{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Democracy in action

. . . From "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Shock and Awe" to "Operation Iron Hammer" to "Operation Steel Curtain" . . . Etc. Etc. Etc. (What's next? "Operation Desert Bloodbath"?)

"Let Bush see how he created a generation that hates the Americans." -- 45-year-old Iraqi, fleeing air strikes in Husaybah with his family on foot

The -- what, third? fourth? -- sham election has taken place, and once again millions of Iraqis have risked life and limb to make the potentially deadly trek to the polls on foot. Now that the elections have taken place, the U.S. military occupation will end, no doubt.

Meanwhile, what's been going on for past two months? The usual: subjugation and brutality:

U.S. Airstrikes Take Toll on Civilians: Eyewitnesses Cite Scores Killed in Marine Offensive in Western Iraq

Behind the Steel Curtain: The Real Face of the Occupation
Dirty Means, Genocide and Mass Destruction; Dedicated to the UN, UNSC and the Intel Society

“Steel curtain” in Iraq—another US war crime

Operation “Steel Curtain”

It's hilarious (by which I mean, "it makes me so bewildered and angry I want to vomit") that serious news agencies like CNN and The Washington Post take seriously the military's claims that they can carry out air strikes on cities and not kill scores of innocent people. The military, of course, knows this is bullshit; but the media can be trusted to repeat this sick, absurd propaganda, regardless of whether it's absurd on its face. (A fucking child knows that if you drop bombs on a town you're gonna kills lots of people. That's the level of self-delusion -- regression to a child-like state of faith in a fantasy dream world -- many Americans have brought themselves down to.)

The only plausible rationale for these tactics (assuming, for the sake of argument, that's there's rationality taking place, here) is that "we must show them that they'd better kill any insurgents they see, or else they'll be bombed for having happened to be near the insurgents." Of course, it's just as likely (probably moreso) that this will simply create many more insurgents (and sympahtizers); and that residents will do their utmost to hide the insurgents so that U.S. forces cannot detect and bomb them.

It's no wonder the U.S. military is having to pay Iraqi news outlets tons of money to print fake planted good news stories. What's hilarious (see previous definition) is that they actually believe this is going to have any fucking effect whatsoever. Like the Iraqis who see and hear -- who live -- this nightmare every single day are going to read in the paper about how the U.S. military is painting a school house (you know, that one over there that's not bombed into rubble) and suddenly think, "hey, maybe this occupation isn't so bad after all! This is great news written here!"


Happy Birthday, Jesus. (You might wanna come back down and crucify yourself again, if this keeps up. Whatta ya say?)



Top 12 media myths and falsehoods on the Bush administration's spying scandal
Summary: Media Matters presents the top 12 myths and falsehoods promoted by the media on President Bush's spying scandal stemming from the recent revelation in The New York Times that he authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on domestic communications without the required approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.

. . . . . . . .

Not only did Bush admit to an impeachable offense -- and to having committed this act 30 times (reauthorizing the illegal and secret program -- he is on record as lying about it to the American people.

What, exactly, do these bastards have to do before we impeach them? Each and every arrogant, blatantly illegal and unconstitutional thing they are allowed to get away with simply makes them that much more powerful and that much more arrogant.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Support for Removing Bush is Higher Than for Clinton

"Rasmussen Reports, whose polls consistently place George Bush's approval rating higher than other polls, published the first poll on impeaching Bush and removing him from office. Rasmussen found that 32% of Americans want President Bush impeached and removed, while 35% want Vice President Dick Cheney impeached and removed.


By comparison, prior to the impeachment of President Clinton in August and September 1998, there were 10 major polls conducted. Support for impeaching Clinton and removing him from office averaged only 26%.


House Republicans nevertheless impeached President Clinton in 1998, but Senate Republicans could not get enough votes to remove him from office.

When polls asked Americans in 1998 if they supported Congressional hearings to consider impeaching President Clinton (but not necessarily for removing him from office), 36% said yes, 10% more than those who wanted to remove him from office.

Recent polls show that support for impeachment hearings for President Bush are much higher than they were for President Clinton. In a poll published on November 4, Zogby International found that, by a margin of 53% to 42%, Americans said that "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."

. . . . . . . .

The 32% is a pretty high number, considering the poll did not include the qualification "if he lied about Iraq"; it simply asked "Should he be impeached?".



Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ex-Marine leader poses hard questions about war

The Post and Courier | Charleston.net | News | Charleston, SC

"Occupation breeds resentment," he said. "When you have a boot on someone's neck, they don't appreciate it."

"I have more sympathy with the anti-war protesters, at least they're involved. My gripe is with the apathetic middle."

— Nathaniel Fick, former Marine commander


Israel readies forces for strike on nuclear Iran

Israel readies forces for strike on nuclear Iran - Sunday Times - Times Online

ISRAEL’S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.
The order came after Israeli intelligence warned the government that Iran was operating enrichment facilities, believed to be small and concealed in civilian locations.

Iran’s stand-off with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear inspections and aggressive rhetoric from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who said last week that Israel should be moved to Europe, are causing mounting concern.

The crisis is set to come to a head in early March, when Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, will present his next report on Iran. El-Baradei, who received the Nobel peace prize yesterday, warned that the world was “losing patience” with Iran.
. . . . . . . .

Wake me up when the Apocalypse is over . . .


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Military will request $100 billion for war next year

Media Matters -
Newspapers largely ignored Murtha's revelation that military will request $100 billion for war next year


Friday, December 09, 2005

Quote of the day

"Howard Dean should be arrested for treason and either hung or put in a hole until the war's over"
—Michael Reagan (conservative radio host)

God bless America.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Anti-Empire Report by William Blum

The Anti-Empire Report
Some things you need to know before the world ends
December 6, 2005
by William Blum

The big forgotten lie

Lots of accusations going on, and counter accusations, congressional investigations, demands for more investigations ... Who said what? When did they say it? How did it contribute to the buildup for war? ... intelligence failures, the administration should have known, we were misled, they lied, but the Democrats believed it also, voted for it ... round and round it goes, back and forth, what passes for serious parliamentary debate in the US of A, 21st century ...

It's time once again to remind ourselves of the big lie, the biggest lie of all, the lie that makes this whole current controversy rather irrelevant. For it didn't matter if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, it didn’t matter if the intelligence was right or wrong, or whether the Bush administration lied about the weapons, or who believed the lies and who didn't. All that mattered was the Bush administration's claim that Iraq was a threat to use the weapons against the United States, an imminent threat to wreak great havoc upon America. ("Increasingly we believe the United States will become the target of those [Iraqi nuclear] activities," said Vice-President Cheney six months before the invasion, as but one example.){1}

Think about that. What possible reason could Saddam Hussein have had for attacking the United States other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide? "Oh," some people might argue, "he was so crazy who knew what he might have done?" But when it became obvious in late 2002 that the US was intent upon invading Iraq, Saddam opened up the country to the UN weapons inspectors much more than ever before, with virtually full cooperation. This was not the behavior of a crazy person; this was the behavior of a survivalist. He didn't even use those weapons when he was invaded in 1991 when he certainly had some of them. Moreover, we now know that Iraq had put out peace feelers in early 2003 hoping to prevent the war. They were not crazy at all.

No, the United States didn't invade Iraq because of any threat of an attack using WMD. Nor can it be argued that mere possession of such weapons -- or the belief of same -- was reason enough to take action, for then the United States would have to invade Russia, France, Israel, et al.

I wrote much of the above in the December 2003 edition of this report. I'm afraid that I and other commentators will have to be repeating this observation for years to come.

Don’t tell my mother I work at the White House. She thinks I'm a children’s pimp

They're still trying. Still trying to square the circle of Iraq and convince us that what the US has done in that land is a splendid historical venture. If only they can find the right angle, the right thing to compare it to. Like an advertising agency looking for a new slogan to sell an old product.

Here comes now Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a Defense Department briefing last month, after returning from South Korea, where he addressed US troops: “I noted to them that within my lifetime, the same now free and prosperous South Korea that they're helping to defend was almost completely destroyed by a terrible conflict. In the three years of the Korean War, nearly 40,000 Americans would fall in brutal combat, and U.S. forces endured many setbacks along the way. ... Back then, a great many people questioned whether young Americans should face death and injury in Korea, thousands of miles from home, for a result that seemed uncertain at best. And today the answer is the Korean peninsula.”{2}

The moral of Donald’s tale was of course that Iraq is the new Korea and if we just hold the line it'll wind up just as marvelous as South Korea did.

By now, in this the fourth year of the Bush dial-a-lie administration, you no longer need to examine the actual facts behind a particular official statement to suspect that you have not been united with the probable. But for the record, let it be known that for the forty (40) years following the Korean War South Korea had one severely repressive government after another, whether civilian or military, martial law, numerous political prisoners, routine torture, brutal suppression of dissent and other rights, fraudulent elections, grim exploitation of the labor force ... the familiar scenario. In 1980, the United States helped military strongman Chun Doo Hwan suppress an uprising of students and workers in the city of Kwangju who were protesting this scenario. As many as 2,000 of them were killed by the Korean armed forces.{3}

The way things are going in Iraq, the society may implode in 40 days, never mind 40 years.

Venezuela's unforgivable sins

First there was the coup attempt against Hugo Chavez in 2002, which briefly overthrew him, with Washington's fingerprints all over the scene; then US support for an oil-workers strike in 2003 aimed at crippling the Venezuelan economy; the next year brought American financing of a failed referendum to recall the democratically elected Chavez, followed by the assassination of the government prosecutor who was investigating those behind the coup attempt; the Venezuelan attorney general has stated that the CIA had advised in the assassination.{4}

This year, in May, the United States proposed to create a committee at the Organization of American States that would "monitor the quality of democracy and the exercise of power in Latin America." Everyone at the OAS meeting knew it was aimed at Venezuela, but the United States denied it; this despite the fact that in the previous month “[Bush] administration officials had made several statements tying the effort directly to their concern about Hugo Chavez”.{5} The proposal fell with a thud.

Then, for the December 4 congressional elections, several of the main opposition parties withdrew their candidates. Chavez supporters charged Washington with having influenced those parties to do so in order to cast doubt upon the validity of the election, which the opposition knew would again show substantial support for Chavez and his program. If this charge is true, it would be reminiscent of what the US did in Nicaragua in 1984, when it bribed and pressured various parties opposed to the Sandinista government to drop out of the race. In the end, the United States ousted the Sandinistas by the use of violence, including the clearly implied threat to prolong the terrible civil war if the Nicaraguan people did not vote the Sandinistas out in the 1990 election. The war-weary Nicaraguans did just that.{6} This won't be as easy for Washington to pull off in Venezuela since the army supports Chavez to a significant extent, whereas in Nicaragua the US was able to assist the former army to regroup as the Contras to wage civil war. Is the Bush administration crazy enough, or desperate enough, after all else has failed, to turn to a military solution to the Venezuelan “problem”? (The “problem” is that Hugo Chavez is not in love with the American empire or Washington’s neo-liberal plans for the planet, and says so unequivocally and frequently, with explicit examples of what the US has done. If the man is allowed to get away with this it can only encourage other uppity Third World leaders.)

Not your father's kind of torture

We've been raised to associate torture with things like the German and Japanese practices on prisoners during World War 2, the Salem witch trials, the Spanish Inquisition, and what we've seen in torture museums, Hollywood films, and our comic books ... bodies stretched out on racks; locked into devices which press metal points into the victim's flesh and twist muscles and bones into agonizingly painful positions; red-hot pincers burning off flesh; the tearing out of fingernails; thumbscrews to crush fingers and toes; eyes gouged out ... while the torturer's assistant, a hunchback named Igor, looks on, salivating with sadistic glee.

To the extent that Cheney, Bush, Gonzales, and the rest of the torture apologists and denyers think about it at all, these are the kinds of images they’d like us to associate with torture, which, they hope, will show that what the US does is not torture.

But who decided, and where is it written, that the historical torture methods, both real and imagined, comprise the sine qua non definition of torture? No one who's gone through the American dungeons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, or at any of the many secret CIA facilities, and no American who would be subjected to the same, would have any hesitation calling what they experienced “torture”. Merely reading some of the stories is enough to convince a person with any sensitivity. (Yes, to answer your question, that would exclude Cheney, Bush and Gonzales.) I've put together a long and graphic list of the techniques employed -- from sleep deprivation, the use of dogs, drowning simulation, and lying naked on a sheet of ice, to electric shock, sodomy with various implements, being kept in highly stressful positions for hours on end, and 99 other ways to totally humiliate a human being; many of which the Nazis, Japanese, et al. could have learned from.{7}
Interestingly, the United States granted immunity to a number of the German and Japanese torturers after the war in exchange for information about their torture experiments.

The moral progression of mankind

"When it comes to supporting the rights of Jews, there is no greater leader than the Third Reich, and we show that by holding people accountable when they violate the rights of our Jewish citizens. We show that by supporting the advance of religious and ethnic tolerance and supporting those Jewish people in countries where their human rights are denied or violated, like Austria." -- Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda, March 6, 1941

"When it comes to human rights, there is no greater leader than the United States of America, and we show that by holding people accountable when they break the law or violate human rights. We show that by supporting the advance of freedom and democracy and supporting those in countries that are having their human rights denied or violated, like North Korea." -- Scott McClellan, White House spokesman, December 2, 2005

Can you guess which one of the above two statements is a fabrication?

Hunger in America

"Hunger in America up 43% in past five years"
Headline: Sciencedaily.com, October 29, 2005

"Food Stamp Cuts Are Proposed; House Plan Would Affect 300,000"
"About 40,000 children would lose eligibility for free or reduced-price school lunches"
Headline and text: Washington Post, November 3, 2005

"The way Americans seem to think today, about the only way to end hunger in America would be for Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to go on national TV and say we are falling behind the Russians in feeding folks." Dick Gregory, "No More Lies; the myth and the reality of American history” (1971)

Perhaps today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would have to say that we're falling behind the Cubans or the Venezuelans or al Qaeda in feeding folks.

The right to exercise one’s mind

The Supreme Court recently announced it will review a Pennsylvania case concerning prisons denying dangerous prisoners access to most reading material, television and radio. These prisoners are permitted to read only religious and legal materials and paperback books from the prison library. A three-judge federal appeals court that struck the policy down did so over the dissent of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court.

"'On their face,' Alito wrote, 'these regulations are reasonably related to the legitimate penological goal of curbing prison misconduct' -- because prisoners would be deterred from misbehaving by the prospect of being sent to a place where they have to do without TV and magazines."{8}

Never mind Alito’s views on abortion, civil liberties, or gay rights, which have preoccupied those evaluating his fitness for the high court. Consider the deep-seated, plain, simple meanness of the man in wishing to deprive prisoners mental stimulation through their long nights and years behind bars. Why doesn't he advocate that these prisoners be deprived of food? Surely that would be an even greater deterrent against misbehavior.

The climax of civilization, American style

Main Street is the climax of civilization.
That this Ford car might stand in front of
the Bon Ton store, Hannibal invaded Rome
and Erasmus wrote in Oxford cloisters.
Sinclair Lewis, “Main Street”, 1920

Piles of advertising circulars clutter my lobby, some are like tabloid newspapers with many pages and flyers inserted, each pile usually containing more copies than the number of apartments in the building; they're hardly touched, remaining there until the cleaning person decides to toss them in the trash. For this trees are torn down, incalculable amounts of energy and other resources used to print all the pages; dioxin, exceedingly toxic dioxin, entering the food chain environment, directly eliminated into water from paper mills. Imagine all the people and vehicles needed to deliver the circulars. Multiply my building by millions. Multiply again by ten thousand other ways THEY get their messages to US.

"If it takes a $200 billion advertising industry to maintain what economists quaintly call 'demand', then perhaps that demand isn't as urgent as conventional theory posits. Perhaps it's not even demand in any sane meaning of the word."{9}

Advertising is the climax of civilization.
That this circular for Target stores might
sit in the lobbies of apartment houses,
George W. Bush invaded Iraq and Paul Wolfowitz
studied at the University of Chicago.

Coping in scary times

To my dear readers in America and around the world, in the spirit of the season, I wish each of you your choice of the following:

Merry Christmas
Happy Chanukah
Joyous Eid
Festive Kwanza
Erotic Pagan Rite
Happy New Year
Internet Virtual Holiday
Heartwarming Satanic Sacrifice
Devout Atheist Season's Greetings
Possessed Laying-on-of-Hands Ceremony
Really Neat Reincarnation with Auras and Crystals

And may your name never appear on a Homeland Security "No-fly list".

May your abuses at the hands of authority be only cruel, degrading and inhuman, nothing that Mr. Cheney would call torture.

May your country never be "liberated" by the United States.

May your labor movement not be supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, nor your elections.

May the depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and napalm which fall upon your land be as harmless or non-existent as the Pentagon says they are.

May you not fall sick in the United States without health insurance, nor desire to go to an American university while being not wealthy.

May you re-discover what the poor in 18th century France discovered, that rich people's heads could be mechanically separated from their shoulders if they wouldn't listen to reason.

1. Associated Press, September 8, 2002
2. Federal News Service, November 1, 2005
3. William Blum, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower", chapter 17, "South Korea, 1980"
4. Associated Press, November 5, 2005, re CIA ties to the assassination
5. New York Times, May 22, 2005, p.10
6. William Blum, "Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II", chapter 49, particularly pages 298-300
7. Rogue State (2005 edition), p.71-76. I can email the list it to anyone who requests it.
8. Washington Post, November 15, 2005, p.9
9. Jonathan Rowe, "Dollars & Sense" magazine, July-August 1999

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

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website:




Sunday, December 04, 2005

Death Mask: The Deliberate Disintegration of Iraq - by Chris Floyd

Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium - Death Mask: The Deliberate Disintegration of Iraq: "http://politicsofet.com"

The recent revelations about the virulent spread of death squads ravaging Iraq have only confirmed for many people the lethal incompetence of the Bush Regime, whose brutal bungling appears to have unleashed the demon of sectarian strife in the conquered land. The general reaction, even among some war supporters, has been bitter derision: "Jeez, these bozos couldn't boil an egg without causing collateral damage."

But what if the truth is even more sinister? What if this murderous chaos is not the fruit of rank incompetence but instead the desired product of carefully crafted, efficiently managed White House policy?

Investigative journalist Max Fuller marshals a convincing case for this dread conclusion in a remarkable work of synthesis drawn from information buried in reams of mainstream news stories and public Pentagon documents. Piling fact on damning fact, he shows that the vast majority of atrocities now attributed to "rogue" Shiite and Sunni militias are in fact the work of government-controlled commandos and "special forces," trained by Americans, "advised" by Americans and run largely by former CIA assets, Global Research reports.

We first reported here in June 2003 that the U.S. was already hiring Saddam's security muscle for "special ops" against the nascent insurgency and re-opening his torture haven, Abu Ghraib. Meanwhile, powerful Shiite militias – including Talibanic religious extremists armed and trained by Iran – were loosed upon the land. As direct "Coalition" rule gave way to various "interim" and "elected" Iraqi governments, these violent gangs were formally incorporated into the Iraqi Interior Ministry, where the supposedly inimical Sunni and Shiite units often share officers and divvy up territories.

Bush helpfully supplied these savage gangs – who are killing dozens of people each week, Knight-Ridder reports – with American advisers who made their "counter-insurgency" bones forming right-wing death squads in Colombia and El Salvador. Indeed, Bush insiders have openly bragged of "riding with the bad boys" and exercising the "Salvador option," lauding the Reagan-backed counter-insurgency program that slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians, Newsweek reports. Bush has also provided a "state-of-the-art command, control and communications center" to coordinate the operation of his Iraqi "commandos," as the Pentagon's own news site, DefendAmerica, reports. The Iraqi people can go without electricity, fuel and medicine, but by God, Bush's "bad boys" will roll in clover as they carry out their murders and mutilations.

. . . . . . . .

See also:

DemocracyNow!: Is the U.S. Training Iraqi Death Squads to Fight the Insurgency?


Winning the hearts and minds — with military propaganda

U.S. Is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers - New York Times

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 - Titled "The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq," an article written this week for publication in the Iraqi press was scornful of outsiders' pessimism about the country's future.

"Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation," the article began. Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, it pleaded for unity and nonviolence.

But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.

The article was one of several in a storyboard, the military's term for a list of articles, that was delivered Tuesday to the Lincoln Group, a Washington-based public relations firm paid by the Pentagon, documents from the Pentagon show. The contractor's job is to translate the articles into Arabic and submit them to Iraqi newspapers or advertising agencies without revealing the Pentagon's role. Documents show that the intended target of the article on a democratic Iraq was Azzaman, a leading independent newspaper, but it is not known whether it was published there or anywhere else.

Even as the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development pay contractors millions of dollars to help train journalists and promote a professional and independent Iraqi media, the Pentagon is paying millions more to the Lincoln Group for work that appears to violate fundamental principles of Western journalism.

In addition to paying newspapers to print government propaganda, Lincoln has paid about a dozen Iraqi journalists each several hundred dollars a month, a person who had been told of the transactions said. Those journalists were chosen because their past coverage had not been antagonistic to the United States, said the person, who is being granted anonymity because of fears for the safety of those involved. In addition, the military storyboards have in some cases copied verbatim text from copyrighted publications and passed it on to be printed in the Iraqi press without attribution, documents and interviews indicated.
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