From the Financial Times: "Saddam Could Be Tried and Executed Over Minor Case."
I must admit that I didn't see this one coming, but it could be a masterstroke. Like a lot of people, I've long wondered how the Bush Faction would prevent Saddam from spilling a whole pot of red-hot beans about his long and profitable relationship with the U.S. government -- one that goes back to the late 1960s, when the CIA assisted his particular Baathist clique to seize power (having already assisted the Baathist's original coup in 1963) and of course continued on through the Reagan embrace, the Rumsfeld handshake, the U.S. military assistance in gassing Iranians and George H.W. Bush's orgiastic outpouring of money, materiel and technology for weapons of mass destruction for Saddam, right up to the very day before the invasion of Iraq. (You could even throw the post-Gulf War business deals between Saddam and Dick Cheney's Halliburton into the mix.)
I knew they would never allow Saddam to turn the trial into an embarassing history lesson -- but how they would put the kibosh on the truth remained a mystery. Would he have an unfortunate "accident" -- slip on the shower soap, choke on a pretzel? Or maybe a heart attack or sudden stroke? Cancer? After all, he's getting on in years, and any demise due to bad health would be plausible. Or would they simply gag him during the trial -- set it up like one of those handy-dandy, new-style "military tribunals" that Bush has concocted for the captives of his Terror War?
This is a slightly expanded version of the column published Aug. 12 in The Moscow Times.
One of the grubby little secrets of the Great Potomac Grease Pit – otherwise known as the government of the United States – is that the massive amount of bribes given and taken there often has little effect on the final outcome of policy decisions and legislation.
Cynics – and you know you who are – tend to believe that Washington is overrun with sleazy bagmen prowling the halls of Congress and slithering down White House corridors, proffering baubles, trinkets, sweetmeats and other enticements to plucky public servants, drawing them away from the straight and narrow to do the bidding of rapacious elites. But like so many of the hateful canards issuing from the foul stithy of the liberal imagination these days, this fantasy contains scarcely a shred of truth.
The plain fact is, most politicians take bribes to push policies they already support. With very few exceptions, you are just not going to achieve a place of prominence in national politics unless you are already the kind of person happy to do the bidding of rapacious elites, whatever the cut of your rhetorical jib ("progressive," "moderate," "conservative," etc.). Like Macbeth's spectral dagger, bribery merely marshall'st the politician in the way he was going.
Via Dependable Renegade, a picture that speaks for itself. (We'll just add that Bush's beefy buddy here, House Porker, er, Speaker Dennis Hastert, is the subject of this week's "Global Eye" column in The Moscow Times, which will be up on this site in a couple of days.)Add a comment
But all American SUVs have air conditioning! So what's the big deal?
From the Guardian (excerpt):
A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today. Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.
The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. It is a scenario climate scientists have feared since first identifying "tipping points" - delicate thresholds where a slight rise in the Earth's temperature can cause a dramatic change in the environment that itself triggers a far greater increase in global temperatures. The discovery was made by Sergei Kirpotin at Tomsk State University in western Siberia and Judith Marquand at Oxford University and is reported in New Scientist today.
....Protestant fundamentalists, for example, claim that they read the Bible in the same way as the early Christians, but their belief that it is literally true in every detail is a recent innovation, formulated for the first time in the late 19th century. Before the modern period, Jews, Christians and Muslims all relished highly allegorical interpretations of scripture. The word of God was infinite and could not be tied down to a single interpretation. Preoccupation with literal truth is a product of the scientific revolution, when reason achieved such spectacular results that mythology was no longer regarded as a valid path to knowledge.
We tend now to read our scriptures for accurate information, so that the Bible, for example, becomes a holy encyclopaedia, in which the faithful look up facts about God. Many assume that if the scriptures are not historically and scientifically correct, they cannot be true at all. But this was not how scripture was originally conceived. All the verses of the Qur'an, for example, are called "parables" (ayat); its images of paradise, hell and the last judgment are also ayat, pointers to transcendent realities that we can only glimpse through signs and symbols....
Part of the problem is that we are now reading our scriptures instead of listening to them. When, for example, Christian fundamentalists argue about the Bible, they hurl texts back and forth competitively, citing chapter and verse in a kind of spiritual tennis match. But this detailed familiarity with the Bible was impossible before the modern invention of printing made it feasible for everybody to own a copy and before widespread literacy - an essentially modern phenomenon - enabled them to read it for themselves. Add a comment
The invaluable Dahr Jamail reports from the Veterans for Peace National Convention in Dallas, where Iraqi vets laid it on the line about the unjust, ungodly war they were dragooned into fighting by the lies of the little gutless bag of wind "clearing brush" on his little faux ranch down the road.
Their eloquent anger and dedication to halting Bush's criminal insanity is reason enough for reading the piece, but there are also telling bits of information as well, such as confirmation of the widespread use of depleted uranium and its devastating effects on the civilian population. An excerpt:
Wise man William Blum takes on the Bush gang's all-purpose excuse when confronted with charges of torture in the Pentagon Archipelago. From Blum's latest Anti-Empire Report (not yet on line, but check out his website, Killing Hope):
"It is important to note that al Qaeda training manuals emphasize the tactic of making false abuse allegations."
This is now the official and frequent response of White House, Pentagon, and State Department spokespersons when confronted with charges of American "abuse" (read: torture) of prisoners, and is being repeated by many supporters of the war scattered around the Internet.
It can thus be noted that White House, Pentagon, and State Department training manuals emphasize the tactic of saying "It is important to note that al Qaeda training manuals emphasize the tactic of making false abuse allegations," when confronted with charges of American torture of prisoners for which the spokespersons have no other defense.
It is equally important to note that these sundry spokespersons never actually offer a precise quotation from any terrorist training manuals, of al Qaeda or not. The one instance I've been able to find of US government officials referring to a specific terrorist training manual in the context of torture, is a referral to the so-called "Manchester Manual", a manual found on the computer of a suspected terrorist in Manchester, England in 2000. In the references to torture, in the portions of the manual that have been made public, there is certainly no clear, unambiguous directive for making false allegations of abuse, much less an emphasis on such.Add a comment
OXFORD, England -- It's not often that we get the chance to break historic news on this site, but we are proud to announce that our Dear Leader has been vindicated at last: the source of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction has been revealed! Let's now see all the scoffers and doubters salt the earth with their tears of contrition!
Appropriately enough, the historic news was announced in the world's most historic newspaper: The Times of London. Writing today in those stories pages, reporter Dominic Kennedy that the source of Saddam's deadly anthrax WMD has been traced to....a cow right here in Oxford.
A dead cow in Oxford, to be exact. A cow that died 68 years ago in Oxford, to be even more exact. Yes, the anthrax culture that Saddam used to foment biological weapons came from a British Bessie who died of anthrax in 1937. The deadly spores were isolated by an Oxford professor of bacteriology, and the strain was later used by none other than the sainted Winston Churchill in one of his many dalliances with WMD. In fact, Winnie blasted a Scottish island with so much anthrax during WMD tests in 1942 that the place was uninhabitable for the next 48 years.
The deadly strain was then seized upon by the good old US of A in its vast and varied WMD programs. It was this strain that the Americans eventually shipped to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Saddam had already been gassing the Iranians -- with the aid of U.S. military intelligence -- and was looking for more potent poisons to brew up in a missile pot. The sainted Ronald Reagan obliged his little buddy, and for three years, the US approved shipments of the deadly Oxford cow poison to Saddam.
The Iraqi WMD program was dismantled after the first Gulf War, of course -- which didn't stop the sainted George W. Bush from invading Iraq 12 years later to, er, dismantle the, er, Iraqi WMD which, er, no longer existed. As U.S intelligence learned back in 1995 -- from none other than the man in charge of the Iraqi WMD program, Saddam's defecting son-in-law, Hussein Kamel. Kamel's wealth of information on the destruction of Iraq's WMD "was so extensive it was almost embarassing," said UN interrogators -- who nonetheless hushed up the revelations. Kamel, who had hoped for Western backing to help him overthrow Saddam, grew disenchanted when he saw his disclosures were being buried, and went back to Iraq -- where Saddam promptly executed him for treason.Add a comment