Archive for June, 2006

Let’s post the 10 Commandments

Friday, June 30th, 2006

earth2you2: Let’s post the 10 Commandments

Clarence Thomas: Chicken Hawk

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Crooks and Liars » Clarence Thomas: Chicken Hawk

A Spat Over Iraq Revealed On Tape

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Condi, Condi…first you spat with Sergei and then your staff tries to lie about it…sigh.

A Spat Over Iraq Revealed On Tape

EXCERPT: 

The Lavrov-Rice sparring continued at a subsequent news conference over issues such as Russia’s growing control of natural gas supplies in Europe and threats to democratic institutions in Russia.

Reporters traveling with Rice transcribed the tape of the private luncheon but did not tell Rice aides about it until after a senior State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity as usual, assured them that “there was absolutely no friction whatsoever” between the two senior diplomats.

Once the flabbergasted official learned of the tape, he continued the briefing. He paused repeatedly, asking before describing a discussion whether reporters had heard it.

Palast on Stealing Elections

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Don’t kid yourself. Check it out.

Ah Religion! Buffett is ‘Dr. Mengele of philanthropists’

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

CNN.com - Priest: Buffett is ‘Dr. Mengele of philanthropists’ - Jun 29, 2006

Warren Buffett’s new philanthropic alliance with fellow billionaire Bill Gates won widespread praise this week, but anti-abortion activists did not join in, instead assailing the two donors for their longtime support of Planned Parenthood and international birth-control programs.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to which Buffett has pledged the bulk of his $44-billion fortune, devotes the vast majority of its funding to combating disease and poverty in developing countries. Less than 1 percent has gone to Planned Parenthood over the years. And the Gates Foundation does not permit its gifts to Planned Parenthood to be used for abortion services.

“The merger of Gates and Buffett may spell doom for the families of the developing world,” said the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, a Roman Catholic priest who is president of Human Life International.

Referring to Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi death camp doctor, Euteneuer said Buffett “will be known as the Dr. Mengele of philanthropy unless he repents.”

Bush’s SWIFT Chicanery Explained

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

With all this talk about BushCo’s Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) program…described in the Washington Post as “the international banking cooperative that quietly allowed the Treasury Department and the CIA to examine hundreds of thousands of private banking records from around the world,” I thought of an expert who could explain it all.

BushCo could have saved themselves the trouble of pissing off the entire world by peeking into their bank records by reading Loretta Napoleoni’s book, which I reviewed in these pages a couple of years ago…here’s the review of a book that lays out how terror funding really works:

Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks
by Loretta Napoleoni (Pluto Press, October 2003, $24.95. 295 pages)

On April 19, 1995, I was making photocopies of an article I had written about AIDS research as a science writer at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. As I stood at the copier, rereading my story on the advances made in fighting the plague of the century, I heard what sounded to me like someone slamming a door.

“Who the hell slammed that door?” I yelled from the copy room.

Soon I became painfully aware that a door had not been slammed in my office, but an entire office building had been brought down a few blocks away by terrorists. A different kind of plague erupted in my city and, like the first few cases of AIDS, an attempt to treat the symptoms was ultimately defeated until the true cause was discovered. Only now has the true cause of the viral nature of the world terrorist economy been reported.

The seeds of discontent with the ruling class, governments or even an autocratic boss have, since humans became “civilized”, served as impetus for the disgruntled, disaffected and even psychotic to lash out with acts of terrorism. But acts of terrorism cost money. They are organizations with payrolls, “benefits” and material needs. Terrorists need dollars, and stopping the flow of dollars to the balaclava-clad “revolutionaries” could effectively end large-scale terrorism. Unfortunately, it could also send the world economy into a spiral of depression and even collapse.

Dr. Loretta Napoleoni sheds light on the global “economy of terror” in Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks (Pluto Press, October 2003, $24.95). In this well-researched, painstakingly-footnoted book, Italian economist and author Napoleoni identifies a $1.5 trillion “fast-growing economic system” comprised of illegal businesses such as arms and narcotics trading, diamond smuggling, charitable donations, profits from illegal businesses and yes, oil.

In Modern Jihad, Napoleoni reveals the interdependency between autocratic state-shell economies run by armed groups and “democratic” western economies, ranging from consumption of narcotics to the production of arms to laundering money and even to stock speculation, as occurred prior to Sept. 11, 2001.

Napoleoni, whose method of converting the florint was later used as the blueprint for the convertibility of the post-Berlin Wall ruble, was one of the few journalists to interview the leaders of the legendary Italian terrorists The Red Brigades, Napoleoni understands all too well that “money, not politics” keeps an armed organization alive.

Modern Jihad is a detailed examination of how the terrorist network is financed by an intricate economy that, like a parasite which has burrowed into the vital organs of the host, cannot be removed without serious risk of killing the patient. The revelation that terrorism on the Al Qaeda scale is “not really about Islamic fundamentalism” as President Bush and Prime Minister Blair would have us believe–but what economist George Magnus describes as a “growing tension between a dominant western capitalist system and a populous Muslim nation in which an emerging class of merchants and bankers is finding development checked and frustrated.” This fact is quietly excised from most “in-depth” examinations of the current “War on Terrorism.”

The book is broken down into chapters which explain in detail the history of the modern terror economy, including a look at the politics behind the terrorist activities of the PLO, Chile, Iran-Contra, “Operation Mongoose” in Cuba and the long history of the United States’ “quiet” manipulation of governments around the globe for the past century. Napoleoni supports this assertion with many disturbing examples and anecdotes, including evidence which could indicate that former American Green Berets trained the Libyan-based terrorists who brought down the Pan-Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Napoleoni explains that the grisly attack of 9/11 was partially a consequence of President Clinton’s failure to view the 1993 World Trade Center attack as terrorism. Instead, Clinton viewed it as a “crime against property rather than a threat to the state.”

Investigations into links between the terrorists and the ruling family of Saudi Arabia were curbed; and when President Bush was appointed to office, such investigations were outright hampered and even closed down.

One telling example is reported by a former FBI officer, who said that in 1990 a Saudi diplomat defector brought 14,000 potentially explosive documents with him. He offered them to the FBI, but “they would not accept them.”

The officer said:

“Low-level [FBI] agents wanted this stuff because they were tremendous leads. But the upper-level people would not permit this–did not want to touch this material. This is quite extraordinary. We don’t even want to look. We don’t want to know. Because obviously going through 14,000 documents from the Saudi government files would anger the Saudis. And it seems to be policy number one that we don’t get these boys angry.”

Napoleoni sums up the Clinton administration’s approach to political violence as criminal activity, not as a threat to national security. Under Bush, terrorist acts became not criminal matters, but acts of war. Recent revelations from former Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill also point to the fact that Bush used 9/11 as a means to his ends of conquering Iraq (and thus controlling its oil economy). Each approach has so far led to the unnecessary slaughter of hundreds of U.S. soldiers and thousands of Iraqi citizens.

The book explains, in layman’s terms, the basis for the macroeconomics of terror. It makes the case, stone by stone, how terrorism is paid for, and the economic disaster which awaits when and if the terrorist economy is shut down” if such a thing is even possible.

Napoleoni explains that according to Professor Christopher Pierson, a professor of politics at the University of Nottingham, a modern state (such as the U.S.) displays nine main characteristics; of these a shell-state shares only four: a monopoly on the means of violence; territoriality; taxation; and of public bureaucracy. The remaining five: sovereignty; constitutionality; the rule of law; impersonal power; and the legitimacy of authority and citizenship are absent. She further explains the economic dependence of state-shells (such as pre-9/11 Afghanistan) on the profits of illegal drug and arms smuggling:

“Because state-shell leaders construct the socio-economic infrastructure of the state exclusively around the war, they offer employment to fighters, provide military services and levy taxes to buy arms and ammunition, etc.; in short, they create an economy and its infrastructure to keep on fighting.”

A far cry from an economy based upon the sale of luxuries such as SUVs, electronics and services, the backbone of the economy in the west.

However, the blockbuster revelation in Modern Jihad has to be the thorough examination of the bearing oil brings on the economics of terror, as well as the influence and perhaps criminally negligent behavior of the Bush family.

Napoleoni traces the historical and economic significance of the oilfields of the region, and we see clearly why Halliburton’s Dick Cheney, the ideological bulwark behind Bush, is drooling for control of the region:

“One of the earth’s richest oil and gas fields is located on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, north of Afghanistan, in the territories belonging to the Central Asian republics, The cheapest way to link these fields with the international market is with a pipeline across Iran. From the Iranian coast oil and gas can be shipped via the existing Iranian network. However, the US companies are prohibited from using this route by the Iran-Libya Sanctions ACT (ILSA), which prohibits commercial ventures with these two countries. The longer route, through Afghanistan to the Pakistani coast, is more expensive, but considerably more advantageous to the US. It would eliminate the need to deal with Iran, a country towards which Washington nurtures deep antipathy and resentment, and give the US and its partners control of a new supply of energy.”

Unocal has been for years a major player in creating this eventuality. The idea is known in Washington as the “Strategy of the Silk Route.” This strategy pursued the exclusion of Russia from the Asian pipelines and establishes a strong presence in these areas to effectively lock Iran and China out of the energy business in the region. The hiccup was, of course, the “squabbling warlords” of Afghanistan. They knew that this pipeline would never happen until a stable puppet government came to Afghanistan–one amendable to the Bush family friends of Unocal.

One need only look at the credentials of the new leader of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, a former lobbyist for Unocal, to see where this is going. Bush’s envoy to the new Afghan government is Zalmay Khalilzad, another former Unocal employee [Editor’s Note: Since the original publication of this review, Khalilzad has been named U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Surprise surprise.]

Napoleoni details Bush family and friends’ involvement in the whole plan through ties to Unocal, Enron and CentGas; ironically all tied to the bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia.

The current president, a child of Reaganism and Thatcherism, sees his role very clearly: to aid the traders involved in the accumulation of wealth and control of the world’s resources for western interests.

Author Gore Vidal ties up the whole mess succinctly:

“The conquest of Afghanistan had nothing to do with Osama (bin Laden). He was simply a pretext for replacing the Taliban with a relatively stable government that would allow Union Oil of California (Unocal) to lay its pipeline for the profit of, among others, the Cheney-Bush Junta.”

Napoleoni says Vidal may be right: two small oil companies, Chase Energy and Caspian Energy Consulting, have already obtained permission from the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan to resume the pipeline negotiations. “These companies acted on behalf of much bigger oil corporations whose identity has been kept secret; however, the fact that S. Rob Sobhani, president of Caspian Sea Consulting, has worked for BP-Aramco as a consultant for Central Asia might throw some light on the mystery.”

In Napoleoni’s final analysis, however, there is a grim prognosis for the world economy. Even if there suddenly was an end to the global terror economy, the interdependence may already be too great, and the end of a yearly cash injection of $1.5 trillion dollars, along with the cheap Muslim-controlled oil, could wreck U.S. supremacy and hegemony. But something should change: “As long as we invest in corporations which meddle in the politics of independent states and take profit without regard to human cost, we engage in our own destruction.”

This book is written for the layman with the solid scholarship of an economist and investigative journalism “much in the tradition of Greg Palast;” though it lacks his flair for invective and gentle sarcasm which makes for a more interesting read.

However, a sober look at the rationalizations and origins of mass murder is not place for humor. Modern Jihad is well-researched, backing its disturbing and chilling assertions with detailed attribution. It provides a balanced and careful examination of the issue of financing world terrorism and gets very close to making the case for an independent counsel investigation of the Vice President of the United States at the very least.

Modern Jihad could be the “door slamming” on the ignorance of the American public about the actions their government is and has taken. Action which, in the long run, make them far less safe, far less secure from the plague of the twenty-first century: terrorism.

America Wins on Gitmo

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

For those who disagree, I say this: we are supposed to be the good guys. When we gleefully adopt the bad guys’ tactics, we are no different than them. How can God be on our side if we are offensive to Him?

EXCERPT:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in creating military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion, which said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and the Geneva Convention.

Ky. Gov Doesn’t Walk it Like He Talks It

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Newsvine - Ky. Governor Takes Limo Across the Street

EXCERPT:
When Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s day is over, he leaves his Capitol office, climbs into a Lincoln Town Car driven by a state trooper and returns to the Governor’s Mansion — which is just across the street.

Meanwhile, his administration is encouraging Kentuckians to get out and walk more for their health.

The Republican governor — a physician by training — makes no apologies for riding back and forth to work. “I think that’s been a tradition for a long time,” he said. “That’s what security likes.”

But his do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do example irks some politicians.

“I just think it’s incredible,” said Democratic state Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, a marathon runner and frequent critic of Fletcher. “The governor should practice what he’s preaching. Otherwise it smacks of being hypocritical.”

LiberalOasis on the Neville Chamberlain of Global Warming

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

LiberalOasis

Supremes Slam State’s Shell Game with District

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

A bright spot in the Supreme Court for the forces of electoral fairness:

EXCERPT:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld most of the Republican-boosting Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay but threw out part, saying some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights.

The fractured decision was a small victory for Democratic and minority groups who accused Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in drawing boundaries that booted four Democratic incumbents from office.

Limbaugh’s Latest Boner

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Looks like comedian Rush Limbaugh has run afoul of the law again over illegal prescription drugs. His latest boner with the cops is over an illicit bottle of Viagra:

EXCERPT:

Rush Limbaugh was detained for about 3 1/2 hours at Palm Beach International Airport after authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription.

The 55-year-old radio commentator’s luggage was examined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after his private plane landed at the airport around 2 p.m. from the Dominican Republic, said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Customs officials found in Limbaugh’s luggage a prescription bottle labeled as Viagra, a prescription drug that treats erectile disfunction, Miller said.

Bush was drawn into the storm this morning, talking about climate change in a way he may find difficult to explain.

Monday, June 26th, 2006

A perfect storm of drenching rain, irony, political rancor, public fear and — at the last minute like a fierce stroke of lightning — word from the highest court in the land, descended on the nation’s capital today. This storm — pulling in many parts of the global warming emergency — also broke through the White House perimeters and helped bring down a century-old elm tree, laying it across the driveway. Even President Bush was drawn into the storm this morning, talking about climate change in a way he may find difficult to explain.