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Lest we forget Iraq

Hi. Yasir Assam emailed me this piece, his debut for Webdiary. "I'm a freelance software developer living northern NSW," he wrote. "'m British, of Iraqi origin and a permanent resident. I'm not a professional writer, commentator, intellectual, academic or otherwise "qualified" to write serious articles, but I hope that doesn't make my piece less worthy of consideration." Certainly not!

Lest we forget Iraq

by Yasir Assam

When you vote in the coming election, how much will morality play when you make your choice?

I hear a lot about who’s better at managing tax, employment, health, education and so on. I refer to these as “practical” issues, every day issues that affect “me” the average voter, and in deciding which party is better at dealing with them, the question is largely one of self-interest.

Self-interest is fine, but what about morality? What about the issues that don’t necessarily affect me or my family directly? The assault on civil liberties and due legal process, the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, the treatment of Indigenous Australians, the effect that global warming will have on future generations (especially the poor abroad) are just some of the moral issues we face. I concede that to some extent all election issues have a moral content, but these latter ones have a much stronger moral flavour than the practical ones I mentioned earlier. I’d like to focus on one moral issue, though the others are no less important.

Australia’s 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was a clear act of unprovoked aggression against a country that posed no imminent threat to Australia or the US. According to recent estimates, 1.2 million Iraqis have met violent deaths since the invasion. We were told it was for WMDs, terrorism and democracy, but it’s clear the main reason for invading is a 3 letter word beginning with O and ending in L, as Alan Greenspan, General Abizaid and Brendan Nelson have admitted. And if their admissions aren’t convincing enough, consider the Iraq Oil Laws which the US have been keen to push through, allowing foreign companies to reap large profits from the massive, high quality, easily extractable and proven oil reserves.

Iraq is often portrayed as a “mess” in the media, implying (by some) that though the cause was noble, the execution was flawed. In other words, we had the moral right to invade, it’s just that those guys (Bush et. al.) were incompetent. But this argument evades the central fact: the invaders knowingly invaded a defenceless nation, without the consent of its people, in order to take control of its resources, leaving death and destruction in their wake. It is the supreme war crime.

What sort of morals does a government have, who are willing to invade a nation and kill countless people in order to control its resources? More importantly, are you willing to vote for them, even if you think their policies benefit you more than those of some other parties?

During the Nuremberg Trials, the Chief American Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson said:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole’, where the ‘accumulated evil of the whole’ includes the 1.2 million dead and 4.2 million displaced.

He also said:

We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well’ (my emphasis).

These words were echoed recently by another chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, Benjamin Ferencz, who in 2006 (whilst Saddam was on trial), said that Bush should also stand trial for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Although Australia’s presence in Iraq is minuscule compared with the US, our presence there gives substantial moral support and credibility to the US, and to an extent greater than its share of troops, Australia bears moral responsibility for the crime.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation. Suppose you were a parent able to pick which head teacher your school employed. You find a candidate: he’s a sharp operator, a real whiz. He has a great record from other schools: fantastic grades. But it turns out he’s a serial killer – he kills old ladies. He never murders children – your kids are safe – but he’s unrepentant and likely to kill again. Even though your kids are safe and assured fantastic grades under him, would you employ him, knowing he’s a killer?

Some may think the analogy outlandish or even offensive, but isn’t 1.2 million dead a tad more offensive? That’s murder on an unimaginable scale, and our leaders (with our consent) have participated in it lock, stock and barrel. What’s more, there’s every indication they’ll do the same again (Iran?).

In fact, my analogy doesn’t go far enough: the war in Iraq has undoubtedly increased the threat of terrorism to the very populations (e.g. Australia’s) it was claimed to protect. It has also sent a clear message to the rest of the world that the rules of international law and justice are irrelevant, that the strongest will invade the weakest at will. This unspoken yet clear message will undoubtedly lead to greater tensions internationally and the increase of nuclear proliferation: grim consequences for all of us.

They are war criminals, and whatever good they may (or may not) have done domestically does not lessen the severity of their crime. If we vote for them for any reason, we also share in that crime.

My point is, this one moral issue (and there others) trumps all the practical ones. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the present government really is better at managing the economy than anyone else, we must still not allow these murderous criminals to rule over us and commit crimes in our names. I for one would rather suffer the mother of all recessions than have my leaders spill innocent blood in my name. That’s what taking a moral stand means to me.

The vote was hard-won by our heroic forebears. Let’s not squander our inheritance. Think less what your country can do for you, and more on what its leaders will likely do unto others less fortunate than ourselves.

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Covering up the truth with lies.

Some tales of deceit and corruption at the core of the US political system:

From Chris Floyd - Whited Sepulchre: Huckabee's Hook-Up With Reagan-Bush Crimes. if you are running for prez then best have the help of someone who knows how things are done.

A couple of the internal links do not work. But this does. And that piece has further links, including this and this. A little history.

The lying continues and Joe Lieberman is still trying it on with an old lie. Perhaps he's trying to match the Crawford Caligula in the perpetuating old lies department.

And what is happening now? Here an account by Glenn Greenwald - What winning in Iraq looks like.

An interview with Sy Hersh.

On Iran - and what did the Crawford Caligula know, and when did he know it?

Laura Rozen on the NIE.

Not the best person for the job - Kaveh L Afrasiabi - Kissinger's foggy lens on Iran.

Surely someone who should be tried for war crimes and not be giving advice. 

On crimes - I linked an article about Gaza on another thread yesterday. Here is a piece by Uri Avnery on the matter. Israel has been loud in its claims about how dangerous Iran will be (etc ad nauseum) but some might well be far more concerned by Israel's current behaviour.

So lies and corruption abound - a Xmas wish - that those responsible are haunted by their consciences (if they have them). And also those who allow it to continue.

How High Did The Iraq Lie Go?

This should be interesting...

AWB executives may face criminal charges

Former managers and directors of AWB are yet to discover whether they will face criminal charges over the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal.

Six of them are now facing civil charges that could result in fines of hundreds of thousand of dollars.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) alleges 45 breaches of corporation law by former managers Michael Long, Peter Geary and Charles Stott.

ASIC alleges the three men implemented contracts containing the illicit payments to the Iraqi regime.

Each civil charge carries a maximum $200,000 fine, as well as banning orders.

ASIC alleges alleges the other three – former managing director Andrew Lindberg, former chairman Trevor Flugge and former chief finance officer Paul Ingleby – ought to have known about or investigated the contracts.

If more serious criminal charges are launched against any of the men ASIC expects the courts will prefer to hear the criminal charges.

The police task force is still investigating and if it follows the recommendation of the Cole inquiry into AWB, criminal charges will not be launched against Mr Lindberg.

Instead, he will face 10 civil charges of breaches of Corporations Law for allegedly failing to know or find out about payments to the Iraqi regime that were hidden in oil-for-food wheat contracts.

Iran agrees on UN's "central role" in ensuring compliance

Now, here's something that will make you laugh...

"Even Iran, one of Mr Bush's "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea, told the UN General Assembly that although it opposed any military strike on Iraq it agreed that the UN had a "central role" in getting Saddam to comply with international demands."

- September 2002

The Iraq War has been A Huge Success

Depending upon the way you look at it of course.

For the Iraqis, it's an utter disaster, Death around every corner, huge unemployment, the collapse of infrastructure.

Payment of international debts means little to the great bulk of the Iraqi people who at least during Saddam's time had jobs, electricity, running water, homes and peace( yes I know - he was an evil man).

For the US it has been a supreme success. The chaos is intentional and of no interest to those who promoted this war. Why would it? They have their hands on Iraq's wealth and the deaths of US forces and Iraq civilians is a very cheap price to pay. Nor do they intend to ever leave. You do not build the largest embassy in the world, with its own apartment blocks, shopping malls, recreational facilities – basically a fortress city within a city where no-one need ever leave (except by helicopter gunship from the Green Zone to the airport) – if you intend to vacate that country soon.

The conservative and anti-Iraq invasion Republican Pat Buchanan put it best:

The Iraq War has been the greatest handover of public monies into private hands the world has ever seen.

Those who have read the extensive historical writings on the Nuremberg Trials would see that many leaders of countries and, indeed, a whole lot of officials in security services should face trial for the the exact same alleged crimes. More so when amongst those who judged at Nuremberg were Australian , British and American judges. Russia was also represented but was also against the invasion of Iraq.

In a way, their are extraordinary parallels between the invasion of Iraq and the actions of the Nazi leadership in WW2. There were also parallels in the massive anti-Iraq war demos and the way the bulk of the German populace and more so the German armed forces hated Hitler and his actions and made many doomed plans to rid themselves of the Fuhrer and his cohorts, the Brown Shirts ( his private army who soon matched the regular army in strength) and the Gestapo, his private police force.

The rise in power in strength without any legal constraints of Blackwater – a private US police and army force in Iraq in the tens of thousands who were also used during the flooding of New Orleans to hound residents out of their homes – is alarming.

Eliot Ramsey, I'd certainly question whether your list of "idiots and liars" had the "last laugh..

Margaret Thatcher ( who once snapped at me in the street and I jumped 6 foot) was led out of her office in tears having been given the boot by her own party. However one could say she has had a "last laugh" in the way in which she unleashed Nu Labour and Tony Blair upon Britain which is sadly not a country I recognise anymore, but one where yobbish behaviour is the norm in all level of society .

Ronald Reagan – certainly laughing towards the end – in fact during his last few years in office as Alzheimers consumed him.

Winston Churchill?.Not a man to laugh often as he was riven by depression but also booted out by the British public as soon as his war effort was over.

Harry Truman – doubtful. Always claimed his decision to decimate Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the right thing to do but many historians claim otherwise and that these were the horrific and unnecessary slaughter of innocents. Did he sleep well at night – who knows?.But he gave up his job soon after.

I certainly haven't forgotten Iraq, Yasir Assam, and I don't intend to let John Howard forget it either even if it means catching up with him on the golf course.

Cute idea.

David C: Hi Eliot, have you given any thought to writing a Webdiary piece?  How about something in the new year on why Australia should stay in Iraq? 

Cute idea. I'll give it some thought.

David C: Thanks, Eliot.  I think

Resistance claims victory in Iraq. US attack on Iran imminent

I realise nobody talks much about Iraq anymore, but I thought I'd bring this thread up to date with a few items:

Iraq repays IMF:

Iraq has cleared its debts with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the early repayment of around $US470 million, the IMF says.

"Iraq's ability to repay the IMF ahead of schedule reflects its strong international reserve position against a background of high oil prices," IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a statement.

Ahmadinejad blames domestic critics for his incompetence:

Iran's imbecile Chavista-Islamist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has blamed his political rivals and the economic record against accusations that his expansionary policies were directly responsible for the surge in prices in recent months.

There will be another 'imminent US attack on Iran' any day now.

Al Qaeda leader says British 'fleeing' from Iraq:
 
Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has claimed a moral victory from Britain's handover of security in southern Iraq yesterday.

Resistance murders its own support base:

Police say at least 39 people were killed in fierce clashes between suspected Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters and Sunni Arab villagers in the province of Diyala, north-east of Baghdad.

Why we must abandon the Kurds:

Turkish warplanes have bombed several villages along the Iraq-Turkey border targeting Kurdish PKK rebels, but the Iraq Government says the attacks have destroyed civilian infrastructure.

Well, let's get the hell outa there then. Again.

David C: Hi Eliot, have you given any thought to writing a Webdiary piece?  How about something in the new year on why Australia should stay in Iraq? 

Down to business

On the wake of the NIE report some are getting on with business with Iran - Russia to complete Bushehr while China gets contracts and India might have picked the wrong donkey.

Some, as previously reported, are unhappy about the NIE and ,whilst cracks appear in the anti-Iran stance, continue to fulminate. Perhaps they are using their record and being the only democracy in the region as a basis for credibility.

On Pakistan's nukes - the US is helping safeguard them. And who better, with such long experience in such matters. So reassuring.

Good or bad news first?

Further clarification from the same Yahoo! news report (which seems to have become an inexhaustible font of both good and bad news):

"Between August and end-November, our staff in Syria have received reports that 128,000 Iraqis were recorded as leaving (Syria) through the main border crossing, while 97,000 Iraqis arrived in Syria," Spindler said.

He stressed that these figures include "all categories of Iraqis, including bus and taxi drivers, and not only refugees".

Presumably also wheat traders and other businessmen, resistance fighters/insurgents, Iraqis visiting home, other...

It's Not Just The Iraqis Who Are Getting Screwed

A corker of an article from the Rolling Stone archive. If the Iraq invasion and occupation was the ultimate neoconservative plan to privatise war and nation-building, it must rank as one of the most abject failures of all time...

The Great Iraq Swindle

How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury

"How is it done? How do you screw the taxpayer for millions, get away with it and then ride off into the sunset with one middle finger extended, the other wrapped around a chilled martini? Ask Earnest O. Robbins – he knows all about being a successful contractor in Iraq.

"You start off as a well-connected bureaucrat: in this case, as an Air Force civil engineer, a post from which Robbins was responsible for overseeing 70,000 servicemen and contractors, with an annual budget of $8 billion. You serve with distinction for thirty-four years, becoming such a military all-star that the Air Force frequently sends you to the Hill to testify before Congress – until one day in the summer of 2003, when you retire to take a job as an executive for Parsons, a private construction company looking to do work in Iraq.

"Now you can finally move out of your dull government housing on Bolling Air Force Base and get your wife that dream home you've been promising her all these years. The place on Park Street in Dunn Loring, Virginia, looks pretty good – four bedrooms, fireplace, garage, 2,900 square feet, a nice starter home in a high-end neighborhood full of spooks, think-tankers and ex-apparatchiks moved on to the nest-egg phase of their faceless careers. On October 20th, 2003, you close the deal for $775,000 and start living that private-sector good life.

"A few months later, in March 2004, your company magically wins a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to design and build the Baghdad Police College, a facility that's supposed to house and train at least 4,000 police recruits. But two years and $72 million later, you deliver not a functioning police academy but one of the great engineering clusterf**ks of all time, a practically useless pile of rubble so badly constructed that its walls and ceilings are literally caked in shit and piss, a result of subpar plumbing in the upper floors.

"You've done such a terrible job, in fact, that when auditors from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction visit the college in the summer of 2006, their report sounds like something out of one of the Saw movies: 'We witnessed a light fixture so full of diluted urine and feces that it would not operate,' they write, adding that 'the urine was so pervasive that it had permanently stained the ceiling tiles' and that 'during our visit, a substance dripped from the ceiling onto an assessment team member's shirt.' The final report helpfully includes a photo of a sloppy brown splotch on the outstretched arm of the unlucky auditor.

"When Congress gets wind of the fias­co, a few members on the House Oversight Committee demand a hearing. To placate them, your company decides to send you to the Hill – after all, you're a former Air Force major general who used to oversee this kind of contracting operation for the government. So you take your twenty-minute ride in from the suburbs, sit down before the learned gentlemen of the committee and promptly get asked by an irritatingly eager Maryland congressman named Chris Van Hollen how you managed to spend $72 million on a pile of shit.

"You blink. F**ked if you know. "I have some conjecture, but that's all it would be" is your deadpan answer.

"The room twitters in amazement. It's hard not to applaud the balls of a man who walks into Congress short $72 million in taxpayer money and offers to guess where it all might have gone.

"Next thing you know, the congressman is asking you about your company's compensation. Touchy subject – you've got a 'cost-plus' contract, which means you're guaranteed a base-line profit of three percent of your total costs on the deal. The more you spend, the more you make – and you certainly spent a hell of a lot. But before this milk-faced congressman can even think about suggesting that you give these millions back, you've got to cut him off. 'So you won't voluntarily look at this,' Van Hollen is mumbling, 'and say, given what has happened in this project...'

"'No, sir, I will not,' you snap.

"...'We will return the profits.'...

"'No, sir, I will not,' you repeat.

"Your testimony over, you wait out the rest of the hearing, go home, take a bath in one of your four bathrooms, jump into bed with the little woman... A year later, Iraq is still in flames, and your president's administration is safely focused on reclaiming $485 million in aid money from a bunch of toothless black survivors of Hurricane Katrina. But the house you bought for $775K is now ­assessed at $929,974, and you're sure as hell not giving it back to anyone."

"'Yeah, I don't know what I expected him to say,' Van Hollen says now about the way Robbins responded to being asked to give the money back. 'It just shows the contempt they have for us, for the taxpayer, for everything.'

"Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam ­Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity – to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they f**k things up."

more...

A mere 128,000 in fifteen weeks

Marilyn Shepherd: "If a few refugees have gone home to Iraq it is not because it is safer but because they have no choice."

Well, if you call 128,000 in fifteen weeks a "few". And rather than being forced to return, they're being encouraged not too.

"The UNHCR said it will nevertheless support any Iraqi refugees who do choose to return, and is coordinating its efforts with those of the Iraqi government.'

Going home

If a few refugees have gone home to Iraq it is not because it is safer but because they have no choice.

4.5 million or more have been turned into refugees by our actions, over 1 million are dead, 8 million don't have enough food or electricity and all you can do is carry on because a few poor sods were forced to go home.

Review pending

Hi Eliot. I'm fairly certain that heading a comment "Refugees in Lebanon..." on a thread about the Iraq war isn't technically a 'Freudian slip', but will review psychoanalytic theory at my earliest opportunity.

Maybe you mistook this thread for the Syrian Refugee Camps thread a few doors down...

slipping the net and going home

David Curry says:

"If, as you seem to be implying, Eliot, the net return of refugees to Iraq (although I see almost as many are still leaving) is a sign that the hell of the last few years is coming to an end, then that's a very wonderful thing."

It appears to be David, because the 25,000-28,000 refugees coming home from Syria is the net figure.

The gross figure leaving Syria for Iraq for the 15 weeks was 128,000.

And in reference to that, Jacob, was that a Freudean slip when you referred to "Lebanese authorities" while we were talking about Syrian refugee camps? ;-)

Slipping in yet another misrepresentation

Notice how a quote from Human Rights Watch is now attributed to Jacob and somehow Jacob has been asked to account for what wasn't actually a Freudian slip by another writer.

Meanwhile, back in Iraq...

Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki has formally asked the UN Security Council to extend one last time the one-year mandate of US-led forces in his country, according to a letter released on Tuesday.

In his letter to the Security Council, Maliki requested the one-year extension from December 31, provided the council commits to end the UN mandate at an earlier date if so asked by Baghdad.

The barbarians.

Yes, Jacob, things might not be as some would like to make them seem. On that note a couple of views about what might be happening in Iraq:

Patrick Cockburn.

Douglas Macgregor.

There has been an attempt to cover up some nastiness - contractors can get away with ... Chris Floyd on contractor immunity.

We have had reports of the CIA tapes issue on the news. Nothing new in torture and other nastiness as this article by Greg Grandin shows.

And one on the NIE report - this by Uri Avnery - How They Stole the Bomb From Us.

Might give us a clue as to what Mossad might put on its wish list - such things are likely to attract hypocrisy.

Refugees in Lebanon coerced to return to Iraq

Further to the matter of repatriation of Iraqi refugees, a Human Rights Watch media release reports that:

Lebanese authorities arrest Iraqi refugees without valid visas and detain them indefinitely to coerce them to return to Iraq, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

“Iraqi refugees in Lebanon live in constant fear of arrest,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director for Human Rights Watch. “Refugees who are arrested face the prospect of rotting in jail indefinitely unless they agree to return to Iraq and face the dangers there.” 
 
The 66-page report, “Rot Here or Die There: Bleak Choices for Iraqi Refugees in Lebanon,” documents the Lebanese government’s failure to provide a legal status for Iraqi refugees in Lebanon and details the impact of this policy on the refugees’ lives. ...

Forcing refugees to return to a country where their lives and freedom are at risk violates the principle of nonrefoulement, the absolute prohibition to send a person to a place where he or she would be threatened with persecution or torture. ...

There are an estimated 50,000 Iraqi refugees in Lebanon, a relatively small portion of the 2.2 million Iraqi refugees in the Middle East. Currently there are about 580 detained Iraqis in Lebanon. Lebanon, a country of only 4 million including 250,000 to 300,000 Palestinian refugees, has borne the burden with little outside support.

[continues]

The memory plays tricks ...

Or something does. 

I see the refugee issue has been raised again. Some try to use the return of some Iraqis as a sign of improvement, that the "surge" has worked. Marilyn rightly points out that there are other factors at play. More on that here. It has been days since I last linked material about the situation in Iraq (and much has been linked), so perhaps that vast passage of time is an excuse for some who have faulty memories. Or perhaps a form of blindness, even a self-induced one. On 5/12 I linked articles by Chris Floyd and Juan Cole. In his latest article Floyd looks at an article by Jonathon Steele. He also links to Juan Cole mentioned above - this saves readers interested from going back those 3 days.

An extract from Steele:

But none of these indicators is firm. The figures for returning refugees are contested, with the Iraqi government counting anyone who crosses into Iraq even though many had only gone abroad on short visits and were never refugees. Many genuine refugees leave Syria in desperation because their money or visas have run out, not because they feel safe in going back.

When I talked to families in a muddy bus station on the outskirts of Damascus last week as they set off home, I found only Shias. "Of course Sunnis are afraid to go. The buses are provided by the Shia-led Iraqi government and Iraqi police will check them at the border," an Iraqi Sunni told me later. His comment underlined the continuing depth of sectarian suspicions. Sunnis assume the Iraqi police, who are mainly Shias, are either in league with Shia militias and death squads or will behave just as badly. They fear being abducted or slaughtered on the way.

Sunni concerns over Shia militias also explain the Awakening movement. Although Sunni tribal leaders are taking US arms and cash, ostensibly to confront al-Qaida, they see value in getting organised to protect their suburbs from Shia raids. The Americans may be temporarily helping to reduce violence, but their tactics help to build up Sunni militias for possible attacks on Shias in the future. Once again the Americans are looking for a military solution to what is essentially a political problem. Without national reconciliation and dialogue between Sunni and Shia community leaders - a process which neither the government of Nuri al-Maliki nor General Petraeus seems able or willing to broker - the underlying issues remain unresolved.

The Iraqi resistance is also undimmed. The nationalist Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, has called a unilateral ceasefire, which is largely holding while the US troop "surge" is under way. The Sunni resistance is doing much the same, though without formally declaring it. As I was told by a senior resistance spokesman in Damascus, many nationalist groups have reduced their attacks in western Baghdad and parts of Anbar province while regrouping and retraining.

From Robert C. Koehler - Iraq's Millions.

Michael T Klare links Iraq and Climate change.

Finally, a bit of fun on the theme of liars and idiots - Keith Olbermann in a Special Comment has a few ell chosen words for the Crawford Caligula. Video and transcript.

Finally, as promised, a Special Comment about the President’s cataclysmic deception about Iran.

There are few choices more terrifying than the one Mr. Bush has left us with tonight.

We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War Three about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole — or we have a president too transcendently stupid not to have asked — at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so — whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible.

A pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief. It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction: A critical juncture in our history and, contained in either answer, a president manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency: an unapologetic war-monger who has long been seeing a world visible only to himself.

Some people do call Bush a liar - but that is based solely on a vast amount of evidence.

Hat tip to Eliot

I for one thank you for that good news story, Eliot.

And I know that it's your sensitivity to the feelings of others that prevented you from conveying the down side of that report you cited, but since we're not children here I'm sure you'll agree it should be told.

The United Nations refugee agency on Friday warned that tens of thousands of Iraqis returning to the country face deplorable living conditions and a highly dangerous security situation.

"Many areas are still considered to be unsafe and conditions are not conducive for return in safety and dignity," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman William Spindler told journalists.

"There is a general lack of access to material, legal and physical safety and proper services" such as food, drinking water and sanitation, he added.

More happily, the UN refugee agency:

said it will nevertheless support any Iraqi refugees who do choose to return, and is coordinating its efforts with those of the Iraqi government.

And yet:

The UNHCR estimates that 4.2 million Iraqis have been displaced since the US-led invasion of March 2003, including 750,000 who found refuge in Jordan and 1.4 million in Syria. Another two million or so are displaced within the country.

On the figures presented, one may calculate net repatriations at around 30 thousand, representing roughly 1.5 percent of 2 million externally displaced persons.

Not a bad start, and after only less than 5 years of (their) pain.

You must be chuffed to at last feel some real vindication.

And those of us who opposed the shock-and-awe approach must now be feeling very small.

Yeah, yeah Eliot

You are so tiresome.    Iraqis are not going home because it is safe they are going home because Syria is starving them out.   They are not allowed to work, they have run out of money, they are going home to further danger and a little gloat about the situation says more about you than the Iraqis.

I suggest you do some more research.

Margo: Hiya Marilyn. Whatcha reckon about Chris Evans as immigration minister? I found him measured, courteous thorough and decent. Happy 2008, and take a break, Marilyn. You've earned it big time, you great Australian you.

25,000 to 28,000 Iraqi refugees return home in just 15 weeks

Now this is probably not what you wanted to hear:

"The Iraqi Red Crescent said on Monday that between 25,000-28,000 refugees had come home from Syria since mid-September."

"Between August and end-November, our staff in Syria have received reports that 128,000 Iraqis were recorded as leaving (Syria) through the main border crossing, while 97,000 Iraqis arrived in Syria," Spindler said.

Begging the question, Eliot.

Who is 'you'?  And why wouldn't they want to hear it?

If, as you seem to be implying, Eliot, the net return of refugees to Iraq (although I see almost as many are still leaving) is a sign that the hell of the last few years is coming to an end, then that's a very wonderful thing. 

I hope you're right.

Hope they're not going home to Basra...

25,000 to 28,000 Iraqi refugees return home in just 15 weeks

Hope they're not going home to Basra... things still look pretty bad...

From Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow!

The Battle for Basra & Iraq's Oil (Real Video)
The Battle for Basra & Iraq's Oil (Real Audio)
The Battle for Basra & Iraq's Oil (MP3)

With over 80 percent of the country’s known oil reserves, Basra holds the key to Iraq’s economy. Without its revenues the central government in Baghdad would collapse. The struggle for power in Basra is central to the larger battle for control in the new Shiite dominated Iraq. This is a report from Basra by independent filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise films.

Contribution of Seaman's Union to Allied war effort at Okinawa

John Pratt: "Eliot: you seem to be accusing wharfies of treason. Do you have any evidence?"

After explaining to you the role of the wharfies in disrupting the war effort in New Guinea in 1942 and 1943, I had drawn to my attention the significant contribution of the Seaman's Union to the convulsive World War Two naval and land battle at Okinawa in 1945, in which some 12,000 Allied soldiers, airmen and sailors died.

Okinawa was of course among the climactic events of 1945 leading up to the planned invasion of the Japanese main islands and its horrendously bloody outcome contributed directly to the decison to use the Atom Bomb.

The Aussie wharfies delayed the Royal Navy's Pacific Fleet's participation in the relief of the allied invasion force at Okinawa by hindering the deployment from Sydney of both Royal Navy warships and the Fleet Train of supply ships.

Source: Philip Vian, Action this Day,  Muller 1960, p186.

What a proud day that must have been.

Caution

John, I recommend treating anything claimed by Eliot with caution.

He's been caught making up stuff and presenting it as 'fact' on Webdiary before.  He's even admitted to it. See on What if ... thread:

 "A little ridicule routine"
Submitted by Eliot Ramsey on November 19, 2007 - 4:44pm.
Craig Rowley says:
How many readers have noticed that there is one person commenting here who has repeatedly tried to set up a straw man and then run a little ridicule routine against the straw man he's set up in order to get off on the Schadenfreude associated with the counterfeit comeuppance?
Oh, alright. I was taking the piss.

So, in this case, I'd check what Philip Vian actually wrote in that text and I'd consider why the alleged "delays" in 1945, which Eliot claims were caused by the "Aussie wharfies", weren't mentioned in Parliamentary Research Note 47 1997-98.

Red apples, green apples. It's all just fruit.

Ian MacDougall: "The word 'race' has been contaminated by certain events that happened in the middle of the 20th Century. But not the concept."

There's more than one concept. There's the strictly biological concept relating to discrete populations with specific, localised gene pool variations which result in the obvious somatic differences we can see - skin colour, hair texture, various other morphological variations.

You know. The obvious differences we can see between localised 'indigenous' populations of humans in Asia, Europe, Australasia, Africa, North America, etc.

Then there's the culturally bound concepts that attribute value or additional significance to those purely biological phenomena - the idea that this or that race is somehow better, more able, more moral, etc.

That's pure rubbish of course, because the types of differences between races are of exactly the same as the types of differences between individuals within any race. Just more removed because of time and distance.

They're no more significant than the differences in appearance which occur between families, say. And also the biological 'boundaries' within a species are nowhere absolute.

Race is only 'real' to that extent, and no more than the differences which occur between 'clines' and other local variations in other species. Snow bunnies versus prairie bunnies. Red roses versus white roses. They're all still bunnies and roses.

Race is a misapprehension.

Ian MacDougall, you are correct in identifying an historical human tendency to identify other people's appearance with innate behavioural characteristics.  Certain groups who have a common appearance are held to behave in recognisably predictable ways and this behaviour is attributed not to their socialisation and belief systems but to their innate biological tendency to that behaviour. The problem with nineteenth century quasi-scientific theories of race is that they lend a gloss of scientific validity to popular prejudice and bigotry. Members of physically identifiable groups are expected to conform to particular behaviours, often negative stereotypes, that are attributed to the group with which they are identified. They are constructed as members of a particular social order regardless of who they are and how they actually behave as individuals. When such social construction of the other takes a negative or prejudicial form then we are dealing with racism.

The real problem with the idea of race is that  it attributes social and culturally derived behaviour to biological determinants. All too often a social solution to behaviour that is perceived as problematic behaviour by dominant groups is to get rid of the subordinate groups whose appearance is different and whose collective behaviour is not accepted.

As you note the history of racist thinking includes "certain events that happened in the middle of the Twentieth century".  What is the problem here? Is the Holocaust not mentioned by name in polite society? The logic of race thinking inevitably ends in the death camp which includes but is not limited to the Europe wide attempt to exterminate Jews and the Turkish genocide against the Armenians. To say that the idea of race has been "contaminated" by these events, one of which was the central event of the Twentieth century, is to buy into the logic of the perpetrators.

Your willingness to draw comparisons between the behaviour of dog breeds and human groups is most alarming. Can you find no difference between dogs and people? If not we really might be in trouble.

Your project to revive the idea of race and give it credibility reminds me of a running gag in the film Clerks II in which one of the characters persists in his project of reclaiming his own racist history by fondly adopting his grandmother's language. The scene where he refers to Afro-American customers as "porch monkeys" and a broken bottle used as a weapon as a "nigger knife" is bustingly funny.

So, bon chance with your project. I'm sure someone like Anthony Mundine wouldn't object your ideas at all.

Race is simply an apprehension

Anthony Nolan: Your last epistle to me ('Race is a Misapprehension') on this thread included the following: "As you note the history of racist thinking includes 'certain events that happened in the middle of the Twentieth century'.  What is the problem here? Is the Holocaust not mentioned by name in polite society? The logic of race thinking inevitably ends in the death camp which includes but is not limited to the Europe wide attempt to exterminate Jews and the Turkish genocide against the Armenians. To say that the idea of race has been 'contaminated' by these events, one of which was the central event of the Twentieth century, is to buy into the logic of the perpetrators.

"Your willingness to draw comparisons between the behaviour of dog breeds and human groups is most alarming. Can you find no difference between dogs and people? If not we really might be in trouble."

There are certain genetically transmitted human characteristics which make the broad ethnic groups, races, variants or subspecies of humanity (call them what you will) easily recognisable and distinctly describable. The physical anthropologists of the 19th Century did a lot of work in this area. These human subdivisions are exact analogues with the breeds of domestic animals and the variants or subspecies known to exist within populations of a wide variety of wild animals and plants. So can I find no difference between dogs and people? In this context, no. The similarities are extraordinary. That does not mean that people are dogs, 'no better than dogs', or that it is right or legitimate to treat certain races, ethnic groups, variants or subspecies (call them what you will) as if they were dogs. Incidentally, some of my best friends over the years have been dogs.

Because these (non-watertight) subdivisions of humanity are a reality, terminology has been in use since time immemorial to describe them. So no, the idea of race did not arise in the 19th Century. Nor did racism, based on the idea that one of the broad ethnic groups, races, variants or subspecies of humanity (call them what you will) is superior to the others. As I noted in a comment on an earlier thread, the late and renowned opthalmologist Professor Fred Hollows proudly proclaimed to the world that he was a racist, in that he held that the Australian Aborigines, of all the ethnic groups, had the best eyesight, and that by virtue of their ethnicity, race, variant or subspecies of humanity (call it what you will).

If the logic of 'race thinking' inevitably ends in the death camp, then presumably the same thing by the alternative, politically correct apellation of 'ethnicity thinking' will do likewise. Your objection is not to the terminology, but to the reality of the differences, and there I am afraid I cannot help you. Unless you care to spend the rest of your life wearing a blindfold, they will literally stare you in the face, whatever the politically correct term of the moment for them.

Let me repeat finally lest I be misunderstood on this matter. I do not believe that any one of the broad ethnic groups, races, variants or subspecies of humanity (call them what you will) can be characterised as meaningfully superior or inferior to any other. Talking of race is not racist. Ranking the races in any way is. I have known quite a few racists in my time, and read of the activities of many others on all continents. They are not nice people.

Racism and ghostism

Just becuase you jump when you believe that a ghost is in the room doesn't mean that ghosts exist.  Racist beliefs and practices do not prove the existence of 'race' as a real entity. Rather, they prove the depth of ignorance and the irrationality of the people who hold the beliefs.

To talk of 'race' is not racist

Anthony Nolan: "97.7% of the human genome is exactly the same between any two or more humans.  That leaves 2.3% of our basic genetic strip to account for all of the differences between people.  All of the differences means all physical, emotional, intellectual and psychological differences.
"Still want to talk about race? "

Yes. Don't mind if I do actually.

The word 'race' has been contaminated by certain events that happened in the middle of the 20th Century. But not the concept. No matter what percentage of the genome is involved, there are identifiable, recognisable, inherited broad scale family characteristics among humans. They are no more watertight, homogeneous or 'pure' than are the chracteristics of the numerous breeds of dogs. But dog lovers do not campaign against the notion of canine 'breed', clearly because it is not historically contaminated  the way the notion of human 'race' is.

The concept of race sheds light on human geography and prehistory because they created it in the first place. Humans did not evolve uniformly across the surface of the planet. Different gene frequencies arose in the populations of Africa, Eurasia, the Americas and Oceania, whether one approves of the fact or not.

Because of the minor but significant genetic divergence and variety within the global human population, it is necessary to refer to it and take account of it. It is unavoidable in anthropology, sociology, policing and other occupational areas and disciplines. So, as 'race' is unacceptable for the above recent historical reasons, we are urged to use 'ethnicity': a word that ironically generates more human subdivisions based on morphological characteristics than does 'race', but in an uncontaminated way.

Moreover, while one can be accused of being 'racist' (and no doubt I will be by some for the above) one cannot be accused of being 'ethnicitist', for the simple reason that the word is unpronounceable. Conversation stops while the user struggles to wrap the tongue around it. Though it does help to have a lisp.

Racism, Sectarianism, Caste, let's call the whole thing off

Eliot Ramsey: "To say that the Ba'ath Socialist Party was not being racist when it butchered the Shiites because Shiite and Sunni Arabs are of the 'same race' is to shield the Ba'ath Socialist Party."

It must follow, then, that the media's decription over the last nearly five years of the violence between Sunnis and Shiites as 'sectarian bloodshed' is evidence that the entire world media has been trying to "shield the Ba'ath Socialist Party".

For the thoughtful.

I note that Bill Avent has left. It is to be regretted. I present a parting gift in the form of some material to think about for those who are interested.

Chris Floyd - More War is Job One: Torturing the Truth on Iran.

Arthur Silber - Played for Fools Yet Again: About that Iran "Intelligence" Report.

Lots to chew on for those who have the stomach for it.

Implicitly racist assumptions evident

Geoff Pahoff: "There are no "races". Regrettably however, there are many racists."

Therefore, any argument premised on the assumption that 'people of the same race cannot be racist towards each other' is at very least  racist itself.

The implicitly racist assumption - that members of the same 'race' cannot be 'racist' towards each other - presuposes races both as a reality and with racially determinant behavioural consequences.

Of course, it is perfectly plausible that people of separate ethnic, socio-linguistic, confessional or other cultural backgrounds, even if notionally of the same 'race', such as different 'Semitic' peoples, can indeed engage in racist discourses about each other.

One has to wonder what one would hope to gain by advancing the expressly racist proposition that this or other group 'cannot be racist towards another because they are of the same race'.

The answer is obvious when you look at the actual cases in point. To say that the Ba'ath Socialist Party was not being racist when it butchered the Shiites because Shiite and Sunni Arabs are of the 'same race' is to shield the Ba'ath Socialist Party.

It's even more patently racist when the argument is trundled out to excuse or mitigate the mistreatment of the Iraqi Kurds by their Arab and Turkish overlords.

Indeed : A Spurious Furphy

Eliot Ramsay : One has to wonder what one would hope to gain by advancing the expressly racist proposition that this or other group 'cannot be racist towards another because they are of the same race'.

The answer is obvious when you look at the actual cases in point. To say that the Ba'ath Socialist Party was not being racist when it butchered the Shiites because Shiite and Sunni Arabs are of the 'same race' is to shield the Ba'ath Socialist Party.

...

Of course, it is perfectly plausible that people of separate ethnic, socio-linguistic, confessional or other cultural backgrounds, even if notionally of the same 'race', such as different 'Semitic' peoples, can indeed engage in racist discourses about each other.

Yep. I couldn't agree more. I said as much the other day. In fact from memory I described that old "they are Semites therefore Hamas, AQ, Hezbollah etc cannot be antisemitic" argument as "spurious" and a "furphy".

Perhaps that's why my comment got DNP'ed. Who knows?

In fact I think that kind of reasoning is worse than spurious. Far worse.  

There are no 'races'.

I am pleased to see that someone has raised the matter of race in this thread.  Here are the facts:

1. 97.7% of the human genome is exactly the same between any two or more humans.  That leaves 2.3% of our basic genetic strip to account for all of the differences between people.  All of the differences means all physical, emotional, intellectual and psychological differences.

Still want to talk about race?

2. The idea of race is genuinely a nineteenth century invention. It developed alongside British and European colonial expansion and was an attempt to explain what, to European eyes, was their own innate cultural and material supremacy by comparison to those who they had conquered or subordinated. The discipline of anthropology is deeply implicated in race dialogue. It provided an ideologically acceptable explanation, especially in incorrectly applied Darwinian terms, to colonialism.

A useful source on this subject would be the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould's book on IQ, The Mismeasure of Man. It is a tragic and funny account of nineteenth and twentieth century attempts to explain cultural differences by reference to biological interpretations of intelligence.

3. The problem with the notion of race is that it is grounded in a primitive biological determinism that cannot explain difference in any other terms than biology.  Now that we know that there is in fact very little biological difference between people, at the level of the genome, it is time to accept that difference is a function of the accretion of historical events and beliefs over time that becomes culture. 

Happily, seeing difference as a result of different history and culture means that the possibility of arriving at a politics of difference is open to us whereas approaching difference as the outcome of non-existent biological difference leaves us with no room to move because genomic biology doesn't change.

No Races. Only Racists.

Quite right and an excellent summary of why the whole concept of "race" is a construct. This issue has been hammered out before on this site.

There are no "races". Regrettably however, there are many racists.

Racists But No Races?

Geoff: Surely you mean to say 'there are no races, only ethnicities. Regrettably, there are many ethnicists.'  Or should that be 'ethniciticists'?

How can there possibly be racists with no races (allowed), cyclists with no pushbikes, motorists with no cars, anaethetists with no anaethetics, etc?

Can't be done.

Shadowism

There are almost no Jews in Poland. Yet the place is full of antisemites. I once worked in a place where there were no dark skinned people and no one, apart from me, had ever met an aborigine. . Yet snide comments and theories about "niggers" and "bongs" were rife.

The point is that this form of hatred is irrational. There is no way you can reason with a racist. That he is spitting at something that does not exist outside of his mind is, I suggest, self-evident. But he still spits and he is dangerous to innocent people. That's what makes him a racist.   

Daniel Smythe vote of support for George Dubbya

 Daniel Smythe says:

"And how can you be sure that Iran doesn't have some form of nuclear weapons, perhaps ones purchased from North Korea of Pakistan?"

Yes, President Bush was saying just the same thing last night.

Obviously, we should keep the pressure on both Iran and North Korea to come clean with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and not adopt China's pusilanimous course of complicity and appeasement.

I'm sure George W appreciates your support on this point.

However, I don't share your apparent contempt for the great people of Iraqi who have elected the most diversified political administration in the Middle East.

Notwithstanding the conspicuous presence of Moqtadr's mob in the Iraqi Parliament, they've been courageous and done a great job.

The alternative preferred by the political left, Saddam Hussein, is dead.

And don't worry. The Taliban are having the living shit kicked out them pretty well every day, too. No thanks to the 'peace' movement.

Ahmadinejad's capitulation complete vindication of US leadership

Mark Sergeant says:

"Mike Shuster on NPR this evening (via ABC NewsRadio) was arguing that Iran stopping its nuclear weapons program was a result of the dialog it commenced with EU nations in October 2003, and not of the rejection of dialog by the USA in May."

So why has Iran's President Ahmadinejad, for year after year after year, insisted that 'unilateral dialogue' with the USA and 'concessions' from George W Bush's government were the only solution to the 'impasse'?

Why have Ahmadinejad's lackeys and apologists in the west endlessly castigated George W Bush for not acceding to Iranian demands for this?

Why has George W Bush's insistence that Iran was developing a bomb, now completely vindicated despite ceasless claims to the contrary by his critics, evidenced as his being 'stupid' and a 'liar' (even on this thread only two days ago)?

Here's the tally as it stands. If it wasn't for George W Bush;

  • the Taliban would be running Afghanistan
  • the ultra-racist Ba'ath Socialist family dictatorship would be running Iraq
  • the Socialist working man's paradise in North Korea would be nuclear armed, and
  • and the Islamist Jew-baiting, gay bashing Ahmadinejad clique in Tehran would have an atom bomb.

Remember, we were told for years and years that 'stupid' George W Bush was a 'liar' about both North Korea's and Iran's bomb development programmes.

Completely vindicated.

But, But, But, Eliot!

Eliot, I understand that the Taliban is mostly running Afghanistan again.

And I understand that a mob of America stooges are now running Iraq for America's benefit!

And I understand that North Korea is still armed with atomic weapons. 

And how can you be sure that Iran doesn't have some form of nuclear weapons, perhaps ones purchased from North Korea of Pakistan?

I still think that Bush is both 'stupid' and a 'liar'. Everything he's done in the last seven years has vindicated this view.

It is a view held by most rational people in the world, Eliot! 

It lies and can't stand up.

I was waiting for a new Iran thread before posting on the issue but as it has been raised here I have a few links (for now) for people to contemplate. Thanks Mark for your links. 

First, a reminder of the chief liar and idiot's (aka the Crawford Caligula) response. Being a pathological liar and a delusional sociopath means you never have to deal with reality.

The report has discomforted some, that is, among the main promoters of military action against Iran. These people have not been immune from questions about their mental state and followers of this issue will recognise the usual suspects:

This.

And this

Spinning madly.

For a more rational view, Gareth Porter  on DemocracyNow!

Comparing accounts, some are lying. Some have long records for lying, which shouldn't be a surprise to regular 'Diarists. You get to expect it.

Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

Richard: "Perhaps the governments of the world?  True, there are idiots and liars leading one or two, but surely not all."

I bet I can name at least ten 'idiots' and 'liars' of the last 100 years who had the last laugh.

  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Ronald Regan
  • Boris Yeltsin
  • Harry S Truman
  • Winston Churchill
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Eric Blair (George Orwell)
  • Harry Hopkins
  • George C Marshall
  • Theodor Herzl

How we going? Want another ten?

Last laugh can be rite

Theodore's last laugh was Catholic rites. Work it out.


Idiots? Or liars?

Richard says:  

"It appeared to me that the belief is that the abandoning of the nuclear weapons program was due to international pressure.

Was that pressure from the idiots? Or the liars?

Richard: Perhaps the governments of the world?  True,  there are idiots and liars leading one or two, but surely not all.

 

News for Bill

Bill Avent: "If the Kurds and the Iraqis are separate races, it is news to me. According to my understanding, both identify primarily as Semites; and both identify predominantly as Muslims."

Bill, who told you the Kurds are Semites?

So Iran was developing a bomb after all? Really?

PF Journey: "Yet, yesterday the US National Intelligence Council, comprised of 16 intelligence and security agencies, said: 'We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program'."

So Iran was developing a bomb after all? Despite all the denials from their apologists in the west?

Did they say why they stopped?

 Bill Avent: "If the Kurds and the Iraqis are separate races, it is news to me. According to my understanding, both identify primarily as Semites; and both identify predominantly as Muslims."

What about the Nazis, Bill? Were they racist?

Richard:  I read the report last night, and will put up a link when I get home.  On the scale provided "high confidence" is one below "almost certainty," which is as far as they go.  It appeared to me that the belief is that the abandoning of the nuclear weapons program was due to international pressure.

Rational Dialog

Mike Shuster on NPR this evening (via ABC NewsRadio) was arguing that Iran stopping its nuclear weapons program was a result of the dialog it commenced with EU nations in October 2003, and not of the rejection of dialog by the USA in May. Here's a timeline.

Here is the NIE report (134 KB PDF). It seems to me that Key Judgment A is consistent with Shuster's analysis. Succumbing to "international pressure" makes at least as much sense as a response to dialog as it does as a reaction to US intransigence.

I'd also like to draw attention to this point, from Key Judgment E:

Our assessment that Iran halted the program in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure indicates Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic, and military costs...
The combined minds of the US intelligence community have reached the conclusion that the Iranian regime is (or at least was, in late 2003) rational. This supports Shuster's argument. Perhaps the Iranians were prepared to respond positively to the prospect of a rational dialog.

Bombs

Thanks for the link Mike.  This reports has a very political smell to it.The August /Sep communication is no coincidence with the other three major events at that time methinks. Hardball from the Intel for once.

For the US Intelligence to come down so hard against what Bush and the Neocon think tanks have been saying ,that there IS no nuclear weapons program  and for Bush to have been caught out,again hio hum saying differently to what he knew the report said seems rather embarassing.then again such things as deceiving and lying to wage war are not a problem for Neocons nor their acolytes like Eliot.

Now I wonder just what that evidence was that there actually was a weapons program in 2003 (under Kitami notice) and shut down (?under Aminoman whatsi or before) after EU pressure????(or was it something about Libya or was it to do with the offer of Us-Iran Friendship treaty etc, all one package??).

Just shows all that anti Iran sabra rattling and sanctions has done nothing.

IF there was a weapons program it was shut down before all that.Usually such Aggression only increase desire for security and defence . Iran doesn't need nukes, no-one does if they are willing to use the other WMD which everyone forgets about and have the missiles to deliver it. Genetically modified Smallpox with the Aussi Mousepox breakthrough (you guys are just great aren't you?) making it "invincible" for one cycle is just as genocidal as a nuke and much shorter after use issue.As is the new super perfected Marburg virus. Mortality of Ebola but again only one or two cycles. Tested and true. Buy now. Sure the nukes are prestige and noisey but other toys for boys are available for the players who are there to "win".

 Note the report also mentions what I have been saying, the black market has nukes, Valerie Plame was investigating it. Who has them now? I wonder how reliable they are, knowing what the US has to do to keep their's stable. OOOPS there goes the garage in Uzbek.

So , I wonder what their source is for the "weapons program", and how do they know it was shut down? Basic questions after the Iraq fiasco adn with Neocons still high up in intel.

 I wonder what happened to that kidnapped Iranian colonel. Torture is so unreliable.

 On that happy note,

Cheers


Seaman's Union 'was directly obstructing the war effort'

John Pratt: "Eliot: you seem to be accusing wharfies of treason. Do you have any evidence?"

Okay. Well, there's this:

"In September 1943, after a succession of outrageous dockside incidents, MacArthur wrote to Curtin, Australia's Labor prime minister, asserting that the Seaman's Union 'was directly obstructing the war effort... Fifth column activities may be behind these occurences.' Following a mutiny on board an American cargo vessel, the union displayed solidarity by refusing to allow another crew to board the vessel until the mutineers were freed from confinement. Australian meatpackers haggled shamelessly about wage rates for producing rations for the US Army, and rejected streamlined working practices proposed by the Americans... Almost a million days' production was lost through strikes in 1942 and the fisrt half of 1943, many of those on docks and mines....By November 1943, no Japanese submarine had launched an attack in Australian waters for five months, yet Australian ships' crews refused to put to sea without a naval escort, and downed tools to enfore the point."

- Sir Max Hastings, Nemesis - The battle for Japan, 1944.1945, Harper Press 2007, London. pp 365-366.

What would you call it, John? Especially since Australian troops were fighting in New Guinea under MacArthur's overall command?

Keep in mind the Seaman's Union was a virtual Soviet front organisation which promptly changed its attitude to all this sort of thing the precise moment the Soviets entered the war with Japan in the days after Hiroshima.

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