The Big Lie

"We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th attacks."

George W. Bush -- September 17, 2003

To the extend that George Bush had retained the slightest shred of dignity through the whole ugly Iraq imbroglio, it was found in his refusal to fully embrace the biggest of the Big Lies told by his aides: The claim that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had played a role in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The point here is not to defend Hussein. The point is to recognize reality: The invasion and occupation of Iraq did not control the spread of terrorist activity in the Middle East. It handed the terrorists new opportunities for recruitment, and it gave them new territory in which to operate. Until the president acknowledges these fundamental realities -- and his own responsibility for making things worse -- it will be impossible to undo the damage.

George Bush set out to deceive to the American people Tuesday. That was morally wrong, and tactically foolish.

But George Bush also deceived himself, by engaging in the fantasy that some new spin will allow him to avoid taking responsibility for making the world a more dangerous place. Ultimately, that is the bigger, and far more dangerous lie.

Complete piece here.

More Subterfuge

But I wouldn't expect anything less from the puppets and their masters.

President Jalal Talabani denied that Iraq had a role in US talks with insurgent leaders, insisting they were strictly a US affair despite Washington's claims it was acting only as a facilitator.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirmed Sunday that US officials had held talks with insurgent groups, but insisted Washington's role was limited to that of broker for the Iraqi government.

"The Iraqis have a sovereign government," Rumsfeld said. "They will decide what their relationships with various elements of insurgents will be. We facilitate those from time to time."

Iraqi Voices: It is our duty to listen to them.

Please visit here. Encourage the Iraqi voice.

Extraordinary Statement: Bush admits he made Iraq into al Qaeda magnet on purpose. Iraqi people lose even more faith.

"To complete the mission, we will prevent al-Qaida and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban - a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends."

(Righhhhht...it won't be a safe haven. Instead, it'll be dangerous for everyone. A breeding (as in, training) ground and recruitment device for terrorists. That'll show em. In other words, we will turn Iraq into Afghanistan--circa the 1980s--when the Mujahadeen you were funding (ie, Osama Bin Laden) with billions of dollars were fighting the Soviets. Yes, indeed. America funded, thus created Osama Bin Laden.) (That's me speaking...now, back to the article.)

Consider. Three years ago, when the Bush administration started ramping up the case for invading Iraq, Afghanistan had recently been liberated from both the Taliban and the al-Qaida terrorists who had attacked the US. There was still a vast amount to be done to make Afghanistan a safe place. Iraq, meanwhile, was a hideous dictatorship under Saddam Hussein. But, as the United States' own September 11 commission subsequently concluded, Saddam's regime had no connection with the 9/11 attacks. Iraq was not then a recruiting sergeant or training ground for jihadist terrorists. Now it is. The US-led invasion, and Washington's grievous mishandling of the subsequent occupation, have made it so. General Wesley Clark puts it plainly: "We are creating enemies." And the president observes: our great achievement will be to prevent Iraq becoming another Taliban-style, al-Qaida-harbouring Afghanistan! This is like a man who shoots himself in the foot and then says: "We must prevent it turning gangrenous, then you'll understand why I was right to shoot myself in the foot."

If I wasn't surprised or so wet and rageless last night, this is what I would have said. For Iraqis, what Bush said is like peeing in the wind or trying to make water wetter. I wish to see a glimmer of hope in something regarding Iraq these days, but the feeling in my gut alarms me. I regret agreeing with this. What is the solution? Especially since my friends and family in Iraq that might read this. I've always had this feeling, like...what right is it of mine to tell others of my truest outrage while I'm not inside Iraq toiling away trying to make a better future in more concrete ways. I simply don't see any sweetness and light in the situation. Of course, I haven't held myself back too much...but I have held my worst fears close to me because of my concerns in offending family and friends who have to suffer daily because of this illegal war and occupation. How will the insurgency end if each time foolish people (ie, US troops & jihadis) continue to kill innocent people? How will you win if you make new enemies each day through direct or indirect humiliating practices? And when the general opinion in Iraq is that troops will not be held to account for anything and that an Iraqi's life is worth less than an American's, well...why would anybody want to submit to such auto-somatic subalternism? Come on people...I'm sure Iraqis inside Iraq are going to be like..."I'm not worth what you're worth and please continue occupying my country indefinitely." What utter BS. If the Cheney administration does not have the presence of mind to accept some blame, correct it in an honest manner, and try to move forward without committing more terrible mistakes...the violence will continue indefinitely.

I don't know what else to say anymore. I just hope and pray my family and friends stay safe in Iraq during this difficult time. The only way we will get through it is to believe in and care for each other. Of course, saying there is no solution in sight is not the nicest thing to do. There is always hope, though. Counting on American troops for the hope of safety, though, is not an option. They are only making things worse, while building the psychological facade in the minds of many from left to right that the only way forward is for the occupation to continue indefinitely. When, in fact, the solution is nowhere in sight.

The best we may do now is to create the conditions for a solution to be possible. Even doing this will be difficult. But to go in front of the world and say such a thing (see top of post) proves that the Cheney administration couldn't care less about the Iraqi people or American sons and daughters that are dying and risking their lives for such folly.

Saudi Interior Minister Bitchslaps Rice Over Jailed Activists

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has no right to speak about the case of three jailed activists whose cause she took up during a recent visit here, Saudi Interior Minister Nayef bin Abdel Aziz said.

"It's an internal matter, nobody has the right to speak about it," the minister was quoted as saying, by the official SPA news agency, in response to questions on Rice's comments on the three reformers.

Doesn't that poor fool of a took know that the reason why he's got any power in S.A. is because of America. I mean, please, have a little more respect for your masters.

Your signal failed, but I know you're contagious.

So, I was seriously thinking about slowing down the blogging because of a number of new things going on in my life and some minor inconveniences with regard to blogspot. Instead, I'm going to add some new features. I was doing the podcast thing for a little while. What a kingdom of fun that was. I may pick that back up again when I get some new ideas. Unfortunately, I don't have my records or sound gear any where near me. So, while I find an alternative, I'm going to put some songs up for your enjoyment. Anyway, yada yada...

I was walking around in the rain today. It's hot outside. Really humid too. Listening to T Rex and Tears for Fears in my ears' phones. Lots of people...so many many people. Shocked. Ran some erands. Tried to imagine what my life will be like in even a few weeks. So much is new. I'm trying to manage my excitement, my nervousness. What will happen next?

Came home in the pouring rain. My clothes were soaked. I mean soaked. My new converses were too. Oh well, can't wear those pants tomorrow. They'll be too wet. Got dry and ate my dinner while I checked my email. Simplicity is kind to my outlook on things. But I must get out of the house and be alone in the anonymity of the metropolis. Staying inside is not an option. Rain or shine. Heat or humidity. There's a time and place for everything.

Started listening to music while I got some things in order. First Abdel Halim Hafez...bit'lemooni lehy...bit'lemooni lehy! Then Adult...lost love....contagious...yeaaaa.

That's what I'm talkin' bout. I saw Adult live my junior year of Uni. I was front and center and the place was packed. My my my...what a show. I went to school in a town filled with indie rock kids that didn't dance. At a concert they would pretty much fold their arms and nod their heads at the most. It was truly annoying. Maybe they thought dancing was for freaks, er I dunno. But certainly it was because they were lame as hell.

Anyhow, everybody danced that night. I was completely amazed. What the eff...incredible. Front to back. There wasn't a body in the house that wasn't shaking.

Good memories.

If you want to hear Lost Love or Contagious, you'll probably have to use iTunes. It's in the more efficient .m4a format. I'm not sure if there's another player that plays this format. (I use iTunes.) When I put up audio, it will stay for a week or two for your sampling purposes. Then I'll put different songs up as they become relevant to my mind's wandering. Here's a review or two for Adult's album Resuscitation where you'll find these tracks. Go buy it here. Check out Insound...it's one of the flyest labels out there.

Oh, also...somebody gave a speech. But there was nothing in it that was important. Complete Bullshit.

Karl E. Meyer: Forty Years in the Sand

From time to time an article comes along in a respected journal like Harper's Magazine (the oldest periodical publication in the U.S.), which is not digital yet deserves to be. I've had the time recently to type an excerpt of one such article written by Karl E. Meyer called Forty Years in the Sand: What happened the last time freedom marched on Iraq. It was published in the June 2005 issue of Harper's. I only wish people could learn from history. This is especially prescient in the case of Iraq. Enjoy.

Update: Found entire version online.

In March 1917, Anglo-Indian forces finally captured Baghdad, a triumph greeted with energetic huzzahs in London but that posed a fresh quandary. How was Mesopotamia to be governed? Baghdad's conqueror, Major Genereal Stanley Maude, cabled an answer: "Local conditions do not permit of employing in responsible positions any but British officers competent to deal with Military authorities and with poeple of the country. Before any truly Arab facade can be applied to edifice it seems essential that foundation of law and order should be well and truly laid."

This understanding of the local politicsf was disputed by the Foreign Office's Sire Mark Sykes, who cautioned the cabinet that "if you work from India you have all the old traditions of black and white, and you can not run the Arabs on black and white lines." And so from London came the now famous proclamation, composed by Sykes, affirming that "Our armies have not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies but as liberators." Additionally, he invited the people of occupied Mesopotamia to share in shaping the new government and urged the rapid withdrawal of Anglo-Indian administrators.

In reality, the British were uncertain about how much power they were willing to accord to Mesopotamia's diverse peoples. For all his rhetorical devotion to Arab rights, the same Mark Sykes had also negotiated the pact with FFrance divvyfing Ottoman lands like chattel in a divorce suit. When Londonf found few competent replacements for British administrators in Mesopotamia it decided simply to retain them at their posts. As the American historian David Fromkinff remarks in A Peace to End All Peace, General Maude was placed in the difficult position of preaching self-rule while discouraging its practice: "The compromise formula at which the British had arrived might have been expressly designedf to arouse dissatisfaction and unrest: Havingf volunteered what sounded like a pledge of independencefffffffff to an area that had not asked for it, the military and civil authorities of the occupying power then proceeded to withhold it."

Gertrude Bell, resettled in a river-bank bungalow, was given the grand if ambiguous title of oriental secretary to Major Percy Cox, who was made civil commissioner of all Mesopotamia. When Cox was summoned to London and Teheran for extended consultation, in April 1918, Wilson was named acting civil commissioner with the rank of lieutenant colonel. "I can scarcely realize that I am at present responsible to Government for the administration and political frelations of the whole of this vast area," the marveling colonel reported to his family.

Three days before the November 11 armistice, Britain and France released a bold and surprising joint declaration promising peoples "long oppressed by the Turks" fa free choice of future governments. Referring to Syria and Iraq, the declaration vowed that the Allies had "no other care" but to support the governments that oppressed peoples "shall have adopted of their free will."

The declaration was an obvious response to Woodrow Wilson's idealistic Fourteen Points, proclaimed earlier that year. The twelfth point affirmed that all nationalities under Turkish rule were owed "an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development." One might deride the Fourteen Points (France's Premier Georges Clemenceau complained that God was content with Ten), but with Wilson about to make a triumphant entry into Allied capitals, they were impossible to ignore. The subsequent perceived failure of Britain and France to honor this politically expedient pledge sowed an enduring sense of betrayel.

In Baghdad, Colonel Wilson conveyed a different sense of betrayal to Sir Arthur Hirtzel, the permanent under-secretary of the India Office in London:

The Declaration incolves us here on the spot in diplomatic insincerities which we have hitherto successfully avoided and places a potent weapon in the hands of those least fitted to control a nation's destinies.... The average Arab, as opposed to the handful of amateur politicians in Baghdad, sees the future as one of fair dealing and material and moral progress under the aegis of Great Britain.... Our best course is to declare Mesopotamia to be a British Protectorate under which all races and classes will be given forthwith the maximum degree of liberty and self-rule compatible with good and safe government.

Bell for the moment agreed with much of this. She supported WIlson's campaign to unite dissimilar Ottoman provinces, and also believed the Franco-British declaration ill-advised. Yet she did not think Iraq should become a protectorate, and was dismayed by the ignorance of senior policymakers, who shrugged off as inconsequential the rivalry between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Bell's understanding of the situation in Iraq was shaped to a large degree by Colonel T.E. Lawrence, a friend from her days at the Arab Bureau in Cairo. Known to Bell as "Imp" or "Dear Boy" and to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, he began his wartime service with a bizarre mission in 1916 to free Andlo-Indian troops beseiged by Turkish forces north of Basra by offering one million poinds to the Turksih commander to let them go. Even though Lawrences's misssion failed, it became routine British practice to offfer cash "subsidies" to Arab chieftains. The essential cynicism of this approach was confirmed when long-classified official records became public in the 1960s. Here is how Lawrence himself justified supporting Hussein and his son, the Emir Faisal:

[Hussein's] activity seems beneficial to us, because it marches with our immediate aims, the break-up of the Islamic "bloc" and the defeat and disruption of the Ottoman Empire, and because the states he would set up to succeed the Turks would be as harmless to ourselves as Turkey was before she became a tool in German hands. The Arabs are even less stable than the Turks. If properly handled they would remain in a state of political mosaic, a tissue of small jealous principalities incapable of cohesion, and yet always ready to combine against an outside force.

This statement is difficult to reconcile with Lawrence fame as a gallant champion of the Arabs. In Seven Pillars of Wisdom, he tried to square an ethical circle that confronts intelligence officers in the field: "I could see that if we wond the war the promises to the Arabs were dead paper. Had I been an honourable adviser, I would have sent my men home, and not let them risk their lives for such stuff." Yet Arab help was necessary to a "cheap and speedy" British victory in the East. Better to win and betray than lose.

After The War to End Wars, the victors convened in Paris from January until July 1919 to negotiate a peace settlement. The Big Three--Woodrow WIlson, British Prime MInister David Lloyd George, and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau--conferred regularly to discuss peace terms, address the claims of stateless peoples, and parcel the spoils of defeated empires. Yet the distracted potentates and their aides would frequently forget what they had already decided, or promised.

In the territorial horse-trading, Wilson won his campaign to bind the three unlike provinces of Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul into the single new nation of Iraq. The British had favored a state for Kurdistan, T.E. Lawrence sought separate emirates for Basra and Baghdad, the Emire Faisal wanted a federation of Syria and Iraq, and the French tried to attach the oil-rich Mosul to Syria.

As the Paris conference ended, only the outlines of the new Middle East had been agreed upon. Having initially talked of an independent state for Armenians and Kurds, the Americans began to pull back from active involvement in the region. The Notion of a Jewish national home in Palestine was still so nebulous that even the Emir Faisal, nudged by Lawrence, gave it qualified approval.

France readied for its ostensibly transitional mandatory authority in Syria and Lebanon, while Britain prepared for a similar oversight role in Iraq and Palestine. In a letter to Aubrey Herbert, a friend and diplomatic insider, Gertrude Bell lamented: "O my dear they are making such a horrible muddle of the Near East. I confidently anticipate that it will be much worse than it was before the war--except Mesopotamia which we may manage to hold up out of the general chaos."

In the even, Bell was mistaken. By June 1920, armed insurrection had erupted along the upper Euphrates, allegedly fueled by bribes from Faisal's agents. But gold alone could not explain the rebellion's spread down the Euphrates to Najaf and Karbala, then to the muddy alleys of Basra and the slums encircling Baghdad. A worried Gertrude Bell noted that the Sunni and Shiite faithful were closing ranks in shared hostility to the British occupation. An embattled Baghdad command rushed reinforcements from town to town. Colonel Wilson appealed urgently for an increase in the 80,000 occupation force, but at a time when London was contending with a deepening recession, postwar debts, and riots or terrorism in Egypt, Ireland, and India. More injudiciously, Wilson posed a quasi-ultimatum: either send more troops or withdraw entirely. Then, as the Iraqi rebellion peaked in August, France deposed of Faisal from his Syrian throne.

In a letter to The Times, Lawrence found it unsurprising that the occupation regime had collapsed, since its manager were 450 British officers and not a single Mesopotamian. He wondered, "Why should Englishmen (or Indians) have to be killed to make the Arab Government in Mesopotamia, which is [our] considered intention?. . . Of course, there is oil in Mesopotamia, but we are no nearer that while the Middle East remains at war." He followed with another salvo in the London Sunday Times

The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

How long, he asked in conclusion, "will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of a form of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?"

The Semi-Eternal "Last Throes"

How many last throes do you rip on the daily? You say many money. You say many many many.

12-year-long last throes? Oh yea. Welcome to the imperfect science of Contextual Oxymoronics. You know by now VP Evile, the power behind the scourge of the neocon hypocritical wave of delusion, asserted and reasserted the insurgency in Iraq was in its "last throes". He found his heart ailing him recently. Could it be the cold stone shell of denial is cracking to bits under the pressure of recent polling (i.e. the silent majority, aka American popular will & Mr. McFreedom-Fries Republican Walter Jones' deep-south fried withdrawal demands, oh & that other minor Republican Senator, what's his name, Bagel or Hagel is it)? And now, we get the first ever frank assertion coming out of this administration from none other than DR. Torture himself. Namely, that the insurgency could last a dozen years. A dozen years? A dozen years. Dozen. Years. All this while he admits to negotiating with terrorists, which is against official American policy. What a bloody mess.

I don't know about you, but a dozen years doesn't seem like "last throes" to me. Can we be real for a minute and think about how this proves that neoconservatives are delusional? And that this is the most important point we can draw from the charade they've played on the American people and the world?

They're liars. Just because they come with one frank admission doesn't mean we should let everything else slide. Hell no. And this whole sympathy card is going to continue tomorrow night when the George gives his speech. He's going to beg and grovel. There'll be no "bring em' ons" or "either you're with us or against us"...because frankly he's up shit-creek. He's a lame duck president. Lame & something that rhymes with duck is a better way to put what he is at this point. And Cheney...well, this is what he sowed. This is what all those eff-tard neocons have sowed upon America and the world. And now, after thumbing their nose at the UN so they could have their war, they're going to go crawling back to the global community for help. Will they really relinquish control of this "project"...as if Iraq is some workshop to the world. I hate it when I hear this crap. "Project"...as if, say, we cut off some man's legs and see if we can grow the damn things back with suicide bombings and the razing of complete towns.

The logic...

Sorry, what logic?

All for the neocon dream. After bringing so much hell on earth, these neocons need to be kicked out on the curb for good. If you ask me, Neoconservative thought on the Hill is in its last throes. And those throes aren't going to take a dozen years.

You lying SOBs. Take your hell back and then go rot in it. Who are Americans to think that freedom is theirs to spread?

Beirut Publishes, Egypt Writes, Baghdad Reads

It's a saying that's been around for a long time. Still true.

Even when our libraries are being destroyed by bombs, we still read.

For more direct emphasis, make sure you visit Francis Deblauwe's blog courtesy of Baghdad Museum.


All I can say is, meow Mona meow. Kifaya indeed. Never enough. Seldom am I afforded the opportunity to express my libido's cravings here. So, here's to Mona in all her hotness.

Read her latest article, The increasing Frustration of Egypt’s Youth

Are they frustrated because they can't be enamoured in all your heavenliness?



It looks like the Americans are in big trouble in Iraq and are desperate to find a way out. Why else would they have rounds of negotiations with people they label as terrorists? [one, two, three, four, five]

Frankly, I try to avoid meeting them as much as possible. They are the occupiers. The occupied don't want to be occupied. That's human nature. [one, two, three]

After I did Abu Ghraib, I got a bunch of digital pictures emailed me, and -- was a lot of work on it, and I decided, well, we can talk about it later. You never know why you do things. You have some general rules, but in this case, a bunch of kids were going along in three vehicles. One of them got blown up. The other two units -- soldiers ran out, saw some people running, opened up fire. It was a bunch of boys playing soccer. And in the digital videos you see everybody standing around, they pull the bodies together. This is last summer. They pull the bodies together. You see the body parts, the legs and boots of the Americans pulling bodies together. Young kids, I don't know how old, 13, 15, I guess. And then you see soldiers dropping R.P.G.'s, which are rocket-launched grenades around them. And then they're called in as an insurgent kill. [one, two, three, four, five, six]

Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq. [one, two, three, four]

T.E. Lawrence: Letter to the Sunday Times, 2 August 1920

The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

He concludes:

How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of a form of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?

Hobsbawm: These jive-ass quasi-revolutionaires punks are going down, but they'll make the world a lot less safe as they do.

All the great powers and empires of history knew that they were not the only ones, and none was in a position to aim at genuinely global domination. None believed themselves to be invulnerable.

Nevertheless, this does not quite explain the evident megalomania of US policy since a group of Washington insiders decided that September 11 gave them the ideal opportunity for declaring its single-handed domination of the world.

It is reasonably certain that the project will fail. However, while it continues, it will go on making the world an intolerable place for those directly exposed to US armed occupation and an unsafer place for the rest of us.


His last throe

A man on a mission? Or a man in his last throe?

1 May 2003

24 June 2005

"We are there to complete a mission, and it's an important mission."

Body language is remarkable, ain't it?

Martian Sunrise

Martian Sunset

US & UK Bombing Raids Were Illegal, UK documents say

This is just a heads-up post about the legality of bombing raids on Iraq in 2002. Thing is, they weren't legal in any stretch of the term. I didn't really have the chance to put much up about it, but I think we'll need to look at this in more detail in the near future. It's Downing Street Memos related and passed-up in the current storm over the memos in the US because it shows American and British culpability. Don't have much time now to comment, but I'll put some links to a few stories. From this story.
A spike in British and U.S. 2002 bombing raids on Iraq, reportedly designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating, was illegal under international law, according to British Foreign Office legal advice leaked to the UK’s Sunday Times. The advice indicated that the goal of the bombing was to provoke Hussein, thus providing a pretext for war.

British Ministry of Defense records show that the spike began in May 2002.

Then there's this.
These "spikes of activity" were aimed at provoking Saddam into action that might justify war. Other documents confirm that Blair had agreed to back regime change in the spring of 2002, that he was warned it was illegal and that ministers were told to "create the conditions" that would make it legal. Other gems include the admission that the threat from Saddam and WMD had not increased and that US attempts to link Baghdad to al-Qaida were "frankly unconvincing".
Indeed. And Michael Smith (the reporter that first broke the Downing Street Memos on the scene), expounds upon this in a recent story.
American media coverage of the Downing Street memo has largely focused on the assertion by Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, that war was seen as inevitable in Washington, where "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now realize was Plan B.

Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.

British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.

But these initial "spikes of activity" didn't have the desired effect. The Iraqis didn't retaliate. They didn't provide the excuse Bush and Blair needed. So at the end of August, the allies dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war.

The number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq by allied aircraft shot up to 54.6 tons in September alone, with the increased rates continuing into 2003.

In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.

The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.

The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress.

"We need to deprive these people of their ability to mislead and intimidate."

Another hard-hitting editorial by Krugman on the DSM.

Leading the nation wrongfully into war strikes at the heart of democracy. It would have been an unprecedented abuse of power even if the war hadn't turned into a military and moral quagmire. And we won't be able to get out of that quagmire until we face up to the reality of how we got in.

Let me talk briefly about what we now know about the decision to invade Iraq, then focus on why it matters.

The administration has prevented any official inquiry into whether it hyped the case for war. But there's plenty of circumstantial evidence that it did.

And then there's the Downing Street Memo - actually the minutes of a prime minister's meeting in July 2002 - in which the chief of British overseas intelligence briefed his colleagues about his recent trip to Washington.

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam," says the memo, "through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and W.M.D. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." It doesn't get much clearer than that.

The U.S. news media largely ignored the memo for five weeks after it was released in The Times of London. Then some asserted that it was "old news" that Mr. Bush wanted war in the summer of 2002, and that W.M.D. were just an excuse. No, it isn't. Media insiders may have suspected as much, but they didn't inform their readers, viewers and listeners. And they have never held Mr. Bush accountable for his repeated declarations that he viewed war as a last resort.

Still, some of my colleagues insist that we should let bygones be bygones. The question, they say, is what we do now. But they're wrong: it's crucial that those responsible for the war be held to account.

Let me explain.
What I don't understand is that Baloney Tony could have Bush mushed and left out to dry if he so pleased. And people would love him for it. There must be other DSMemos out there.

Democratic Middle Eastern Union Votes to Invade U.S.

Imagine the year 2056...

MECCA—The 14 democratic member nations of the Middle Eastern Union unanimously voted to declare war on the U.S. Monday, calling the North American country a "dangerous rogue state that must be contained."

"The United States of America has repeatedly violated international law and committed human-rights abuses at home and abroad," MEU President Mohamed Rajib said at a Monday security-council meeting. "MEU weapons inspectors have confirmed that the U.S. continues to pursue their illegal ununhexium-weapons program. Our attempts to bring about change through diplomatic means have repeatedly failed. Now, we are forced to take military action."

The MEU, formed in the wake of the 2042 Saudi Arabian revolution, is modeled on the Enlightenment ideal of the democratic republic and makes every attempt to avoid war even as it pursues an agenda of encouraging self-rule throughout the world. The decision to invade America marks the first military action of the MEU.

Rajib said that, unless the U.S. ends its "unlawful and tyrannical" occupation of northern Africa in seven days, the governments of Iraq, Iran, Jordan, and Muhammad Arabia will begin deploying aero-troops to international tropospace over America's Brand-New England region. [to continue story]


BBC: Iraq rebuilding fails to deliver

Jon Leyne speaks to Iraqis inside Iraq and reports on the utter failures that prove America is losing the war. So, Rumsfeld is wrong. Rumsfeld is in denial. Winning the war is winning the peace. And there are now so many Iraqis that are so hostile to the US if only by the virtue of their complete incompetence in trying to even make essential services reach pre-war levels in this Fatoush Republic.

Speaking to Iraqis is a rare event for most reporters these days. But if people could hear them now, they'd hear that there is no water or contaminated water where there is water.

The water situation is very real and very critical in the major population centers at the moment. How can you win hearts and minds if you cannot even make sure people have safe water to drink in the midst of a hellish Iraqi summer?
'We've been affected badly,' complained one man in the area. 'We don't have any water to drink. What are we supposed to do? Sometimes they cut the power as well. It's all the fault of the Americans.'

Why the British Press is So Much Better than its American Counterpart: They had a feature on what is essentially the DSM on 20 March 2005

I meant to post this a long long time ago, but I haven't really been around a scanner for a while. Somebody in my family brought the March 20, 2005 issue of the Sunday Times to me when we got together for Easter. If you aren't familiar with this date, it's the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. We tend to celebrate Easter twice in my family for schedule flexibity. The more usual one and Assyrian Orthodox one. Sometimes we get together for one, sometimes for another. Why did I mention that? Anyway...this article mentions both Sir Richard Dearlove (head of MI6 at the time of the lead-up to the war) and the intelligence being "fixed". Obviously the first time around it didn't stick. I believe the leak of the actual document of the minutes is very interesting. Don't you? Click on the picture, or this link here, for the first page, here for the second part, and here for the third part. You have to go back to the first part to finish the article. All I can say is get hold of the documentary about this PreDowning Street Memo moment. I know I'd like to see it.

Here are all the links to the scans of the story:

I got the latest Punk Planet in today and lookie what I found.

Visions of Babylon Running Through My Head: Summer of 1990

My Dad in Babylon. One of my favorite pictures ever.

The Lion of Babylon. My cousin, sister, cousin, then guy cousin on the very right. I really enjoy the composition of this photograph. Don't you?

Top & Bottom...Me making funny faces in the cafe right next to the museum. Hot in Babylon. I mean reaaaaal hot. I remember my father drank so much cold beer that day with my Uncles. And he didn't get the slightest bit drunk. I was very impressed. I had some too. Can you tell? Also, my sister is the really tan blur to the right of me. My cousin is the blur to her right. And that's the back of my Mom's head. Hehe. I look like such the four-eyed prep-head. Kind of embarrassing, but what the hell.

Visions of Baghdad Running Through My Head: Summer of 1990

Top...view of the river. Bottom...Me in the middle with my cousins in the pool at the Al-Rasheed Hotel. You know, the hotel that had that picture of Bush Sr. in the foyer.

Top...This was in some room that serves as a sort of military museum in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's a picture we took of some rare Italian weapon. I have no idea what it's called, but apparently it is special. We could have gotten in a lot of trouble for taking this picture in the old Iraq. Bottom...this is a picture of the lucky lizards that make their home in my Uncle's courtyard and most residents of Baghdad. Meet Abu Braze. I scanned it upside-down to confuse you.

All pictures were taken in the summer of 1990, about a month before the invasion of Kuwait. This was just one of our visits. We left two weeks before the invasion. We had no idea that anything strange was happening when we were there. This summer was perhaps the best time of my life. I was only 12.

Water is good: If you have it. And if you can drink it.

News & Analysis: Water main attack affects two million in Baghdad

Several of my friends and family in Baghdad have alerted me in the past few days about this problem that is approaching a critical point now. A couple of them don't have water at all. A few others have some water but it is filled with bacteria. When they drank it they got very sick. So, it is undrinkable water. Now, as you know, is summer. And it is as hot as hell. The electricity service is still shite, so there are times when you cannot run the AC because the small house generators cannot handle those levels. So, what you have are temperatures around 45 degrees celsius (115 degrees F), no cooling so you sweat, no water so you get dehydrated...

It's not a good formula for success.

Here's something I found. I was aghast that nobody has mentioned it yet in the MSM. Please help me get the word out by linking to this article in your blog. Thank you.

BAGHDAD, 22 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - Two million Baghdad residents have been without drinking water since 19 June after saboteurs targeted a major water main in the capital.

'The attack on the water pipes was a shock to all residents. Insurgents are not only killing innocent people but also destroying the daily lives of millions of people,' Amer Salman, a senior Baghdad governorate official, said.

Salman added that they were working hard to repair the main but said that it may take up to a week to have it functioning properly again, although small-scale pumping may start within two days.

The Mansoor, Yarmouk, Kadhimiya, Baya'a, Ghazaliya and Hay al-Jame'a districts in Baghdad are the worst affected.

'Every day I have to drive 10 km to reach to a public water pipe where I can get water for washing, cleaning and drinking. My air conditioning [AC] machine needs to be filled with water manually every three hours,' Kamal al-Jumaily, a Yarmouk district resident, said.

The AC machines, which have to be filled by hand, are cheap to run and are to be found in most Iraqi homes. They are particularly necessary in the summer when temperatures may reach 50 degrees centigrade.

Local doctors have reported an increase in diarrhoea and other illnesses related to the consumption of dirty water.

'Children have been the most effected, due to the dirty water being consumed now. Some families are using public pipes and unsafe wells, which are known to be contaminated,' Dr Ahmed Ibraheem, at Yarmouk general hospital, said.

Ibraheem added that during the last water shortage in the capital in January, more than 200 cases of illness through consumption of contaminated water were reported, but they fear the number could be higher now as sanitation has further deteriorated in the capital.

In a desperate measure, many residents have started to dig wells in their gardens.

'The heat is increasing and in place where we acquire more comfort, Iraqis are suffering even more now from power and water shortages,' Mahmoud Abbas, a Bayaa district resident said.

Denial is your worst enemy.

It is nice that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his team feel as if they have achieved closure on their prisoner abuse issues and are ready to move on. The problem is, they are still in deep denial. The Bush administration has not only refused to face the problem squarely, but it is also enabling a pervasive lack of accountability.

Domestic closure is also a smoke-screen to the greater problems caused by this stubborn denial. Because the resonance of Abu Ghraib on the future of the world if this complete lack of accountability continues shall have far-reaching implications. In other words, we've only seen the beginning of the problems that could result from their denial failing to subside.

Stop hurting America. Stop hurting the world. Denial is your worst enemy.

Iraqi justice minister, Abdel Hussein Shandal: US concealing Saddam's secrets

Speak of the devil...

Great to hear Iraq's justice minister being concerned about justice.

Iraq's justice minister has accused the US of concealing information about deposed president Saddam Hussein that could be damaging to "many countries".

Abdel Hussein Shandal said it seemed there were "lots of secrets" that the Americans wanted to hide.

Saddam Hussein is set to go on trial in Iraq over alleged crimes against humanity, but no date has been set.

Mr Shandal spoke to the AP news agency on the eve of a major conference. US officials did not immediately comment.

"There should be transparency and there should be frankness, but there are secrets that, if revealed, won't be in the interest of many countries," Mr Shandal said.

"Who was helping Saddam all those years?"
(emphasis added)

Real Iraqis wanting a real reconciliation leading to real justice in the future shall not let this one die. I am more sure of this than most things. And it is very much in the interest of America to reveal some of these secrets and to own up to their past grave mistakes if they want the average Iraqi's goodwill. Until then, there's only going to be suspicion and animosity at America's real intentions.

Wake up. Own up. Because there will be no let up concerning these secrets.

Lying to yourself only hurts yourself. Making soldiers and Marines currently in Iraq pay for these lies, these secrets, with blood and death is a heinous crime occuring each day.

Saddam Loves Reagan

I say they're both irredeemable blowhards from the fiery depths of hades.

There are few people I've sincerely hated in my life. These former buddies happen to be two of them.
Bolton blocked.

Funkadelic (makes Rice pudding): If you don't like the effects, don't produce the cause.

Update: Now that I think of it, in the last 60 years (and you could say more) governments of the US (Britain, and France for that matter) didn't really pursue stability by essentially appointing dictators in the region. American governments pursued compliance. American governments pursued obediance. American governments pursued oppression of the masses for the sake of American interests. If this is considered pursuing stability, it's a crock of shizzle. Anyway, I am still surprised she said this. Now, I want action.

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither."

Anaconda grew some brass balls or was this a long time coming?

You decide.

I wonder how this statement folds into the context of the speech. My curiousity has been piqued.

But as always, talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words, the proof is in the pudding, and whatever other cliche you'd like to add to the bin of BS. And that is what this administration's calls for "democracy" are at this point, parroted cliches that mean very little because they've been repeated over and over again. And there's nothing worse than a tired old cliche, besides perhaps the penultimate gasp of air one takes in the lungs waiting for the last gasp which leads to the path of the darkness of death. If these words are said and not followed through by stopping both direct and indirect support of dictatorships, it would have been better if she didn't say it.

I'm waiting with bated bollocks to see the proof behind these words. And so are 300 million people who have been subjugated by US foreign policy.

If you don't like the effects, don't produce the cause. Meaning, if you don't like it when dictators stray away from the script and get out of hand, stop supporting dictators and let the people decide what kind of government they want. And you are complicit in the jailing of dissidents and squashing of freedom and liberty if you continue to offer limitless military aid and cash flow to these mini-Stalins. You produce the causes by continuing to support the likes of Saddam Mubarak, Saddam Fahd/Abdullah, Saddam Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein, Saddam Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Saddam formerly known as Sodom. (I could go deeper into the list, but that should do for now.)

Cause in the end, we're all getting sodomized by US foreign policy. And I mean all of us. The US reflexively sodomizes through the implementation of such insane and assymetric acts of physical aggression. So I wonder when Americans will wake up to the fact that the Cheney administration is ruining America. Bolton is like the penny Cheney tosses into the fountain as he wishes for world dominance. A tool for the impossible neocon vision of the world. Watch the Emperor appoint the bastard without consulting the Senate. And this is only one of the many abuses of power.

Tackling Another Major Challenge in Iraq: Unemployment

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Turning the heat up; more memos from Downing Street flood the internet.

AP's Thomas Wagner: Memos Show British Fretting Over Iraq War & the almost identical AP story via Newsday (for shits and giggles): Memos show U.S. push for war

Why the different headlines? We may deduce these memos are finally making their presence felt in the US.

And they beg so many old and new questions, while helping connect dots that were unconnected before their release.

What do Powell/Bolton/PlameBeingOuted-WilsonBeingPunished-for BlowingWhistleOnForgedNigerDocs/DSM/ElBaradai have in common? It's worth a long hard thought and several official investigations. Check Hunter's recent diary for starters.

Bonus link: Army recruiter (and you know I love this topic) helps a kid pass his piss-test, recommends him to use a forged high school diploma, and urges him to move to a nearby town to help process his background check faster. Investigative reporting at its finest.
You'll want to read this.

Leaky, leaky, you're so sneaky: New US move to spoil climate accord, UK had advance alert of jail abuse, & US lied to Britain over use of napalm

reBloggin' to get my juices flowing...

I'm not sure if it's working. So...How bout them scopitone gals? Britain seems pretty leaky these days. It's not just about the DSM either. I wonder if widdle Blairy is wary angry because he's getting his own and the collective UK salad tossed on some trade-off guarantees made by ol' Georgy Porgy in exchange for letting the whole war thing slide. I get the feeling this is the case. But what do I know?

DAMNNNN, so CLOSE!!! I almost faked it there. Could you tell? That was pretty damn good, but I can't fake my outrage. I'm generally numb right now. And believe me, it's not just because Iraq is a mess. Of course such constant stress of mass death and destruction of loved ones has particularly worn on me lately, but I've got a whole lotta other kibbeh nayya on my plate still. And you know I like it raw. (I am secretly fantisizing about putting a picture of Ol' Dirty Bastard in the place of the ancient and exquisite minaret in Samarra that was torn up by foolish people. Don't ask. For a dash of dystopia perhaps...)

Truth is when it comes to anything to do with computers lately, I'm a bum in the sun. Computers provide rare recourse for me these days. Sitting in front of the screen, bah...where has my electronic joy gone? A couple months ago I had to stop blogging for a while...had no choice in the matter. But now, I have a fast connection and everything...I just can't. What's the deal? (This is meant to serve as a blanket alibi for losing touch with most people I know in the past 3-4 months.)

I will tell you, since my parents are reading, I'm a bit upset I've been left out of a family trip. I've got a lot on my plate now, sure. But when do opportunities like this come up? So many of us in one place at the same time. And it could have been done if planned properly. You can't imagine how disappointed I feel about this right now. It makes me want to punch a hole in the wall. (Inside joke)

Anyway, waa waa, boo hoo...where was I? Being a bit random, I know, but I gotta get some words down. Oh yea, I can't use computers well lately. I'll try and shake a tail feather on it again tomorrow and see what I come up with.

You say leaks?
I say, open the flood-gates!

The Observer | International | New US move to spoil climate accord
The Observer | International | UK had advance alert of jail abuse
US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war

What is a scopitone?

The scopitone was the fore-mother of the music video. Click pic for sample of "I've got the world on a string". And here's a great one two and three (awesome!) en Francais.

Yay bedazzled.

Reality is in the details.

"Two children are held by G.I.'s after their parents were killed when soldiers fired on the family's car near Tal Afar, Iraq, on Jan. 18."

Grazie Diana.

Further into the details...

Extremists target Al Jazeera.

Stop Torture

Shukran Cieciel!

And read this.

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