Pakistan is the Epicenter of Threat to World Survival by Glen Ford

Dandelion Salad

by Glen Ford
July 18th, 2007

The monstrous state that was created out of the British engineered partition of India — Pakistan — has long since become an American tool for mischief in the world, including nuclear proliferation, creation of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and an ongoing home for Osama bin Ladin. It is blowback time. The American-financed regime cannot exist without the support of Muslim fundamentalists, and yet the Americans now insist that the regime move against its own political base. There are nuclear bombs in this equation, developed with a wink and a nod from the Americans. If these chickens come home to roost, it will be with incinerating force.

The nexus of world disorder is not Sudan, or Lebanon, or Somalia. It is Pakistan, and has been so from the beginning of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in 1947. Formed as a theologically-based state, in opposition to the secular state of newly independent India, Pakistan was the British and American answer to ascendant Indian socialism. Pakistan immediately became the great U.S. hammer to threaten the Indians, and to keep the region on a permanent war footing, that would nullify the possibility of development in the subcontinent. The U.S. poured billions of dollars into the Pakistani military, to keep up the pressure against much larger India, which had fraternal relations with the Soviet Union. The Americans thought they were playing a Third World, Cold War trump card, but in fact, they were creating a monster.

Continued…

Death from Above By Brian Cook

Dandelion Salad

By Brian Cook
IN These Times
July 17, 2007

For the Iraqi people, the surge in U.S. troops has meant more bombs dropping from the sky and a surge in deaths

On June 22, the Operation Iraqi Freedom website issued a press release that hyped a devastating blow against 17 al-Qaeda terrorists, who were gunned down by coalition attack helicopters at Khalis, Iraq, a small town outside of Baqouba. But when the BBC visited the town days later, the villagers told a different story. The men attacked by coalition forces were not al-Qaeda members, but local village guards, who only minutes earlier had been helping Iraqi police raid a suspect’s house. (It turned out to be a false alarm.) Eleven of the men were killed when U.S. helicopters suddenly appeared, raining missiles and heavy machine gunfire upon them. “It was like a battlefront, but with the fire going only in one direction,” one local witness said. “There was no return fire.”

These tragic deaths represent more than another sad chapter in the Pentagon’s Tolstoyan-length Book of Lies. At the same time Iraq has undergone a “surge” of an extra 28,000 U.S. troops, the country has experienced a surge in the number of U.S. bombs dropped on it. On June 11, the Associated Press’ Charles J. Hanley reported that in the first four and a half months of 2007, the U.S. Air Force dropped 237 bombs and missiles on Iraq, eight more than in all of 2006. (Those totals don’t include cannon rounds or rocket fire, nor any weaponry fired by Marine Corps aircraft.) It’s no surprise the number of Iraqi civilians killed by coalition forces has surged as well.

According to Iraq Body Count (IBC), a British anti war group that tabulates Iraqi civilian deaths reported by the media, civilian deaths by air strikes, rose steadily toward the end of 2006, before increasing by 25 percent this year, to an average of more than 50 a month. Due to its passive methodology, IBC’s numbers—while valuable in capturing trends—are likely conservative. Johns Hopkins University epidemiologists, writing in the Lancet last October, reported that coalition air strikes caused 13 percent of all violent civilian deaths between March 2003 and June 2006. At the time the survey ended, which was before the escalation of air strikes in late 2006, and the even greater escalation in 2007, the estimate stood at more than 78,000 Iraqis killed by coalition aircraft.

Continued…

see:

Tomgram: Peter Galbraith, The War Is Lost By Tom Engelhardt

Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll By Ahmed Ali

Iraq Coalition Casualty Count (links; Iraqi dead)

“The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 3” by Dr. Steven Jonas

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Steven Jonas
JUL 17, 2007

At the end of my column on this subject last week, I restated my position that “success,” whether in a Presidency or on a Saturday morning errands trip, is to be measured against goals set and the degree to which they have been achieved.  Thus, when one looks at the BushCheney (or CheneyBush, as I have said, your choice) record, is this a “failed Presidency?”  Hardly.  Bush set out to achieve what I have on more than one occasion termed a “coup d’etat in slow motion.”  BushCheney does measure success in terms of polls.  Forget the polls.  We must look at what he has done and continues to do with the control of the Executive Branch that he has.

Upon gaining the Office of the Presidency (without, it should be noted, actually winning the election) this man first embraced the powers truly vested in him by the Constitution.  Bush was then little challenged by a very weak opposition.  (If one wants to talk about failure, just consider the Kerry/Shrum Presidential campaign.  It should have been a cakewalk.  But since they allowed Rove, at al, to set the agenda, we are faced with continuing tragedy.)   Further, he was strongly supported for the first six years by his lock-step Republican Congress, and ongoing, his in-the-pocket Privatized Ministry of Propaganda.  Together, he has used them, and continues to use them step-by-step and piece-by-piece, to create an Office of the Presidency with powers that no reading of the Constitution can possibly support.  That’s success, man.  Let’s review some of the policy specifics.  They are well-known to most readers of TPJ, but we shall review them briefly here anyway.

On the foreign policy side, let’s begin with Iraq.  Is it a disaster?  Well, it is if you measure it on the supposed WMD/al-Qaeda original connections, or the “establishment of Democracy” (not an originally stated goal of the US invasion), and certainly what has happened to that benighted country since.  Ohmigod.  First the Iraqi people suffer under Hussein for 20-plus years.  Then they get Bush and his pro-counsels.  What did they do to deserve that sequence?  But supposing when that pre-invasion intelligence analysis predicting chaos in Iraq following an American invasion (“Analysts’ Warning of Iraq Chaos Detailed,” Pincus and DeYoung, Washington Post, May 26, 2007) came through, you didn’t say “ohmigod, how could we possibly go in there?” but rather “ohmigod, exactly what we are looking for: Permanent War here we come.”   It is becoming ever more clear that the latter was indeed the BushCheney response.  And why would they want Permanent War?  There are three main reasons.

Continued…

see:
“The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 2: The Constitution” by Dr. Steven Jonas

“The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 1” by Dr. Steven Jonas

Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll By Ahmed Ali

Dandelion Salad

Inter Press Service
By Ahmed Ali*
July 17, 2007

BAQUBA, Jul 17 (IPS) – The largest morgue in Diyala province is overflowing daily. Officials told IPS they have had to dig mass graves to dispose of bodies.

More and more bodies of victims of the ongoing violence are being found every day in Baquba, capital city of the province, 50km northeast of Baghdad.

“The morgue receives an average of four or five bodies everyday,” Nima Jima’a, a morgue official, told IPS. “Many more are dropped in rivers and farms — or it is sometimes the case they are buried by their killers for other reasons. The number we record here is only a fraction of those killed.”

Ambulances, now able to move again after weeks of restrictions, have been removing bodies of victims from the current fighting. But they have also found skulls and bones, evidence of other killings long ago.

Dealing with these remains is becoming difficult. Like the rest of the city, the morgue suffers from continuing lack of electricity. Over the last two weeks, two of its refrigerators have been shut down. The smell of decomposing bodies hits visitors 100 metres away.

Continued…

Tomgram: Peter Galbraith, The War Is Lost By Tom Engelhardt

Dandelion Salad

By Tom Engelhardt
posted July 17, 2007 4:01 pm

The week in Iraq began with a particularly brutal triple bombing in the oil-rich, disputed city of Kirkuk — a truck bomb took out part of the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and subsequent car bombs hit a nearby market and a police patrol, with over 80 dead and more than 180 wounded. These were reminders, undoubtedly from Sunni extremists (possibly driven north by President Bush’s surge offensive around Baghdad), that the only relatively peaceful, economically prospering region of “Iraq” — Iraqi Kurdistan — may not remain that way forever. Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen are already struggling over who is to inherit the oil-spoils of Kirkuk, which many Kurds would like to annex and turn into the capital of what they dream may someday be an independent country. Kirkuk’s fate is supposedly to be decided by a referendum at year’s end.

The Way to Go in Iraq

By Peter Galbraith

[This essay appears in the August 16th, 2007 issue of the New York Review of Books and is posted here with the kind permission of the editors of that magazine.]

1.

On May 30, the Coalition held a ceremony in the Kurdistan town of Erbil to mark its handover of security in Iraq’s three Kurdish provinces from the Coalition to the Iraqi government. General Benjamin Mixon, the U.S. commander for northern Iraq, praised the Iraqi government for overseeing all aspects of the handover. And he drew attention to the “benchmark” now achieved: with the handover, he said, Iraqis now controlled security in seven of Iraq’s eighteen provinces.

In fact, nothing was handed over. The only Coalition force in Kurdistan is the peshmerga, a disciplined army that fought alongside the Americans in the 2003 campaign to oust Saddam Hussein and is loyal to the Kurdistan government in Erbil. The peshmerga provided security in the three Kurdish provinces before the handover and after. The Iraqi army has not been on Kurdistan’s territory since 1996 and is effectively prohibited from being there. Nor did the Iraqi flag fly at the ceremony. It is banned in Kurdistan.

Although the Erbil handover was a sham that Prince Potemkin might have admired, it was not easily arranged. The Bush administration had wanted the handover to take place before the U.S. congressional elections in November. But it also wanted an Iraqi flag flown at the ceremony and some acknowledgement that Iraq, not Kurdistan, was in charge. The Kurds were prepared to include a reference to Iraq in the ceremony, but they were adamant that there be no Iraqi flags. It took months to work out a compromise ceremony with no flags at all. Thus the ceremony was followed by a military parade without a single flag — an event so unusual that one observer thought it might merit mention in Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the Iraqi national security adviser, attended the ceremony alongside Kurdistan’s prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, but the Iraqi government had no part in supervising the nonexistent handover. While General Mixon, a highly regarded strategist with excellent ties to the Kurds, had no choice but to make the remarks he did, Mowaffak al-Rubaie acknowledged Kurdistan’s distinct nature and the right of the Kurds — approximately six million people, or some 20% of Iraq’s population — to chart their own course.

Continued…

see:
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count (links; Iraqi dead)

The Coming Conflict in the Arctic – Russia and US to Square Off Over Arctic Energy Reserves by Vladimir Frolov

Dandelion Salad

by Vladimir Frolov
Global Research, July 17, 2007
Russia Profile

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush spent most of their time at the “lobster summit” at Kennebunkport, Maine, discussing how to prevent the growing tensions between their two countries from getting out of hand.

The media and international affairs experts have been portraying missile defense in Europe and the final status of Kosovo as the two most contentious issues between Russia and the United States, with mutual recriminations over “democracy standards” providing the background for the much anticipated onset of a new Cold War. But while this may well be true for today, the stage has been quietly set for a much more serious confrontation in the non-too-distant future between Russia and the United States – along with Canada, Norway and Denmark.

Russia has recently laid claim to a vast 1,191,000 sq km (460,800 sq miles) chunk of the ice-covered Arctic seabed. The claim is not really about territory, but rather about the huge hydrocarbon reserves that are hidden on the seabed under the Arctic ice cap. These newly discovered energy reserves will play a crucial role in the global energy balance as the existing reserves of oil and gas are depleted over the next 20 years.

Continued…

US Veterans and Depleted Uranium (DU) (transcript)

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, July 17, 2007

CNN, Feb 2007

Transcript of the CNN TV-Program “Good Morning, America”

“Inhaling Depleted Uranium made him sick”

Part I

Here’s one highly effective and also very highly controversial weapon in the U.S. military arsenal. It’s called depleted uranium or DU and some veterans are now suing the Army over what they say are health risks from their exposure to DU. Greg Hunter joins us this morning. He’s got a special American Morning investigation. Good morning, Greg. Continue reading

Wrong and White and Read All Over by Ted Rall

Dandelion Salad

by Ted Rall
July 17, 2007

NEW YORK

On Iraq, the right was wrong. It’s a slam dunk. So why do the wrong righties keep raking in big media cash? And why aren’t lefties taking a victory lap?

It’s a Back to the Future moment: back in 2002, polls found most Americans opposed to war with Iraq at roughly the same two-to-one ration as they do now. What changed Americans’ minds between 2002 and 2003, supplemented by Bush Administration lies about fictional WMDs and liberation flowers, were millions of words published in major national magazines and regurgitated on television news programs by serious-looking, soft-spoken men boasting impressive journalistic and academic credentials. Pretend experts wove fantastic tales of wonderful geopolitical benefits that would derive from taking out Saddam. Invading Iraq was going to democratize the Middle East, force the Palestinians to sign a peace deal with Israel, and bring Elvis back to life.

Fareed Zakaria used his column at Newsweek to promote the now-discredited neoconservative democratization-via-regime-change thesis. William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and another neocon, sang the same bellicose tune at Time. David Brooks and Thomas Friedman beat the war drum for the influential opinion page of The New York Times. Then, against the evidence and common sense, they declared Mission Accomplished.

“The only people who think this wasn’t a victory,” wrote Time’s Charles Krauthammer after the fall of Baghdad and the toppling of Saddam’s statue, “are Upper West Side liberals, and a few people here in Washington.” Like the phony Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman stories, the statue story was fake. We “Upper West Side liberals” were right. But no one cares.

Continued…

If the Democrats Want to Win… By Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
July 18, 2007

If the Democrats really want to prevail over George W. Bush on the Iraq War and on his authoritarian vision of presidential powers, they would put back on the table two options that their leaders have removed: a cut-off of war funding and impeachment.

Rather than all-night debates about resolutions that will go nowhere, the Democrats would make the case to the American people that Bush has trampled on the Constitution; he has ensnared the nation in a catastrophic war by lying; and he has his eyes set on more dangerous chicanery in the months ahead.

The Democrats would explain that Bush has refused to compromise when offered the chance; he has told the people’s representatives that their only war role is to finance whatever “the decider” wants to do; he has declared that he has the right to ignore or break the law; he has engaged in cover-ups of serious wrongdoing by his subordinates and is now counting on his right-wing judicial appointees to protect him from oversight.

The Democrats would call on the American people to stand up at this dangerous moment in their history – when the president and vice president have become enemies of the constitutional system devised by the Founders, a Republic based on the idea that all people possess inalienable rights and governments must ensure those rights.

Never have a president and vice president abused the public trust to the extent that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have. They have engaged in a consistent pattern of deception, not just political spin or cover-ups of petty matters, but lying about the most profound of issues, including war and the meaning of “freedom” and “democracy.”

Continued…

Reality Check Time – Again… by Stephen P. Pizzo

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen P. Pizzo
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

What are the odds you’re going to get murdered today? Are they higher or lower than they were yesterday, or last week, or ten years ago?

Say you make it through today, what about tomorrow? What are the odds you’ll get killed tomorrow… and when I say killed, I don’t mean falling in the shower, or run over by a drunk driver while crossing the street – I mean killed violently by another person?

Let’s take the question down one level. What are the odds someone you love, care about or just know, will be slain today, tomorrow, or even during your entire lifetime ?

I figure the odds of any of those things happening to you or anyone you know range somewhere between slim and slimmer. And, despite the steady flow of fear mongering out of Washington, those odds have changed little, if any, over the last six years.

Since none of us likes to think about dying, we try not to. Which is why we need to force the issue every now and then. Otherwise the terrorists win. Which terrorists? Both kinds. The Islamically-poisoned ones that want you to live in fear, and our own mis-leaders in Washington, who have found it most useful to leverage terrorist threats to keep you living in fear.

If you took to heart every claim or threat made by these two groups on any given day, you’d never leave the house.

Al-Qaida keeps claiming that the attacks of 9/11 were the first of many to come. And that the next attacks will be even bigger.

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Total Power Drives you Totally Mad by William Bowles

Dandelion Salad

by William Bowles
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

One tends to think of those who rule as being ruthlessly logical in their application of power; after all, maintenance of the status quo should surely be one of their major objectives?

But their loss of legitimacy, obvious to all except the most myopic and self-delusional points to something quite fundamental taking place, for the loss of legitimacy reveals a ruling class that has completely lost the plot.

The invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq is a case in point, could it really be as Glen Ford points out because

‘Ultimately, the parasitic class can only maintain its rule by force. Manufacturing nothing, creating no value except on paper, they must finally call upon the Armed Forces to impose their unearned advantage on the planet. Such was the logic of March, 2003. The Great Offensive failed, but the contradictions that compelled the captains of finance capital to order their political servants to wage war, remain – and are in fact more acute than four years ago. They must wage war, again, to fight their way out of the box.’ – ‘Iran and Beyond: Total War is Still on the Horizon’, by Glen Ford

There are two ways of looking at it: on the one hand, they are so stupid and arrogant in their application of power that it blinds them to the reality of the consequences of their actions or, like lemmings, they are driven by forces of which they have no comprehension or control.

Either way it’s a frightening thought that those who wield such awesome power are intellectual pygmies, small-minded and incapable of empathy except for those of their own class (and even here, the idea of solidarity is completely inimical to them, thus they would and do, stab their ‘friends’ in the back should the need arise; examples are legion).

Continued…

see:
Partition Fears Begin to Rise By Ali al-Fadhily

Corporate Crime is more Harmful than Street Violence

Twenty Things You Should Know About Corporate Crime by Russell Mokhiber

Al Jazeera: Israeli intimidation in Hebron (video)

Dandelion Salad

An intentional policy of legal and physical segregation by Israeli authorities is being imposed in the name of security for Israeli settlers in Hebron.

But the systematic harrassment of Palestinians by settlers and an ever-tightening military clampdown has resulted in what Hebron’s Palestinian community is calling “ethnic cleansing”.

David Chater reports.

14 July 07

Al Jazeera: Inside Iraq-Incredibility of American Media (videos)

Dandelion Salad

The role of US papers as the symbol of hard hitting investigative journalism is being questioned. And since the invasion of Iraq on the manipulation of weapons of mass destruction and the current rising costs and death toll in the country, American media credibility is eroded.

02 Feb 07

Jon Stewart grades Iraq benchmark report as ‘not un-bad’ (video link; Daily Show)

Dandelion Salad

David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday July 17, 2007

In a dig at the rhetoric employed by members of the Bush administration in describing the war in Iraq, the Daily Show on Monday examined the “Cirque du Soleil-like contortions” used to spin progress in the war.

Host Jon Stewart also lamented the loss of some ripe material when President Bush decided to commute the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“I thought for sure, for sure, that we’d be coming back from break to a Scooter Libby goes to jail perp walk thing … nice clever over-the-shoulder (graphic), ‘Pokey-man,’ you know what I mean?” Stewart said. “Yeah, that’s not great, but the graphic was cute, it was Libby being sodomized by Pikachu.”

After the brief aside, Stewart returned to the news of a recent report on Iraqi government benchmarks.

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Degradation and manhandling: Document reveals US interrogation techniques by Katherine Eban (SERE)

Dandelion Salad

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday July 17, 2007

After conducting a 10-month investigation that consisted of more than 70 interviews, as well as a detailed review of public and classified documents, Vanity Fair writer Katherine Eban delivers the fullest portrait yet of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the C.I.A.-contracted psychologists who were put in charge of designing the aggressive interrogation methods known as ‘SERE school’ techniques (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) that came to be used during the Iraq war,” states a press release sent to RAW STORY. “Eban also reveals a never-before-seen memo that details how the U.S. military sought to treat detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”

According to colleagues, Mitchell and Jessen, who were placed in charge of interrogations on the C.I.A.’s network of “black sites,” had no real-world experience in questioning prisoners. Their expertise was in training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques—the same tactics they are accused of reverse-engineering for use on detainees.

In response to a detailed list of questions regarding their involvement with the C.I.A. and their interrogation qualifications, Mitchell and Jessen responded: “We are proud of the work we have done for our country. The advice we have provided, and the actions we have taken have been legal and ethical. We resolutely oppose torture. Under no circumstances have we ever endorsed, nor would we endorse, the use of interrogation methods designed to do physical or psychological harm. We were not in any way involved with the scandal at Abu Ghraib or with the abuses alleged at Guantanamo. We were appalled by reports from both places.”

Eban reports on the interrogation of al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, and asserts that contrary to George Bush’s claim that it was “tough” interrogation that forced Zubaydah to reveal Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as the mastermind behind 9/11, it was actually humane treatment at the hands of the F.B.I.—they nursed his gunshot wounds and cleaned up after him—that prompted his sharing of information.

Continued…

see:
The CIA’s torture teachers By Mark Benjamin (SERE)

Psychologists responsible for the development and migration of abusive interrogation techniques (SERE)

Shrinks and the SERE Technique at Guantanamo By Stephen Soldz

Gitmo/Guantanamo Bay/Torture (older posts)