The Necessary Embrace of Conspiracy by Robert Shetterly

Dandelion Salad

by Robert Shetterly

Several years ago I gave a talk on Martha’s Vineyard about many of the people whose portraits I’ve painted in the Americans Who Tell the Truth series. I spent some time talking about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. When I talk about King, I like to focus on his last year — the period when, defying the advice of many of his advisors in the civil rights movement, he spoke against the Vietnam War, equating racism with imperialism. King felt bound to make the point that the forces of capitalism, materialism, and militarism that were driving segregation were also driving the war, and until we confronted the source of the problem, the abuses would continue. It was April 4, 1967, in Riverside Church in New York, that he made that declaration. A year to the day before his assassination.

It has always confounded me every year when we celebrate Dr. King’s life that no mention is made of that Riverside Church speech in the major media. We are always treated to sound bites of the 1963 I Have a Dream speech. That speech’s oratory is as powerful as it is non-confrontational. Which is why it is re-played for modern audiences. Dr. King was about confrontation. Non-violence and confrontation, each ennobling and making the other effective. In 1967 he said, “… my country is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” And he explained how our economic system thrived on exploitation and violence, or, as Emma Goldman put it, “The greatest bulwark of capitalism is militarism.” This was probably the most important speech King ever gave and not playing it when we ostensibly honor him, is tantamount to castrating him morally and intellectually. Just as there is a long history of White America castrating black men, there is an equal legacy of Elite America cutting the most important truths of our social prophets out of the history books. We pay homage to King’s icon, the cardboard cutout, but not to his strongest beliefs and his most cogent analysis of our problems — to what vision called forth his courage. And, if we think that he spoke the truth, to censor that truth is to promote a curious kind of segregation. He is segregated, not for the color of his skin, but for the accuracy of his perception, how close to the bone his words cut. We can’t bear to hear the sound of truth’s knife scraping on hypocrisy’s bone. Only people who actually want to change the system dance to that music or want it to be heard.

Equally important, and part of the same neglect, is the intentional ignoring of the facts of his death. In my talk on Martha’s Vineyard I spoke about William Pepper’s book, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King, Jr. Pepper had been James Earl Ray’s lawyer. Ray was the man convicted of killing King. But both Pepper and the King family were convinced that Ray was innocent. The King family hired Pepper to represent them in a suit; they asked only $100.00 in damages to clear Ray’s name. Before the trial came to court in 1999, Ray had died in prison. The jury determined that King had been assassinated by a conspiracy involving the Memphis police, the Mafia, the FBI, and the Special Forces of the U.S. Army. Ray, the patsy, had left town before the shot was fired. Pepper had confessions from people involved from each of the organizations named. The verdict was barely mentioned in the U.S. media then and is not mentioned every year on the anniversary of his death. Why?

After my talk on Martha’s Vineyard a man came up to me and said, “I enjoyed your speech and was with you until you started that conspiracy stuff about MLK, Jr.” I said, “That’s not conspiracy. What I told you are facts.” End of conversation.

I think we’re confronted with two conspiracies here: one to commit the crime, the other to ignore it even when the facts are known. ( Two sides of the same coin.) The man who accused me of slipping into the neurotic, aliens-are-among-us land of conspiracy nuts was unable to hear the evidence, perhaps because he was so utterly convinced by our government and media that conspiracies don’t exist, people who espouse them are dangerous fruitcakes, and if you begin to think like that, your whole house of cards wobbles then topples. Who wants that? Better a standing tower of marked cards, than having to admit the game is rigged and the ground is shaking.

America is steeped in conspiracy, and even more steeped in propaganda that discredits those who try to expose the conspiracies. Whether we’re talking about MLK, Jr., JFK, RFK, Iran-Contra, 9/11, or, most importantly, the status quo, anyone who works to uncover the truth is branded a “conspiracy nut” and discredited before any evidence has a fair hearing. The government/corporate/media version is THE VERSION. Anything else is illusory.

In fact, the cultural success of labeling investigative reporters and forensic historians, and, simply, anyone who tries to name reality, “conspiracy nuts” is perhaps the most successful conspiracy of our time. Well, not the most successful. That prize goes to the conspiracy to give corporations all the rights of individual persons under our Constitution. That conspiracy has codified and consolidated corporate power so that it controls our lives in almost every meaningful way. It controls the election funds of our candidates, and them once they are in office. It controls our major media including public broadcasting. It controls the content of our television programming. It controls how are tax dollars are spent making sure that the richest get the most welfare. It controls the laws, the courts, the prison system and the mind numbing propaganda that we are the greatest democracy on earth. It controls the values with which we raise our children. It controls our ability to dispense justice. It controls how we treat nature, how we deface our land with strip malls, and blow the tops off our mountains — a form of corporate free speech. It dictates our modes of transportation. It controls our inability to respond to true crises like climate change. It attempts to create a spiritual deficiency in every person that can be filled and healed only with stuff — and no stuff is ever enough.

As Richard Grossman puts it, “Isn’t it an old story? People create what looks to be a nifty machine, a robot, called the corporation. Over time, the robots get together and overpower the people. … For a century, the robots propagandize and indoctrinate each generation of people so they grow up believing that robots are people too, gifts from God and Mother Nature; that they are inevitable and the source of all that is good. How odd that we have been so gullible, so docile, obedient.”

It is obvious to say that we have been engineered into a culture that values competitive consumption and consumers instead of community cooperation and citizenship. Capitalism with its obsessive and necessary appetite for consumption, expanding markets, resource depletion, and increasing profits has consumed democracy. Have you ever watched a small snake swallow a large frog? The snake’s hinged jaw stretches wider and wider, squeezing the frog millimeter by millimeter into its gullet until finally the snake looks like the Holland Tunnel might if it had devoured the Titanic. Then the acids and enzymes do their corrosive work. The frog becomes the snake. And the snake claims it is the frog. Capitalism has gulped down democracy and claimed it is democracy. When, immediately after 9/11, President Bush advised Americans to demonstrate their love of freedom and their resistance to terrorism by courageously, selflessly, hurrying to the mall to buy something, he was speaking as the snake that identifies itself as a frog. He was asking us to play a little game with our brains’ synapses, replace the snake icon with the frog’s. Sadly, he may also have been speaking about democracy in the only way that he can understand or recognize it. And, for him, Christianity has been another tidy meal for the snake.

Perhaps this switcheroo is nowhere more obvious than in the military /industrial complex. We are told that the vulnerable frog needs protecting. The threats are grave. So we fork over our money and children’s lives for war and weapons. We are told that we are building security and peace. More lives. More weapons. What we aren’t told is that the largest US export to the world is weapons. What we aren’t told is that enormous fortunes are being made from the arms trade. What we aren’t told is that the more precarious and unstable the world is, the better the business for the arms dealers — that the real promotion is not for security and peace but insecurity and war, that the lives of our children are the necessary collateral damage for this monster. What we aren’t told is that the only real security is in cooperation, conservation, and fairness, not imperialism. The frog, who is a snake, wrapped in a flag, pleads for patriotism and counts the cash. The snake’s forked tongue is a barbeque fork on which we’ve all been roasted.

I’d call that conspiracy.

The neocons have claimed, with some accuracy, that they can create reality faster than we can react: the deed is done, now deal with it. The troops have invaded, Halliburton, Blackwater, and Lockheed signed their contracts, the prisoners are tortured, your email is bugged, the resources for social programs are gone, the laws are changed, the Wal-Mart is built, the sludge dump has already polluted the aquifer, truth is hollowed out —- catch me if you can!

How is that not conspiracy?

The cooks & the crooks create a new status quo, legalize it, propagandize it, mythologize it, fundamentalize it, slather it with fear and patriotism, and force feed it to the complacent, sedated cow we call America.

How is that not conspiracy?

Of course, ever since the Constitution was signed and didn’t free the slaves or give the vote to women, poor folks, Native Americans and freed blacks so that people with power and money could continue to profit, America has been a conspiracy against itself. It’s been cowboy grilling his own heart over a smoke & mirrors campfire, a CEO with inherited wealth and three hundred years of patrician, affirmative action crooning “Only in America.”

The reason we can’t talk about conspiracy is because it is the modus operandi. It isn’t the elephant in the room, it is the room itself. We all live there. We can impeach a few elephants, and we should, but the architecture is in place. And they control it.

When I was in school, I was reminded – repeatedly — to avoid using an indefinite pronoun without identifying whom it refers to, as in, “They are coming to get us,” … or, “They control everything.” Who are They? It’s bad practice to think and write like that. Without reference it just sounds like paranoia. But the hell of it is that it’s damned hard to say who the They are that are in conspiracy to destroy democracy and, by exploitation, nature. Did They do it on purpose or merely discover by serendipity, like cavemen seeing copper ooze out of a rock by a fire, the wondrous possibility and power of what they had found. For instance, the invention of the TV was not a conspiracy. But once the realization of how TV could be used to submerge the public in a lobotomizing swamp of advertising, sound bites, inactivity, community destruction, titillation, false history, empty myth, consumption, and complicity in making fortunes for the sponsors, the program was clear. Conspiracy was the silent partner in the euphemism good business practice. And, once they saw the implications of giving corporations First Amendment rights, they were home free.

Time to re-think conspiracy.

We need to embrace conspiracy in two ways. One, admit that it’s real, its quotidian, it’s the fabric of our lives, the mercury in the air, the dioxin in the water, it’s filling the airwaves and the marketplace and the courts and the halls of Congress before we even get out of bed every morning. Two, counter it with a conspiracy of our own. On our side we have the fundamental fact that although the corporate They can alter many of our realities, they can’t alter Reality. They can’t change the behavior of Nature. They can sell off the rain forest, but they can’t leverage the effect of cutting it. They can keep the mileage of cars poor so we’ll buy more gas, but they can’t alter the amount of oil in the ground or the damage to the atmosphere. They can privatize every human interaction and every natural resource, but they can’t privatize the laws of nature. They have conspired to change reality. We must conspire to live in harmony with Reality.

In the same way, they can conspire to kill Martin Luther King, Jr., but they can’t totally eradicate the truth of who did it and why.

Con + spirare, from the Latin. To breathe together. Those are the roots of conspiracy. Breathing together doesn’t sound like an activity of the ideologically deracinated whispering seditiously in a dank cellar or a board room, foul breaths denting a weak flame flickering over a candle nub, gunpowder or greed blackened fingers setting a timer, the whites of creased eyes glinting like knives with treason, murder, power, and deceit.

Con + spirare sounds like healthy men and women standing in the sun figuring out how in the hell they are going to take care of each other and their aging mother Earth and love life while doing it. Breathing together, sharing the same air, plotting to make sure that what’s mine is yours, conspiring to save their self-respect, their ideals, the future for their children.

I want to be part of a conspiracy. Pervasive, populist, revolutionary, and totally transparent. Grassroots. Idealistic. Simplistic. Life-affirming. Community building.

A conspiracy to make the common good and the love of nature the common denominator of every economic transaction.

And the simple truth is either we start breathing together, conspiring big time, right out in the open, nakedly, unashamedly, or we will have conspired in secret, by default, in our own demise.

We have let them breathe for us, and they have stolen our breath, our air, our spirit.

Secret con + spirare is death. Open con + spirare is life.

Conspiracy is dead. Long live conspiracy!

Robert Shetterly lives in Brooksville, Maine

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr/MLK

Strange goings-on here in Lebanon … by Robert Fisk

Dandelion Salad

by Robert Fisk
The Independent
Published: 01 September 2007

Stories that just don’t seem to make it into print.

Did you know that the Hizbollah “Party of God” has installed its own private communications network in the south of Lebanon, stretching from the village of Zawter Sharqiya all the way to Beirut? And why, I wonder, would it be doing that? Well, to safeguard its phones in the event that the Israelis immobilise the public mobile system in the next war. Next war? Well, if there’s not going to be another war in Lebanon, why is Hizbollah building new roads north of the Litani river, new bunkers, new logistics far outside the area of operations of the Nato-led UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon?

Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah’s leader, boasts of new weapons. The Lebanese suspect that these include anti-aircraft missiles. If this is true – and many Lebanese who have spent their lives under Israel’s cruel air attacks, assaults which have often been war crimes, hope it is – then the next war will be anticipated with dark but keen anxiety. Since the Israeli army is incapable of fighting the Hizbollah on its own ground – its collapse when faced by Hizbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon last year proved this – what happens if their awesome air power is also neutered?


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.

Abbas Opposes Land-Swap – Do You Want Peace? By Liam Bailey


By Liam Bailey
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that he opposes Israel’s proposal to give up areas of Israeli land heavily populated by Israeli Arabs, such as the region around Umm al-Fahm, for the new Palestinian state, in order to keep Israel’s settlement blocs in the West Bank while still returning 100% of the land taken in the 1967 war. I just can’t believe it, it harks back to the Palestinian pig-headed stick-to-your-gunnery that is usual displayed so well by Hamas and would be so better coming from people who actually had anything to lose.

The Palestinian people want peace, and as it has widely been agreed for decades the best chance of that comes from a two-state solution where Israel returns the land it took in 1967. For Abbas now to say he opposes an Israeli offer to do just that makes me ask, and from what I know of the situation, the Palestinian people will also be wondering: does Abbas want peace?

The proposal Abbas was talking about was formulated by Shimon Peres while he was still Israel’s vice-premier. The proposal was brought to light in a Haaretz article. Although I am bemused that Abbas has come out opposing the proposal, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has denied the existence of such a document anyway.

Returning the land taken in 1967 including East Jerusalem to form a Palestinian state, is one of the set-in-stone Palestinian demands for any peace deal, right of return for all refugees is another. But the main thing Palestinians want is an end to the occupation, removal of checkpoints, life-restricting Israeli security measures, and control over their own lives.

A land swap has long been thought necessary to allow Israel to return the land it took in 1967, because of the settlements it has built on the occupied land. If this document does exist, then this being the first time Israel has actually stated what land it wishes to swap for me is a big step. Another big step is Israel putting on paper a proposal to return 100% of the land taken in 1967. For Abbas to oppose such a huge step towards a massive concession from Israel, makes me wonder for the first time if those people are right, who say the Palestinians are as much an obstacle to peace as Israel. But let’s remember this is not the Palestinian people, it is a Palestinian leader long-known for not putting his people first.

Many people in the analytical community, the major players in the international and Israeli political scenes are currently — on paper at least — touting that peace is closer than it has been for years. Shimon Peres stated Aug. 26 his belief that peace could be agreed before the international summit later this year.

UN special advisor for the Middle East Michael Williams, who is set to become Britain’s Middle East representative next month, said that Israel hasn’t done enough to strengthen moderate Abbas, which suggests he will follow the same old policy. That is the very policy that I believe still leaves peace a long way off; strengthening Abbas, while isolating and excluding Hamas from negotiations. This leaves the peace process open to being de-railed by the militant group staging a campaign of terror attacks. There is already talk of Hamas leaders in Damascus calling on Hamas militants in the West Bank to launch a massive suicide attack in Israel to torpedo chances of a deal between Israel and Fatah.

There is also the possibility that any agreements will be rejected by the Palestinian people as a whole who doubt Abbas’ credibility and voted for a Hamas government for that reason. That of course all assumes Abbas can reach agreement with Israel. If Abbas is going to oppose every attempt Israel’s makes to compromise then he is not as moderate as everyone seems to think, and nor is he likely to be the best person to achieve a Palestinian state through negotiations.

Michael Williams also said the situation is better than it has been for seven years, so as he and many other prominent people are hopeful that peace is closer than it has been for years, I will keep an open mind and see how things pan out. But until the top tier of world powers realize that all Palestinian groups and people must be behind a deal in order to offer Israel any real chance of security; a must for any deal, I just don’t hold out much hope.

Liam Bailey is a U.K. freelance journalist. He writes regularly for the Palestine Chronicle, Arabic Media Internet Network and is an advanced blogger on the Washington Post’s Post Global. He runs the War Pages blog and you can contact him at:

Peace, Injustice, and Ron Paul by David Swanson

Dandelion Salad

by David Swanson
The Smirking Chimp
Sept. 1 2007

If Ron Paul had been president for the past 6 years, a million more Iraqis would be alive, and another 4 million would not be refugees. The world would be a safer place, and Americans would have lost fewer freedoms.

But more Americans would lack decent health care. More American children would lack adequate education. More families in America would struggle in poverty. Immigrant families would face increased threats and abuse. Women would have lost rights. And a growing oligarchy would further dominate American politics, making reversal of any admirable Paul policies likely.

Paul arrives at some admirable positions for some unexpected reasons. And his principles lead him to many reprehensible positions as well. He opposes occupying Iraq because it involves massive government expense and power. That, and not the million corpses, is his primary concern.

Paul is brave enough to say what he thinks and stand by it. While there are Democrats, like Dennis Kucinich and Barbara Lee, who have that same quality, the Democratic Party as a whole has an established reputation of not standing and fighting for anything, and least of all peace.

So, it’s not completely surprising that a lot of opponents of the occupation of Iraq are looking to Paul as the best presidential candidate out there. Many Paul supporters really want peace and want it for the best reasons, but they detest the word “liberal” and loathe “big government.” Others are not quite in that camp but consider the war such an overwhelmingly important issue that they don’t much care what Paul’s other positions are.

But Paul would end the occupation of Iraq and offer the Iraqi people not a dime to help rebuild the nation we’ve destroyed. In fact, he would cut the pittance we give in foreign aide around the world. But Paul has never, to my knowledge, said he would cut a single dollar from the biggest big government expense there is, much bigger than any war: the yearly budget of the Pentagon. And if he thinks he can keep funding that and NOT launch new wars, he hasn’t thought about the workings of our government quite enough.

So, a Paul government would be stingy, extravagant, war-prone despite itself, and in debt. Would Paul solve that problem be reinstating progressive taxation for the super wealthy and corporations? No, he’d cut taxes. Of course, taxes SHOULD be cut for most people. But unless they’re raised for the wealthy and corporations, we will have even more debt (which Paul says he opposes) or we will have to make massive cuts in what’s left of the non-military public sector. And that’s exactly what Paul would like to see: “wasteful agencies” and “governments collecting foreign aid” are among his targets. Rather than increasing funding for public schools, his solution for education would be to cut more taxes (the thinking being that this would allow parents to teach their children at home). That works for parents who want to do that and don’t have to work. But most parents don’t want to do that and do have to work. And with a president Paul allowing the minimum wage to plummet, opposing living wage standards, and doing nothing to restore the right to unionize, parents’ work hours would not be shrinking.

Of course parents who don’t work, or don’t work jobs with good benefits, tend to lack health insurance. Paul would offer these tens of millions of Americans and the even greater number with inadequate health insurance nothing more than a middle finger. Paul believes the greatest crisis in our health care is the imposition of vaccinations. Everything always comes back to his notion of personal “freedom,” even if it’s the freedom to die of a curable disease. The only solution that has been found to provide everyone decent health care – in fact it works in almost every industrialized nation in the world – would mean private medicine, allowing everyone to choose their own doctor, but would also mean replacing the health insurance companies with the government. This is the last thing Paul would ever stand for. Better that people suffer and die than that the government be involved in helping them.

Women who value the right to abortion would lose it under a Paul Administration. This is not speculation. He openly says he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. That’s his principle and he stands by it courageously and honestly, but most Americans disagree with him.

Life would change dramatically for all Americans under this sort of right-wing rule, but much more so for immigrants. Paul would allow fewer legal immigrants, while denying any illegal immigrants a path to become citizens. An immigrant woman here without papers who was raped would be denied the right to an abortion. Her child, born in America, would be denied citizenship. Her family would be denied welfare, as well as health care, and education, not to mention any investment in public transportation. Undocumented workers would gain no workplace rights under a Paul government, and so the rights of all of us would continue to erode. In fact, immigrants would be scapegoated and associated with 9-11, and Paul’s priority would be “securing borders.”

Under a Paul administration there would be fewer immigrants for a good reason: he opposes the trade policies that destroy the economies of the nations they flee to come here. But Paul opposes those policies because they are international, not because they empower corporations and hurt workers. That’s none of his concern. He’s a “property rights” man, even if it’s at the expense of those without property. He opposes NAFTA for the same reason he opposes the United Nations. He would erode international law far more swiftly than Bush, thereby endangering us all in the long run. International law is what works against wars of aggression.

But if Paul is as major an opponent of justice as I suggest, why then are so many advocates of peace and justice flocking to him? It depends in each case. Many passionately oppose the occupation of Iraq, but they don’t call it an occupation. They call it a war. And their chief concern is not the million Iraqis dead, but the nearly four thousand Americans. And (this is key) they don’t like the Democrats.

Paul is a man with principles, bizarre and twisted principles, but principles. Beside him, most of the Republicans look like charlatans, and the Democrats who are allowed on television and in the New York Times look like spineless cowards. They look like spineless cowards not because they favor peace (they don’t), but because they refuse to stand up to Bush and Cheney. Paul stands up to Bush and Cheney. NOTHING is more powerful than that in today’s politics, and he does it. Standing up to Bush and Cheney is what propelled Howard Dean’s campaign so rapidly, and few paid close attention to what his positions were either.

Of course, there is a candidate in the 2008 presidential race who stands consistently and courageously on principle for both peace AND justice. And if we had the courage of our convictions we would put everything we have into backing him. Not only might he win, but our backing him now might force the Democrats in Congress to act like they believe in something, and force other candidates to improve their positions. His name is Dennis Kucinich. Paul doesn’t want people to give their money to Washington. Give it to

David Swanson is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of

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.


Happy Labor Day from Dennis Kucinich + To the UAW: Happy Labor Day (videos)

Dennis Kucinich for President – Contribute

Real Time with Bill Maher – Gravel, PETA, Iraq, and New Rules By Manila Ryce

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
The Largest Minority
Published Saturday, September 1st, 2007, 7:16 am

I was pleasantly surprised to see Mike Gravel on Real Time with Bill Maher. Though I love the guy for having big brass balls, I will concede that every so often he does have a disoriented geriatric quality about him. Still, an old man from the past can be a refreshing change of pace when that man is stomping around in the pool of stagnant pond scum which is modern politics. Gravel drew his first great applause of the night when he stated that white Americans took an anti-immigration stance after they got here themselves.

Later on in the show, Maher juxtaposed Miss Teen South Carolina’s infamous blunder with a classic Bush-ism on tribal sovereignty from awhile back. At least Ms South Carolina can claim her nonsensical answer was the result of shock. It’s quite apparent that Bush just didn’t know the definition of sovereignty.

Maher then discussed “No End in Sight“, which explores the mismanagement of the war. The movie runs closely to “Imperial Life in the Emerald City“, a book by Rajiv Chandrasekaran which basically reveals that democracy never took hold in Iraq because it was never really one of our priorities. We were more interested in making money for a select few than actually stabilizing the country. To this end, loyalists were appointed, regardless of their job abilities.

Gravel once again brought a sane perspective to the conversation of mismanagement when he said that everyone was discussing “how to do a mistake competently”. Well said Mike.


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.


No End In Sight (Movie trailer link)

Sen. Mike Gravel on Immigration (video)

Mike Gravel: Young Men and Women (video)

Bushed, Bleary and Bamboozled by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)


Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

by The Other Katherine Harris

Glitzqueen’s blog post

Sept. 1, 2007

In this time of truthiness, facts no longer fall at our feet like overripe pears; they’re fireflies to be chased in the dark or, if they seem overt, they quaver away as mirages do when we near them. Nothing we’re told is more than a clue — and usually one isolated from its proper context.

After struggling to interpret the latest barrage of events and announcements, I’m exhausted. No doubt that’s how the Masters of the Universe want us to be. They’ve created not only an economy in which any seeming rise in working people’s declining incomes is attributable to their taking extra junk-jobs and far offset by real inflation — which, unlike the “core” inflation they measure, recognizes that we require shelter and food — but also a media empire so guileful that sleuthing the news to grasp its actual import has become an adjunct job for any with sufficient energy and will in reserve.

Let’s imagine how some recent stories would have been presented, had anybody cared to save us time and trouble, starting with the simplest examples …

KARL ROVE RESIGNS should be subtitled: Rove has such heinous plans for the coming election that they can’t possibly be seen to originate within the White House.

TONY SNOW RESIGNS should be subtitled: Right-wingers fed up with Bush administration lies will be daft enough to begin believing Snow-Job again, once he’s back in media.

ALBERTO GONZALES RESIGNS should be subtitled: Gonzo hopes the fury over his crimes will blow over, if he gets out of town. Maybe he’ll be the first of the crew to take up residence on Shrub’s enormous new spread in Paraguay, where all Americans are guaranteed protection from criminal charges.

Now for beefier matters …

AP WRITES: REPUBLICANS SEEK SEN. CRAIG’S RESIGNATION – Republicans called for the resignation of Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho and party leaders ousted him from his committee leadership posts amid the fallout over his arrest in a men’s room and his guilty plea …

In truth, this reaction means sex sting fallout can be allowed to destroy Larry Craig, but not David Vitter, because Craig can be replaced now by a Republican governor’s appointee, whereas the governor of Vitter’s state is a Democrat.

THE (LONDON) TIMES WRITES: SARKOZY TALKS OF BOMBING IF IRAN GETS NUCLEAR ARMS – President Nicolas Sarkozy called Iran’s nuclear ambition the world’s most dangerous problem yesterday and raised the possibility that the country could be bombed if it persisted in building an atomic weapon. The French leader used tough language towards Tehran in the first broad survey of his plans for extending Gallic influence in the world … Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors Iran was the crossroads of the Middle East’s troubles and its nuclear aims “are without doubt the most serious crisis that weighs today on the international scene”

Toward getting at reality in this case, we have to wonder what was in the Kool-Aid at Kennebunkport, don’t we? In line with the reference to “extending Gallic influence in the world” and being aware of serious economic probs in France now, my speculation is that Shrub offered Sarko something equivalent to the deal that’s been so monstrously lucrative for his Brit pals in Iraq.

CNN MONEY WRITES: WALL STREET THANKS BERNANKE, BUSH – Stocks jumped Friday, ahead of a long holiday weekend, after Ben Bernanke pledged the central bank will keep financial markets stable and the Bush Administration offered help to consumers hurt by the subprime mortgage crisis...

Whoa! Neither Bush nor Bernanke has done jack-shit about the subprime mortgage crisis. They don’t even seem to know what it is. Bernanke’s recent flood of funds into the banking system will benefit only borrowers with sound credit. Banks now have tens of billions extra to play with (that we’ll all pay for in further inflation) and a lower discount rate, in case they want more for short-term lending. None of that has anything to do with the subprime situation, nor does Shrub’s proposal of FHA aid for distressed mortgage-holders “with good credit”. The creditworthy do NOT have subprime loans; they’re in the alt-A or prime class of borrowers who took adjustable rate mortgages from stupidity or short-term greed, not because they had to. Yes, some are in trouble now and more will be soon, as their interest rates escalate, but this is a plan to refinance no more than 160,000 homes over the next two years, while the crisis involves at least two million potential foreclosures. Predictably enough where Shrub and His Thugs are concerned, they’re directing FHA help toward those in least need of it: the top 8 percent, whom they no doubt define as those most likely to vote Republican unless losing their homes ticks them off. Left out are the remaining 92 percent of mortgagees in trouble, who DO have subprime loans because of shaky credit and who face even steeper interest charges when their rates on ARM contracts reset. So far we’ve seen only the first wave of resets. Another huge one will follow next month and yet another in March. Even if Shrub suspends stamping his feet and holding his breath to resist help for these families through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, how in hell could they assist 1.8 million? And what about investors holding all that paper? What do you bet few on Wall Street give a rat’s ass about them, either? The financier class has already made its money on the deals, passing them along to such others as pension funds. There’s still a financial hurricane brewing and most will be left to weather it in Katrina mode, although banks will have enough borrowing power to bail out their nearest-and-dearest — as Barclays has already begun, says the (London) Daily Guardian today.

Amid these clouds of obfuscation, one recent article stands out for crystalline clarity: the (London) Daily Mail’s The EU Constitution Is Back and More Dangerous Than Ever! I strongly recommend it, both as an example of journalism that actually tells a full story and as an implicit warning to us, who are being drawn into a similarly threatening web of alliances without any similar exposure to the matter.

Beyond all that, well, I’m just too tired to go on. Clearly, we need the Labor Day weekend this year more than ever.

Arguments over Night of the Living Dead in Iraq by Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

by Juan Cole
Friday, August 31, 2007

A Government Accounting Office report has found that the Iraqi government has not met 13 of 18 benchmarks set by the US Congress. The report was leaked before it could be doctored by the Bush administration, which promptly denounced it and pledged to … doctor it.

Another thing that could be said is that of the 18 congressional benchmarks some are frankly trivial. The trivial ones are the only ones met.

I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million, and a million pilgrims dispersed just this week by militia infighting in a supposedly safe all-Shiite area. The government has all but collapsed, with even the formerly cooperative sections of the Sunni Arab political class withdrawing in a snit (much less more Sunni Arabs being brought in from the cold). The parliament hasn’t actually passed any legislation to speak of and often cannot get a quorum. Corruption is endemic. The weapons we give the Iraqi army are often sold off to the insurgency. Some of our development aid goes to them, too.


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US sponsored War Crimes in Iraq: Yazidis, The People of the Peacock Angel by Felicity Arbuthnot

Dandelion Salad

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, August 31, 2007
UN Observer

“The earth’s trees have become tears of heaven’s cheeks…. The flower that tempted the wind to carry its perfume, died yesterday.” Ali Ahmad Said, Victims of a Map, Saqi Books *

When the Mongol hordes invaded what is now Iraq, Gengis Khan is: “ …said to have declared: ‘all cities must be razed, so that the world may once again become a great steppe, in which Mongol mothers will suckle free and happy children.’” **

This was the twelfth century “war on terror” and it is not delusional to witness what has happened to Iraq since March 2003: the destruction of an entire civil society, history, records, education, health, life, to draw the parallels. “We fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here” is the Capitol Hill mantra, regarding a society with no weapons of mass destruction, unable even to board a ‘plane from Iraq, during the thirteen year pre-invasion embargo. A people, the majority of which, just prayed their baby would be born whole and healthy and survive to adulthood, in a country where medicines, surgical equipment and therapeutic aids were vetoed by the US and UK – and where hyper-inflation was such that many families ate in rotation, one giving up food for a day, so the others would have a little more.

A thousand years before the Mongol invasion, the region had developed a “sophisticated civilisation” with “innovations in literature, science, art and civil engineering … gardens, irrigation systems, libraries; ornate palaces flourished. With the Mongol onslaught, all were ‘comprehensively looted’, the region depopulated. Men, women and children were butchered, not alone by the Mongols, but by willing and unwilling collaborators they brought with them: ‘..whole cities lay in ruins.’ Those not slaughtered fled a reign of terror, where culture and creativity had previously dominated.” How history repeats.

The latest slaughter for whom the occupiers are responsible (as occupying forces, all be it illegally, the American and British forces are responsible for the safety of and provision of essential services to the population) is that of at least five hundred Yazidis, in the north west Sinjar region, on 14th August. Four truck bombs left three settlements “looking as if a nuclear explosion” had occurred. At least fifteen hundred are estimated to have been injured, according to Dr Said Hakki of the Iraqi Red Crescent – and history has again repeated itself.

Previous attacks against the Yazidis were under another ruthless invasion, that of the Ottomans, when they were subjected to twenty major massacres, between 1640 and 1910. “Liberated” Iraq, whose, health services, education and infrastructure, until the embargo, were the envy of the region and where safety was pretty well guaranteed – the absolute exception being if opposition politics were indulged in – has, at every level, been returned by America and Britain’s hordes, backwards to Mesopotamian history’s darkest eras.

Washington’s knee jerk reaction to the Yazidi bloodbath was, of course, to blame “Al Qaeda”, then to state that: “Extremists continue to show to what lengths they will go to stop Iraq from becoming a stable and secure country.” Then, of course, that they would “track down those responsible”. Is there intelligent life anywhere by the Potomac? They were “suicide bombers”. Thus dead.

It would be interesting, to know though, how the US army knew within minutes that “two tons of explosives” were involved.

Indisputable is that truck bombs, car bombs, suicide bombers, beheadings, kidnappings, the daily toll of bodies found bound and terribly tortured and dumped in the great biblical rivers, in streets, the Sunni-Shia “divide”, all came in with the US-UK invasion and the murderous militias they brought with them.

Why the gentle, pastoral Yazidis? This ancient sect, whose beliefs are drawn from Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Mandeanism, of whom there are believed to be only 750,000 worldwide, have their largest population in the Sinjar highlands in Iraq’s northern Nineveh Province, a little west of Mosul and the remains of the equally ancient town Tel Afar, decimated, Falluja-like, in a pre “surge” “pacification”.

This previously religiously and ethnically mixed region is a microcosm of pre-invasion Iraq, known for its welcome and peaceful co-existence. The prophet Jonah is believed buried in the great Mosque which overlooks Mosul, whilst Saint Matthew is believed buried in the Christian Monastery, on the top of Mount Maqloub, nearby. Both were places of pilgrimage and wonder, for Muslim and Christian alike.

The place of pilgrimage for Yazidis worldwide, in late August, is the shrine at Lalish, nearby, of Sheikh Adi (died 1162) believed to be the reincarnation of their deity Malak Ta’us: The Peacock Angel. “

The Yazidis have throughout history, been often wrongly interpreted as “Devil worshippers. Their belief in fact should be a lesson to all: no soul is beyond hope. Malak Ta’us WAS the Devil, who REPENTED. After he fell from grace, he filled seven urns of tears, over seven thousand years, tears that were used to extinguish the fires of hell; thus, this great grief in repentance, the Yazidis believe, erased the concept of hell, and embraced belief that all humanity is redeemable. Malak Ta’us became the Peacock Angel.

God is revered by Yazidis as the Creator of all and having achieved this wondrous task, is no longer an active force. He entrusted the world to seven angels, of whom the archangel was the redeemed Malak Ta’us.

Yazidis believe that good and evil both exist in the mind and spirit of human beings. It depends on the humans, themselves, as to which they choose. Thus, their devotion to Malek Ta’us is integral, since it was he who was given the same choice between good and evil by God, and ultimately, searingly, repented and chose the good.

Malek Ta’us has been described as: “a sort of fire wall between an imperfect world and the perfection of the Supreme Being”. (Isya Joseph, Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yazidis, 1919.) Yazidis believe that periodically their seven holy beings are reincarnated in human form, as Sheikh Adi, so love your neighbour; you never know who he may be.

Mohammed is regarded as a Prophet but Jesus Christ too, was an angel in human form. Yazidis are born into and marry within their sect and there is no converting, in or out. Other beliefs are that the first Yazidi was born of Adam alone and that there was a great flood, long before Noah and his ark. Yazidis, as Samaritans and/or Druze are “a little island of diversity in a world increasingly homogenised by globalisation”.

The annual August, six day pilgrimage is a joyous religious festival involving music, dancing, special dishes, decoration of eggs, bathing in the rivers below their villages and the hanging of hundreds of oil lamps around the tomb of Sheikh Adi and those of the other Saints – seven in all. Prayers are made twice a day, facing the sun. Earth, air, fire and water are so sacred that spitting on or in to them is taboo. Also taboo is the eating of pork, fish, cockerel, gazelle, cauliflower, lettuce, pumpkin and the wearing of blue, the latter possibly because the Peacock Angel is depicted in vibrant blue, so to wear his colours could be sacrilegious.

August, according to a report on the US Department of Defence website (27th July) was also the month, that, according to Colonel Stephen Twitty, US troops were planning to virtually hand over the administration of the region to the Iraqis, so relatively safe had it become. Twitty, Commander of the 1st Calvary Division’s 4th Brigade commended the “very mature provincial government’”; the handover would be based on the “security situation”. Such a handover would also include the vast Kirkuk oil field, the region’s abundant natural gas – and uranium deposits. US ceding of power now, is clearly out of the question. Further, when the British leave Basra, as they seem set to do, the American forces are set to move in to “protect supply routes”. Since there are nearly two hundred thousand private security personnel in Iraq who could do that, it has to be wondered whether it is to protect the Basra oil terminal and the other vast oilfield, Rumailah, for Uncle Sam (or Uncle George and his pals.) When the US army invaded, they named their forward operating bases after oil companies.

A question which arises, however, is how many “suicide bombings” are “false flag” operations? In Afghanistan, in ten years of war with the Soviet Union, they were unheard of, as in Iraq’s previous invasion by the British. For anyone who cares to look, there are many reports of Iraqis being stopped at check points, being told to take documents to police or army station, coming out to find their vehicle driving differently and on investigation finding an explosive device in it. How many simply drove on …?

A recent incident was recounted by an Iraqi, working with the US, who was sent on a mission. He could not find the address and when there was no signal on his phone, he left his car and crossed the street, hoping for better reception. As he stopped to dial, his car exploded. And here is the report of the Basra incident of September 2005: “Today in Basra, Southern Iraq, two members of the British SAS (Special Ops) were caught, ‘in flagrante’ as it were, dressed in full ‘Arab garb’, driving a car full of explosives and shooting and killing two official Iraqi policemen.” The British army demolished a police station in order to release them. Strange way of conducting the “war on terror” when the terrorists had been rightly arrested. And don’t forget the destruction just over the border from Basra, in Iran, of which the Iranian government spokesman said: “This bomb had a British accent.”

Kayla Williams records her time as an “intelligence officer” in northern Iraq, with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division between 2003 and 2004 in the Yazidis region. She reports that the Yazidis were considered “devil worshippers” by local Muslims, but in spite of visiting them, learned little of their religion; she thought it was ancient and concerned with angels. She described a temple as: “a small rock building with objects dangling from the ceiling”, thus seemingly did not ask what they represented. No doubt she reported the locals’ feelings back at the mess table at base.

Here’s hoping they did not have the same kind of religious fervour as those who prayed before the decimation of Fallujah when told by their chaplain that the Devil lived there and they were going to find him. Between “Crusades”, God and oil, strange things happen. The locals, of course, had coexisted with their neighbours since the Ottomans left. The Yazidi survivors from the attack were treated in their hospitals. Coincidentally in 1993 the New York Times headed an article on the Yazidis: “The Sect May be Dying, but Satan is still alive and well”.

Meanwhile, the traumatised Yazidis are reported by doctors as removing their relatives from hospitals, so frightened are they that they will be even less safe in larger towns. Three hundred “badly broken” relatives were removed from Sinjar hospital, according to one doctor.

There will be no joyful pilgrimage celebrations this August. Whole families were wiped out in the attacks. One man, Abu Saeed, said he had lost fifty one members of his immediate and extended family. Ironically, during the 1915-1916 Ottoman (Turkish) massacre in Anatolia, of the mainly Christian Armenians, the Yazedis courageously sheltered many, risking and losing their lives in the Ottoman occupied Iraq. Now, they, like almost every Iraqi, feel they have no place to hide. Ironically under Saddam, as with all religions, they were donated money for restoration and refurbishment of their religious buildings, the government even donated for an entire new temple. It is the “New Iraq” which has brought terror to their doors.

Freya Stark (Baghdad Sketches, 1937) describes a region I found entirely unchanged: “…the valley (at festival time) filled all night with moving lights among the trees … we walked down in the mountain solitude, peopled only with the sound of water and the voices of the birds .. we looked across to the hills of Bavian, mauve and blue .. and all over it lay sunlight, shining impartially on all temples of mankind.”

An abiding memory of the Yazidis is standing on the flat roof of one of their temples, its great obelisk in the centre, reaching heavenward. “Look behind you, Madam”, said the priest. I turned and just across the narrow sun dappled street, in the small hamlet, was a Catholic church, next to a mosque – and just visible round the corner, a synagogue. Could peaceful co-existence ever be more evocatively illustrated?

The last fifty three blood soaked months in Iraq are squarely the responsibility of the American and British forces and their dwindling allies, or is that responsibility something even more sinister?


*Victims of a Map

Ali Ahmed Said

** From Sumer to Saddam, Geoff Simons, Macmillan, 1994

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards.

She was also senior researcher for John Pilger’s award-winning documentary, “Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq”.

and author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of “Baghdad” in the “Great Cities” series, for World Almanac Books (2006.)


Felicity Arbuthnot is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Felicity Arbuthnot


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Gulf War Illness – Conspiracy Test (video; links; DU)

Dandelion Salad

lscott7224e sure to watch all five parts of th…

August 21, 2007

Be sure to watch all five parts of this incredible program.
From the Discovery Channel.

Parts 2-5:


Army Plans Depleted Uranium Investigation In Hawaii

h/t: Malcolm

Agreement Reached on Greenhouse Gas Curb by William J. Kole

Dandelion Salad

By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer

August 31, 2007


h/t: Malcolm

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.

Palestinian’s Suffer Yet Another Blow by Jennifer

Originally posted Aug. 30, 2007, however, I put the wrong url to the “continued” link, so I’m bumping this up so you have the chance to read the rest of this story on Jennifer’s blog. My apologies to Jennifer. The link to her blog, Justice and Peace was correct but not many people clicked on it. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

by Jennifer
Justice and Peace
Thursday, August 30, 2007

US Backed Palestinian Authority to Close 103 NGO’s

The people of Palestine and Israel have suffered greatly from poor leadership, an apathetic and uninformed American populace, a compliant international community, and endless war. Combined with a restless Arab population who has watched their basic human rights dwindle away through illegal American and Israeli Occupation, the Middle East is ready to explode.

The instability raging throughout is neither good for Israel or the US. History tells us that military might alone and occupation has always led to the destruction of those in power. The oppressed inevitably rise up against the oppressor.


Behind Allawi’s Bid for Power By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball

Dandelion Salad

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
08/31/07 “Newsweek

The former Iraqi prime minister speaks out on how he hired a well-connected Washington lobbying firm to help pave his attempt to oust the current government. Who’s footing the bill?

Aug. 29, 2007

The powerhouse Washington lobbying firm hired by former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi is talking to the Justice Department about how to amend its foreign-agent filings after department lawyers questioned whether the firm had adequately disclosed who was paying the firm’s tab.

The talks came as Allawi told NEWSWEEK that two Iraqi supporters of his were footing the $300,000 bill for the contract he recently signed with Barbour Griffith & Rogers—a firm with close connections to the Bush administration and the Republican Party.

But Allawi—who in the past was supported by the CIA—refused to identify his financial backers, citing “security reasons.” Asked whether he would name the people who are underwriting his lobbying campaign in Washington, Allawi replied, “Of course not. They may be killed by the Iranians, they may be killed by the sectarian people … These are details I am not interested in answering.”

While acknowledging the need to amend their filing with Justice, however, Barbour Griffith officials may not shed much additional light on a lobbying blitz that has injected new elements of controversy into the Washington debate over Iraq policy.

One change being considered by Barbour Griffith is to simply list Allawi’s political party, the Iraqi National Accord, rather than Allawi himself, as its client. That move may bring it into compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the firm’s lawyers believe. Under the law, lobbying firms are usually permitted to list foreign political parties as their clients without identifying the financial sponsors of those parties.

The firm’s original filing a week and a half ago listed Allawi himself as the client. But that filing drew scrutiny from lawyers in the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Unit after Allawi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last Sunday that an unidentified Iraqi financial supporter was paying the cost of his lobbying efforts. “When you think about the purpose of the law, who’s paying the tab is what it’s all about,” said Mark MacDougall, a Washington lawyer who is a specialist in foreign-agents registration law.

After firm officials met with Justice Department lawyers Wednesday to discuss the disclosure issue, the firm made its first public comment on the filing dispute. “We are working with the Department of Justice to ensure we are meeting the requirements of the statute,” said Walker Roberts, a spokesman for Barbour Griffith.

The retention of Barbour Griffith was first disclosed last week by Christina Davidson, who writes a blog called Iraqslogger. To many Capitol Hill staffers and Iraq war pundits, the hiring of the firm appeared to be an extraordinary development, part of an attempt by Allawi and his backers to undermine and ultimately topple the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the corridors of Washington, rather than through the political process in Baghdad.

No sooner did Allawi hire Barbour Griffith two weeks ago than congressional staffers said they began to be bombarded with e-mails from Allawi (from an Internet domain registered by the lobbying firm) featuring news stories that depict the Maliki government as hopelessly deadlocked and riddled by sectarian militias. “All the e-mails make the Iraqi government look bad,” said one congressional staffer who asked not to be publicly identified talking about the Iraq issues.

The e-mails included an Allawi-drafted “Six Point Plan for Iraq,” which outlines various steps the former Iraqi leader would pursue if he were returned to power in Baghdad. Among the more controversial recommendations in the plan are suggestions that a “State of Emergency” be declared for up to 2-3 years “until security is restored.” The plan flatly recommends that the current Iraqi government be removed “through Parliamentary means” because the “sectarian politics of the Maliki Government … are destroying Iraq.”

Adding further intrigue to the lobbying campaign was the disclosure that the Barbour Griffith principal overseeing the firm’s Allawi account was former ambassador Robert D. Blackwill—the former Bush White House deputy national-security adviser in charge of Iraq policy, who later served as U.S. special envoy to that country.

Documents filed by Barbour Griffith with Justice show that Blackwill personally signed the firm’s contract with Allawi on Aug. 20, stating that he will “lead the team” that will assist “Dr. Allawi and his moderate Iraqi colleagues as they undertake this work.”

In light of Blackwill’s close ties to Bush White House policymakers, his role has lead to speculation that the retention of Barbour Griffith was a move at least implicitly endorsed, if not encouraged, by some elements of the administration that are fed up with Maliki. While the White House has been critical of Maliki, they maintain official support for his government and have had no comment on Allawi’s campaign.

But as described by Allawi, the arrangement may also have been part of an aggressive campaign by Barbour Griffith to solicit lucrative foreign business.

Blackwill himself has not returned phone calls since news of the contract surfaced. Allawi, in an interview Wednesday with NEWSWEEK conducted by telephone from Amman, indicated that Blackwill—whom he described as a “dear friend”—was the one who actually raised the idea that the former Iraqi prime minister hire the firm during a recent lunch the two of them had in Europe.

“He contacted me,” Allawi said. “We were having lunch … He spoke to me and he said … there is a vacuum in Washington, and we will be able to help and assist. We know your views. We know the views of your people and we are ready to help in getting your message across to the United States.”

Allawi initially said the lobbying campaign was intended to prod the Bush administration to put “pressure” on the Iraqi government to “stabilize the country” and take more aggressive steps to achieve “reconciliation” between rival Shiites and Sunni factions. But his comments left little doubt that he did not believe Maliki’s government was interested or even capable of performing such a task. “As you know, the militias now are controlling the government,” said Allawi. “I don’t think the government is capable or willing or wanting to achieve proper reconciliation … We don’t have a country. The country is in chaos and it’s in the middle of a civil war … [Maliki] has been ruling for a year and a half … The government has not been able to do anything.”

A secular Shiite and former Baath Party member, Allawi left Iraq in the 1970s and became a prominent exile leader opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein. He set up the Iraqi National Accord, a London-based exile group, which received financial support from both the British Secret Intelligence Service (colloquially known as M.I.6) and the CIA. Over time, CIA officials pushed Allawi as a more acceptable and reliable potential successor to Saddam than Ahmed Chalabi, a rival Iraqi exile (and Allawi relative) whose ambitions to succeed Saddam were heavily promoted by neoconservative intellectuals and civilian Pentagon aides to former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

But Allawi, like Chalabi, was also linked to bogus pre-war intelligence about Saddam’s purported weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism. As NEWSWEEK reported, one of Allawi’s previous Washington lobbyists once acknowledged that an associate of his group may have been responsible for feeding officials in the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair information—subsequently discredited—claiming that Saddam could launch WMD attacks on British troops in 45 minutes. The former lobbyist also confirmed that Allawi’s group was also responsible for feeding the British media a document purporting to show that Muhammad Atta had undergone terrorist training in Baghdad a few months before he led the 9/11 attacks—a claim that was instantly ridiculed by official sources on both sides of the Atlantic.

Officials familiar with U.S. and U.K. intelligence activities denied that either British or American agencies had any connection to Allawi’s recent hiring of Washington lobbyists or his current campaign to depose the Iraqi government and replace Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Any suggestion of CIA support for Allawi’s current lobbying activities is “ludicrous,” a U.S. intelligence official said. A British official said that M.I.6 officials “distanced themselves” from Allawi several years ago.

© 2007

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.