The Body Snatchers

Written by Chris Floyd 14 November 2005 9101 Hits

Just when you think the sick and sinister Bush gangsters have hit bottom, they blow a hole in the floor and drag us down even deeper.

I will be writing on the Senate's evisceration of habeas corpus in this week's upcoming Moscow Times column, but meanwhile, below is an excellent article by Sabin Willett in the WP, Detainees Deserve Court Trials, which sums up the case well. Meanwhile, David Cole, in Slate, demolishes the double standard that Bush is employing to torture his foreign captives while claiming that he is not violating U.S. laws against torture: Who They Are: The Double Standard That Underlies Our Torture Policies.

The excerpts below from Willett's article give us a picture of Bush's draconian powers at work, crushing the life of a captive who has already been officially certified as innocent, but still remains trapped in Bush' gulag:

Adel is innocent. I don't mean he claims to be. I mean the military says so. It held a secret tribunal and ruled that he is not al Qaeda, not Taliban, not a terrorist. The whole thing was a mistake: The Pentagon paid $5,000 to a bounty hunter, and it got taken.

The military people reached this conclusion, and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus...

He has no visitors save his lawyers. He has no news in his native language, Uighur. He cannot speak to his wife, his children, his parents. When I first met him on July 15, in a grim place they call Camp Echo, his leg was chained to the floor. I brought photographs of his children to another visit, but I had to take them away again. They were "contraband," and he was forbidden to receive them from me...

In a wiser past, we tried Nazi war criminals in the sunlight. Summing up for the prosecution at Nuremberg, Robert Jackson said that "the future will never have to ask, with misgiving: 'What could the Nazis have said in their favor?' History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. . . . The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength."

The world has never doubted the judgment at Nuremberg. But no one will trust the work of these secret tribunals.

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"The Hunger That is Eating the World"

Written by Chris Floyd 11 November 2005 7642 Hits
It's very easy -- and often important -- to become engrossed in the fine details of the immediate politics of the day. But, as George Eliot noted, "there must be a systole and diastole in all inquiry;" the mind "must be continually expanding and shrinking between the whole human horizon and the horizon of an object-glass." The object-glass is daily politics; but on the broader horizon of inquiry, there are vast forces at work -- environmental, economic, social -- whose interrelated movements, like the slow grinding of tectonic plates, will bring forth unanticipated shifts and cataclysms in the politics of the future. Even now, the ground is moving under our feet, generating ripples and tremors -- warning signs of the fissures and eruptions to come.

Jonathan Watts' story in The Guardian -- The Hunger That is Eating the World -- gives us a look at some of these broader processes at work. It deals with the very basic commodities trade between China and Brazil that is not only upending the world agricultural economy but also devouring the "lungs" of the planet: the Amazon rain forest. It all comes down to beans, to protein: the need for China to feed the workers driving its insatiable economic growth, which is bidding fair to pass that of the United States as an engine of environmental destruction.

The whole article is well worth reading -- and it seems that the print version was more detailed -- but here are some excerpts (emphasis added):
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Fallujah:The Flame of Atrocity

Written by Chris Floyd 11 November 2005 36582 Hits

Below is a vastly expanded and reworked version of a column originally published in the Nov. 11 edition of the Moscow Times. For my first MT report on chemical warfare in Fallujah, see Filter Tips. For a report on the destruction of the city as it was happening, see Ring of Fire, from November 2004.

This week, the broadcast of a shattering new documentary provided fresh confirmation of a gruesome war crime covered by this column nine months ago: the use of chemical weapons by American forces during the frenzied, Bush-ordered destruction of Fallujah in November 2004.

Using filmed and photographic evidence, eyewitness accounts, and the direct testimony of American soldiers who took part in the attacks, the documentary – "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" – catalogues the American use of white phosphorous shells and a new, "improved" form of napalm that turned human beings into "caramelized" fossils, with their skin dissolved and turned to leather on their bones. The film was produced by RAI, the Italian state network run by a government that backed the war.

Vivid images show civilians, including women and children, who had been burned alive in their homes, even in their beds. This use of chemical weapons – at the order of the Bushist brass – and the killing of civilians are confirmed by former American soldiers interviewed on camera. "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorous on Fallujah," said one soldier, quoted in the Independent. "In military jargon, it's known as Willy Pete. Phosphorous burns bodies; in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone. I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 meters is done for."

The broadcast is an important event: shameful, damning, convincing. But it shouldn't be news. Earlier this year, as reported here on March 18, a medical team sent to Fallujah by the Bush-backed Iraqi interim government issued its findings at a press conference in Baghdad. The briefing, by Health Ministry investigator Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli, was attended by more than 20 major American and international news outlets. Not a single one of these bastions of a free and vigorous press reported on the event. Only a few small venues – such as the International Labor Communications Association – brought word of the extraordinary revelations to English-speaking audiences.

Yet this highly credible, pro-American official of a pro-occupation government confirmed, through medical examinations and the eyewitness testimony of survivors – including many civilians who had opposed the heavy-handed insurgent presence in the town – that "burning chemicals" had been used by U.S. forces in the attack, in direct violation of international and American law. "All forms of nature were wiped out" by the substances unleashed in the assault, including animals that had been killed by gas or chemical fire, said Dr ash-Shaykhli. But apparently this kind of thing is not considered news anymore by the corporate gatekeepers of media "truth."

As we noted here in March, Dr ash-Shaykhli's findings were buttressed by direct testimony from U.S. Marines filing "after-action reports" on websites for military enthusiasts back home. There, fresh from the battle, American soldiers talked openly of the routine use of Willy Pete, propane bombs and "jellied gasoline" (napalm) in tactical assaults in Fallujah. As it says in the scriptures: by their war porn ye shall know them.

This week, as in March, the Pentagon said it only used white phosphorous shells in Fallujah for "illumination purposes." But the documentary's evidence belies them. Although there are indeed many white bombs bursting in air to bathe the city in unnatural light, the film clearly shows other phosphorous shells raining all the way to the ground, where they explode in fury throughout residential areas and spread their caramelizing clouds. As Fallujah biologist Mohamed Tareq says in the film: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-colored substance started to burn, we found people dead with strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."

As word of the documentary spread across the Internet and into a very few mainstream media sources, intrepid investigators dug out even more confirmation of how Bush's battalions whipped out the Willy Pete and flayed Fallujah's heathen devils with flesh-eating fire. A Daily Kos diarist, Stephen D., dug up one of the U.S. military's own publications, Field Artillery Magazine, which eagerly related the use of white phosphorous, which "proved to be an effective and versatile munition," the article said. "We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."

Mr. D also points to a comment on Altercation.com, that provides further ammunition – for "illumination purposes" – on the effect of white phosphorous on human beings. There, Mark Kraft writes: "There is no way you can use white phosphorus like that without forming a deadly chemical cloud that kills everything within a tenth of a mile in all directions from where it hits. Obviously, the effect of such deadly clouds weren't just psychological in nature."

Another Kossack, "Hunter," digs up mention of Willy Pete use as a weapon in Washington Post reports from the battlefield itself last November. He then takes on the hair-splitters who immediately arose on the Right to declare that white phosphorous is not itself a banned substance, so it's OK to incinerate children with it. Hunter's incandescant irony is worth quoting at length:

"First, I think it should be a stated goal of United States policy to not melt the skin off of children. As a natural corollary to this goal, I think the United States should avoid dropping munitions on civilian neighborhoods which, as a side effect, melt the skin off of children. You can call them 'chemical weapons' if you must, or far more preferably by the more proper name of 'incendiaries.' The munitions may or may not precisely melt the skin off of children by setting them on fire; they do melt the skin off of children, however, through robust oxidation of said skin on said children, which is indeed colloquially known as 'burning'…

"And I know it is true, there is some confusion over whether the United States was a signatory to the Do Not Melt The Skin Off Of Children part of the Geneva conventions, and whether or not that means we are permitted to melt the skin off of children, or merely are silent on the whole issue of melting the skin off of children…[However] I am going to come out, to the continuing consternation of Rush Limbaugh and pro-war supporters everywhere, as being anti-children-melting, as a matter of general policy."

Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Mike Marquesse pounded home the reality of the overarching atrocity of the attack:

"One year ago this week, US-led occupying forces launched a devastating assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja. The mood was set by Lt Col Gary Brandl: 'The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He's in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him.'
 
"The assault was preceded by eight weeks of aerial bombardment. US troops cut off the city's water, power and food supplies, condemned as a violation of the Geneva convention by a UN special rapporteur, who accused occupying forces of "using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population". Two-thirds of the city's 300,000 residents fled, many to squatters' camps without basic facilities…

"By the end of operations, the city lay in ruins. Falluja's compensation commissioner has reported that 36,000 of the city's 50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines. The US claims that 2,000 died, most of them fighters. Other sources disagree. When medical teams arrived in January they collected more than 700 bodies in only one third of the city. Iraqi NGOs and medical workers estimate between 4,000 and 6,000 dead, mostly civilians -- a proportionately higher death rate than in Coventry and London during the blitz."

The atrocity-breeding mindset behind the attack was evident from the very first, as I noted in a Moscow Times column of November 18, 2004: "One of the first moves in this magnificent feat of arms was the destruction and capture of medical centers. Twenty doctors – and their patients, including women and children – were killed in an airstrike on one major clinic, the UN Information Service reports, while the city's main hospital was seized in the early hours of the ground assault. Why? Because these places of healing could be used as "propaganda centers," the Pentagon's "information warfare" specialists told the NY Times. Unlike the first attack on Fallujah last spring, there was to be no unseemly footage of gutted children bleeding to death on hospital beds. This time – except for NBC's brief, heavily-edited, quickly-buried clip of the usual lone "bad apple" shooting a wounded Iraqi prisoner – the visuals were rigorously scrubbed."

When you begin by bombing hospitals, devouring innocent people with hot jellied death is not exactly a stretch. It is simply part and parcel of the inhumanity of the Bushist mindset.

Indeed, the slaughter in Fallujah was a microcosm of the entire misbegotten enterprise launched by those two eminent Christian statesmen, Bush and Blair: a brutal act of collective punishment for defying the imperial will; a high-tech turkey shoot that mowed down the just and unjust alike; an idiotic strategic blunder that has exacerbated the violence and hatred it was meant to quell. The vicious overkill of the Fallujah attack alienated large swathes of previously neutral Iraqis and spurred many to join the resistance. It further entangled the United States and Britain in a putrid swamp of war crime, state terrorism and atrocity, dragging them ever deeper into a moral equivalency with the murderous extremists that the Christian leaders so loudly and self-righteously condemn.

Let's give the last word to Jeff Engelhardt, one of the ex-servicemen featured in the documentary, who recently issued this plea to his fellow U.S. soldiers on Fight to Survive, a new dissident web site run by Iraqi War vets:

"I hope someday you find solace for the orders you have had to execute, for the carnage you helped take part in, and for the pride you wear supporting this bloodbath. Until then, you can only hope for an epiphany, something that stands out as completely immoral, that convinces you of the inhumanity of this war. I don't know how much more proof you need. The criminal outrage of Abu Ghraib, the absolute massacre of Fallujah, the stray .50 caliber bullets or 40mm grenades or tank rounds fired in highly packed urban areas, 500-pound bombs dropped on innocent homes, the use of depleted uranium rounds, the inhumane use of white phosphorus, the hate and the blood and the misunderstandings…this is the war and the system that you support."

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The White Death

Written by Chris Floyd 09 November 2005 11271 Hits

Empire Burlesque's masterful webmaster, Rich Kastelein, has shown his mastery once again with this package he has put together on the shattering new documentary by Italian television, confirming -- once again -- the use of chemical warfare in the Bush-ordered destruction of Fallujah last November. Rich provides links to some of the film's harrowing evidence, plus interviews with former U.S. soldiers who were on the scene.

The film is shocking and powerful -- but it shouldn't be news. Credible evidence of American use of white phosphorous shells and napalm in Fallujah was presented in public nine months ago, by a top official of the pro-American, pro-occupation, Bush-approved Iraqi interim government. I first wrote about it in my Moscow Times column on March 18. (This link should take you to the MT article. If there is any difficulty, try this link.) I'll be writing more about the new documentary in the MT column for this week, but Rich has already got the goods in his report.

Below are some excerpts of the March 18 article:

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More Dispatches From the War on the Poor

Written by Chris Floyd 03 November 2005 9262 Hits

Another bulletin from the front in George W. Bush's ongoing -- and highly succesful -- War on the Poor (and on all those labor and are heavy-laden: the weak, the sick, the old, the damaged, the children, the working folk). This time, it's Fightin' Joe Conason coming out smoking in the NY Observer with a battlefield round-up of the latest triumphs in the Bush Blitzkrieg. There has never been such a sustained, deliberate and relentless assault on the well-being of ordinary Americans in the nation's history. And it is here -- in the gutted ruins of once-good lives, once-strong communities and a once-thriving republic -- that Bush will leave his true legacy. For make no mistake: even if this little yapping twerp, this corporate pimp, this slack-jawed, drink-addled dullard posing as a president were to be impeached tomorrow, it will take at least a generation -- and probably longer -- to repair even some of the social, political, spiritual and financial destruction he will leave behind.

Here are some excerpts from Conason's excellent compendium:

...Unmoved by the plight of the poor—who are growing poorer and hungrier, according to the latest government data—Congressional leaders last week decided that the best way to pare spending is to reduce the number of families that qualify for food stamps. A bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee on Oct. 28 would make roughly 300,000 Americans ineligible to receive food stamps and cut the program by about $850 million over the next five years.
 
The fiscal impact of all those cuts will be negligible, especially compared with the subsidies that these same Christian gentlemen insist on providing to energy, agribusiness and other major interests. But these gratuitous acts of unkindness will surely harm the unfortunate children who have less to eat as a result...

Of course, these “compassionate conservatives” did not content themselves with cutting food stamps. They are also contemplating cutbacks in Medicaid, the health-insurance program that serves the poor, specifically targeting millions of low-income children for reduced services and co-payments. Kids living in poverty are going to be deprived of eyeglasses, hearing aids and other crucial care.
 
School lunches are also going to be cut for some of those little losers whose families need food stamps, incidentally. And kids who need child support will also be out of luck, because the powerful House Ways and Means Committee has determined to cut back enforcement efforts against deadbeat parents. The Republicans, who deem themselves “pro-family,” are determined to squeeze a few more bucks from low-income foster families and student-loan recipients as well.

What these politicians will not consider, as they ponder legislation between fund-raising banquets and golf outings, is any measure that might demand sacrifice from those who can well afford it.....Consider the energy industry, which has just reported record profits while gouging the public with the highest gasoline and heating-oil prices ever seen in this country. Three months ago, President Bush signed legislation passed by the Congressional Republicans that awards $14.5 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas industry. But that wasn’t enough, because in early October the House passed still another round of oil subsidies...

But oilmen aren’t the only beneficiaries of this Congress of the absurd. While households with annual incomes above $1 million have reaped an average benefit of more than $100,000 from the Republican tax cuts, the Congressional leaders, in their wisdom, want to award still more breaks to that tiny aristocracy of wealth. According to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, the plan is to strip out a pair of obscure tax laws signed by the President’s father in 1990. Repealing those provisions would lavish another $20,000 a year on households with incomes over $1 million—at a cost to the Treasury of nearly $150 billion over the next 10 years.

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The Philosopher's Stone

Written by Chris Floyd 03 November 2005 12027 Hits
Published in Nov. 4 edition of The Moscow Times.

Last week, a legal thunderbolt struck at the heart of the grubby conspiracy that led the United States and Britain into an illegal war of aggression against Iraq. But this searing blow didn't fall in Washington, where a media frenzy raged over a White House indictment, but in the deeps of southern England, in a military courtroom, where a lone soldier stood against the full force of the great war-crime enterprise, armed only with a single, rusty, obsolete weapon: the law.

While Potomac courtiers and town criers were reading the entrails of the cooked goose of Scooter Libby -- the first Bushist honcho caught in the slow-grinding gears of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's continuing investigation -- in Wiltshire, Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith faced a court martial after declaring that the Iraq war was illegal and refusing to return for his third tour of duty there, the Guardian reports.

He has been charged with four counts of "disobeying a lawful command." But Kendall-Smith, a decorated medical officer in the Royal Air Force, says that his study of the recently-emerged evidence about the lies, distortions and manipulations used to "justify" the invasion has convinced him that both the war and the occupation are "manifestly illegal." Thus any order arising from this criminal action is itself an "unlawful command," the Sunday Times reports. In fact, the RAF's own manual of law compels him to refuse such illegal orders, Kendall-Smith insists.

The flight lieutenant is no ordinary war protestor, and no shirker of combat - unlike, say, the pair of prissy cowards at the head of the Anglo-American "coalition." Kendall-Smith, who has dual New Zealand-British citizenship -- and dual university degrees in medicine and Kantian moral philosophy -- has served three tours at the front in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is not claiming any conscientious objections against war in general, nor do religious scruples play any part in his stance. It is based solely on the law.

Central to his case are the sinister backroom legal dealings between Washington and London in the last days before the invasion. Less than two weeks before the initial "Shock and Awe" bombings began slaughtering civilians across Iraq, Lord Goldsmith, the UK's attorney general, gave Prime Minister Tony Blair a detailed briefing full of doubts and equivocations about the legality of the coming war, adding that Britain's participation in an attack unsanctioned by the UN would "likely" lead to "close scrutiny" by the International Criminal Court for potential war crimes charges, the Observer reports.

But Blair and Goldsmith withheld this report from Parliament, the Cabinet and British military brass, who were demanding a clear-cut legal sanction for the impending action. Then, just three days before the bloodletting began, Goldsmith suddenly produced another paper, this time for public consumption: a brief, clear, unequivocal statement that the invasion would be legal. This statement was almost certainly crafted in Washington, where Goldsmith had recently been "tutored" by the Bush gang's consiglieres, including the legal advisers to Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice.

Leading this pack of war-baying legal beagles was George W. Bush's top counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who had overseen the White House's own efforts to weasel out of potential war crimes charges by declaring -- without any basis in Anglo-American jurisprudence or the U.S. Constitution -- that Bush was not bound by any law whatsoever in any military action he undertook: a blank check for aggression, murder and torture that Bush has gleefully cashed over and over. Alberto and the boys leaned hard on Goldsmith, who finally caved in and replicated the Americans' contorted and specious legal arguments for launching the attack.

Of course, Kendall-Smith knew none of this during his first two tours in Iraq: Goldsmith's Bush-induced backflip was only divulged in April 2005. Nor did he know then of the "Downing Street Memos," the "smoking gun" minutes that record Blair's inner circle dutifully lining up behind Bush's hellbent drive for war - as far back as 2002 - and their conspiracy with the Bush gang to manipulate their countries into war. The memos -- which emerged in May 2005 and have never been denied or repudiated by the UK government -- show Blair's slavish acquiescence in Bush's criminal scheme to "fix the facts and the intelligence around the policy" of unprovoked military aggression. Confronted with this newly revealed evidence -- and the revelations about the mountain of doubts and caveats expressed by American intelligence before the invasion but deliberately ignored by the Bushist war party -- Kendall-Smith took the only honorable course for a soldier who has been duped into serving an evil cause.

The moral rigor of his defiance has sent tremors through the British military establishment, already shaken by the strange, unexplained shooting deaths of two military inspectors investigating atrocity allegations in Iraq, the Guardian reports. British brass are panicky about the Goldsmith revelations; indeed, the leader of the UK invasion force, Admiral Michael Boyce, said he now believes the British military does not have "the legal cover necessary to avoid prosecution for war crimes," the Observer reports. Boyce added that if he and his officers are eventually put on trial for such crimes, he'll make sure that Blair and Goldsmith are in the dock beside them.

Bush, Blair and their minions have committed a monstrous crime, and they know it -- hence all the convolutions, before the war and after, to inoculate themselves from prosecution. But with Kendall-Smith and Patrick Fitzgerald, the long-moribund figure of the law is re-awakening. It's weak, it's bleary, it certainly might fail. But now the conspirators will have to live cowering in its shadow for the rest of their days.
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What's Past is Prologue

Written by Chris Floyd 02 November 2005 3336 Hits

Not that it matters or anything, but it turns out that the 58,000 Americans and millions of Southeast Asians killed in the Vietnam War died for a lie. And Bush has tried to bury the latest official confirmation of this bloody falsehood for years. Why? Because the deliberate manipulation of intelligence involved in sucking the United States into the Vietnam hellstorm was too close to the deliberate manipulation of intelligence that Bush employed to suck the United States into the Iraqi hellstorm.

We've said it before and we will keep on saying it, again and again and again: What quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?

The NYT reports (with typically demure headline): Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret. Excerpts: The National Security Agency has kept secret since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin Gulf episode, which helped precipitate the Vietnam War, N.S.A. officers deliberately distorted critical intelligence to cover up their mistakes, two people familiar with the historian's work say.

The historian's conclusion is the first serious accusation that communications intercepted by the N.S.A., the secretive eavesdropping and code-breaking agency, were falsified so that they made it look as if North Vietnam had attacked American destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964, two days after a previous clash. President Lyndon B. Johnson cited the supposed attack to persuade Congress to authorize broad military action in Vietnam, but most historians have concluded in recent years that there was no second attack.

The N.S.A. historian, Robert J. Hanyok, found a pattern of translation mistakes that went uncorrected, altered intercept times and selective citation of intelligence that persuaded him that midlevel agency officers had deliberately skewed the evidence….

Mr. Hanyok's findings were published nearly five years ago in a classified in-house journal, and starting in 2002 he and other government historians argued that it should be made public. But their effort was rebuffed by higher-level agency policymakers, who by the next year were fearful that it might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, according to an intelligence official familiar with some internal discussions of the matter.

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Corrected Vision

Written by Chris Floyd 02 November 2005 4445 Hits

Here's "news" that should not be news but will obviously come as news to most Americans who never hear news like this: Muslims don't like terrorism or Islamic extremists. From the Daily Telegraph (you didn't think it would be in a US paper, did you?): Anti-terror Ramadan TV drama stirs the Arab world.

Excerpts: A blockbuster Ramadan television drama broadcast across the Arab world has broken new ground by daring to question the motives of terrorism committed in the name of Allah. The plotline of al-Hur al-Ayn (Beautiful Maidens), has…been hugely popular with an Arabic-speaking public fed up with the cliched portrayal of all Muslims as gun-toting fanatics….

The title of the programme is taken from the widely held belief that Islamic terrorists willing to become martyrs do so because the Koran promises them 72 virgins in heaven. In fact, the Koran makes no mention of 72 virgins and does not encourage suicide bombing or self-martyrdom.

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The Reality of Empire

Written by Chris Floyd 02 November 2005 4644 Hits

Wise man Juan Cole points us to this story, which is not just a smoking gun but a veritable MOAB which utterly destroys the big Bush lie that his war of aggression has brought "democracy" to Iraq. Jalal Talabani, the president of the supposedly "sovereign" nation of Iraq, has admitted – in front of the United Nations – that he has no power to stop the United States from using his "sovereign" nation as a launching pad for attacks on other countries – even though Talabani adamantly opposes such actions.

Middle East On-Line reports [Excerpt] Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he opposed military action against neighbouring Syria but lacked the power to prevent US troops from using his country as a launchpad if it chose to do so. 

"I categorically refuse the use of Iraqi soil to launch a military strike against Syria or any other Arab country," Talabani told the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview published Tuesday. "But at the end of the day my ability to confront the US military is limited and I cannot impose on them my will." [End]

Professor Cole sums up the harsh reality of the situation:  "So let's get this straight. The president of Iraq elected six months after the US 'turned over sovereignty' on June 28, 2004 is saying before the United Nations that George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld decide whether his country can be used as a base to attack other countries, and he is unable to influence such decisions-- even though he categorically rejects any such action.

"For all those 'Bush's Iraq' boosters who laud the 'democratic' elections of January 30 and the recent constitutional referendum, this clear admission that Iraq remains under American military occupation, and that its government is helpless before American decisions about the fate of Iraq, is a rather strong refutation. After all, no country is a "democracy" where the military calls the shots, overruling the civilian president-- how much less so if it is a foreign military! Talabani is saying that Iraq is more like Burma, Pakistan or the Sudan than it is like democracies such as India or Brazil."

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Hounds of Heaven: Bush's Rabid Base and the Hunting of Harriet Miers

Written by Chris Floyd 31 October 2005 6325 Hits

We hold no brief at all for Harriet Miers: she is a simpering factotum and cheerleader for the worst president in American history (whom she idiotically refers to as "the most brilliant man I know") and her appointment to the Supreme Court would have been a sickening travesty. It's good thing that she's out of the running – but the manner of her leaving is almost as disturbing as her nomination itself. She was basically run out of town on a rail by Bush's own "base" (or "al Qaeda," in the more apt Arabic) of partisan, pseudo-religious cranks.

Dennis Roddy has an excellent column on the matter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Roddy goes to the source, interviewing the Rev. (sic) Rob Schenck, one of the tinpot generals leading the pseudo-Christian soldiers that have bolstered, even worshipped the corrupt and bloodstained twerp from Texas for so long. As Roddy notes, Schenk, head of the National Clergy Council, is one of the many fringe extremists "with surprising access to power players" in Bush's Washington. (continued)

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