George W. Bush Interview on News Corp (videos)

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August 08, 2007
CSPANJUNKIEdotORG

AUG. 08, 2007 NEWS CORP

 

 

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The Dark Side of Agrofuels: Horror in the “Brazilian California” by Raúl Zibechi

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by Raúl Zibechi
July 23, 2007

Translated from: La cara siniestra de los biocombustibles: Horror en la “California brasileña”
Translated by: Nalina Eggert and Sonja Wolf

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

americas.irc-online.org

Brazil is staking its claim as a great emerging power thanks to the leadership it maintains in biofuel production. The price of this ambition is paid by the environment and by the cane cutters, who are the invisible characters in this story.

“When the airplane passed, pouring out that bath of poison, my father was soaked. He fell ill because of the toxins that are sprayed over the cane. This is the end for many young people here, ” says a female cane cutter from the region of Ribeirao Preto, in São Paulo state.

“The people work and they give them a slip of paper to shop with in the supermarket. The people don’t see money, just the bill of what they owe,” confirms a worker from the same region, where seven of every 10 cane cutters did not finish primary school.1

Other cutters explain that they are cheated by the scales that the bosses control—they calculate that they have to carry 110 kilograms for the scale to reach 100. Almost all of them were lured from Brazil’s poorer Northeast by promises that they would earn very high salaries. Many moderate analysts see working conditions as reminiscent of slavery. But the president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said before the G-8 Summit that biofuels have “enormous potential to generate jobs and income” and that “they offer a real option for sustainable development.”2

Behind the “politically correct” jargon lurks a reality poised to destroy the Amazon, a reality that destroys millions of young bodies and promises lucrative business to investors. The very name biofuels seems to be destined to foment the confusion. João Pedro Stédile, head of the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), points out that the defenders of ethanol “use the prefix bio to make it seem like it’s a good thing,” and that because of this its opponents prefer to call it like it is and use the term “agrofuels” because the term refers to agriculturally produced energy.3

Continued…

h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Security Contractors: Riding Shotgun With Our Shadow Army In Iraq By Nir Rosen

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News: They’ve given me a machine gun and 180 rounds of ammo, and told me not to pee for six hours.

By Nir Rosen
Mother Jones
April 24, 2007

Evening in Erbil, Kurdistan, what passes for an oasis of peace in Iraq. It’s March 2006, and I’m waiting for a ride down to Baghdad along one of the world’s most dangerous roads, a six-hour drive through the Sunni Triangle. A few years ago, I would have taken a taxi, but now the insurgents run roadblocks looking for targets—soldiers, contractors, journalists. I can’t rely on the Iraqi police, who are as likely to turn me over to insurgents for money as to be insurgents themselves. And then there are the improvised explosive devices, hidden in rubbish, wreckage, dead goats. I had a close encounter in 2003, when I rode with a convoy of trucks ferrying mail and supplies through the Sunni Triangle to U.S. Army bases. An ied detonated a second too early, exploding just in front of us rather than beneath us. We drove through the cloud of shrapnel, dust, and smoke before I had a chance to get scared. This time, though, I have a long trip south to consider all the possible dangers.

The only way to avoid being seized by one of the many militias that terrorize Iraq is to travel with your own militia, and so the documentary film director I am working for has paid $7,000 to a private security company to take us to Baghdad. Our convoy of four armored Ford F-350 pickup trucks, each containing four or five men apiece, is commanded by two American security contractors whose call signs are Steeler and Pirate (for security reasons, several contractors in this piece asked that I not identify them or their companies). Steeler is a taut guy from Pennsylvania; a former Army Ranger, he served in Iraq with the National Guard and then returned for a salary several times higher. He will take the lead vehicle, eyeing the road for potential threats, a task suited to his taciturn nature. Pirate is the convoy commander. A burly, bearded former Green Beret, he has worked as a private security contractor in Haiti and Africa. I ride in his truck, its window bearing evidence of a recent attack near western Baghdad’s Spaghetti Junction, where heavy-caliber machine-gun fire spiderwebbed the bulletproof glass. On the bed at the back of each truck, reinforced “up-armored” housings hold rear gunners and their belt-fed Russian machine guns. Our gunners are all Kurds. The insurgents are mostly Arabs, and the company Pirate and Steeler work for believes Kurds are less likely to be infiltrated, plus Kurds have a long tradition of guerrilla fighting against heavy odds.

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Travels with Smarty – Cartoon by Mark Fiore (video link)

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Cartoon by Mark Fiore
Mother Jones
August 7, 2007

Mark Fiore is an editorial cartoonist and animator whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner, and dozens of other publications. He is an active member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and has a web site featuring his work.

LINK

 

Citizens for Boycotting Chiquita by Kyle de Beausset

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by Kyle de Beausset

Immigration Orange

It is time to boycott Chiquita Brands International, Inc. I covered Chiquita for the first time almost five months ago. Since then, I have gotten over 30 blogs to cover the fact that Chiquita pled guilty to “Engaging in Transactions with a Specially-Designated Global Terrorist”. Finally, this scandal is getting the attention it deserves. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal ran front page stories on Chiquita’s indictment. The Los Angeles Times recently ran a major article, as well. While I will continue my campaign to get blogs to cover this issue, it is clear that we need to step up what I have humbly named the Campaign for International Justice. It is time to boycott Chiquita.

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Gelding Congress: House Censure Would be the Final Cut of the Knife by Dave Lindorff

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by Dave Lindorff
Tuesday, 07 August 2007

The do-nothing Democrat-led Congress, fresh from handing President Bush the power to spy on Americans without any judicial oversight, and just weeks after providing full funding for the continuation of the bloody war and occupation in Iraq, is now mounting an all-out campaign to co-opt and bury the growing grass-roots campaign to impeach President Bush and Cheney.

With 19 members of the House now signed on as supporters of Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich’s bill to impeach Cheney (H Res 333), a group which includes six, or more than a quarter of the House Judiciary Committee, and with polls showing clearly that a majority of Americans want impeachment of the president and vice president, it is getting harder and harder for the party leadership to keep a lid on this movement.

Last week, one such effort was made, by having Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), a known opponent of impeachment who showed his true colors by actively twisting the arms of key legislators in the Washington State Senate to prevent an impeachment resolution from coming to the floor there last spring, introduce a bill calling for the impeachment of… Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. This bill, which quickly garnered 20 co-sponsors, was a clear effort to siphon support away from Kucinich’s more serious Cheney impeachment bill. But as some of Inslee’s co-sponsors started to also sign on to the Kucinich Bill, and as the Kucinich Bill continued to gain co-sponsors, it has become obvious that the Inslee diversion wasn’t working. In fact, the very act of filing a bill to impeach Gonzales effectively neutralized all the arguments Inslee himself, as well as party leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others had been making to explain their opposition to impeachment. Obviously if impeaching Bush or Cheney would “detract from the Democrats’ important legislative agenda,” or “interfere with the effort to end the Iraq War” (sic), then so would an impeachment of Gonzales. Obviously, if impeaching Bush or Cheney would be “divisive” and “hurt Democratic chances in 2008,” then so would an impeachment of Gonzales.

So now the Democrats are trying another tack—having both houses introduce censure motions against Bush, Cheney and Gonzales.

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

And the winner of the George Bush prize for pellucid prose … by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)

glitzqueen

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

by The Other Katherine Harris
glitzqueen’s blog post

… is mining mogul Robert Murray, whose role in this exchange lowered the bar for clarity miles beneath ground level:

Faux News host Neil Cavuto — reacting to Hilllary Clinton’s asking a crowd if they were ready for a president who “will appoint people who actually care about workers’ rights and workers’ safety” — said to Murray, “Bob, do you view this rhetoric as pro-labor, anti-business, what?”

The guest answered, “Absolutely not.”

So did he mean NOT “pro-labor,” NOT “anti-business” or NOT “what”?

“I view it as anti-American,” Murray elaborated, adding, “These people should –-“

Should do what, Bob? Evidently nothing he could think of.

“Are misleading the American worker,” he continued.

About what, Bob? Well, nothing followed that relates to this tangent, either.

“Then they talk about jobs,” he went on, winding up for a big finish. “These are the people advocating draconian global warming conditions that are going to drive American jobs to foreign countries and raise electric rates for everybody on fixed incomes.”

SAY WHAT?

“Advocating draconian global warming conditions” would seemingly mean they want the world on the boil or blazing. Either way, with the whole globe blazing or boiling, where would American jobs GO? And how the devil would the supposed leap of jobs from frying pan into fire increase electric rates, most especially for pensioners?

That mind-boggling dialogue, according to a Salt Lake City Tribune account, dates from May.

Murray made every bit as much sense in June, when testifying before Congress that his mine safety record “is one of the best in the coal industry anywhere” — despite his being cited at only ONE of his mines with more than 300 violations since January of 2004, including 118 deemed “significant and substantial” (thus grave enough to cause injury or death), for which he paid $152,000 in penalties. Injury rates a fourth higher than the national average have been recorded in two of his OTHER mines, but Murray called that “propaganda” by a union.

And today this model of lucidity and reason insists that his six workers trapped for two days in his Crandall Canyon mine (the one with all the citations and slap-on-the-wrist penalties) were victims of an earthquake — never mind that seismologists say their instruments picked up a pattern of ground-shaking distinctly associated with cave-ins, rather than any external cause. That “the Lord has already decided whether they’re alive or dead” excuses the fact that it will take another two or three days to find out which, as far as Murray’s concerned. Others might debate whether the die is already so firmly cast.

And what about the fact that the trapped miners’ families are said to be sequestered in an “undisclosed location” under police guard, along with four miners who escaped? One has to wonder if these folks might not be able to elucidate the situation a good bit more capably than the owner, assuming they were given the chance. “Many do not speak English,” says a New York Times report. Even so, I doubt they could express themselves worse.

Hmmm, do you reckon there may be questions about their legal status — or can American citizens now be impounded by Shrub’s Gestapo, when they might prefer to be screaming for some justice on the streets? There’s probably a great deal more than meets the idle eye here, whether or not we’ll ever know.
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The Pentagon’s latest Big Lie By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
08/08/07 “
ICH

The quality of Pentagon-propaganda is really deteriorating.

The War Dept.’s latest fraud appeared in this week’s newspapers under the ominous-sounding headline:

“US Kills Mastermind of Iraq Shrine”

The article is similar to hundreds of other stories we’ve seen in the passed few years boasting of the murder of an “alleged” terrorist kingpin whose evil deeds have prevented democracy from flourishing in Iraq.

Oh, please.

CNN: “Coalition troops killed the al Qaeda terrorist who masterminded the February 2006 attack on Samarra’s al-Askariya mosque and set off continuing violence and reprisal killings between Sunnis and Shiites, the U.S. military said Sunday.” Snip “Haitham Sabah al-Baderi, the al Qaeda emir of greater Samarra, was killed Thursday east of Samarra, said Rear Adm. Mark Fox during a news conference”. snip “Eliminating al-Baderi is another step in breaking the cycle of violence instigated by the attack on the holy shrine in Samarra,” Fox said. “We will continue to hunt down the brutal terrorists who are intent on creating a Taliban-like state in Iraq.” (CNN)

In truth, CNN has no idea who al-Baderi really was or whether he belonged to Al Qaida or not. They just jot down whatever the Pentagon spokesman tells them and then pass it off later as news. It’s the same with the rest of the media. They don’t care. They build their stories on statements from government officials and don’t bother looking for evidence. All they know is that al-Baderi is another unlucky victim in Bush’s war on terror who has been subsumed into the Pentagon’s propaganda war against the American people. That’s it.

So why bother publishing a crazy story like this? It doesn’t change public opinion on the war or convince people that al Qaida is the main enemy in Iraq. So what good is it? It’s just an attempt to show progress in a losing cause by holding up another enemy scalp.

But, that’s not public relations— it’s barbarism. Don’t the Pentagon big-wigs know that? They think the American people relish the idea of assassinating enemy “suspects” without any proof of wrongdoing or judicial oversight. But they’re wrong. People are sickened by it. Can’t they see that?

What is gained by fabricating another goofy story before the dust has even settled on the Tillman fiasco? Why not let the public fully-digest the last “Big Lie” before moving on to the next one?

Remember Tillman—the outspoken NFL star who figured out the war was a fake and started blasting the Bush administration’s lies?

Well, he took three bullets to the head—“gangland style”—in what the Pentagon dubbed “friendly fire”.

What a joke. Is the Pentagon trying to destroy what little credibility it has left?

Apparently.

THIS WEEK’S BIG LIE

I’ve done a lot of research on both bombings of the Golden Dome Mosque and I can tell you that THE MILITARY HAS NEVER CONDUCTED AN INVESTIGATION OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. Never. That means the CNN headline is just more empty blather. The few eyewitness accounts that appeared in Iraqi blogs and web sites strongly suggest that US Intelligence agencies and Iraqi troops from the Interior Ministry may have been involved. The theories connecting Al Qaida to the incident are pure speculation with no factual basis.

And yet, here’s what Bush said in a speech just days after the first bombing:

“Al Qaida terrorists and Sunni insurgents… blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam—the Golden Mosque of Samarra—in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq’s Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements; some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today.”

How does Bush know who it was? He never ordered an investigation and he doesn’t have a crystal ball. If there’s proof—show us! Otherwise we should assume that he is just trying to blame someone else for his part in turning Iraq into a charnel house.

Those aren’t Al Qaida’s B-1 Bombers dropping cluster bombs and Daisy Cutters on Iraqi cities. And, that isn’t al-Baderi kicking down doors and dragging off civilians to be tortured in some god-forsaken hell-hole. Those are Bush’s planes and Bush’s troops! He’s the one who’s responsible.

Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote just a few months ago after the last bombing in Samarra:

“Less than 4 hours after the explosion, the Bush public relations team cobbled together a statement that the bombing was the work of Sunni extremists or al Qaida terrorists. But, they’ve never produced a scintilla of evidence to support their claims. It may be that the administration simply saw the bombing as an opportunity to twist the facts to suit their own purposes.

After all, the incident has been a propaganda-bonanza for the Bush team. They’ve used it to support their theory that Iraq is “the central battle in the war on terror” and that “we must fight them there if we don’t want to fight them over here”. It’s been used as one of the main justifications for the occupation; implying that the US military is needed as a referee to keep the warring factions from killing each other. It’s all just nonsense that’s designed to advance the administration’s political agenda.

If there had been an investigation, it would have shown whether or not the perpetrators were experts by the placement of the explosives. They might have found bomb-residue which could have determined the composition of the material used. Forensics experts could have easily ascertained whether the explosives came from Iraqi munitions-dumps (as suggested) or from outside the country (like the USA, perhaps?)

The incident may well have been a “false flag” operation carried out by US intelligence agencies to provoke sectarian violence and, thus, reduce the number of attacks on American troops. (That is what the vast number of Sunnis and Shiites believe)

In any event, as soon as the mosque was destroyed the media swung into action focusing all of its attention on sectarian violence and the prospect of civil war. The media’s incessant “cheerleading” for civil war was suspicious, to say the least.

In the first 30 hours after the blast, more than 1,500 articles appeared on Google News providing the government version of events without deviation and without any corroborating evidence; just fluff that reiterated the Pentagon’s account verbatim and without challenge.

1500! Now that’s a well-oiled propaganda system!

Most of the articles were “cookie cutter-type” stories which used the same buzzwords and talking points as all the others; no interviews, no facts, no second opinions; simple, straightforward stenography – nothing more.

The story was repeated for weeks on end never veering from the same speculative theory. Clearly, there was a push to convince the American people that this was a significant event that would reshape the whole context of the war in Iraq. In fact, the media blitz that followed was bigger than anything since 9-11; a spectacular display of the media’s power to manipulate public opinion.

There were a few articles that didn’t follow the party-line, but they quickly disappeared into a cyber-“black hole” or were dismissed as conspiracy theories. One report in AFP said that the bombing “was the work of specialists” and the “placing of explosives must have taken at least 12 hours”.

Ah-ha!

The article said: “Construction Minister Mohammed Jaafar said, ‘Holes were dug into the mausoleum’s four main pillars and packed with explosives. Then charges were connected together and linked to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were then linked to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were then linked to a detonator which was triggered at a distance.”

Of course, what does that prove? Perhaps, al Qaida has skilled explosives experts? But why not investigate? After all, if this was the “catalyzing event” which thrust the country towards civil war; why not have the FBI come in and take a look-around?

A professional team of investigators could have quickly determined whether highly-trained saboteurs were operating in the area. (which meant that American troops would be at greater risk) Isn’t that worth checking out?

Nope. The Pentagon did nothing. There was no effort at all to find out who might have been involved. It was an open and shut case; wrapped up before the dust had even settled in Samarra.

Very strange.

Apparently, there was at least one witness who was interviewed shortly after the bombing. He said that he heard cars running outside the mosque “the whole night until morning” but, he was warned “to stay in your shop and don’t leave until morning”.

At 6:30 AM the next morning, the vehicles outside the mosque left. 10 minutes later the bombs exploded.

None of the people living in the vicinity of the mosque were ever questioned. Likewise, the Construction Minister Mohammed Jaafar has never resurfaced in the news again. I expect that his comments in the newspaper may have had something to do with his sudden disappearance, but then maybe not. (Bush’s War on Perception the bombing of the Golden Mosque, Mike Whitney)

Here’s an excerpt from another article titled “Information Warfare, Psy-ops and the Power of Myth” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17078.htm

New Clues in the Bombing

New clues have surfaced in the case of the bombing of the Golden Mosque which suggests that the claims of the Bush administration are false. An article by Marc Santora, (“One Year Later, Golden Mosque still in Ruins”, New York Times) provides eyewitness testimony of what really took place one year ago:

“A caretaker at the shrine described what happened on the day of the attack, insisting on anonymity because he was afraid that talking to an American could get him killed. The general outline of his account was confirmed by American and Iraqi officials.

The night before the explosion, he said, just before the 8 p.m. curfew on Feb. 21, 2006, on the Western calendar, men dressed in commando uniforms like those issued by the Interior Ministry entered the shrine.

The caretaker said he had been beaten, tied up and locked in a room.

Throughout the night, he said, he could hear the sound of drilling as the attackers positioned the explosives, apparently in such a way as to inflict maximum damage on the dome”. (NY Times)

Clearly, if the men were men dressed in “commando uniforms like those issued by the Interior Ministry”, then the logical place to begin an investigation would be the Interior Ministry. But there’s never been an investigation and the caretaker has never been asked to testify about what he saw on the night of the bombing. However, if he is telling the truth, we cannot exclude the possibility that paramilitary contractors (mercenaries) or special-ops (intelligence) agents working out of the Interior Ministry may have destroyed the mosque to create the appearance of a nascent civil war.

Isn’t that what Bush wants—-to divert attention from the occupation and to show that the real conflict is between Shiites and Sunnis?

It’s unlikely that the mosque was destroyed by “Sunni insurgents or Al Qaida” as Bush claims. Samarra is predominantly a Sunni city and the Sunnis have nearly as much respect for the mosque as a cultural icon and sacred shrine as the Shiites.

The Times also adds, “What is clear is that the attack was carefully planned and calculated”.

True again. We can see from the extent of the damage that the job was carried out by demolition experts and not merely “insurgents or terrorists” with explosives. Simple forensic tests and soil samples could easily determine the composition of the explosives and point out the real perpetrators.

The Times even provides a motive for the attack: “Bad people used this incident to divide Iraq on a detestable sectarian basis.”

Bingo! The administration has repeatedly used the incident to highlight divisions, incite hostilities, and prolong the occupation.

The Times also notes the similarities between 9-11 and the bombing of the Golden Mosque: “I can describe what was done as exactly like what happened to the World Trade Center.”(NY Times)

In fact, the bombing of the Golden Mosque is a reenactment of September 11. In both cases an independent investigation was intentionally quashed and carefully-prepared narrative was immediately provided. The administration’s version of events has been critical in creating the rationale for an extended US military occupation of Iraq, but is it true.

Probably not. The so-called “deeply ingrained sectarian animosity between Sunnis and Shiites” has no historical precedent. It is an invention of propagandists in the intelligence services who intend to fragment the Iraqi state so that precious resources can be more easily controlled. “Divide and rule” continues to be the driving force behind America’s aggressive counterinsurgency strategy.

THE SECOND BOMBING OF THE GOLDEN DOME MOSQUE

Here’s excerpt from another article which outlines some of what we know about the second bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque a year later: (The Battle of Gaza, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17894.htm )

Graham Bowley (“Minarets on Shiites Shrine in Iraq Destroyed in Attack” NY Times) clarifies some of the important details of what took place at the site of the Mosque just prior to the second bombing. He says:

“Since the attack in 2006, the shrine had been under the protection of local — predominantly Sunni — guards. But American military and Iraqi security officials had recently become concerned that the local unit had been infiltrated by Al Qaeda forces in Iraq. A move by the Ministry of Interior in Baghdad over the last few days to bring in a new guard unit — predominantly Shiite — may have been linked to the attack today.”

No reference is made to the sudden and unexplained changing of the guards at the mosque in future accounts in the mainstream press. And, yet, that is the most important point. The minarets were blown up just days after the new guards took charge. They cordoned off the area, placed snipers on the surrounding rooftops, and then blew up the minarets in broad daylight.

The first explosion took place at 9:30 AM. Ten minutes later the second bomb was detonated.

Al Qaeda?

Not likely.

The Golden Dome mosque has been heavily guarded ever since it was blown up in 2006. The four main doors have been bolted shut and not a tile has been moved in over a year. The reason for this is that the Shiites consider it a “crime scene” which they intend to investigate more thoroughly when the violence subsides.

The Shiites never accepted the official US-version of events that “al Qaeda did it”. Many believe that US Special Forces were directly involved and that it was a planned demolition carried out by experts. There is considerable proof to support this theory including eye witness accounts from the scene of the crime as well as holes that were drilled in the floor of the mosque to maximize destruction. This was not a simple al Qaeda-type car-bombing but a technically-demanding demolition operation.

The damning information in the New York Times article has been corroborated in many other publications including an official statement from the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMSI). According to the AMSI, Prime Minister Nouri al Mailiki replaced the Sunnis who had been guarding the site for over a year with Shiite government forces from the Interior Ministry. Their statement reads:

“Security forces arrived yesterday afternoon from Baghdad Tuesday for the receipt of the task of protecting two tombs instead of the existing force there. Somehow they obtained a scuffle followed by gunfire lasted two hours over control of security forces coming from Baghdad.”

So, the Sunni guards were replaced (after a scuffle) with goons from the Interior Ministry. The next day the minarets blow up.

Coincidence?

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki immediately issued statement where he claimed that the al Qaeda was responsible for the attack. At the same time, however, he arrested all 12 of the guards he sent from the Interior Ministry.

Why? Was he afraid they would talk to the media?

The Association of Muslim Scholars said that “last year’s explosion happened after a severe political crisis between blocs involved in the political process to the occupation. After the elections, the establishment of the government was blocked at that time. It is quite similar to the political crisis faced by the government and parliament today”.

The AMSI is right. The destruction of the Golden Dome Mosque took place soon after the Iraqi parliament rejected the US-plan for dividing Iraq. (“Federalism”) This time, the parliament has voted-down the US-plan to transfer control of Iraq’s vast petroleum reserves to the American oil giants via the “oil laws”.

The AMSI sees the bombing as a desperate attempt by the US occupation to break the logjam in Parliament over the oil laws and to conceal the failures of the “surge” by inciting sectarian violence. The only difference this time is that the Shiite militias have been less responsive to US manipulation. In fact, Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr has tried to stop his Mahdi Army from attacking Sunni areas and he has decried the bombing as another plot by US-Israeli intelligence agents operating in Iraq. He said that the incident reveals “the hidden hand of the occupier.”

He added, “This is what the occupiers brought to Iraq: a disintegration plot and fanning the flames of sectarian violence. Destroying the Askariya shrine goes exactly with the insurgents’ beliefs.”

Among Shiites, there’s nearly unanimous agreement that the US was behind the bombing. Middle East expert Juan Cole reports on his blog-site “Informed Comment, that protests have broken out in India, Pakistan, the Caucasus, Bahrain, Iran and other locations where there are high concentrations of Shiites. The consensus view is that the minarets were blown up as part of a larger US-Israeli strategy for controlling the Middle East.

But why would the Bush administration want to unleash a fresh wave of sectarian violence when they can’t even establish security in Baghdad?

Here’s what the AMSI says:

“Sectarian violence is an effective means to enable the militias to fully impose their control on (Sunni) neighborhoods and cities as it did after the bombings of Samarra….The government is also trying to control the capital of Baghdad; seeking to extend its power over other cities that reject the occupation, especially the cities of Baquba and Samarra”.

This is what is gained by the bombings—further ethnic cleansing of the Sunni neighborhoods and greater control over the public through a campaign of terror. It’s all part of a broader neocon strategy that centers on “creative destruction” rather than the traditional US policy of “regional stability

Final Comment

The bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque is a psychological operation (psy-ops) that evolved from the theories of former Counselor at the State Dept, Philip Zelikow, (Zelikow was also executive director of the 9-11 Commission and author of the National Security Strategy NSS) Zelikow “is an expert in “the creation and maintenance of ‘public myths’ or ‘public presumptions’, which he defines as beliefs thought to be true although not necessarily known to be true with certainty, shared in common with the relevant political community. He has taken a special interest in ‘searing’ or ‘molding’ events that take on ‘transcendent’ importance and, therefore, retain there power even as the experiencing generation passes from the scene”. (“Thinking about Political History” Miller Center report; winter 1999)

“In the Nov-Dec 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs he co-authored an article called ‘Catastrophic Terrorism’ in which he speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the World Trade center had succeeded ‘the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. ‘It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America’s fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet bomb test in 1949. The US might respond with draconian measures scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force. More violence could follow, either future terrorist attacks or US counterattacks. Belatedly, Americans would judge their leaders negligent for not addressing terrorism more urgently”. (Wikipedia)

Zelikow’s theories help us understand how “catastrophic events” are being used to shape public consciousness and create a narrative that advances the political objectives of the people in power. The actual facts about the bombing of the shrine are have been intentionally suppressed while the prevailing theory—that we are fighting Al Qaida in Iraq—has been meticulously maintained with a solid wall of disinformation. The media has played a central role in this process by disseminating the official storyline from every outlet and newspaper without challenging the government’s “uncorroborated” assertions. This has had a deeply corrosive effect on American democracy.

The extraordinary expansion of state power has been legitimized by the deliberate misreading of “catastrophic events”. History, legal precedent and even cultural tradition have been brushed aside in an effort to rationalize a new order in which state repression, autocratic rule and aggressive war are deemed the requisite components of national security. The entire human experiment—dating back tens of thousands of years–is now conveniently divided into two parts: pre-9-11 and post 9-11.

The bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque has been used the same way as 9-11. A “unifying myth” has been build around a “catastrophic event” in a way that serves the overall goals of the political establishment. As we have seen, the facts don’t matter as long as the illusion that we are fighting terrorists is maintained. (According to Anthony H. Cordesman, an Iraqi specialist at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, al Qaida’s attacks make up only 15 per cent of the total in Iraq though they launch 80-90 per cent of the suicide bombings”. Patrick Cockburn).In reality, the US is engaged in a brutal colonial war that has destroyed a sovereign nation that posed no threat to American national security. That obvious fact never finds its way into America’s “free press”.

The Bush administration and their enablers in the Pentagon’s “Dept. of Strategic Information” will continue to promote their threadbare narrative of “foreign fighters and terrorists” until the Iraq mission collapses and the troops are withdrawn.

Until then, many more lives will be sacrificed to preserve the myth of a war on terror. Haitham Sabah al-Baderi was one such victim. His assassination has helped to conceal the fact that 700,000 Iraqis have been butchered without cause in their own country by Bush’s army.FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

Bush’s War on Perception; the bombing of the Golden Mosque by Mike Whitney

The Battle of Gaza By Mike Whitney

Uncle Sam, Your Banker Will See You Now By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
08/08/07 “ICH

Early this morning China let the idiots in Washington, and on Wall Street, know that it has them by the short hairs. Two senior spokesmen for the Chinese government observed that China’s considerable holdings of US dollars and Treasury bonds “contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency.”

Should the US proceed with sanctions intended to cause the Chinese currency to appreciate, “the Chinese central bank will be forced to sell dollars, which might lead to a mass depreciation of the dollar.”

If Western financial markets are sufficiently intelligent to comprehend the message, US interest rates will rise regardless of any further action by China. At this point, China does not need to sell a single bond. In an instant, China has made it clear that US interest rates depend on China, not on the Federal Reserve.

The precarious position of the US dollar as reserve currency has been thoroughly ignored and denied. The delusion that the US is “the world’s sole superpower,” whose currency is desirable regardless of its excess supply, reflects American hubris, not reality. This hubris is so extreme that only 6 weeks ago McKinsey Global Institute published a study that concluded that even a doubling of the US current account deficit to $1.6 trillion would pose no problem.

Strategic thinkers, if any remain who have not been purged by neocons, will quickly conclude that China’s power over the value of the dollar and US interest rates also gives China power over US foreign policy. The US was able to attack Afghanistan and Iraq only because China provided the largest part of the financing for Bush’s wars.

If China ceased to buy US Treasuries, Bush’s wars would end. The savings rate of US consumers is essentially zero, and several million are afflicted with mortgages that they cannot afford. With Bush’s budget in deficit and with no room in the US consumer’s budget for a tax increase, Bush’s wars can only be financed by foreigners.

No country on earth, except for Israel, supports the Bush regimes’ desire to attack Iran. It is China’s decision whether it calls in the US ambassador, and delivers the message that there will be no attack on Iran or further war unless the US is prepared to buy back $900 billion in US Treasury bonds and other dollar assets.

The US, of course, has no foreign reserves with which to make the purchase. The impact of such a large sale on US interest rates would wreck the US economy and effectively end Bush’s war-making capability. Moreover, other governments would likely follow the Chinese lead, as the main support for the US dollar has been China’s willingness to accumulate them. If the largest holder dumped the dollar, other countries would dump dollars, too.

The value and purchasing power of the US dollar would fall. When hard-pressed Americans went to Wal-Mart to make their purchases, the new prices would make them think they had wandered into Nieman Marcus. Americans would not be able to maintain their current living standard.

Simultaneously, Americans would be hit either with tax increases in order to close a budget deficit that foreigners will no longer finance or with large cuts in income security programs. The only other source of budgetary finance would be for the government to print money to pay its bills. In this event, Americans would experience inflation in addition to higher prices from dollar devaluation.

This is a grim outlook. We got in this position because our leaders are ignorant fools. So are our economists, many of whom are paid shills for some interest group. So are our corporate leaders whose greed gave China power over the US by offshoring the US production of goods and services to China. It was the corporate fat cats who turned US Gross Domestic Product into Chinese imports, and it was the “free trade, free market economists” who egged it on.

How did a people as stupid as Americans get so full of hubris?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Why Saudi Arabia? Why Now? by Col. Daniel Smith, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Dandelion Salad

by Col. Daniel Smith, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Foreign Policy In Focus
http://www.fpif.org
August 6, 2007

The “headline-grabber” read: “U.S. Plans New Arms Sales to Gulf Allies.”

Nothing startling there. For decades the United States has routinely sold or transferred weapons and ammunition, sent military teams abroad or brought foreign military personnel to the United States for training, and transferred technology that allowed “friendly” governments to produce almost state-of-the-art copies of U.S. weapons.

What was a surprise were two details in the article’s subheading. The main recipient of Uncle Sam’s largesse was Saudi Arabia, and the value of the deal was said to be $20 billion.

Saudi Arabia? Isn’t that the country:

  • from which came 15 of the 19 men responsible for 9/11?
  • that opposed the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and whose king, in March 2007, called the invasion an “illegal occupation”?
  • that told the United States to remove its troops and find some other country for U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) forward command post?
  • whose border is so poorly monitored that 75% of all foreign fighters crossing into Iraq do so from Saudi territory, far more than from Syria?
  • whose autocratic government either will not or cannot prevent its youth from going to Iraq – an estimated 40% of all foreigners fighting U.S. troops and Iraqi government forces are Saudi nationals – where they become bomb makers, snipers, and suicide bombers?
  • that nearly 60 years after the creation of the modern state of Israel still refuses to extend diplomatic recognition to Tel Aviv?

No matter how deft the White House “spin,” there will be considerable congressional opposition to the sale. Previous congresses have opposed sales of weapons to the Saudis on the grounds that the kingdom has never signed a peace agreement with Israel. This time, the opposition is fueled by the lack of sustained support from Riyadh for U.S. aims in Iraq and in the global war on terrorism.

Continued…

h/t: Malcolm

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Dictator or Quisling by Malcolm

Malcolm

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Aug. 8, 2007

So here is an idea for a game called Name the Dictator. The game is to determine who is responsible for this mess, the bush (adj.) corporate control of our government. John Perkins calls it corporatocracy. Cool. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could blame a person, someone we could hold accountable, and rightfully so, the non-elected officials that determine public policy.

Name the Dictator would be the opposite of a Presidential debate. Instead of looking for someone to make things better, the game is to name who we tar and feather, someone to put in the town square locked in the stocks, someone on whom we could walk by and kick or spit, verbally abuse, something rude and distasteful. Very therapeutic.
Unfortunately, a dictator, king, or president is just a figurehead. A corporation is another identifier, and probably more current, but much too ambiguous since it does not fix blame on any one person; it is far less specific and hence, of little therapeutic value.

The title ‘quisling’ would be a better fit: from Am. Heritage Dictionary, n. someone who serves as a puppet to the enemy occupying his country. The word comes from the name of a ‘tom delay’ kind of nut, Vidkun Quisling, who while serving as a legislator in Norway decided it would be a great idea if Hitler took control of his country. So when the Nazis invaded he became the Chief of Norway. In the game ‘The Quisling’ the definition ‘enemy occupying his country’ could be either foreign or domestic; but since the corporatocracy is currently an occupational force the distinction hardly matters.

Like the Donald Trump show, The Apprentice, it would allow a winnowing from a group of candidates until the winner is named: The Quisling.

So who are our enemies, our Quislings? John Perkins could name some great candidates for the show (the viewing/public audience could participate with email). Like where Perkins worked, it could be those corporate heads that determine our national (and foreign) policy, unelected ‘officials’ that shape the media and sell us their ‘reality’, United Fruit/Chiquita that deposed Guatemala’s democratically elected President in 1953; Drummond Mining (a US privately held company) who were recently indicted for assasinating labor organizers at their mining operations in Equador; Freeport-McMoran (with Kissinger on the Board of Directors) that use the Indonesian army to hold down the local population while the mine effluent poisons a river the local villagers depended upon.

Like picking lobster out of the aquarium at a seafood restaurant, this would be easy pickings; and like the FBI’s most wanted list at a Post Office, these people should be held up to public scrutiny.

Now is the time to take action. We, the People, that hold this country to a higher ethical standard need to determine the issues; We need to direct the ‘talking points’ instead of Carl Rove’s lowest common denominator; We need to get the fear-based platform turned around and moving forward instead of the regressive politics of a highly focused minority. They have been in controll since the tawdry smear of the Clinton Administration. The bush Condoleezza (on the Board of Directors at Chevron) has stollen our national integrity for the benefit of corporations, from oil to prison management. Dictators or Quislings, we might as well have some fun exposing their operation and maybe change their game.

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Radio for the People By Amy Goodman

Dandelion Salad

By Amy Goodman
Truthdig
Posted on Aug 7, 2007

Rupert Murdoch is looking like the cat that ate the canary with his successful takeover of Dow Jones & Co. and its flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. Media conglomerates like Murdoch’s News Corp. are among the most powerful corporations on the planet. His papers beat the drums for war while distracting with gossip and glitz.

Yet people are finding innovative ways to fight back, to demand independent, community-based media. One such effort that you can join is the movement to create new, full-power, noncommercial FM radio stations in the U.S.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. The Federal Communications Commission will open a one-week window, Oct. 12-19, during which nonprofit community groups in the U.S. can file applications.

Continued…

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