Monday, April 30, 2007

More than 100 US Dead in Iraq in April

That brings the total US Death toll to 3,351. Add to that an estimated 394 American mercenaries (or, as they're euphemistically called, "contractors"), and you've got a total of 3,745. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Just like the war itself, the "surge" is working nicely. Don't you think?

Friday, April 27, 2007

How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Democracy and Create a Fascist State

An Update on the "Worst President in US History"TM
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Naomi Wolf's Provocative -- and frightening -- essay in this week's Guardian (UK) outlines the ten steps fascist regimes have historically used to gain and then hold power.
It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
I urge you to read the entire article, but I'll post the ten steps and let you use your minds to fill in the details for now. It seems to me that the very efficient amusements of our post-modern society function to keep us complacent, in much the same way that Mussolini was admired for making the trains run on time.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law

The Decider

Now that both houses of Congress have passed a bill authorizing continued spending for the war in Iraq, President George W. Bush has to come through on his promise to veto that bill when it reaches his desk, probably next week on the fourth anniversary of his "mission accomplished" skit. Americans United for Change suggests you write to the President urging him to sign the legislation.

I think they're dreaming. But it certainly doesn't hurt to write, call, or e-mail. Even though 66% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the war, 64% of Americans believe Congress is right in setting a timetable for withdrawing, 57% think Congress should "have the final say about troop levels" in Iraq (as opposed to 35% who think Bush should), and 61% disapprove of the overall job he is doing as President, George W. Bush has decided to ignore us, ignore the will of the people, and listen to the elites who benefit most from civil war in Iraq.

He has decided, again, against democracy.

I long for the day when this long, national (and international) nightmare will finally be over. I long for the day when all Americans can say,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Council of Europe Chief : Prevent Conditions That Create Terrorism

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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In an article in the Romanian newspaper Jurnalul National, Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, says that the current anti-terror tack of the Western developed nations (led by the US and UK) is, at best, imcomplete if it ignores the root causes of terrorism. In publicly saying so, he joins a growing list of world leaders and opinion makers who've made the same observation, including Philippine Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Peter Munya, the US Conference of Catholilc Bishops, John Edwards, Hugo Chavez, Fernando Lugo, Desmond Tutu, Charles Dickens, Muhammed Yunus, myself, and even Pakistan dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf . For the record, the late Holy Father Pope John Paul II believed this too.

It is crucial to fight against the recruitment, financing and incitement to terrorism through a legal framework and an international co-operation but it is equally important to deal with the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.

Some obvious conditions which make possible the spread of terrorism are conflicts, poverty and under-development, violations of basic human rights and no rule of law. (all emphases mine)

When will the message be acknowledged by the Bush adminstration?

Brit Anti-Terror Chief : "We Will Be Hit Again"

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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Peter Clarke, chief of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism unit and consequently Britain's de facto "anti-terrorism czar" (for some reason, we love "czars" in the US), warns that al Qa'ida, far from being beaten in the fields of Iraq, has survived “a prolonged multi-national assault” and is following “an inexorable trend towards more ambitious and more destructive attack planning.” More simply and poignantly put, “The only sensible assumption is that we shall be attacked again,” Clarke said Tuesday evening. He was presenting a lecture to the Policy Exchange, a British center-right private policy research group.

He also confirmed another fact with which we in the West had better come to terms: Pakistan's dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf has no control over his country and, far from being an "ally" in the (so-called) "war on terror," should be arrested and prosecuted following on George W. Bush's logic that "you're either with us, or you're with the terrorists."
He also said around 100 suspected terrorists were awaiting trial in Britain — in addition to several trials currently in progress — and their cases would confirm a trend that has emerged since 2004 for young British Muslims to travel to Pakistan for training and to receive instructions before returning home to plot attacks.
Perhaps if we weren't in Iraq, and if we weren't ignoring Afghanistan, and if we weren't buddying up to (yet again!!!) right-wing military dictators in countries that harbor terrorists, and funding Pakistani terror groups that kidnap and execute Iranians, we might actually be harassing al Qa'ida and damaging their ability to plan and execute future attacks.

But not in George W. Bush's America.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

World Public Opinion Poll : Muslims Believe US Seeks to Undermine Islam

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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An important new poll by World Public Opinion (Program on International Policy Attitudes, University if Maryland) shows that the US under the Bush administration is losing the "hearts and minds" of the Islamic world, a central objective in the (so-called) "war on terror." Approximately eight thousand respondents in four countries -- Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan -- believe that, contrary to what the US right-wing would have us believe, US forces are fighting neither to protect US citizens from attack, nor to spread democracy and freedom.

Large majorities across all four countries believe the United States seeks to “weaken and divide the Islamic world.” On average 79 percent say they perceive this as a US goal, ranging from 73 percent in Indonesia and Pakistan to 92 percent in Egypt. Equally large numbers perceive that the United States is trying to maintain “control over the oil resources of the Middle East” (average 79%). Strong majorities (average 64%) even believe it is a US goal to “spread Christianity in the region.”

“While US leaders may frame the conflict as a war on terrorism, people in the Islamic world clearly perceive the US as being at war with Islam,” said Steven Kull, editor of

Far from being consistent with American right-wing claims that "Islamofascism" is a movement seeking "world domination," the poll indicates that the average Muslim wants to end US domination of the Islamic world, and supports some sort of military or paramilitary action to do so.

Consistent with this concern, large majorities in all countries (average 74%) support the goal of getting the United States to “remove its bases and military forces from all Islamic countries,” ranging from 64 percent in Indonesia to 92 percent in Egypt. Substantial numbers also favor attacks on US troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the Persian Gulf. Across the four countries polled approximately half support such attacks in each location, while three in ten are opposed.

While there is significant support for some level of military action against what is seen as US military domination, there is little support for the typres of actions seen objectively as "terrorism."

Asked about politically-motivated attacks on civilians, such as bombings or assassinations, majorities in all countries—usually overwhelming majorities—take the strongest position offered by saying such violence cannot be justified at all. More than three out of four Indonesians (84%), Pakistanis (81%), and Egyptians (77%) take this position, as well as 57 percent of Moroccans (an additional 19 percent of Moroccans say such attacks can only be “weakly justified”).

More specifically, there is little support for al Qa'ida, except, ironically among our "allies" in Pakistan.

There is strong disapproval of attacks by “groups that use violence against civilians, such as al Qaeda.” Large majorities in Egypt (88%), Indonesia (65%) and Morocco (66%) agree that such groups “are violating the principles of Islam.” Pakistanis are divided, however, with many not answering.

While the poll indicated no significant level of support for terrorist groups, it did show that much of the Islamic world supports their goals.

Large majorities in all countries (average 70 percent or higher) support such goals as: “stand up to Americans and affirm the dignity of the Islamic people,” “push the US to remove its bases and its military forces from all Islamic countries,” and "pressure the United States to not favor Israel.”

None of this, however, indicates a desire in the Muslim world to isolate themselves from the larger world.

Asked how they feel about “the world becoming more connected through greater economic trade and faster communication,” majorities in all countries say it is a good thing (average 75%). While wary of Western values, overall 67 percent agree that “a democratic political system” is a good way to govern their country and 82 percent agree that in their country “people of any religion should be free to worship according to their own beliefs.”

Read the entire report here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

IN THE DARK Post #1,001-- Philippine Chief Justice Says War on Terror in Danger of Becoming "Mindless"; Poor Suffer More From Poverty Than From Terror

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno joins a long list of global public figures who stepped out of the dark and acknowledged the reality of terrorism, including Peter Munya, the US Conference of Catholilc Bishops, John Edwards, Hugo Chavez, Fernando Lugo, Desmond Tutu, Charles Dickens, Muhammed Yunus, myself, and even Pakistan dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf who have been saying that you can't win a war on terror if you don't fight a war on poverty. For the record, the late Holy Father Pope John Paul II believed this too.

Puno criticized the "mindless" war on terrorism at the expense of civil liberties, and -- referring to the Philippines, but relevant to the US under the Bush administration -- said a state with credibility problems could not adequately protect the rights of its citizens. He said the fight against terrorism had been "more discomforting" than the terror itself.

Terrorism is terrible enough, but the mindless, knee-jerk reaction to extirpate the evil is more discomforting. One visible result of the scramble to end terrorism is to take legal shortcuts and legal shortcuts always shrink the scope of human rights. These shortcuts have scarred the landscape of rights in the Philippines.
Puno said that the institutional forces of anti-terrorism engage in much flag-waving, singing of the national anthem and issuing "high-pitched" directives to military forces, the police, and citizens to use their weapons for victory at all costs. But, he said, enough is enough. Security is meaningless at the expense of individual liberty.

To put constitutional cosmetics to the military-police muscular efforts, lawmakers usually enact laws using security of the state to justify the dimunition of human rights by allowing arrests without warrants; surveillance of suspects; interception and recording of communications; seizure or freezing of bank deposits, assets and records of suspects. They also redefine terrorism as a crime against humanity and the redefinition is broadly drawn to constrict and shrink further the zone of individual rights.
Puno urged political leaders -- but the appeal might be read by all of us, if we choose -- to have a broader view of terrorism, saying poverty is also a form of terrorism and the poor suffer more by their poverty than by violence.

In poor countries, it is poverty that truly terrorizes people for they are terrorized by the thought that they will die because of empty stomachs and not that they will lose their lives due to some invisible suicide bombers...The apathy of those who can make a difference is the reason why violations of human rights continue to prosper. The worst enemy of human rights is not its non-believers but the fence sitters who will not lift a finger despite their violations...Sooner or later, they will find that they who default in protecting the rights of the many will end up without rights like the many...With the incursions and threats of incursion to our human rights at this crucial moment in our history, the clarion call to each one of us is to consecrate our lives to the great cause of upholding our human rights.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

France Told CIA in January 2000 About Al Qa'ida Plans to Hijack Airliners

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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French newspaper Le Monde adds more fuel to the fire by publishing a story saying that they warned the CIA about al Qa'ida intentions to hijack airplanes nine months before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The newspaper says it has obtained 328 pages of classified documents that show foreign agents infiltrated al-Qaeda's network.

It produced nine reports between September 2000 and August 2001, including the January 2001 document called 'Plan to hijack an aircraft by Islamic radicals'.

That's reminiscent of the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." Good Lord, how many dots do you have to draw in a straight line before it occurs to George W. Bush's administration to connect them???

Le Monde said the January 2001 report was handed over to a CIA operative in Paris, but that no mention of it was made in the official US September 11 Commission which produced its findings in July 2004.
Why was that? Don't we deserve an explanation?

Le Monde said the documents also show the French believed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was still receiving help from family members and senior officials in Saudi Arabia in advance of the 11 September attacks.
Yes. Like Pakistan's dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Saudis are our allies.

God help us.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Al Qa'ida : Iraq 'A University of Terrorism'

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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An audiotape posted on an Islamic extremeist website provides more information on the state of the war in Iraq. A voice on that tape, purportedly belonging to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of an al Qa'ida-linked group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq, indicates that George W. Bush's plan to rid the world of terrorism and sow the seeds of freedom and democracy may not be working as expected.

The largest batch of soldiers for jihad... in the history of Iraq are graduating and they have the highest level of competence in the world... From the military point of view, one of the (enemy) devils was right in saying that if Afghanistan was a school of terror, then Iraq is a university of terrorism.

The fear of the American Marines has disappeared from the hearts of the people of the world, as the mujahideen have become thousands from the few they were after the fall of the infidel Baath regime. These are just some of the achievements of four years of jihad.

al-Baghdadi also claimed that al Qa'ida has set up facilities in Iraq to manufacture their own rockets.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Musharraf, Back Against the Wall, Calls on Developed World to Fight Poverty

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the dictator "President" of Pakistan (who created the position of President -- not in the Pakistan Constitution -- after taking power in a military coup in 1999), is beginning to make some democratic and egalitarian noises -- for reasons, I am sure, of base self-interest. Simply stated, he is in trouble. He is losing control of his increasingly independent-minded judiciary, he is losing whatever support he has ever had of the citizens of Pakistan, and he is losing the confidence of the West. At least he's got the military. But it may not be enough. He is being forced into a set of elections at the end of the year, and looking to two political rivals to shore up his power: Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto.

Whatever his motivation (and I don't really care why someone finally does the right thing), Musharraf is making guardedly centrist statements lately, and yesterday in Islamabad finally stated the obvious and made the connection between terrorism and poverty. Speaking to an international land forces symposium on Common Security and the "Global War on Terrorism,"

President Musharraf urged the developed and industrialized States to help the Islamic countries in their socio-economic development as the extremism stems from poverty.

The President re-emphasized Pakistan's firm resolve to combat terrorism frontally and militarily but said that joint efforts were needed by the global community in achieving the objective of defeating the menace. He pointed out that extremism is a state of mind and could not be countered with force and needs a long-term strategy and total understanding of underlined causes which spawn the scourge.

Let me repeat and emphasize that last part: Terrorism is a state of mind that cannot be countered with force and needs a long-term strategy and total understanding of its underlying causes.

So, we're stepping back from global, unregulated, laissez faire, "free-market" capitalism, and --FINALLY -- acknowledging that government has a larger role than merely smoothing the road for the creation of wealth. It also has the responsibility to see that the wealth is distributed equitably and justly. Well, at least Musharraf -- back against the wall -- is giving the idea lip service, even if he'd rather not. Why would he prefer not to say -- and do -- the right thing?

The President said that the poverty, illiteracy and misinterpretation of Islamic knowledge are the other inherent causes contributing to the rise of extremism.
Yes. Pakistan has only a 48% literacy rate -- 35% female literacy. Perhaps Musharraf will funnel some money into educating Pakistan's citizens? A quarter of Pakistan lives below the poverty level -- the Pakistani poverty level. Child labor is common there. Pakistan has a per capita gross domestic product of $2,600. To put that into perspective, Iraq -- in the midst of a bloody civil war, mounting insurgency, and daily chaos, has a per capita GDP of $2,900.

For the life of me, I don't know why -- if we had to invade someone and do some "regime change -- we invaded Iraq and not Pakistan.

(Musharraf) said two-pronged strategy on the one hand calls upon the Muslim States to shun extremism and go on the path of socio-economic development and on the other called upon the West, especially the United States , to help resolve outstanding disputes and assist in economic development of Islamic countries. (my emphasis)
Like it or not, folks, we are our brothers' keeper. From those to whom much is given, much is expected.

Musharraf joins a long list of global public figures who stepped out of the dark and acknowledged the reality of terrorism, including Peter Munya, the US Conference of Catholilc Bishops, John Edwards, Hugo Chavez, Fernando Lugo, Desmond Tutu, Charles Dickens, Muhammed Yunus, and myself qho have been saying that you can't win a war on terror if you don't fight a war on poverty. For the record, the late Holy Father Pope John Paul II believed this too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Victims Protest Terrorist's Release by US Judge

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM
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The relatives of 72 people killed by the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner grieved for their loved ones on Wednesday and protested the planned release of the planner of the attack, Luis Posada Carilles, by a US court. Posada, a Cuban exile and former CIA operative who participated in both the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the illegal supply of arms to the Contra army under the Reagan administration, will be free on $250,000 bond soon, thanks to US District Judge Kathleen Cardone.
"I'm outraged,'' said Iliana Alfonso, whose father was among those killed on the Cubana de Aviacion flight that exploded off Barbados. "In the United States, they are talking about good terrorism and bad terrorism. To me, all terrorism is bad.''
Welcome to the United States of America as envisioned by George W. Bush and the Project for a New American Century. The point Ms. Alfonse is missing is that the US is inherently good, and any act undertaken in our interest is inherently good. So, yes, we can point to bad terrorists and we can celebrate our own good terrorists. Or so the logic goes...

Still, Ms. Alfonso stubbornly insists on making moral judgments:

It is not ethical to unleash wars against terrorism, provoking the deaths of thousands of citizens in distant parts of the world while sheltering in its own territory terrorists who are self-confessed and still active.

Again, ethics has nothing to do with it. We are, by definition, right, so anything we do is right. That is the value system we're working within in the neo-con mindset. Oh, and Democracy? The idea of government being responsive to "will of the people?"Don't hold your breath. And laws?

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry on Wednesday also slammed the U.S. court decision, accusing the United States of protecting a "terrorist.''

And they're right. We are harboring a terrorist, much to our shame (well, I'm ashamed we're harboring a terrorist, but I don't know if you are. But you ought to be). George W. Bush has brought shame and disgrace on the United States of America.


Pakistan PM : To Fight Terror, Work For Justice

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Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told a gathering at Pakistan's National Defence University Wednesday that terrorism could only be ended by resolving the root problems that cause it, not by "shock and awe" warfare.

There must be respect for human rights and fundamental freedom because the denial of justice, torture, humiliation and collateral damage can only be counterproductive.

We need to adopt a holistic approach to address a conflict situation by providing hope and opportunity to the people, engaged in reconstruction and rehabilitation and provide employment opportunities.

We must remove all hurdles and obstacles to development programmes, especially in conflict situations.

He suggested a comprehensive, "Marshall Plan"-type program, where those people most effected are given a stake in their own development.

Meanwhile, Dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf's difficulties have provided an opening for a pre-coup Prime Minister. Benazir Bhutto has announced she will return to Pakistan sometime this year, despite threats to her safety, from the government as weel as from terrorists.

I realise I can be arrested. I realise that like the assassination of Philippines Senator Benigno Aquino in Manila in August 1983, I can be gunned down on the airport tarmac when I land. After all, Al-Qaida has tried to kill me several times, why would we think they wouldn't try again as I return from exile to fight for the democratic elections they so detest?

But I do what I have to do, and I am determined to return to fullfil my pledge to the people of Pakistan to stand by them in their democratic aspirations.

Al Qaida terrorist bomber Ramzi Yusef, one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, and a man with longstanding ties to the Pakistan intelligence services, ISI, allegedly made several attempts on Bhutto's life in the a993 Pakistan election campaign.

Meeting with her formal rival -- now ally against Musharraf -- Nawaz Sharif, she told the former Prime Minister that she made no deal with Musharraf to guarantee her safety on her return. Musharraf has called for "elections" soon, but has barred both Bhutto and Sharif.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

ABC : US Sponsors Terror Group in Pakistan

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM

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According to a report from ABC News, the US is aiding, advising, and -- through a network of Iranian exiles throughout Europe and the Gulf states -- funding a group that is crossing the border into Iran and kidnapping and executing Iranians.

The Jundullah is led by Abd el Malik Regi who has maintained close ties with the CIA since 2005. ABC News terrorism consultant and senior fellow on counterterrorism at the Nixon Centre Alexis Debat describes Regi:

He is essentially commanding a force of several hundred guerrilla fighters that stage attacks across the border into Iran on Iranian military officers, Iranian intelligence officers, kidnapping them, executing them on camera. He used to fight with the Taliban. He’s part drug smuggler, part Taliban, part Sunni activist.
This is the latest in a number of suspicious circumstances involving our "new best friend," Pakistan, led by despotic tyrant and dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Those circumstances center on Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, the CIA, Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban, once allies in the jihad against Soviet occuption of Afghanistan, all living quite comfortably now in Pakistan.

The situation mirrors the circumstances of Latin America in the 1980s. Proxy wars against left wing governments and guerilla armies were funded through back-channels contacts (Saudi Arabia for one) and drug smuggling (via our friends in Colombia). The same thing seems to be happening today, with the CIA using its back-channel contacts, and the likelihood of profits from the sale and processing of Afghanistan's record opium-poppy harvests going to groups like the Jundullah.

Winning the hearts and minds of the east to "freedom and democracy?" It doesn't seem so. The word on the Afghan street is "We want the Taliban back."

Friday, April 06, 2007

US Court Releases Terrorist Posada

An Update on the "So-called War on Terror"TM

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Terrorism suspect and former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles
, linked by declassified CIA documents to the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 76 people, is set to be released pending a hearing on immigration fraud charges. Read all about him at the above link. Read the declassified CIA documents at the above link. Read about the people he killed -- including high school students -- at the above link.

Read about how his accomplice and former CIA colleague, Orlando Bosch, was pardoned for his many crimes by the first President Bush, all at the above link. Read through it all in the twenty posts I've made in the last two years.

And then I'd love to hear from you to explain to me why you don't think that the so-called "war on terror" is a complete and utter sham.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kiwi Green Party : War on Poverty as Urgent as War on Terror

An Update on the so-called "War on Terror"TM

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As Peter Munya, the US Conference of Catholilc Bishops, John Edwards, Hugo Chavez, Fernando Lugo, Desmond Tutu, Charles Dickens, Muhammed Yunus, and I have been saying for years now, you can't win a war on terror if you don't fight a war on poverty. For the record, the late Holy Father Pope John Paul II believed this too.

Now the New Zealand Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke has said the same thing. And he's right. And he's taking his government to task.

Whenever the Government supports laws to combat global terrorism, it routinely invokes UN guidelines on the subject as a rationale, even when that sometimes means restricting the civil liberties of New Zealanders. Yet when it comes to UN initiatives aimed at combating global poverty, the Government has been willing to drag its feet.

In years past, the Prime Minister Helen Clark has acknowledged the links that exist between terrorism and its breeding grounds in poverty, inequality, disease and lack of opportunity. The Government should be treating global poverty with the same urgency it currently affords to global terrorism.

This era of global apathy and global greed has to end. This era of global, un-regulated, laissez faire, "free-market" capitalism has to end. Rational regulation was just as much a part of Adam Smith's vision as irrational speculation.

Democracy, NOT plutocracy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What a Wonderful World?

Trees of green? Red roses too? For some perhaps, but not me and you. Like everything else in George W. Bush's "wonderful world," the trees of green, the red roses, the skies of blue, the stars of white, bright blessed days and the dark sacred nights are distributed unequally and unfairly.

More than 3,000 Americans are dead, and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians in a war that was absolutely unnecessary. We have accomplished nothing in Iraq other than to create a breeding ground for new terrorists. Meanwhile, we have allowed al Qa'ida to regain strength under the protection of our "ally" in the so-called war on terror, Pervez Musharraf.

Nuclear weapons have proliferated across the globe under Bush's watch. So, naturally, we are going tomanufacture more, newer nukes. You'd almost think that the Bush administration might have turned a blind eye to the spread of nukes, just so we could build new ones. After all, it was our "ally" Pervez Musharraf's man, AQ Khan, who shared nuclear secrets with both North Korea and Iran.

Sweat shop globalization has proceeded unabated under Bush. We have far more evidence of the spread of sweatshops in the last six years than the spread of Democracy. The gap between rich and poor nations, as well as the gap between the richest and poorest within individual nations -- including the United States -- has grown under Bush. For the first time in my lifetime, poverty is on the rise in the United States, both in proportion and number of Americans living below the poverty line.

Our reputation has sunk to unprecedented lows across the world. Our Constitution is in tatters. Our American values have been trampled at home. Politics trumps law. Democratic principles are becoming, like the Geneva Conventions, "quaint" and "obsolete."

Want a wonderful world?


Monday, April 02, 2007

Al Qa'ida Thrives in Musharraf's Pakistan

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For as long as I've been posting on this blog, I've been saying that the war in Iraq is taking away from the actual war on terror. Lately, the mainstream media have been forced to ackowledge the obvious. At the same time, this unnecessary invasion and occupation -- so pitifully led by the Bush administration -- has given al Qa'ida its first foothold in Iraq. The CIA said this as early as January 2005 (see also here, here, here, and here). Now, the MSM again are scratching their heads as the resurgence of al Qa'ida continues in Pakistan, five years after we "beat" the Taliban and declared "victory" in Afghanistan.

The new leaders rose from within the organization after the death or capture of the operatives that built Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. This has led to surprise and dismay within U.S. intelligence agencies about the group's ability to rebound from an American-led offensive.
Perhaps if we had maintained that offensive pressure -- and exerted some pressure on the likes of Pakistan's dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf -- instead of bailing out to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq, we wouldn't be feeling all this "surprise" and "dismay."

The evidence officials said was accumulating about (ascending terrorist leader Abu Ubaidah al-)Masri and a handful of other Al Qaeda figures has led to a reassessment within the U.S. intelligence community about the strength of the group's core in Pakistan's tribal areas, and its role in some of the most significant terrorism plots of the last two years, including the airline plot and the suicide attacks in London in July 2005 that killed 56 people.
So al Qa'ida has survived the "American-led offensive" (which included the "fumbled" opportunity at Tora Bora) in Afghanistan, they have a safe haven in Pakistan, and --SURPRISE!!! -- they have gained a foothold in Iraq.

Experts say they still see Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as largely independent of Al Qaeda's hub in Pakistan but that they believe the fighting in Iraq will produce future al Qaeda leaders. "The jihadis returning from Iraq are far more capable than the mujahedeen who fought the Soviets ever were," said Robert Richer, who was associate director of operations in 2004 and 2005 for the CIA. "They have been fighting the best military in the world, with the best technology and tactics."

"To say that Al Qaeda was out of business simply because they have not attacked in the U.S. is whistling past the graveyard," said Michael Scheuer, a former head of the bin Laden tracking unit at the CIA. "Al Qaeda is still humming along, and with a new
generation of leaders."

Yes. Thanks to George W. Bush and his friends, like Pakistan dictator Pervez Musharraf.