The United States cannot possibly achieve its political goals in Iraq - or the goal of reducing its own military presence over time - unless Iraqis are treated as partners.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
ecological foreshadowing? what a nightmare. 22,000 and counting...
At Least 22,000 Die in Tsunami
'They now suspect everyone here,' said Lt. Col. Ahmed Ibrahim Ali, the commander of the Iraqi Army battalion. 'We feel like we live in a prison.'

Separately, Captain Uthlaut said, 'We are a little more careful with searching these guys. 'The fine line is treating them as partners, while not treating them like prisoners.'

The New York Times > International > Middle East > U.S. Troops and Iraqis Are on Edge at Mosul Base

Case(s) in point(s) - Editorial

I'm out of the habit of posting articles & op-eds, but this one speaks volumes about the current situation. Well done Bob. Why is a guy like Boykin even close a position of such influence? The situation is dangerous enough. There is no need to compound them by having people like him (-the uber-religioso right wing) and Rumsfeld (-neo con "crazies") making important decisions when they've miserably failed to lead America in the right direction.


December 27, 2004

Shopping for War

You might think that the debacle in Iraq would be enough for the Pentagon, that it would not be in the mood to seek out new routes to unnecessary wars for the United States to fight. But with Donald Rumsfeld at the apex of the defense establishment, enough is never enough.

So, as detailed in an article in The Times on Dec. 19, Mr. Rumsfeld's minions are concocting yet another grandiose and potentially disastrous scheme. Pentagon officials are putting together a plan that would give the military a more prominent role in intelligence gathering operations that traditionally have been handled by the Central Intelligence Agency. They envision the military doing more spying with humans, as opposed, for example, to surveillance with satellites.

Further encroachment by the military into intelligence matters better handled by civilians is bad enough. Now hold your breath. According to the article, "Among the ideas cited by Defense Department officials is the idea of 'fighting for intelligence,' or commencing combat operations chiefly to obtain intelligence."

That is utter madness. The geniuses in Washington have already launched one bogus war, which has cost tens of thousands of lives and provoked levels of suffering that are impossible to quantify. We don't need to be contemplating new forms of warfare waged for the sole purpose of gathering intelligence.

Part of this plan to further aggrandize Mr. Rumsfeld is being drafted under the direction of Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a deputy under secretary of defense who has already demonstrated that he should not be allowed anywhere near the most serious matters of national security. General Boykin, who once had the job of directing the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is an evangelical Christian who believes God put President Bush in the White House. He has described the fight against Islamic militants as a struggle against Satan and declared that it can be won only "if we come at them in the name of Jesus."

General Boykin asserted his views in speeches that he delivered in his military uniform at religious functions around the country. In one speech, referring to a Muslim fighter in Somalia, the general said: "Well, you know what I knew - that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

General Boykin was forced to apologize after media accounts led to widespread criticism. But the Bush administration is still holding him tightly in its embrace. How difficult is it to come to the conclusion that this is not a fellow who should be making decisions on matters involving armed conflict with Muslims?

It's also time to rein in Mr. Rumsfeld. As The Times noted in a recent editorial, "The last time Mr. Rumsfeld tried to force himself into the intelligence collection and analysis business, he created a boutique C.I.A. in the bowels of the Pentagon under the command of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy. The office essentially fabricated a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden - a link used to justify the Iraq invasion, and one that Mr. Rumsfeld was not getting from the C.I.A."

As Mr. Rumsfeld sees it, if the professionals won't give you what you want, find someone who will. What the Bush administration wanted from its intelligence sources was a reason to go to war. Mr. Rumsfeld's shop was more than happy to oblige.

The war in Iraq was the result of powerful government figures imposing their dangerous fantasies on the world. The fantasies notably included the weapons of mass destruction, the links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the throngs of Iraqis hurling kisses and garlands at the invading Americans, and the spread of American-style democracy throughout the Middle East. All voices of caution were ignored and the fantasies were allowed to prevail.

The world is not a video game, although it must seem like it at times to the hubristic, hermetically sealed powerbrokers in Washington who manipulate the forces that affect the lives of so many millions of people in every region of the planet. That kind of power calls for humility, not arrogance, and should be wielded wisely, not thoughtlessly and impulsively.

This latest overreach by Mr. Rumsfeld is a sign that the administration, like a hardheaded adolescent, has learned little or nothing from the tragic consequences of its wrongheaded policies. The second term is coming, so buckle up. It promises to be a very dangerous four years.

E-mail: bobherb@nytimes.com

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Shopping for War
More evidence of abuse and torture...

A trove of government disclosures forced by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit has signaled that the abuse of detainees in Iraq and at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was much broader than the Bush administration has portrayed it since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal became public this spring.

A heavily redacted internal e-mail from an FBI agent in June, for example, reported hearing of ''numerous serious physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees . . . strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees' ear openings, and unauthorized interrogations" and refers to ''coverup efforts."

Another FBI agent wrote in an e-mail in August of witnessing an interrogation in Guantanamo:

''The A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees," the report said. ''The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night."

Thousands of pages of documents, including two sets of FBI reports made public in the past week, have been released since October in response to a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups.

The documents suggest that severe mistreatment was far more widespread than previously known and that there may have been higher-level authorization by Bush administration officials for a policy of aggressive interrogation tactics. The White House last week again denied that anyone authorized torture and pledged to investigate the new allegations.

more greatest hits of Iraq torture and abuse...


A vivid FBI e-mail, which recounted the detainee who pulled his hair out, also describes sessions in which detainees were chained in a fetal position with no food or water for 24 hours or more, causing them to urinate and defecate on themselves.

During one prolonged period, the room temperature was set so low that a barefoot detainee shook with cold. Another time the unventilated room was made ''unbearably hot" while ''extremely loud rap music" blasted a detainee for more than a day, the agent said.

Another FBI agent reported in July 2004: ''I saw another detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played, and a strobe light flashing."

And two FBI reports from Guantanamo also present possible new evidence of higher responsibility for authorizing abuses. A e-mail from last December protests about Defense Department interrogators impersonating FBI officers at Guantanamo.

''If this detainee is . . . released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [by] the 'FBI' interrogators," the FBI agent wrote in December 2003.

Then, an e-mail from January 2004 discussing the sessions in which interrogators impersonated FBI agents -- but which itself does not use the phrase ''torture techniques" -- connects the practice to the second-highest official at the Pentagon, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: ''Once again, this technique, and all of those used in these scenarios, was approved by the Dep Sec Def."

The Pentagon has denied that Wolfowitz approved interrogation techniques of any kind, although it says Rumsfeld approved the tactic of impersonation.

A typical example: Last summer, two Defense Intelligence Agency interrogators saw members of a special forces task force ''punch a prisoners in the face to the point that the individual needed medical attention." They told a task force supervisors, but were ''threatened," ordered not to talk about it, and had their photos of the beaten prisoner confiscated.

A document indicated that an FBI official thought President Bush had personally authorized some aggressive interrogation techniques in Iraq, a charge the White House denies.

A May e-mail from an FBI commander in Baghdad makes repeated references to a presidential order allegedly authorizing military interrogators to use techniques such as sleep deprivation, hooding, and stress positions.

''The things our personnel witnessed (but did not participate in) were authorized by the President under his Executive Order," the FBI agent wrote.

The White House denies such an order exists. If it does and was issued before the Abu Ghraib abuses, such a directive would contradict the government's account that the interrogation policy went no higher than the top US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez.

''We need more information, but there is evidence here of high-up approval of these techniques," said Jaffer, from the ACLU. ''This is the first we've heard about the existence of this type of order."

To read/view more...Boston Globe - US disclosures signal wider detainee abuse & Un REgardModerne

Iraqification of your occupation

Rumsfeld Says Iraqis Must Stop Insurgents...

So, why don't "liberation" forces leave Iraq in a retracted fashion so that Iraqis that were inside of Iraq during the past couple decades can handle the problem? The exiles won't cut it. And American forces inside Iraq are becoming more and more of an obstacle. And if elections seem illegitimate in January, we are all in a lot of trouble. Hey! dim-sum for brains Rum, why don't you help destroy the insurgency by resigning? You know it would help. So, why not be what you have not been designed to be...selfless for your country... Exactly like those American soldiers you have sent or kept in Iraq to die. You're so damn patriotic, why don't you actually do something positive for America and Iraq by leaving your post? You know it would help both American soldiers and Marines...not to mention millions of Iraqis that you claim to be helping.

Iraqis will liberate themselves from the "liberation" eventually. How bloody your inwardly looking administration's interests require it to be is the real question...

And there are actually some smart people working on the problem...but they continually bat-heads with people like Rumsfeld.

I think the world has tolerated Rummy for too long. He's had time to backpedal from his sickly entertaining and horrific arrogance, but has failed to do so. So, time's up buddy. Give back to America by leaving D.C. By staying in your current position for the next four years you will only be adding flames to the already stoked fire of fundamentalism (both Christian and Islamic) that has been allowed to have a rennaisance of sorts during the 21st century. Funny how far backward we trod along in America, while claiming to be the most civilized people on earth.

Ah but what of this sanguine verisimilitude of the american masses...

It's really quite extraordinary that you're still in office rum-sum. but it's really quite extraordinary most of the things this administration has been catastrophically successful in screwing up has been because of bullshit lies and deceit that continues to be

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everybody.




...are 3 things we need more of in this world.

Let us work harder to gain more of each this coming year.

I haven't caught up with email. Please excuse me. Also, I'm sorry to see that Najma turned her comments off, but I completely understand this if she is being inundated with petty bs.

That's all I have the time for now.
I wish everybody the best. Be sure to spend time over the holidays with your family and good friends. Everything will seem better--for real--after you do thattttttttt....

peace and grace,

Show me the money. But don't go destroying Baghdad and killing more innocent civilians doing it.

In plain speak and directly: Iraqis are very skeptical about this guy's existence. But American officials continue to say that he's "the most dangerous man in Iraq" and continue to blow the flames of extremism in this twisted way by offering indications that he exists (for American consumption) and then destroying everything in the path their "intelligence" mapped out for them. So, because of FAC and because of so little being reported from independent sources...the creation of reality becomes the frontline on the battlefield.

And fooling the world continues to be the main objective. I see a pattern quite crisply at the moment. And the net result has been more innocent people being killed. And simply, I don't like that. I'll continue to bitch until people listen more.

CNN.com - U.S. General: Al-Zarqawi likely in Baghdad - Dec 16, 2004

Presidential Medals of Failure

If you fail miserably, you get a medal of "freedom" or get to keep your job. That's the message the world gets from America. Therefore, the president should get a Presidential Medal of "Freedom".

Where's Kerik?

This is the question I asked myself as, one by one, the pictures of the latest Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees flashed by on my computer screen. First came George Tenet, the former CIA director and the man who had assured President Bush that it was a 'slam-dunk' that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Then came L. Paul Bremer, the former viceroy of Iraq, who disbanded the Iraqi army and ousted Baathists from government jobs, therefore contributing mightily to the current chaos in that country. Finally came retired Gen. Tommy Franks, the architect of the plan whereby the United States sent too few troops to Iraq.

Presidential Medals of Failure (washingtonpost.com)

Like a predictable movie

You knew it was coming. And so here is Shaalann positioning himself to be America's next delusional leader at the helm in Baghdad. He's the next Chalabi to be used as an excuse (and an alabi) to invade Iran and/or Syria. Saying all the things the Bush administration wants to hear...that's when you know something stinks. If they're really bent on war, this (and the next) administration will need a coalition-of-chalabis to make more war in the region.

Iraq's defense minister on Wednesday accused neighboring Iran and Syria of supporting terrorists in his country and charged that a senior Iraqi Shiite was leading a ``pro-Iranian'' coalition into next month's national elections.

How controversial! OOoooo!

And Scott Ritter, picking up on the Zarqawi stink, too.

Shaalan positioning himself to be used as an excuse and alibi-->simulataneously

Update...next day: Bush chimes in on Iran and Syria, today. Only a day after Shalaan makes the above statement. Golly gee.. I am so surprised! Good synchronizing dudes! Up-keep of the delusion is always necessary.

I wonder when this will catch up with them.

out, lim

Files show more US abuse in Iraq

It's been a while since I was able to blog. Anyway, I'll catch up on my email tomorrow. It's late, so I'll rest. Sorry to those of you to whom I said I'd reply to recently. It's been a bit too interesting lately. I'll be in touch soon.

Meanwhile, here's more evidence of the abuse that happened in Iraq.

Evidence of more prisoner abuse in Iraq has come to light after the US military was forced to release it by the courts. The documents show that US marines carried out a mock execution, used electric shocks and burned prisoners.


In one of the incidents, a witness described a marine "shock an Iraqi detainee with an electric transformer".

Two US servicemen were jailed over the incident, the files reveal.

Three marines were convicted after they "ordered four juvenile Iraqi looters to kneel beside two shallow fighting holes and a pistol was discharged to conduct a mock execution".


BBC NEWS | Americas | Files show more US abuse in Iraq

Rumsfeld lies on fire

Boy this is getting interesting. And it's only been days after he was asked to stay on the cabinet.

Despite Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's assertion that the military is outfitting Humvees with armor as quickly as possible, the company providing the vehicles said it has been waiting since September for approval from the Pentagon to increase monthly production by as many as 100 of the all-terrain vehicles, intended to protect against roadside bombs in Iraq.

Army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged yesterday that they have not approved new purchase orders for armored trucks, despite the company's readiness to produce more. They said the Pentagon has been debating how many more armored Humvees are needed.

US Stance on Armor Disputed - Boston Globe

Al-Hurub Min al'Hurriyyah by Husayn Ash-Shahristani

A great take on Husayn Ash-Shahristani's new book Al-Hurub Min al'Hurriyyah, or Escape from Freedom by our dear Professor. I don't even want to begin to get into the psychological framework of the following quote.

For history, I say this: Neither the USSR nor the Eastern camp had any role in the development of Iraqi nuclear energy program for non-peaceful uses, but the European countries, US, and Canada are the ones that played the major role in transforming Iraqi nuclear energy from peaceful purposes to strategic military purposes. And when we say countries, we refer to those companies within those countries, around 700 American, Canadian, and Western European companies...

Angry Arab's take on Husayn Ash-Shahristani's Al-Hurub Min al'Hurriyyah

Consolidation of Trials Having To Do With Abu Ghraib Is Totally Wack

"The case against England, which had been scheduled for trial in January at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is being moved to consolidate it with others stemming from the abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which angered the world and hindered U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq."

God forbid any more attention be brought to the matter. I guess the thinking is that the less points of light on the matter, the better. And if it's in Texas it sounds like Bush is trying them at his Crawford ranch cowboy-style.

US News Article | Reuters.com

Next to decline, Donald Rumsfeld

How does this work? Well, Kerik declines because he made only 6.2 million dollars off of stun guns. Or as the BBC reports,

He has earnt $6.2m from stock options he received from Tasar, which had done highly profitable business with the department Mr Kerik was now to head, according to FBI sources quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

That's all?! Can a guy get a break? I mean Rumsfeld only saw the age of Abu Ghraib come to color photographs thanks to digital imagery. And Cheney, well he's made hundreds of millions and he has job security for four more. Only a measly 6 mill? and a cheap immigrant housekeeper? And after going to Baghdad and doing such an obviously marvelous job training Iraqis...

Well here's how the stun guns work. We may never figure out how the system of nominating and declining works in this administration.

BBC NEWS | Americas | New US security chief pulls out

Masters of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Bob Dylan: Masters of War
No water supply, but we'll give you biometric eye scans and fingerprint you. Welcome to the occupation. Here we stand and here we fight
All your fallen heroes
held and dyed and skinned alive
Listen to the Congress fire
Offering the educated
primitive and loyal
Welcome to the occupation

Hang your collar up inside
Hang your freedom higher

Listen to the buyer still
Listen to the Congress
Where we propagate confusion
Primitive and wild
Fire on the hemisphere below

Sugar cane and coffee cup
Copper, steel and cattle
An annotated history
the forest for the fire
Where we open up the floodgates
Freedom reigns supreme
Fire on the hemisphere below
Listen to me
Listen to me
Listen to me
Listen to me

(R.E.M. reeling in my brain)

Disease risk stops Falluja return

With the Turks in Palestine, Alexander Aaronsohn

Read this book if you have a chance. It's free via P.Gutenberg

It will certainly give insight into contemporary matters.
It's like Negroponte vs CIA. It's like bread and butter. It's like the DIA vs Special Forces. It's Jacoby vs Cambone. Yuck yuck...

The New York Times > Reuters > News > Document Shows Further U.S. Abuse of Iraq Prisoners: "Members of a U.S. special operations task force punched and abused prisoners in Iraq in front of Defense Intelligence Agency agents and then threatened the agents to try to keep them quiet, a document made public on Tuesday stated."

It's ALIVE: the Audio Blog

It's ALIVE: the Audio Blog

Audio Blog

Is being in the airport of a country mean you've visited the country?

I've always wondered this. When I was younger I would count how many countries I had been to on the rubric that yes, if you visit an airport in a country, then you have visited it. Although technically true, I find this way of thinking to be a bit suspect as I've matured.

Similarly, Mr. Rummy has visited Baghdad International Airport. I wonder if he thought about this while there. So, did he really visit Iraq? Well, hm...technically, yes.

And what did he find there?

Soldiers are not happy.

Disgruntled Troops Complain to Rumsfeld

Whoops, I was wrong. He visited Kuwait. The BBC was just saying his speech was from Baghdad. So, he didn't go to Iraq to support the troops at the airport like Bush did the Thanksgiving before this past one. I wonder who will go for Christmas. Somebody of the administration will have to be sent. I bet it's Colin Powell. NE'Oh'KkkH'AN creeps like Anaconda and Wolfy like,

Yeah Colin...go ahead. Iraq's a great place this time of the year. (As he's strapped into a straight-jacket with a powerful hypnotic red beam fixed on his forehead.) Now, go... (as he steps out of the chair off of Air Force One in Amman) We've arranged a fabulous tour for you to see all the marvels of Iraqi acheivement so you can brag about them when you return. We'll take care of your family for you. I mean, we'll keep your seat warm here. Have a nice visit. ...Oh, yea, you'll have to get into the boot of that car to get to Baghdad where your linens are being warmed in the Green Zone.

Emperor of Alienation

A good one from Dr. Kristof. Will he find more troops for the coalition? Same bat time, same bat place.


Where could the Iraqi government possibly learn about ALIENATING potential political allies? Well, thankfully from America...their occupiers, I mean their sponsers! Allawi, King Puppet, along with others are being programmed for Karzai-esque existence. And Sistani and Chalabi on the same list? I'm sorry. This is absurd.

Do I see hope when I think of Iraqi elections today?

No. Not anymore.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Call to Arms

For American Consumption or FAC for short

How many people inside Jordan or Iraq for that matter do you think would believe King Abdullah II of Jordan?

This is clearly for American consumption. We're getting closer to the bad guy...almost there....almost...we'll have to take out a few thousand more Iraqis, but it will have been well worth it. almost...almost...wait, wait...i see something ...no, but almost.


CNN.com - Jordan's king says troops tracking al-Zarqawi 'getting close' - Dec 7, 2004

Church Bombings in Mosul / 1,000 American Combat Death

What a shame...

Who is to blame? What is to blame? The Chaldean one is the church my grandmother went to. It was old then. You see, my grandmother was very Chaldean Catholic, but my grandfather insisted on all the kids being baptized in an Assyrian Orthodox church. Long story how that worked out. But she was a strong woman.

Anyway, this is another black day in Iraq.

I could not fathom what would change the circumstance now. No fake election will change this violence. If Sunnis are not somehow taken into the process, there will be no end in sight. Or Iraq would become a low-grade warfare-state...That's not a great option because it has been this for too long. So, was it essentially American policy to make Iraq into a low-grade warfare state? Or is this the "liberation" Iraqis deserve after so much suffering? Do Iraqis deserve to suffer more because they were tortured and oppressed by Saddam? The same Saddam that America was helping out so much in the 80s. And now, as we have seen through Abu Ghraib, Americans do the torturing and the humiliating. And the terror in the lives of many are directly related to American policy decisions and incompetence on the ground. Most people I know try to avoid American soldiers at all costs these days. I remember the day one gave his phone to my cousin to call us to make sure that we knew everybody was ok. I was very happy that day. There was positive interaction and a service given to my cousin when there were no phone lines. Now, many phone lines are cut. Communication has been lost. Mobile networks put in by the U.S. choice have broken down. Iraq becomes more of a black hole. I wonder if those first "illegal" mobile networks put up very early would work now.

Anyway, I'm just rambling. Bye,

Iraq Churches Bombed; 1,000th American Killed

Rumsfeld faces tough questions from troops - Dec 8, 2004

"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up," Rumsfeld said. Rumsfeld in reply to a question from a soldier that was asking why there were not enough armor on vehicles. If you want the context go to the story at the end.

I urge all U.S. Soldiers and Marines to begin asking those difficult questions to Rumsfeld. This is good news, indeed. Embarrass the hell out of him and get him fired/let-him-resign.

CNN.com - Rumsfeld faces tough questions from troops - Dec 8, 2004

Warsaw Ghetto Becomes Fallujah?

Is this comparison valid?

I was just reading Chris Allbritton's Back to Iraq and saw this. Okay... It could potentially make me sick. Anyway, check this out via George of warblogging via Chris...

troops would funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans. Residents would receive badges displaying their home addresses that they must wear at all times. Buses would ferry them into the city, where cars, the deadliest tool of suicide bombers, would be banned.

I think Chris has a well-balanced assessment. Though I must agree with George that the whole process stinks of historical error.

I find Chris' words here well put, but he should go deeper with this sentence. "The Holocaust was policy; the Tragedy of Iraq is a series of horrific blunders." Isn't Iraq a policy too? Is there not a method there somewhere? I find it hard to believe that it's all horrific blunders. After you make so many mistakes, the pattern resembles a deliberate delusional mind-state. And in that sense, there is an argument that if this is so (if the mistakes made are deliberate) that delusional thinking is the policy of Iraq.

And US troops should not have to pay in blood for the mistakes of their leaders to deliberately fool the world with such ridiculous statements as "smoking gun, mushroom cloud" to go to a place they deliberately knew nothing about...so that when mistakes are made, the defense is merely..."well, it was a mistake. and we are sorry about that." ...WITHOUT, without anybody being accountable for those mistakes! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE???

anyway, i'm out...getting to worked up.

Back to Iraq 3.0: Options in Fallujah and about those elections...

Death Probe

Yes, hold a "death probe"...what is this star trek?...just hold a murder investigation on a mass scale. Oh, but it's war...so, innocent civilians are "collateral damage". i forgot. excuse me. sorry for naming it something it clearly isn't...i mean it wasn't necessary until after 100,000 people have died because of your actions.

BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Hold Iraq death probe, Blair told

An Unfriendly Reminder

Psy Ops let some slip through. Just another reminder of what not to do if you're trying to win hearts and minds. Ooops, it's just a bad apple or two.

Actually, this is a reminder of a war crime of massive proportions. Do you need one?

A group of US civil rights attorneys has brought suit in Germany against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the torture case.

Although US military spokesmen keep suggesting that the torture practices were confined to a few soldiers in the lower ranks, and that the photos were mere trophies, Seymour Hersh has argued that the soldiers were ordered to humiliate and photograph the prisoners as a way of blackmailing them into becoming informants for the US. The Americans were depending on Orientalist works like Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind in finding ways of controlling Iraqis, and were convinced that threatening males in an honor society with humiliation was the key.

And if that's not reminder enough that war is hell, go to Fallujah In Pictures.

Professor Cole continues,

Thomas E. Ricks has a characteristically piercing examination of the way in which a single blogger has been able to challenge the public relations efforts of the entire US military with regard to the human cost of the Fallujah campaign. He contrasts the US military's powerpoint slides of the fighting in Fallujah (linked to at Soldiers for Truth) with Fallujah in Pictures, a web site hosted by an anonymous individual in New York, which put up disturbing pictures from the fighting that were not printed in US newspapers or shown on US television, but which were widely seen in the rest of the world. Ricks interviews experts who universally conclude that the blogger's presentation trumped that of the US military.


"Issues" or perhaps Mistakes? ....or perhaps War Crimes?

Tony "Bahloney" Blair says at his meeting with the dictator Perv. Musharaff,

'In respect of Iraq, we agreed that whatever the issues of the past, the important thing now is to see the strategy through and ensure that Iraq is capable of becoming a stable and democratic state.

Terror causes 'must be tackled'

There's the unresolved and close to 40 year occupation of The West Bank and Gaza, hm... let me think what else is there?

Oh yea, I forgot...these pictures don't help, do they? Oh but that's none of Tony's fault, of course. This is for Ken who seems to have a common form of amnesia and somebody else who's really getting on my nerves these days. And since the former needs to be reminded what torture and abuse is, I thought this may be a veritable instructional manual for him. This is also for Donald Rumsfeld, the symbol of the symptom of the problem that continues to get worse. He also needs the reminder of what he would probably call, along with Condi, "a historical document having no relevancy in acheiving a balanced and stable Iraq." Well, I'm sorry. What was done was done. And there has still been nobody besides a few peaches held accountable for these atrocious acts...these war crimes.

I call for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. As part of his constituency I demand that he resign his second term and that they put somebody equally as guilty of war crimes in his place. Somebody like Condaleeza Rice should be the head of the Defense Department, you know? Come on, Mr. Vice President...shuffle things around a bit. At least put John Ashcroft there...I mean seriously. It would be a moribund muselix of fun. And the man is a latter-day John Lennon for God's sake. He writes, composes, and sings. Incredible. He could really catch all those Cat Stevens' in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. So think it over.

Sorry to any Americans reading this that find this offensive to your sensibilities. But this is what our government has done in Iraq. I just kindly ask you to ask our rulers (I mean leaders), what commanders are really responsible for these heinous acts?

And if this is the first time you've seen these photos, welcome back to reality.


Ukraine in the Membrane, Ukraine in the Brain

Aljazeera.Net - Ukraine elections betray Western bias

"...international relations expert Bulent Gokay, a senior researcher at Keele University in Britain, pointed out that a worryingly obvious fact is being overlooked.

'The two candidates, both Prime Minister Vickor Yanukovich and Yushchenko, have their roots in the same anti-democratic ruling elite which divided the wealth of the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union.'"

Sistani being programmed?


Aljazeera.Net - Sistani poll official in 'US custody'

Marc Sageman's 16 words

“We are seen as a hypocritical bully in the Middle East and we have to stop!" [via G McG]

All Mosquitos, No Swamp; No Elephants Either:
Wasn't it Machiavelli who said if you were going to invade and occupy another people that it would be necessary to completely destroy certain areas in order to rebuild things from scratch so that they lack any resemblence of the past? I will try and look this up and supply a source. But this quote reminds me of him and the passage I remember him writing that has to do with the infrastructural aspect of invasion and occuption.

I don't think this article is that great. There's still an insanely programmed black-out as far as Fallujah goes. One article in the times doesn't make up for the deliberate attempt to squash the Iraqi voice in Fallujah and beyond.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Reconstruction: In Falluja's Ruins, Big Plans and a Risk of Chaos: "The city's power lines are so badly damaged that in most of the city, they will have to be ripped out and rebuilt from scratch - a project that will take six months to a year, American engineers say. "
Dowd droppin the hypertextual wisdom. [via G. Livingston]

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Jingle Bell Schlock: "One of them is the cardinal rule of anxiety: Avoidance makes it worse; confrontation gradually improves it."

I love making and helping people confront themselves. And being in a trance-like self-critical mode lately, I hope I'm not over-confronting myself...and not dealing with a current project I've thought about for far too long. Now that action is crystallizing with it, I am both excited and freaked out...and I can't sleep.

...Maybe if I just lay my head down.

Andrew Topolski out of NY shows you some of his latest work online.
This is a web version of an eerie video from a video installation done by J. Johnson. You should check it out.

casualties - dangerous

On Currency

The fixed-rate yuan has helped the euro rise to record highs against the dollar this year.

European officials believe freeing up the yuan and it allowing it to rise in value would take pressure of the strong euro which is causing concern because it makes eurozone exports more expensive.

Berlin: more flexibility for Chinese currency

Naomi VS U.S. Embassy

US authorities have denied that hundreds of civilians were killed during last April's siege, and have lashed out at the sources of these reports. For instance, an unnamed "senior American officer", speaking to the New York Times last month, labelled Falluja general hospital "a centre of propaganda". But the strongest words were reserved for Arab TV networks. When asked about al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya's reports that hundreds of civilians had been killed in Falluja, Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, replied that "what al-Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable ... " Last month, US troops once again laid siege to Falluja - but this time the attack included a new tactic: eliminating the doctors, journalists and clerics who focused public attention on civilian casualties last time around.

Eliminating doctors
The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi soldiers was to storm Falluja general hospital, arresting doctors and placing the facility under military control. The New York Times reported that "the hospital was selected as an early target because the American military believed that it was the source of rumours about heavy casual ties", noting that "this time around, the American military intends to fight its own information war, countering or squelching what has been one of the insurgents' most potent weapons". The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the soldiers "stole the mobile phones" at the hospital - preventing doctors from communicating with the outside world.

Read this piece by Naomi Klein. It's well sourced. Somebody needs to say it like this. I am happy to see Naomi take such action.

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | You asked for my evidence, Mr Ambassador. Here it is

Rumsfeld Stays in Office to Avoid Jail Time

just f'in great...and yea, that's all I have to say about that.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Bush asks defence chief to stay

The Fetishization of All Things Arabic

Is fetishizing all things Arabic a manner in which we can reach more truth? When has fetishizing something led to more than an obsession, something more positive and substantive that deals more with reality (--the reality of even the spectrum of human emotions or other abstractions--) than singular (or individual) desires?

One can argue there is a fine line between fetishization and plainly good intention. I see this very well. But I am curious as to how we make sure we are not orientalizing (or in the Arabic person's case) reflexively orientalizing where we should not be...in order to make, say, the Iraqi voice ring clearer and build networks that are stronger.

Also, I find interesting how exoticizing things Arabic has contributed to some misunderstanding of the person who is Arabic of culture or race by western peoples. Yes, even I've experienced this...and continue to experience this daily.

I've always said the following as an Iraqi being outside of Iraq and mingling with all sorts of people from all over the world. On many an occasion, when somebody from the west finds out you're Iraqi when meeting even casually, they take either two steps backward or two steps forward.

Sometimes both can happen. They'll take two steps backward, then come forward...slowly or quickly. Sometimes they'll take two steps forward and then go two steps backward. Soon you're dancing salsa. And I'm afraid a lot of misunderstanding occurs in this stepping forward and backward, i.e. salsa dancing. Either because the person is unable to understand, say in my case, that I have a load of other things going on in my life (some predictable and some unpredictable) that might spark me into a freaked out frothing at the mouth fury (or more mild emotional discomfort) that nobody around me will escape. Everybody will salsa! So while I absolutely love meeting new people all the time--and don't plan stopping--I realize there's some salsa-esque maneuvering required in order to have a normal relationship with some people because of conscious or subconscious dissonance with regard to "the other". And if you've read the Iraqi Agora you might be able to find more of my freaking out. It can be effective for blogging. Because I do think the more emotional and personal blogs are more interesting to read. But it's not effective for one's sanity in these difficult times.

Of course, I could be over-estimating about certain situations...but I'm just being frank. You can be Mary.

(I'll write more later about this...I've got to go now.)
Fast Internet Service for The People; Telecoms Fight Plans For Public Networks
Interesting how my media consumption has taken on ironic and surreal tones in this short day. I have now just visited Juan Cole's Informed Comment and what do I find? He's talking about Journalism and the lack of reportage too...it's been on my mind endlessly these past few days. Because what I hear out of Iraq and what I hear in the media simply do not match up. There's such a blackout now that people are becoming dumber and dumber about the actual facts on the ground. The reasons seem obvious to me, but that's not the point. How do we change this so that people get real information?

Informed Comment
It's amazing to me how little is reported. Here's a sliver of the violence in the daily news. It has to be spectacular and sensational to make a headline. And, unfortunately for all, Iraq is still doing sensational and spectacular really well. But is the press really doing it's job reporting the true human consequences of such violence?

I'd be venturing near the absurd to fathom this as a possibility. Because they can hardly leave Baghdad these days...even if they wanted to. So, mostly everybody is reporting from their hotel room. I have an idea. Why don't you let all the refugees from Fallujah have hotel rooms for free. And then just have less reporters since they're not really reporting anything of any substance anyway.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Baghdad hit by two major attacks

The Yes Men on Dow Chemical's responsibility in the Bhopal Disaster - Updated & Corrected

I flipped on BBCworld today and who was on the idiot box but one of the members of 'the yes men' who was representing Dow Chemical and something-Carbine company...the companies responsible for the Bhopal huminatarian disaster. So, Andy--or Jude Finestra, representative of Dow Chemical--talked on and on about how Dow accepts the responsibility for the killing of 20,000 plus people. Amazing! I recently met the two at IDFA (the Dutch International Documentary Film Festival) where they showed their hilarious film.

Later, I went and did some cleaning and made a few phone calls, then I came back to the tv and the same BBC News anchor was correcting the interview by saying it was part of "deception" and the person was not a representative of Dow Chemical.

Anyhow, we know what the real deception and who was in the wrong in this matter. And, of course, the point was that Dow Chemical has yet to take responsibility for the disaster. Andy was merely using a creative way to call them out on their grave error. I salute 'the yes men'.
A true Dow representative is now coming on BBC (HAHAHA....) and is claiming the report BBC carried earlier was false and had nothing to do with DOW! live blogging...this is incredible.

so go visit their site and see their movie...it's brilliant.


UPDATE & CORRECTION: I just want to clear a couple things up now that I've visited theyesmen website and got their explanation on this action. When I was blogging while it was happening, I was excited about seeing Andy on the TV box after meeting him in person at IDFA. Now that I have learned more about the Bophal disaster directly because of this incredible event, I realize my tone should have been a bit more conciliatory and somber. So, I apologize for that specifically. Bophal is a continuing nightmare because of this chemical plant. And Dow should take responsibility and repent for the mess they have made over the past 20 years. Dow Chemical needs to update and correct their denial policy in Bophal. Drawing attention to the matter is the first step in this direction.


-Not Finestra: The name of Andy's Dow Chemical character is the following, not Finestra. "Mr. Jude (patron saint of the impossible) Finisterra (earth's end)..."
-The explanation: they explain this action in vivid detail. and they have video of the broadcast in mov, rm, and wmv. A must see really...

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