Monthly Archives: January, 2005

Ohio is still the heart of it all

Several volunteer workers in the Ohio recount in Clermont County, Ohio, have prepared affidavits alleging serious tampering, violations of state and federal law and possible fraud. They name the Republican chief of Clermont’s Board of Elections, Daniel Bare, and the head of the Clermont Democratic Party, Priscilla O’Donnell, as complicit in these acts.

“These volunteers, observing the recount on behalf of the Greens, Libertarians and Democrats, assert that during the Dec. 14, 2004, hand recount, they noticed stickers covering the Kerry/Edwards oval, whereas the Bush/Cheney oval seemed to be ‘colored in.’”

See related post: “‘If we do not suppress the Detroit vote’ — for Ohio, substitute the Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, or Toledo vote — ‘we’re going to have a tough time in this election cycle.’”

"We’ve been taken over by a cult."

Seymour Hersh interviewed on Democracy Now! Jan. 26, 2005

“One of the things that you could say is, the amazing thing is, we have been taken over, basically, by a cult; eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how, and why, and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now. But they managed to overcome the bureaucracy, and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our democracy is [or, as Chomsky might assert, how nonexistent]. You do have to wonder what a democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way…

“Since we installed our puppet government, this man Allawi — who was a member of the Mukabarat, the secret police of Saddam, and is basically Saddam-lite — since we have installed him on June 28… [in each month since that time], one thing has happened: the number of sorties, and the number of tonnage dropped, has grown exponentially each month. We are systematically bombing [Iraq].

“There are no embedded journalists at Doha*, the Air Force base I think we’re operating out of. No embedded journalists at the aircraft carrier, USS Harry Truman. That’s the aircraft carrier that I think is doing many of the operational fights. There’s no air defense in Iraq, so it’s simply a turkey shoot. They come and hit what they want. We know nothing. We don’t ask. We’re not told. We know nothing about the extent of bombing. So if they’re going to carry out an election and if they’re going to succeed, bombing is going to be key to it, which means that what happened in Fallujah, essentially Iraq — some of you remember Vietnam — Iraq is being turn into a ‘free-fire zone’ right in front of us. Hit everything, kill everything.

“I have a friend in the Air Force, a colonel, who had the awful task of being an urban bombing planner, planning urban bombing, to make urban bombing be as unobtrusive as possible. I think it was three weeks ago today, three weeks ago Sunday after Fallujah, I called him at home… He has one of those caller I.D.s, and he picked up the phone and he said, ‘Welcome to Stalingrad.’ We know what we’re doing. This is deliberate. It’s being done. They’re not telling us. They’re not talking about it…

“The press is nowhere. The Congress is nowhere. The military is nowhere. Every four-star general I know is saying, ‘Who is going to tell them we have no clothes?’ Nobody is going to do it. Everybody is afraid to tell Rumsfeld anything. That’s just the way it is. It’s a system built on fear. It’s not lack of integrity, it’s more profound than that. Because there is individual integrity. It’s a system that’s completely been taken over — by cultists.

“Anyway, what’s going to happen, I think, as the casualties mount and these stories get around, and the mothers see the cost, and the fathers see the cost, as the kids come home… and the wounded ones come back, and there’s wards that you will never hear about. There’s ward after ward of vegetables because the brain injuries are so enormous. We’re going to learn more and I think you’re going to see, it’s going to — it’s — I’m trying to be optimistic. We’re going to see a bottom-swelling from inside the ranks. You’re beginning to see it. What happened with the soldiers asking those questions, you may see more of that. I’m not suggesting we’re going to have mutinies, but I’m going to suggest you’re going to see more dissatisfaction being expressed. Maybe that will [cause Bush to alter his course of action].

“Another salvation may be the economy. It’s going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick. And the third thing is Europe — Europe is not going to tolerate us much longer. The rage there is enormous. I’m talking about our old-fashioned allies. We could see something there, collective action against us. It’s going to be an awful lot of dancing on our graves as the dollar goes bad and everybody stops buying our bonds, our credit — our — we’re spending $2 billion a day to float the debt, and one of these days, the Japanese and the Russians, everybody is going to start buying oil in Euros instead of dollars.** We’re going to see enormous panic here. But Bush could get through that. That will be another year, and the damage he’s going to do between then and now is enormous.”

* I talked about my time in Qatar with a woman I’d worked with briefly last summer. In response to her question about if I saw any American military presence there, I said “The only thing I saw were the F-16s roaring across the harbor, which happened about every day, flying off to the northwest.” And that was enough to see in itself.

** I believe that I read — or was told by a pharmacist in Cleveland — that Iraq was interested in selling its oil based on the euro, and this was an impetus for the invasion. I’ll have to search some more, but I want to say that Iran has been trading on the euro, or wants to do so. (See: BUSH’S DEEP REASONS FOR WAR ON IRAQ: OIL, PETRODOLLARS, AND THE OPEC EURO QUESTION)

Also, a scenario that has Europe, Japan and Russia become economically dominant — and take over a destabilized US economy — is briefly described in Olivia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower,” which tells a story that sometimes comes back to mind as prophecy.

Unless…

Control Room

Finally got to see Control Room (available via NetFlix) this weekend. It was only in theatres here (WA) for a few days and not in any that were close (Olympia and Langley).

It’s a documentary on Al Jazeera. I came away with confirmed feelings that Al Jazeera isn’t all that reputable a news source. At best AJ follows the worst practices of junk yards like Fox – at worst it’s even more sensationalistic – which is pretty much confirmed reading their news website daily. Just another hoar to it’s ratings. It’s too bad that the occasionally interesting Arab view is lost in an ocean of such sensationalistic reporting. I was really hoping AJ would become the BBC for the Arab world. That a documentary about AJ made them look this bad was kind of suprising. (flame suit on :) – I know how many people here think AJ is the shit)

Interesting views on how things worked at CentCom during the early parts of the war.

The documentary did do a good job of covering the simultaneous strikes on AJ and Al Abi (sp?) news locations in Baghdad early in the war. This documentaries coverage of those incidents leaves one hard pressed to believe that this was anything other than the US trying to silence Arab news channels. Although the Centcom media handler makes a good point [paraphrasing] “if we wanted to silence Arab news we have many electronic means that wouldn’t give Arab news such a sensationalistic story”. Anyway – it’s kind of hard to believe this was an accident.

Control Room is worth checking out if you get a chance. Interesting views you don’t see in American media very often.

Vote For Food



The cowardly and corrupt bush administration, working along with the dirty allow(ie) government is coercing Iraqis to vote. The allow(ie) puppets are threatening Iraqis who don’t vote that they will not get their monthly food rations.

The bush gang can do anything to reach to their goals.

I mean ANYTHING.

It is well known all over Iraq now that if you didn’t go to vote, the government will cut your monthly food rations.

–that was from Raed in the Middle

See also: Baghdad Burning: “People in many areas are being told that if they don’t vote- Sunnis and Shia alike- the food and supply rations we are supposed to get monthly will be cut off. We’ve been getting these rations since the beginning of the nineties and for many families, it’s their main source of sustenance. What sort of democracy is it when you FORCE people to go vote for someone or another they don’t want?”

. . . Meanwhile, turn on the news in America, and all you hear are harpsichords–all playing the same damn tune: “Praise Bush! He has Done It! Despite all Liberal Obstacles! The World is one Democracy Brighter! Hallejuh Praise the Lord–the One True Lord–OUR LORD–and don’t you forget it!”

"The Iraqi election will change the world…but not in the way the US wanted."

Shias are about to inherit Iraq, but the election that will bring them to power is creating deep fears among the Arab kings and dictators of the Middle East that their Sunni leadership is under threat.

“Outside of Iraq, Arab leaders are talking of a ‘Shia Crescent’ that will run from Iran through Iraq to Lebanon via Syria, whose Alawite leadership forms a branch of Shia Islam. The underdogs of the Middle East, repressed under the Ottomans, the British and then the pro-Western dictators of the region, will be a new and potent political force.

“While Shia political parties in Iraq have promised that they will not demand an Islamic republic — their speeches suggest that they have no desire to recreate the Iranian revolution in their country — their inevitable victory in an election that Iraq’s Sunnis will largely boycott mean that this country will become the first Arab nation to be led by Shias.

“On the surface, this may not be apparent; Iyad Allawi, the former CIA agent and current Shia ‘interim’ Prime Minister, is widely tipped as the only viable choice for the next prime minister — but the kings and emirs of the Gulf are facing the prospect with trepidation.

“In Bahrain, a Sunni monarchy rules over a Shia majority that staged a mini-insurrection in the 1990s. Saudi Arabia has long treated its Shia minority with suspicion and repression.

“In the Arab world, they say that God favoured the Shia with oil. Shias live above the richest oil reserves in Saudi Arabia and upon some of the Kuwaiti oil fields. Apart from Mosul, Iraqi Shias live almost exclusively amid their own country’s massive oil fields. Iran’s oil wealth is controlled by the country’s overwhelming Shia majority.

“What does all this presage for the Sunni potentates of the Arabian peninsula? Iraq’s new national assembly and the next interim government it selects will empower Shias throughout the region, inviting them to question why they, too, cannot be given a fair share of their countries’ decision-making.”

Iraqi Democracy is a Progressive Value

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Friends of Democracy is a new web site that’s sprung up to cover and document the Iraq election and political efforts. Unabashedly pro-democracy, it offers the antithesis of the insurgency’s chaos. It may be a propaganda front, but it’s offering a look at Iraq that I haven’t seen, including on-the-ground reporting (with photos) of the run-up to the election.

From the vision statement: “By our hands, work, thoughts, sacrifice we will build up the new Iraq.

Our home is open for every friend of democracy and they are many in Iraq.

We are the hope of the rest of peoples which longed for freedom and they are looking with the eye of hope to the Iraqi sample.

Let us show them a shining sample and let us remind them that we are the ones of the first code of laws. Let them share us to work with full efforts to push forward the democracy process in Iraq.”

[...]

“We endeavor to link the non governmental organizations (NGO’s), students groups, women organizations and the individuals through a network to exchange experience and thoughts to push forward democracy process in Iraq.

We won’t be isolated islands from now on.

We are stronger in sharing opinions and exchanging information and experience.

You are not alone, friends of democracy exist all over Iraq and now you are with them in every moment.

Our weapon: the word and free opinion.”

If this is a Negroponte psyops job, it’s a good one. While the U.S. invasion of Iraq, built on a foundation of brutishness and lies, has created a panoply of tragedies, I am beginning to believe that only through empowering the Iraqi democratic forces will any good ever come of this misadventure. FoD offers a picture of what Iraq might look like should leaders guided by enlightened democracy come to the forefront.

The same sentiment might be offered regarding any resistance movement in any nation. Should the cream rise to the top, then things could work out. The U.S. military and state department can not make this happen. No one knows how to make this happen, but FoD offers a mustard seed of hope.

Like Howard Dean’s “You have the power” mantra and recent voyage into the esoteric, “I’m not much of a Zen guy, but I’ve learned that the best way to gain power is to give it away”, the best way forward in this mess’o’potamia lies in struggling to establish a true democracy in Iraq.

I know, I know. There’s bodies everywhere. Hatred that will last generations has been birthed. A training camp for budding terrorists has been created. People don’t even have basic services like water and electricity. Ba’athists armed with the weapons we didn’t secure roam the streets, killing innocents and soldiers alike. U.S. and other “coalition” forces kill insurgents and innocents. Confusion, violence, and uncertainty are running the show, to be sure.

But with world opinion (rightly, in most cases) turned against us, we must find a way to turn power over to forward thinking, energetic Iraqis and then get the hell out of there. It’s unlikely that John Negroponte is going to be too happy to do this. It’s unlikely that anything but a series of U.S. stooges will preside over Iraq, but if liberals / progressives are going to work for anything in Iraq it ought to be peace, democracy, and true sovereignty.

Here at home, we’ve got to have our own regime change, and I have the same aspirations for our nation that I have for the Iraqis. I am incensed and outraged at the atrocities being perpetrated with my money and in my name both at home and abroad. We must support any and every true democratic efforts in Iraq, and we must push to create a progressive America here at home.

It’s only insurgents, terrorists, George W. Bush and his administration, a comatose media, religious nationalism, the distrust of the world, apathy, and a dozen other things we’ve got to overcome. Daunted? Me too. To think that freedom and democracy might take hold in Iraq is terrifically naive, but what else will we support and work towards? While cursing every darkness, the left can also light a candle of solidarity with those who aspire to be free.

People are fungible. Draft up some more.

Thanks to Larua Rozen of War and Piece, we now have this wonderful January 28, 2005 PNAC Letter to Congress on Increasing U.S. Ground Forces.

Be sure to note both the intended recipients and the signatories.

Special merit goes to signatory Max Boot. Boot’s January 27 article in the LA Times, Digging Into Seymour Hersh slams Seymore Hersh’s New Yorker expose The Coming Wars. In his column, Boot claims Hersh … is the journalistic equivalent of Oliver Stone: a hard-left zealot who subscribes to the old counterculture conceit that a deep, dark conspiracy is running the U.S. government. … It’s hard to know why anyone would take seriously a “reporter” whose writings are so full of, in Ted Kennedy’s words, “maliciousness and innuendo.” That Hersh remains a revered figure in American journalism suggests that the media have yet to recover from the paranoid style of the 1960s.

Boot’s column came out AFTER the substance of Hersh’s article had been confirmed. Hersh needn’t expect an apology any time soon.

Max Boot: it’s hard to know why anyone would take seriously a “reporter” whose writings are so full of it.

[Update: I was so busy pissing on Max's boots that I forgot to mention the more important aspect of the PNAC letter: it seems they feel the need to go around George W. Bush to get what they want. Something going on behind the scenes we need to know about? Hmmm...]

If MEMRI serves, or if it serves MEMRI

This absurd article from the Tehran Times, headed “Lies of the Holocaust Industry”, is now about three days old and it has already been gleefully reproduced in maybe 8 Zionist websites including, of course, MEMRI. It is so mealy mouthed it’s hard to draw specific claims from it that are not undermined within the article itself. For example the writer, Hossein Amiri, says:

No one is trying to ignore the suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis, but the suffering of a religious/ethnic group should not cause the world to forget the suffering of another nation or allow those who suffered persecution to do the same injustice to another nation.

Now as a soundbite to reject the notion of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine being, in any way, a just recompense on account of six million Jews being murdered by the Nazis, that may have been fair enough. But Amiri is trying to ignore “the suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis”, thus:

After the end of the war in 1945, the Allies along with Zionist leaders began formulating strange conceptions about the killing of Jews at Nazi camps which a modern man can hardly accept. By conjuring up images of gas chambers, they are attempting to convey the idea that the Jews have undergone indescribable torture and that the world’s conscience should be awakened to this issue so that the Jews are not subjected to injustice again.

And this:

The revisionist historians have proven in two decades of study that if Hitler had carried out a systematic program to eradicate the Jews, it would have taken more time than the six years that the war lasted. They have also proven that such an act of ethnic cleansing through the use of the poison gas Zyklon-B, as the Zionists claim, was not possible at the time.

“Revionist historians” is an expression that puts a respectable veneer on that ragbag of wacky flat-earth society eccentrics and neo-Nazis we call holocaust deniers. There are too many of these around it’s true but it’s mostly the Zionists who give them the publicity they definitely don’t deserve. But then Amiri drifts into full-blown libel territory when he lumps Norman Finkestein in with the deniers, so:

Norman J. Finkelstein, a Jewish professor at New York University critical of Zionist policies, has called the claim [that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis] the “Holocaust Industry”, which is only meant to boost support for the government of Israel.

This is far worse than oversimplification. It’s a lie. No, it’s worse than a lie. Finkestein’s only assertion about claims made by the “holocaust industry” about the holocaust itself, is not that the numbers killed have been exaggerated, but that the number, reproductive capacity and longevity of the survivors, has been exaggerated. Professor Finkelstein argues that this exaggeration of the number of survivors comes close to holocaust denial as the more survivors there were, the lower the number killed. And this exaggeration is used to extort money from European states and companies. He does say that the holocaust is used to deflect criticism from Israel and he argues against holocaust uniqueness claims, but nowhere does he suggest that the holocaust involved any less killing of Jews than other reputable historians do, nor does he question the methods used.

What’s so bewildering about the mentality underlying this article is that it is so politically, and indeed logically, infantile. The writer correctly states that the holocaust does not justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, he then goes on to minimise the holocaust thereby giving ammunition to the Zionist movement. In other words, he serves MEMRI.

Republicans Push For ‘In God We Trust’ Banners In Libraries

[Pasco Republican leader Bill] Bunting recently asked county commissioners to hang banners with the inscription “In God We Trust,” along with American flags, in public meeting rooms at the county’s seven libraries.

“It’s very simple. It’s not political. It involves all parties,” Bunting said this week. “This country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. If you’re an atheist, and you don’t like it, you can put a banner over it and take [the banner] down when you leave.”

[Quick tool kit for countering the notion that the USA was founded as a 'Judeo-Christian' nation: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)... and so on. Or you could keep it simple, non-politial, and inclusive of all parties by simply not hanging the banner in the first place.]

As Texas Judge, Gonzales Heard Donors’ Cases

When White House counsel Alberto Gonzales was a Texas Supreme Court justice running to stay in office in 2000, he took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from companies that had business before him and he did not recuse himself from voting on their cases.

The practice is legal in Texas, and Gonzales was not the only judge to benefit from it. But his record in 2000 — when he raised $539,000 for the Republican primary, outraising his opponent by a 1,047-to-1 ratio — drew special criticism from an Austin-based group that tracks the influence of money on government.

Gonzales’s nomination to be US attorney general was approved yesterday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which voted 10-8 on party lines to send his confirmation to the Senate floor. Criticism of his nomination has focused on his role in formulating the Bush administration’s policies on torture and interrogations.

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