Professor Smartass

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

FUNNY: Fake NPR Bush press conference

This starts a bit slow, but it gets pretty funny...



BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE


WEBSITE: National Corporate Radio





:: posted by Professor Smartass, 2:16 PM | link | (0) comments |

POLL: 72% of troops say leave Iraq in a year

Maybe we should support the troops the same way we should support Iraqi democracy--by actually listening to them.


The public doesn't support the war. Our troops don't support the war. Iraqis themselves have said in poll after poll they want us to leave. The rest of the world didn't even want us to go in the first place.

How is ignoring the majority opinions of so many people teaching anyone democracy?

This is a good one to forward to newspapers.


KEY EXCERPTS:



http://rawstory.com/admin/dbscripts/printstory.php?stor...

Poll: 72 percent of troops want out of Iraq in a year

02/28/2006 @ 9:38 am
Filed by RAW STORY

The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"

Only 23 percent backed Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately..."

While the White House emphasizes the threat from non-Iraqi terrorists, only 26 percent of the U.S. troops say that the insurgency would end if those foreign fighters could be kept out. A plurality believes that the insurgency is made up overwhelmingly of discontented Iraqi Sunnis...


By a 2-1 ratio, the troops said that "to control the insurgency we need to double the level of ground troops and bombing missions." And since there is zero chance of that happening, a majority of troops seemed to be saying that they believe this war to be unwinnable.


The full Zogby poll is available here:
http://zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1075




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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 10:11 AM | link | (0) comments |

Monday, February 27, 2006

Iraqi Death Squad Democracy per Rumsfeld plan

The thrust of this article is that the Iraqi Interior Ministry is responsible for hundreds of tortured bodies that show up in morgues every month, it's beyond the scope of what we can control, and gosh darn it, if we knew and could stop it, we would.

But this has an odd parallel with a story from last year back when Donald Rumsfeld said we should use the "Salvador Option" in Iraq, referring to the right wing death squads used to break the back of insurgencies in Central America in the 1980s, and kill and rape some American nuns along the way. The overseer of that policy was John Negroponte. A few months after Rummy discussed the "Salvador Option," Negroponte was appointed ambassador to Iraq. He only left because he was promoted to the newly created intel czar job.

What is actually occurring seems to fit Rumsfeld's proposal. Shia squads killing Sunni insurgents and their supporters.

The original death squad story clears up the purpose of torture over there too--it isn't primarily to get information, but to scare the shit out of people so they don't resist or help those who do.

Polls of Iraqis and Israeli and Saudi studies have shown that the vast majority of the resistance is Iraqis, 93%, and nearly none of the foreign fighters are primarily religiously motivated. Instead, they see the Iraqi equivalent of the photo below and get pissed off.

Spreading democracy is a nice idea, but you don't do it by pulling out fingernails, raping people, and putting a bullet in the back of their head if they disagree with you.














Nuns pray over the bodies of four American
sisters
killed by the military in El Salvador
in 1980


KEY EXCERPTS:


RUMSFELD ON USING DEATH SQUADS IN IRAQ JAN 2005:

‘The Salvador Option’

The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq

By Michael Hirsh and John Barry
Newsweek
Updated: 8:59 p.m. ET Jan. 14, 2005

...the U.S. occupation has failed to crack the problem of broad support for the insurgency. The insurgents, he said, "are mostly in the Sunni areas where the population there, almost 200,000, is sympathetic to them." He said most Iraqi people do not actively support the insurgents or provide them with material or logistical help, but at the same time they won’t turn them in. One military source involved in the Pentagon debate agrees that this is the crux of the problem, and he suggests that new offensive operations are needed that would create a fear of aiding the insurgency. "The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation."

****

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/



DEATH SQUADS IN IRAQ FEB 2006:






Iraq's death squads: On the brink of civil war

Most of the corpses in Baghdad's mortuary show signs of torture and execution. And the Interior Ministry is being blamed.
By Andrew Buncombe and Patrick Cockburn
Published: 26 February 2006

Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq has revealed.

John Pace, who left Baghdad two weeks ago, told The Independent on Sunday that up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the city's mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes. Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shia Muslim groups under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.

Much of the statistical information provided to Mr Pace and his team comes from the Baghdad Medico-Legal Institute, which is located next to the city's mortuary. He said figures show that last July the morgue alone received 1,100 bodies, about 900 of which bore evidence of torture or summary execution. The pattern prevailed throughout the year until December, when the number dropped to 780 bodies, about 400 of which had gunshot or torture wounds.

FULL TEXT:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article347806.ece





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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 7:45 AM | link | (0) comments |

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

If Bush giving ports to Bin Laden backers, how real is war on terror?

I recall seeing this story earlier. We had a couple of chances to kill bin Laden with Predator drones, but didn't in at least one instance because of who was with him, including members of the United Arab Emirates royal family.

Hmmm...the royal family gives money to al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers, they visit Osama in Afghanistan...what would have happened if Saddam had done this?

Bush may have done what liberal bloggers could not--drawn attention to how his friends are the real supporters of terrorism, not the hapless Iraqis. And reinforces my doubts about how real the war on terror is, and whether it isn't just us and our allies intelligence agencies prodding and corralling these groups into attacks that suit their purposes.

There is historical precedent and current evidence:

Israel was caught recruiting an al Qaeda cell in Gaza, which has a historical precedent in the Lavon Affair in the 1950s, when Israeli agents set off bombs in Egypt and tried to blame Muslims.

In Iraq, British special forces were caught, disguised as Iraqis and carrying explosives by Iraqi police (which so freaked out Brits they didn't ask for them back--the busted them out and freed 100 other prisoners). British member of Parliament and former cabinet member Michael Meacher has confirmed the Brits are doing this.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1566916,00.html

and Rumsfeld himself discussed using covert agents to provoke terrorists, supposedly to catch them, but just as likely to use their attacks the way Britain and Israel have done. That story was first covered in the LA Times, and later got a Project Censored Award.
http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2004/4.html

False flag tactics, pretending to be someone you're not to shift blame, are not new in history, nor have they only been used by us and our allies. The Nazis posed as US troops to sow confusion during one of our offensives in Europe, and in any country with insurgencies, the military will commit atrocities posing as the rebels to undermine their public support.

I know I lose a lot of people on this because you can't believe our government would do something so vile and convoluted. But think of the effort and sophistication that has gone into weapons research. Think of the care that went into building the right wing media machine, propaganda networks, consolidation and intimidation of mainstream news networks, and even covertly paying pundits to sell their policies. They have been giving similar care to developing public relations and espionage methods as Sen. Frank Church's committee found out in the 1970's.

If Americans are not aware of this thread of history and its current use, we will continue to be vulnerable to manipulation by it. I would be surprised if Bush tried to strike Iran without a terrorist attack to rally support for that war because it will evaporate even faster than it did for Iraq. It could also be a Gulf of Tonkin type military incident, which was also recently proven a fraud by declassified documents. If either of these happens, you have to ask yourself why Iran would attack us when they know it would lead to the certain decimation of their country.

But this started with the port issue.

It's a short article. First few paragraphs give the gist:


UAE royals, bin Laden's saviours

March 25, 2004 12:04 IST

The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan, the agency's director, George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on Thursday.

Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said.

The rest:
http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/mar/25osama.htm




public relations
:: posted by Professor Smartass, 10:00 AM | link | (0) comments |

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PAT BUCHANAN nuclear math: 10,000 US + 200 Israeli nukes= no Iran threat

In 1992, I listened to Pat Buchanan's speech to the GOP convention as I drove from LA to Portland, and he scared the shit out of me. He came close to calling for an open civil war between conservatives and the rest of us. Fortunately, Papa Bush was embarassed by the excess and lost anyway.

Buchanan has not changed, but the Republicans have moved so far right that he has more in common with the left, largely because he refuses to ignore what he knows about history and math for the sake of agreeing the party.

The basic math on Iran is roughly the same as it was on Iraq:

Back in the Cold War, neither we nor the Soviets launched our nukes because of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). It seems hard to believe a smaller country would commit suicide, knowing that at best they injured us, but couldn't take us with them. This should be called a corollary of MAD: OSH-OSAD (One Side Hurt-One Side Assured Destruction).

We have the most powerful military on earth, but are continually being persuaded that some flea on our ass is going to eat us alive. imagine you had a neighbor who collected machine guns and occasionally shot the other neighbors dogs. Would you ever steal his newspaper off the driveway? Or sleep with his wife? Or pick a fight with him?

If you prefer we skip this war, sign this petition that Howard Zinn, Harold Pinter, and George Galloway have already put their names on:

http://stopwaroniran.org/statement.shtml

KEY EXCERPTS:



Churchill, Hitler, and Newt

By Patrick J. Buchanan

02/20/06 "WND"

But are the comparisons of Ahmadinejad with Hitler and Iran with the Third Reich, let alone Newt with Churchill, instructive? Or are they ludicrous? Again, a few facts.

In 1942, Hitler's armies dominated Europe from the Pyrenees to the Urals. Ahmadinejad is the president of a nation whose air and naval forces would be toasted in hours by the United States. Iran has missiles that can hit Israel, but no nuclear warheads. Israel could put scores of atom bombs on Iran. The United States, without losing a plane, could make the country uninhabitable with one B-2 flyover and a few MX and Trident missiles.

Why would Ayatollah Khameinei, who has far more power than Ahmadinejad, permit him to ignite a war that could mean the end of their revolution and country? And if we were not intimidated by a USSR with thousands of nuclear warheads targeted on us, why should Ahmadinejad cause Newt to break out in cold sweats at night?

Currently, the "nuclear program" of Iran consists of trying to run uranium hexafluoride gas through a few centrifuges. There is no hard evidence Iran is within three years of producing enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb.

FULL TEXT:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11991.htm



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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 12:14 PM | link | (0) comments |

Sunday, February 19, 2006

VIDEO: Brokeback to the Future and Empire Brokeback

I'm hoping someone does one of these for the TERMINATOR in time for California's election.

Click pix to see flix.








:: posted by Professor Smartass, 6:46 PM | link | (0) comments |

Did Yahoo block this: "How and Why Bush will invade Iran"

I sent this post about the coming Iran War in an email a couple of days ago, and it bounced to all the yahoo addresses I sent it to.

I have had several political emails bounce like this.

Ironically, a few weeks ago it was reported that MSN and Yahoo turned over search data to the Bush administration. It is not hard to imagine them cooperating with the Bush administration in other ways. During the recently concluded Cyber Storm wargames, one of their targets was bloggers and blocking the flow of information that didn't fit their agenda.

Maybe yahoo is just confusing my mail with spam, but if you get emails from me, you might consider using another email service (at least to hear from me) or check my blog from time to time since I post most of this stuff there:

http://professorsmartass.blogspot.com/

Major newspapers,TV networks, and most talk radio are owned by the people who are profiting from screwing us.

There are two streams of information that the right doesn't control or intimidate: higher education and the internet. Everyone receiving this has the internet at their disposal and should use it as a form of resistance by being informed and informing others.

It seems like just screwing around, but it scares the right and it should: the right wing government of Spain was defeated because enough people were wired into alternative news sources to know that their Prime Minister was lying about the terrorist attack right before the election.

A turning point like that could happen here if enough people are plugged in before the next war war or terrorist attack used to justify it.

Most of the stuff I'm sending around comes from a handful of sources that crawl the internet for under-reported, crucial news and analysis:

http://www.buzzflash.com/

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/

http://www.counterpunch.org/

and one absolutely indispensible hour of radio a day with the most important stories and zero bullshit:

http://democracynow.org/ (90.7 FM here in SoCal)





:: posted by Professor Smartass, 4:39 PM | link | (0) comments |

How and Why Bush will invade Iran

Most people have correctly noticed that Iran is a much bigger and more culturally unified country than Iraq, and that our troops are too bogged down in Iraq for Bush to invade anyway.

But neither of those are problems if they only plan to occupy the oil producing region near Iraq and bomb enough of the rest to make resistance difficult--it is much easier and less dangerous to smash in a store window, grab the goods, and run than to do a home invasion robbery. Iraq was the home invasion, Iran will be a smash and grab.

Two reasons Bush will do this:
  1. steal the oil per the PNAC plan


  2. stop Iran from trading oil in euros, which could destroy the dollar. I wasn't sure how much credibility to give this dollar/euro until Sharon in Israel announced they would attack Iran in March if the US didn't first. March is when Iran plans to open their market to trade oil in euros.

This has nothing to do with their nuclear program as Iran's willingness to have their fuel processed in Russia shows. If we were really worried about nuclear proliferation, we would attack and invade Pakistan, which is a much less stable country that markets nuke technology and barely contains the fundamentalist terrorist groups in their country.




KEY EXCERPTS:



Annexing Khuzestan; battle-plans for Iran

By Mike Whitney

...Equally astonishing, the administration has coerced both Russia and China into bringing Iran before the United Nations Security Council although (as Mohamed ElBaradei says) “There’s no evidence of a nuclear weapons program.” The surprising capitulation of Russia and China has forced Iran to abandon its efforts for further negotiations; cutting off dialogue that might diffuse the volatile situation.


Bush has no intention of occupying Iran. Rather, the goal is to destroy major weapons-sites, destabilize the regime, and occupy a sliver of land on the Iraqi border that contains 90% of Iran’s oil wealth. Ultimately, Washington will aim to replace the Mullahs with American-friendly clients who can police their own people and fabricate the appearance of representative government. But, that will have to wait. For now, the administration must prevent the incipient Iran bourse (oil-exchange) from opening in March and precipitating a global sell-off of the debt-ridden dollar. There have many fine articles written about the proposed “euro-based” bourse and the devastating effects it will have on the greenback. The best of these are “Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar” by William R. Clark, and “The Proposed Oil Bourse” by Krassimir Petrov, Ph.D.

The bottom line on the bourse is this; the dollar is underwritten by a national debt that now exceeds $8 trillion dollars and trade deficits that surpass $600 billion per year. That means that the greenback is the greatest swindle in the history of mankind. It’s utterly worthless. The only thing that keeps the dollar afloat is that oil is traded exclusively in greenbacks rather than some other currency. If Iran is able to smash that monopoly by trading in petro-euros then the world’s central banks will dump the greenback overnight, sending markets crashing and the US economy into a downward spiral.

FULL TEXT:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11743.htm






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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 4:22 PM | link | (0) comments |

Saturday, February 18, 2006

VIDEO & PICS: More of new Abu Ghraib photos & how methods developed

The only place to see all of the new photos is in the real player video of the story, which includes the first video clips from inside the prison I've seen. You definitely need moving pictures to capture a guy banging his head against a door he's chained to.

The good news is that these were leaked by people in the Army who are repulsed by this and the policies that allowed it to happen, and therefore may rebel against other orders that do our country more harm than good.

The official Bush administration position is that this is old news and those who are responsible are being punished.

But consider these things:

Rumsfeld authorized these techniques:

the use hoods, stress positions, isolation, stripping naked, deprivation of light, removal of religious items, forced grooming, and menacing with dogs.

http://writ.news.findlaw.com/mariner/20050425.html

Our current attorney general approved this White House torture memo:

Torture, the memo says, "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23373-2004Jun7.html


Both definitions violate the Geneva Convention, American laws, and the Army Field Manual on Interrogations which states that the guiding principle is the Golden Rule--treat your prisoners the way you would want ours treated.

Bush himself has said we don't torture, but when John McCain wrote an amendment simply requiring the military to follow their own interrogation manual and not torture people, Bush first asked for an exception for the CIA and then, rather than make his first veto of a prohibition of torture, accompanied his signature with a signing statement saying he could ignore this law whenever he chooses.

This business of issuing signing statements that contradict the plain sense of laws Congress passes is what Samuel Alito meant when he used the term "unitary executive" in his confirmation to the Supreme Court; he meant the president can do whatever the hell he wants and it's legal. Like term limits and balanced budgets, conservatives will suddenly change their mind about this if there's a Democratic president.

The first link on this is best and you can only see some of the pics there. It requires real player though, so if the player doesn't open automatically,you may need to copy the URL and paste it into real player. The slideshow link has the same clip in flash player.

AUSTRALIAN STORY:

http://203.15.102.143:8080/ramgen/media/6304abughraib.rm

STILLS:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/02/16/abu_ghraib/portfolio.html



STILLS & SLIDESHOW:

http://www.chris-floyd.com/abu/#salon

Democracy Now did three stories on these new photos. The most compelling was on the history of the development of these methods which started around the same time as the governments research into using drugs, hypnosis, electro-shock and other methods mind control. Ironically, those more exotic ones proved less effective than a couple of simpler ones: sensory deprivation, self-inflicted injury, and culturally based humiliation. One university researching sensory deprivation found they could induce psychosis within 48 hours by cutting off light, sound, and touch.

The researcher also goes into more detail of the mind control program, MKULTRA, and his research into CIA involvement in the drug trade in Southeast Asia, which is gripping stuff. Audio and video is available too.

Even these methods are relatively useless for obtaining information, but since at least 60% of the detainees at Abu Ghraib were innocent, it is far more likely this was done to incite fear in the general public or recruit informers as the guy in the famous Christ pose photo said he was pressured to become.

KEY EXCERPTS:

HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/17/1522228

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Professor McCoy Exposes the History of CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror

SENSORY DEPRIVATION

From 1950 to 1962, the C.I.A. ran a massive research project, a veritable Manhattan Project of the mind, spending over $1 billion a year to crack the code of human consciousness, from both mass persuasion and the use of coercion in individual interrogation. And what they discovered -- they tried LSD, they tried mescaline, they tried all kinds of drugs, they tried electroshock, truth serum, sodium pentathol. None of it worked. What worked was very simple behavioral findings, outsourced to our leading universities -- Harvard, Princeton, Yale and McGill -- and the first breakthrough came at McGill. And it's in the book. And here, you can see the -- this is the -- if you want show it, you can. That graphic really shows -- that's the seminal C.I.A. experiment done in Canada and McGill University --

AMY GOODMAN: Describe it.

ALFRED McCOY: Oh, it's very simple. Dr. Donald O. Hebb of McGill University, a brilliant psychologist, had a contract from the Canadian Defense Research Board, which was a partner with the C.I.A. in this research, and he found that he could induce a state of psychosis in an individual within 48 hours. It didn't take electroshock, truth serum, beating or pain. All he did was had student volunteers sit in a cubicle with goggles, gloves and headphones, earmuffs, so that they were cut off from their senses, and within 48 hours, denied sensory stimulation, they would suffer, first hallucinations, then ultimately breakdown.

And if you look at many of those photographs, what do they show? They show people with bags over their head. If you look at the photographs of the Guantanamo detainees even today, they look exactly like those student volunteers in Dr. Hebb’s original cubicle.

SELF-INFLICTED PAIN

Now, then the second major breakthrough that the C.I.A. had came here in New York City at Cornell University Medical Center, where two eminent neurologists under contract from the C.I.A. studied Soviet K.G.B. torture techniques, and they found that the most effective K.G.B. technique was self-inflicted pain. You simply make somebody stand for a day or two. And as they stand -- okay, you're not beating them, they have no resentment -- you tell them, “You're doing this to yourself. Cooperate with us, and you can sit down.” And so, as they stand, what happens is the fluids flow down to the legs, the legs swell, lesions form, they erupt, they separate, hallucinations start, the kidneys shut down.

Now, if you look at the other aspect of those photos, you’ll see that they're short-shackled -- okay? -- that they're long-shackled, that they're made -- several of those photos you just showed, one of them with a man with a bag on his arm, his arms are straight in front of him, people are standing with their arms extended, that's self-inflicted pain. And the combination of those two techniques -- sensory disorientation and self-inflicted pain -- is the basis of the C.I.A.'s technique.

CULTURAL ASSAULT STARTED AT GUANTANAMO & EXPORTED TO ABU GHRAIB

Now, one of the things that Donald Rumsfeld did, right at the start of the war of terror, in late 2002, he appointed General Geoffrey Miller to be chief at Guantanamo, alright, because the previous commanders at Guantanamo were too soft on the detainees, and General Miller turned Guantanamo into a de facto behavioral research laboratory, a kind of torture research laboratory. And under General Miller at Guantanamo, they perfected the C.I.A. torture paradigm. They added two key techniques. They went beyond the universal sensory receptors of the original research. They added to it an attack on cultural sensitivity, particularly Arab male sensitivity to issues of gender and sexual identity.

And then they went further still. Under General Miller, they created these things called “Biscuit” teams, behavioral science consultation teams, and they actually had qualified military psychologists participating in the ongoing interrogation, and these psychologists would identify individual phobias, like fear of dark or attachment to mother, and by the time we're done, by 2003, under General Miller, Guantanamo had perfected the C.I.A. paradigm, and it had a three-fold total assault on the human psyche: sensory receptors, self-inflicted pain, cultural sensitivity, and individual fears and phobia.

AMY GOODMAN: And then they sent General Miller to, quote, "Gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib. Professor McCoy, we’re going to break for a minute, and then we'll come back. Professor Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His latest book is called A Question of Torture: C.I.A. Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.

FULL TEXT:
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/17/1522228


OTHER DEMOCRACY NOW STORIES ON NEW ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/17/1522219


http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/17/1522224



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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 9:41 AM | link | (0) comments |

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More Abu Ghraib photos leaked

These were shown on TV in Australia. They aren't particularly more graphic than the last bunch, but include one or two new variations, like a guy with clear cigarette burns on his ass and another hanging upside down from an upper bunk by his legs, naked. It took me a minute to figure out what was going on in the third one I have posted here, then I remembered reading that the soldiers helpfully stitched up a guy after splitting open his face.

There are still more to come including the video and audio of children being raped, which is a little known method for spreading democracy.








More at:

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Australian_TV_station_releases_new_Abu_0215.html



:: posted by Professor Smartass, 10:16 AM | link | (0) comments |

Thursday, February 09, 2006

our coming war with IraN: CIA analyst Ray McGovern's take

Neoconservative strategist Richard Perle said before the Iraq War:

If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now.

Once again, the Bushies are pulling a case for war out of their ass, and the media is treating it seriously.

CIA veteran analyst and former presidential briefer Ray McGovern accurately predicted there would be no WMD found in Iraq, and Iraq would not be a threat to us in any case.

Here he sorts through the crap being thrown up about Iran.

One angle he examines that I can't entirely buy is that Israel feels threatened by Iran's nuclear potential. It is more likely that Israel, like the US, knows that they will have fewer options in dealing with a nuclear armed adversary.

The bottom line is even if they are trying to build a nuke, which they probably aren't, it would be used exactly the way every other country uses it--as a deterrent against being invaded.

I'm sure I've written this a million times before, but if any country used a nuke on us, gave it to someone who did, or could even plausibly be blamed for giving it to someone who did, we could nuke that country off the map and would. The same is true for Israel. They have 200 nukes.

We have 10,000.

Also, given the difficulty we are having occupying a medium-small country like Iraq, how likely is it another country could successfully occupy us or even consider invading?

There could well be a terrorist attack before we attack Iran, but ask yourself who could possibly benefit when it happens.

KEY EXCERPTS:




http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/020606A.shtml

Juggernaut Gathering Momentum, Headed for Iran
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 06 February 2006

What President George W. Bush, FOX news, and the Washington Times were saying about Iraq three years ago they are now saying about Iran. After Saturday's vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report Iran's suspicious nuclear activities to the UN Security Council, the president wasted no time in warning, "The world will not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons."

WHY IRAN WANTS REACTORS

If Dr. Rice has done her homework, she is aware that in 1975 President Gerald Ford's chief of staff Dick Cheney and his defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld bought Iran's argument that it needed a nuclear program to meet future energy requirements. This is what Iranian officials are saying today, and they are supported by energy experts who point out that oil extraction in Iran is already at or near peak and that the country will need alternatives to oil in coming decades.

Ironically, Cheney and Rumsfeld were among those persuading the reluctant Ford in 1976 to approve offering Iran a deal for nuclear reprocessing facilities that would have brought at least $6.4 billion for US corporations like Westinghouse and General Electric. The project fell through when the Shah was ousted three years later.

It is altogether reasonable to expect that Iran's leaders want to have a nuclear weapons capability as well, and that they plan to use their nuclear program to acquire one. From their perspective, they would be fools not to. Iran is one of three countries earning the "axis-of-evil" sobriquet from President Bush and it has watched what happened to Iraq, which had no nuclear weapons, as well as what did not happen to North Korea, which does have them. And Iran's rival Israel, which has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty but somehow escapes widespread opprobrium, has a formidable nuclear arsenal cum delivery systems.

***

IRAN'S THREAT TO US

The argument that the US is also threatened directly by nuclear weapons in Iranian hands is as far-fetched as was the case before the war in Iraq, when co-opted intelligence analysts were strongly encouraged to stretch their imaginations - to include, for example the specter that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could be delivered by unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) launched from ships off the US coast. No, I'm not kidding. They even included this in the infamous National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 1, 2002.

***
Washington Post reporter Dafna Linzer, to her credit, drew on several inside sources to report on August 2, 2005, that the latest NIE concludes Iran will not be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon until "early to mid-next decade," with general consensus among intelligence analysts that 2015 would actually be the earliest. That important information was ignored in other media and quickly dropped off the radar screen.


RIGHT WING CALLS FOR WAR

In the Washington of today there is no need to bother with unwelcome intelligence that does not support the case you wish to make. Polls show that hyped-up public statements on the threat from Iran are having some effect, and indiscriminately hawkish pronouncements by usual suspects like senators Joseph Lieberman and John McCain are icing on the cake. Ahmed Chalabi-type Iranian "dissidents" have surfaced to tell us of secret tunnels for nuclear weapons research, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld keeps reminding the world that Iran is the "world's leading state sponsor of terrorism." Administration spokespeople keep warning of Iranian interference on the Iraqi side of their long mutual border - themes readily replayed in FOX channel news and the Washington Times. This morning's Chicago Tribune editorial put it this way:

There will likely be an economic confrontation with Iran, or a military confrontation, or both. Though diplomatic efforts have succeeded in convincing most of the world that this matter is grave, diplomatic efforts are highly unlikely to sway Iran.


On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist insisted that Congress has the political will to use military force against Iran, if necessary, repeating the mantra " We cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear nation." Even Richard Perle has come out of the woodwork to add a convoluted new wrinkle regarding the lessons of the attack on Iraq. Since one cannot depend on good intelligence, says Perle, it is a matter of "take action now or lose the option of taking action." One of the most influential intellectual authors of the war on Iraq, Perle and his "neo-conservative" colleagues see themselves as men of biblical stature. Just before the attack on Iraq, Perle prophesized:

If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now.


FULL TEXT:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/020606A.shtml



:: posted by Professor Smartass, 12:32 PM | link | (0) comments |

Monday, February 06, 2006

POLL of Iraqis: like election, hate occupation

A premise of occupation of Iraq is that the people are backward and need to be brought up to speed with how democracy works, but this poll shows they can already accurately detect political realities. Three-fourths believe the US would not withdraw if the new Iraqi government asked and that we plan to have permanent bases there.

70% of Iraqis would like us to withdraw within six months to two years. When asked why, the most popular response was it is offensive to be occupied. The second most popular answer was the presence of our troops is causing violence.

A little less than half approve of attacks on US forces, but 80% of Sunnis do. Not incidentally, the Sunni region has little oil, and under the system the Bushies are setting up, the oil producing provinces in the Shia and Kurd regions don't have to share much of their oil income with the central government or Sunnis. The bulk of the insurgency is going on in the Sunni region. These polls square pretty well with other research that shows most of the resistance is Iraq not foreign fighters or even less the elusive al Qaeda.

On a positive note, about three fourths believe ethnic violence would decrease and security would increase if our troops withdrew, so if we left or reduced our in-your-face presence there, we may not necessarily leave a hostile government behind.

You can see more at the companion poll of Iraqis on their elections:

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/166.php?nid=&id=&pnt=166&lb=hmpg2

The link to this occupation/withdrawal poll has cool graphs that make the whole story digestible in under a minute:

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/165.php?nid=&id=&pnt=165&lb=hmpg1

KEY EXCERPTS:





New WPO Poll: Iraqi Public Wants Timetable for US Withdrawal, But Thinks US Plans Permanent Bases in Iraq

Half of Iraqis Approve of Attacks on US Forces, Including 9 Out of 10 Sunnis

Iraqis of all ethnic groups also agree that the US is unlikely to take direction from the Iraqi government. Asked what they think the US would do if the new government were to ask the US to withdraw its forces within six months, 76% overall assume that the US would refuse to do so (Shia 67%, Sunni 94%, Kurds 77%).

Asked what they would like the newly elected Iraqi government to ask the US-led forces to do, 70% of Iraqis favor setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces. This number divides evenly between 35% who favor a short time frame of “within six months” and 35% who favor a gradual reduction over two years. Just 29% say it should “only reduce US-led forces as the security situation improves in Iraq.”

Overall, 47% say they approve of “attacks on US-led forces” (23% strongly). There are huge differences between ethnic groups. An extraordinary 88% of Sunnis approve, with 77% approving strongly. Forty-one percent of Shia approve as well, but just 9% strongly. Even 16% of Kurds approve (8% strongly).








FULL TEXT:


http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/165.php?nid=&id=&pnt=165&lb=hmpg1


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Friday, February 03, 2006

Bush planned fake attack on spyplane to justify Iraq War

This memo of meetings between Bush and Blair has not been disputed by Blair, and the researcher had access to several of his cabinet members.

Bush was keenly aware that not finding WMD could come back to bite him on the ass, so he proposed a different provocation: luring Saddam into shooting down a U-2 painted in UN colors.

Ironically, this is similar to how a summit between Eisenhower and Khrushchev to reduce Cold War tensions was scuttled. A U-2 with a CIA pilot was shot down over Russia. U-2s had flown over Russia before, but Russian missiles and planes could never reach their altitude until this moment when the Cold War could have ended a couple of decades early.

Khruschev came to power when Stalin died, visited the United States, and gave signs of being a Gorbachev-like reformer. After the U-2 incident and the Cuban missile crisis, he was pushed aside by hard-liners.

It is funny that Bush would choose the very old and sub-sonic U-2 when we have the fastest reconnaissance aircraft in the world that flies at much higher altitude, the SR-71. Maybe his dad suggested the U-2 trick since he was in the CIA at the time.

Bush planned to fake the immediate provocation for this war. Other researchers like Greg Palast of the BBC have clearly documented the real reason we attacked, oil, including talking to the oil execs who were in on the early planning, seeing the documents, and talking on film to the GOP strategist, Grover Norquist, who wrote the plan to privatize everything in Iraq and steal their oil.

http://www.gregpalast.com/iraqmeetingstimeline.html
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2005/crudedesigns.htm
http://www.harpers.org/BaghdadYearZero.html

Some of the more scholarly defenses of the Iraq War have said that it is about securing strategic access to the oil. It is not. If that's what we wanted, we would have done what China has done with Iran and Canada--negotiate long term contracts for a set percentage of their production. What we have done by invading is to simply put our oil companies hands on the spigot, so they can profit.

Our newspapers including the LA Times refuse to treat this seriously or even cover it most of the time. If Bush admitted he allowed or orchestrated 9/11, it would probably be a three paragraph story on page A17, and the Republicans in Congress, if forced to acknowledge it at all, would say any question of discussing it was a partisan ploy and then vote for another tax cut for the rich.

Something very fundamental has to change. A majority of Americans now know something is wrong, but don't seem to fathom the depth of the problem enough to act.

If that realization doesn't come until Bush attacks Iran, we could be drawn into a world war that would only profit the same people who are profiting from the Iraq War.


KEY EXCERPTS:








Blair-Bush deal before Iraq war revealed in secret memo

PM promised to be 'solidly behind' US invasion with or without UN backing
Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday February 3, 2006

A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - reveals that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.

"The diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning", the president told Mr Blair. The prime minister is said to have raised no objection. He is quoted as saying he was "solidly with the president and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam".

***

  • Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours". Mr Bush added: "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]".


  • Mr Bush even expressed the hope that a defector would be extracted from Iraq and give a "public presentation about Saddam's WMD". He is also said to have referred Mr Blair to a "small possibility" that Saddam would be "assassinated".

  • Mr Blair told the US president that a second UN resolution would be an "insurance policy", providing "international cover, including with the Arabs" if anything went wrong with the military campaign, or if Saddam increased the stakes by burning oil wells, killing children, or fomenting internal divisions within Iraq.

  • Mr Bush told the prime minister that he "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups". Mr Blair did not demur, according to the book.

FULL TEXT:

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,5390333-111381,00.html



:: posted by Professor Smartass, 8:06 AM | link | (0) comments |

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Parable of gang rape explains Democrats Alito vote

WARNING: Sexual content and extremely accurate observation.


I think this is the best explanation for why most of us felt so betrayed by the Democrats vote. They did just enough to say they tried, but not enough to make a difference, which has happened over

and over

and over

again the last five years.

Maybe it's time to get the lawyers and businessmen and lobbyists out of Congress and replace them with people like Cindy Sheehan who have been on the receiving end of their decisions.

The Rude Pundit

In Brett Easton Ellis's 1985 book Less Than Zero,...Clay walks into a bedroom where all the L.A. posers and rich boys have gathered around a nude, drugged-out 12-year old girl tied to a bed, and they're getting ready to run a train on her. Clay confronts Rip, in whose apartment the rape's about to occur. Haltingly, Clay says, "I don't think it's right."

Rip responds, "What's right? If you want something, you have the right to take it. If you want to do something, you have the right to do it."

Clay answers, "But you don't need anything. You have everything."

To which Rip says, "No, I don't."

Clay asks, "Oh, shit, Rip, what don't you have?"

"I don't have anything to lose," Rip says, before he heads into the bedroom to join in the rape. Clay walks out of the apartment. He doesn't call the cops, he doesn't rescue the girl, he doesn't even try to stop anyone. He just leaves. And in the pathetic realm in which the characters exist, it can be seen as some kind of mighty gesture of strength and character. If one wants to be blindly optimistic, it can be seen as a moment of change for Clay, a moment when he will become a different, better person. But, after Clay leaves, even if he's washed his hands of it, that little girl's stranded in a nightmare.

Today, Senators who voted for cloture are going to vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. And when Lincoln Chafee, Maria Cantwell, Herbert Kohl, Blanche Lincoln, and Jay Rockefeller, as well as all the others run for re-election, they can say, "Look, I said 'No.'" But that "no" matters so little as the very issues they say caused them to vote that way - the power of the presidency, abortion rights, the right to privacy, the favoring of corporations - are turned against them time and again. Yeah, they voted against Alito, but there's a starving, beaten prisoner in Gitmo, a pregnant teenage girl in Nebraska, a coal mining family in West Virginia who are all gonna be the ones fucked because of such cowardly courage. And when they say they voted against Alito, someone's gonna be smart enough to say, "Hey, Maria, if it's such a big fuckin' deal, why didn't you join the filibuster?"

***

Update: The vote was 58 to 42. Enough to have sustained a filibuster even without Chafee if 16 Senators believed in more than empty gestures. And Olympia Snowe voted for Alito. There is no middle in the Republican Party. There is only Democratic capitulation masking as moderation.

FULL TEXT




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