Monday, June 30, 2003

David Kay has been appointed by CIA Director George Tenet to be Special Advisor for Strategy regarding Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs. This means Kay will go to Iraq and lead the 1,300-member Iraq Survey Group to find those missing weapons of mass destruction. This is an extraordinary development for a number of reasons:

  1. Who is David Kay? He used to work for the International Atomic Energy Agency. He is the former U.N. Special Commission chief nuclear weapons inspector, and as such spent time in Iraq right after the Gulf War looking for nuclear weapons on behalf of the United Nations. He is a former secretary general of the Uranium Institute, now called the World Nuclear Association, an apologist for nuclear power generation (whose co-chairman is currently Hans Blix!). Much more intriguingly, he is a former Corporate Senior Vice President of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), an extremely successful privately owned military contractor. He has spent much of the last five to ten years giving presentations in favor of attacking Iraq based on its alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (for example, see here and here and here and here and here and here and - ahem - here in a Judith Miller article maintained on a State Department web site). Kay's own professional reputation lies in the balance if such weapons of mass destruction are not found.

  2. SAIC is an employee-owned corporation based in San Diego that is known for its extreme aggressiveness in obtaining government, mainly military, contracts, and for its extreme financial success (some background here and here, and a recent story here). It is deeply embedded in the Pentagon. It has been heavily involved in contracts involving the Pentagon's plans for a missile defense system and the Future Combat Systems Program (remember that missile defense, the transformation of the military, and the removal of Saddam are express plans of the PNAC'ers; while PNAC wrote about the need for a 'Pearl Harbor', SAIC likes the expression 'electronic Pearl Harbor' in order to drum up business). SAIC makes electronic counterterrorism equipment, and has benefitted mightily from the 'war on terror' which followed 9-11.

  3. SAIC is involved in Iraq in at least three ways:

    • the construction and operation of a U. S. propaganda radio station at Umm Qasr, which will be part of a network including a nationwide propaganda television channel and an 'independent' propaganda newspaper

    • the management of the Iraqis who the Pentagon plans to instal as the lead bureaucrats for the Iraqi government of the future

    • some other matter which is secret enough that the company won't talk about it, although a good guess might be that it has to do with electronic spying.

  4. The timing of Kay's departure is interesting. He had a very high-level and presumably very lucrative position at a top military contractor until October 2002, when he left to work for yet another think tank (which specializes in miliary policy and terrorism). It is an odd career move, but it freed him up to be an 'independent' commentator in favor of the attack on Iraq (another guy who recently worked for SAIC is anthrax patsy Steven Hatfill). Do you think he ever really left SAIC?

  5. The contract with respect to the Iraqi future government is odd. In February 2003 the Pentagon established the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council under the "Future of Iraq Project" (for background see here). Most members appear to have been drawn from the Iraqi Forum for Democracy, and are led by Emad Dhia. The Iraqis started planning in offices near the Pentagon, were taken to Vienna to prepare for their future duties, and are now in Baghdad. They are employees of SAIC, and therefore we have an example of the ultimate in privatization: the leaders of the future Iraqi bureaucracy are employees of an American corporation! The complete failure of the Americans to properly run Baghdad has probably delayed whatever plans the Pentagon had for these bureaucrats of the future, and it remains to be seen how this all plays out. Khidir Hamza, the man who supplied much of the propaganda background for the lies regarding nuclear weapons of mass destruction, is part of the group being organized by SAIC.

  6. One of the great puzzles of the attack on Iraq is the fact that the Americans have still not yet planted the weapons of mass destruction. With all the military in place it should have been a relatively simple matter to fly in some suspicious chemicals and laboratory equipment, and immediately 'find' them. Why hasn't this happened already? Did they try to do it and suffered some mishap which would account for the delay? Are they afraid that they cannot produce materials that look genuine? Are they afraid that someone in the military or the CIA would leak details of the planting? Obviously, being caught would be disastrous, so it will require a top expert to do the job. Is David Kay that expert? Might he be getting assistance from some military contractor that he used to work for that happens to be in Iraq for other secret and not-so-secret purposes?

We know the weapons aren't there due to the conveniently forgotten testimony of General Hussein Kamel and others, and due to the fact that American rewards and interrogation (carrots and sticks) applied to Iraqi scientists have not revealed one iota of evidence that such weapons still exist or existed prior to the attack on Iraq. We know that Cheney and Rumsfeld and Bush were in receipt of CIA intelligence that should have left them unable to continue to use the excuse of weapons of mass destruction posing an imminent threat to the United States, but in the face of that intelligence they lied over and over again. Now a man who has been warmongering against Iraq for years based on the statement that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and a man with connections to a large military contractor with extensive ties to the Pentagon's missile defense program and Future Combat Systems Program, is being sent out to find these weapons. Do you think he'll find what he's looking for?

Sunday, June 29, 2003

George Galloway has launched his libel action against the Daily Telegraph for claiming that it had found documents that proved he was being paid by Saddam. The only problem with this is that Hollinger, which owns the paper, appears to be close to broke. Incompetent leadership by Conrad Black, coupled with massive overcompensation taken by Black and his cronies, has left the company in terrible shape. The problems were so obvious that the shareholders even had the audacity to complain about it and Black had to offer some concessions, concessions which he is now trying to get out of. I have no sympathy for shareholders who invest in a company with such a convoluted share structure that there may be no one alive who can determine who owns what, not to mention a company which is the current manifestation of a newspaper group set up originally to be an organ of propaganda for British intelligence, a role it still seems to take more seriously than making money for its shareholders. If Hollinger has no money, how will Galloway receive his damages? I suggest a solution from the 'Seinfeld' comedy program: Conrad Black can become George Galloway's butler. Black looks the part - he reminds me of a coarse version of the role played by Charles Laughton in the movie Ruggles of Red Gap - and he must have been the recipient of a lot of butlering over his life, and so would know exactly what to do.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

The killing of six Brits in Iraq is a tremendously important development, as it uncovers a lot of lies:

  1. The British have been claiming some kind of moral superiority over the Americans in their dealings with the Iraqis, as if their long experience at shouldering the 'white man's burden' has given them special skills at repressing people in a nice way. We now know that the Iraqis see the Brits in exactly the same way they see the Yanks, as an occupying army that has to be resisted and expelled.

  2. With their mistaken belief that they were befriending the people they are oppressing, the British have gradually let their guard down, and reduced their levels of suspicion. On the other hand, the Americans feel themselves more and more under attack, and are growing increasingly close to the Vietnam model, where they prefer to kill civilians than take any risk of being attacked. The British are now going to start heading down the American road of animalistic brutality. This will not only make things worse in Iraq, but it will develop a group of psychologically damaged people who will then return home to cause all manner of problems.

  3. The Americans have tried to blame the resistance entirely on 1) Sunnis; 2) supporters of Saddam; and 3) Baathists. Even the British persist in the idea that this resistance involved Saddam supporters somehow leaking down from the north, an absurdity given the area where the attack occurred and the fact that the locals were proud of the fact that they had chased away all the Baathists. The attacks on the Brits were by Shiite Marsh Arabs, long-time brutalized victims of Saddam (the Americans have made much of how the ancient culture of the Marsh Arabs was intentionally destroyed by Saddam), and certainly not Baathists. This attack is highly significant, as it shows that violent resistance now involves all sectors of Iraqi society, all areas of the country (an American has just been killed in the Shia city of Najaf), is a spontaneous reaction to the ham-handed oppression of the Crusaders, and has nothing to do with past history, political affiliation, or religion. This means that the resistance cannot be contained by eliminating a small group from Iraqi society.

  4. The British attack was clearly the spontaneous reaction of people to the grievous cultural insensitivity of the British soldiers in their brutal search for arms in people's houses. While there may be organized attacks in Iraq, almost all of the resistance is due to this kind of anger coupled with the natural yearning of a people to throw off the shackles of oppression. Of course, the Americans and British can't admit to these motivations as it would demonstrate that the Iraqis are now subject to the culturally insensitive and brutal Anglo-American occupation. This is a particularly touchy area now, when the Bush Administration is trying desperately to shift the rationale for the attack from weapons of mass destruction to the liberation of the Iraqi people.

  5. The Americans have tried to suck and blow on their public analysis of the resistance, claiming at the same time that it is not organized but that it is being done by Baathists for political purposes. The current propaganda spin is that Iraq is not going to degenerate into a guerrilla war. When word gets around of the success of such spontaneous attacks, how are the occupiers going to stop a guerrilla war from developing?

  6. The whole incident apparently started with a demonstration over a broken promise by the British to allow the city to be policed by local policemen. The British shot into the crowd, possibly in response to being fired upon, killing four people. The anger created by these deaths, coupled with the anger created by the insensitive way the British had been searching homes (treating women badly and bringing dogs in on the searches), resulted in a spontaneous reaction. Two British policemen were killed at the scene, and the crowd then chased four others to a police station, and killed them after a long gun battle. They may have been executed with their own guns after surrendering, a rough fate even for war criminals.

The Iraqis are now making the express argument that they do not want to give up their arms because they will need them to force out the occupying army. One of the reasons for their views is that the Americans and British have consistently broken all promises to provide even the smallest amount of local democratic government. Why then should the Iraqis believe that they will ever obtain any freedom unless they take it by force? If they wait, they will lose their guns and with them all chance to defend themselves.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Jihad Al Khazen has written an outstanding guide to the neo-con High Cabal that runs the foreign policy and military affairs of the United States (see additional articles on individual neo-cons here and here and here and here). It is a must-read for anyone who wants to decipher why American policy has become so completely insane. It is important to understand the background of the neo-con view of the world, and how it became entangled with traditional American Republican conservatism, and thus gained its current dominance (more on the background here and here, but I think way too much blame for the current neo-con 'philosophy' has been laid at the feet of Leo Strauss, who was a legitimate, important and certainly not 'obscure' conservative political philosopher, and who I'm sure would have been aghast at the incoherent dog's breakfast that constitutes neo-conservatism). The Cabal is closely connected by family ties (see also this article), and also connected through a series of think tanks with interlocking memberships, all of which are nicely described in the article. It is as if the government of the United States has been taken over by some kind of cult.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

A few odds and ends on Iraq and Iran:

  1. The idea that the reconstruction of Iraq could be financed by mortgaging the future oil revenue stream has not gone away. A group called the 'Coalition for Employment Through Exports' (where do they get these names, and what could that possibly mean?), whose members include Halliburton and Bechtel, is lobbying to use oil revenues as security to borrow money from commercial banks for projects in Iraq. The American Export-Import Bank, an organization used and abused by Cheney when he ran Halliburton, is also considering the issue. The obvious worry is that continued unrest in Iraq may drive the American carpetbaggers out before they have a chance to leech out all the money they can from the Iraqi people. They thus want to mortgage the future of the Iraqi people so they will be in a position to take the money and run. With the money available immediately before the oil starts to flow, they can work on their contracts now, hoping to have billed as much as possible before they are forced to leave. They can probably arrange to be paid even if their contracts aren't fulfilled as long as the reason they had to leave was the danger of remaining in Iraq.

  2. The Judith Miller watch continues. In Iraq, she was embedded in an army unit which was supposed to be looking for weapons of mass destruction. More than a half-dozen military officers accused her of acting as a liason between the Army unit and none other than Ahmed Chalabi. She forced the unit to go to Chalabi's headquarters to pick up the son-in-law of Saddam, and apparently somehow coerced the unit into interrogating the son-in-law, although they were not trained to do so, and sat in on the interrogation. On officer, referring to Miller, said:

    . . . this woman came in with a plan. She was leading them. . . . She ended up almost hijacking the mission."

    Another officer said:

    "It's impossible to exaggerate the impact she had on the mission of this unit, and not for the better."

    Another officer said:

    "Judith was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat."

    There are a number of cases where the unit was pushed around by Miller, and pushed in areas that directly benefitted Chalabi and the Chalabi-centric propaganda line which Miller consistently follows. Between threatening to appeal to Rumsfeld or Feith, and manipulating the unit into Chalabi-friendly directions, it is completely transparent that Miller was acting for the neo-con/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Chalabi propaganda war, and had so much power that she was able to force a military unit into making decisions against the best interests of that unit. Bush's next excuse for not finding weapons of mass destruction should be that the unit sent to find them was so controlled by Miller for Chalabi's purposes that it didn't have time to find the weapons. Jayson Blair was sacrificed to keep this kind of thing from being revealed.

  3. A guy who has managed to keep a surprisingly low profile for much of the time, especially considering all the mischief he has been up to, is Michael Ledeen. Even amongst the neo-cons, Ledeen stands out as the lowest of the low. He is so utterly rotten he manages to make devils like Perle look positively benign in comparison, and his current evil is fomenting the attack on Iran. Ledeen was a big, big player in Iran-Contra, and managed to be a major contact to the Iranians and at the same time the main liaison between the Reagan Administration and the Israelis who were the sole beneficiaries of Iran-Contra. His beef with Iran unabashedly relates to the alleged Iranian threat to Israel, and has nothing to do with true American interests. Ledeen has taken the clearly wrong position in every issue he has advocated over his whole life, and the fact he still has such influence shows the complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the Bush Administration.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

We do know some things about what happened on September 11:

  1. We know that the Project for the New American Century think tank, many members of which ended up in the Bush Administration (PNAC'ers include Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby and Khalilzad), produced a major report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (participants in the project include Wolfowitz, Kristol, Shulsky, Libby, Donnelly and Cambone). On page 51, we find the following sentence:

    "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

    The report goes on to detail the process of transformation, which involves 'three new missions' for the American military:

    • global missile defense;

    • control of space and cyberspace; and

    • the transformation of conventional forces.
    Missile defense is of course a boondoggle, doomed to failure, but intended to put billions of dollars into the hands of the military contractors. We have seen the grim results of the beginnings of the transformation of conventional forces under the incompetent leadership of Rumsfeld, with forces so weak that they were nearly embarrassed by the Iraqis until the money to bribe the Iraqi generals showed up, and completely undermanned and ill-prepared soldiers trying to keep the peace. The most interesting of the three missions is the control of space and cyberspace. After becoming the sole superpower with the ending of the cold war, the American neo-cons are tired of having to listen to the incessant whining of other countries about what they can do. They will solve the problem by asserting a monopoly on the weaponization of space (which will also involve putting nuclear materials in orbit). If, say, France has some complaint about some future immoral and illegal action of the United States, the Americans can simply threaten to put all French telecommunications out of commission, thus destroying the French economy. A monopoly of control of space also provides full control of the information available from space, and even the eventual possibility of weapons directed from space at targets on earth. The Hegemony of the United States will thus be total (see a summary of some of the plans here and an articles on the subject here and here and here). But what about that 'Pearl Harbor'? Donald Kagan, co-chairman of the report, wrote an article responding to Jay Bookman's article on the report (Bookman, who is a very good writer, inspired what could be called the field of 'PNAC Studies' - see here and here and here), and stated:

    "The mission of the group we assembled was to study the condition of our defenses, to recommend a policy aimed at preserving peace in the world and defending America's security and interests, to propose the best size and structure for our defense establishment, and to be as clear and specific as possible. We hoped that our report would help focus the attention of the candidates and the media on this most important issue they were neglecting.

    We failed. Almost all the people we invited to take part in our deliberations who later joined the current Bush administration attended no more than one meeting, said little and made it clear that they did not agree with our analysis and recommendations. Neither the presidential candidates nor the media paid any attention to what we wrote. When the Bush administration took office it largely continued the policies of its predecessor. It sought only small increases in the defense budget that would address only the most pressing needs to improve the quality of life of our servicemen and women. This left the problems of inadequate force size and equipment, readiness and the transformation of our forces essentially as they were. Some of us criticized the new administration for these shortcomings. None of its members, including those we had called upon to help us in our deliberations, supported our complaints.

    This situation changed only after the attacks on our country on Sept. 11, 2001."

    9-11 was Pearl Harbor, and allowed the report to begin to be implemented. Of course, 9-11 also served as the excuse for the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and will serve as the excuse for the future attacks on Iran and Syria. I think it is jolly sporting of the PNAC'ers to post the complete plans for the conspiracy on their web site.

  2. When the Bush Administration came into power, nearly all important Administration positions in defense matters were taken by PNAC'ers and the members of other extreme right-wing neo-con think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (home to such worthies as Cheney, Donnelly, Ledeen and Perle). They brought not only an all-consuming interest in huge increases in military spending, but a definite slant towards what they perceived to be the interests of Israel. PNAC plans for Iraq are documented in their January 26, 1998 letter to President Clinton, advocating the American removal of Saddam (signed by, inter alia, Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, John Bolton, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey). There was absolutely no pressing American need, either militarily or for security reasons, to attack Iraq. Indeed, from a diplomatic and economic and counterterrorism perspective, not to mention an economic perspective, the attack has proven and will prove to be an unmitigated disaster for the interests of America. It was, however, a big desire of Sharon and his cronies to remove Saddam, in the probably mistaken belief that Saddam's removal would permanently remove a major threat to Israel. The neo-con Zionists formed a marriage of convenience with the Pentagon ultra-warmongers and introduced ultra-Likudnik ideas into American military policy, ideas which also conveniently satisfied the millennialist plans of the Christian evangelical loons whose support Bush continues to need. By using 'American' Zionist ideologues brought into the American government through the think-tank backdoor, Israel got all the benefits of controlling American policy at the highest levels without any of the possible embarrassments of being seen to be pulling the strings directly (but I note that Sharon can't take all the blame, as these plans were also very agreeable to the American military-industrial complex, and in particular to certain important crony capitalists close to the Bush Administration).

  3. The most striking conspiracy of September 11 was the absolute failure of NORAD to do anything to stop the terrorist attacks. No one who looks objectively at the timing of the attacks, and considers the speed of the aircraft involved and the distances of air bases from the targets, can fail to see that NORAD intentionally failed to follow its normal procedures which probably would have prevented the attacks. NORAD allowed the 'Pearl Harbor' to occur, and 'Pearl Harbor' allowed for the PNAC plans to proceed. These plans included huge increases in military spending, and some fun wars to plan and fight, all delightful for the inmates of the Pentagon. More importantly, from a 'Dr. Strangelove' perspective, the PNAC plans regarding the weaponization of space now fit neatly into the 'war on terror', and receive carte blanche on planning and funding. The man in charge of NORAD on September 11 was Ralph Eberhart, who is also the general in charge of the weaponization of space. While the weaponization of space is rocket science, figuring out what's going on here isn't.

  4. As I've already described, the allegation of Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction was intended from an early date to be the propaganda sales pitch to sell the attack on Iraq to the American people and the world community. It is already in the PNAC letter to Clinton. Wolfowitz has admitted that it was chosen for its propaganda value. The lies to back it up were generated in Cheney's office through manipulation of bad intelligence obtained from Cheney-pal Chalabi and his INC associates, and was laundered through an office in the Pentagon created especially to avoid CIA/DIA scrutiny. The CIA allowed itself to be used by Cheney and Rumsfeld, in that Tenet proved himself not up to the task of balancing the intelligence gathering integrity of the CIA with his desire to appear to be helpful to the Administration. Tenet's sitting behind Powell while Powell spewed lies to the UN, lies which Tenet knew to be complete garbage, is completely shameful. The worst lie, that of the supposed Niger letters concerning Saddam's attempts to acquire nuclear materials, was run through the office of Robert G. Joseph, the top National Security Council staff official on nuclear proliferation, an advocate of missile defense. Joseph is an expert on nuclear proliferation, and would have known immediately on looking at the letters that they were forgeries (it took the International Atomic Energy Agency one day to announce they were forgeries, after waiting months to see them). So a proponent of missile defense promotes what should have been to him and his staff obvious lies in order to provide a propaganda basis for the war on Iraq. More rocket science.

  5. The failures of the FBI in allowing 9-11 to occur are almost too numerous to mention, and I may have to write separately about them. The ignored (or were they ignored?) reports of Arab flying students, the warnings about the group around Hani Hanjour given by Aukai Collins, the intrigue involving translation described by Sibel Edmonds, the whole John O'Neill story, the charade of the 'watch' list and the recent misleading mea culpas with respect to them, the fact that two identified terrorists were living in a house in San Diego whose landlord was an FBI informant, the whole Moussaoui mess - the list goes on and on. The dominant feature of all these failures is that they all occurred at local management levels of the FBI (the only possible exception is the failure to obtain a FISA warrant for Moussaoui). Some time in the future I'll write about what some events in the fall of 1963 can teach us about 9-11, but suffice it to say that it appears that the FBI as a whole was torpedoed by its own middle management, for probably conspiratorial reasons. The FBI agents involved were a necessary part of allowing 9-11 to occur, and ensuring that there would be a cover-up. I don't know how they connect to the Washington-based conspirators (possibly Christian evangelical religious connections?)

  6. I perceive the selection of George Bush as President as being the first part of a planned two-part military coup in the United States. Once he was in position, old plans could be put in motion. The second part of the coup occurred when someone described the facts of life to Bush sometime in the morning of September 11, after it had been drawn to his attention that Air Force One was flying around for a long time completely vulnerable to attack until someone in the Pentagon decided to give it fighter jet accompaniment. The true control of power was revealed. On September 11 the fiction that Bush was the Constitutionally-sanctioned leader of the United States was removed, and power fell completely into the hands of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the corporate interests for which they all work. The business of the United States would now be military dominance of the earth. Taxes have effectively been completely removed from the rich, and the fascist security state, introduced on the excuse of September 11, will be maintained and increased to suppress the inevitable social problems that will occur when almost all non-military government spending is eliminated. The planned bankruptcy of the states, and the unbelievably high deficit, are intended to make it permanently impossible to reintroduce the destroyed social programs. Anticipated future acts of terrorism caused by American military and economic plans for the world will be used to further tighten the screws on any possible dissent. Everything in the master plan required the tragedy of 9-11 to give Bush sufficient perceived moral authority in the face of the 'war on terror' to force it through Congress.

In summary, 9-11 and the wars which follow it (and I think it important to see 9-11 in the context of all the outrages it has served to excuse, as the think tankers obviously do) show us how the published plans, which describe the ultimate goal of American complete dominance of the world through having a monopoly position on the weaponization of space, are being implemented through the use of 9-11 as a 'Pearl Harbor' event to convince the American people and legislators of the necessity of steps which would never be considered in the absence of the 9-11 terror. Both NORAD and the FBI played important roles in dropping defenses at critically important times in order to allow 9-11 to occur. The main conspirators are the White House think tank warmongers, the Pentagon, and the FBI. Of course, while we can see the broad outlines of how the conspiracy operated, we still do not know the mechanics of its planning and financing. Later, I will consider some suspicious entities that probably didn't play much of a role in 9-11: the CIA (I think the CIA is ironically a patsy in this case, although it appears to play a role in the cover-up), the State of Israel (as opposed to the Likudniks in the Bush Administration who represented what they felt were Israel's interests in advocating the war on Iraq and the future wars on Iran and Syria), al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Monday, June 23, 2003


  1. American soldiers have started to admit to shooting civilians in Iraq. Sergeant First Class John Meadows said:

    "You can't distinguish between who's trying to kill you and who's not. Like, the only way to get through s*** like that was to concentrate on getting through it by killing as many people as you can, people you know are trying to kill you. Killing them first and getting home."

    Specialist Corporal Michael Richardson said:

    "There was no dilemma when it came to shooting people who were not in uniform, I just pulled the trigger. It was up close and personal the whole time, there wasn't a big distance. If they were there, they were enemy, whether in uniform or not. Some were, some weren't."

    and, chillingly referring to injured Iraqi soldiers:

    "S***, I didn't help any of them. I wouldn't help the f******. There were some you let die. And there were some you double-tapped. Once you'd reached the objective, and once you'd shot them and you're moving through, anything there, you shoot again. You didn't want any prisoners of war. You hate them so bad while you're fighting, and you're so terrified, you can't really convey the feeling, but you don't want them to live."

    Specialist Anthony Castillo said:

    "When there were civilians there we did the mission that had to be done. When they were there, they were at the wrong spot, so they were considered enemy."

    Peter Beaumont, a journalist who was himself almost killed by an American soldier, summarizes the problem (and see also here):

    "So what happened then in the advance into Baghdad - and what is happening still as American soldiers fire on crowds of demonstrators? The answer struck me recently. The world's biggest and most formidible army - the most technologically advanced - lacks discipline regarding its own rules of engagement and an ability - the critical ability - to properly identify targets before engagement.

    This is not a new problem. It is behind the too frequent incidences of US friendly fire on its allies; behind the arrogance with which US forces treated many Iraqis.

    But the result is a recklessness and a lack of care for civilian casualties that borders on the criminal."

  2. On Wednesday, American troops shot into a violent group of unpaid soldiers protesting in Baghdad, killing two people, apparently in response to having stones thrown at them (the Americans predictably claim they were fired upon). American forces killed an Iraqi woman, her child and an Iraqi man in the village of Maqarr al-Dheeb, about 10 miles from the Syrian border. American soldiers caught in an attack near Mushahidah fired wildly on a bus, wounding eight people. Abdul Rahman Mohammed Ali, the bus driver, said:

    "We had nothing to do with this. We were just passing this place. Why should they attack people when they don't know who is responsible?"

    There was a report (or here) that American troops killed over 100 civilians at Rawah on June 13, although that seems like a lot of dead civilians with no particular fuss being made. A 15-year-old boy, along with two other civilians, was shot dead in the heavy-handed raid on Thuluya.

  3. Human Rights Watch has found inconsistencies in the American stories of the massacres in Falluja on April 28 and 30, and is asking for an investigation. Good luck with that.

  4. The same old problems continue:

    • Due to unclean water supplies, there are still cases of water-borne diseases.

    • Bremer of Baghdad claims that Baghdad is now receiving 20 hours of electricity a day. This is a lie (some parts get 20 hours, some parts get 2). Shamsedin Mansour, a poor shopkeeper, said:

      "We have had no electricity for six days. Many of our people are suffering from heart problems because of the heat. We live with as many as 42 people in a house and do not have the money to buy even a small generator. Without light at night it is easy for gangs of thieves with guns to take over the streets, and the shooting keeps us awake. If we try to protect ourselves with arms, the Americans arrest us."

      Due to the extreme insecurity on the streets, people are forced to stay in their homes all day, and the houses, without air conditioning, become impossibly hot. The electricity problem also leads to lack of refrigeration, and affects the water supply.

    • People suffering from symptoms of radiation (or here) sickness, as many as 30 to 40 a day, are starting to appear at a hospital near the Tuwaitha nuclear facility, probably contaminated with radioactive material looted from the unguarded facility.

    • The extreme insecurity on the streets is keeping school attendance levels, particularly of girls, very low.

    • Iraqis are claiming that American soldiers involved in the raids and inspections are stealing from them.

  5. The American operation known as 'Operation Desert Scorpion' (who comes up with these names?) was conducted in a particularly heavy-handed manner, and has caused much bitterness. The American soldiers were sent into the raids to the music of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries", and displayed their usual lack of sensitivity.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Robert Dreyfuss has written an excellent article on the mechanics of the preparation of the intelligence background to the weapons of mass destruction lie. There were two major deceptions, both out of the same source:

  1. The weapons of mass destruction lie.

  2. The lies about what post-attack Iraq would be like, particularly the lies of how welcoming the Iraqi people would be to their 'liberators', which lies have led to the current disaster in Iraq caused by complete absence of planning for the reconstruction.

Both lies were generated out of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, led by extreme neo-con Abram Shulsky. Referring to this group, Dreyfuss writes:

"It was set up in fall 2001 as a two-man shop, but it burgeoned into an eighteen-member nerve center of the Pentagon's effort to distort intelligence about Iraq's WMDs and terrorist connections. A great deal of the bad information produced by Shulsky's office, which found its way into speeches by Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, came from Chalabi's INC. Since the INC itself was sustained by its neocon allies in Washington, including the shadow 'Central Command' at the American Enterprise Institute, it stands as perhaps the ultimate example of circular reasoning."

That last point is the key. While Chalabi and his INC pals provided much of the faulty information, it is completely misleading to put the blame entirely on them. As the State Department and the CIA realized, Chalabi and the INC had an agenda in trying to get back to their homeland, and a particular animus against Saddam, which should have rendered their information highly suspect. Instead, Cheney and his American Enterprise Institute pals cultivated and encouraged both the INC and its faulty information with the specific purpose of providing a propaganda base for the attack on Iraq, an attack which was planned for reasons completely different than Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. But here's the really good stuff. Dreyfuss refers to a former U. S. ambassador with strong links to the CIA, and writes:

"According to the former official, also feeding information to the Office of Special Plans was a secret, rump unit established last year in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. This unit, which paralleled Shulsky's - and which has not previously been reported - prepared intelligence reports on Iraq in English (not Hebrew) and forwarded them to the Office of Special Plans. It was created in Sharon's office, not inside Israel's Mossad intelligence service, because the Mossad - which prides itself on extreme professionalism - had views closer to the CIA's, not the Pentagon's, on Iraq. This secretive unit, and not the Mossad, may well have been the source of the forged documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake uranium for weapons from Niger in West Africa, according to the former official."

So Rumsfeld and Cheney carved out an area in the Pentagon for the express purpose of justifying the attack on Iraq, gave this unit the bogus appearance of an intelligence office rather than a propaganda office, staffed it with neo-cons who are in on the Bushite agenda, and then fed information into it from: 1) Chalabi and the INC, who were essentially feeding Cheney what Cheney wanted to hear; and 2) Sharon's office! This is essentially Iran-Contra all over again, with deep parallels to the nature of Oliver North's office, the failure of any of the Iran-Contra operatives to hear anything other than what they wanted to hear, the essential stupidity of the operation, and the direct intellectual involvement of Israel (more direct involvement than I had thought they would dare), to the extent that Israel became the operating mind of the operation. The arrogance of the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Sharon cabal was so extreme that the Pentagon did not even bother to do the minimal intelligence work to determine what post-war Iraq would look like, and that arrogance has led to the current problems. The Iraqi Shi'ite leaders, who are very close to the extreme conservatives in Iran, are just waiting out the current Sunni unrest so they can establish an Islamic fundamentalist theocracy. Dreyfuss refers to political pressure that will develop in the United States for the Americans to withdraw, especially as the death of one American soldier a day starts to sink into the thick heads of the Fox-watching hillbillies who seem to make up the vast majority of the American population, but I cannot see how withdrawal is even conceivable. American troops are necessary to protect the assets that Bush's crony capitalist friends intend to steal, and a Lebanon-style craven withdrawal will show the rest of the world that Americans are yellow-bellied cowards after all, thus ruining one of the main goals of the PNAC crowd (to be, as one cartoonist put it, "the number-one head motherfucker in charge"). It is going to cost the American taxpayers upwards of $36 billion a year for the foreseeable future to maintain the occupation of Iraq (and another $18 billion a year for Afghanistan), and all of this for the benefit of a tiny few of Bush's friends and the insane dreams of the neo-cons and their Israeli masters.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

It's getting on to almost two years since the events of September 11, and it is striking how little we know about what happened:

  1. We don't know the real names of any of the hijackers.

  2. We don't know what countries they came from.

  3. We don't know who planned and organized the terrorism.

  4. We don't know who financed it.

  5. We have no idea what actually happened at the Pentagon (but I know a Boeing 757 didn't go through this hole). Normal video tapes of and from the Pentagon building, which should have shown what happened, have never been released (except for one, which poses more questions than it answers). Eyewitnesses have never been properly interviewed. The remarkable lack of debris, both within and outside the building, has never been explained. The fact that the authorities claimed to identify all but one of the passengers using DNA samples found at the scene has never been reconciled with the fact that they maintain that the plane was vaporized in the extreme heat in order to explain the lack of debris.

  6. We really don't know anything about the timing of notification of the FAA and NORAD that something was seriously wrong. The official version of the timeline seems to be altered in order to make NORAD's inaction less suspicious. We don't have a firm answer on how the pilots managed to signal the control towers. Were all four transponders turned off? If so, how was that done, and why? Why did all the planes take such long routes in heading to their targets, when the more time spent in the air increased the chances of being intercepted?

  7. We have no explanation for how the FBI came up with the names of all 19 (initially 18, but they added Hani Hanjour to Flight 77 so there would be a half-plausible pilot on board) hijackers within two days. Were they tracking the hijackers prior to September 11? We've never seen a full set of passenger manifests.

  8. How could American officials be so certain so quickly that this was the work of bin Laden? What was the exact content of the briefing materials given to Bush and the Administration in the summer of 2001? Was American intelligence behind the decision of Ashcroft in July to no longer take commercial flights? Was it behind the decision of some Pentagon officials not to fly on the morning of September 11? Who told Willie Brown and Salman Rushdie not to fly?

  9. We don't know what weapons the hijackers actually used, how they got them on the planes, and how they actually took control of the planes.

  10. We have no idea what happened to Flight 93. Was it shot down? Did it crash as a result of a struggle in the cockpit? As a result of a bomb on the plane?

  11. We have no idea what NORAD was doing on September 11. Why were planes not sent up for such a long time? If they were sent up, where did they go? Why were they not sent at top speed?

  12. We don't know why Atta and Alomari went to Portland, Maine the day before the hijackings. We're so lacking in information that we don't actually know if any or all of the 19 identified hijackers were actually on the planes that crashed. We've never seen security video from any of the airports except Portland (authorities claim that Logan had no such video - can this be true, especially since the Logan parking lot was recorded?).

  13. There were a number of flights on the morning of September 11 where passengers acted oddly in trying to get off the planes. Were these also flights which were to be hijacked?

  14. Why were the bin Laden family members in the United States allowed to leave with essentially no interviews by American authorities?

  15. We really have no good explanation for why no timely investigation was done of Moussaoui, and why he was just allowed to sit in jail until the terrorist attacks occurred. In fact, we have no good explanation for many, many things that the FBI didn't do.

  16. We don't know how the hijackers had such remarkable success in dealing with such authorities as the FAA, the INS, the FBI, and local police. Did they have the equivalent of the privateer's 'letters of marque', which allowed them to roam freely through the bureaucracy? We've never heard the results of the investigation on how incompetent Hani Hanjour managed to obtain an American commercial pilot's license, perhaps because the explanation would make it clear how ridiculous it is to think he could have piloted Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

  17. We have no idea of the deep background of the mysterious flying schools in Florida that Daniel Hopsicker has been writing about so well, and no idea of the nature of the Florida companions of Atta. We still have no idea of what the Israeli 'art students' were up to, and how they had such detailed knowledge of where to be.

  18. A detailed investigation of the stock trading on and before September 11 would answer a lot of questions about who had foreknowledge of the attacks, and would probably break the case wide open. Why has this investigation not been done (or released?)? A similar investigation about the morning of November 22, 1963 was also not done, and it is quite clear why - investigating the deep power structure is never done.

  19. What is Senator Graham referring to when he prattles on about mysterious foreign involvement in September 11?

  20. We have no idea what was going on at the school in Florida, where George Bush acted so oddly. We don't know when he knew, and what he knew. We don't know why he continued to stay in a vulnerable spot after it was clear that the country was under attack. We have never been given an explanation for his repeated claim that he saw the first crash on television, when it wasn't televised until after the second crash. We have no sensible explanation for why he decided to spend the morning flying around the southeastern and midwestern United States (the excuse that his plane was in danger has since been denied). We have no explanation for why his plane was initially given no airforce protection.

Within this many months of all the major American conspiracies of the last forty years we were still confused, but we had some idea as to what was going on. This case is remarkable for the fact that we know almost nothing about what happened. The United States has embarked on two dreadful and unsuccessful wars based on the excuse of these attacks, and turned the country into a fascist security state. You would think there might be the slightest effort to answer some of these questions. The Bush Administration is stonewalling on even the most basic documents, and appears to have gotten away with one of the greatest cover-ups yet devised. The most striking thing is that most if not all of these issues could easily be resolved if the right people were forced to answer some rather simple questions.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Extreme right-wing newspaper The Daily Telegraph (Conrad Black, prop.) claimed to have found documents in a burned-out building in Baghdad which proved that British Labour MP George Galloway had received around £375,000 from Iraq. A similar report was made by the Christian Science Monitor, which claimed Galloway had been paid $10 million over the last ten years. Galloway has denied these allegations, and has said he will sue for libel. It is starting to look like he may soon be a very rich man. The Monitor has now had the documents it relied on tested, something they probably wish they'd done before they published their defamatory statements, and determined that the papers on which they based their allegations are almost certainly forgeries. Documents obtained from the same source used by the Monitor by the Mail on Sunday had previously been determined to be fakes. It remains to be seen how the Telegraph documents turn out. The Monitor's source was an Iraqi general named Salah Abdel Rasool. A subsquent interview with the General revealed that "The general was offering other documents alleging malfeasance on the part of a wide array of foreign public figures noted for their support of the Hussein regime." Galloway was a vocal critic of the attack on Iraq, and thus it is not much of a surprise that he has been given very rough treatment. The thugs in the American government treat any dissent as worthy of the greatest possible retaliation (look what Wellstone got!), and Blair has turned into a similar goon under their influence. While the Telegraph documents have not yet been examined, it was noted at the time how fortuitous it was that, out of a destroyed building with boxes and boxes of charred documents, just those documents implicating a critic of the attack on Iraq should miraculously fall into the hands of a reporter from an extreme right-wing newspaper. What is particularly interesting is that another document cache miraculously found a few days later, which included documents purporting to show a connection between Iraq and bin Laden (and subsequently disputed by British intelligence), appears to have been discovered by a translator working for The Toronto Star (but see the Star-less account of the matter by the Telegraph reporter, referring apparently to the same translator). The Sunday Telegraph and the Toronto Star reported on the bin Laden matter, The Daily Telegraph reported on the Galloway matter, and the San Francisco Chronicle found yet another set of documents purporting to deal with an Iraqi cover-up of its weapons program (to add to the miracle, the Telegraph had also previously found documents proving that the Russians had passed onto the Iraqis details of private conversations between Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi!). ABC found yet other documents in homes belonging to Gen. Taher Jaleel Ajboush, the head of Iraqi intelligence, and Odai, Saddam's son. Wouldn't you think before the Americans let all these reporters in to root around they might have attempted to secure the sensitive documents of the Iraqi intelligence service? Isn't it abundantly clear that all these materials were assembled for innocent western reporters to 'discover' and thus promote various American propaganda goals? If it had happened once you might think it was luck, but different reporters finding documents useful to the Americans over and over again in exactly the same way, 'stumbling' upon them with the help of local translators, is just too suspicious. The General peddling the Galloway documents to the Monitor seemed to have a whole set of such documents, suitable for blackening the reputation of whoever you choose. How would he know which officials would be likely victims of such treatment? The Star claimed the document it found was "left untouched by CIA operatives who had already combed the premises." My guess is that the CIA knew exactly what it left around, and probably told the translators working for gullible journalists exactly where they could find them, not to mention exactly what white-out to scrape off to find bin Laden's name. The inability of the Star and Telegraph reporters to determine who got the scoop probably relates to the fact that the same translator was selling the same story to each one. I will be surprised if the remaining Galloway documents don't also turn out to be planted forgeries.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Iran-Contra was a disaster for just about everybody who was stupid enough to get involved in it, except for a few Israeli arms dealers and manufacturers. There were three parts to it:

  1. the sale of mostly Israeli-made or -obtained arms to Iran;

  2. the sale of mostly Israeli-made or -obtained arms to the contras; and

  3. later, in what is generally thought of as Iran-Contra, the use of the proceeds of the sales to Iran to fund part of the cost of the weapons for the contras.

In fact, before the two sales were connected, Israeli arms dealers were selling arms to Iran (against the express orders of the United States, and hidden by official lies of the Israeli government), and to the contras. Whose idea was it to connect the two? Israel's. The idea was so stupid, at least for the Reagan Administration officials who were involved in it, that it is difficult to imagine how they could have been talked into it. The whole lot of them, from Reagan himself on down, ought to have been hanged for it, and certainly ought to still be in jail for it. Instead, of course, many of them are now in the Bush Administration or have a large influence over the Bush Administration. Besides the fact that the people who were running it were utter morons (Oliver North!) or were brain-dead (Reagan), there were two huge structural problems with the conspiracy of Iran-Contra:

  1. The whole intellectual basis for the operation was Israeli, and many of the actual details of the supplying and selling of the weapons were Israeli. Once the conspiracy began to unravel, it became clear that the Administration had been breaking laws almost entirely for the benefit of, and under the direction of, a foreign country.

  2. The operation was set up within the hierarchies of the military and the Reagan Administration, meaning that it was relatively easy to trace authority and responsibility for the whole operation right up to Reagan himself. Once it started to fall apart at the bottom, it imperilled the whole Administration.

During the Clinton interregnum, the neo-con government-in-exile spent its time in the think tanks which we have come to know and loathe. Perhaps Clinton's main tactical mistake in his early days as President was his attempt to pander to the Republicans, in the vain hope they would cooperate with him on legislation, by not investigating what really went on in Iran-Contra. The Republicans took this as a sign of weakness, and never stopped going after him. Many of the Iran-Contra guilty ended up telling Bush what to do. One of the main things they wanted to do was take over the world, a goal which involved in part a series of wars in the Middle East, and they have not hesitated once in their goals (which is why I think, regardless of what they say, Iran is due for its attack as soon as the Pentagon has its arms supply replenished). In order to convince the American public that these wars were a good idea, they needed September 11. It is not surprising that the people involved in Iran-Contra would use the model of Iran-Contra in their next conspiracy, but they had to fix the two problems:

  1. Rather than have the operation planned and directed from Israel, which looked terrible or even treasonous, they buried Zionists in American think tanks. These people, who are often covertly or overtly Israeli citizens, were presented as Americans, and moved directly en masse from the think tanks right into the Bush Administration. They could then present what were essentially Israeli ideas for Israeli ultra-right-wing Zionist goals as being purely American ideas. This process was made easier by the fact that the Zionist goals at least for the time being coincide with the 'Dr. Strangelove' goals of the Pentagon and its civilian leaders (Rumsfeld, Cheney).

  2. Rather than have the operation - by which I mean not only the September 11 attacks, but also the series of wars and the creation of the fascist security state which have been based on the excuse of September 11 - based in the hierarchy of the Bush Administration or the military, it was based outside the Administration. While not exactly being run on the 'cell' structure that we attribute to al-Qaeda, it appears that the operation, rather than the vertical hierarchical operation of Iran-Contra, was run horizontally. The connections between conspirators were based on things like family associations, church connections, friendship, and, perhaps most importantly, relationships within the think tanks established by the extreme right-wing in American politics.

We can clearly see the think tank influence on the Bush Adminstration, and have the actual plans of groups like PNAC which we can compare to what has actually happened, but the evidence of the operation of the conspiracy is more obscure. The mechanics of the September 11 attacks were in operation prior to the Selection of Bush by the Supreme Court, and thus must be seen as preparations for an attack which only awaited a leader who would take advantage of the attack (if Gore had become President, the attack would either not have occurred, or would have taken a different form). Despite the success in hiding the conspiracy, there are at least two areas where we can see evidence of its operation:

  1. Within the FBI, and particularly within the counterterrorism section of the FBI, whose continued pattern of 'incompetence' with respect to the September 11 attackers is highly suspicious.

  2. The obvious NORAD standdown on the morning of September 11. The elements of the military that are the most suspicious are those connected with the goals of allowing Americans, and only Americans, use of nuclear weapons on earth (starting with the 'mini-nukes'), and the monopoly of the weaponization of space. Ralph Eberhart was in charge of NORAD air defense on September 11, and is also in charge of the implementation of the weaponization of space. The Niger nuclear materials lie which led to the excuse for the attack on Iraq was promoted through the office of Robert G. Joseph, the top National Security Council staff official on nuclear proliferation, a veteran of the Reagan Administration, and an advocate of missile defense (i. e., 'Star Wars', which is the Reagan Administration name for the weaponization of space). This is not an abnormal office for a nuclear story, but is a very odd office for a palpably false nuclear story. The manufacture for the excuse for the attack on Iraq, and the main push for the nuclear weaponization of earth and space, are Cheney and Rumsfeld and certain Pentagon generals. These are suspicious areas, worthy of more thought.

In summary, the Iran-Contra conspirators, after a few years of drying off during the Clinton years in various think tanks, reestablish themselves in the Bush Administration with the same combination of ultra-Zionist doctrine and extreme pro-American militarism. To accomplish the same goals of the Reagan Administration, American dominance of earth and Israeli dominance of the Middle East, they improve their methods and set out to change the world. A question to think about is the enthusiasm with which various elements of the American government are participating in the cover-up.

Monday, June 16, 2003

How many items were looted from the Museum of Antiquities in Baghdad? Was it:

  1. 3,000 items

  2. 3,000 items, but only 33 world-class pieces

  3. more than 1,000 items

  4. 'several thousand' items

  5. 25 items

  6. 6,000, 10,000 or 13,867 items;

  7. 'something in the range of thousands'

  8. 46 items

  9. the original estimate of 170,000 items; or

  10. there was hardly any looting or theft at all (but see here)?

Obviously, some estimates are of the exhibits of a spectacular or renowned type that would be exhibited up front in the museum, and some include all items stolen or missing. It is completely wrong to limit the damage estimate to the most showy items, as the most historically or archaeologically important items may not be all that spectacular. Since it appears that there was an effort by the thieves to take or destroy records of the collection, probably to make it difficult to detect the sale of stolen items in the international market, all estimates have to be open to question, especially in these relatively early days (the most considered estimate of the losses appears to be here - an outstanding site!). The American press is trying to spin the lower numbers of missing items to hide the culpability of the Pentagon (and see here and here). The bottom line remains:

  • the Pentagon was put on alert months before the attack on Iraq of the specific danger of looting to this particular museum, and promised to protect it;

  • days before the looting, assistance to protect the museum from looting was requested of local American military units;

  • American military units visited the site, temporarily scared away the looters, and then left;

  • there is some reason to believe that American soldiers actually encouraged some of the looters;

  • while there was looting done by the Iraqi poor, it appears likely that the most important items were stolen by professional art thieves, probably stealing to order from a list of items provided to them, and these thieves apparently were aware that there would be a window of time in which the American military would not be there (and we have to bear in mind that on January 24 members of the American Council for Cultural Policy, an association of American collectors and dealers, met with Pentagon and State Separtment officials to argue for a post-war loosening of Iraqi export restrictions on the basis that existing Iraqi law is too 'retentionist' and that antiquities will be safer in American museums and private collections than in Iraq);

  • the excuse that the American military could not guard the site because it was the site of Iraqi fighters was another Pentagon lie;

  • the actual count of items is unimportant but what is important is that some of the most significant items in the history of human civilization have been lost due to the negligence or wrong-doing of the American military, who breached their duties under international law; and

  • the American military can take no credit for those items that were protected, as they were all saved by the actions of Iraqis who anticipated that they would get no help from the Americans.

It appears that the grand commotion made about the looting, including what were overblown numbers, may have had the beneficial effect of making it more difficult to sell the stolen items on the international art market. The big issue now is preventing the ongoing looting at various archaeological sites in Iraq, most of which are being left completely unguarded by the Americans.

Sunday, June 15, 2003


  1. The usual:

    • 5,000 to 10,000 civilians were killed in the attack on Iraq (here is an article on the Iraq Body Count site). The Associated Press, in an incomplete survey, determined that at least 3,240 civilians died in the attack on Iraq. A spokesman for the U. S. Defense Department, Lieutenant Colonel James Cassella, claimed that under international law the United States was not liable to pay compensation for "injuries or damage occurring during lawful combat operations," an interesting theoretical bit of law which obviously doesn't apply to this completely illegal attack. The American military attitude is to downplay the amount of casualties and to claim that they have not kept track. When over 50 died in an American missile attack on a market in Baghdad, the Pentagon said it was conducting an investigation. That was a lie - there was no investigation. Civilians are simply objects standing between the United States and the oil.

    • Iraqi hospitals are in desperate need of drugs, medical equipment, electricity, and clean water. Dr. Janan Ghalib Hassan, the doctor in charge of the children's cancer ward at the Mother and Child Hospital in Basra said:

      "All the educated people of Iraq know that the war wasn't for helping the people, but for taking the oil."

      Why don't the educated people of the United States know this?

    • Robert Fisk, besides commenting on the new American censorship in Iraq (all 'anti-American' activities have now been banned by Bremer of Baghdad), reports:

      "While we're still on the subject of Baghdad airport, it's important to note that American forces at the facility are now coming under attack every night - I repeat, every night - from small arms fire. So are American military planes flying into the airbase. Some US aircrews have now adopted the old Vietnam tactic of corkscrewing tightly down on to the runways instead of risking sniper fire during a conventional final approach."

    • The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported on the American attack on the Palestine Hotel which killed two journalists and wounded three others (see also here and here). While damning enough on the Americans, it does not state what appears to me to be obvious - the Americans intentionally targeted the hotel because there were journalists there.

    • Children continue to die as a result of cluster bombs.

    • In the north, Arabs are still being displaced from their land by Kurds who claim to have been the original owners before Saddam forced them out, claims which may be true but are being enforced without any kind of judicial process and are leaving the displaced people homeless.

    • The looting of nuclear isotopes at the Tuwaitha nuclear complex continues!!! Trudy Rubin, in an article entitled "Looting of Iraqi nuclear facility indicts U.S. goals", writes:

      "The Bush administration claimed, contrary to reports by U.N. weapons inspectors, that Saddam still had an active nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration claimed that the danger of Iraq's handing off nuclear materiel to terrorists was a key reason for regime change.

      The administration knew full well what was stored at Tuwaitha. So how is it possible that the U.S. military failed to secure the nuclear facility until weeks after the war started? This left looters free to ransack the barrels, dump their contents, and sell them to villagers for storage.

      How is it possible that, according to Iraqi nuclear scientists, looters are still stealing radioactive isotopes?

      The Tuwaitha story makes a mockery of the administration's vaunted concern with weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. military hastened to secure the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad from looters. But Iraq's main nuclear facility was apparently not important enough to get similar protection."

      Particularly given the lies of the Bush Administration about the danger of Iraq's nuclear weapons program, and in the light of the crude forgery of the Niger documents which were used when the Administration knew them to be forgeries, the nonchalance of the occupying Americans to a real nuclear danger is very telling.

    • The Baghdad lawlessness continues. N.B. Mammo, an eye surgeon, said:

      "Why aren't the telephones working? Why the delay in essential services? Why aren't buildings that were looted brought back to a functioning level? The US is far too competent to have not anticipated these things. When the lights go out in New York, people loot."

      The Americans did a huge amount of planning in something called the 'Future of Iraq Project', and now appear to have forgotten everything they had planned to do.

    • An Iraqi prisoner of war in American custody has been found dead.

    • The Americans continue to hold in jail three Palestinians who were accredited as diplomats under Saddam Hussein's regime.

    • Palestinians continue to be evicted from their homes in Baghdad, and 250 families now live in tents at the Haifa Sports Club, a Palestinian cultural center.

    • Radical clerics continue to force women to wear a veil.

  2. In a new development, the Americans are currently on a military operation which has been called an anti-guerilla sweep, but is in actuality the first pure Vietnam-war-style search-and-destroy missions. Iraqis claim that the operation was excessive, with civilians brutalized (or here), claims which the Americans deny but are quite easy to believe. Local residents are extremely angry with the ferocity of the American attack.

  3. Here is a good summary of what the Americans have to do in Baghdad immediately, before summer temperatures reach up to 140º F, in order to prevent a disaster. Any bets on how well they'll do?

  4. Aid agencies are refusing to cooperate with the Pentagon and its heavy-handed rule in Iraq, fearing a loss of reputation and that their workers would be put at risk.

  5. At Al Hir, near Baghdad, Americans responding to an attack appear to have killed five innocent civilians. The Americans deny they killed civilians, but villagers claim American military officials apologized for the mistake. Noufa Hamoud, 60, an aunt of three of the dead, said, speaking of George Bush:

    "I will not forgive him. They were so young, they had children, they had never committed any crime. He has leveled our family."

As the resistance grows, the Americans are sinking into a quagmire. 'Coalition' members are proving to be remarkably unhelpful in volunteering troops to spell the Americans ('You broke it, you pay for it' seems to be the theme). The sabotage of the oil facilities is beginning. And it's starting to get hot!

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Organized crime can extract money out of a business by running up its trade debts while simultaneously stripping its assets and selling them for cash. When all the assets are sold and the creditors start to obtain enforceable judgments, the criminals simply abandon the shell of the business leaving the creditors with no assets against which to enforce their judgments. The neo-cons have a similar plan for Iraq:

  1. The first step is to force the international community to forgive the sovereign debts of Iraq. This is appealing to the neo-cons only because these debts aren't owed to American banks. Their argument is that the debt was run up on behalf of a criminal leader in Saddam, and the lenders shouldn't benefit from dealing with such a man (international moralist Richard Perle called it the ". . . moral hazard . . . of lend[ing] to a vicious dictatorship"). The problem, of course, is that there is no reason to differentiate the debts owed by Iraq from the debts owed by any third-world country, almost all of which had debts run up by unjust rulers, and the neo-cons have absolutely no interest in advocating a general forgiveness of the debts of poor countries. Why do the neo-cons want the debts of Iraq to be forgiven? It will stop any of the precious proceeds from oil from going to pay interest or principal on the sovereign debt, and thus not where God intended these proceeds to go, into the pockets of Hallibuton and Bechtel. The forgiveness will also allow Iraq to more easily run up more debts, as we shall see.

  2. The second step is to appropriate as much of the oil revenues of Iraq as possible for the corporate crony friends of the Bush Administration. This will be done through the use of untendered 'cost-plus' contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. The reconstruction will track the amount of money available from the proceeds of the oil wells, and will continue as long and as far as this money holds out.

  3. The third step is to ensure that Iraq gets no democratic government until as many contracts are signed as possible that will permanently result in all the oil monies going to Bush's pals. A democratic government that obtains power too soon might try to upset these arrangements before all the oil money is liberated.

  4. The fourth, and most important step, is to make sure that even if the country is plunged into anarchy, or a democratic government is elected that doesn't agree with the stealing of all the present and future oil profits, the stealing of the money can't be reversed. The plan, and it is a diabolical one, is to have Britain and the United States and Australia, together with big banks, lend the Iraqi people all the money required for the reconstruction on the security of the oil production facilities and the future revenue stream from the oil wells. The lent money can thus be placed in a pool which can be drawn on by the reconstruction companies without having to worry about future decisions of the Iraqi people (no doubt the reconstruction contracts will have massive penalty clauses should Iraq want to get out of them later). The Bush administration has anticipated that a judicial order might be made against the oil of Iraq, and has made it impossible for such oil to be subject to judicial attachment, thus ensuring that the assets will be free and clear to be the security for the loans. Iraq's wealth will be permanently mortgaged to the hilt for the benefit of Bush's pals, and there will be nothing that any future Iraqi leaders can do about it.

The fly in the ointment is the sabotage that has begun against the oil facilities of Iraq. No lender will lend if the collateral can't be insured, and no insurer will insure collateral that can't be protected from destruction. The sabotage of electrical lines going to the Basra Refinery, other instances of sabotage, and now the explosion on the pipeline going to Turkey, are just the beginning of the war of liberation of the Iraqi people. The Americans, with almost 200,000 troops, can't keep charge of Iraq. How are they going to secure thousands of miles of oil pipelines, electrical wires, and water pipelines needed to pump the oil? How are they going to prevent sabotage in the refineries themselves? Unless the Americans can prove that the collateral is safe, much of the plan to liberate the wealth of the Iraqi people will have to be delayed.

Friday, June 13, 2003

The rationale for Bush's attack on Iraq, and the method by which it was fitted into its procrustean bed of international law, was that the United States had the right of self-defense against imminent attack and was allowed to use a preemptive war to defend itself. This wasn't much of an argument, but for it to fly at all it was essential that the Bush Administration have actual evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which could be used immediately. Otherwise, there was absolutely no reason not to allow the United Nations weapons inspectors to finish their jobs. In the absence of any weapons of mass destruction, and the absolutely consistent stories of all credible Iraqis that such weapons did not exist, the Bush Administration has been scrambling for a substitute rationale for the war. Bush has apparently settled on the idea that Saddam had a 'program' to build WMD. Leaving aside the fact that this is so vague as to be meaningless, it also will not do for the purposes of saving the White House. A 'program' is no imminent threat, and it is absolutely essential for Bush's war argument to work that the threat be imminent. The use of preemptive war is so far outside the norms of international law that, at the very least, the war has to be the only possible means of avoiding being attacked. Obviously, by definition, Iraq's having had a 'program' entails that it was not in a position to attack the United States. From an excellent article "Not buying revisionist sales job on Iraqi weapons" by Jules Witcover:

". . . the pertinent question has always been whether, as the Bush administration insisted in launching the invasion, those weapons were in hand and so ready for use as to constitute a clear and present danger requiring immediate military action."


"Understating the importance of the existence or absence of WMD at the time of the invasion won't settle the critical question of whether administration officials hyped government intelligence about the threat to win congressional support for launching pre-emptive war. Without WMD, what was being pre-empted?"

The pinning of the blame on the CIA by the Bush Administration for the Bush lies about Iraq continues to develop. The story is now centered on the clumsily forged documents which purported to show that Saddam had arranged to buy uranium from Niger:

  1. In an article dated June 12 in the Washington Post Walter Pincus wrote:

    "A key component of President Bush's claim in his State of the Union address last January that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program - its alleged attempt to buy uranium in Niger - was disputed by a CIA-directed mission to the central African nation in early 2002, according to senior administration officials and a former government official. But the CIA did not pass on the detailed results of its investigation to the White House or other government agencies, the officials said."

    Pincus is here clearly describing the White House defense - that the CIA knew but didn't tell the Administration.

  2. In an article dated June 13, Pincus sets out the CIA's response to this claim:

    "The CIA, facing criticism for its failure to pass on a key piece of information that put in doubt Iraq's purported attempts to buy uranium from Niger, said yesterday it sent a cable to the White House and other government agencies in March 2002 that said the claim had been denied by officials from the central African country."

    Pincus then goes on to present the White House rebuttal to the CIA defense, which is the rather weak claim that the CIA cable did not refer to the name of the former ambassador that the CIA had sent to Niger to investigate the matter, or to the fact that he had been sent there by the CIA. This is obvious quibbling as the cable was apparently completely clear that the claim had been denied by officials from Niger, thus at the very least making the allegations questionable until they were further researched, but the White House went ahead anyway and used the Niger allegations as one of the key parts of its WMD lie. Pincus, who writes his article as if he was being paid by the White House (one of the keys to understanding the parlous state that the United States is currently in is the simultaneous utter debasement of both the Washington Post and the New York Times), continues:

    "An administration official said yesterday that the CIA report was only one of many such cables received by the White House each day. The official said that other information received after March 2002 supported claims that Iraq was actively attempting to buy uranium. Because of the anonymous nature of the source cited in the CIA report, it was not considered unusual or very important and not passed on to Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, or other senior White House officials."

    Pincus then quotes Rice's denial:

    "Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery."

    How did they not know if the CIA had sent them a warning cable? Who is the gatekeeper who conveniently insulates high-level officials from important CIA intelligence information? We have to look elsewhere than the Washington Post to avoid the heavy White House propaganda spin.

  3. An article entitled "White House was warned of dubious intelligence, official says"
    by Jonathan S. Landay for Knight Ridder Newspapers is more helpful:

    "A senior CIA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the intelligence agency informed the White House on March 9, 2002 - 10 months before Bush's nationally televised speech - that an agency source who had traveled to Niger couldn't confirm European intelligence reports that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from the West African country."


    "Three senior administration officials said Vice President Dick Cheney and some officials on the National Security Council staff and at the Pentagon ignored the CIA's reservations and argued that the president and others should include the allegation in their case against Saddam."

    How could they ignore the CIA reservations if, as Rice claims, they didn't even know about them? A fourth official is quoted as saying that the most recent allegations "were not central pieces of the case illustrating Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and their WMD programs." This is, of course, nonsense: not only were the Niger allegations central to the case, as time goes on it has become clear that these allegations were the only evidence that the Bush Administration had. The CIA sent its warning not only to the White House, but also to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Justice Department and the FBI. In the months before Bush's state of the union address, where he made much of the Niger uranium, the CIA also told its doubts to the State Department, National Security Council staffers and members of Congress (which contradicts Pincus's June 12 article that "the CIA did not pass on the detailed results of its investigation to the White House or other government agencies"). If the White House didn't know, they were practically the only people in the whole U. S. government who didn't know! And finally, the truth:

    "Among the most vocal proponents of publicizing the alleged Niger connection, two senior officials said, were Cheney and officials in the office of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The effort was led by Robert G. Joseph, the top National Security Council staff official on nuclear proliferation, the officials said."

    Cheney and Rumsfeld. Remember those names (and put Robert G. Joseph in the back of your mind for future reference; nuclear proliferation is important as the main part of the greater Cheney-Rumsfeld conspiracy is the removal of all restrictions on full use by the United States of nuclear weapons on the ground and in space). The grand finale, returning us to now familiar ground:

    "The use of the false evidence despite the CIA warning raises questions about why some officials chose to believe the story despite the widespread skepticism in the intelligence community.

    One possibility, one senior official suggested Thursday, is that some officials at the Pentagon and in the vice president's office were getting their own intelligence from Iraqi exiles who the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency warned couldn't be trusted.

    Exile leader Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress told lawmakers Thursday that his group had turned three Iraqi defectors over to U.S. officials. One of the three, Chalabi said, was an Iraqi scientist who was involved in separating isotopes for Iraq's nuclear weapons program."

    The truth is revealed! We are back to lies concocted by Cheny and Chalabi and Rumsfeld, which is the starting point for understanding the propaganda basis for the attack on Iraq. Note also that this article points out that although the name of the ambassador was not in the CIA cable, the names of all the Niger officials he talked to were included, making it a much more impressive refutation.

  4. The CIA claims (or here) that it has provided documentation to congressional oversight committees which would show it "did not withhold information from appropriate officials" about Iraq's purported attempt to buy uranium in Niger.

This is all very important in understanding the structure of the flow of information in the White House. Knowing where and how the lies originated will not only allow us to understand the lies which led to the attack on Iraq, but also the background to what happened on September 11. Cheney and Rumsfeld are the protagonists, Rice is a professional liar to protect the deep structure of the information flows (information flows are the key to conspiracies), and Bush is essentially irrelevant.