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"They hate us for our values"

This is Bob Wall's first headline piece for Webdiary but for regular Webdiarists he requires no introduction. Bob regularly posts updates on events in the United States on Kerryn Higgs'  The irises and Patrick Fitzgerald. Variously Bob predicts an ignoble demise of the Bush government in the courts. Time will tell, but meanwhile he has provided us with an extraordinary collection of links and updates spanning three months of eventful time. Here he brings back to our attention one scandal which must never, ever be forgotten.

by Bob Wall

The name Abu Ghraib became notorious when photographs of abuse of Iraqi prisoners became public. That a prison notorious under the ousted regime should again be the scene of gross abuses of human rights under US control focuses attention on one of the standard rationales used by the administration to explain 9/11 - "They hate us for our values".

The administration was quick to punish a "few bad apples" and try to sweep the matter under the carpet. They succeeded to a large extent as the matter became largely a concern for antiwar critics but not of the more general public. It bubbled away beneath the surface until becoming a focus of attention again with the recent release of further photographs: here in Australia on SBS television, while the US, possibly in response to the renewed interest in the matter, has recently announced that it will close Abu Ghraib.

Events at Abu Ghraib should not be forgotten nor treated in isolation. Bagram, secret renditions and Guantanamo Bay are names and behaviours that require attention. They are not behaviours of governments that uphold the principles of democracy but rather those that demean and diminish democracy and do great discredit to those who perpetrate them. Then there is the blowback, not only in how Coalition troops might be treated if they were captured but in fomenting hatred of the West in those who perceive themslves as targets. This can be seen in attitudes to the US presence in Iraq.

Salon.com has now released The Abu Ghraib Files composed of 279 photos and 19 videos and and account of events and investigations of the events:

Although the world is now sadly familiar with images of naked, hooded prisoners in scenes of horrifying humiliation and abuse, this is the first time that the full dossier of the Army's own photographic evidence of the scandal has been made public. Most of the photos have already been seen, but the Army's own analysis of the story behind the photos has never been fully told. It is a shocking, night-by-night record of three months inside Abu Ghraib's notorious cell block 1A, and it tells the story, in more graphic detail than ever before, of the rampant abuse of prisoners there. The annotated archive also includes new details about the role of the CIA, military intelligence and the CID itself in abuse captured by cameras in the fall of 2003.

The Bush administration, which recently announced plans to shut the notorious prison and transfer detainees to other sites in Iraq, would like the world to believe that it has dealt with the abuse, and that it's time to move on. But questions about what took place there, and who was responsible, won't end with Abu Ghraib's closure.

In fact, after two years of relative silence, there's suddenly new interest in asking questions. A CID spokesman recently told Salon that the agency has reopened its investigation into Abu Ghraib "to pursue some additional information" after having called the case closed in October 2005. Just this week, one of two prison dog handlers accused of torturing detainees by threatening them with dogs went on trial in Fort Meade, Md. Lawyers for Army Sgt. Michael J. Smith argue that he was only implementing dog-use policies approved by his superiors, and Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the former commander of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony at Smith's trial.

There is much more and much more to it than a "few bad apples". What do you see when you confront these images and the processes that created the environment in which the abuses occurred? What sense, if any, does it make?

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Hezbollah don't discriminate. Any civilian will do.

Bob Wall: "I note that Christians of Lebanon areas are now being targeted by Israel - good to see they are not discriminating. Well, not in that way."

Well, would you prefer it if they discriminated like this instead?


Article 7:

" The time (16) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry:
0 Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad(17), which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim)(18)."

Or perhaps like this?

"In every Muslim country surveyed, overwhelming or near unanimous majorities expressed negative views toward Jews ."

And if it's any consolation, Bob, Hezbollah apparently don't discriminate either...

"The radio quoted medical sources as saying six people were killed in heavy shelling by Hezbollah against northern Israel earlier today.

It said a large number of salvos landed at the same time on several towns and Jewish settlements killing three Israelis. One of the rockets landed in another town killing three Arab-Israelis."

Fiona: So, C Parsons, what do you conclude from both sides’ apparent lack of discrimination?

Know thy enemy. Not.

G'day Phil Kendall, do I feel better? Hard to. But seeing people look behind the spin helps. Good to see Andrew O'Connell weighing in as well.

I note that Christians of Lebanon areas are now being targeted by Israel - good to see they are not discriminating. Well, not in that way. Indeed ways they seem to have engaged in a marked lack of discrimination.

But to Iraq and former ambassador confirms that Bush was lacking in awareness of difference between Sunnis and Shia until very late in the planning for the mass murders.

In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End,
Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims
that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi
society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam

A year after his “Axis of Evil” speech before the U.S. Congress,
President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became
postwar Iraq’s first representative to the United States. The three
described what they thought would be the political situation after the
fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President,
Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar
with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining
to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the
President allegedly responded, “I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!”

On the ball? On something.

You have probably seen reports about US senior brass talking about possible civil war and the comments of the former UK ambassador to Iraq.

Mission accomplished?

It is so bad even a senior Republic is calling for an end.

The United States needs to begin withdrawing troops
from Iraq within the next six months, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday,
rather than ratcheting up its military commitment now.

With Iraq
exploding in sectarian violence and “moving closer and closer to a
straight-out civil war,” Hagel said, the Bush administration’s decision
to transfer nearly 5,000 additional U.S. troops into Baghdad is “only
going to make it worse for us.”

In the end, he said, “feed(ing) more American troop fodder into the fight” could result in “even a worse defeat.”

are “going to have to step up” and assume responsibility for defense of
their country, Hagel told a telephone news conference from Washington.

said he believes increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq by extending
military tours while cycling in new troops is a mistake.

we need to start pulling people out of there,” said the Nebraska
Republican, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

With violence “out of control” and militias in charge, Hagel said, U.S. troops increasingly are “seen as occupiers.”

Increasingly seen?

So why did it happen? And why the support for Israel's latest crimes?

There is an alien influence, mostly unpublicized, running like an
undercurrent beneath the Bush administration's Middle East policies. It
may help explain George W. Bush's single-mindedness, his oblivious
inability to face reality as his war in Iraq, his war against terror
and his policies towards Arabs and Israeli have collapsed.

I say "alien," because I believe this to be the first time in modern
American history that a president's religion, in this case his
Christian fundamentalism, has become a decisive factor in his foreign
and domestic policies. It’s a factor that has been under-reported, to
say the least, and that begs for press attention.

Bush, who says he reads the Bible daily, acknowledges his fundamentalist beliefs. Biblical and Middle East scholar Karen Armstrong writes
in The Guardian, "Whatever Bush's personal beliefs, the ideology of the
Christian right is both familiar and congenial to him. This strange
amalgam of ideas can perhaps throw light on the behavior of a president
who, it is said, believes God chose him to lead the world toward
Rapture, who has little interest in social reform, and whose selective
concern for life issues has now inspired him to veto important
scientific research.

"It explains his unconditional support for Israel, his willingness
to use 'Jewish End-Time warriors' to fulfill a vision of his own,
arguably against Israel's best interest, and to see Syria and Iran...as
entirely responsible for the unfolding tragedy."

The matter has been discussed in some areas for a number of years, the degree of the influence is the question.

There are other influences.

By secretly providing NSA intelligence to Israel and undermining the
hapless Condi Rice, hardliners in the Bush administration are trying to
widen the Middle East conflict to Iran and Syria, not stop it.

Eternal war.

An update on the US legal situation.

Ten years ago, Representative Walter
Jones (R-NC) introduced The War Crimes Act of 1996. This statute
was one of many in the mid-1990s devoted to the principle of
extraterritoriality: the extension of U.S. laws to other countries.
When applied, such laws subject foreign nationals to prosecution
if they treat a U.S. citizen or U.S. property in a way that violates
U.S. laws.

Behind the spate of extraterritorial
laws was congressional frustration that the "world's only
remaining superpower" could not extend its writ around the
globe. Mayhem ranging from genocides and acts of terror to massacres
and sheer brutality against prisoners and non-combatants regularly
occurred in the era's many civil wars-with the perpetrators often
escaping accountability for their actions.

Back in 1996, few anticipated
that The War Crimes Act, which entered law as 18 USC Sec. 2441,
would have the potential to boomerang and hit the United States

It is a matter of there being people who are willing to test the laws - which might be more likely after November.

So we are witnessing suffering and growing threats caused by people who are deluded, criminal and incompetent. Strange, what I thought we needed was the exact opposite. And courage instead of fear.

Oh perhaps it is OK as long as some are making a motza. Yeah, sure.

Apologies to you Phil given the limitations you operate under - there are great videos here. Including Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Hillary Clinton beating on Rummy. The last does have a transcript, the joke in this last one is that Rummy is in high public office. Jon Stewart has the best line, if only because the President is not usually publicly described as Stewart describes Bush. Personally, I think the problem is not restricted to Bush.

Moral Chaos

G'day Phil Kendall, thanks for the post, helps relieve the gloom brought on by some of the other stuff being thrown around. I took the subject header for this from the Lew Rockwell piece, the moral chaos is not restricted to Iraq but can be seen on WD. Typified by the post that topped the list on the main page this morning. Oh to be greeted by a call for genocide! I refer, of course to Peter Pilot's post on the "Stones should shout" thread which is based on a plea to peace and PP's response is "nuke them now". And the references to Biblical prophecy - I was tempted to use "It was the best of times ... it was the End of Times" as a header. A factor not without influence in the party of the President.

Speaking of influences, Ray McGovern on who pulls the strings.

Honors for the leading role in the category of fiasco goes, ex aequo, to Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal," as described by Colin Powell's chief of staff at the State Department, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (USA, ret.). At an award ceremony, the cabal no doubt would offer copious thanks to key members of the cast - first and foremost, ideologues Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. The Oscar for best actress in a supporting role goes to Condoleezza Rice.

It was five and a half years ago that Rice was formally initiated into the neo-conservative brotherhood as an auxiliary. Her most important service was greasing the skids for the brothers to try to shoehorn into reality their ambitious but naive dreams of using war to ensure total US/Israeli domination of the Middle East. At the new administration's first National Security Council meeting on January 30, 2001, then-national security adviser Rice stage-managed formal approval of two profound changes in decades-long US policy toward Israel-Palestine and Iraq. Thanks to Paul O'Neill, confirmed as treasury secretary just hours before the NSC meeting, we have a first-hand account.

The neo-cons had already gotten to the new president, for he began with the abrupt announcement that he was ditching the policy of past presidents who tried to honestly broker an end to the violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Rather, the president said the US would now tilt sharply toward Israel. Most importantly, Bush made it clear that he would let then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon resolve the conflict as he saw fit. The US would no longer "interfere."

There are some psychologists active here (in one case the adage "physician heal thyself" comes to mind) so here is an article about psychologists and Gitmo.

A job well done. Top honours for implementing torture.

More confirmation of theallegations over Haditha. More moral chaos.

And more.

Back in DC, it seems it is far harder to find the truth than it is to kill people.

And there is money to be made.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

- Dwight D Eisenhower

Only the dead, said Plato, have seen the end of war. As true as this may be, it does beg the question: why? Why is there so much conflict in the world? Why are there so many wars? Ethnic and religious tensions have been casus belli since time out of mind, to be sure. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War ruptured a framework that held for almost fifty years, bringing about a series of conflicts that are understandable in hindsight.

There is a simpler answer, however, one that lands right in our back yard here in America. Why so much war? Because war is a profitable enterprise. George W. Bush and his people can hold forth about the wonders of democracy and peace, and can condemn worldwide violence in solemn tones. Until the United States stops being the world's largest arms dealer, these words from our government absolutely reek of hypocrisy.

Mr. Bush and his people did not invent this phenomenon, of course. The United States has been selling hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons to the world for decades. In the aftermath of September 11, however, American arms dealing kicked into an even higher gear. The Bush administration, in 2003, delivered arms to 18 of 25 nations now engaged in active conflicts. 13 of those nations have been defined as "undemocratic" by the State Department, but still received $2.7 billion in American weaponry.

Oh dear, does one sense a little hypocrisy?

Speaking of hypocrisy, I saw an article yesterday (can't find it at the moment, sorry) which had Tony Blair enjoining Iran and Syria to join the international community and play by the rules. A jaw dropper! The worry is that some people won't see the hypocrisy in that statement.

Pity you cannot readily avail yourself of the videos I link. That interview was a rare example of someone really asking questions. I recall the interviewer from Oz tv. ABC? And the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pieces are fine examples of the power of humour. And help cheer one up. Thanks for the Tom Lehrer.

As to NO WAR! As I said elsewhere, we have been doing it so long it seems we have difficulty finding another way. But we have to lest ...

Oh, what was that about interest rates?

hauling coal to - err, well, where the resource-rent tax is 100%

PS to 'which part of 'murder for oil' did you not understand?_1335

The article 'misplaced at the moment' is, of course, Brian Bogart's "Sins of Statecraft: The War on Terror Exposed". Silly me; but it's huge, and I've not finished it, even yet. From about half-way:

During the Cold War with Russia, US weapons production was dispersed among the 50 states to motivate representatives to continually approve weapons programs for the sake of jobs in their respective states, however wasteful these weapons were for the taxpayer, however destructive they were to social progress. But from the 1990s outsourcing, I found more than 300,000 companies on the Pentagon payroll, including Campbell’s Soup, Avon Cosmetics, Bumble Bee Seafood, and Hallmark Cards. I also found more than 350 universities among these companies. San Diego city proper has 3,600 DOD-dependent companies, including 12 colleges.[lxv] In my town, Eugene, Oregon, there are 56 companies on the Pentagon payroll, including my school, University of Oregon. In Lowell, Oregon, with a population of 750 people, ten companies work for the Pentagon, and whether they make shovels, ladders, or gun barrels, that small town pulls in $1.5 million a year, making it a junior partner in the structure of dependence on militarism, not to mention less likely to question the aggressive actions of its government.[lxvi] Moreover, many board members of the largest consumer product firms also sit on the boards of the largest media and defense corporations.[lxvii]

[ICH/Brian Bogart]

Read it and weep.

Which part of 'murder for oil' did you not understand?

Subtitle: Money, money, money; all you ever talk about is money!

G'day Bob Wall, and the title/subtitle pair is not aimed at you, but at the rotten, corrupt US (and UK, Aus = largely Anglo) inspired system. Of course, even if they didn't want to, all other 'players' have to adopt the same s**tty, corrupt model. Ouch!

I'm supposing you noticed that the 'The Oil We Eat' via Andrew O’Connell quote of Kennan is actually a quote-from-within-a-quote, and that the main article has deep ramifications of a different sort, namely food/energy, with a 'twist'.

Here's the 'lede', again with another quote-from-within-a-quote:

The secret of great wealth with no obvious source is some forgotten crime, forgotten because it was done neatly. – Balzac

The journalist’s rule says: follow the money. This rule, however, is not really axiomatic but derivative, in that money, as even our vice president will tell you, is really a way of tracking energy. We’ll follow the energy.

[The Oil We Eat]

Interested people (that should be everyone - at last count, we all gotta eat - even sheople ort'a read right through the article: all we eat comes from the Sun via plants, either directly now or, say, from multi-mio years ago, stored until now as oil. The figures given for energy (mis!)use growing a lot'a our food are severely eye-popping, as is the degradation of the land. Not only time but oil is money and you're right, Bob; we're running out - of both oil and time.

There's also a possible answer to "Why is there so much conflict in the world?" - following on from the 'Kennan' quote:

...the maintenance of such a concentration of wealth often requires violent action. Agriculture is a recent human experiment. For most of human history, we lived by gathering or killing a broad variety of nature’s offerings. Why humans might have traded this approach for the complexities of agriculture is an interesting and long-debated question, especially because the skeletal evidence clearly indicates that early farmers were more poorly nourished, more disease-ridden and deformed, than their hunter-gatherer contemporaries. Farming did not improve most lives. The evidence that best points to the answer, I think, lies in the difference between early agricultural villages and their pre-agricultural counterparts - the presence not just of grain but of granaries and, more tellingly, of just a few houses significantly larger and more ornate than all the others attached to those granaries. Agriculture was not so much about food as it was about the accumulation of wealth. It benefited some humans, and those people have been in charge ever since.


It's only a wee, short step from being 'boss-cocky' to money-grubbing tyrant, seems to me (and I have neoCon cabals in mind as this model). And once they've got their sticky fingers on the filthy lucre, one needs more than just a DU-tipped crowbar to lever 'em loose. (Try a gun? Ooops - Howard bought 'em all back. 'Scuse my pacifism?)


I mentioned oil (Haw! - As if it were seldom) in 'lip-music..._1549', research today turned up this 'The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power', a tiny snip: "Everette Lee DeGolyer’s late 1943 mission to Saudi Arabia concludes: “The oil in this region is the greatest single prize in all history” (words of someone named Leavall)"

Noting that pre-illegal-invasion, Murdoch promised us sub-$30 oil, d'y'reckon he a) lied or b) was duped, by the neoCon siren-song of turkey-shooting cake-walks and democrazy® rose-petals, say?

Now, to green-back type dough: we know that the US is running massive twin deficits (but our foreign debt [is] ... in proportion to the economy, almost twice as big as the US, see Kenneth Davidson today). The US just 'loves' to print the stuff, for one thing (note to any pro-status-quo-econo-thug-apologists, 'printing' is a metaphor for pushing the magic electronic money-conjurer-from-nothing button.) This is partly a con-man type racket; all countries who need oil (show me one that doesn't) have to (it's a made-in-the-USA must!) buy oil with $US. To get $US, they have to dig-up or make something to sell to the US; they then burn the oil and have to start all over again. Neat, eh? The other part of the racket is not so good; the deficit is 'bought' as debt by foreign creditors, and interest has to be paid. That's our situation, without the print/oil-$-con. There's another 'downside' to external deficits; the in-surplus creditors can come back and purchase our assets - which they do. Arrrgh! The fact that the Howard govt is so-called debt-free is incidental to this story except that they got that way (debt-free) by a) taxing us and b) flogging off the 'family silver'.

Getting back to the US, there're more rip-offs (see Perkins' "Economic Hit Man", my resource-rent (note Balzac above) etc), and it's gunna be difficult if not impossible to ever 'reform' their piggish military spending; they spread it all around and it's bi-partisan (article misplaced at the moment). Failing some sort'a 'big crunch', they are addicted to both war and calories, going obscenely obese on both (needing über-gross SUVs to haul their lard-asses around); and no possible end in sight. Then, there's the eff-ed up democracies, an' the greenhouse...

Are you feeling any better yet?

social justice vs. ulterior motives

G'day Bob Wall, and thanks for the links. I don't usually 'do' video (multiple users and a download 'cap'; we routinely browse with 'show pictures' off) but from what I could see of the video before my router crashed (2 mins out'a 4), was that they were probably working up to Hezbollah crossing into Israel; and yes, the irony of that is cruel.


Subtitle: migration; immoral?

From 'Bringing up Baby'[1]: a) "It's mine; give it back!" b) "I told you two not to fight!"

From 'Black and White'[2]: a) "What are ya - stupid?" b) "Lying, cheating, stealing and killing (aka murder) are *WRONG*."


At the risk of being boringly repetitive (whadda 'bout me? I gotta write this stuff!) - but essential for 'completeness', this:

The chezPhil morality is entirely based on "Do unto others..."

One only has to ask: would *you* wish to be lied to, cheated, stolen from or murdered? Then for 'you' substitute 'yours', 'a neighbour', 'some person far away'?

Then, the chezPhil principle of proportionality is based on the mathematical idea of induction (if for the first; if for one and so the next, then so for the entire multitude); acceptable morality 'scales' from individuals to nations and thus to the world.

And to tie this off quite neatly, the chezPhil morality folds into the great Aussie "Fair go, ya mug!"


Let's consider migration, and using my binary-splits:

1. There's those who wanna come with money, and those without.

2. There's those who wanna earn some money, and those who don't.

3. There's those who wanna come with an invitation, and those without.

4. There's those who wanna pay their way, and those who don't.

I leave it to the reader as to what one might think of the various groupings of the above, with three exceptions: a) immigrants in general may not be welcomed with open arms (notably by any 'natives' who fear that they may lose something to the newcomers), b) any arriving without an invitation may be Tampa'd with and c) Q: what exactly, of those who don't wanna pay? A: they would need some 'special' power, say military. Ooops! Say 'hello' to the IDF.


I gave this over on WD_1493, as a 'parting shot' analysis: "the reason that the Israel vs. Palestine utter disaster is neither amenable to logical analysis nor reasoned argument is, TA RA! - Because Israel acts like a (wilful! spoiled-brat! retarded!) child. Some might say acts like = is like = is; no argument from me. Also, no peanut-gallery tut-tutting; retarded = retarded and it's gotta be said and with no disrespect: one can't ignore facts, Oh no - not in here. (Aside on 'free speech'. If I want to use 'retard' I assume the right to do so, without having to respect in any way the personal feelings - or circumstances(?!) - either of any 'in here' or 'out there'.) The 2nd part of this analysis Ah, ha! is that the US acts like (= is like = is) the filthy-rich indulgent and pig-higorant(!) parent."

To both 'wilful, spoiled-brat & retarded child' and 'filthy-rich indulgent and pig-higorant parent' I would like to add 'lying, cheating, murderous thieves'. Note: IMHO, no further facts are required to support this murderous conclusion; it is made as a statement of fact.


Now, a few (hardly gratuitous!) qualifiers:

 · barefaced, pathological liar

 · sneaky, rotten cheat

 · nefarious robbery

 · psychotic killer

pathological adj. 1 of pathology. 2 of or caused by physical or mental disorder [POD]

psychotic —adj. of or suffering from a psychosis. —n. psychotic person. [ibid.]

psychosis n. (pl. -choses) severe mental disorder with loss of contact with reality. [Greek: related to *psyche] [ibid.]


Further from 'Bringing up Baby': "A fair exchange is no robbery."


1. That migration may injure some (property) rights of the target population,

2. That some unemployed persons expect some support, although they do not share possession (? - 'economic majority stake in the assets') and

3. The continued intransigence of blaming an entire local population for the criminal actions of their so-called, some-time 'leaders'.


1. "...it ignores the rights of the common property owners or in other words the citizens of the modern nation state. Today this is most commonly done by transferring the costs of newly arrived immigrants to the native society at large – ie by ignoring the central tenet of libertarianism of private property rights."
[Rob Wearne]

2. "What is unfortunate is that democratic government is typically a poor proxy for fractional ownership (democratic capitalism) in that the opinions and prejudices of those that believe someone else owes them a living can dictate outcomes without having an economic majority stake in the assets."

3. "...can you tell me why, as a matter of principle, there is any difference between German occupation and colonisation and Israeli occupation and colonisation?"
[Roslyn Ross]

Penultimate quote (for here):

“We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population,” Kennan wrote. “In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.” “The day is not far off,” Kennan concluded, “when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.”

['The Oil We Eat' via Andrew OConnell]

Last quote (for here): "Unfortunately (in my view anyway), JH is our Prime Minister, through the political processes available to Australians." [Hamish]

Comment on the last: Yea, and verily. But: respect must be earned. I think it's bad form (and not just 'just'), to allow any single lie, let alone the veritable flood of whoppers - more than a few of which can IMHO rightly be considered criminally murderous. (Still need an example?: "human shredding machine".)

Comment on immigrants: if we have fair systems in place, and a valid system for expressing our choices, we (as opposed to some power they group) could decide who comes here and when. The problem is that mighty big 'IF'.

Comment on unemployed: if we have some why, and what then? The 'dole-bludger' concept exists; we could choose to execute them (yeah. A bit extreme; but just testing to see how awake you are); we could put them to work, educate them into a saleable skill or let them go obese watching TV. See the mighty big 'IF' above.

Comment on responsibility, the mighty big 'IF': if we have representation without responsibility (we do, cf. the whole Iraq imbroglio), we the people cannot be held 'responsible' for the sins of our so-called 'leaders'. Similarly for us, so for the ex-axis populations then, and totally not for any coming after. Our greatest responsibility and simultaneously our greatest need is to establish a true democracy where we can take effective control and therefore responsibility for what our nation does.


The frame-work having been established, to a specific case: Israel/Palestine. A group of people, perhaps predominantly UK, and or US, some or all Anglos, with or without the UN - in any case a group external to Palestine extended an 'invitation', shall we say, to another external group to move to and take possession of the piece of Palestine destined to be called Israel (aka the 'Partition of Palestine', 1947). Up until the 1946 Irgun Tsvai-Leumi bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Palestine land had been bought and sold 'relatively' legally (one could contest any UK right to trade in what was never 'theirs' in the first place); after the bombing "The Zionist leadership decided to begin an illegal immigration (haa'pala) using small boats operating in secrecy." Then came the UN: "The Partition Plan was rejected entirely by the Palestinians..."

Since its very beginning, Israel has been almost continually occupied in fighting wars and taking other people's lands. Did not any better way ever occur to the idealistic Zionist pioneers? But while you and I get depressed by the horror and suffering, the neo-conservatives revel in it. They devour the flesh and drink the blood of the people of Afghanistan, of Iraq, of Palestine, of Lebanon, yet remain ravenous, and now call for Iran and Syria to be placed upon the feasting table. More than one of them has used the expression oderint dum metuant, a favorite phrase of Roman emperor Caligula, also used by Cicero -- "let them hate so long as they fear".

[ICH/Blum via Bob Wall]


IMHO, as with my murderous conclusion above; it is a matter of fact that the US and Israel are engaged in crimes against humanity, specifically by arrogating to themselves resources (minerals, land, wealth), not by fair means but foul, and murderously foul at that. To these crimes they bring lies and all the rest of it; not only are we the people being ripped-off, we are being filthily propagandised - and driven to the brink of the greenhouse climate-catastrophe cliff.

Both the US and Israel seek to dominate by force. That they need to do so is because without that force, their 'objectives' would not, could not be met. Q: Why? A: Silly question - their 'objectives' are neither honourable nor (sadly) sustainable. In service of their dishonourable objectives they employ all sorts of dishonesty; lies, cheating, theft and murder.

The world should never have let the US and later Israel begin down their separate but mingled illegal and destructive paths; the only reason we can imagine is that in the turmoil following WW2 the US had already put its 'stamp' on that future world with their aggressive and murderous A-bombing: having done it the twice(!) they'd do it again to any and all.

It didn't 'never matter'. Some highlights in my own lifetime have been the cold-war in general (with its implied nuking threat to us all); specifically (of numerous others, see Blum's "Killing Hope") Vietnam, Kuwait, former-Yugoslavia, Iraq and the continuous scab-on-the Earth which is Israel/Palestine.

The only viable (sustainable, moral!) way out would be a) stop the lies, cheating, thieving and murdering, b) build a fair world for all together. Properly shared (and reducing world pop.) there'd be enough for all; guns to ploughshares and c) NO WAR!


The 'last word' is four; you may choose:

1. Tom Lehrer: Selling out.

2. George Bernard Shaw: "We've already established what you are, ma'am. Now we're just haggling over the price."

3. Madeleine Albright: "We think the price is worth it."

4. [Me]: "Fair go, ya mug!"



[1] & [2] so far non-existent but needed books. 'Bringing up Baby' would contain all known to work 'recipes' for child rearing; 'Black and White' would contain only *moral* laws including justice for all but dispensing forever with all manner of unnecessary legal 'bumpf' and any/all 'law as ass' constructs.

The Devil's Teacher.

G'day Phil Kendall, here is an interesting analysis by Lew Rockwell on why Iraq has descended in chaos ands violence post being "liberated" by the COW.

Washington, DC, in the 1980s was called the "murder capital of the world," but that designation now belongs to Baghdad, where the number of people killed since the end of the war is approaching 42,000. The US had hoped to reduce the numbers of troops in the capital, but the incredible violence of the city has instead prompted the usual response in the age of Bush: more troops, more rules, and more martial law – and there isn't a person not on the payroll of the occupation willing to predict that this will settle folks down.

Much is due to wanton immorality by the occupying power, and due to what the media like to call "sectarian violence," that is Sunni vs. Shiite (neither of which wants to be ruled by the other). There is also what the media call "insurgent" violence, which is directed against the ruling party, its bureaucrat minions, and its muscle provided by the occupying troops. But in reality, these cannot be so sharply distinguished, since the sectarian violence is fuelled by the attempt to create a one-party state.

And yet so much of the violence in Iraq is unrelated to either politics or the occupation. It grows out of the moral chaos of Iraq today, the cause of which merits some closer investigation.

Back in DC Congress demands documents that might provide evidence of further US crimes.;

Congress has demanded that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hand over a raft of documents to Congress that could substantiate allegations that U.S. forces have tried to break terror suspects by kidnapping and mistreating their family members. Rumsfeld has until 5 p.m. Friday to comply.

It now appears that kidnapping, scarcely covered by the media, and absent in the major military investigations of detainee abuse, may have been systematically employed by U.S. troops. Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects’ families. After he was thrown in prison, Cpl. Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader at Abu Ghraib, told investigators the military routinely kidnapped family members to force suspects to turn themselves in.

A House subcommittee led by Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays took the unusual step last month of issuing Rumsfeld a subpoena for the documents after months of stonewalling by the Pentagon. Shays had requested the documents in a March 7 letter. "There was no response" to the letter, a frustrated Shays told Salon. "We are not going to back off this."

The subpoena demands that the Pentagon turn over documents about apparent retribution by the military against Army Spc. Samuel Provance, a whistle-blower, who sought to expose abuse at the infamous prison by talking to military investigators and the press. Following his revelations, the Army demoted Provance from sergeant and revoked his security clearance.

The subpoena also includes a separate demand, at the behest of Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., for any documents that might show that U.S. forces were systematically detaining family members of suspects at Abu Ghraib, and mistreating them to force suspects to talk.

All the cynicism, hypocrisy, brutality. What can be done about Iraq? Stephen Colbert has an idea.

Humour is a good remedy. However, I don't think the interviewee in this piece meant to be funny. I post this video here because I won't go there. But note near the end the line "two and a half weeks ago they crossed an internationally recognised border". You, Phil will understand the irony of that when you hear it - others might not.

It all sounds terribly familiar - standard scripted stuff. And not lacking in a large amount of bovine waste product.

Oh, Iraq, off the front pages now.

Phil, you've seen my attitude to going to you know where, it's like a permanent full moon is ascendant and out come ... No reflection on the unnamed person you referred to - there is value there.

On the matter of forgiveness I remember an interview with "Weary" Dunlop and his being asked if he had hated the Japanese whilst a POW - when he answered yes he was then asked what changed. His reply (as best as I can recall all these years later) was that he saw Japanese troops returning from their failed attacked in Burma and the pitiful state they were in. All the hatred drained out of him as he saw that they were treated as badly as the POWs. The humanitarian in him he said - being a medical man. So we can all be victims of a culture, society or system. Perhaps many of us can be perpetrators under the conditioning. We have extremes within us.

Sometimes I think this whole world is one big prison yard

Some of us are prisoners, some of us are guards.

Bottom line is that lest we change the future looks bleak.

On bad behaviour - confession from a US soldier

On the state of "play" in Iraq

Robert Dreyfuss on Iraq

The address by Iraq’s puppet prime minister, Nuri
al-Maliki, to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday was a surreal
and other-worldly exercise in the make-believe.

As civil war rages in Iraq, swamping even its capital in an orgy of
violence, Maliki strolled into the House chamber, led by an “escort
committee” of House and Senate members that resembled pall-bearers more
than an honor guard. As they waited for Maliki to enter the room, the
assembled dignitaries seemed shrouded in a funereal silence. House
Speaker J. Dennis Hastert clumsily mispronounced his name, introducing
Maliki as “Malocky.” But when he finally started to speak, it was

For members in the hall, the elephant in the room was Iraq’s civil
war and the fact that 127,000 U.S. troops are caught in the middle of
it. In fact, that civil war threatens to unleash a political civil war
at home, as Americans increasingly fail to see a light at the end of
the dark Iraqi tunnel. More and more, Democrats (with crucial
exceptions) are starting to speak out, demanding answers from the Bush
administration. So far, there are none forthcoming.

And on the ground - "What are we doing here?" 

Oil is over $75 now.

That is by Greg Palast. 

On the violence in the region, once upon a time things were done differently. 

But the greatest, and most dispiriting, difference between then and
now lies in the reaction to war itself. In his address to the nation
immediately after the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt,
Eisenhower - who, after all, had come to fame and position through
war - utterly condemned the resort to violence. "In all the recent
troubles in the Middle East," he said. "there have indeed been
injustices suffered by all nations involved. But I do not believe
that another instrument of injustice, war, is the remedy for these

Richard Nixon later purportedly said that Eisenhower lived to regret
condemning the allied invasion, but there is absolutely no evidence
for this other than Nixon's word, and even this is dubious. Indeed,
Eisenhower in his valedictory address on leaving office in 1961,
warning of the power of the "military-industrial complex", re-emphasised
his view with even greater vigour.

Now it seems to be taken for granted that war, the most terrible act
that man can inflict on this planet, is the first recourse rather
than the last, as if there was no alternative.

Now we do not get a say or even the truth. Time indeed to clean house.





Stretching the friendship

(G'day Bob, and apologies if desired; I won't post to 1493. I have said over there, that the Israeli-problem is not amenable to logic or reason. Nevertheless... this once more only, for a specific cause.)

There I was, thinking I was over the worst of my 'allergy'. Then this:

Now. You wouldn't have any reservations about the Israelis would you? Only Israel itself? Well to me a Nation is its people. Check out your feelings toward the Israelis right now, because you seem pretty fired up about them, along with a few others here.
But hop over to Israel for a week, it might help you have more empathy for them, and then you might be able to help people like future [redacted] understand why they supported a war in which Lebanese civilians were getting killed.
But back to the Reservation. The Japanese and the Germans wrote their own story on history's page. And it was some page. Quite takes some beating actually, Hiroshima and Dresden notwithstanding.

[no name on purpose]

Home being where the heart is, we'll start here. In the run-up to "Shock and Awe", lots'n lots'a good people in this country said, cried, shrieked, pleaded - begged: "No war!" Whispered it: "no war." SHOUTED IT: "NO WAR!"

The next 'bringing up baby' phrase: 'They didn't listen'.

We, the anti-wars, were spurned, called 'a mob' for our troubles.

"I'll answer to the ballot-box." might'a been said literally, only in so many words, or even not at all - do your own research.

lie2 —n. 1 intentionally false statement (tell a lie). 2 something that deceives. —v. (lies, lied, lying) 1 tell a lie or lies. 2 (of a thing) be deceptive.  give the lie to show the falsity of (a supposition etc.). [Old English] [POD]

But there was no chance at the ballot-box, each of B, B & H avoided the issue, à la Rove. (Machiavelli[1] has been shaded - a toadal eclipse.)

One tiny problem we have, is that the opposition parties don't - can't - oppose, because they've been captured (surrendered!) to, for lack of better, 'the big end of town'. Perfectly illustrated here by M. Latham's shameful first press conference before a US flag. Sooo, forget the ballot-box. The only way to dump the Lib/Lab ugly-twin horribles is for the sheople to put *both* last (in whatever preferred order, natch) and get a parliament composed *only* of independents. That's the only thing that *could* work - but the sheople doze on, TV's blaring raucus ads.

Long electoral story short: We didn't get a vote on it, neither before, during or after. Basta!

Now, "it might help you have more empathy for them, and then you might be able to help people like future [redacted] understand why they supported a war in which [innocent] civilians were getting killed."

A word comes to mind, that *you* (a certain person, not you dear reader) say you're not, and I say that's just pitiful lip-music.

But I'm bigger than that, so let it 'slide,' then lie there like a bit'a terrier-vomit. Ooops! See? Emotion 'grabbed' me. Must'a been from listening to "Les Trois Cloches" a tiny, short while ago (actually, before lunch). (Spooky. Stolen into English; it'll come to me... got it, not from my memory (becoming a hole), but the net. Words Here.)   Before we leave this bit: you just can't have it both ways, i.e. sympathy for Israelis, antipathy for the ex-Axis, all the while being a part of the Anglo-axis (themselves - ourselves, murdering in the ME) yourself. A bit'a (decent!) consistency might be more appropriate. Hmmm?


Rush to conclusion: We, the people, have no say. B, B & H a) set out to murder, b) performed their mass-murder for oil and c) continue to murder, all in our name. (Now the Israelis are at their neighbours - again, now 60+ years more or less continuously.) We, the people (US, UK & Aus) are in pretty-much the same position as the Germans, the Japanese and the Israelis (although I know which one I'd pick as the most extreme - different to you (of course!) but still only in degree.)

Basically, It's "Love one, love 'em all" - or opposite; best would be to apply the same standard to everyone, both the ruled *and* the rulers and that of all countries, and 'get real' about 'justice'. Otherwise, we're all goin' down the gurgler, for the sake of a tiny utterly, murderously criminal few.

Its Time! - To pull the plug on murderous leaders everywhere.



[1] Machiavelli, Niccolò di Bernardo dei
(1469–1527) Italian statesman and political philosopher. After holding high office in Florence he was exiled by the Medicis on suspicion of conspiracy, but was subsequently restored to some degree of favour. His best-known work is The Prince (1532), a treatise on statecraft advising rulers that the acquisition and effective use of power may necessitate unethical methods that are not in themselves desirable. He is thus often regarded as the originator of a political pragmatism in which `the end justifies the means'. [Oxford Pop-up]

Oh dear, what if peace breaks out?

Bob Wall: "On Iraq - why not call it a civil war? Some think that it is."

What was it when the Ba'ath Socialists were slaughtering Kurds and Shi'ites, then, I wonder?


"THE aim of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to bridge the widening divisions among Iraq's religious, ethnic and political factions has taken its first concrete step forward.
high-level reconciliation panel held its first meeting on Saturday, its members voicing optimism about the task, while offering fresh evidence of how difficult it could prove."

That could be the ultimate nightmare of the "resistance", hey Bob?

A Cabinet filled with terrorists

Bob Wall: "As to Israeli pms having formerly been terrorists, I saw a tv program once which had the count at four."

As opposed to the entire cabinet of the Palestinian Authority, I suppose, in which all are members of Hamas, a terrorist organisation.

Just an amusing aside, a young Lebanese Australian woman evacuee was being interviewed on the Seven Network morning news programme.

She said her experiences have changed her for life and views forever, and mentioned specifically her altered view of the media and of humanitarian work.

Pressed to elaborate about how her experience changed her opinion of the media, she said that where she was in Lebanon, there were five television stations operating, four in Arabic and one English.

"They all contradicted each other about what was going on," she said.

She mentioned that because she could speak English, she was translating what was being broadcast over the English language station for her family.

She explained that that was fortunate, because the English language network correctly reported the impending Israeli advance into her part of Lebanon whereas the Arabic stations were saying the opposite.

Despite their reluctance, as they quite understandably preferred to believe what was coming over the Arabic language media, she was able to convince her familiy to evacuate to a safer area, and it was also from there that she was able to return to Australia.

The English language network was CNN.

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

G'day Phil, I thought it quite appropriate for you to remind everyone of the long history the current events arose from. The point about the bs that occurs is that people engage in tit-for-tat exchanges of claims of guilt and denial of their own side's sins. There have been plenty of sins (a term used for convenience and not implying the existence of a God or Gods) over a lot of years. The reaction to your posting of that anniversary story was typical. As to Israeli pms having formerly been terrorists, I saw a tv program once which had the count at four.

The 60 years also marks the period in which violence has been consistently used and to what end? We still see violence being used. We read articles that state that Israel is endangering itself, the US is discrediting itself and the destabilisation and turmoil in the region is spreading.  The so-called "war on terror" seems to be being lost.  All this fiddling whilst Rome burns.  Perhaps not so much rearranging  the deck chairs as people hitting each other over the head with them while some wonder whether the waters are rising or the ship is sinking.

Same result in the end.

Is avoiding it a dream? Beyond us?

Back to the reporting.

On Iraq - why not call it a civil war? Some think that it is.

Robert Dreyfuss.

Iraq is engaged in a full-fledged civil war. For
those remaining defenders of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, who argue
that the United States needs to stay put in order to prevent civil war,
it’s too late. It’s here, in all of its brutality and ugliness.

The violence is not only engulfing Baghdad—home to approximately
one-fifth of Iraq’s population—but Basra, Iraq’s second city and its
only port.  In the north, there is violence in Kirkuk, in what has
been, until now, the relatively unscathed heartland of the Shiite
south, as well.

What is unfolding in Iraq is a staggering tragedy. An entire nation
is dying, right in front of us. And the worst part of it is: It may be
too late to do anything to stop it.

From the Op-Ed pages of the NYTimes.

Civil wars are defined as armed conflicts between the government of a
sovereign state and domestic political groups mounting effective
resistance in relatively continuous fighting that causes high numbers
of deaths. This broad definition does not always distinguish civil wars
from other forms of political violence, so we often use somewhat
arbitrary criteria, like different thresholds of annual deaths, to sort
out cases. Depending on the criteria used, there have been about 100 to
150 civil wars since 1945. Iraq is clearly one of them.

From Iraq

Bombs killed two worshippers at mosques in Iraq during Friday
prayers and the authorities extended a daytime curfew on Baghdad after
one of the bloodiest weeks this year.

On the eve of a
high-profile meeting intended to demonstrate reconciliation among
sectarian and ethnic factions ahead of a White House visit by the prime
minister, senior leaders admitted to despair about the chances of
averting all-out civil war.

"Iraq as a political project is
finished," a top government official told Reuters -- anonymously
because the coalition of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains
committed in public to a U.S.-sponsored constitution preserving Iraq's

"The parties have moved to Plan B," the official said, saying
Sunni, ethnic Kurdish and majority Shi'ite blocs were looking at ways
to divide power and resources and to solve the conundrum of Baghdad's
mixed population of seven million.

"There is serious talk of
Baghdad being divided into east and west," said the official, who has
long been a proponent of the present government's objectives. "We are
extremely worried."

Now some views on US forpol.

Maureen Dowd. 

As USA Today noted about summer movies, the hot trend in heroines "is
not the damsel in distress. It's the damsel who causes distress."

Uma, Oprah. Oprah, Condi.

The more W. and his tough, by-any-means-necessary superbabe have tried
to tame the Middle East, the more inflamed the Middle East has become.
Now the secretary of state is leaving, reluctantly and belatedly, to
do some shuttle diplomacy that entails little diplomacy and no shuttling.
It's more like air-guitar diplomacy.

Condi doesn't want to talk to Hezbollah or its sponsors, Syria and
Iran — "Syria knows what it needs to do," she says with asperity
— and she doesn't want a cease-fire. She wants "a sustainable cease-fire,"
which means she wants to give the Israelis more time to decimate Hezbollah
bunkers with the precision-guided bombs that the Bush administration
is racing to deliver.

"I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling,
and it wouldn't have been clear what I was shuttling to do," she said.

Keep more civilians from being killed? Or at least keep America from
being even more despised in the Middle East and around the globe?

That last bit doesn't seem to be part of the plan.

Robert Kuttner

latest violence in the Middle East demonstrates the bankruptcy of the
Bush administration's grand design for the region. The Iraq war was
going to display American power, promote democracy, strengthen
moderates, and secure Israel. Instead, the quagmire has demonstrated
the humiliating limits of US military power, fomented anarchy,
recruited Islamist extremists, and strengthened a more radicalized

moderates have been marginalized, leaving nobody for Israeli moderates
to negotiate with. Hamas and Hezbollah have more support among Arabs
than ever. Israel finds itself more vulnerable militarily, prone to
excess, and dangerously isolated from world opinion. As for democracy,
our few allies in the region are dictators and kings. Democratic
Lebanon is a shambles. The democratically elected government in Iraq
has just denounced Israel, and a democratic Palestinian election
empowered Hamas.

said you couldn't negotiate with bad guys. In Iraq, where Saddam turned
out to be telling the truth about nuclear weapons and Bush turned out
to be lying, diplomacy was forsaken for war. Syria, which gave the US
genuine intelligence help after 9/11, was deemed a nation not worth
diplomatic engagement. As former National Security Council official
Flynt Leverett documented, an overture by the then-moderate Iranian
government in 2002 was blown off by the United States.

insisted that we go it alone. Now, having rejected diplomacy, an
isolated Bush administration is more dependent than ever on the
European Union, the Russians, and the UN. In Bush's four minutes of
open-mike fame at the G-8 summit, he plaintively told Britain's Tony
Blair, "I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to
[Syrian President] Assad and make something happen."

Anatol Lieven

Rearranging the deckchairs? More like drilling holes below the waterline.

I just noticed on another thread what might be the best post Syd Drate has ever submitted. The last line encapsulates it succinctly:

For goodness sake, somebody has to do something!

Exactly, Syd, and something a lot different to what has been done so far for so long. 

On an entirely different area of forpol stupidity and an item which Richard might appreciate, Putin put off by Yank behaviour and might send his business elsewhere.

President Vladimir Putin is set to keep US oil companies out of a
lucrative gas field in the latest sign of the deteriorating
relationship between Moscow and Washington.

The Russian leader is
expected to favour Norwegian companies and reject bids by America's
Chevron and ConocoPhillips after failing to secure backing from the
United States for his country's attempt to join the World Trade

The tit-for-tat snub will be a blow to US companies
scrambling for access to Russia's huge gas reserves at a time of high
energy prices. It comes after Putin failed to resolve differences with
US President George Bush over trade and human rights at the G8
conference in St Petersburg last week.

Now that will probably hurt the US companies involved more than thoughts of the tens or hundreds of thousands of dead  in Iraq and elsewhere.

Jon Stewart on Bush's stem cell veto. Video. Yes, it does deal with Iraq as well.

Dripping in irony. Or the the lack of a sense of irony. Lots of hypocrisy evidenced.

It is a tragic world.


G'day Bob Wall and yeah, I saw Syd Drate's post too (g'day). And that's how to do it, alright: implant the fear deepest, while the child has simply no defence - i.e. before the 'age of reason'. It's actually much, much worse, because the child expects to be instructed - subconsciously of course, and that's part of the reason it takes 20 years or so to 'grow up' (some longer, some never). That's where it's even-handed; the Israelis and the Palestinians both get the fear of death, quite early-on. But the Palestinians actually get killed about 10 times more often - that's not quite so even-handed. And their land gets ripped-off, too - but hey! Business is business, right?

Syd's story of 'medical miracles' may be true, but the over-all result in the US is nowhere near the best - also touched upon in your Blum article. (Have 'medicine for profit', an' whadda y'expect? Why, profits, of course - silly question.)

Syd: "For goodness sake, somebody has to do something!" - Well, the "somebody" is nobody, other than us; an' I'm already "doin'" about as hard as I can go - you too; the real problem is 'activating' the sheople...


Without digging-up references (for the moment at least),

1. The clear and present danger:

a) the greenhouse is set to get rapidly worse. I saw a few projections for the next 25yrs, and fossil-fuel use is forecast to ramp-up drastically. Pure and purple madness!

b) Internally, we're set for a tough time (IR etc, all the wretched Howard 'excesses').

c) Externally, globalisation will accelerate; lots'n lots'a jobs will go out while ever more coolies come in.

2. What we could do:

Preamble: it's pointless/hopeless to think of militarily challenging the US and its illegitimate sprog, Israel. (That'd be a big reason as to the how and why of the bastardry loose in the world since - Oh! Lookie there! A smoking-new Pearl Harbour; how utterly convenient!) So it's gotta be economic. How ironic, then, that any (external) economic challenging must be done, say, by Russia, China - and Iran. Now, to internal:

a) I have already suggested a (complete!) discretionary spending boycott. On its own it'd be a good start, but not near enough.

b) Co-operatives used to be common and worked. We need to set up such in all agricultural products, with the aim of 1) increasing the farmers' share (so decreasing the pressure on the mortgage, but more importantly, decreasing the pressure on the land - less marginal production while increasing income) and 2) further reducing, as far as humanly possible, the fat-to-the-point-of obscene-cats getting even the tiniest bit filthy-richer.

c) Extend co-operatives into as many fields as possible (especially banking) to accelerate the profit-denial to the current black-hats. Let's face it, there's a lot'a mature-age talent out there, probably itching to get a bit'a (useful! meaningful!) work to do.

I don't have anything against markets per se, but what we see at the moment is as good as never any sort'a fair 'cost-plus', it's almost exclusively 'what the market will bear' - ri-i-ip! From a someone else's elsewhere rant: "Say one thing, do the opposite!" - i.e. toadal hypocrisy. What the fat cats really don't want is any competition - but I reckon that's what they ort'a get. And in spades - a whole alternate economy, say.

Ahhh! New idea! How about we insist that if Medibank Private (and any other "peoples' asset", i.e. especially Snowy) is privatised, that all the shares be allocated on an equal, per capita basis to the entire Aussie population, with a 100% refund to the purchaser of all the dough so involved? And no handlers' commission needed nor paid. Eh?

Agree (partly) with Syd: we gotta do bedda - soonest!


PS I don't suppose any of the above is seditious, do you? Ooops! What's that fearful crashing at the door?

g'day bob & thanks...

.. for the Blum article; liked the title. Good thing I didn't commit any of his anti-Israel sins, although I did hark back to a serious incident in '48, because it was exactly 60 years ago yesterday. Blum thinks Israel is permanent; I only got the idea it mightn't be 'in here'.

Yes, we owe our (only!) home-world a lot, wouldn't it be nice if we could all (have to be less of us, but gradually: not with a *bang*!) get along 'sustainably', and turn almost everything over (kindly farmed land excepted) to a big nature park? Clean air! Blue skies! Dream on...

A heart as big as all outdoors.

Phil Kendall, g'day and thank you for posting your thoughts here. I have been quiet in recent days due to a number of preoccupations and distractions and a sense of torpor induced by the usual bs surrounding further mass murder.

I returned to my pc trying to compose a response to your omnibus of thoughts and went to a site to see if there were appropriate articles to place my thoughts around. The first one I looked at was by William Blum and started thus:

There are times when I think that this tired old world has gone on a few years too long. What's happening in the Middle East is so depressing. Most discussions of the eternal Israel-Palestine conflict are variations on the child's eternal defense for misbehavior -- "He started it!" Within a few minutes of discussing/arguing the latest manifestation of the conflict the participants are back to 1967, then 1948, then biblical times.

The article is well worth reading as it ranges over the lies and wars anchored on the current violence. Blum's opinion of why:

Israel's real aim, and that of Washington, is the overthrow of the Hamas government in Palestine, the government that came to power in January through a clearly democratic process, the democracy that the Western "democracies" never tire of celebrating, except when the result doesn't please them. Is there a stronger word than "hypocrisy"? There is now "no Hamas government," declared a senior US official a week ago, "eight cabinet ministers or 30 percent of the government is in jail [kidnapped by Israel], another 30 percent is in hiding, and the other 30 percent is doing very little."[2] To make the government-disappearance act even more Orwellian, we have Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking in late June about Iraq: "This is the only legitimately elected government in the Middle East with a possible exception of Lebanon."[3] What's next, gathering in front of the Big Telescreeen for the Two Minutes Hate?

In addition to doing away with the Hamas government, the current military blitzkrieg by Israel, with full US support, may well be designed to create "incidents" to justify attacks on Iran and Syria, the next steps of Washington's work in process, a controlling stranglehold on the Middle East and its oil.

There is this line:

They simply can't stop lying, can they?

Too true. And too late for lies. Our madness has led us to a disastrous path and we are running out of time to find solutions or to somehow adapt to a different environment. We are such an imperfect species but at least we can try. We owe our home that much.


This piece partly addresses the topic at The Repeal of Israel 1493, but its appeal is wider than just that, hence it 'lands' here in values 1335 (g'day Bob Wall).

I wish to extend the 1335 thread to 'exactly what values should we be observing?' - then give some suggestions.

I have developed a few maxims [1], one of which is "If it's in theAus, it's probably a) vicious propaganda and/or b) most likely wrong" In this I except (as well as 'straight' reported actual 'news') at least Phillip Adams, and the occasional (largely faux) 'balance' article. IMHO, theAus is the pits, definitely the worst of a bad bunch of more-or-less but all certainly corrupt MSM entities, unfortunately not excluding the AusBC. Boo! Hiss!

Consider this:

AusEd: Foes must accept the Jewish state
July 22, 2006
In the Middle East, ordinary people pine for peace
THE Machiavellian moralising now shaping the debate over the crisis in the Middle East is as irrelevant as it is obscene. In Israel and Lebanon, in the West Bank and Gaza, children are being killed while opportunist ideologues try to ignore the immutable facts that are shaping people's lives, and deaths. And it is about time they stopped.

There's nothing Machiavellian about my moralising; my main message could hardly be clearer: fair go, ya mug; stop the rip-offs, stop the killing: NO WAR!

Now this from Ayn Rand: the dogma of selfishness and the new Industrial Relations laws 1563 (g'day Solomon Wakeling): "Propaganda does harm to supple young minds."

As Bryan Law (g'day) says he 'grew frightened of nuclear war when [he] was 9 years old (Cuban missile crisis)'. I would place the start of the modern-day problem with propaganda a bit earlier, see my tell me no lies; my truth is no spam 1550 deconstruction of C Parsons which deals with the criminal A-bombing of Japan. We've all been (shamelessly - criminally!) propagandised continuously at least since then. The fact, for example, that the NYT passed-on GWBush&Co's Chalabi-falsehoods as truth gives us a prime example. Just as "Shock and Awe" stimulated incensed outrage, it also stimulated new looks at everything, and what an utter cesspit of inequity lies exposed! As a by-the-way here, just how does it come about d'y'reckon, that 'our' AusBC sings from the same corrupt-MSM (toilet-paper!) song sheet?

As I said in my the unbelievable lightness of being 1550, pacifists occupy the highest possible moral ground; of that there's absolutely no doubt. But not at 'no cost;' ASIO, the CIA, Mossad and any etcs undoubtedly know where we pacifists are; even if not 'off their own bat,' any number of filthy 'snitches' out there could'a told 'em: "See what [anti-US, anti-Israel truth] s/he said!" Not that I expect an anti-tank missile through my breakfast room, blasting apart the breeze-blocks as it pink-mists me'n mine, but there's always the possibility of some sort'a arranged 'nasty accident,' say...


Now, 'to cases':

In the very first place, the author of "Might is neither right nor wrong; it just works mate" (you know who you are, matey), should be completely denied any and all moral credibility.

At least in my binary-choice, black-and white world, any and all killing is out. Killing, whether on the one-on-one or nation-on-nation or any other level in between including 'asymmetric', is, once again and eternally, out - and must be effectively deterred to the point of being stopped, and that to the very best of our collective ability.

I see no further justification for this principle other than asking you, dear reader: would you personally like to be killed? A family member? A neighbour? Any person over the road, down the street, 'round the corner - any at all? Well?

If you are thinking of some 'weasel-wiggle-out' exception, the above 'Oh so pragmatic' "Might" author already did; to kill to protect one's mortally-threatened young. Well, that's actually the exception that proves the rule, and certainly does not apply to the application of GPS-guided, DU-tipped, machine-steel-jacketed high-explosive, white phosphorous or napalm delivered via cruise-missile or otherwise from anywhere from point-blank range to 30,000ft up directed at anyone ("In fact, the US military itself refers to the new-generation MK-77 as ‘napalm’"), as it specifically does *not* apply to the illegal "Shock and Awe" 'pink-misting' of 10s if not 100s of 1000s of innocents in Iraq - murder for oil, or to the current murderously illegal Israeli attack on Lebanon - murder for exactly what, please?

As I pointed out in Happy 60th, Irgun 1493, effectively, the Israelis never paid for any of their land - and what is taken without payment is usually regarded as stolen.

So, back to theAus: IMHO, no-one must accept the Jewish state, exactly why should they? One may consider the 1948 'partition of Palestine' illegal; IMHO Palestine was not theirs for the British - or anyone else - to 'give away'. What starts as illegal (and certainly immoral with it) must stay both illegal and immoral; the (bad!) ends (here and as usual) do not justify any means. Even the murder-proponent-apologists 'in here' admit that Israel will only exist as long as the mainly US-supplied force exists - and that can never be forever. Basta!

From theAge blog: "The impasse in the Middle East has existed since the establishment of Israel as a dumping ground for Europe and Russia's Jews, and has already poisoned minds and physically killed generations of people in that area."

Then, further:

That Israel 'has the right to defend itself' must be recognised for what it is - i.e. lip-music: no-one can defend the indefensible. Using the "What's in it for me" principle, if a certain group (not named by me for fear of WD censorship) were given large bits'a Palestine, exactly what did the Palestinians get in exchange, please? Let me put that, another way: taking without adequate recompense is stealing; either show me the adequate recompense - or give it (Israel) back!

The 'free-kick' insisted on by Israel in 'recompense' for the holocaust must be recognised for what it now is - i.e. invalid, blackmail - and, if it ever had any validity at all, it's passed its 'use-by' date - worn Oh, so thin by over-use, like a penny rubbed in a pocket. And Boring!

The further blackmail of calling any opposition to Israel 'anti-Semitic' (i.e. as done to M-W and their publisher, etc) must be recognised for what it is - i.e. baseless, intellectually bankrupt, utterly despicable, etc.


Moving away from the brutally murderous - and ultimately indefensible as well as boring (as far as murder can be boring) and doomed Israel, let's look (briefly) further:

1. The US, at 5% world pop. and 25% of world resources is ripping the world off, just as it goes hideously obese - same (obese, also rip-offs but not quite as criminally 'professional' as the US) here, too. See any of my comments on 'resource-rent' elsewhere (best in Who Owns Bolivia's Oil and Gas? 1525).

2. The US military budget, at about 50% of US govt spending, is simply, horribly, obscenely 'over the top' (and that's still understatement!)

3. Some (small!) proportion of the US military budget is all that'd be required to eliminate starvation (mental as well as physical), and bad health, water, etc world-wide. We should be reducing world population; that'd happen automatically with an appropriate level of general education. We've experienced the proof.

4. Israel, as the world's 4th ranked military power with a pop. of about 6.5mio has an utterly absurd defence-to-person ratio, where 'defence' is a total misnomer for 'illegal offence'.

5. Only if Israel 'made friends' with its neighbours - and that would only ever be possible by righting the many, aching wrongs; i.e. by giving adequate recompense if not full restitution to the Palestinians, can we ever expect peace. Oh yeah: we could try for peace, another way. Messy. Immoral! But surely 60 years is long enough to qualify that as 'fail'?

Martin Gifford (g'day) in War is Murder 1550 is partly correct when he says "In the meantime, if someone kidnapped a few soldiers and fired a few rockets into my country, I would not bomb the country of the kidnappers." I call this my domestic-siege metaphor vis-à-vis Iraq. Do the cops (a) call for a negotiator to talk the gate off its post or (b) bulldoze the house, killing some/all inside then loot the place? It is Oh, so bleedingly obvious that if the same laws that are applied to us, we the people at the person-to-person level (corrected to eliminate injustice - i.e. finally slay the "Law as Ass" construct) would, when applied at the nation-to-nation level, eliminate the vast proportion of problems. Eliminating any rest would just be (easy-peasy!) self-evident 'tidying up'. The fact that the UN is not allowed to do its correct function is as criminal as it's shameful. Another boo! Hiss!


In a nutshell, the US and its illegitimate sprog Israel are filthy murderous rip-off artists, each a full magnitude worse than the other. The rip-offs are 'leading' us lemming-like over the greenhouse-climate-catastrophe cliff, right down towards the Apocalypse-gurgler.

The way to remedy the situation is to recognise and implement the valid, altruistic morality of our species, which is basically "Thou shalt not kill (or rip-off, or do any other criminal thing)," itself based on "Do unto others..." Utopian, perhaps? Yeah; but what's life without hope?

Roger Fedyk (Grüezi!) in 'We're Not In Kansas 1525' says "If you are in business to generate a 'fair profit' your business will go broke quickly." Q: Why that? A: Because simply no-one is fair? Not a good answer. You have to ask yourself here, what came first, the chicken or the egg? But surely it doesn't have to be the existing criminal rip-off, let alone murderous? But that's just what the US (mainly; some UK and (shame!) Aus) and Israel are: murderous rip-off criminals.

You, dear reader, may ignore my message; it's your choice. Those who benefit from the rip-offs certainly will try to castigate and/or ignore me - unless my message gains lots'a 'real traction' of course, then it'd probably be "Hello jackal; goodbye world" for me.

So, on this otherwise lovely Sunday morning (turned afternoon; it's a long one), Q1: is the expression "The pen is mightier than the sword" just more lip-music, or is there some substance to it? Irrespective of that, Q2: just how much longer are you, dear reader, gunna accept the wicked rip-off, murderously wasteful and ultimately poisonous status quo?



[1] maxim
noun a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct: the maxim that actions speak louder than words. ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting an axiom): from French maxime, from medieval Latin (propositio) maxima ‘largest or most important (proposition)’. [Oxford Pop-up]

n. general truth or rule of conduct briefly expressed. [French or medieval Latin: related to *maximum] [POD]

PS I am indebted to the author of "Might" only in as far as it illustrates the shameful (and criminal!) way our society has trended - and gives me, as a reaction, some extra strength to resist.

What's under that Spam, I wonder?

Bob Wall : "Ferencz's biggest contribution to the war crimes field is his assertion that an unprovoked or "aggressive" war is the highest crime against mankind...."

That's very interesting, Bob. Would a policy of systematic "ethnic cleansing", such as that of Saddam Hussein's 'Anfal' genocide against the Kurds, fall into the category of  "aggressive" war according to such a definition?

The reason I mention it is because I asked you to clarify your earlier remark, below;

"Terrorists in Iraq? There are now. On both sides."

And so I said;

"Have you heard of the Anfal genocide? Would you consider that terrorism? Or just business as normal?"

Also, what should have been the appropriate response by the international community to the Anfal?

Senator Bob Brown, at the time, called for "intervention" by Australia's allies.

I mentioned this below in my earlier question to you. I think you've overlooked it.

Also, what about this event which you referred to today;

"A mob of gunmen went on a brazen daytime rampage through a
predominantly Sunni Arab district of western Baghdad on Sunday, pulling people from their cars and homes and killing them in what officials and residents called a spasm of revenge by Shiite militias for the bombing of a Shiite mosque on Saturday."

Was the attack on the Shi'ite mosque by the "resistance" a form of "aggressive" war against civilians or terrorism?

You may have overlooked my earlier question about this snippet;

"“We want security,” said a white-bearded man, Lefta Enayid, as he hobbled around the charred scene in a robe. “We don’t want the government to remain handcuffed. We want the government to fight those who set off the car bombs. We’re so sick of this.”

Why would Mr Enayid say that about a "resistance" operation I wonder?

Do you have a view on this Bob?


 G'day Phil, thanks for the link fix. Have some material today on precedents and responsibility.

A former Nuremberg chief prosecutor gives his opinion on Iraq.

Ferencz's biggest contribution to the war crimes field is his
assertion that an unprovoked or "aggressive" war is the highest crime
against mankind. It was the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 that made
possible the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the destruction of Fallouja and
Ramadi, the tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, civilian massacres like
Haditha, and on and on. Ferencz believes that a "prima facie case can
be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against
humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign

Interviewed from his home in New York, Ferencz laid out a simple summary of the case:

"The United Nations charter
has a provision which was agreed to by the United States formulated by
the United States in fact, after World War II. Its says that from now
on, no nation can use armed force without the permission of the U.N.
Security Council. They can use force in connection with self-defense,
but a country can't use force in anticipation of self-defense.
Regarding Iraq, the last Security Council resolution essentially said,
'Look, send the weapons inspectors out to Iraq, have them come back and
tell us what they've found -- then we'll figure out what we're going to
do. The U.S. was impatient, and decided to invade Iraq -- which was all
pre-arranged of course. So, the United States went to war, in violation
of the charter."

There are stories such as this. 

 A mob of gunmen went on a brazen daytime rampage through a
predominantly Sunni Arab district of western Baghdad on Sunday, pulling
people from their cars and homes and killing them in what officials and
residents called a spasm of revenge by Shiite militias for the bombing
of a Shiite mosque on Saturday. Hours later, two car bombs exploded
beside a Shiite mosque in another Baghdad neighborhood in a deadly act
of what appeared to be retaliation.

While Baghdad has been ravaged by Sunni-Shiite bloodletting in recent
months, even by recent standards the violence here on Sunday was
frightening, delivered with impunity by gun-wielding vigilantes on the
street. In the culture of revenge that has seized Iraq,
residents all over the city braced for an escalation in the cycle of
retributive mayhem between the Shiites and Sunnis that has threatened
to expand into civil war.

Relate to the above comment - "It was the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 that made
possible the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the destruction of Fallouja and
Ramadi, the tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, civilian massacres like
Haditha, and on and on."

Some people have a lot of trouble getting that point. 

Things are worse. 

Rod Nordland: It’s a lot worse over here [in Iraq]
than is reported. The administration does a great job of managing the
news. Just an example: There was a press conference here about [Abu
Musab al] Zarqawi’s death, and somebody asked what role [U.S.] Special
Forces played in finding Zarqawi. [The official] either denied any role
or didn’t answer the question. Somebody pointed out that the president,
half an hour earlier, had already acknowledged and thanked the Special
Forces for their involvement. They are just not giving very much
information here.

FP: The
Bush administration often complains that the reporting out of Iraq is
too negative, yet you say they are managing the news. What’s the real

RN: You can only manage the news to a
certain degree. It is certainly hard to hide the fact that in the third
year of this war, Iraqis are only getting electricity for about 5 to 10
percent of the day. Living conditions have gotten so much worse,
violence is at an even higher tempo, and the country is on the verge of
civil war. The administration has been successful to the extent that
most Americans are not aware of just how dire it is and how little
progress has been made. They keep talking about how the Iraqi army is
doing much better and taking over responsibilities, but for the most
part that’s not true.

Meanwhile, Iraq has asked for an end to US troops immunity. 

The day before handing formal sovereignty back to Iraqis in June
2004, the U.S. occupation authority issued a decree giving its troops
immunity from Iraqi law. That remains in force and is confirmed by U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1546 on Iraq.

Many Iraqis have
complained for the past three years about hundreds of civilians killed
by U.S. troops and abuses such as those highlighted in the Abu Ghraib
prison scandal of 2004.

But a handful of new U.S. investigations
into incidents, including the killing of 24 people at Haditha and the
quadruple murder and rape case at Mahmudiya, have caused an outcry that
prompted the newly formed national unity government to speak out.

Michael said commanders' failure to hold soldiers to account had
fostered a climate of impunity: "One of the reasons for this is the
U.N. resolution, which gives the multinational force soldiers immunity.
Without punishment, you get violations."

Speaking of "without punishment", here is another example deja vu all over again. 

If these
atrocities are carefully investigated, the likely deficiency may be
sufficient command leadership and discipline. A recent book (May 2006)
speaks to the issue of leader accountability with stunning eloquence. Tiger Force
is a documented account of 120 U.S. soldiers who, between May and
November of 1967, rotated through an Army special operations platoon.
This platoon, Tiger Force, wreaked its vengeance in the vicinity of Duc Pho and Chu Lai in South Vietnam.

    Operating largely on their own and only passingly accountable
to a chain of command that rarely ventured into the jungles and
paddies, these soldiers ruthlessly murdered hundreds of unarmed men,
women and children. One soldier cut off a baby's head with a knife.
Victims' ears were regularly sliced off, collected and fashioned into
necklaces which some soldiers proudly wore. Other victims were scalped.
Some were tortured. Teeth were kicked out to retrieve the gold from
fillings. Virtually all of the civilian deaths were reported as "Viet
Cong," even though, oddly, no weapons were ever found and none were
ever reported. No officer in command ever questioned this glaring

    That part of Tiger Force is grim enough. What the Army
then did with the evidence is shocking, and what was covered up in
1974-75 may have sowed the headlines we are reaping in 2006. One of the
most thorough Criminal Investigation Division (CID, the Army's internal
FBI) investigations ever conducted, meticulously gathered the facts
surrounding the war crimes committed by Tiger Force. The evidence was
voluminous, certain and had been obtained at the risk of a few
investigators' lives.

    In 1974-75, Richard Cheney was a special assistant to
President Ford. Ford's chief of staff was Donald Rumsfeld. The
secretary of defense from 1973-75 was James Schlesinger. The case was
made to disappear by these men who served presidents Nixon and Ford -
probably out of considerations of politics. There were never any
charges filed against the soldiers or the officers who ordered and
participated in the routine killing of civilians. 

Cheney and Rumsfeld up to their armpits. Point is:

suppose in 1975 that Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney had made a different
decision. Suppose the CID Tiger Force investigation had been permitted
to charge the perpetrators and their superior officers with war crimes.
Suppose a court-martial inquiry had asked why no battalion commanders
bothered to check out the reports of Tiger Force ear collections? What
if a colonel or two had been found guilty of failing to adequately
control the troops under their command? For starters, those cases and
leadership lessons would have been part of today's core curriculum in
ROTC and at West Point.

    This administration never holds anyone in senior positions
accountable for derelict performance. However, unless there is full
accountability for the war crimes of Iraq - wherever the evidence leads
- there is a high probability that the lessons today's lieutenants and
captains need to learn about the law of war and command leadership will
never be sufficiently absorbed to make the crucial difference when
those men and women become colonels and generals.

Difficult to hold senior people responsible as those ultimately responsible are at the top of the food chain.

And what if they do not value the lives of others very highly? 

In Iraq, lives differ in value -- and so do deaths. In this
disparity lies an important reason why the United States has botched
this war.

Last November in Haditha
, a squad of Marines, outraged at the loss of a comrade, is said to
have run amok, avenging his death by killing two dozen innocent
bystanders. And in March, U.S. soldiers in Mahmudiyah allegedly raped a
young Iraqi woman and killed her along with three of her relatives --
an apparently premeditated crime for which one former U.S. soldier has
been charged
. These incidents are among at least five recent cases of Iraqi
civilian deaths that have triggered investigations of U.S. military
personnel. If the allegations prove true, Haditha and Mahmudiyah will
deservedly take their place alongside Sand Creek, Samar and My Lai in
the unhappy catalogue of atrocities committed by American troops.

But recall a more recent incident, in Samarra
. On May 30, U.S. soldiers manning a checkpoint there opened fire on a
speeding vehicle that either did not see or failed to heed their
command to stop. Two women in the vehicle were shot dead. One of them,
Nahiba Husayif Jassim, 35, was pregnant. The baby was also killed. The
driver, Jassim's brother, had been rushing her to a hospital to give
birth. No one tried to cover up the incident: U.S. military
representatives issued expressions of regret.

In all likelihood,
we will be learning more about Haditha and Mahmudiyah for months to
come, whereas the Samarra story has already been filed away and largely
forgotten. And that's the problem.

The killing at the Samarra
checkpoint was not an atrocity; most likely it was an accident, a
mistake. Yet plenty of evidence suggests that in Iraq such mistakes
have occurred routinely, with moral and political consequences that
have been too long ignored. Indeed, conscious motivation is beside the
point: Any action resulting in Iraqi civilian deaths, however
inadvertent, undermines the Bush administration's narrative of
liberation, and swells the ranks of those resisting the U.S. presence.

Read on.

The pursuit of the truth on one matter at least, is continuing. 

 A war of aggression based on lies. The supreme crime.



Talking about 'Blind in one eye'

Bob, hi! Talking about being 'Blind in one eye', and seeing as you mentioned the Anfal genocides (in the inevitable attempt to blame it on the USA), I was wondering if you saw my earlier question.

You said;

"Terrorists in Iraq? There are now. On both sides."

And so I said;

"Have you heard of the Anfal genocide? Would you consider that terrorism? Or just business as normal?"

Keeping in mind Saddam has been scheduled by an Iraqi court to stand trial for directing the Anfal, would you still stand by your remark?

And would you consider the Anfal terrorism?

Also, would you like to comment on what this Iraqi civilian said yesterday in the aftermath of yet another "resistance" attack on civilians;

"“We want security,” said a white-bearded man, Lefta Enayid, as he hobbled around the charred scene in a robe. “We don’t want the government to remain handcuffed. We want the government to fight those who set off the car bombs. We’re so sick of this.”

As I see it, the "resistance" (formerly the "government") are indeed continuing business as normal.

Talking about the Anfal, while it was underway, this is what Senator Bob Brown had to say about it;

The House calls on the Prime Minister Bob Hawke to act immediately to put pressure on Australia's allies to intervene in Iraq to stop the slaughter of the Kurds and establish their right to self-determination ... we're in the disgusting position of sitting on our hands while these people are absolutely slaughtered - the least we can do is get our Prime Minister to speak up and put the full weight of this country towards the protection of these innocents.

How would you have intervened?

Blind in one eye.

G'day Phil, first item - your Lakoff link has a problem.

On "democritisation" - funny how some who will push this line will reject out of hand the process under way in the US under Bush, from evidence of rigging in in general elections, to lies, to "unitary presidency" and signing statements to corruption in general.

Also amusing in the reference by some to past deeds by Saddam whilst ignoring an important part of the story. I previously linked Global Policy Forum on Iraq and later the specific section that dealt with US and UK involvement in Iraq.  Here is an example.

For example, one of the principal war crimes for which Saddam is likely
to be prosecuted is the genocidal Anfal campaign against Iraq’s Kurdish
minority in the 1980s, which resulted in deaths of more than 80,000
civilians and the destruction of more than 4,000 villages.

The Bush administration appears to be in no hurry, however, to
prosecute Turkish officials for their genocidal campaign against that
country’s Kurdish minority during the 1990s, where over 3,000 Kurdish
villages were destroyed and over two million Kurds became refugees in
an operation in which more than three-quarters of the weapons were of
U.S. origin. The U.S.-backed war cost over 40,000 lives, primarily
Kurdish civilians. President Bill Clinton and congressional leaders of
both parties successfully blocked efforts by human rights groups to
stop U.S. support for the repression.

Indeed, the United States has repeatedly demonstrated its lack of concern regarding war crimes when the perpetrator is an ally.


Ironically, many of the organizations and individuals now calling for a
UN-sponsored proceeding were active in exposing Saddam’s human rights
abuses back in the 1980s while the U.S. government was covering them

The March 1988 massacre at Halabja--where Iraq government forces killed
upwards of 5,000 civilians in that Kurdish town by gassing them with
chemical weapons--was downplayed by the Reagan administration, even to
the point of claiming that Iran, then the preferred American enemy, was
actually responsible. The Halabja tragedy was not an isolated incident,
as U.S. officials were well aware at the time. UN reports in 1986 and
1987 documented Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, which were confirmed
both by investigations from the CIA and by U.S. embassy staff who
visited Iraqi Kurdish refugees in Turkey. However, not only was the
United States not particularly concerned about Saddam’s ongoing
repression and the use of chemical weapons, the United States actually
was supporting the Iraqi government’s procurement effort of materials
necessary for the development of such an arsenal.

Furthermore, officials from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency were
stationed in Baghdad to pass on satellite imagery to the Iraqi military
in order to help them target Iranian troop concentrations, in the full
knowledge that Saddam was using chemical weapons against Iranian

During the 1980s, American companies, with U.S. government backing,
supplied Saddam Hussein’s government with much of the raw materials for
Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons programs. A Senate committee
reported in 1994 that American companies licensed by the U.S. Commerce
Department had shipped large quantities of materials usable in weapons
production in Iraq, noting that such trade continued at least until the
end of the decade, despite evidence of Iraqi chemical warfare against
Iranians and Iraqi Kurds. Much of this trade was no oversight. It was
made possible because the Reagan administration took Iraq off of its
list of countries supporting terrorism in 1982, making the country
eligible to receive such items. This re-designation came in spite of
Iraq’s ongoing support of Abu Nidal and other terrorist groups.

As late as December 1989, just eight months prior to Iraq’s designation
as an enemy for having invaded Kuwait, the Bush administration pushed
through new loans to the Iraqi government in order to facilitate
U.S.-Iraqi trade. Meanwhile, according to a 1992 Senate investigation,
the Commerce Department repeatedly deleted and altered information on
export licenses for trade with Iraq in order to hide potential military
uses of American exports.

And another. 

Prolonging the war was phenomenally expensive. Iraq received
massive external financial support from the Gulf states, and assistance
through loan programs from the U.S. The White House and State
Department pressured the Export-Import Bank to provide Iraq with
financing, to enhance its credit standing and enable it to obtain
loans from other international financial institutions. The U.S.
Agriculture Department provided taxpayer-guaranteed loans for
purchases of American commodities, to the satisfaction of U.S.
grain exporters.

The U.S. restored formal relations with Iraq in November 1984,
but the U.S. had begun, several years earlier, to provide it with
intelligence and military support (in secret and contrary to this
country's official neutrality) in accordance with policy directives
from President Ronald Reagan. These were prepared pursuant to
his March 1982 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 4-82)
asking for a review of U.S. policy toward the Middle East.

One of these directives from Reagan, National Security Decision
Directive (NSDD) 99, signed on July 12, 1983, is available only
in a highly redacted version [Document
. It reviews U.S. regional interests in the Middle
East and South Asia, and U.S. objectives, including peace between
Israel and the Arabs, resolution of other regional conflicts,
and economic and military improvements, "to strengthen regional
stability." It deals with threats to the U.S., strategic
planning, cooperation with other countries, including the Arab
states, and plans for action. An interdepartmental review of the
implications of shifting policy in favor of Iraq was conducted
following promulgation of the directive.

There's more. I have also, a long time ago, posted links to the Reigle Report and more recently, on another thread, the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Amongst other material. Hard to ignore or deny the wealth of material but people do try. They can play by themselves as far as I am concerned whatever motivates them.

The killing continues.

Missing link

David R: the link was broken, CP, so I removed it - let me know what it should be, and I'll put it back ...

That's okay, David. I think Bob knows what the Anfal genocide was.

For those otherwise interested in learning about the Anfal genocide, though, see this link

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan ...

Remember Afghanistan? The first Bush invasion? There has been a resurgence in violence as Eric Margolis predicted.

Something has
gone terribly wrong in Afghanistan. The heaviest fighting there
since the 2001 U.S. invasion has recently erupted. Many Americans,
who were then assured by neocons and their media trumpets that their
nation had triumphantly won the war in Afghanistan and crushed the
Taliban, are dismayed and bewildered.

In 2001, unable
to withstand high-tech U.S. forces, Taliban’s leader, Mullah Omar,
ordered his men, who had been fighting the Afghan Communists and
pro-Russian Tajiks, to disband, exchange their black turbans for
white ones, and blend into the civilian population.

At the time,
this writer, who covered the 1980’s Great Jihad in Afghanistan and
ensuing birth of Taliban, warned war would resume in about four
years, just as it did after the 1979 Soviet invasion. This prediction
was greeted with jeers, and accusations of idiocy and lack of patriotism.

Now, as predicted,
Taliban forces have taken the offensive against U.S. and NATO troops,
often employing deadly new tactics, like roadside and suicide bombs,
learned from Iraq’s resistance. Casualties are mounting on both

And the claims of civilians being in the firing line

Not for the first time.

The NYTimes has a story about an Algerian who was a victim  of the CIA secret rendition program.

The abuses, crimes and killing go on. Has the US failed or was chaos an acceptable outcome?

Faced with the death, destruction and waste, all the apologists can do is spout irrelevancies and diversions. And become, themselves, increasingly irrelevant.

News for Bob

Bob Wall:  "Terrorists in Iraq? There are now. On both sides."


Have you heard of the Anfal genocide? Would you consider that terrorism? Or just business as normal?

David R: the link was broken, CP, so I removed it - let me know what it should be, and I'll put it back ...

What of the peace plan.

G'day Phil, good points. On the matter of pursuing terrorists via other means, that as you aware, does not seem to have been the intention. Terrorists in Iraq? There are now. On both sides. I recommend the Tom Englebert article I posted on Irises yesterday as a good explanation of what the US is pursuing.

We had a peace plan proposed recently by the Iraqi pm - not much of a one according to Robert Dreyfuss. The evidence is that since it was proposed and since that high profile death (Al Zarqawi) violence is no better - even worse.

On specific incidents - the latest is causing a lot of fuss see this and this.

Atrocity damage
control requires isolating such events, not just vertically
(keep the blame as far down the chain of command as possible),
but horizontally, so that journalists and the public at large
don’t start thinking they see a pattern of barbarism in our
mission to liberate Iraq. A perfunctory investigation followed
by widely publicized punishment needs to end each matter as it
comes up.

But suddenly the
embedded media aren’t so compliant. As we read about the brutal,
premeditated murders in Mahmoudiya on March 12, we’re likely to
get a recap of other criminal investigations under way or
recently concluded: the Haditha massacre, a shooting in Fallujah
(eight servicemen charged with murder), another shooting in
Ramadi, the deaths of detainees here and there. Indeed, we might
even get a civilian body count thrown in. The acknowledged Iraqi
dead are apparently up to 50,000 in the mainstream media (even
though the British medical journal Lancet published a study
putting the likely total at twice that — a year and a half ago).

All of which brings
me back to Cpl. Belile’s derailed recording career. The song
he’d posted on the Internet and hoped to make a splash with —
“Hadji Girl” — tells the story of a GI who falls for a local
girl at an Iraqi Burger King. He accompanies her home but, oops,
it’s a trap. The dad and brother, shouting “jihad,” brandish
their AK-47s, so he pulls the sister in front of him as a shield
and (ha ha) she’s the one who gets shot. Then he returns fire
with his M-16 and blows the rest of the family “to eternity.”

Adding to the
tenderness of this song, which, according to Marine Times, the
high command has apparently forbidden Belile to record, is the
fact that “hadji” is a racist term, the new slur for Arabs and
Muslims, Iraq war vet Aiden Delgado explained on
blackcommentator.com. “It is used extensively in the military,”
he said, “. . . with the same kind of connotation as ‘gook,’
‘Charlie’ or the n-word. Official Army documents now use it in
reference to Iraqis or Arabs. It’s real common.” He also said of
his Army training: “We sang in cadences. And the chants had
anti-Arab themes. Like burning turbans, killing ragheads.”

Occupations, with some exceptions do tend to breed violence and brutality. And it is an occupation.

Back to Iraq's pm who is not happy about atrocities committed by US personnel.

Expanding on calls for an independent inquiry and a review
of foreign troops' immunity from Iraqi law, Nuri al-Maliki said
commanders should do a better job in preparing their soldiers.

"There needs to be a plan to educate and train soldiers,
and those who are brought to serve in Iraq shouldn't bear
prejudices nor be reckless toward people's honor," Maliki said.

The tendencies of occupations mentioned above are not helped by low standards among the occupying forces - it has been well documented that the US has been having a lot of trouble with enlistments and have lowered the standards they will accept.

Some in the US do want answers.

On a broader front, a scathing report on US human rights abuses is to be presented to the UN.

This report shows that abuses and breaches are not restricted to foreigners.

The report, which will be delivered to the UN Human Rights Committee
July 10, alleges that the US violated the right to life and
non-discrimination statutes of international human rights treaties to
which the US is a signatory – citing evacuations based on income and
property levels in New Orleans after Katrina, alleged abuse at
California prisons and the incarceration of children in adult jails.

It also chides the US for capital punishment, which it says “allows
for individuals to be sentenced to death, even if they did not kill,
intend to kill, or even contemplate that another human being would die
as a result of their actions.”

The “shadow report,” as non-governmental rebuttals to state presentations are called, was leaked to RAW STORY
early Wednesday. Its authors believed the 456-page document is a
blistering indictment of U.S. violations of the 1992 International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

On other points you have raised here and elsewhere, some people are yet to get the point that dictating how a sovereign state should run its political system and economy, as well as giving the impression that they plan to stay around indefinitely, is not really democracy. Best they go home and do something constructing - such as addressing climate change.

If people want clarification of legal matters I will again paste the link to Eisil.org - an electronic resource on international law. Might - be useful to add to the links on the mainpage perhaps David?

See your Englebert, raise y'a Lakoff

G'day Bob Wall and yeah thanks, got Englebert 'hot' off Irises last night. Horrendous. Devastating. Had a ring around, emailed it on.

I've been 'banging-on' about occupation; the apologists insist it's democratisation - but they would, wouldn't they? (Ever wonder "What's in it" for them?) In case anyone missed it, here's Lakoff's opinion:

"Occupation: The Inconvenient Truth About Iraq
... Now the U.S. and its military allies need to face another inconvenient truth, this one about Iraq: This is an occupation, not a war." [huffpo/lakoff]

There are a few more from Lakoff here (Lakoff's HuffPo page; 4 articles incl. above).

Gotta run.

Occam's (binary) razor (cont)

Any time a definite choice is made, 'the other' choice gets lost.

A lot'a the world stood at the abyss as the 'twin towers' came down - we knew that the US would react 'badly', an' so it was: they set out to re-arrange lots'a sand in Afghanistan. 99% pointless; we all knew that a) the US was armed to the teeth & b) someone (anyone) would have to pay. Poor Taliban, but perhaps not so poor; look at that idiotic stone-art-smash, f'rinstance.

Someone (19 Saudi hijackers?) was 'at (asymmetric!) war' with the US; long-story-short, the US alleged Jihad. Or at least that's now the 'pushed paradigm'; Hollywood, Madison Ave and the likes of B, B & H (and their slaggy apologists) are (publicly) agreed. Some of the rest of us are not so sure. (See Robert Pape's "Dying to Win").

"They hate us for our values!" spruiks the 'leader of the free-world', while the only 'free' seemingly applicable is that in 'free-fire'. Or perhaps 'free' to rip-off. Both of which are being implemented in Iraq, starting with "Shock an Awe" then "Let's go play in Iraq" leading to lots'a 'pink-misting'. Oh, mostly 'towel-headed' Hajjis, 'only' 2534 US (113 UK) killed to date. And perhaps 18,356 US 'casualties', not counting screwed-up minds. There is no official 'body count' of Iraqis.

Sooo, how are we travelling?

The excuse given for the (illegal!) invasion of Iraq was 'the bureaucratic one they could all agree on'; i.e. Iraq's (non-existent!) WMDs, aka 'The big lie'. Whatever; then came all the 'hidden agendas' such as (obviously!) deposing a tyrant (even if he was their tyrant), democratising (by killing!), etc - a veritable 'raft' of feel-good stuff for the apologists to work with and on (always minimising the killing, of course: 'See what you made us do?!')

The one excuse the 'rest of the world' can agree on, is murder for oil. On the (simplistic? Oh, no!) grounds of WYSIWYG; if we can believe our very own peepers (an' why wouldn'cha?) - the US is setting-up house'n home in Iraq with the largest 'embassy' in the world followed by 4 or 5 mega-bases, all to 'project their power' into the ME (and over that oil). In actual fact, the US probably feels it 'must' now do so (continue with their 'murder for oil') and try to bluster it out (as they visibly are) - but Q: who is fooled? (One possible A: not this little black duck.) Either they 'must' do so, or admit defeat - and lose the oil, plus all those (trillions?) of $USs - even if not their guilt (sorry guys; can't ever lose that). Bad vibes, or what?

This is where Occam takes a (binary) swipe. Had the US been thoughtfully selective, they could'a pursued their 'War on Terror' in the traditional 'anti-insurgent' way, and tried to pursue any 'real' terrorists (always assuming 'good' intel of course - Cue Costello: "Haw, haw, haw! - Let us prey.") That (pursuing any 'real' terrorists) they would'a been able to 'sell', even though Pape says it's not anti-US or anti-anything-else other than anti-(illegal!)-occupiers. Just like (sorry again guys; can't avoid this) the prime illegal occupier, Israel.

Whatever 'other' reasons the US might'a had (an' I'm willing to say that the US may not be all bad), the 'murder for oil' imbroglio is simply unavoidable, and it's probably a big part'a the why they (the US) didn't get UNSC approval. Simply too much to lose, for the other 'players'. They (the US) put themselves 'fairly(?)' and squarely into the illegal occupier 'sin-bin' - wha'd'know, to join their illegal sprog, Israel.

Serves themselves 'right'; the outrage so engendered made lots'a people take a detailed '2nd look' at the US, and what was found was - pretty ugly. Turns out that the 25% of the world's resources that the US as 5% of the world's pop. has 'garnered' to itself has been done (more or less) with chicanery, swindles, coercion etc - see Perkins' "Economic Hit Man". And now, thanks to B, B & H's illegal invasion of Iraq; all their previous crimes now eclipsed by grand-scale, public mass-murderous theft. (Just like their illegal sprog, Israel, which is murdering these 58 years long for land and water.)

I think it's entirely possible for some-one to "hate us for our values", when those demonstrated values result in murderous theft.


Occam's (binary) razor sliced off all (US, Israeli) legitimacy! (They did it to themselves.)



Those who live by the sword (usually? must?) die by the sword.

As usual (for me), we can consider two (binary) choices:

a) let the killing continue (your choice?), or

b) stop the killing; no war.

If (b) is chosen, again two choices:

a) the killers volunteer to stop, and make adequate reparations.

b) they don't volunteer, but have to be made to stop.

If (b) is again chosen, any stopping will perforce be asymmetric; suitcase A-bombs, anyone?


We could avoid this last, by some true 'leadership', even if 'prodded' by us, we the people: now you have the (binary) choice:

a) be a 'passenger' and snooze (in front of your TV?) on the way to Armageddon, or

b) get up and do something (positive; to save the world - not just the US, but the greenhouse too threatens us all!)

More on the Supreme Court decision ...

DemocracyNow! has stories on the Supreme Court decision and the involvement of doctors' complicity in US abuses.

Following the Court's decision, can Bush be tried for war crimes? He could be but unlikely that he would be. 

Butt what about that tyrant Saddam? Useful chap when it suited. 

This link is for those who did not take the opportunity to use the resources available at the Global Policy Forum site linked earlier. And those who ignore what's there.

There is a lot of hypocrisy going down - which is much of what this thread is about. Not forgetting the torture and killing, of course.

Supreme Court stands up.

New this morning that the US Supreme Court has ruled the military tribunals proposed by the administration to try Gitmo detainees are illegal.

The Supreme Court today delivered a sweeping rebuke to the Bush
administration, ruling that it exceeded its authority by creating
tribunals for terror suspects that fell short of the legal protections
that Congress has traditionally required in military courts.

As a result, the court said in a 5-to-3 ruling, the tribunals
violated both American military law and the military's obligations
under the Geneva Conventions.

The court ruled two years ago
that Congress had not given the executive branch a "blank check" in the
war on terror. But today's ruling, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, was the first to address the standards that should apply to suspects held in what has become a prolonged struggle.

It was also the most significant rebuff to date to President Bush's
effort to expand presidential power in the course of waging that
struggle. And the reasoning adopted by the majority called into
question the justification Mr. Bush has used for other programs that
have come under Congressional scrutiny, like the warrantless
wiretapping conducted by the National Security Agency.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
said the administration had failed to prove a "practical need" that
would justify trying the detainees in courts that provided a lesser
standard of justice than Congress had authorized.

The impact of the decision, as noted in the above extract, goes deeper than just the military tribunal issue.

The point here is that the AUMF does not authorize activity that was
not specifically contemplated in the text or legislative history. This
is incredibly significant. The administration is relying on the AUMF to
justify its warrantless wiretapping program. Here’s Alberto Gonzales on

Our position is, is that the authorization to
use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following
September 11th, constitutes that other authorization, that other
statute by Congress, to engage in this kind of signals intelligence.

The Bush administration doesn’t argue that warrantless wiretapping
was something specifically contemplated in the text or by Congress.
Rather, the administration argues that it is implied as part of a broad
authorization to “use all necessary and appropriate force.”

The Supreme Court has rejected that expansive interpretation. It’s a
huge blow to the administration’s legal rationale for warrantless

Developments on the broader aspects of the decision, such as the wiretapping, will be reported on Irises. Meanwhile, we await the next move by the administration, the ramifications of which affect Australian David Hicks. Be interested to hear our government;s reaction.

Bush has already been asked about the decision, but said it was too early to comment. Video and transcript in this link.

A note of caution given the direction the US is heading under Bush - look at the dissenting views reported in the first article above and contemplate Bush getting more opportunities to appoint justices.

I agree with Bob.

David R: "...and your favourite tactic, so you would recognise it ."

Well, golly David. If I've ever made an ad hominem attack on this blog, perhaps you can refer me to the occasion and I'll apologise to that person.

When was that?

True. In the past, I have been accused of "attacking" people here when I have asked them for sources or evidence in support of their unsubstantiated empirical claims.

I know that's been very annoying for some of our WebDiarist experts on this or that.

Indeed, on at least one occasion, a regular contributor to the blog actually stopped corresponding after she was repeatedly challenged to corroborate the various "facts" she alleged.

A few folk accused me of "attacking" her.

Especially when I drew attention to her regularly contradicting herself on matters of purported "fact".

Now, on this occasion, however, I am merely asking Bob to comment on the findings of an international survey of opinions touching specifically on the topic of his essay.

I have even gone so far as to express agreement with his view that (Christian) fundamentalists and millennialists are a dangerous crowd.

And in the light of that, asked him to comment on the findings of an international survey of opinions of attitudes to religious groups and other cultural attitudes.

I think the difficulty with the results of the Pew Global Attitudes Project survey however are not that they contradict Bob's opinion of Christians.

In fact, it has some rather unkind things to say about reliogious intolerance in places like Spain and Germany.

I think the problem with the survey is this - it puts into perspective the relative degrees of religious intolerance and tolerance in the West, especially in countries like the USA, Britain and other major European countries, allowing us to contrast those with the blatant, unreconstructed, and often officially stage managed anti-Judaic bigotry of the governments of leading Islamic states.

Well, are you telling me that by simply drawing attention to this survey, I am "attacking" Bob?

Gosh? Why would that constitute an attack on Bob, I wonder?

Value judgement

This item may have some bearing on whether it is Western liberal democratic values "they" hate or whether it's just because "we" are so horrible to "them";

"First came a letter carrying a stern warning: "Quit the race, or else". Next, unidentified attackers cut up and sprayed insults over campaign billboards.

But Aisha al-Rushaid - one of 32 women standing in Kuwait's elections tomorrow - has vowed to pursue a seat in parliament in the first general election since the country granted female suffrage last year."

How dare she?

Anyway, I note Bob still hasn't responded to my question (below) regarding the findings of the Pew Global Attitudes Project comparative survey  of religious bigotry in both Western and Muslim countries.

With respect to the rampant racism it uncovered in Muslim countries, I have to say I don't believe the Muslim people of those countries are themselves entirely at fault. Perhaps not at all at fault.

After all, it is their governments who so often deliberately encourage the racism the survey uncovered, as amply demonstrated by the blatant anti-Judaic extremes characteristic of state-controlled media in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia or the malignant codswallup that gushes from the Hamas thugocracy.

So, Bob? What's the problem?

Nothing in the Party propaganda manual about how to handle the question?

Why not try attacking the messenger? That's always handy.

David R: and your favourite tactic, so you would recognise it ...

The little Haditha's and the Big Picture.

Nir Rosen reports on his experiences in Iraq. 

In reality both Abu
Ghraib and Haditha were merely more extreme versions of the day-to-day
workings of the American occupation in Iraq, and what makes them unique
is not so much how bad they were, or how embarrassing, but the fact
that they made their way to the media and were publicized despite
attempts to cover them up. Focusing on Abu Ghraib and Haditha distracts
us from the daily, little Abu Ghraibs and small-scale Hadithas that
have made up the occupation. The occupation has been one vast extended
crime against the Iraqi people, and most of it has occurred unnoticed
by the American people and the media.

The focus of the article is on two weeks Rosen spent embedded with an American unit. The war occupation has lasted over three years.

On massaging public opinion.

Behind the spin is the agenda. 

OBL could not have asked for more. 

President Bush's May 2003 announcement aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln that "major combat operations"
had ended in Iraq has been replayed endlessly. What is less well remembered is just what the president
claimed the United States had accomplished. "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror
that began on September the 11th, 2001," he declared. The defeat of Saddam Hussein, he told the American
people, was "a crucial advance in the campaign against terror." In fact, the consensus now emerging
among a wide range of intelligence and counterterrorism professionals is that the opposite is
true: The invasion of Iraq not only failed to help the war on terrorism, but it represented a substantial

Note that there has been a resurgence in violence in Afghanistan.

What has it meant to the US?

So, were they suckered? Deluded? Stupid? Or is a permanent state of war and chaos their aim? All of these?

Is the question inconvenient? Or merely the facts?

Bob Wall: "The (Christian) fundamentalists and millennialists are a dangerous crowd."

Bob, Hi!

I take it you are going simply to ignore my question (below) to you regarding the findings of the Pew Global Attitudes Project survey exploring the issue of religious bigotry, specifically rampant (officially orchestrated?) anti-Judaism in predominantly Muslim countries around the world, while "Majorities in the United States, France, Britain and Russia" express favorable views of Muslims"

Is the question inconvenient? Or merely the facts?

And should we regard your reluctance on this point as indicative?

A waste of money = and lives.

A behind the scenes battle in the US is being fought over the rules governing detainee treatment.

The Pentagon is pushing to omit from new detainee policies a central
principle of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating
and degrading treatment". Critics say such a step that would mark a
further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights

The State Department is opposing the decision to exclude Geneva
Conventions protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White
House to reconsider.

Meanwhile, in the face of growing criticism over U.S. treatment of
detainees, Pentagon officials have decided to make public all of the
military's interrogation techniques. Military leaders had previously
argued that making all of the interrogation tactics public would allow
enemy combatants to train and prepare for specific techniques.

The Pentagon's decision came as two previously secret Army
investigative reports on prisoner abuse were released to the American
Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) under a freedom of information request. 

Meanwhile, it is a waste of money as well.

There are suggestions in this article about what could have been done instead of war, including:

11. Climate Change

    In a May 10 Washington Post op-ed piece, University of Chicago law professor
Cass Sunstein argued that "the economic burden of the Iraq War is on the
verge of exceeding the total anticipated burden of the Kyoto Protocol."
Sunstein's argument, predictably, came under attack from the right, but in fact
he seriously understated his case. The estimated $325 billion cost of Kyoto
refers not to direct budgetary costs - most academic studies have concluded
that these would be extremely small. Instead, the figure refers to indirect
costs to economic growth. This is a large price to pay, but as with the rest
it's significantly less than the economic impact of the war. On top of the $1.27
trillion in direct expenditures, however, Bilmes and Stiglitz also anticipate
an additional trillion or so in indirect reduced economic growth. Without the
invasion, in other words, we could have both gotten a jump on the emerging challenge
of global warming and enjoyed higher levels of overall prosperity than we're
seeing today.

So why do it? The Ron Suskind conclusion from this review of his book. 

Many reasons have been advanced for why Bush decided to attack Iraq,
a third-rate Arab dictatorship that posed no threat to the United
States. Some have argued that Bush and Cheney, old oilmen, wanted to
get their hands on Iraq's oil. Others have posited that the
neoconservative civilians in the Pentagon, Wolfowitz and Feith, and
their offstage guru Richard Perle, were driven by their passionate
attachment to Israel. Suskind does not address these arguments, and his
own thesis does not rule them out as contributing causes. But he argues
persuasively that the war, above all, was a "global experiment in
behaviorism": If the U.S. simply hit misbehaving actors in the face
again and again, they would eventually change their behavior. "The
primary impetus for invading Iraq, according to those attending NSC
briefings on the Gulf in this period, was to create a demonstration
model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire
destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United
States." This doctrine had been enunciated during the administration's
first week by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who had written a memo
arguing that America must come up with strategies to "dissuade nations
abroad from challenging" America. Saddam was chosen simply because he
was available, and the Wolfowitz-Feith wing was convinced he was an
easy target.

Lots more - and just in the review. The book should be very interesting indeed.

Robert Dreyfuss on the "accord" and related matters.

The issue of a U.S. withdrawal is a deal-breaker for most of the
resistance. What drives the resistance in Iraq is the occupation
itself. According to resistance leaders I have spoken with, the
insurgents are willing to declare a truce in order to allow U.S. forces
to carry out an orderly withdrawal from Iraq, but they aren’t willing
to make a deal that tolerates the continuation of the occupation. So,
by excluding a timetable, Maliki makes it next to impossible for the
main body of the resistance to sign a deal.

Equally worrying is that fact that the main proponents of the
supposed deal between Maliki and the resistance is the Iraqi Islamic
Party (IIP), a Sunni religious party linked to the worldwide Muslim
Brotherhood that has joined every U.S.-assembled government in Iraq
since 2003. The IIP is widely discredited and seen as part of the
U.S.-installed puppet government by many Iraqis, and so its endorsement
of a deal between Maliki and the resistance doesn’t carry much weight.
As a result, there is a strong possibility that any Sunni leaders who
accept Maliki’s malformed reconciliation plan will be similarly viewed
by Sunnis as having caved in to the U.S. occupation. And that doesn’t
bode well for hopes that the resistance will end.

If, as is suggested, the US plans to maintain a presence in Iraq, then a resolution to the conflict(s) is a long way off. Does the Bush administration care? The record says not.

Fundamentalists and millennialists are a dangerous crowd

Bob Wall: "The (Christian) fundamentalists and millennialists are a dangerous crowd."

Bob, Hi! I am rather surprised you missed my question (below) to you regarding the findings of the Pew Global Attitudes Project survey exploring the issue of religious bigotry.

It touches on the matters you are addressing - specifically our values, fundamentalists and millennialists and the like.

The survey found that  "Majorities in the United States, France, Britain and Russia -- but not in Germany or Spain -- expressed favorable views of Muslims" but also noted this;

"In every Muslim country surveyed, overwhelming or near unanimous majorities expressed negative views toward Jews. The figure reached 99 percent in Jordan, 98 percent in Egypt and 94 percent in Pakistan. Twenty-eight percent of Jordanians and 22 percent of Egyptians volunteered that "Jews" were to blame for bad relations between Muslims and the West, although Jews were not mentioned in the question."

So, repeating my question...

Would you say it was the predominantly Christo-Judaic culture in United States, France, Britain and Russia which accounts for them expressing "favorable views of Muslims"?

And what in your opinion accounts for the entrenched anti-Judaic racism of predominantly Muslim countries?

Could it be the ceaseless anti-Judaic propaganda pouring from official media in those countries?

And the complicit rampant anti-Israeli propaganda coming from the political Left in the West?

In other words, is there a double standard operating there? And what would you call this?

Plenty of hatred to go around

"Who do you hold responsible for the hatred?"

The tyrants, racists and killers who rule so much of the Western and Muslim worlds.

A violent history.

Angela, here is a report on the state of Fallujah now - and on matters of money and reconstruction.

Found an echo with the keeping of boys over 16 in Fallujah as suspected insurgents - a similar approach has been used in the past.

No one is completely sure about
how many Filipinos we massacred, possibly a half million, maybe
more. For example, on the island of Samar, US Army General Jacob
Smith gave these orders to his soldiers: "I want no prisoners.
I want you to kill and burn. I want all people killed who are capable
of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States."
When asked what the age limit was, the general replied "ten
years and older." Approximately 10,000 men women and children
were killed on Samar alone.

From 10 to 16 - that's progress.

There's more.

Meanwhile, the man behind the scenes, Dick Cheney, is being haunted by his past. 

Eventually, the truth caught up with the company--its stock tanked--but
Cheney was already off to Washington, $40 million richer and running the
country. He sold his shares at the top. HAL, the Halliburton stock
symbol, began falling a few months after his resignation, from $53 to an
eventual low of $8. By then Bush/Cheney were rolling out another bold
venture--the invasion of Iraq.


Halliburton, meanwhile, is back on top. HAL soared on booming oil prices
to $82 (before dropping back a bit), helped by the notorious no-bid
contracts to rebuild war-ravaged Iraq. Cheney, one might say, did his
part. War and rumors of war in the Middle East produce rising oil
prices. Noncompetitive contracts eliminate the problem of cost overruns,
since US taxpayers will pick up the tab. It seems the era of corporate
corruption did not end with Enron, WorldCom and the other scandals. It
relocated to Washington.

How to rescue a company, pity about all the deaths etc.

Religious racists calling the kettle black

Bob Wall: "The (Christian) fundamentalists and millennialists are a dangerous crowd."

The Pew Global Attitudes Project survey (reported below) found that  "Majorities in the United States, France, Britain and Russia -- but not in Germany or Spain -- expressed favorable views of Muslims."

Given that Christian fundamentalists are a "dangerous crowd", Bob (and I don't disagree), how more so the official anti-Judaic rhetoric of Muslim countries which may account for this finding?

"In every Muslim country surveyed, overwhelming or near unanimous majorities expressed negative views toward Jews. The figure reached 99 percent in Jordan, 98 percent in Egypt and 94 percent in Pakistan. Twenty-eight percent of Jordanians and 22 percent of Egyptians volunteered that "Jews" were to blame for bad relations between Muslims and the West, although Jews were not mentioned in the question."

Would you say it was the predominantly Christo-Judaic culture in United States, France, Britain and Russia which accounts for them expressing "favorable views of Muslims"?

And what in you view accounts for the demonstrable and rampant anti-Jewish attitudes uncovered by the survey?

And what role would this take in informing Middle Eastern and Central Asian foreign policy would you say? Hmmm?

The rehabilitation of political anti-Semitism as a rhetoric

Angela Ryan: "So , to improve one's acceptance and popularity it seems one must pull back on the violence in one's region. Sounds fair enought to me, non?"

The pathological anti-Judaism epidemic amongst Muslims, as demonstrated by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, is the complete vindication of Israel's right to secure borders if you ask me.

The attitudes expressed by Arab and Iranian Muslims in the survey merely reflect the official,propaganda expressed by regional governments.

Your attempt to "explain" (justify) the chronic anti-Jewish hostility of Muslims (virtualy worldwide it seems) by inferring that its cause is somehow the cause of Israeli violence "in the region" fails to account for the extensive anti-Judaism of Muslims not connected with "the region".

It would be as if you attempted to justify anti-Islamic opinion in the West (not especially prevalent any if the survey is correct) by reference to the Turkish genocide against the Armenians.

And that would be patently ridiculous and morally bereft.

The survey merely reports what has been plain to see for many, many decades - that the official political culture of many predominantly Muslim countries (for example, Iran and Saudiu Arabia) deliberately demonises and de-humanises Jews in the most crude way.

Indeed, in ways not seen in the west since the end of the Third Reich, and in ways often actually drawing on the techniques of the Third Reich, for example the continually broadcast as "historicallly accurate" the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The only issue still open to discussion, I feel, is the extent to which wide-spread Left support, at the rhetorical and political levels, for anti-Israeli programmes constitutes complicity in the official racist policies of regimes like that in Iran.

Indeed, the same accusation may be made against those who advocate formal policies in support of Saudi Arabia's morally bankrupt autocracy.

I grant you.

But the Left's obsession with vilifying Israel goes beyond merely expressing support for regional Arabic Muslim and other Muslim powers, doesn't it?

It is, effectively, a determined effort by the broader political Left to rehabilitate political anti-Semitism as a respectable rhetoric.

Having no further role to play in world history, the Left is today reduced to being lickspittles to psuedo-Nazi Islamist nihilism.

And its seems, it is our culture that they hate after all.

stark surveys show it is the violence they do not approve of

C Parsons: "And it seems, it is our culture that they hate after all."

No I didn't see anything in the survey about culture, but there was black and white, for once against perceived violence. Maybe one could ask what kind of violence are they are they considering.

You can ignore it or do something about it. It was your link and it was starkly informative...

Violence, Hatred And Western Responsibility.

Who does approve of violence Angela? Apart from the tyrants, racists and killers who rule so much of the Muslim world, I mean?

"You can ignore it or you can do something about it."

What would you suggest, Angela? Who do you hold responsible for the hatred? The haters? Or the victims and targets of the hatred?

Myths and Perceptions.

Hi Angela, thanks for the piece about the attempt by CAP to reassert a form of Christianity that actually has Christ in it. The fundamentalists and millennialists are a dangerous crowd. As to whether WD would be interested in further articles from CAP and such, well, you can always submit something and see. Might generate some interest - religion usually does.

On the matter of the Iraq peace plan, there is this and this to consider.

The latter - the US attitude leads to Scott Ritter's  Three Myths.

As a follow up to The Dark Side here is Ray McGovern.

And the Washington Post

There are new death counts being published.

Tom Englehardt - Green Zoning It All the Way.

For David - oil price rises on the back of a shipping snag  .. and what happens if action is taken against Iran.

Oil company execs will be happy - if they ignore all the killing and other matters such as this

John Murtha rates the US the biggest danger to world peace - but the danger goes much further. See above.

For Your viewing pleasure.

I referred earlier to a PBS documentary The Dark Side. It is now available for viewing online - video is in a choice of formats and speed and in 6 parts.


Talking about values ...

A 15-nation global attitudes survey released June 22 by The Pew Global Attitudes Project reported these findings amongst other...


"Majorities in the United States, France, Britain and Russia -- but not in Germany or Spain -- expressed favorable views of Muslims. Majorities of Indonesians and Jordanians -- but not Egyptians, Pakistanis or Turks -- expressed favorable views of Christians."

"In every Muslim country surveyed, overwhelming or near unanimous majorities expressed negative views toward Jews. The figure reached 99 percent in Jordan, 98 percent in Egypt and 94 percent in Pakistan. Twenty-eight percent of Jordanians and 22 percent of Egyptians volunteered that "Jews" were to blame for bad relations between Muslims and the West, although Jews were not mentioned in the question."

Meanwhile, in Iraq...

"THE Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, presented a national reconciliation plan to parliament yesterday to curb sectarian killings and the Sunni insurgency that has crippled postwar reconstruction."


Make friends by not killing their brothers,not mensa stuff.

Thanks C Parsons,that was certainly an intersting survey ,by the group led by Madeleine Albright, where do you find these ?

The survey had a bit more depth to it than one might think from what you wrote ,in fact there were many facets to the qustions and quite a bit to analyse.

The difference in opinion in Germany was facinating, I wonder if it has anything to do with their foreign worker program,what do you think?

It also shows there really is no antisemiticism problem widespread in Eurpope,with such popular figures fro Judaism approaching the christian's won religion popularity.

And yet, elsewhere there is such a very different result.Why? Perhaps the answer is in the next table given: "Which religion is most violent?

Here ,one can see the corolation between unfavoured (from the previous table) and perceived violence in this table. All the predominantly moslem countries,especially Lebanon, Jordan,Morroco,Indonesia,Pakistan,and Turkey.   All have Judaisim as the most violent religious group. Interestingly this idea that percieved violence correlates with disfavour is supported by Turkey (remember how poorly Christianity was favoured) one of the few considering Christianity a violent religion/religious group.

So ,to improve one's acceptance and popuarity it seems one must pull back on the violence in one's region. Sounds fair enought to me,non?


Another type of resource.

David, thanks for the update on the oil price. Oh the $20 /barrel prediction - it seems to belong to a galaxy and time far, far away. As much as the price seems destined to keep rising so the shenanigans over access to oil and control of it are destined to continue.

For those interested in the matter, here is the Global Policy Forum  resource. This is the Oil page but you will note the links to much, much more. Hours of research can be done.

Light a candle ,dance and sing,here comes a glimmer

Well, it  is always darkest before the dawn.

Here is a glimmer in the horizon I missed last year.

InAmerican Prospect is an article that gives some hope,by Rob Garver from 6.24.05. I thought you would like it Bob and I wonder if Web diary might be interested in any further articles about this group and it's following and progress.

"....Founded by Jacksonville, Florida, businessman Patrick Mrotek, the Christian Alliance for Progress (CAP) says its purpose is the “reclaim” the Christian faith from the extreme religious right.

The Reverend Timothy F. Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and the group’s director of religious affairs, said in an interview Wednesday that the Christian left has for too long allowed the Christian right to be the public face of his religion in America. “The language of our faith has been placed in the service of policy ends that don’t reflect the Gospel, and we have become deeply troubled over that,” he said.

The Christian right, he says, in the persons of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and James Dobson, has come to stand for bigotry, intolerance, and division. Simpson says that his organization will try to repair the damage done by the right’s insistence that the United States is a “Christian nation” that ought to be governed according to their narrow interpretation of Scripture.

“I understand that the truth can be spoken by Muslims, and the truth can be spoken by Jews. The truth can be spoken by atheists,” said Simpson. “And listen: An atheist who stands for the interests of the neighbor, an atheist who stands for the interests of poor people at the margins, for the oppressed, is worth more than a hundred Christians who have made their bed with the fat cats, because that atheist is actually articulating the ends of the kingdom of God....” and then goes on to say:


CAP was officially launched Wednesday, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., and on Thursday, its leaders returned to Jacksonville to hold a second launch event, this one in front of Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church.

The choice of the location is significant because the pastor of First Baptist is Jerry Vines, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who made headlines at the group’s annual meeting in 2002 by denigrating Islam and referring to its founder, Mohammed, as “a demon-possessed pedophile.”

“We will hold a press conference outside of the First Baptist Church to say while we recognize you as brothers and sisters in Christ, we see things very differently in terms of what the Bible is calling us to do in the public sphere, and we believe that you all -- through your affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention, which has become almost a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party -- have abandoned the values of our founder, Jesus Christ,” Simpson said.

CAP launched its Web site last month, and, with no advertising, has already attracted thousands of signatories to its “Jacksonville Declaration,” a statement of principles that, among other things, explicitly disavows the politics of the religious right:


“We must tell you now that you do not speak for us, or for our politics. We say ‘No’ to the ways you are using the name and language of Christianity to advance what we see as extremist political goals. We do not support your agenda to erode the separation of church and state, to blur the vital distinction between your interpretation of Christianity and our shared democratic institutions. Moreover, we do not accept what seems to be your understanding of Christian values. We reject a Christianity co-opted by any government and used as a tool to ostracize, to subjugate, or to condone bigotry, greed and injustice.”

Oiling the wheels.

Hi Angela, thanks that info - one could become just a little suspicious of the motives for the invasion. Perhaps the intentions were good - the Yanks wanted to relieve the Iraqis of the trouble of controlling their own resources. And there is the price of oil to consider - Greg Palast might well be on to something there.

There has been a great deal of liberating going on - not only in respect of Iraqi industry but the US has liberated itself from international law and the Geneva Conventions. Just for starters.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad there is a state of emergency.

Iraqi and U.S. military forces clashed with heavily armed attackers
throughout the morning Friday within earshot of the Green Zone, which
houses the U.S. and British embassies and Iraqi government headquarters.

Within earshot of the Green Zone - refer to earlier articles.

Back to the treatment of detainees - Gitmo has become an embarrassment but closing it poses problems. But then, there are all those secrets places.

Mission accomplished? Some think so. Pity about all the killing and chaos. There are killings of a different kind to be made. What price is oil now?

David R: at least I can manage the last question: US$70.87 for July delivery at the close of NYMEx on Friday ... (Interestingly, since the start of the Iraq war, one of the benefits of which, as we know from R.Murdoch esq, would be the fall of the oil price to $20 a barrel, the price has spent just on 8 months in each decade before surging up to the next one over a day or three - so probably worth betting on an $80 barrel for January '07 ... (current futures price for January is $73.50))

The Gates of Hell.

G'day Angela and Phil, there is reported to be an peace plan for Iraq about to be announced.

THE Iraqi Government will announce a sweeping peace plan as early as
Sunday in a last-ditch effort to end the Sunni insurgency that has
taken the country to the brink of civil war.

The 28-point package for national reconciliation will offer Iraqi
resistance groups inclusion in the political process and an amnesty for
their prisoners if they renounce violence and lay down their arms, The Times can reveal.

Key elements are:


  • A schedule for coalition forces to withdraw

  • General amnesty for prisoners “who have not shed innocent Iraqis’ blood”
  • A halt to “anti-terrorist operations” by coalition forces in insurgent areas
  • A review of the process of de-Baathification and of financial compensation to sacked civil servants from the Saddam regime

    Wonder what the US will have to say.

    Perhaps they have no intention of leaving and have plans of their own such as Ramadi, in the short term, and a permanent presence.

    The situation, as reported by the Ambassador is dire, and they were warned that they would be "kicking open the gates of Hell".

    Did they care? What was the mission for which so many have died? It seems that the only success that can be claimed is increasing the profits of the oil companies.

    well,now,how does this play for the liberation believers?

    HI ,Bob,  I don't think there are friends being made in the oil industry in Iraq.  In fact ,the oil unions have just had their accounts frozen by the regime,and this is a union that allegedly opposed Saddam.


    .In August 2003 the union halted oil exports for two days as a protest over low wages.

    The GUOE is independent of any political party or union federation.

    GUOE executive committee members, including its President, were part of the opposition against Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, and many were imprisoned by the regime.The GUOE is opposed to the military occupation of Iraq and to the privatisation of the oil and industrial sectors of Iraq.

    The GUOE is a successor to the Southern Oil Company Union (SOCU), set up immediately after the fall of the Saddam regime. In October 2003 union activists kicked US company KBR out of oil industry workplaces...." See ,the last line shows there is hope,but at a price.


    Liberation ,but not for the people...just their natural resources.


    P.S.  Maybe the proxy wars are taking a sophisitcated oil colour canvass

    Off on a tangent.

    Mike Lyvers, perhaps you should reread my previous post and try to understand it. Then, if you are willing and able to provide reasoned and substantiated rebuttals please do so instead of spouting irrelevancies.

    Meanwhile, on cutting and running, Lt. Gen William Odom thinks it is a good idea.


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