They have ransacked the Iraqi larder and stripped it of everything they could lay their hands on. They have transferred billions upon billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into the hands of a few well-connected cronies, secret bagmen, soulless gun-runners and elite investors with nice clean fat white hands.
It is for this reason that George W. Bush sent U.S. forces into Iraq -- illegally, in the middle of the UN weapons inspection process that he himself had insisted upon. It is for this reason that he has caused the needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people, that he has brutalized, traumatized, overstrained and decimated the military forces of the United States. It is for this reason that he has gutted the American treasury, criminalized the American government and tyrannized the American people.
For money. Murder, for money. Easy money, greasy money, blood money. That's all there is to it, that's what the war in Iraq is all about. Anyone who tells you different is either deluded -- or hoping to get in on the scam.
Here now is the indefatigable Patrick Cockburn of The Independent on the latest outrage in this on-going epic rapine:
What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?
Excerpt (but read the whole thing): One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons....
The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions. Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry. Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes....
The [total] sum missing over an eight-month period in 2004 and 2005 is the equivalent of the $1.8bn that Saddam allegedly received in kick- backs under the UN's oil-for-food programme between 1997 and 2003.
Juan Cole has more:
Security Situation in Baghdad Sinking like the Titanic
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Here's a fanastic site that has just re-launched with a whole new look: http://www.johnnycash.com/. It's got great graphics, great songs, rare videos and a wealth of other material on this peerless American master --a work of web art worthy of the Man himself. Give it a look.
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This is an expanded version of the column published Friday, 16 September in The Moscow Times. The Times version contains extensive annotations and sources.
Four years ago, America was hit by a terrorist attack. Three days later, Congress signed away the people's freedom, writing a blank check for tyranny to a ludicrous little man who had taken power after losing the popular vote in the most dubious election in American history. Last week, the poisonous after-effects of this abject surrender took yet another sinister turn, as Bush factotums in the courts once again upheld the Leader's arbitrary power over the life and liberty of his subjects.Add a comment
Vatican to Check U.S. Seminaries on Gay Presence (NYT)
Excerpt: "Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching...The Vatican document surfaces as Catholics await a Vatican ruling on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.
"In a possible indication of the ruling's contents, the American archbishop who is supervising the seminary review said last week that "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity or has strong homosexual inclinations," should not be admitted to a seminary. Edwin O'Brien, archbishop for the United States military, told The National Catholic Register that the restriction should apply even to those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more...."
-- Well, what did you expect? Before his elevation to poposity, Josef Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith -- which is the glossy modern name given to the outfit once known as The Inquisition. He's now bringing that organization's ethos to the whole Vatican enterprise. The Lord wants nothing but virile, musky, manly men to wear the skirts of His priesthood!Add a comment
From The Onion: More Kids Being Home-Churched
Excerpt: A new trend in the religious upbringing of children has recently emerged in the heart of the Bible Belt. "Home-churching," the individual, family-based worship of Jesus Christ, is steadily gaining in popularity, as more parents seek an alternative to what they consider the overly humanist content of organized worship.
Norville Tucker, who moved his family to the woods outside Shelby, AL in 1998 to "escape the damaging cultural influences of urban Mobile," is widely credited with pioneering the home-churching movement. Tucker said he was inspired to home-church when his 10-year-old son Macon returned from Sunday school singing a lighthearted song about Zacchaeus, a tax collector befriended by Christ, and then later recited the parable of the Good Samaritan.
"I couldn't believe that the liberal elite had infiltrated even the study of our Holy Scriptures," Tucker said. "It was bad enough that my youngsters were being taught evolution in public schools, but when I discovered they were learning to embrace foreigners and Big Government in Sunday school, I drew the line."
-- Today, it's a joke; tomorrow....Add a comment
This is unbelievable -- except that it's not.
The day after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, killing hundreds of people and stranding thousands of the sick and weak in hospitals without power, Vice President Dick Cheney made a forceful personal intervention in the crisis: he ordered a Mississippi energy utility to divert its emergency crews from restoring power to rural hospitals and local water supplies -- and instead set them to work on a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.
People were dying in hospitals; people were languishing in damp, tropical heat, drinking dirty water tainted with death and disease. But just as in his Vietnam War-dodging days, Cheney had "other priorities." It didn't matter if a bunch of sick darkies and old crackers kicked off in the boonies -- what really mattered was minimizing the political fallout from any temporary gasoline shortages that might ensue from the storm.
Just as in Iraq, so it is in Mississippi, in New Orleans, in every state of the Union: The oil is what matters. The money is what matters. The power is what matters. The political posturing is what matters. The people -- the living, breathing, individual human beings -- count for nothing at all. Nothing. That's the Bushist Way.
Power Crews Diverted: Restoring Pipelines Came First
(Hattiesburg American, via Froomkin, via Buzzflash)
Excerpts: Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast. That order - to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. - delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.Add a comment