Check out the second pane for a well-written summary of the situation:
That’s interesting because of their job description, that “many of them [are] tasked to protect US troops and personnel”. The Army can’t be so bad … they hire more troops to protect their troops.
“Often the foreign contract workers are highly paid former soldiers who are armed with automatic weapons, leading to Iraqis viewing all foreign workers as possible mercenaries or spies.”
That is a dastardly conclusion to which only a crazy Arab could come. Ahem.
Is an article by Rober Fisk highlighting the actual number of deaths suffered by the occupation regime. One saliant point is that the media reports the number of soldiers dying, whereas the number of US employees who go back in body bags is much higher.
Try not to think of the credibility Michael Moore lost when he supported Wesley Clarke (as he was pioneering the ABB movement), consider the excellent points he makes in Personal Voices: Setting the Record Straight by Michael Moore (AlterNet) on their own merits. Here he talks about the coverage of Falluja and the rising Iraqi revolution:
“First, can we stop the Orwellian language and start using the proper names for things? Those are not “contractors” in Iraq. They are not there to fix a roof or to pour concrete in a driveway. They are MERCENARIES and SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE. They are there for the money, and the money is very good if you live long enough to spend it.”
To Bush’s babbling about terrorists and Baathist extremists, he responded: “You closed down a friggin’ weekly newspaper, you great giver of freedom and democracy!”
About reporting in Iraq, he reminds us that what we are seeing is not reporting in a news sense, but simply packaging of press releases:
“…it is now too dangerous for a single media person to go to that [Saddam statue] square in Baghdad … those brave blow-dried “embeds” can’t even leave the safety of the fort in downtown Baghdad. They never actually SEE what is taking place across Iraq (most of the pictures we see on TV are shot by Arab media and some Europeans). When you watch a report “from Iraq” what you are getting is the press release handed out by the U.S. occupation force and repeated to you as “news.””
Moore has his own cameramen in Iraq, and they tell him that:
“…when they fly into Baghdad, they don’t have to show a passport or go through immigration. Why not? Because they have not traveled from a foreign country – they’re coming from America TO America, a place that is ours, a new American territory called Iraq.”
“It’s going a bit far to compare the Bush of 2003 to the Hitler of 1933. Bush simply is not the orator that Hitler was. But comparisons of the Bush Administration’s fear mongering tactics to those practiced so successfully and with such terrible results by HItler and Goebbels on the German people and their Weimar Republic are not at all out of line.”
Stop this war!!! It is so stupid!!!! You all are killing innocent lives!!!!!! Do you want your family to get blowed up like Iraqs people are!!!!! Alot of them are innocent!!!!!!!!!!11
Nice name for the war. Nothing like hitting folks over the head with a hammer to make sure they remember the <em>real reason we’re fighting this war.
The GOP Home Shopping Network on the Washington Post has some information about that. Turns out that “…nearly half — 46 percent to be precise — of the duct tape sold in this country is manufactured by a company … [owned by] … Jack Kahl” who gave “more than $100,000 … to the Republican National Committee and other GOP committees in the 2000 election cycle…”
Do I believe that we’ve sunk so far as to cheerlead a product in the name of terrorism in order to benefit a single campaign sponsor?
No. We’d certainly need more evidence first. But it’s an interesting coincidence.
Added as an update above
Millions For A BJ, But Nothing For Energy on Plastic notes that the GAO has dropped the “lawsuit against the White House to release the energy task force records.” Looks like Cheney managed to outlast them and we’ll never know the deals that were brokered among the elite to decide US energy needs and uses. They decided that:
“further pursuit of the … information would require investment of significant time and resources over several years”
It’s not the GAO’s fault though, since they are just the in charge of ensuring that Congress gets the information it wants and needs in order to function. Since “only seven senators and congressmen had expressed support for the efforts to get the information”, it seems we’re just very poorly represented.
It looks like the Republican plan to sully the name of independent counsels during the Clinton administration (which were used almost constantly during his eight years in office — Whitewater, Monica, etc.) is working out really well. There are no calls for an independent counsel into any of the shady dealing of the administration, from Harken <em>Energy to Halliburton (military <em>and energy). It seems they can just get away with anything and the media is far to cowed to hold them accountable.
“…quoted the Bible, his eyes growing misty as he recited a passage from Isaiah: ‘Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.’ … Bush continued: ‘The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home.’”
“The Bush Administration understands the importance of responding to the global explosion in anti-Americanism. Left unchecked, these irrational sentiments, harbored by billions of mentally inferior foreigners the world over, could contribute to an international consumer climate in which American corporations and products stand at a competitive disadvantage.”
If you think <em>my analysis wasn’t detailed enough, scurry on over to the WhiteHouse.Org site for a look at their Complete Transcript of the State of the Union. This guy had no qualms about completely re-interpreting Bush’s speech to more closely match his intentions.
U.S. Intervening Against Democracy in Venezuela on Alternet provides more details about US funding of the opposition: The “…U.S. National Endowment for Democracy stepped up its funding to opposition groups, including money funneled through the International Republican Institute.”
The White House.org has released a transcript of Cheney’s latest speech, which includes:
“Over the past several days, despicable un-American traitors, including members of the liberal media, along with Congressmen and Senators from both sides of the aisle, have taken conspicuous glee in publicly questioning the wisdom and motives of this administration in its desire to invade and conquer the Middle East − starting with Iraq. And so this morning, to put a stop to this dangerous, effeminate and unpatriotic climate of discussion and contemplation, I am going to … reveal sensitive intelligence about the six nefarious Iraqi plots which require that America waste no time starting to kick serious raghead ass. ”
After a list of truly bizarre and likely hallucinogenic-inspired plans, he finishes strong with:
“I trust that the release of these terrifying plans will make the populace amenable to our pre-ordained course of action − the wholesale seizure of the earth’s most oil-rich lands from the evil, Godless hordes which currently inhabit them − and shut the cake-holes of disloyal busybodies who question the White House.”
Which, to me, is a pretty accurate translation of what Cheney’s actually saying into English we can all understand.
Beyond the issue of intellectual property rights, GM foods given out as aid are insidious because they may not be safe to eat. The motive is to get a readymade test bed for food which may not be FDA approved or may even be banned in the US. There is precedent for this (foodfirst.org):
“At the same time, the U.S. is already sending genetically modified food to Third World nations without the consent of people there. In late 1999 and early 2000, when the Indian state of Orissa was hit by floods, the U.S. sent food aid containing gmos. The Indian government was not told that the food had been modified. Mozambique, the Philippines, Bolivia, and many other nations have received similarly tainted shipments of food aid. More recently, when Sri Lanka adopted progressive legislation banning imports of genetically modified foods, it was threatened by the U.S., and pressure has since been put on the government to remove the restrictions”
So if the ‘70s were known for producing the “me generation,” and the ‘80s were all about the “greed is good” Michael Milken shit, and now we’re looking back on the “roaring 90s,” I think we can safely assume that America, at least in the 33 years that I’ve been around, has been (and will likely remain) nothing more than an childish, out-of-control frat party that pauses every eight or nine years to have a hangover and then gets right back to the keg as soon as the headache wears off.
It is no coincidence that Arafat’s headquarters were under attack when Bush was delivering his speech. The call to replace Palestenian leadership with a more “acceptable” one is a clear green light to Israel to go ahead and destroy Arafat and the Palestine government. Arafat will most likely be exiled I think, execution or an accidental death would be going overboard. Arafat has now run the course of being useful — the recent suicide bombings demand that Israeli society seems some changes. Though democratically elected by a healthy mandate (87%), Arafat has failed his people on numerous occasions. This is more eloquently detailed here :
This morning I was listening to a member of the House of Representatives speaking on WOR’s morning radio show. I didn’t catch his name, but the point of his interview was to actually list the current world leaders the USA must assassinate. He also listed leaders we should have assassinated in the past.
Specifically, the representative called for the heads of both Saddam and Arafat, claiming (if I may paraphrase) that these two are the cause of all the troubles in the Middle East and that once liberated from them, the people of Iraq and Palestine would be so grateful and indebted to the US that they’d have no trouble getting along with us and Israel.
Hearing the representative speak—and I’m trying to find out who he is— raised in my mind the same point you make in your comments about the Newsday article. Namely, aside from the fact that we’re much better armed and funded, there really is very little difference between the US and Al Qaeda, or Israel and Palestine for that matter.
I know this is not a new notion, but hearing an actual member of our government openly talk about killing heads-of-state on a radio show really drove it home. Keep in mind this is not some tiny, independent station, but the flagship affiliate of huge multimedia conglomerate. What’s worse, the host of the show, Ed Walsh, and the few callers I heard chime in on this were in complete agreement with the congressman.
Whether they realized it or not they all believed that the will of the United States is God’s will (or the natural order of things) and that only we have the right to kill and install leaders as we please because of that fact. Sound familiar? Though I guess you could say that another difference between the US and Al Qaeda is that the US promises prosperity in this life, not the next.
“Crush through mostly violent means any sign of anti- Americanism, no matter the cause, no matter that we can’t actually pinpoint the source, no matter that we claim to be the most peaceful and progressive and intellectually advanced superpower on Earth. Be pre- emptive and destructive and bomb-happy, or be a tree-hugging traitorous liberal commie sympathizer. There is no in-between. ”
However, he misinterprets the true irony because he says the Bush administrations plans “…to turn America from a place of nonpanicky relatively calm defense…”, which, quite plainly, it hasn’t been for at least the last 100 years, if you’ve read any unbiased history. The true irony is not that the policy is going into effect, it’s that it’s been in effect, but it’s now finally safe to announce it because the American people, in their fear, will wholeheartedly embrace it.
He closes with a summation of our new policy:
“And as the saying goes, if you don’t like the way America drives, stay off the damn sidewalk.”
“When we see bloodshed, terror and destruction born of such generous enthusiasms as the love of God, love of Christ, love of a nation, compassion for the oppressed and so on, we usually blame this shameful perversion on a cynical, power-hungry leadership. Actually, it is the unification set in motion by these enthusiasms, rather than the manipulations of a scheming leadership, that transmutes noble impulses into a reality of hatred and violence. The de-individualization which is a prerequisite for thorough integration and selfless dedication is also, to a considerable extent, a process of dehumanization.” − Eric Hoffer, from the True Believer
In 1992 a crazed mob razed the Babri Masjid to the ground. I still recall TV images of fanatical compulsion on the faces of the mob that took the structure down to its last brick. Ten years later, in early March of this year, a similarly crazed but significantly larger mob turned its annihilation onto the hapless victims of Gujarat. It dismembered, bludgeoned and razed them much as was done to the mosque a decade ago.
Bloodshed along the Hindu Muslim fault line in India is nothing new. And to be sure, both sides have been active participants. However, recent violence is unprecedented in the extent of the complicity of law enforcement and by the underlying passions that have fueled its scope and audacity.
Fundamentalist Hindu political parties used the destruction of the mosque and its long, simmering aftermath to espouse national and chauvinistic values. It helped the cause of the then emerging Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Today, while the BJP’s hold on the national government is shaky, it is no coincidence that Gujarat is the only major state where it has power. It is also not a coincidence that in the state elections held a few days before the violence began, BJP lost significant ground across the country. A rampant exercise of power and violence helps to invigorate support and pride.
On April 30th BJP survived a censure vote in the parliament, by 276-182. Its 27 allies in the coalition did not withdraw support in any way, despite having a secular agenda. These events will be surpassed if their perpetrators remain politically unchallenged. Although the BJP lost a lot of ground in recent elections, it can still get away with what transpired in Gujarat. That can only mean more horror is to follow on the road from destroying symbolic buildings to annihilating human beings.
Fascist violence always evokes comparisons with Nazi Germany, the prime illustration of the life cycle of such fascist mass movement. Historically, as Arundhati Roy notes, “fascist movements have been fuelled by feelings of national disillusionment. Fascism has come to India after the dreams that fuelled the Freedom Struggle have been frittered away like so much loose change. “ And historically, many of these movements have destroyed themselves, and in it have been vehicles of change. Are we to witness another such life cycle in India? Roy suggests that “Fascism itself can only be turned away if all those who are outraged by it show a commitment to social justice that equals the intensity of their indignation.” Unfortunately, humanity is not as infectious as a supply of false pride. Protest and outrage, no matter how intense, are a dissipation of righteousness, though they are essential starting points in building alternative change.
For more details on the pogroms, look at the Human Rights Watch report. It has information on the origins of the Hindu fundamentalist parties as well as chilling eye witness accounts.
“In “‘Harmless’ Marijuana? Don’t Bet Your Life on It” [Viewpoints, May 3], John P. Walters makes a mistake common to the drug-warriors. He compares the problems of the illegal recreational drug-user to those of his opposite − the abstainer − rather than to those of the legal recreational drug-user.”
“America’s alcohol-advertising tobacco-subsidizing society has declared war on adults using recreational drugs other than the two deadliest to kill the inconvenient pain and unhappiness in the sanctity of their bodies.”
“Our very criminal “justice system” is obviously afraid that non-alcohol/tobacco drugs aren’t harmful enough without the state multiplying their costs from pennies to twenties, from years wasted on Cloud Nine to years wasted in hate-filled TB-ridden prison cages with rapists and murderers, and from zero-to-five days’ withdrawal to lifelong ex-con status in a society that casually excuses its mayors’ and presidents’ “youthful indiscretions” as it drugs millions of schoolchildren daily with Ritalin and other legal prescriptions, then imprisons those youths for “corrupting America’s morals” when they graduate to non-prescribed mood elevators.”
“College students who form friendships and social groupings according to their drug of choice should not “grow up” to encage each other on such an insane basis as America’s drug-warrior policy.”
“- Haig Cedric Timourian Manhattan”
SatireWire published Closed Disinformation Agency Can’t Convince Staff It’s Closed, which does Joseph Heller proud with Rumsfeld playing the role of Major Major and a subordinate filling in for Milo.
““We got ya, sir, we’re ‘closed’,” said a winking Major Chad Brumley when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld found him at his desk again today. “There is no one here spreading misinformation now, and certainly there won’t be anyone here spreading misinformation daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sir.””
*Hushed, Stunned Silence*
<q>Four nongovernmental translators worked on the tape Wednesday to try to provide a “thorough” and “accurate” translation despite the tape’s poor audio quality and instances of more than one person speaking at once, officials said. … U.S. officials said bin Laden’s actions in the tape make it clear he had advance knowledge of the planning and details of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.</q>
So let me get this straight. It’s in Arabic. There are a lot of other people talking. The audio is of “poor” quality. It even cuts out from time to time. It’s only being translated now. And our fearless leader, George Bush, has said that the tape is good enough proof for him?
I always thought that he didn’t speak English well. Now I realize it’s because it’s, at best, his second language, with fluent Arabic coming in first.
Feds to Free Egyptian Held in Attacks on December 11 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The government agreed Tuesday to release a 19-year-old Egyptian man who was taken into custody after Sept. 11 and held for weeks even after he was cleared of involvement in the terrorist attacks, his lawyer said.
Mohamed Omar was on a six-month tourist visa when he was detained by federal agents Sept. 18 for working illegally at a gas station owned by a friend’s father.
He was questioned and cleared of criminal involvement by the FBI and approved for release by an immigration judge a week later, but remained locked up for 11 weeks without explanation, said his attorney, Sohail Mohammed.
CNN has a decent article as well at Critics of new terror measures undermine effort. To Ashcroft’s rhetoric:
<q>To those who pit Americans against immigrants, citizens against non-citizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. … They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.</q>
Senator Leahy responds:
<q>The need for congressional oversight is not — as some mistakenly describe it — to protect terrorists, … It is to protect Americans and protect our American freedoms that you and everyone in this room cherish so much. And every single American has a stake in protecting our freedoms.</q>
<q>It’s been three years since Congress discussed removing the government of Afghanistan to make way for an oil pipeline, five months since the US Government told India there would be an invasion of Afghanistan in October, four months since BBC heard about the planned invasion of Afghanistan, nine months since Jane’s Defense got word of the planned invasion of Afghanistan, and of course, only two months since the attacks on the World Trade Towers that got the American people angered into support of the war that everybody on the planet BUT Americans had been told was on the way.</q>
Make sure to note the dates on many of the linked articles. Seems the invasion of Afghanistan comes as a surprise only to us.
I’ve actually found this article now, at Pilger’s web site.
<q> President George W. Bush is expected to sign the order shortly. A White House aide said that the Supreme Court held in 1977 that former presidents can continue to assert privileges for their records and that the order will simply establish “a procedure by which they can protect their rights.” The aide said “great deference” will be paid to their wishes. … “The majority of former presidents have released virtually all of their records,” the aide added. “This executive order does nothing to change that.”</q>
<q>The left is getting itself tied up in knots about the Just War and the propriety of bombing Afghanistan. I suspect some are intimidated by laptop bombardiers and kindred bullyboys handing out white feathers and snarling about “collaborators” and being “soft on fascism.” A recent issue of The Nation carried earnest efforts by Richard Falk and an editorial writer to mark out “the relevant frameworks of moral, legal and religious restraint” to be applied to the lethal business of attacking Afghans. I felt sorry for Falk as he clambered through his moral obstacle course. This business of trying to define a just war against Afghanistan is what C. Wright Mills used to call crackpot realism.</q>