Dr. J.’s Commentary: What Certain Folks Will Miss About George Bush

by Steven Jonas, MD
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Buzzflash.com

November 4, 2008

On the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times of November 2, 2008, six contributors were asked to respond to the question “What Will I Miss About President Bush“. As The Times said, “The Op-Ed editors asked six writers to reflect on what they have most admired about him.” The comments were thus generally encomiums of one sort or another. Although I hate, just hate, bringing facts into situations such as this, especially when it involves right-wingers, who are so sensitive to the introduction of facts into any discussion, I thought that a few comments on the factual side might be in order.

ROBERT DRAPER, a correspondent for GQ and the author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush said that Bush was “Loyal to a Fault.” Draper talked about Dana Perino and other “current and former Bush staffers” who “just loved the guy.” Draper tells us, that “President Bush has paid a price for his human decency.” I guess that would come as something of a surprise to one of his (formerly) most loyal employees, former press secretary Scott McClellan. Apparently by inadvertence rather than any specific action (at least according to Scott), Bush just left poor old Scott out to dry and did nothing to reel him back in when he inadvertently got caught up in the Rove-Cheney-Libby cover-up of their purposeful leak of the identity of Valerie Plame (Scott McClellan, What Happened: Inside the White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, New York: Public Affairs, 2008, chaps. 1, 14). “Loyal to a fault?” Well I guess it depends how you define “loyal” and “to a fault.”

ARI FLEISCHER, the White House press secretary from 2001 to 2003 who preceded McClellan (and who has not written a tell-all, or at least as much as he apparently knows, book revealing one moral failing after another of George W. Bush and the people with whom he surrounded himself) tells us that “I’ll miss President Bush’s moral clarity. The president’s critics hated his willingness to label things right or wrong, and the press used to bang me around for it, but history will show how right he was.” That’s right, Ari. Bush sees things absolutely in black and white and furthermore he knows that he knows which is which. He is indeed the right-winger’s right winger. Facts are totally irrelevant. As the journalist/author Ron Suskind told in The New York Times Magazine article published in the run-up to the 2004 election, he was told by a White-House staffer that he (Suskind) had better learn about the “alternate realities” they dealt with if he ever wanted to understand them. And so, the warnings of the impending al-Qaida attack on the US in the summer of 2001 were ignored, but as soon as it happened, Bush made the determination to invade — Iraq (McClellan, chap. 8). Because he just knew what was right and what was wrong.

CURTIS SITTENFELD, the author of the novel “American Wife,” apparently couldn’t come up with anything nice to say about “W.” but he did go and on about Laura, who he described as, among other things, a “well-mannered conservative.” As compared with whom, Curt? George, Rove, or “F__k you,” “shoot-you-in-the-face” Cheney?

One wonders how JACOB WEISBERG, the editor in chief of the Slate Group and the author of The Bush Tragedy was let onto the page when The Times was obviously trying to be nice, but he did share with us some of the great Bush manglings of the language: “I know how hard it is to put food on your family; [immediately post-9/11] I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport; [he wouldn’t answer a question] neither in French nor in English. Nor in Mexican; [and then] misunderestimated, Kosovians, Grecians, Hispanically, arbo-treeist, and strategery” (which happens to be a term coined by the comedian Will Ferrell and adopted inside the administration). I don’t know, Jake. If you can’t remember something nice about someone, why remember anything at all?

SCOTT McCLELLAN, evidently trying to get back into Bush’s good graces (goodness gracious, some people just don’t ever learn), said “What I will miss most about George W. Bush as president is his sincere concern for promoting human dignity.” There are two words that sum up the Bush approach to that subject: Katrina and Torture.

Finally, PAUL BURKA, the senior executive editor of Texas Monthly said, “I feel nostalgic about the person I knew as Gov. George W. Bush. I miss that guy. He was the best politician I ever saw. He really was ‘a uniter, not a divider.’ He refused to kowtow to the far right. He worked with Democrats to strengthen public education, while Republicans were pushing vouchers. He had four vacancies on the Texas Supreme Court and he filled them all with centrist judges. The extreme right wing of the Republican Party was his enemy, not his ally. His administration was untainted by scandal. Karl Rove remained an outside consultant rather than a gubernatorial staffer. But when he reached the White House, Governor Bush vanished, to be replaced by President George W. Bush — a person I didn’t recognize. He was never to return.”

One has to give full credit (seriously) for such a statement. What Mr. Burka did not note, however, are two things. A) observers have said that creating the totally false “moderate” image for W. was all part of Rove’s grand plan to capture the Republican nomination and then the Presidency in 2000. B) Regardless of whatever plans Rove and Bush had, the Texas governorship is acknowledged as one of the weakest, if not the weakest, in the country. In order to get anything done that he or she might have on the agenda or to create any sort of record that he/she might someday want to show to outsiders, the Texas governor has to work closely with the State legislature where the real executive power lies (yes, you read that right; in Texas, the real executive power lies with the legislature — but it is Texas). And in those days, pre-Tom DeLay, the Democrats still had some real power in the Texas legislature.

You can understand that there are some people who want to have nice memories of George W. Bush. Hey, it is possible. You just have climb into the Georgite alternate reality, and there they will be.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and a www.TPJmagazine.us Contributing Author; a regular Columnist for BuzzFlash; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC; and a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/.

PR Push for Iraq War Preceded Intelligence Findings – “White Paper” Drafted before NIE even Requested

Dandelion Salad

by John Prados
Global Research, August 24, 2008
www.nsarchive.org
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 254 – 2008-08-22

The U.S. intelligence community buckled sooner in 2002 than previously reported to Bush administration pressure for data justifying an invasion of Iraq, according to a documents posting on the Web today by National Security Archive senior fellow John Prados.

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Charge Bush With Murder by Francis A. Boyle (audio)

Dandelion Salad

ICH

Posted 06/24/08

Source

George W. Bush could be indicted at the state level for murder with malice aforethought, that according to internationally recognized legal expert Francis A. Boyle of the School of Law at the University of Illinois.

According to Boyle, President Bush deceived US soldiers about the reason for sending them to Iraq. Thus, he argues, the 4100 US soldiers who have died in Iraq thus far were murdered. Professor Boyle sees a variety of cases that could be brought and he believes it would take just one indictment and the whole house of cards would fall.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

see

Before Scott McClellan, there was Paul O’Neill (videos)

A Totally Lawless Regime By Paul Craig Roberts

Maj. Gen. Taguba Accuses Bush Admin of War Crimes (video)

Bugliosi Seeks “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

A Totally Lawless Regime By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
06/22/08 “ICH”

Think about this question: In the 21st century what regime is more lawless than the Bush Regime?

Everyone is entitled to his own answer. The only answer I can come up with is the Zimbabwe regime of Robert Mugabe. Voted out of power in the last election, the great man hasn’t left. Zimbabweans are going to have to vote again, and the great man has said that any vote that is not for him will be cancelled by a bullet.

Does anyone remember how determined the British and the Americans and everyone else was to turn Rhodesia over to Mugabe in order to save Rhodesia from the evil Ian Smith? What a fool everyone was.

But before we laugh at those fools, we had best laugh at ourselves, or cry.

It is now an incontrovertible fact, known all over the world, that George W. Bush and his regime’s operatives lied through their teeth in order to launch wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the Bush regime is doing the same thing again in hopes of launching an attack on Iran.

There have been a number of memoirs from high ranking Bush appointees who cannot stand all the lies. Bush’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, told us that an invasion of Iraq was on the agenda prior to 9/11. There is the leaked Downing Street Memo in which the head of British Intelligence told the British Prime Minister and his cabinet that the Americans have decided to attack Iraq and are creating the “intelligence” to justify the attack.

And now we have the White House’s own spokesman from 2003-2006, Scot McClellen, ratifying what we already knew, that President Bush deceived us and led us into war based entirely on lies and fabrications, and that he, Scott McClellen, was deceived into issuing a false public denial that top Cheney aide Scooter Libby and White House operative Karl Rove were involved in committing a felony under US law by revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame.

As a consequence of Bush’s lies, there are a million dead Iraqis, mostly women and children, and four million displaced Iraqis, 4,100 dead American soldiers and tens of thousands of seriously wounded. No one knows how many dead in Afghanistan. And there is the ongoing Israeli slaughter of Palestinians and Lebanese that has fallen under the rubric of the “war on terror.”

The only ones pleased with these wars are the American neoconservatives, the Israeli right-wing, the US corporate military-security complex, and Osama bin Laden.

The Bush regime has created enormous hatred and disrespect for the United States. A recent world wide poll found that George W. Bush ranks at the bottom of world leaders as one of the least trusted along with US Pakistani puppet Musharraf and the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, who has the disadvantage of being the victim of demonization by the US and European corporate-controlled media, which serve as ministries of propaganda for the governments that control their broadcast licenses. The American and European media lie for their living.

The two leaders with the highest approval rating are UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So, the old adversary, Russia, now has a more respected leader than the “leader” of the Great Free Nation, a Great Free Nation that has sat on its hands while its “leader” destroyed America’s civil liberties, America’s reputation, the jobs of Americans, and committed the US to a course of war crimes punishable by the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

A number of readers took issue with my recent column, “Elect Obama or Fall Into Tyranny.” Echoing former Alabama Governor George Wallace, readers said Obama would make no difference. But that is what I wrote.

My point was not that Obama would make any difference, as he has put himself and his administration into the hands of Wall Street and the Israel Lobby. I said that the American people could make a difference by rejecting the Republicans, as it was the only accountability that the Republicans were likely to suffer.

If Americans return a Republican regime, Americans will validate the right of the president to violate with impunity US and international law. Americans will validate the use by the president of the United States of deception and lies in order to initiate wars of aggression, aggression that is a war crime under the Nuremburg standard established by the US. Americans will validate the infringement of US civil liberties in the name of “safety” and “national security.” Americans will disembowel the US Constitution and leave themselves at the total mercy of the government.

Reelecting Republicans means the end of the United States as a land of liberty.

I am sympathetic to the argument that we, as a country of liberty, are near our end regardless. Look at the Democrats. Today, June 20, the House of Representatives, which the voters gave to the Democrats in the 2006 congressional elections in order to end the pointless barbarity that the US has brought to Iraq, voted the largest war-spending bill ever. The “antiwar” Democrats completely collapsed, giving the warmonger Brownshirt Republican regime everything it wanted.

The House Democrats, led by “impeachment-is-off-the-table” Nancy Pelosi, added to the Democratic Party’s shame by passing today, June 20, a bill that shields from punishment the criminal Bush regime and the telecommunications corporations that the Bush regime coerced into committing felonies under US law by cooperating in Bush’s illegal spying on American citizens.

The great hope of the Founding Fathers, the people’s house, the House of Representatives, has passed an unconstitutional retroactive law making acts legal which were illegal when they were committed.

If a Democratic House of Representatives will pass a retroactive law in order to legalize the criminal violations of a Republican regime, the same House will pass a retroactive law making illegal what you did legally yesterday. No one is any longer safe in America. By abandoning the US Constitution, Republicans and Democrats have made America as potentially unsafe as Zimbabwe for anyone who takes exception to the government.

The total collapse of the Democratic Party and the House of Representatives signals the end of liberty and democracy in America. Henceforth, led by the Republican Federalist Society, we will gravitate toward the beautiful regime of “energy in the executive” that has been achieved in Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, an assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury during the Reagan Administration, is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and 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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Impeach

Israel Lobby

Does McClellan’s testimony matter? Part 3 with Bruce Fein

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda says former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee should lead to impeachment hearings, the only way to force Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney to testify.

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Countdown: Unity on Immunity + McClellan Testimony + John Cusack

Dandelion Salad

June 20, 2008

videocafeblog

Unity on Immunity

Keith reports on the Democrats caving on the FISA bill today. John Dean weighs in.

The McClellan Testimony

Keith reports on Scott McClellan’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee today. Dana Milbank weighs in.

John Cusack Interview

Keith talks to John Cusack about his McCain ads for MoveOn and his movie War Inc.

Worst Person

And the winner is….Paula Froelich. Runners up John Bolton and Chris Wallace.

see

Wexler Questions McClellan in House Judiciary Ctte; Calls for Impeachment of VP

Scott McClellan Before House Judiciary + Conyers’ & Nadler’s Questions

Kucinich & Sheila Jackson Lee Arguing Against Changes to FISA + Pelosi’s Support!

Wexler Questions McClellan in House Judiciary Ctte; Calls for Impeachment of VP

Dandelion Salad

CongressmanWexler

Wexler Questions former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan in House Judiciary Committee on June 20, 2008.

Shorter clip:”The Raw Story | Dem Rep. calls for im…“, posted with vodpod

and story: Raw Story: Dem Rep. calls for impeachment at McClellan testimony: video

see

Scott McClellan Before House Judiciary + Conyers’ & Nadler’s Questions

Gore Vidal’s Article of Impeachment (+ audio)

Support Rep. Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment + video (take action)

Dennis Kucinich Documents Grounds for Impeachment of Bush & Cheney (4 hours)

Kucinich introduces Bush impeachment resolution + videos + transcript

Impeach

Scott McClellan Before House Judiciary + Conyers’ & Nadler’s Questions

Dandelion Salad

HouseJudiciary

June 20, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Rep. Conyers (D-MI) opening statement at the testimony of Scott McClellan

Rep. Nadler’s Questions for Scott McClellan

Rep. Conyers’ Questions to Scott McClellan

see

Bruce Fein: McClellan, Impeachment and Congress

Kucinich: Articles of Impeachment 11-17 + 19

McClellan

CIA Leak Case

CIA Leak/Plame Case

Countdown: Out Of Gas + Fox Slime + McCain Caught Lying + McClellan To Testify + Moyers

Dandelion Salad

cmdrgmh

6-9-08

Out Of Gas/Economy Stupid

With gas over 4.00 a gal., McCain and his oil buddy’s Bush and Darth Dick started out at 1.47 a Gal. and now over 4.00 a gal.

Fox Slime’s Obama Again

The Phony Fox News Tramp E.D. Hill continues to slime Obama and She looks real Stupid doing It.

McCain Caught Lying On Tape

McCbush gets caught lying to the media on tape. McSenial is really senial.

Scott McClellan To Testify To Congress

Scott will testify to congress on June 20th 2008 about the Bush Admin.

[Moyers goes after Fox Reporter/Ambusher]

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

The Video Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Want You To See!

see

McClellan to testify before House in CIA leak case

Bill Moyers Takes on Fox News Producer

McClellan to testify before House in CIA leak case

Dandelion Salad

AP
asia.news.yahoo.com
Tuesday June 10, 4:58 AM

…continued

h/t: CLG

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Bill Moyers Journal: The Media, Mcclellan And The War

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal
PBS
June 6, 2008

The Media, Mcclellan And The War

Five years after the invasion of Iraq, Scott McClellan, formerly White House press secretary and one of President George W. Bush’s closest advisors, has published a tell-all book with little new information about the propaganda campaign and the role of the press in selling the war. On this week’s JOURNAL, Bill Moyers talks to three prominent journalists to find out why the book is such big news and whether anything has changed.

Bill Moyers speaks with Greg Mitchell, editor of the influential magazine about the newspaper industry, EDITOR & PUBLISHER, and two members from McClatchy’s Washington Bureau, one of the few news outlets to aggressively question the administration’s case for invading Iraq: John Walcott, the bureau chief and John Landay, senior national security and intelligence correspondent. …

transcript and video

Dr. Ronald Walters and Kathleen Hall Jamieson

What happens now? That’s the question campaign watchers, Democratic Party operatives and voters are asking. The Annenberg School’s Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Dr. Ronald Walters, director of the African American Leadership Institute and Scholar Practitioner Program at the University of Maryland, contemplate what’s next for Obama, Clinton and the rest of the election cycle.

When he appeared on the JOURNAL on December 14, 2007, Dr. Ronald Walters said this about Senator Obama’s chances of becoming president of the United States:

“Mathematically and analytically there’s the chance, yes, that he could win. When you look at the history of this country and the history of racism and race in particular there is a huge, huge doubt that he will eventually become president of the United States.”

transcript and video

On the Democratic Party and its new nominee

transcript and video

***

Essay on the Democratic Nominee

PBS

see

The Empire – A Status Report by William Blum

MIR: McClellan – Our Minister of Misinformation

Bill Moyers addresses NCMR 2008 (must see)

The Empire – A Status Report by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
www.killinghope.org
June 6, 2008

The Anti-Empire Report

Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life

The Empire — A Status Report

There are a number of expressions and slogans associated with the Nazi regime in Germany which have become commonly known in English.

“Sieg Heil!” — Victory Hail!
“Arbeit macht frei” — Work will make you free.
“Denn heute gehört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt” — Today Germany, tomorrow the world
But none perhaps is better known than “Deutschland über alles” — Germany above all.

Thus I was taken aback when I happened to come across the website of the United States Air Force — http://www.airforce.com/ — and saw on its first page a heading “Above all”. Lest you think that this refers simply and innocently to planes high up in the air, this page links to another — http://www.airforce.com/achangingworld/ — where “Above all” is repeated even more prominently, with links to sites for “Air Dominance”, “Space Dominance”, and “Cyber Dominance”, each of which in turn repeats “Above all”. These guys don’t kid around. They’re not your father’s imperialist war mongers. If they’re planning on a new “thousand-year Reich”, let’s hope that their fate is no better than the original, which lasted 12 years.

The events of recent years indicate that the world is wizening up to and becoming less intimidated by Washington’s overarching ambition for world dominance. Latin America is increasingly attempting to escape the empire’s clutches. Leaders keenly aware of how US imperialism works and determined to keep it out of their own country are in power in Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and perhaps the latest addition, Paraguay.

And now Africa has turned down Washington’s offer to be part of the imperial family. African governments have refused to host Africom, the US Africa Command. The Washington Post reported that “worry swept the continent that the United States planned major new military installations in Africa”, and despite the promise of new development and security partnerships, many Africans concluded that Africom was primarily an extension of US counterterrorism policy, intended to keep an eye on Africa’s large Muslim population. The United States “equates terrorism with Islam,” said a senior Kenyan diplomat, and few African governments wanted to be seen as inviting US surveillance on their own people. [note from your editor: It would be more instructive to equate anti-American terrorism with American foreign policy, including building military bases in other people’s countries.]

When Bush visited Africa in February, he was told by the Ghanian president: “You’re not going to build any bases in Ghana.” US-funded aid groups protested plans to expand the American military’s role in economic development in Africa, sharply objecting to working alongside US troops. Said an Africom officer: “[Africom] was seen as a massive infusion of military might onto a continent that was quite proud of having removed foreign powers from its soil.”[1]

There’s also the oil factor. The US imports more oil from African nations than from Saudi Arabia, and the continent has huge unexplored areas. This undoubtedly is a major motivation behind Washington’s desire for an expanded military presence in the region. The United States is not about to take Africa’s rejection of Africom as the last word; indeed, some of the tough rhetoric by African officials may be for public consumption, for the US already has somewhat of a military presence on the continent. It will be interesting to observe the ongoing tug of war between Washington and African nationalists/anti-imperialists over expansion of the American presence.

Democracy American Style. You gotta problem wit dat?

Here’s White House spokeswoman Dana Perino at a recent press briefing:

Reporter: The American people are being asked to die and pay for this, and you’re saying that they have no say in this war?
Perino: I didn’t say that … this President was elected —
Reporter: Well, what it amounts to is you saying we have no input at all.
Perino: You had input. The American people have input every four years, and that’s the way our system is set up.[2]

In 1941, Edward Dowling, editor and priest, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”

Can we look forward to Perino’s memoir after she leaves the White House in which, like her predecessor Scott McClellan recently, she confesses that she was part of a “permanent campaign” mode to deceive the American public? I’m prepared to welcome her into the fold as I have McClellan. I have a soft spot in my heart for political late bloomers. I used to work for the State Department when I was a good, loyal anti-communist.

Washington’s grand and noble new ally in the Free World

Scott McClellan has been criticized for not expressing his reservations about Bush administration policies while still at the White House. This would have indeed taken a measure of courage few people have, and likely meant his job and career committing suicide. I’m reminded of Carla Del Ponte, the Swiss diplomat who in 1999 became Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, located in The Hague, Netherlands. In accordance with her official duties, she looked into possible war crimes of all the participants in the conflicts of the 1990s surrounding the breakup of Yugoslavia and the NATO (read the United States) 78-day bombing of Serbia and its province of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians were trying to secede. In late December 1999, in an interview with The Observer of London, Del Ponte was asked if she was prepared to press criminal charges against NATO personnel (and not just against the former Yugoslav republics). She replied: “If I am not willing to do that, I am not in the right place. I must give up my mission.”

The Tribunal then announced that it had completed a study of possible NATO crimes, declaring: “It is very important for this tribunal to assert its authority over any and all authorities to the armed conflict within the former Yugoslavia.”

Was this a sign from heaven that the new millennium (2000 was but a week away) was going to be one of more equal international justice? Could this really be?

No, it couldn’t. From official quarters, military and civilian, of the United States and Canada, came disbelief, shock, anger, denials … “appalling” … “unjustified”. Del Ponte got the message. Her office quickly issued a statement: “NATO is not under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There is no formal inquiry into the actions of NATO during the conflict in Kosovo.”[3]

Del Ponte remained in her position until the end of 2007, leaving to become the Swiss ambassador to Argentina; at the same time writing a book about her time with the Tribunal — “The Hunt: Me and War Criminals”, published two months ago but available at the moment only in Italian. It hasn’t been much reported yet what del Ponte has said about NATO, but the book has already created a scandal in Europe, for in it she reveals how the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) abducted hundreds of Serbs in 1999, and took them to Kosovo’s fellow Muslims in Albania where they were killed, their kidneys and other body parts then removed and sold for transplant in other countries.

The KLA for years has been engaging in other equally charming activities, such as heavy trafficking in drugs, trafficking in women, various acts of terrorism, and carrying out ethnic cleansing of Serbs who have had the bad fortune to be in Kosovo because it’s long been their home. Between 1998 and 2002, the KLA appeared at times on the State Department terrorism list; at first because of its tactic of targeting innocent Serb civilians in order to provoke retaliation from Serbian troops; later because Mujahadeen mercenaries from various Islamic countries, including some tied to al Qaeda, were fighting alongside the KLA, as they were in Bosnia with the Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s Yugoslav civil wars.[4] The KLA remained on the terrorist list until the US decided to make them an ally, in some measure due to the existence of a major American military base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel. (It’s remarkable, is it not, how these bases pop up all around the world?) In November 2005, following a visit there, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described the camp as a “smaller version of Guantanamo”, referring to the detainees there at the time from Washington’s various wars, including the so-called War on Terror.[5]

On February 17 of this year, in a move of highly questionable international legality, the KLA declared the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. The next day the United States recognized this new “nation”, thus affirming the unilateral declaration of independence of a part of another country’s territory. The new country has as its prime minister a gentleman named Hashim Thaci, described in Del Ponte’s book as the brain behind the abductions of Serbs and the sale of their organs. The new gangster state of Kosovo is supported by Washington and other Western powers who can’t forgive Serbia-Yugoslavia-Milosevic — “the last communists of Europe” — for not wanting to wholeheartedly embrace the NATO/US/European Union triumvirate, which recognizes no higher power, United Nations or other. The independent state of Kosovo is regarded as reliably pro-west, a state that will serve as a militarized outpost for the triumvirate, which is intent on further encircling Russia and pushing it out of Europe.

In her book, Del Ponte asserts that there was sufficient evidence for prosecution of Kosovo Albanians involved in war crimes, but the investigation “was nipped in the bud” focusing instead on “the crimes committed by Serbia.” She claims that she could do nothing because it was next to impossible to collect evidence in Kosovo, which was swarming with criminals, in and out of the government. Witnesses were intimidated, and even judges in The Hague were afraid of the Kosovo Albanians.

In April, the Swiss Foreign Department issued a statement that Del Ponte’s book “contains statements which are impermissible for a representative of the government of Switzerland”, ordered her to return to her ambassadorial post in Argentina, and prohibited any further appearances promoting her book. The Swiss have officially recognized the independence of Kosovo and established an embassy in the country. Kosovo appears likely to remain a highly controversial issue in Europe and Washington for some time to come.[6]

Reason number 3,468 to yearn for the lifting of the capitalist weight from our souls

My phone company, Verizon, recently raised the monthly charge for my international call plan by 30 percent. I phoned them to find out the reason for this and was told that their competitors had raised their charge for the international plan and so Verizon was doing the same. “To stay competitive”, the earnest young man told me. I thought I must be misunderstanding him. We’ve all been raised to believe that one of the beauties of capitalism is that it provides a competitive environment which induces businesses to lower their rates so as to lure away customers from their competitors. In the end, the consumer benefits from lower prices. And this makes sense, at least within the capitalist framework. (Although there have of course been numerous cases of large companies lowering prices to force a small company — which initiated the price cuts — out of business, after which the large companies raise their prices back up.) But now? Now we’re told that competition leads to price increases. What, pray tell, is there left of the system for us to believe in?

Supply and demand? Like in Burma, following the recent devastating cyclone? Prices for food and other essentials have risen significantly since the disaster. As they should, according to the revered and beloved law of supply and demand, inasmuch as things are obviously in short supply in Burma and people’s needs are plainly much greater than usual. What could make more sense under circumstances of human desperation than to raise prices?

Yet, though questioning the law of supply and demand is normally regarded in the same light as being skeptical of the law of gravity, I have to do so, and refer to things I’ve expressed before: The price of gasoline in the United States has been increasing on a regular basis for a rather long time now, but there’s no shortage of supply. There are no lines of cars waiting hours at gas stations trying to fill up before the pumps run dry. And there’s been a considerable fall in demand as less-than-rich drivers cut back on car use. It does not require total cynicism to wonder whether the law of supply and demand has been repealed. Or can it be that what is known as “supply and demand” is not really any kind of immutable “law”, but rather (choke, gasp) “corporate policies”?

The oil companies are currently spending big bucks to convince the American public that the super-high gasoline prices are not the companies’ fault. “The industry,” reported the Washington Post, “is trying to convince voters — who, in turn, will make the case to their members of Congress — that rising energy prices are not the producers’ fault and that government efforts to punish the industry, especially with higher taxes, would only make pricing problems worse.”[7]

Do the oil companies think they’re being misunderstood? The next time you run into a friendly oil company executive ask him this: “If you lowered prices to what they were two years ago, would consumers stage protests outside your headquarters? Would the FBI raid your offices? Would your breathtakingly obscenely high profits drop into the red? Could you still maintain your decadent millionaire lifestyle? The oil companies are perfectly free to very significantly lower prices without anything that you or I would call financial suffering. But they don’t do it. So what’s being misunderstood by the public which obliges the companies to spend millions on advertisements? Money which could go toward price reductions.

Oil company executives at least produce a useful product compared to people in the hedge funds business. What are hedge funds, you ask? They’re private, largely unregulated pools of capital whose managers can buy or sell any kind of assets. The income of the fund’s executives — often in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, sometimes even a billion — is taxed as capital gains, a much lower tax rate than if it were taxed as regular earnings. One can say that hedge funds are simply pure speculation carried to absurdity; typical of the new American Dream: getting rich through speculation and inheritance instead of through skill, enterprise, and filling a human social need.

Here is Daniel Strachman, a former hedge fund consultant and author of “The Fundamentals of Hedge Fund Management.” He’s skeptical of raising taxes on hedge fund managers, saying they should be rewarded for taking huge risks. [So do firefighters, police officers, and bank robbers of course.] Most managers have their own money in their funds, he declares, and suffer massive losses when their investments go bad. “It’s clear somebody has to win and somebody has to lose”, says Strachman. “It’s not pretty at all because people say, ‘Oh my God. Look how much money these guys are making while people are losing their homes and are complaining about the cost of eggs and sugar.’ But so what? We don’t live in a society that is pretty all the time. That’s why it’s capitalism.”[8]

NOTES
[1] Washington Post, June 1, 2008, p.18

[2] White House press briefing, March 20, 2008

[3] The Observer (London), December 26, 1999; Washington Times, December 30 and 31, 1999; New York Times, December 30, 1999

[4] There are numerous articles in the world press of the past 20 years about the KLA’s inordinate thuggery; Google “KLA” and one or more of the key words, such as drugs, prostitution, ethnic cleansing, transplants, etc.

[5] http://wikipedia.org/, under “Camp Bondsteel”

[6] Del Ponte’s book and the turmoil it’s produced have been largely ignored in the US media, but if one does a Google on her name and the book, one will find many reports from Europe.

[7] Washington Post, May 9, 2008, p.D1

[8] Washington Post, April 17, 2008, p.D1

William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website at “essays”.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I’d appreciate it if the website were mentioned. www.killinghope.org

***

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

by William Blum

William Blum book

see

Blum-William

Halliburton Wins $9 Billion No-Bid Contract To Fix Space Station Toilet (satire)

Robert

by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post
June 4, 2008

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Halliburton is no Johnny-come-lately to solving difficult and unique problems and their latest project is no exception – supplying a new pump to repair the malfunctioning john on the International Space Station. “When we heard that the Russian built toilet quit working, we were flush with excitement because we knew just how to fix the problem with our good old American ingenuity,” said Halliburton CEO Ted Lasar from their Dubai office.

“We had to forgo the usual bid procedure,” said Vice President Dick Cheney, “as it was imperative we fix the unit immediately, if you will, because the sanitary condition on the space station was in its final throes.” “Nine billion is a bargain,” said a NASA spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous, as they parked their brand new Lexus, “because you don’t want to be caught SOL up there. They might not hear you scream in space, but they can still smell you.”

Halliburton’s next project will also involve a clean-up of sorts. “We hear there is a real mess over at Scottie McClellan’s house,” said Sid Bartolo a company spokesman, “and we need to take care of it before there are any more unfortunate leaks.”

see

Bush’s new book: It’s all McClellan’s fault (satire)

MIR: McClellan – Our Minister of Misinformation

Countdown: McClellan Interview

McClellan Book: Nothing New

Scott McClellan’s first interview! (vids)

White House Puzzled Over McClellan Book: We Taught Him To Lie, Now He’s Forgotten How

Countdown: Excerpts from McClellan’s Book + Candy-Gramm for McCain

Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled U.S. on Iraq