Saturday, July 19, 2003
Accenture is the leading offshore beneficiary of government contracts whose main business is the privatization of government services, according to Lee Drutman of Citizen Works, a non-profit founded by Ralph Nader. Accenture has a troubling track record, a close business relationship with Dick Cheney's Halliburton, and 2500 partners - more than half are not U.S. citizens.
Since 2001 Accenture and Election.com have been strategic partners "to jointly deliver comprehensive election solutions to governments worldwide," according to their press release. Last month Accenture bought the public-sector election assets of Election.com, which suffered its own scandal this year when it was discovered that Osan Ltd, a firm of Saudi and other foreign investors, bought controlling interest in it. According to Mark Harrington of NewsDay.com, "Several shareholders of the company said they were surprised by the recent buyout and have asked for securities regulators to investigate."
Election.com has had other problems. In January 2003, during Canada's New Democratic Party leadership convention, the Canadian Broadcasting System reported, “Earl Hurd of Election.com said he believes someone used a "denial of service" program to disrupt the voting – paralyzing the central computer by bombarding it with a stream of data”…service was restored, then… "Toronto city councilor Jack Layton's victory on the first ballot surprised many, who had expected a second or even third round of voting before a leader was chosen from the pack of six candidates."
Looking at the entire war, there was much fanfare Thursday over the fact that the latest U.S. combat death this week pushed the official total to 148 -- finally topping the 147 figure for Gulf War 1. However, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, the total number of all U.S. deaths, combat and otherwise, in Iraq is actually 224.
See also: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, although I am loathe to repeat that word 'coalition' in this context, as it has been a term used absolutely misleadingly by U.S. propaganda forces. The American progit office's use of the word 'coalition' does two things: it gives the illusion that there are a ton of people fighting alongside U.S. troops in their 'heroic effort to liberate Iraq' (read: liberate Iraqi oil)--when, just by looking at this site you see only two columns of casualties: US and UK--and two, the word 'coalition' simultaneously harkens back to WWII, when the word 'coalition' was actually a good thing. Of course, the latter is no accident: all of the right-wing think tanks consistently pointed to WWII as justification leading up to this war in one way or another, because this would help sell their 'romantic' notion of war. (Of course, they never mentioned Vietnam.)
Funny, when it comes to overtime pay and big media regulation, right-wingers will claim that any law over fifty years old is 'hopelessly antiquated,' but when it comes to invading another country to steal their oil, justifying it with romantic allusions to a war which took place over half a century ago will do just fine.
Friday, July 18, 2003
(first read Doc Menlo's post below for some context)
ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman says many soldiers he interviewed in Baghdad question why they're still there. Some openly criticized Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for delaying their return home.
According to the Washington Post, an operative from the White House decided to respond to Kofman's coverage by sending some personal details about him to well known U.S. Internet journalist Matt Drudge.
Two facts were played up: first, he's openly gay, and second, he's Canadian. Critics slammed the attempt to use nationalism and homophobia to try to discredit an unflattering news report.
Also check out: Broken promise: Why I quit Iraq
"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world."
Via Aberrant News
Their title: "Pentagon may punish GIs who spoke out on TV" but the body of the article features this:
"It was the end of the world," said one officer Thursday. "It went all the way up to President Bush and back down again on top of us. At least six of us here will lose our careers."
Does that sound like 'may punish' to you?
Nearby, Pfc. Jason Ring stood next to his Humvee. "We liberated Iraq. Now the people here don't want us here, and guess what? We don't want to be here either," he said. "So why are we still here? Why don't they bring us home?"
Why don't they go home? You have only to scroll down on this page to partially see the answer to that: US soldiers are currently being paid by US tax money to guard Brown & Root--yes, the subsidiary of Cheney's company Halliburton which won the contract, I believe, without even putting in a bid. (Fielding bids before choosing a contractor strikes me as being a vaguely . . . capitalist idea, don't you think? And to forgo that process would be . . . what? You fill in the blank.)
There seems to be a certain theme here . . . when the US military invades Iraq they only guard one thing: the oil. After the invasion they only guard: the oil and all things oil-related including the US companies the Bush junta threw the rich plums to.
The 'yellowcake' lie is only one of many lies this admin has put out--but even at the root of this one one name keeps popping up: Cheney. And re: the link that A.Q. Jensen put on earlier?
Is Instapundit daft or what?
In a 69-to-2 vote this week the state's General Assembly approved a bill to eliminate the post of state poet laureate entirely. The move comes in response to anger at comments Baraka made in a poem about 9/11, suggesting Israel knew about the attacks before they happened.
Two Newark assemblymen cast the lone dissenting votes. Baraka is a longtime resident of Newark, and was named the poet laureate of Newark Public Schools yesterday even as he was under attack in the capital of Trenton.
Soldiers say most of their work involves civilian contractor Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton Corp. The company has contracts to haul fuel, and 319th members are riding along as armed escorts.
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, which are dated March 2001, are available on the Internet at: www.JudicialWatch.org.
Executive director and founder of the Center for Media and Democracy John Stuaber shares his thoughts on the 16-word lie scandal, and, more interestingly, beyond in a new book and in a Guerilla News Network interview:
Exactly where this all is going to go, I think, is going to be answered in large part by the peace movement. And what I find interesting is that so far, the peace movement has sort of sat back on its haunches and seems to be somewhat in disarray and coalescing more around the political theme of 'anybody but Bush,' and hoping that somehow one of these Democratic candidates will pull a rabbit out of the hat and topple this dastardly regime a year from November. I think that is a strategy for losing...
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Upload a File, Go to Prison
I saw the best peer-to-peer networks of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the cyberpunk networks at dawn looking for an angry file, angleheaded uploaders burning discs for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of all-consuming transnational corporate night...
This is an outrage -- the attempt to turn the most potentially democratic aspect of the Net into a heavily regulated commercial wasteland is a travesty. Will the youth who rolled over on Napster realize their error and release a torrent of rage? It's the only hope -- the older generations (those in the positions of power) just don't seem to understand the importance of what has been happening to P2P.
A new bill proposed in Congress on Wednesday would land a person in prison for five years and impose a fine of $250,000 for uploading a single file to a peer-to-peer network. The bill was introduced by Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.). They said the bill is designed to increase domestic and international enforcement of copyright laws. More specifically, the bill targets peer-to-peer file trading, an aide working for the congressmen said. The law is meant to keep up with changing technology.
Intelligence Dispute Festers as Iraq Victory Recedes
ABC's 'Good Morning America' showed soldiers from the Third Infantry Division in Iraq criticizing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and questioning their mission. Minnesota Public Radio this week quoted Mary Kewatt, the aunt of a soldier killed in Iraq, saying: 'President Bush made a comment a week ago, and he said 'bring it on.' Well, they brought it on, and now my nephew is dead.'Emphasis mine
(short poll to read the article; via Daily Kos)
In a new dispute over interpreting intelligence data, the CIA and other agencies objected vigorously to a Bush administration assessment of the threat of Syria's weapons of mass destruction that was to be presented Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
After the objections, the planned testimony by Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, a leading administration hawk, was delayed until September.
U.S. officials told Knight Ridder that Bolton was prepared to tell members of a House of Representatives International Relations subcommittee that Syria's development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons had progressed to such a point that they posed a threat to stability in the region.
The CIA and other intelligence agencies said that assessment was exaggerated.
Accusations are flying in Washington and London over the manipulation of prewar intelligence, with many Democrats in the United States and much of the British public now convinced that their respective governments pushed for a war in Iraq for reasons other than the “clear and present danger” Saddam Hussein’s regime allegedly represented. As these issues are increasingly politicized, it bears mentioning that most of the conflicts fought by both nations in the past century were preceded by distortions, propaganda and, in some cases, outright fabrications aimed at stoking public support for war.
“WHY, OF COURSE, the people don’t want to go to war. But, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.... All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
No, those are not the words of some Berkeley professor or Fabian socialist in Tony Blair’s party. That is a quote from Hermann Goering, the Nazi air marshal, during his interrogation at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. While the propaganda Goering referenced is far beyond anything perpetrated by a Western democracy since the 19th century, propaganda itself, dressed in more acceptable clothing, lives on.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
All Hail the National Security State
Thank God these outrages against liberty and the very idea of a transparent formalized legal code are only being visited upon Saddam-loving Islamofascist terrorist rag heads. They deserve it, right? If you can't prove their guilt in open court, relocate to a closed venue. Failing that, disappear 'em to Gitmo! From Newsday:
Setting the stage for an unprecedented legal confrontation between national security and a defendant's fair-trial rights, the Justice Department yesterday formally refused to obey a federal judge's order to produce an al-Qaida terror suspect for questioning in the Zacarias Moussaoui case.Cue the Instapundit freedom brigade to sputter several screens of ill informed justification.