Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Disneyland-Style Theme Park Set for Baghdad. Honest to God - MotherJones

No... No joke.

But the following snippet from the satirical portion of this presentation about sums it up:

The construction began in November 2003 on a site that had once contained a set of apartment blocks, a school and a public library, but had been conveniently levelled by US bombs.

Thousands of Iraqis showed their support for the project by lining up for jobs. "I need this for my starving wife and children," one man happily told a Fox News crew.

"I have a doctorate in applied mathematics and was affluent before the war, but now the only chance we have for survival is for Disney to hire me to shovel asphalt."
Sadly, this man and twenty-four others were killed by a suicide bomber a few minutes after giving this interview.
[In full @ the bottom of this post]

Disneyland-Style Theme Park Set for Baghdad. Honest to God


Satire becomes reality. In the preview for "War, Inc." that Bruce posted below, private contractor John Cusack executes a war for the American government and then watches bewilderedly as a hip-hop star and her entourage invade the country right behind him.

Soon English-language billboards and bumper stickers are everywhere.

That's ridiculous, right? An over-the-top display of how the encroachment of American culture and capitalism works. Leftist Hollywood hysteria.

Guess again, sucker: "[Llewellyn] Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum.

It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland. "The people need this kind of positive influence. It’s going to have a huge psychological impact," Mr Werner said.

The 50-acre (20 hectare) swath of land sits adjacent to the Green Zone and encompasses Baghdad's existing zoo, which was looted, left without power and abandoned after the American-led invasion in 2003...

More @ MoJo

Also, this from September 2005... A Send-Up... I think...
But after reading the MoJo piece one HAS to wonder:

Disney Delays Opening of Baghdad Theme Park
by Nikolai Stephens, Thu. 8 Sep 2005

In a shock move, the Disney Corporation have decided to delay the opening date of their new theme park in Baghdad, Iraq. The opening date, previously set for September 12th, will be postponed indefinitely according to Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

"We regret that many will be inconvenienced by this decision. I know the Iraqi people's deepest wish has been to have an opportunity to partake in the Disney dream, but economic and social practicalities unfortunately mean that it will be some time yet before Baghdad Disney is a reality."

The theme park was set to be the shining light of Iraq's reconstruction and had been one of President George Bush's favourite projects since the American invasion. In May, 2003, immediately after he announced "Mission Accomplished', he outlined his dream of a Baghdad Disney that would be a beacon of American values and ideas throughout the Middle East.

"Baghdad Disney will attract all of the Arab world population to marvel at its glories. It'll be almost like being in Florida, with lots of sand and old people and an enormous theme park with rides and talking, walking animals," he told sailors on the aircraft carrier Missouri.

The construction began in November 2003 on a site that had once contained a set of apartment blocks, a school and a public library, but had been conveniently levelled by US bombs. Thousands of Iraqis showed their support for the project by lining up for jobs. "I need this for my starving wife and children," one man happily told a Fox News crew. "I have a doctorate in applied mathematics and was affluent before the war, but now the only chance we have for survival is for Disney to hire me to shovel asphalt."

Sadly, this man and twenty-four others were killed by a suicide bomber a few minutes after giving this interview. "So many good people have died for this noble cause," George Bush announced in January this year at a New York promotional banquet organised and funded by Disney. "That's why we have to keep with this thing until the end - we owe it to all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of true freedom and the ability to ride the dodge'm cars."

However, in recent months the project has been plagued with problems. Persistent attacks from insurgents, equipment failure and cultural misunderstandings have all hampered the process. Last month Disney, as part of a promotional campaign, hired and trained locals to dress up as Donald Duck, Goofy and Mickey Mouse. They paraded through the streets of Baghdad dancing to a brass band.

Unfortunately, certain fundamentalist Shiite groups consider a dog wearing a hat to be sacrilegious. A riot occurred as the parade passed through the Shiite slum, Sadr City. Thousands of angry men attacked the parade and the participants fled, the band leaving their instruments in the street in their haste. Unfortunately, Goofy and Donald, slowed by their novelty costumes, were caught by the irate mob and beaten to death with brass wind instruments. Mickey has not been seen since and is believed to have fled the country.

However, despite these setbacks and the delay, Michael Eisner is adamant that Baghdad Disney will one day be a reality. "It has to be finished. The White House and the Pentagon will not rest until it is completed and open to the public, and that's not just because Dick Cheney has bought stock in Disney recently. Our government realises the importance of Bagdad Disney for the future economic well being of Iraq. George Bush was saying to me just the other day that, without a Disneyland, what possible reason would there be for anyone to go to a God-forsaken heap of sand and rubble once all the oil has been siphoned off..."

At this moment Eisner's press conference was interrupted by Secret Service agents and he was escorted off the premises. The Pentagon later stated that they believed Islamic extremists were planning to launch a terrorist attack on the building, and it was for this reason that the press conference was ended. Eisner later released a statement declaring that the stress of the possible attack had scrambled his brain and his comments regarding Bush and Cheney were totally inaccurate.

Source (That link is dead and gone. Try here for an Alternet business commentator's view of the investment's risks.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Penis theft panic! - Reuters

Penis Theft 101:
TEETH - The Trailer

"Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.

Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.

"You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We've had a number of attempted lynchings. ... You see them covered in marks after being beaten," Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. The 27 men have since been released.

"I'm tempted to say it's one huge joke," Oleko said.

"But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent.

To that I tell them, 'How do you know if you haven't gone home and tried it',"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Da' Feds to collect DNA from every person they arrest - AP

You don't have to be a felon anymore... Just federally accused and arrested.

...and in a country which imprisons more people per capita than anyone else in the world...

...that wouldn't be hard...

Or for that matter, just get arrested for peacefully protesting the illegal invasion of Iraq whilst on Federal government property.

Squat on federal land...

There have to be thousands of things that people do every day that violate federal laws.

(Smoke pot on the local post office steps...)

Also consider


as motivation:

“For some groups, the incarceration numbers are especially startling,” the report said. “While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine.”

The racial disparity for women also is stark. One of every 355 white women aged 35 to 39 is behind bars, compared with one of every 100 black women in that age group. (Elaboration on this and more if you click the picture or link above)

Read: Feds to collect DNA from every person they arrest - AP via Y! News

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Buffalo Musings On Incipient Police-Stateism - FEMA Contracts With AMTRAK For "Evacuation" Services

Clipped from a couple of the Travus T. Hipp summaries @ My Buffalo River Home over the last couple of years:
October 10, 2007
Mass population relocation in the United States? The U.S. government is going to buy out 17,000 homes in Mississippi in the 'hurricane belt'. See Executive Order 11004 - Relocation of communities and designating new population centers in the U.S, or here if you don't think the federal government has the law on the books (since the FDR administration) to do this.
Need a visual signifier?:


Folks, If you're waiting for 'rescue', AMTRAK trains are NEVER on time...

Nor were the trains that took people to the camps in Nazi Germany:


...and this method of transport probably wouldn't be of any help in environmental disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding etc because of the physical fragility of the infrastructure (like track damage), but it would be the PERFECT way to 'mass re-locate' large populations...

There Have Been

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

"peace is our profession," "war is our hobby." - Leaving (but never REALLY leaving) Cheyenne Mountain - William Astore, War Games

Gee Whiz! Wish I Had One Of Those!
posted April 17, 2008 11:04 am
William Astore, War Games

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), has taught at the Air Force Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. He now teaches at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
In 1986, the year President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev teetered on the brink of eliminating superpower nuclear weapons at their summit meeting in Reykjavik, I participated in a computerized war game inside Cheyenne Mountain. It ended in a simulated nuclear attack against the United States.

By today's standards, our computers were primitive leviathans: IBM mainframes with old-fashioned tape drives -- roughly the size of jumbo, sub-zero refrigerators in today's McMansions; they had disc drives or "packs" roughly the size of dishwashers. Our computer screens were a monochromatic green. From a Hollywood special-effects perspective, they were poorly lit and relentlessly boring -- not at all like the glitzy nuclear war room in the 1983 film WarGames that starred a fresh-faced Matthew Broderick.

As those monochromatic missile tracks crossed the Arctic Circle and began to terminate at various U.S. cities, the mood among the battle staff grew reflective. Yes, it was only a game, but everyone present knew that nuclear Armageddon with the Soviet Union was possible, and that it would kill tens, perhaps even hundreds of millions of people in both countries. That day, in that command center, we were virtual witnesses to our worst nightmare: a nuclear holocaust that might not only destroy our country and the Soviet Union, but perhaps civilization as we knew it.

How We Never Left Cheyenne Mountain

When the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in 1989, few people were more surprised than our intelligence agencies and our military (myself included). After putting decades of thought and planning into mutually assured destruction, after planning not just to fight but to win nuclear wars, we now faced a brighter, potentially less nuclear, or even non-nuclear future. And all this had come about -- under the shadow of true global terror -- without a Department of Homeland Security, or an Orwellian "Patriot Act," or so many of the other accoutrements of our present homeland security moment. (Without, in fact, even the emotive, vaguely un-American word "homeland" being in use.) Indeed, when it was over, we claimed victory on the very basis that our freedoms -- and our political system -- were stronger than our rival's...

In Full @ Tomgram: William Astore, War Games

This piece is a shared venture of Tomdispatch on-line and the Nation magazine in print. Tom

Friday, April 18, 2008

Isn't That Special? Israeli Politician Says 9/11 Benefitted Israel - Informed Comment

"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," adding that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor." [src]

Ollie North, American War

Criminal with Netanyahu

From Juan Cole's Informed Comment
Far rightwing Israeli politician Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud party says that 9/11 was good for Israel. Even if it were true, couldn't Netanyahu have the decency not to say it? Netanyahu also made crazy allegations against Iran of preparing for global domination or something. Hmmm. I should have thought people who are the objects of bizarre conspiracy theories themselves would be sensitive about spreading them around about other people. Iran isn't even very powerful in its own neighborhood and has not aggressively invaded another country in its modern history. It isn't colonizing anyone else's land and hasn't dropped bombs on its neighbors. It doesn't have an atomic bomb and there is no evidence it is seeking one. In all these ways, the contrasts favor Iran over the Israeli Right.

More @ Juan Cole's Informed Comment

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Proxy War - Iran says U.S. aids rebels at its borders - Los Angeles Times

Iran says U.S. aids rebels at its borders

The violence may be driving Tehran's efforts to back its own allies in Iraq.

By Borzou Daragahi
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 15, 2008

"Analysts say the anti-Iranian groups are tempting assets for the U.S. They say it would be a surprise if the groups were not receiving U.S. funding, but that the strategy would probably not work.

"It will give more encouragement to Iran's hard-liners to step up their own efforts to assist anti-American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst now at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Among the most active groups is the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, known by its Kurdish acronym, PEJAK. It has hundreds of well-trained fighters along with camps in northern Iraq.

Iranian soldiers guarding the border are sometimes ambushed by PEJAK fighters. Iran responds with artillery attacks that send Iraqi villagers scurrying for cover. Border skirmishes last summer and fall between Iranian security forces and PEJAK left dozens dead on both sides.

PEJAK emerged this decade as an Iranian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, an armed group formed to fight a separatist war against the Turkish government.

Former members say PEJAK was meant to circumvent Western restrictions on contacts with the PKK, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and the European Union."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wanna 'Play'? Know Your Players... al-Maliki Tries To "Kick Out The JAMS" In Iraq: The tangled web of Shia politics

OK Ok... Me Bad... The MC5 Would have most likely been Kickin' it WITH the JAMS, considering they were the 'musical wing' of the vehemently anti-imperialist White Panther Party


First... Sitrep & setup from Juan Cole's Informed Comment
Saturday, April 12, 2008

Najaf under Curfew;
As Sadr Brother-in-Law Killed;
13 Killed in Baghdad Clashes

Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that the Shiite holy city of Najaf is under a strict curfew after a drive by shooting that killed Riyad al-Nuri, the head of the Sadr office in that city. Nuri was Muqtada al-Sadr's brother-in-law, married to one of al-Sadr's sistsers. On of Nuri's sisters is married to Murtada al-Sadr, the younger brother of Muqtada.

Muqtada called on the Iraqi government to conduct an investigation into the death.

Sadrist spokesperson Salah al-Ubaydi called on Sadrists to show restraint.

Al-Zaman says that some have implicated al-Nuri in the murder of Abdul Majid Khoie on April 10, 2003.

Amit Paley at WaPo has more.

McClatchy positions the story with regard to Muqtada al-Sadr's assertion that the US was behind al-Nuri's death. The US denied the charge. McClatchy observes, "The timing of the killing — not even two weeks after more than 120 people died and at least 300 were wounded in fighting between Sadr's militiamen and government forces in the port city of Basra — raises the specter of a wider rebellion that could spread to Sadr's strongholds in Baghdad." In Full

From an ISN Security Watch Paper titled:
The tangled web of Shia politics

Badr Corps vs JAM

Aside from the government-JAM conflict, there is another equally important dynamic at work here. The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and its armed wing, the Badr Corps, are bent on destroying the power of the al-Sadr movement. What has added urgency to this strategy is the crucial provincial elections of October 2008.

In 2005, the Sadrists boycotted the local elections. Consequently, the ISCI won seven out of nine southern Shia governorates (that is, all but Maysan and Basra). Three years of economic mismanagement and graft by ISCI functionaries and their cronies, plus the Sadrists' continuing appeal to the mostly impoverished Shias of the south can easily translate into a huge electoral victory for the al-Sadr movement come this October - a prospect clearly dreaded by both the ISCI and al-Maliki. (Al-Maliki's own Dawa Party has no mass base to speak of.)

From the beginning, in 2003, the two main rival Shia groups - the ISCI and the al-Sadr movement - followed completely different political tracks.

The ISCI, which was formed in Iran in the 1980s, built an institutional alliance with the US to capture strategic positions in the state and security establishments. For example, its control over the Ministries of Treasury and Interior has brought it great political and financial dividends. It also has virtual control over the two holy cities of Karbala and Najaf with all the financial rewards and the prestige that is conferred on the custodians of the shrines.

The ISCI's social base consists of the Shia merchant classes of Karbala, Najaf and Baghdad (they happen to have long-standing links with their Iranian counterparts), Shia nouveau riche developers, and the Shia middle classes, including the secular variety - although the latter's number is dwindling fast thanks to migration.

In contrast, the al-Sadr movement has always oriented itself toward the poor and the disfranchised.

This view is seconded by an anonymous commenter @ Informed comment, and I.

This later round of fighting has clear motives . The populistic ,poor oriented , anti-occupation Mehdi Army is set to win elections by a landslide.

Colaborationist Maliki will try to provoke a civil war he hopes to win with the help of America and the SCIRI militias disguised as iraki soldiers. Maliki's plan is to , instead of elections , give irakis blood and bullets .

Sadr knows democracy will bring him victory , but Mahdi people can not surrender their weapons without been killed or imprisoned in no time . This weapons may be the only hope if America goes for permanent occupation (colonization).

That is why neutral grand ayatollah Sistani is silent about the Mahdi weapons and does not order Sadr to disarm . This weapons are the last hope of freedom for Irak and Sistani knows and remains silent. So Maliki and Bush viciously attack the Mehdi Army hoping Sadr will lift his cease fire and hell will get loose and elections be forgotten .

I pray Sadr will find a peacefull way out , but when the other side is trying to aniquilate (sic) you it is very difficult to find a peacefull outcome . I hope God will give Sadr wisdom for the task. Source

ISN Security Watch - Iraq: The tangled web of Shia politics

Friday, April 11, 2008

State Terror In America - FBI Agents Contacted Jurors After Mistrial To Find Out Why

"Westmoreland County defense attorney Tom Ceraso, who was not involved in the case, said in his decades of experience trying cases in federal court he has never heard of the FBI telephoning or interviewing jurors."
--Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
from TPMmuckraker

by Paul Kiel
The latest from Pittsburgh, where the U.S. attorneys' office continues to drop jaws with its handling of the case. From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Two jurors said Thursday they were unnerved by FBI requests for home visits to explain why they deadlocked in the federal public corruption trial of former Allegheny County coroner Cyril H. Wecht.

Experts said the practice of using FBI agents to contact and interview jurors in their homes after mistrials was unusual, but the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh characterized it as "commonplace."

"I thought it was kind of intimidating," the jury foreman said about the FBI phone call.

Said another juror, "I found it kind of unusual."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's Office in Pittsburgh tells the paper that prosecutors just wanted to chat about the case with the jurors, a "commonplace" practice. The FBI agents were simply setting up the appointments. It is true that it's commonplace for lawyers from both sides to speak to jurors after a trial to get feedback. But there are two important distinctions here...
In Full @ TPMmuckraker

There Have Been

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ex-Chief Prosecutor At The Hague Says Kosovo Incumbent Prime Minister Implicated In Torture Of Serbs

A good backgrounder on the Kosovo Liberation Army (and it's direct connection to Osama bin-Laden/Al Qaeda) [Here]

That's right... The US just gave an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist/drug dealing group national recognition.

“Fireworks lit up the night sky over Kosovo’s capital Pristina, where thousands of giddy ethnic Albanians braved subfreezing temperatures to ride on the roofs of their cars, singing patriotic songs and chanting: “KLA! KLA!” the acronym for the now-disbanded rebel Kosovo Liberation Army.
[Source WAS Forbes, SPIKED!... Now HERE]
To put it in terms that most Americans can easily understand, if not easily comprehend:

“During his stint as NATO Supreme Commander (1997-2000), Wesley Clark was in permanent liaison with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Under Wesley Clark’s command, NATO directly sponsored a terrorist paramilitary army, with links to Al Qaeda and the trans-Balkan narcotics trade.” [source]

...and the pressure is ON!
Switzerland bans Del Ponte book
BELGRADE -- The Swiss Foreign Ministry has prohibited the promotion of Carl Del Ponte’s book “Hunt”. According to the ANSA agency, the former Hague Tribunal ... [Source]

The Ex-Chief Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, Carle del Ponte, has published a book in which she reveals that many top leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army,
including the incumbent premier Hashim Tachi

...and (Former PM) Ramush Haradinaj

...were implicated in the torture of Serbs seized during the armed conflict in Kosovo.

After being murdered, the captives' bodies were used as donors to supply transplant organs.

Carle Del Ponte says the revelations are made post factum, because her attempt to launch an inquiry into crimes by Kosovo Liberation Army leaders received no backing [Source]

There Have Been

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

...And In Our OTHER Dirty Little War - Mogadishu Somalia, "...the really frightening part of it was the lack of people."

BBC as reported by GarroweOnline

Eerie silence in empty Mogadishu
By Mark Doyle BBC News world affairs correspondent, Mogadishu

7 Apr 7, 2008 - 9:45:10 AM

The streets north of the ruins of the Old Parliament in Mogadishu stretch out like alleyways bulldozed through a rubble dump.

Parts of some of the buildings are still standing - a wall here, a section of collapsed roof there.

But the overall impression in this part of the Somali capital is one of massive destruction. I did not see a single house there without shell damage or bullet holes.

However, the really frightening part of it was the lack of people.

After covering several wars, I have come to be wary of empty places.

If, in a war zone, you turn a corner and see no shops open and no people going about their business - beware.

It usually means that some military activity has recently taken place there - so the people have fled - or that the people fear an imminent attack.

And the local people almost always know best.

As I drove through parts of Mogadishu on a patrol with Ugandan soldiers of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force, there was an eerie lack of human beings.
Blasted buildings aside, this ghostly absence of people was a sure sign that this place is going through a period of terrible violence.

The United Nations estimates that in the past year at least half of the population of Mogadishu - or over half a million people - have fled the fighting between the Ethiopian-backed transitional government and its Islamist and clan-based opponents.... In Full

It's obvious to even the uninterested observer that Ethiopian and AU troops are in country, but the main players in this bush war (double entendre absolutely intended) are the Islamic Court Union, the people who tried to put the Somali warlords out of the western extractive industries protection business...

A family photo the CIA's Somali warlord mercenary army leadership.
They were "extracted" by US SEALS the first time their "government" collapsed.

...with air support and advisory services courtesy of DynCorp
Click the image for specifications and history (GlobalSecurity.org)

...and in the near future AFRICOM, the US military command in Africa will be directly involved, upping the US military casualty ante considerably.

Where the same terror and intimidation tactics will be used, as seen by the civilian population of Iraq...

Click for a description via the 361st PsyOps Co. Iraq

Speaking of terror...

This on the latest fashionable mayhem creations specifically designed for the AC130, and (if it DOES work) undoubtedly intended for Horn of Africa deployment... Because if we CALL THEM al Qaeda (and we DO call the ICU that), they are no better than animals in our government's view, subject to torture, EMF radiation strong enough to cook flesh... whatever.

From DefenseTech's archive

Pimp My Gunship 2: Directed Energy

The AC-130U Spectre is a byword for high-precision fire support. But equipping it with directed energy weapons (DE) will take close air support to an entirely new level. The technological breakthrough needed to get there is a radical $22m superconducting generator which the Air Force will demonstrate by 2009 and which is specifically indended to fit on a C-130.
[In Full]

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Battle Rattle - John McCain thinks he's Harry Truman and it's August 1, 1950 in Korea

As I posted on March 29:
Informed Comment
Iraq - Basra Police Mutiny, Refuse to attack Sadrists, Clashes continue in Basra, Sadrists open New fronts throughout Shiite South

Two Words: Tet Offensive

Also see, Stan Goff, Feral Scholar, for a strategic/tactical perspective: Good Morning, Vietnam!

Glad to see Frank Rich @ the NY Times agrees...

Juan Cole's Informed Comment
Sunday, April 06, 2008

Rich, McCain, and the Coming Heartbreak Ridge

Frank Rich's "Tet Happened . . . and No One Cared" is an elegantly written and argued examination of the current situation in Iraq that seems to me to pretty much nail it.

Rich demolishes so many of the myths put out by McCain and the American Right generally. The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the Da'wa Party, which back Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, are closer to Iran than the Sadr Movement. It was al-Maliki's parliamentary coalition that sought the cease fire by asking their Iranian patrons to broker it. The main motivation for the attack on Sadrist neighborhoods in Basra was to ensure that ISCI wins the elections in that key oil province in October.

It is so refreshing to see an American commentator who clearly has the facts at hand and a sense of proportion in interpreting them.

Rich begins and ends provocatively in arguing that the charge that Sen. John McCain has advocated a hundred-years war in Iraq is a canard, and takes the focus off much more substantive errors that McCain does make.

The only thing I would say is that McCain's analogy to South Korea, which comes from rightwing imperialist historian John Gaddis of Yale, has two implications. The first is that Bush is Harry Truman and it is July 23, 1950 (just after the US lost the Battle of Taejon and had to retreat) and there is a danger of the Communists overwhelming the South.

In McCain's mind, 'staying the course' and supporting the surge is akin to Truman committing large numbers of troops to make sure that we fight to a stalemate, containing America's enemies in Iraq.

The second implication is that once a stalemate is achieved and acknowledged, as in Korea from 1953, there can be an enduring US military presence in Iraq...

In Full @ Informed Comment

There Have Been

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Because If You Can't Nervously Laugh About Global Mayhem, What CAN You Laugh About? - Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?

Opening this weekend, an new movie by Morgan Spurlock, creator of "Super Size Me". Tipped by SilentPatriot @ Crooks and Liars

Did he FIND Osama? More Here

But he'd better hurry up if he hasn't !
The Obama Girl is... Hot... on UBL's trail:

“The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.” - G.W. Bush, 9/13/01

“I want justice…There’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive,’” - G.W. Bush, 9/17/01, UPI

“…Secondly, he is not escaping us. This is a guy, who, three months ago, was in control of a county [sic]. Now he’s maybe in control of a cave. He’s on the run. Listen, a while ago I said to the American people, our objective is more than bin Laden. But one of the things for certain is we’re going to get him running and keep him running, and bring him to justice. And that’s what’s happening. He’s on the run, if he’s running at all. So we don’t know whether he’s in cave with the door shut, or a cave with the door open — we just don’t know….” - Bush, in remarks in a Press Availablity with the Press Travel Pool, The Prairie Chapel Ranch, Crawford TX, 12/28/01, as reported on official White House site

“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” - G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

“I am truly not that concerned about him.” - G.W. Bush, repsonding to a question about bin Laden’s whereabouts, 3/13/02 (The New American, 4/8/02)

Friday, April 4, 2008

...And In Iraq... Remember Iraq? US troops in civilian clothing targeted by unknown gunmen near Baghdad... Call in airstrike.

Juan Cole asks the burning question of the day:

"So how come they were wearing civilian clothes?"

Friday, April 04, 2008
Clashes Continue in Basra: Badr Militia Strengthened

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that clashes continued to be fought in Basra on Thursday between Iraqi government troops and the Mahdi Army militia.

It also says that US troops in civilian clothing were targeted in the Shiite city of Hillah south of Baghdad. They were attacked by unknown gunmen and had to call in airstrikes on enemy positions. So how come they were wearing civilian cloths?
His source... Arabic... [Here]

..Ya don't suppose they're actually going to say if it was an SOG?

But they HAVE preemptively justified it.

From March 2003

Pentagon Defends Use of Civilian Clothes

The Pentagon on Friday defended the use of some civilian clothes by U.S. special operations forces, a tactic used to help them blend in with the local population.

Alleging war crimes, Bush administration officials complained bitterly last week that Iraqi paramilitary forces dressed as civilians, faked surrenders and used other battlefield ruses to kill American soldiers.

Asked at a Pentagon press conference why it is OK for American commando troops to take off their uniforms, but a crime when the Iraqis did it, Defense Department spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said she thought American forces wear something that distinguishes them from civilians, but deferred the question for a later answer.

The issue is a subject of disagreement among Pentagon legal advisers and policy makers. Some officials have said for some time that it is a gray area that needs to be settled as a policy, another defense official said on condition of anonymity.

Special operations forces are often allowed what the military calls "relaxed grooming standards." In the fight against Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan, for example, special forces wore long hair and beards to blend in with the local Muslim population.

Many wore only parts of their uniform - for instance camouflaged pants with a T-shirt and baseball cap or a camouflaged jacket with an Arab head wrap or scarf.

At the press conference with Clarke, Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, vice director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the war crime is determined by what the soldier does as well as what he wears.

"I'm not a lawyer, so I might get part of this wrong, but part of it is ... what you do when you're not in uniform," he said. "If a force is going to engage in combat, it's going to fight, it must wear a uniform or some kind of uniform - law of land warfare says arm bands or some distinctive marking that allows combatants to be identified from civilians."

After the press conference, officials said U.S. special forces in Iraq "are wearing uniforms," but declined to say if they are full uniforms or modified.

The discussion came as an Army legal oficial told a House panel that Fedayeen militia members captured in Iraq would likely not be entitled to the protection of prisoner-of-war status. That would mean they could face criminal charges for attacking American soldiers.

W. Hays Parks, special assistant for law of war matters for the Army's Judge Advocate General, said that to get POW protections, fighters must meet certain criteria, such as having a formal association with a government, carrying arms openly and wearing distinctive clothing.

He said that among the examples of Iraqi violations of the Geneva convention have been the oadcast (sic) of videotapes of dead and captured U.S. soldiers, the use of white flags to fake surrenders and then attack Americans, and the dressing of forces as civilians to lure invading troops into ambushes.

Source: Pauline Jelinek,APR,Washington, 04abr03

This document has been published on 22mar03 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

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Introducing...... Police States For PotHeads: U.S. to dispatch drones to hunt pot over California - McClatchy

A quote from a Northern California Hemp grower:

Now I can use that ManPad missile launcher I purchased from FARC last year without worrying about 'civilian' casualties

U.S. to dispatch drones to hunt pot over Calif. forests
The federal government plans to escalate its eradication of marijuana plantations in the backwoods of national forests this year, beginning in California with the deployment of larger strike teams and the controversial launching of miniature, remote-controlled spy planes to outfox growers, a top Bush administration official said Thursday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said an increasing number of pot growers financed by Mexican drug cartels are taking cover in the forest, particularly in the southern Sierra Nevada.

According to Rey, the administration decided to disclose the planned surge in forest surveillance after news organizations persisted in questioning U.S. Forest Service officials about a $100,000 purchase of two battery-powered "unmanned aerial vehicles."

Source, Sacramento Bee/McClatchy

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If You Read The News Carefully Over Time, It Becomes Quite Obvious The Pentagon And US State Dept Support Iraqi Death Squads

When Muqtada al-Sadr spoke of the Iraqi government targeting Shiites as a reason for telling his fighters to continue defending themselves... think of this:

The ‘Body Contractors'
Babak Dehghanpisheh
Dec 15, 2007
"Saber Dulaimi, a stocky 27-year-old—who declined to give his real name for security reasons—belongs to one of the local Sunni militias that have signed up to work with the Americans in west Baghdad.

One month ago, a handful of his comrades roared up to his checkpoint in a green Daewoo sedan and white Toyota pickup. In the back of the sedan two men—from a Shiite militia—were tied up. In the back of the pickup were two bodies.

"We were expecting an American patrol at any time," says Dulaimi. His commander ordered the men to hide the bodies, fast.

They threw the corpses in a narrow, dry ditch on the outskirts of their neighborhood, and covered them lightly with dirt and leaves.

A month has passed and none of the militiamen has heard about the bodies again."
In Full @ Newsweek

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Can You Say 'Military-Industrial Complex'? Former Senator Mike Gravel Can, Even As He Karaokes To The Beatles White Album

Mike Gravel's bio @ WikiPedia

H/T to Crooks and Liars, who comment:
In the age of Halliburton and Blackwater, you gotta love the only candidate willing to say the phrase “military-industrial complex.”

Given who is left in the race, is it any surprise that Eisenhower originally wanted to warn against the military-industrial-congressional complex?

You can show Gravel some love here.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Is This What Reconstruction Means? Iraqi brick factory kicks into high gear - UPI.com

"The way I look at this hanging job, somebody has to do it. I got into it kind of by accident, years ago in the States" --U.S. Master Sergeant John C. Woods, Executioner @ Nuremberg

Iraqi brick factory kicks into high gear
April 1, 2008 at 7:45 PM

BAGHDAD, April 1 (UPI) -- Production at Iraq's largest brick factory swung into high gear Tuesday, boosting employment opportunities in a project that cost the U.S. taxpayer nothing.

The Narhwan Brick Factory Complex east of Baghdad houses 167 facilities, each independently owned and operated by Iraqis. The complex produced roughly 4 million bricks a day in late February and those numbers should go up dramatically, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark Sullivan, the commander of operations there.

Following several "clear and hold" operations in October that targeted insurgents using the complex as a stronghold, Sullivan and his team took the opportunity to bring the facility back online.

Sullivan called a meeting with the owners of the facilities, as well as tribal and local leaders, to discuss coordination with the Iraqi government on issues such as electricity and supplies of heavy fuel oil needed to fire the kilns. The high turnout prompted Sullivan to ask the officials to nominate four members to act as union delegates to liaise with Baghdad.

After convincing ministers in Baghdad of the merit of the project, production at the facility began to pick up steam in January, Sullivan said.

Sullivan put the initial job estimates for the facility at about 10,000 Iraqis but said increased production could put that over 25,000 as the season picks up. The facility employed some 3,000 workers in early January with production levels at around 250,000 bricks per day, but production quadrupled in the first months of the year.

With production entering full swing in April and orders coming not only from the government, but approved contractors, the facility should continue to be a success, Sullivan said. [Source]
Methinks blast wall factories would be a better investment in the near to mid to long-term.

Besides lack of security to protect brick constructed buildings (the brick fragments are like glass shrapnel when hit by (not so) 'smart bombs'), the bricks are also easy to throw at the occupying army, which will cause many more civilian casualties.

As any Palestinian can tell you, brick throwing is a capital crime... and you will be shot on sight.

At this juncture, I would like to re-inform my readers that Iraq was an highly industrialized, secular society, and now we CHEER! (Hurrah!)... because a brick factory comes online.

There's GOTTA be a war crime between 'then' and 'now' that we can 'hang' (as in the Nuremberg tribunal meaning of 'hang') the Bush administration and it's cronies with...

Just different places, with different faces, but the same War-mongering PIGS

"...the conclusion of the trials at Nuremberg, in which 11 high-ranking Nazi officers were ultimately condemned to death by hanging. One of them, Hermann Göring, managed to finish himself in his cell with a cyanide capsule just hours before the execution was to take place, but the others took their trip to the gallows.

Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler’s foreign minister, was the first to go. From an Oct. 28, 1946 dispatch in Time magazine headlined “Night Without Dawn” (the ellipses are in the original):
At 1:11 a.m. he entered the gymnasium, and all officers, official witnesses and correspondents rose to attention. Ribbentrop’s manacles were removed and he mounted the steps (there were 13) to the gallows. With the noose around his neck, he said: “My last wish … is an understanding between East and West. …” All present removed their hats. The executioner tightened the noose. A chaplain standing beside him prayed. The assistant executioner pulled the lever, the trap dropped open with a rumbling noise, and Ribbentrop’s hooded figure disappeared. The rope was suddenly taut, and swung back & forth, creaking audibly.

The executioner was U.S. Master Sergeant John C. Woods, 43, of San Antonio, a short, chunky man who in his 15 years as U.S. Army executioner has hanged 347 people. Said he afterwards: “I hanged those ten Nazis … and I am proud of it. … I wasn’t nervous. … A fellow can’t afford to have nerves in this business. … I want to put in a good word for those G.I.s who helped me … they all did swell. … I am trying to get [them] a promotion. … The way I look at this hanging job, somebody has to do it. I got into it kind of by accident, years ago in the States “

Ten more executions would follow that evening, but for all of Sergeant Woods’ experience (and for all of the collected wisdom the military had at its disposal on proper hanging techniques), the Nuremberg executions were, it seems, a ghoulishly untidy affair. In Full @ The New York Times

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You Want To See Our Iraq NIE? ...Ha Ha Ha! We Don't Need To Show You Any Stinkin' NIE!

If you're the police where are your badges?
Badges? We ain't got no badges.
We don't need no badges!
I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!

No Iraq Intelligence Update For You!

By Spencer Ackerman

"For weeks, analysts within the 16-agency U.S. intelligence community have been toiling to complete an assessment of the situation in Iraq. This morning, it finally went to the Hill: the Senate and House intelligence committees, and the leadership in both chambers, are the proud owners of an update to the August 23, 2007 National Intelligence Estimate. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee received a briefing on it. But you'll never see it.

According to an administration official with knowledge of the intelligence process, this morning's intelligence document isn't itself a National Intelligence Estimate. 'It's not a formal report,' the official said, 'it's more or less an assessment memo, an update to policy makers.'"

In Full @ The Washington Independent