether the report was accurate.

"If the report is correct then this would be both shocking and worrisome not only to Al Jazeera but to media organizations across the world," the Qatar-based station said in a statement.

The story would also be a shock for Qatar, a small Gulf state which cultivates good relations with Washington.

Reporters' rights groups called on the United States and Britain to promptly give clarification of the report.

"This is a very serious charge with grave implications for the safety of media professionals," said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Refusing to address these reports in a substantive way only fuels suspicions."

Reporters Without Borders said: "We find it hard to believe that President Bush really discussed this possibility. This would be extremely serious and would constitute a major and unprecedented violation of the right to information.

"If this report turns out to be true, it offers a new insight into the motives of the U.S. forces, which have already bombed Al Jazeera offices twice, in Afghanistan and Iraq."
. . . . . . . .

So far, the only refutation I've heard is, "Oh, Bush was probably just kidding around -- making a joke about it, and some idiot wrote it down in his notes, so now it's out of context."

Leaving aside the implications of Bush having a good chuckle over the idea of bombing a news agency, if you actual believe that story I've got a bridge for sale . . .


Friday, November 18, 2005

Operation Saddam - America's Propaganda War (2003) (video)

Operation Saddam - America's Propaganda War (2003) (video)

Documentary focusing on the tactics used by the U.S and it's allies in the build up to,and during, the Iraq War, featuring Ray Mcgovern and Seymour Hersh amongst others. Originally broadcast on SBS (Australian T.V) Language is English, 50 mins


The Educador Model continues . . .

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Secret death squads feared among Iraq's commandos

By James Rupert

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Among the varied armed security men on Baghdad's streets these days, you can't miss the police commandos. In combat uniforms, bulletproof vests and wrap-around sunglasses or ski masks, they muscle through Baghdad's traffic jams in police cars or camouflage-painted pickup trucks, clearing nervous drivers from their path with shouted commands and the occasional gunshot in the air.

The commandos are part of the Iraqi security forces that the Bush administration says will gradually replace American troops in this war. But the commandos are being blamed for a wave of kidnappings and executions around Baghdad since the spring.

One such group, the Volcano Brigade, is operating as a death squad -- under the influence or control of Iraq's most potent Shiite factional militia, the Iranian-backed Badr Organization, said several Iraqi government officials and western Baghdad residents.

In the past six months, Badr has heavily infiltrated the Interior Ministry under which the commandos operate, the sources said. Badr also was accused of running the secret Interior Ministry prison raided Sunday by U.S. troops.

. . . . . . . .


Surprise, surprise: Oil execs DID meet with Cheney's "energy task force"

From The Majority Report -- Amidst the largest profits in history, oil industry executives "testify" (not under oath) to Congress



Monday, November 14, 2005

Did Israel have Prior Knowledge of the Amman 11/9 Terror Attacks?

Did Israel have Prior Knowledge of the Amman 11/9 Terror Attacks?

Did Israel have prior knowledge of the terror attacks on three hotels in Amman, Jordan, which led to the death of 57 people?

Israeli Citizens evacuated prior to the Blast

At least two authoritative news sources cast doubt on the official version of events.

According to Haaretz, Israel managed, with the cooperation of the Jordanian security forces, to discreetly evacuate several Israeli citizens prior to the blast, who were staying at the Radisson SAS hotel:

"A number of Israelis staying yesterday at the Radisson SAS were evacuated before the bombing by Jordanian security forces, apparently due to a specific security alert. They were escorted back to Israel by security personnel.

The Foreign Ministry stated yesterday that no Israeli tourists are known to have been injured in the blasts. Representatives of Israel's embassy in Amman were I contact with local authorities to examine any report of injured Israelis, but none were received."(Scores dead in three Amman hotel bombings; Israelis evacuated before attack, by Yoav Stern and Zohar Blumenkrantz, Haaretz, 9 November 2005, italics added)

. . . . . . . .


THE BRAD BLOG: "NEWSWEEK: CIA Report Also Questioned Al-Libi Claims That Iraq Was Working with Al-Qaeda"

THE BRAD BLOG: "NEWSWEEK: CIA Report Also Questioned Al-Libi Claims That Iraq Was Working with Al-Qaeda"

NEWSWEEK: CIA Report Also Questioned Al-Libi Claims That Iraq Was Working with Al-Qaeda

Newly Discovered Document Echoes Previous DIA Documents

Isikoff and Hosenball are reporting in NEWSWEEK today that the CIA had raised doubts about the information that the Bush Administration (and indeed Bush, himself) relied on to sell the War on Iraq to the American People and to Congress.

The newly uncovered CIA document seems to echo a DIA document previously released that similarly expressed doubts about the information received from Al Qaeda detainee, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi who recanted his claims that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members. That, however, didn't keep the Bush Administration from using the bad intelligence anway...

A CIA document shows the agency in January 2003 raised questions about an Al Qaeda detainee%u2019s claims that Saddam Hussein%u2019s government provided chemical and biological weapons training to terrorists%u2014weeks before President George W. Bush and other top officials flatly used those same claims to make their case for war against Iraq.

Lots of meat in the piece, but the following graf speaks to those wingnuts who still enjoy describing Harry Reid's invokation of Senate Rule 21 last week as "a stunt" after two years have passed without Sen. Pat Robert's (R-KA) promised investigation into the Administration's use and/or mis-use of prewar intel matters [emphasis added]:

For their part, [Sen. Carl] Levin [(D-MI)] and Sen. Jay Rockefeller [(D-WV)] want the Senate Intelligence Committee, as part of its reinvigorated Phase II investigation into the handling of Iraq pre-war intelligence, to answer key questions about al-Libi: What happened to the February 2002 DIA report questioning al-Libi%u2019s credibility? Were the CIA%u2019s caveats circulated to the White House before President Bush made his assertions? And why did the intelligence community declassify the substance of al-Libi%u2019s original claims so they could be used in Powell%u2019s speech in February 2003%u2014but fail to publicly acknowledge that he had recanted until NEWSWEEK reported on it more than a year later?

They all sound like good questions to us and about which the American People and Congress deserve answers...as the wars...all of them...rage on.


Quote of the day

Crooks and Liars: Sen. Grassley:Energy-holics

Because this is America, and this is something we've worked our way into, and the American people are entitled to it, and if we're going improve (sic) our standard of living, you have to consume more energy.

[ audio ]


Sunday, November 13, 2005

The REAL "nuclear option"

"The only place you and I disagree . . . is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I (in contrast) don't give a damn. I don't care.". . . "I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. . . Does that bother you? I just want you to think big." : Richard Nixon to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the Watergate tapes

Yes, in the Nixon White House, even Kissinger was a "dove."

But we've come so far:

The US does not make positive statements defining the circumstances under which it would use nuclear weapons. Maintaining US ambiguity about when it would use nuclear weapons helps create doubt in the minds of potential adversaries, deterring them from taking hostile action. This calculated ambiguity helps reinforce deterrence. If the US clearly defined conditions under which it would use nuclear weapons, others might infer another set of circumstances in which the US would not use nuclear weapons. This perception would increase the chances that hostile leaders might not be deterred from taking actions they perceive as falling below that threshold.

. . . . . . . .

However, like any military action, the decision to use nuclear weapons is driven by the political objective sought. This choice involves many political considerations, all of which impact nuclear weapon use, the types and number of weapons used, and method of employment.

. . . . . . . .

Nevertheless, while the belligerent that initiates nuclear warfare may find itself the target of world condemnation, no customary or conventional international law prohibits nations from employing nuclear weapons in armed conflict.

. . . . . . . .

Nevertheless, while the belligerent that initiates nuclear warfare may find itself the target of world condemnation, no customary or conventional international law prohibits nations from employing nuclear weapons in armed conflict.
. . . . . . . .

Quoted from the Doctrine For Joint Nuclear Operations, Final Coordination (.pdf, 1.8 MB) published March 15, 2005

See "Chemical Weapons, Nuclear War: What's at stake in a war on Iran" by Jorge Hirsch



Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cheney = hero ; McCain = coward

When torture is the only option ... - Los Angeles Times

. . . sometimes the CIA should be required to squeeze the truth out of prisoners. Not because the CIA wants to torture people, but because it may be the only option we've got.
. . . . . . . .
But if torturing a terrorist (or carrying out some other form of rough interrogation) is the only way to save innocent lives, we have no right to refuse.
. . . . . . . .
But sometimes we have an obligation to do hard things for the good of the nation -- as no man knows better than McCain.
. . . . . . . .
To take a principled stand that you know will make people loathe and vilify you -- that's what integrity, leadership and moral courage are all about. This time Cheney is the hero. McCain is taking the easy out.
. . . . . . . .

Talk about being "lazy minded." He writes:

"Those who oppose the amendment don't think the CIA should be permitted to use torture or other rough interrogation techniques. What they think is that sometimes the CIA should be required to squeeze the truth out of prisoners. Not because the CIA wants to torture people, but because it may be the only option we've got." (emphasis his)

How can you be "required" to torture if you are not "permitted" to torture? "You're not allowed to torture. But it is your duty to do so."


Friday, November 11, 2005

Quote of the day

"I'm really hoping there won't be a trial." -- Judith Miller, speaking at the National Press Club, 11/11/05



We don't torture. However, we reserve the right to do so.

Audio clips of the schizophrenic McClellan ("Simple Scotty," as Mike Malloy refers to him) trying desperately to state two contradictory things at once:

The American People Want Us To Torture, .mp3, 2 min., 796k

Scrap with April, .mp3, 2 min., 788k

. . . . . . . .
Q I'd like you to clear up, once and for all, the ambiguity about torture. Can we get a straight answer? The President says we don't do torture, but Cheney --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's about as straight as it can be.

Q Yes, but Cheney has gone to the Senate and asked for an exemption on --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he has not. Are you claiming he's asked for an exemption on torture? No, that's --

Q He did not ask for that?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- that is inaccurate.

Q Are you denying everything that came from the Hill, in terms of torture?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, you're mischaracterizing things. And I'm not going to get into discussions we have --

Q Can you give me a straight answer for once?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me give it to you, just like the President has. We do not torture. He does not condone torture and he would never --

Q I'm asking about exemptions.

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me respond. And he would never authorize the use of torture. We have an obligation to do all that we can to protect the American people. We are engaged --

Q That's not the answer I'm asking for --

MR. McCLELLAN: It is an answer -- because the American people want to know that we are doing all within our power to prevent terrorist attacks from happening. There are people in this world who want to spread a hateful ideology that is based on killing innocent men, women and children. We saw what they can do on September 11th --

Q He didn't ask for an exemption --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and we are going to --

Q -- answer that one question. I'm asking, is the administration asking for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: I am answering your question. The President has made it very clear that we are going to do --

Q You're not answering -- yes or no?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, you don't want the American people to hear what the facts are, Helen, and I'm going to tell them the facts.

Q -- the American people every day. I'm asking you, yes or no, did we ask for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: And let me respond. You've had your opportunity to ask the question. Now I'm going to respond to it.

Q If you could answer in a straight way.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I'm going to answer it, just like the President -- I just did, and the President has answered it numerous times.

Q -- yes or no --

MR. McCLELLAN: Our most important responsibility is to protect the American people. We are engaged in a global war against Islamic radicals who are intent on spreading a hateful ideology, and intent on killing innocent men, women and children.

Q Did we ask for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: We are going to do what is necessary to protect the American people.

Q Is that the answer?

MR. McCLELLAN: We are also going to do so in a way that adheres to our laws and to our values. We have made that very clear. The President directed everybody within this government that we do not engage in torture. We will not torture. He made that very clear.

Q Are you denying we asked for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, we will continue to work with the Congress on the issue that you brought up. The way you characterize it, that we're asking for exemption from torture, is just flat-out false, because there are laws that are on the books that prohibit the use of torture. And we adhere to those laws.

Q We did ask for an exemption; is that right? I mean, be simple -- this is a very simple question.

MR. McCLELLAN: I just answered your question. The President answered it last week.

Q What are we asking for?

Q Would you characterize what we're asking for?

MR. McCLELLAN: We're asking to do what is necessary to protect the American people in a way that is consistent with our laws and our treaty obligations. And that's what we --

Q Why does the CIA need an exemption from the military?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, let's talk about people that you're talking about who have been brought to justice and captured. You're talking about people like Khalid Shaykh Muhammad; people like Abu Zubaydah.

Q I'm asking you --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this is facts about what you're talking about.

Q Why does the CIA need an exemption from rules that would govern the conduct of our military in interrogation practices?

MR. McCLELLAN: There are already laws and rules that are on the books, and we follow those laws and rules. What we need to make sure is that we are able to carry out the war on terrorism as effectively as possible, not only --

Q What does that mean --

MR. McCLELLAN: What I'm telling you right now -- not only to protect Americans from an attack, but to prevent an attack from happening in the first place. And, you bet, when we capture terrorist leaders, we are going to seek to find out information that will protect -- that prevent attacks from happening in the first place. But we have an obligation to do so. Our military knows this; all people within the United States government know this. We have an obligation to do so in a way that is consistent with our laws and values.

Now, the people that you are bringing up -- you're talking about in the context, and I think it's important for the American people to know, are people like Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Binalshibh -- these are -- these are dangerous killers.

Q So they're all killers --

Q Did you ask for an exemption on torture? That's a simple question, yes or no.

MR. McCLELLAN: No. And we have not. That's what I told you at the beginning.

Q You want to reserve the ability to use tougher tactics with those individuals who you mentioned.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, obviously, you have a different view from the American people. I think the American people understand the importance of doing everything within our power and within our laws to protect the American people.

Q Scott, are you saying that Cheney did not ask --

Q What is it that you want the -- what is it that you want the CIA to be able to do that the U.S. Armed Forces are not allowed to do?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into talking about national security matters, Bill. I don't do that, because this involves --

Q This would be the exemption, in other words.

MR. McCLELLAN: This involves information that relates to doing all we can to protect the American people. And if you have a different view -- obviously, some of you on this room -- in this room have a different view, some of you on the front row have a different view.

Q We simply are asking a question.

Q What is the Vice President -- what is the Vice President asking for?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's spelled out in our statement of administration policy in terms of what our views are. That's very public information. In terms of our discussions with members of Congress --

Q -- no, it's not --

MR. McCLELLAN: In terms of our members -- like I said, there are already laws on the books that we have to adhere to and abide by, and we do. And we believe that those laws and those obligations address these issues.

Q So then why is the Vice President continuing to lobby on this issue? If you're very happy with the laws on the books, what needs change?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you asked me -- you want to ask questions of the Vice President's office, feel free to do that. We've made our position very clear, and it's spelled out on our website for everybody to see.

Q We don't need a website, we need you from the podium.

MR. McCLELLAN: And what I just told you is what our view is.

Q But Scott, do you see the contradiction --

MR. McCLELLAN: Jessica, go ahead.

Q Will the President pledge not to pardon Lewis Libby?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to discuss an ongoing legal proceeding, and I'm not going to --

Q Can you just --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not going to speculate about any matters relating to it.
. . . . . . . .


From a "strict constructionist" standpoint, Texas has just outlawed all marriage . . .

fuzzy and blue --political musings by a proud Democrat: TX did Outlaw All Gay or Hetero Marriages on Tues

TX did Outlaw All Gay or Hetero Marriages on Tues?

DallasVoice: Dallas lawyer Mike Northrup says "Sub-section A says that in TX, marriage consists only of the union of 1 man and 1 woman. Then sub-section B says the state and its political sub-divisions cannot create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage. Read literally, the only thing identical to marriage would be the union of a man and a woman, and the amendment says the state cannot recognize that. Would any judge interpret it that way? I don’t know. But it is a definite possibility, from a strict constructionist point of view." Hmm, isn't it from a strict constructionist pt of view that conservatives always uphold and revere law? Does that mean that Jenna & Barbara are now bastards? Well, the apple doesn't fall from the tree...


support "Hands Off Dave!"

David Airhart on the killing civilians in Iraq, the abuse of detainees, his transformation to an antiwar activist, and his nonviolent protest at Kent State

November 9th, 2005

. . . . . . . .
While we were there, we were supposedly fighting Iraqi rebels and Iraqi military personnel, but I can%u2019t really remember ever seeing any actual Iraqi soldier that we were fighting during the supposed firefight. What I do remember, we were mostly being shot at by our own close air support and helicopters. 95% [of the soldiers who were killed in my unit were] killed by friendly fire and I%u2019d say 98% of the casualties I saw weren%u2019t fighters of any kind - they were civilian, women, children and people who had nothing to do with the fighting. They were just innocent bystanders.

When I realized how over the top it was, was after An Nasiriyah. We were supposed to set up a perimeter around the city. We were out of sand bags. We didn%u2019t have enough sand bags to protect our holes from small arms fire and things like that. Conveniently, there was a flour truck driver riding a truck down the highway that was full of canvas flour bags. And sand bags are made out of canvas, so this was perfect for sand bags. We were ordered to open fire on this man - just say, a working family man, and to use his flour bags as sand bags. A lot of guys in my platoon opened fire and the man was killed. And the individuals who didn%u2019t open fire on this man were ordered to remove his body from the truck and throw it off in a ditch on the side of the road and throw some dirt on top of it. And after that, I was an extreme, I guess, sort of anti-war marine (applause).

After An Nasiriyah, we spent most of our time doing vehicle check points where you just stop random civilian drivers and search their vehicles for weapons and things like that. Oftentimes if it was a very confusing situation and the drivers of the vehicles would not understand what we were saying when we told them to stop. And when they wouldn%u2019t stop, we were ordered to open fire on these individuals. That happened on a daily basis. And never once out of all these occasions were there any weapons in these individual%u2019s cars. Usually it was full of family, a husband and a wife and children and they would all be killed. This happened on a daily basis.
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Now Dave is being charged with "disorderly conduct" and might be expelled from Kent State. Why? He had the audacity to hang a banner reading "Kent State For Peace" on the fun mountain-climbing game set up by the military recruiters on his campus to get students to sign their lives away.

Click here to sign the petition in support of Dave

More info here:

Traprock Peace Center


Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Anti-Empire Report by William Blum

In this edition: Bird flu and capitalism, The Wonderful World of Anti-Communism, Thought crimes, The elephant in Saddam Hussein’s courtroom, and Shameless self-promotion

The Anti-Empire Report
Some things you need to know before the world ends
November 10, 2005
by William Blum

Bird flu and capitalism

Preparing for and combating the threatened bird flu pandemic would be tough enough under the best of circumstances. But the circumstances the United States has to deal with include the reality that the country, more than any other on earth, is privately owned. It’s corporations that we have to rely on to make virtually all the vaccines and drugs needed. The corporations, however, need financial incentives, perhaps the government paying for most or all of the research, and then turning the patent over to the corporations, as has often been the case; the corporations are concerned with being stuck with the cost of overproduction if it turns out that there’s no pandemic; they’re concerned about lawsuits from the inevitable cases of individuals who suffer ill effects from the vaccines or drugs; they get rather upset about a generic version being made available anywhere in the world; and they’re highly concerned about obtaining a suitable profit margin, perhaps leading them to hold back on the supply to cause the price to rise. On top of all that, the corporate medical system has dumped millions of uninsured people into society’s lap. How will these people fare during a pandemic?

What is needed is a mobilization reminiscent of World War Two. At that time the government commandeered the auto manufacturers to make tanks and jeeps instead of private cars. When a pressing need for an atom bomb was seen, Washington did not ask for bids from the private sector; it created the Manhattan Project to do it itself, with no concern for liability protection or profit margins. Women and blacks were given skilled factory jobs they had been traditionally denied. Hollywood was enlisted to make propaganda films. Indeed, much of the nation's activities, including farming, manufacturing, mining, communications, labor, education, and cultural undertakings were in some fashion brought under new and significant government control, with the war effort coming before private profit.

Those who swear by free enterprise argue that this “socialism” was instituted only because of the exigencies of the war. That’s true, but it misses a vital point. The point is that it had been immediately recognized by the government that the wasteful and inefficient capitalist system, always in need of the proper financial care and feeding, was no way to win a war.
I would add that it’s also no way to run a society of human beings with human needs. Most Americans agree with this but are not consciously aware that they hold such a belief. For this reason I’ve written an essay entitled: “The United States invades, bombs, and kills for it, but do Americans really believe in free enterprise?”{1}

The Wonderful World of Anti-Communism

Anti-communism is alive and well in the Washington, DC area. There’s going to be a new statue, very near the Capitol: The Victims of Communism Memorial, which “will honor an estimated 100 million people killed or tortured under communist rule”, a monument established by an Act of Congress.

Also coming soon: A Cold War Museum in nearby Virginia, to be located on a former Nike Missile Base and affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The state of Virginia has allocated a $125,000 matching grant for the museum. Francis Gary Powers, Jr., son of the man whose U-2 spy plane was forced to crash land in the Soviet Union in 1960, is the motivating force behind the museum and the associated online magazine “Cold War Times”. The journal is hardly a corrective to the many anti-communist myths Americans were spoon fed, from their church sermons to their comic books, which have hardened into historical concrete.

It may be difficult for young people today to believe, but the lies fed to the American people and the world about the Cold War, the Soviet Union, and communism (or “communism”) were much more routine and flagrant than the lies of the past few years concerning Iraq and terrorism, the most flagrant and basic lie being the existence of something called the International Communist Conspiracy, seeking to take over the world and subvert everything decent and holy. (In actuality, what there was was people all over the Third World fighting for economic and political changes that didn't coincide with the needs of the American power elite, and so the US moved to crush those governments and those movements, even though the Soviet Union or China was playing hardly any role at all in the great majority of those scenarios.)

I don’t know how those behind the memorial arrived at their figure of 100 million victims. I would guess that they’d be hard pressed to explain it themselves. On their own website one finds this: “In less than 100 years, Communism has claimed more than 100 million lives.”{2} So here they’re saying it’s more than 100 million even without including those tortured.

We've all heard the figures many times ... 10 million ... 20 million ... 40 million ... 60 million ... died under Stalin. But what does the number mean, whichever number you choose? Of course many people died under Stalin, many people died under Roosevelt, and many people are still dying under Bush. Dying appears to be a natural phenomenon in every country. The question is how did those people die under Stalin? Did they die from the famines that plagued the USSR in the 1920s and 30s? Did the Bolsheviks deliberately create those famines? How? Why? More people certainly died in India in the 20th century from famines than in the Soviet Union, but no one accuses India of the mass murder of its own citizens. Were millions actually murdered in cold blood in the Soviet Union? If so, how? The logistics of murdering tens of millions of people is daunting.

The ideological hijacking of history is never a pretty sight. Who, it must be asked, will build the Victims of Anti-Communism Memorial and Museum? To document and remember the abominable death, destruction, torture, and violation of human rights under the banner of fighting “communism”, that we know under various names: Vietnam, Laos, Chile, Korea, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil, Greece, Argentina, Nicaragua, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, and others.

Thought crimes

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali is a 24-year-old American citizen from Virginia who went to study at a university in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested by the Saudis, interrogated, and confessed to being part of an al Qaeda plot to assassinate George W. Bush while the president was visiting the country. Abu Ali is now being held in the United States by federal authorities. His defense attorneys and his family have contended that any statements he made in Saudi custody were obtained through torture and should thus not be allowed into evidence. Two doctors who examined Abu Ali found evidence that he was tortured in Saudi Arabia, including scars on his back consistent with having been whipped, defense lawyers have said in court papers. The prosecution has argued that he was not tortured, and the judge presiding over the trial, which began October 31, has agreed to allow Abu Ali’s confession into evidence.

Abu Ali confessed to the Saudis about conspiring to carry out other terrorist acts as well, but I’d like to focus here on the alleged assassination plot. Law enforcement sources cited by the Washington Post have said the plot against Bush, “never advanced beyond the talking stage”.{3} If that is indeed the case, and even assuming there was no torture involved, then I’d raise the question of whether a “crime”, worthy of punishment -- and Abu Ali faces up to life in prison on the assassination charge alone -- was committed. Or does it fall in the category of a “thought crime” made famous of course in Orwell’s “1984"? Someone should perhaps tell the Justice Department that “1984" was meant to be a warning, not a how-to guide.

Who amongst us has not entertained fantasies of horrible and nasty things befalling our dear George W.? I’ve imagined myself as the perpetrator of actions taking care of the entire Bushgang all at once, including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Powell, Bolton and about a dozen other neo-con stars, all instantly falling victim to ... well, let’s leave it at that on this FBI-patrolled Internet. But I’ve shared such pleasant thoughts with others in person. And they’ve shared theirs with me. And I’m sure that a million other Americans have had similar thoughts. Should we be indicted? How about His High Holiness Rev. Pat Robertson who publicly called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez? He did it in all seriousness. Speaking to thousands of people. Without being tortured.

The elephant in Saddam Hussein’s courtroom

The trial of Saddam Hussein has begun. He is charged with the deaths of more than 140 people who were executed after gunmen fired on his motorcade in the predominantly Shiite Muslim town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in an attempt to assassinate him in 1982. This appears to be the only crime he’s being tried for. Yet for a few years now we’ve been hearing about how Saddam used chemical weapons against “his own people” in the town of Halabja in March 1988. (Actually, the people were Kurds, who could be regarded as Saddam’s “own people” only if the Seminoles were Andrew Jackson’s own people). The Bush administration never tires of repeating that line to us. As recently as October 21, Karen Hughes, White House envoy for public diplomacy, told an audience in Indonesia that Saddam had “used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He had murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people using poison gas." When challenged about the number, Hughes replied: "It's something that our U.S. government has said a number of times in the past. It's information that was used very widely after his attack on the Kurds. I believe it was close to 300,000. That's something I said every day in the course of the campaign. That's information that we talked about a great deal in America." The State Department later corrected Hughes, saying the number of victims in Halabja was about 5,000.{4} (This figure, too, may well have been inflated for political reasons; for at least the next six months following the Halabja attack one could find the casualty count being reported in major media as “hundreds”, even by Iraq’s Iranian foes; then, somehow, it ballooned to “5,000".){5}

Given the repeated administration emphasis of this event, you would think that it would be the charge used in the court against Saddam, would you not? Well, I can think of two reasons why the US would be reluctant to bring that matter to court. One, the evidence for the crime has always been somewhat questionable; for example, at one time an arm of the Pentagon issued a report suggesting that it was actually Iran which had used the poison gas in Halabja.{6} And two, the United States, in addition to providing Saddam abundant financial and intelligence support, supplied him with lots of materials to help Iraq achieve its chemical and biological weapons capability; it would be kind of awkward if Saddam’s defense raised this issue in the court. But the United States has carefully orchestrated the trial to exclude any unwanted testimony, including the well-known fact that not longer after the 1982 carnage Saddam is being charged with, in December 1983, Donald Rumsfeld -- perfectly well-informed about the Iraqi regime's methods and the use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops -- arrived in Baghdad, sent by Ronald Reagan with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two countries.{7}

Shameless self-promotion

Before beginning her recent government position, the cartoonly-awful Karen Hughes reportedly was getting $50,000 (sic, sick) per speaking engagement. I ask for much less, much much less, but I’m getting too few offers. So if any reader has a contact with a university or other organization that is budgeted to pay honoraria to speakers, I’d like to ask you to inquire about a possible engagement for me. Muchas gracias.
I’d also like to announce that a greatly updated edition of my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower has just been published. It first came out in 2000.
Lastly, some readers have informed me that in the last report quotation marks and apostrophes were replaced by garbage. I’m trying to find a solution to this problem and I’d appreciate being informed by anyone who finds this happening with this report; even better, let me know if you know the cause and/or cure of this.

{1} http://members.aol.com/superogue/system.htm
{2} http://www.victimsofcommunism.org/history_communism.php
{3} Washington Post, September 9, 2005, p.4
{4} Washington Post, October 22, 2005, p.15
{5} New York Times, April 10, 1988, sec.4, p.3, re Iran; Washington Post, August 4 and September 4, 1988
{6} New York Times, January 31, 2003, p.29
{7} Barry Lando, “Saddam Hussein, a Biased Trial”, Le Monde (Paris), October 17, 2005

William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
< www.killinghope.org >
Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.
To add yourself to this mailing list simply send an email to with "add" in the subject line. I'd like your name and city in the message, but that's optional. I ask for your city only in case I'll be speaking in your area.
Or put "remove" in the subject line to do the opposite.
Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I'd appreciate it if the website were mentioned.



"Democratic Politics at Work in Iraq"; or, "Liar, Embezzler, and All-Around Scoundrel Honored"

AEI - Events

I was just watching CSPAN briefly, and lo and behold, who is speaking at the American Enterprise Institute but good ol' Ahmad Chalabi. (Couldn't find it on the CSPAN web site, for some reason, but there should be video of it.) Guess the outlaw and CIA asset Chalabi is back in the loop in Washington. Dick Durbin had a few not-so-kind words about this.

He did face some fairly tough questions at the AEI -- about his lying on WMD, the current investigations, allegations of spying for Iran, etc. Judging by the way he evaded them all, he would make a good (that is to say, bad) politician.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

AMERICAblog: 20 Words - Another Iraq War Claim Lie

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

From AFP, a newly declassified report shows that the Bush administration knew there were doubts about another part of their rationale for going to war in Iraq - Saddam's connections to Al-Qaeda. Via Yahoo:

US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq had provided "intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.

Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.

These same accusations had found their way into then-secretary of state Colin Powell's February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council, in which he outlined the US rationale for military action against Iraq.
. . . . . . . .


Budget for U.S. spying slips out -- $44 billion

deseretnews.com | Budget for U.S. spying slips out %u2014 $44 billion

Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, expressed amused satisfaction that the budget figure had slipped out.

"It is ironic," Aftergood said. "We sued the CIA four times for this kind of information and lost. You can't get it through legal channels."


US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah

US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah

By Peter Popham

Published: 08 November 2005

Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.

On 10 November last year, the Islam Online website wrote: "US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein's alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988."

The website quoted insurgent sources as saying: "The US occupation troops are gassing resistance fighters and confronting them with internationally banned chemical weapons."

In December the US government formally denied the reports, describing them as "widespread myths". "Some news accounts have claimed that US forces have used 'outlawed' phosphorus shells in Fallujah," the USinfo website said. "Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes.

"They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."

But now new information has surfaced, including hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.

In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."

Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster's 24-hours news channel, www.rainews24.it, show exactly what the former soldier means. Provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah, dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned the consistency of leather by the shells.

A biologist in Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, interviewed for the film, says: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-coloured substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."

The documentary, entitled Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, also provides what it claims is clinching evidence that incendiary bombs known as Mark 77, a new, improved form of napalm, was used in the attack on Fallujah, in breach of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which only allows its use against military targets.

Meanwhile, five US soldiers from the elite 75th Ranger Regiment have been charged with kicking and punching detainees in Iraq.

The news came as a suicide car bomber killed four American soldiers at a checkpoint south of Baghdad yesterday.

Mirrored here

See also Fallujah - The Hidden Massacre (video)

The Christian Science Monitor also has a piece about this.

So, who's going to bomb, invade, and occupy us? And, why not? Please explain it to me.


Monday, November 07, 2005

How Bush Visit Became the Siege Of Howard U.

By Courtland Milloy, Washington Post

Sunday, October 30, 2005

It was Soul Food Thursday at Howard University last week, and many students were looking forward to their favorite meal: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and cornbread. At lunchtime, however, students discovered that much of the campus had been locked down and that the school's cafeteria was off limits.

Apparently, many of them did not know that President Bush and first lady Laura Bush had arrived for a "youth summit" at the Blackburn Center, where the dining hall is located. Stomachs began to growl, tempers flared, and, eventually, a student protest ensued.
. . . . . . . .
During the protest, dozens of students locked arms around a flagpole in the Quadrangle, a designated forbidden zone at the center of the campus, and refused to move despite warnings from campus security that Secret Service rooftop snipers might open fire on them.
. . . . . . . .
The visit went from bad to worse. On a day when the U.S. Senate passed a resolution paying tribute to civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died last week, campus security guards were telling students that if they wanted to eat they'd have to come back when the president and first lady were gone, then go to a service door at the rear of the dining hall and ask for a chicken plate to go.
. . . . . . . .
To set off a student protest at this school, you'd have to be politically tone-deaf in the extreme, out of touch and flying blind. And yet, Bush did it.

God help us in Iraq.


Online Freedom of Speech Act: First Amendment protection, or gaping Campaign Finance loophole?

I'm going to suspend judgment on this for right now, because I suspect it's much more complicated than it first appears.

But comments are encouraged.

While I don't like the notion of regulating blogs (which most bloggers I have read mistakenly assume this bill is aimed at preventing), I'm also wary of the Republicans' motivations on this. (Weren't they the ones so insanely pissed off about the 527 groups being unregulated? Or did I imagine all that?)

The bill is bipartisan -- Reid authored a similar bill in the Senate, and Conyers and others strongly supported and voted for it in the House. But the Democrats opposed it much more-so than did the Republicans. Why? (Call me a cynic for doubting that the party of the U.S.A. Patriot Act and opposed to the FOIA is terribly concerned with freedom, or that the party sharing the ideals of the ACLU wants to stifle free speech. Something just doesn't smell right.)

My only strong opinion on it right now is that the wording of the bill is idioitc and makes no sense whatsoever:

"To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to exclude communications over the Internet from the definition of public communication."

How is it NOT "public communication"? Of course it is. (I suppose some is private, but 99.9% is public.)

The cynical side of me goes beyond campaign fianance concerns to ask: if it's not "public communication," then is it necessarily "private communication" -- as in, can be owned, bought and sold, taken over by powerful private industries, controlled by corporations, etc. etc.?

Don't get me wrong, I think the internet is the last best hope for democracy, and epitomizes the spirit of the First Amendment.

My concern is that the internet must remain pretty much how it is now, rather than becoming like the corporate media -- 5 or so multi-billion dollar mega-corporations own pretty much everthing, control the content (feel free to speak, if you can afford it), cater to advertisers, and make profit hand-over-fist by using the public airwaves that WE OWN and selling US (the audience, the real "product," to the advertisers -- let's face it, that's all we are).

However, I'm not sure I see any need for regulating the internet right now.

Thoughts? . . .



Sunday, November 06, 2005

More class warfare from the elitist artistocracy; or, "Let Them Eat Cake"; or, Why I Hate Republicans, Part 9,302

Portly Republicans Squeeze the Poor

By: Joe Conason
Date: 11/7/2005

Suddenly, after years of carefree spending on the equivalent of the next generation’s credit cards, Republican leaders in Congress are pretending to worry about “fiscal responsibility.” Evidently, they have heard from angry constituents who wonder about bridges to nowhere and subsidies to oil companies.

Rather than demonstrating fiscal prudence, however, the Congressional leadership has merely proven itself to be callous as well as corruptible. The Republicans’ proposed budget cuts in food stamps, health care, student loans and other programs that help poor and working families will scarcely reduce long-term federal deficits at all—while inflicting severe hardships on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people.

Indeed, this newfound concern for tight budgetary control seems more like an excuse to inflict pain on those who cannot defend themselves. Meanwhile, the urge to reward those who already have too much continues, unbounded by any fiscal worries.

Unmoved by the plight of the poor—who are growing poorer and hungrier, according to the latest government data—Congressional leaders last week decided that the best way to pare spending is to reduce the number of families that qualify for food stamps. A bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee on Oct. 28 would make roughly 300,000 Americans ineligible to receive food stamps and cut the program by about $850 million over the next five years.

The fiscal impact of all those cuts will be negligible, especially compared with the subsidies that these same Christian gentlemen insist on providing to energy, agribusiness and other major interests. But these gratuitous acts of unkindness will surely harm the unfortunate children who have less to eat as a result.

By lovely coincidence, the Department of Agriculture released a report the same day showing that the number of people who went hungry last year increased by more than half a million. If anything, those statistics suggest that Congress should be expanding rather than diminishing the food-stamp program. The spectacle of Dennis Hastert, the extra-portly House Speaker, and his well-nourished caucus taking food away from the poor while bragging about their budgetary prowess is beyond disgusting.

Instead, they should shut down their subsidized lunchrooms and climb onto treadmills—while disgorging the pay raises they keep voting themselves.

Of course, these “compassionate conservatives” did not content themselves with cutting food stamps. They are also contemplating cutbacks in Medicaid, the health-insurance program that serves the poor, specifically targeting millions of low-income children for reduced services and co-payments. Kids living in poverty are going to be deprived of eyeglasses, hearing aids and other crucial care.

School lunches are also going to be cut for some of those little losers whose families need food stamps, incidentally. And kids who need child support will also be out of luck, because the powerful House Ways and Means Committee has determined to cut back enforcement efforts against deadbeat parents. The Republicans, who deem themselves “pro-family,” are determined to squeeze a few more bucks from low-income foster families and student-loan recipients as well.

What these politicians will not consider, as they ponder legislation between fund-raising banquets and golf outings, is any measure that might demand sacrifice from those who can well afford it. That would be biting the hands of those who provide the payoffs, in campaign contributions and defense funds and all kinds of ethically dubious freebies. Believe it or not, they intend to give still more tax breaks and subsidies to the nation’s wealthiest citizens and corporations.

Consider the energy industry, which has just reported record profits while gouging the public with the highest gasoline and heating-oil prices ever seen in this country. Three months ago, President Bush signed legislation passed by the Congressional Republicans that awards $14.5 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas industry. But that wasn’t enough, because in early October the House passed still another round of oil subsidies.

That appalling series of rip-offs got the attention of a few Republican leaders, who have meekly asked the oil industry to build more refineries. They know better than to demand a windfall-profits tax, or to seize those subsidies. Food snatched from the mouths of poor children will help pay for still fatter oil profits.

But oilmen aren’t the only beneficiaries of this Congress of the absurd. While households with annual incomes above $1 million have reaped an average benefit of more than $100,000 from the Republican tax cuts, the Congressional leaders, in their wisdom, want to award still more breaks to that tiny aristocracy of wealth. According to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, the plan is to strip out a pair of obscure tax laws signed by the President’s father in 1990. Repealing those provisions would lavish another $20,000 a year on households with incomes over $1 million—at a cost to the Treasury of nearly $150 billion over the next 10 years.

No wonder they have to cut those wasteful food stamps.


God Bless Uzbekistan

The reality of Britain's reliance on torture

Craig Murray, British ambassador to Uzbekistan 2002-2004

Torture means the woman who was raped with a broken bottle, and died after 10 days of agony

Published: 27 October 2005

The Government has been arguing before the House of Lords for the right to act on intelligence obtained by torture abroad. It wants to be able to use such material to detain people without trial in the UK, and as evidence in the courts. Key to its case is a statement to the Law Lords by the head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller. In effect she argues that torture works.
. . . . . . . .
We do not receive torture intelligence from foreign liaison security services sometimes, or by chance. We receive it on a regular basis, through established channels. That plainly makes us complicit. It is worth considering, in this regard, Article 4 of the UN Convention Against Torture, which requires signatories to make complicity with torture a criminal offence.

When I protested about these practices within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I was told bluntly that Jack Straw and the head of MI6 had considered my objections, but had come to the conclusion that torture intelligence was important to the War on Terror, and the practice should continue. One day, the law must bring them to account.

A final thought. Manningham-Buller is arguing about the efficiency of torture in preventing a terrorist plot. If that argument is accepted, then in logic there is no reason to rely on foreign intermediaries. Why don't we do our own torturing at home?
. . . . . . . .

UnderTheSameSun.org has posted about this:

Sending People to Be Boiled to Death to "Combat Terrorism": Meet the 21st Century State, and the 21st Century Propaganda System

Our Gulags

Pro-Base, Anti-Despot


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Debate about stolen Election 2004 from DemocracyNow!

According to Mark Crispin Miller, Kerry now believes the election was stolen as well; and John Edwards did not want to concede, and told Kerry that.

Interesting stuff . . .



Is That Legal?: That Was Now, This Is Then

Is That Legal?: That Was Now, This Is Then

"Tomorrow may bring indictments of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby on charges that can charitably be described as trivial. Tonight, one of our readers urged us to link to President Bush's great speech to the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' group rather than being distracted by the minutiae of the day. Good suggestion."

John Hinderaker, October 25, 2005

"Like many others, we have been frustrated by the apparent inability of much of the American public to take the Clinton scandals seriously. "It's not about sex," we have patiently repeated to our benighted friends. "It's about perjury. It's about obstruction of justice. The sex is only incidental. At most it was the motive for the crimes. You wouldn't think murder was unimportant just because the motive for the murder was sex, would you?" So goes our argument."

John Hinderaker, December 17, 1998

Dr. BioBrain makes a good point:

Do you think it's stuff like this why Powerline doesn't have a comments section on their posts? I mean, even a nutcase jerkoff like Hindrocket would have a hard time not crawling back into his decrepit excuse for a ballsack after reading a dozen or so pastings of that 1998 quote in his own comments section.

Hell, that could conceivably be enough to convince a few of his braindead readers to awaken from their slumber and ask "Yeah, what about that, Hindrocket? Was this just partisan hypocrisy, or was it really just about the sex?"

I don't trust, or read, any blog that does not allow you to comment. I was very interested in PowerLine blog (he's a Minnesota guy, and seemingly someone intelligent who could debate), until the comments section went away. I emailed Hinderaker about this, actually; and he basically just said "people argue too much on there." In other words, he's a fucking coward who likes to dogmatically spout lies, or one-sided half-truths at best, while precluding any debate/discussion about anything. So much for his love of "democracy." (He claims that if you email him your opinions, he'll consider posting them -- yeah, like I'm going to write an essay to try to impress him on the off-chance that he might find one my statements worthy of appearing on his magnificent blog.)

Same thing with FreeRepublic.com. I posted several comments on there, and was instantly labeled a "troll," banned from the site, and all my comments were deleted -- simply because if you don't drink the Kool Aid and mindlessly repeat the same right-wing bullshit, they can't take it. They really should change their domain to "EnslavedFascistState.com".

(To be fair, I'm sure there are left-wing blogs that do the same thing [I just haven't been kicked off any], and those earn my condemnation equally.)


Browney's emails - "Anything I should tweak?"

I know most people have heard about this, but it's so sad and funny it bears repeating.

(There are several in which his primary concern is defending his previous post as head of the Arabian Horse Association or whatever, and trying to find people in the media to talk him up. Fucker.)



Friday, November 04, 2005

The Italian "intelligence" . . .

Italian secret services warned the United States months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said Thursday after a briefing by the nation's intelligence chief.
. . . . . . . .


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Quote of the day

"I'm not a doctor . . . There are a number of people who go on a, uh, um, diet, where they don't eat for a period, and then go off of it, at some point. . . ."

-- Donald Rumsfeld, when asked about the detainees at Guantanamo who have been force-fed after going on hunger strikes for several weeks.



Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dems remember that they have balls

CNN.com - Democrats close Senate to push war probe - Nov 1, 2005

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democrats forced the Senate into a closed session Tuesday to pressure the Republican majority into completing an investigation of the intelligence underpinning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Democrats demanded that Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts move forward on a promised investigation into how Bush administration officials handled prewar intelligence about Iraq's suspected weapons programs.

The probe would be a follow-up to the July 2004 Intelligence Committee report that blamed a "series of failures" by the CIA and other intelligence agencies for the mistaken belief among U.S. policymakers that Iraq had restarted its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.
. . . . . . . .


"Honest Mistakes" (or, another "coverup of a non-crime")

Article Raises Questions About Vietnam War

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer Mon Oct 31, 6:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The National Security Agency has been blocking the release of an article by one of its historians that says intelligence officers falsified documents about a disputed attack that was used to escalate the Vietnam War, according to a researcher who has requested the article.

Matthew Aid, who asked for the article under the Freedom of Information Act last year, said it appears that officers at the NSA made honest mistakes in translating interceptions involving the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped lead to President Johnson's escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Rather than correct the mistakes, the 2001 article in the NSA's classified Cryptologic Quarterly says, midlevel officials decided to falsify documents to cover up the errors, according to Aid, who is working on a history of the agency and has talked to a number of current and former government officials about this chapter of American history.

Aid draws comparisons to more recent intelligence on
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that overstated the threat posed by
Saddam Hussein's arsenal.

"The question becomes, why not release this?" Aid said of the article. "We have some documents that, from my perspective, I think would be very instructive to the public and the intelligence community ... on a mistake made 41 years ago that was just as bad as the WMD debacle."
. . . . . . . .

As Howard Zinn has observed, the more important question that is seldom asked is, "What were our ships doing there??"


Will the Real Christians please stand up? -- Ah, there you are.

From DemocracyNow! :
Bush's Church Calls for U.S. Troop Withdrawal

President Bush and Dick Cheney are facing more opposition about the war in Iraq - this time from their own church. Last week the United Methodist Church passed a resolution calling for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq. The resolution read in part "As people of faith, we raise our voice in protest against the tragedy of the unjust war in Iraq. Thousands of lives have been lost and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in a war the United States initiated and should never have fought." The church board also called on Congress to create and independent, bipartisan commission to investigate U.S. treatment of detainees overseas.


More reading to do . . .

Two new books out that I think I'll have to read:

"The Great War for Civilisation : The Conquest of the Middle East" by Robert Fisk

{ A very good (but sad) interview with Robert Fisk on Democracy Now, 10-20-05, .mp3, 28 min., 9.6 MB }

"War is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death." -- Robert Fisk

"Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein" by Scott Ritter

{ The Nation: Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh: Iraq Confidential }

"If the American people go along with such blatant attempts at obscuring the reality of the criminal conspiracy that has been committed, then it is perhaps time we finally lay to rest this experiment we call American democracy." -- Scott Ritter



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