American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, December 20, 2003



A round up of sumbunall the Saddam-capture conspiracy theories floating around the net.
David Brooks speaks of "The Ownership Society" in today's New York Times:
In his State of the Union address, the president will announce measures to foster job creation. In the meantime, he is talking about what he calls the Ownership Society.

This is a bundle of proposals that treat workers as self-reliant pioneers who rise through several employers and careers. To thrive, these pioneers need survival tools. They need to own their own capital reserves, their own retraining programs, their own pensions and their own health insurance.

Pioneers? I thought we left these behind a century ago.

Of course, Mr. Brooks is not speaking of those pioneers but rather of the new pioneers, the ones impoversed by a government dedicated to the establishment of a caste system that will at last entrench the financial elites firmly at the top of the food chain, leaving a great and permanent distance between them and all below.

My response to Mr. Brooks explains the rest:

This is pure crap, espoused merely to provide a convenient excuse to those who already own for why they do not have to care about those who do not. This is social Darwinism lifted to its highest and most self-serving platform. If we just toss out a few little government-sponsored "savings programs", well, all will be just fine. If folks do not contribute to them, well then, they are simply not personally responsible people. You are thus absolved.

What all well-set hypocrites like you refuse to acknowledge is the fact that as one's income drops, one cannot simply forego this or that extravagance or cut down on the price one pays for a piece of meat for the family table. At some point, one loses healthcare entirely, at another, one loses their transportation, at a third, one cuts back on food, and at a fourth, one loses their residence. And we are way before one gets to minimum wage.

Oh! But if they had only contributed to these magical accounts. Contributed what? What they never had to contribute to begin with?

The fact of the matter is that blowhards like you, all set in your swanky accomodations, are engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy, and that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

In the meantime, when the administration speaks of "The Ownership Society", understand what they mean. They own. You don't. You are simply a "pioneer".
The People vs. Saddam Hussein
No doubt it was bad news for you if you were around Saddam Hussein and he didn't like you. It tended to make for a very shortened life. Saddam was after all "a despicable tyrant", and so we'll just try him and then do whatever and be done with it. Good plan, but there is one sticking point; that bit about a "fair trial".

Now as I recall, in a fair trial the defendant gets to call witnesses and present evidence in his favor. And that's the problem; what if Saddam does just this? A trio of articles examines what evidence Saddam might offer:

  1. Ted Rall writes a somewhat tongue-in-cheek "Selected Highlights From a Future Transcript" of Saddam's trial:

    • CLAIM: During the 10-year Iran-Iraq War, Saddam committed many war crimes, causing perhaps many hundreds of thousands of deaths and possibly millions.
      COUNTER-CLAIM: In fact, then U.S. Secretary of State George Schulz expressed full support for this war, the Ayatollah Kholmeini's overthrow of the U.S.-sponsored Shah of Iran and the subsequent forceful take-over of the U.S. embassy there being of great U.S. concern. Under a directive by then president Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld was dispatched to meet with Saddam in Baghdad (12/20/83), a meeting which led to the U.S. providing Saddam with military equipment, chemical precursors, insecticides, aluminum tubes, missile components and anthrax, all intended for use in that war. Furthermore, during this time the CIA continuously delivered Saddam battlefield intelligence obtained from Saudi AWACS surveillance planes, and the Saudis during this time also provided direct financial support to Saddam for this war.

    • CLAIM: Saddam "gassed his own people" (5,000 Kurds at the town of Halabja in 1988).
      COUNTER-CLAIM: In fact, Iraq possessed (U.S. provided) mustard gas at that time. Yet, as Stephen Pelletiere, the main CIA political analyst on Iraq during the 1980s, wrote in The New York Times last January, "The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent--that is, a cyanide-based gas--which Iran was known to use." Iraq was not known to have possess similar "blood agents" at that time nor to have had the technology to develop them. If fact, there are indications that the Kurds were accidentally gassed, merely being downwind from where this gas was released by troops insufficiently trained in their usage.

    • CLAIM: Saddam illegally conducted a war of aggression against Kuwait.
      COUNTER-CLAIM: In fact, the separation of Kuwait from Iraq was imposed by Great Britain after World War I, but never acknowledged by any independent Iraqi government. Furthermore, Kuwait had purchased from National Security Council chief Brent Scowcroft's company something known as "slant drilling" technology, and was actively using it to drill under the established border between Iraq and Kuwait, stealing $14 billion in oil that legally belonged to Iraq. Furthermore, a week before the invasion (7/24/90), U.S. State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said, "We do not have any defense treaties with Kuwait, and there are no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait," and on July 31, Assistant Secretary of State John Kelly, testifying before a House foreign affairs subcommittee, confirmed that the U.S. would not send troops to defend Kuwait if it was invaded by Saddam. Similar statements were made by then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie.

  2. Jude Wanniski addresses the question of "The Mass Graves":

    • CLAIM: Saddam is a mass murderer. Rights groups that have been cataloging the abuses of Saddam's regime estimate the toll of missing (and presumed killed) at close to 300,000.
      COUNTER-CLAIM: If fact, only one such "killing field" has actually been located. (3,115 bodies were unearthed at Mahaweel in Southern Iraq recently.) Reports of others are merely anecdotal. They may exist, but have not actually been physically located.

    • CLAIM: But the Mahaweel killing field alone is sufficient to establish Saddam as a mass murderer.
      COUNTER-CLAIM: In fact, the Mahaweel dead have been identified as being killed in the Shiite uprising of 1991 against the Baghdad regime. This uprising was CIA-sponsored and endorsed by George H. W. Bush. Furthermore, it was a civil uprising against the then duly-constituted government Iraq, and as such, that government had a legitimate right to suppress it.

  3. And Pepe Escobar speculates on "How Saddam may still nail Bush":

    • CLAIM: Saddam defied numerous U.N. resolutions over the course of the twelve years between the 1991 and 2003 gulf wars.
      COUNTER-CLAIM: In fact, the almost sole thrust of these resolutions was that Saddam rid Iraq of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. There is simply almost no evidence that he did not, and almost no evidence that he did not do so soon after the earliest resolutions. In fact, the majority of evidence simply indicates that he was not open in his disarmourment.

    • CLAIM: Saddam trained and financed al-Qaeda.
      COUNTER-CLAIM: In fact, this claim is based on pieces of intelligence. (1) The tentative identification of an al-Queda operative from a photograph, an identification that proved to be false. (2) The receipt of medical services in Iraq by an al-Queda operative, services that were rendered however in Kurdish-controlled Iraq.

    • CLAIM: Saddam chose confrontation over compliance before the second Iraq war.
      COUNTER-CLAIM: In fact, Saddam's negotiators were attempting to deliver everything to Washington on a plate during this period: free access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look for WMD anywhere in Iraq; full support for the American-penned road map in the Middle East; and the right for American companies to exploit Iraq's oil. U.S. Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle confirmed these attempted negotiations.
This of course is not any sort of endorsement of Saddam. But Saddam will of course attempt to offer a substantial defense, and this is an estimate of what that defense might look like during a full and open "fair trial".
Friday, December 19, 2003
Sept. 11 panel chief "clarifies" remarks
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean to CBS News on Tuesday:
"There are people that, if I was doing the job,
would certainly not be in the position they were in at that
time because they failed. They simply failed."

and

Asked whether we should at least know if people sitting in the
decision-making spots on that critical day are still in those
positions, Kean said, "Yes, the answer is yes. And we will."

Commission Chairman Thomas Kean to ABC's "Nightline" on Thursday:
"We have no evidence that anybody high in the Clinton
administration or the Bush administration did anything wrong."
Huh? That doesn't sound like a "clarification" to me. It sounds like a retraction.

And the next sound you will be hearing is the sound of "Taps" being played for the 9/11 Commission.

Sorry, it's MY oil !Chris Floyd:
One of the constant refrains we hear from the malcontents carping about George W. Bush's triumphant crusade in Iraq is the charge -- the canard -- that the president and his crack team of advisers "had no plan" for the post-war period, that they've stumbled from crisis to crisis, changing policies without rhyme or reason, or have even "plunged off a cliff," as erstwhile war-hawk Newt Gingrich declared last week.

But to anyone not blinded by partisan ideology or irrational Bush-hatred, the evidence clearly shows that Team Bush has always had a very specific plan for remaking Iraq -- and is following it faithfully to this very day.

...

Now, is this an evil plan, conceived in ignorance and arrogance, predicated on the war crime of military aggression, an act of terrorism on a scale than bin Laden could only dream of? You bet. But let's be fair: it is a plan. You can't say that Bush hasn't got one.

So what's the plan? Ever heard of Erinys Iraq? Neither had I.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta visited Baghdad in the summer of 2001 is probably a fabrication that is contradicted by U.S. law-enforcement records showing Atta was staying at cheap motels and apartments in the United States when the trip presumably would have taken place, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and FBI documents.

The new document, supposedly written by the chief of the Iraqi intelligence service, was trumpeted by the Sunday Telegraph of London earlier this week in a front-page story that broke hours before the dramatic capture of Saddam Hussein. TERRORIST BEHIND SEPTEMBER 11 STRIKE WAS TRAINED BY SADDAM, ran the headline on the story written by Con Coughlin, a Telegraph correspondent and the author of the book 'Saddam: The Secret Life.' "
When speaking of the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory one doesn't get a sense of reality that maps offer, a pictoral representation makes the abstract concrete.
The maps in the hyperlinks show that the settlements or colonies that are in contention riddle the West Bank and Gaza, along with Israeli military bases. Look to see the few slated to be removed; as well as the many that will remain fixed in place.
Look at a map of the manned checkpoints, the roadblocks and the gates inside the West Bank. See the proposed four section "Palestinian state" that Sharon offers.

It seems clearly impossible that a just peace can be reached in this manner. Each of the many settlements (there are said to be at least 103) in Palestinian territory requires access roads and property. On confiscated land. They also require military presence. Israel spends 560 million dollars a year on subsidies, infrastructure and education in these illegal outposts. That is exclusive of military presence.

Israel, whose population is 0.1% of the total world population, gets roughly one-third of all US foreign aid. Annually this amounts to more than $3 billion in US taxpayer dollars going to Israel. $2.04 billion of that is military aid.

Your tax dollars support Israeli militarism in the occupied territories, find out more.
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A Big Victory
The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that detainees being held by the US military at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba should have access to lawyers and the US court system:
The court said their detention was contrary to US ideals.

It did not accept that the US Government had "unchecked authority".

The ruling relates to the case of a Libyan national captured in Afghanistan and currently being held at Guantanamo.

About 660 people are currently being held as "enemy combatants" at the base.

"Even in times of national emergency... it is the obligation of the judicial branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the executive branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike," said the ruling by the appeals court.

It added it could not accept the position that anyone under the jurisdiction and control of the US could be held without "recourse of any kind to any judicial forum, or even access to counsel, regardless of the length or manner of their confinement".

The decision comes shortly after another US federal appeals court ruled that US authorities did not have the power to detain an American citizen seized on US soil as an "enemy combatant".

That ruling, by the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, related to the case of so-called "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla.

This is of course only an appeals court decision, and SS Chief Ashcroft will no doubt move it up the food chain to the more administration-docile Supreme Court.
U.S. troops blasted down the gates of homes, raising cries of women and children inside, and smashed in doors of workshops and junkyards in a massive raid Wednesday to hunt for pro-Saddam Hussein militants and stamp out the increasingly bold anti-U.S. resistance.

The raid, launched before dawn and lasting until mid-morning, targeted the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad, where U.S. officials say some 1,500 fighters operate - making it one of the persistent hotspots in the so-called "Sunni Triangle."

...

In the Samarra raid by some 2,500 troops, dubbed Operation Ivy Blizzard, the 4th Infantry Division and Iraqi forces detained at least a dozen suspected guerrillas - though others got away, apparently tipped off about the raid.

...

"Samarra has been a little bit of a thorn in our side," said Col. Nate Sassaman. "It hasn't come along as quickly as other cities in the rebuilding of Iraq. This operation is designed to bring them up to speed."

"No one knows the town better than we do, we're gonna clean this place. They've made a mistake to attack U.S. forces. We will dominate Samarra," he said.

...

A core of about 1,500 fighters is thought to be in Samarra, said Sassaman's deputy, Capt. Matthew Cunningham. In Wednesday's sweep, soldiers used satellite global positioning devices to locate buildings pre-marked as targets.

As Apache helicopters flew overhead, troops downtown fanned out in squads of 14 to storm several walled residential compounds, using plastic explosives to break in. In one compound, the blast at the gate shattered windows in the house itself, and a one-year-old baby was cut by glass. U.S. medics treated the injury while other soldiers handcuffed four men, who were later released.

The loud blasts mixed with the sound of women and children screaming inside the houses. At one point, there was a short exchange of gunfire, but it was not immediately clear what happened.

At another home, an explosion ignited a small fire.

Elsewhere, a suspect was punched in the head and a soldier said: "You're dead. You're dead."
“We all realize that there are bad people out there and that we have to do something about the real problem of terrorism. But, we don’t want to do that on the backs of other innocent people’s mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and children around the world,” strongly states David Potorti, a co-founder of the anti-war group 9/11 Families For Peaceful Tomorrows.



"Peaceful Tomorrows is insisting Bush have limited “executive privilege” and forcing him to release the next report after 30 days. He refers to leaks to the media that ‘outed’ a CIA officer married to diplomat Joe Wilson, who publicly challenged assertions that Iraq bought nuclear material from Niger. Potorti scoffed at Bush denials that Administration officials were not responsible: “It’s not a Republican or Democrat thing—this is an open government thing! It’s about what we’re willing to accept as citizens in a democracy. We spent $100 million on Whitewater [Clinton’s pre-presidential financial scandal]. Only $3 million has been spent on investigating September 11! It’s not about ‘getting Bush’—I’m no fan of Bill Clinton either! In a democracy it’s always about us—and what we’re willing to let people get away with.”

“Why no response to the attacks for two hours? Terrorists ruled the skies for two hours and no jets were scrambled from nearby bases. Not a slow response. Not a poor response. No response. No jets were scrambled until all the attacks were over,”
Krugman’s well-documented piece on black box voting irregularities and his assertion that "the credibility of U.S. democracy may be at stake" should have incited concern from patriots everywhere, but instead, invoked a favorite propagandist ploy by inspiring "conspiracy theory" ridicule.

"Yawn," one well-trained citizen responded. "The left just will not let this rest. When Bush wins this next election (and he will because the Dems are out of touch and being cry-babies) then what will the Dems say then? Alien conspiracy maybe?"

Does reading this quip make you feel woozy? Good! This is your brain on propaganda. And the fact that it makes you ill is a very healthy sign.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Some new punkers talk about Bush--quite a catchy tune, actually. I would love to sing this out loud at a public place somewhere. Scream it, while bobbing up and down. I can see whole crowds marching down the streets singing this one. These kids are all right.
By yours truly, the final paragraph:
And as for the timing of that Wolfowitz memo? Was it deliberate? Was he trying to sabotage Baker's mission? It really doesn't matter. All that matters is whether or not Baker thinks it was. If he does, the next sound you'll be hearing is the door hitting Wolfowitz in the ass.
Mr Bush reminds us honesty is not a Republican value, and assuredly not a facet of his personal philosopy of statecraft:
Presidential Dissembling on 9/11 Warnings
The problem for the president and the administration is that the White House has previously admitted that the president had personally received such specific warnings. As ABC News reported in May of 2002, "White House officials acknowledge that U.S. intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the September 11th attacks that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack American planes." As Condoleezza Rice said at a hastily called press conference to spin these revelations, the President specifically received an "analytic report" on August 6th, 2001 at his Crawford mansion that "talked about Osama bin Laden's methods of operation" and "mentioned hijacking." According to Reuters, that report was congruent with "intelligence since 1998 that said followers of bin Laden were planning to strike U.S. targets, hijack U.S. planes.".


In an interview with ABC tv Mr Bush cavalierly deals with Saddam Husseins lack of WMD's and the Bush Administrations rush to war.
Bush: Iraq intelligence was sound

US President dismisses any difference between whether Saddam had WMDs or planned to acquire them

WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush on Tuesday dismissed any distinction between whether former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein actually had weapons of mass destruction or planned to acquire them.
"So what's the difference?" he asked


The difference? As with the 9/11 warnings you lied to America and the world, Mr Bush.
Read the full articles...
For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.

"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."

Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean said. [more]
(via)
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities.

Nelson, D-Tallahassee, said about 75 senators got that news during a classified briefing before last October's congressional vote authorizing the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Nelson voted in favor of using military force.
Legislative Lies
The Center for American Progress offers a handy fact sheet with supportive links that blows the corporate cover of the present administration, read "2003: A Year of Distortion for the American People".
Take a look at White House claims about GOP legislation concerning healthcare, the economy, the environment, education, Iraq, Afghanistan and Homeland Security. The claims make great soundbites, the facts show an immense disregard for the truth.

Without a collaborative and cowed media such effrontery would not even have been attempted against the American people, much less would it have been done with so much success.

With hardly a mainstream media mention to bring the realities of current legislation into public discourse we see the common good of the people trampled in a rush for corporate cash.

Help get the truth out.
   

With heartfelt thanks to mah frien' Miz LeeVanna Rama Dama Doovay, I dedicate the sediments expressed by this crissmess website to Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, and - especially - John Edwards and Wes Clark. I hope this plays in your dreams for eternity.

Be at peace.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Despite what you might think, Rovey isn't always sunshine and puppydogs. Sometimes, he gets downright MIFFED with me, but what he doesn't know is that sometimes I'm poking his crankybone on purpose. See, if I know that some sensitive issue is dangling in front of him, I'll agitate and tease and rub at it until he explodes all over me.

This photo above was snapped last week when we were in Vegas, and Rovey was all a-flutter because he'd nabbed up tickets to see Sha Na Na that night. [more]
A new Democratic group that is running advertisements against Howard Dean and has not yet disclosed its sources of financing has introduced by far the toughest commercial of the primary election season.

Though the advertisement, which began running on Friday in South Carolina and New Hampshire, is paid for by Democrats, it offers a taste of a likely Republican strategy against Dr. Dean should he win the presidential nomination.

The spot opens with a Time magazine cover featuring Osama bin Laden as synthesizer music seemingly out of a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie is heard.

As the camera focuses on Mr. bin Laden's eyes. the following words flash on the screen: "Dangerous World," "Destroy Us," "Dangers Ahead" and "No Experience."

"Americans want a president who can face the dangers ahead," an announcer intones. "But Howard Dean has no military or foreign policy experience. And Howard Dean just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy. It's time for Democrats to think about that — and think about it now." [more]
I can hear Karl Rove laughing from here.
An Administration Out of Control
I have few details on this, but my own Palm Beach Post has just been denied entry into a news conference on Wednesday by Jeb Bush.

The Palm Beach Post services perhaps one million readers in and around Palm Beach County, and is the only major daily that does so.

Why the Palm Beach Post has been excluded from this press conference is unknown, but the Post has recently been running a series that has been highly critical of a particular policy of Jeb's administration.

I have been seeking an alliance with the Post on another article. Perhaps this is the time.

Is it acceptable to sacrifice thousands of innocent lives in Afghanistan and Iraq for a great and noble cause – cracking down on terrorists and eradicating terrorism? If this is the logic behind the US’s wars, isn’t this also the same logic behind “terrorist” attacks? The terrorists’ goal is not killing civilians per se; they argue that they sacrifice lives in order to achieve ends that they consider to be noble. For them, the ends justify the means. Similarly, US officials argue that they have a righteous mission to accomplish in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is why they are forced to accept the loss of some civilian lives in their quest of their goals. In that sense, what is the difference between terrorists and US forces? [more]
US forces said they shot dead at least 20 Iraqis in rebellious towns while a bomb in Tikrit wounded three US soldiers on Tuesday as violence simmered over Saddam Hussein’s capture.

Eleven attackers died when an ambush went wrong in Samarra, 125 kilometres from Baghdad, a US military statement said. A patrol "repelled a complex ambush" on Monday afternoon but emerged unscathed despite being "inundated" with fire, including automatic weapons, a home-made bomb, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire, the military said.
Few Americans have heard of Katharine Gun, a former British intelligence employee facing charges that she violated the Official Secrets Act. So far, the American press has ignored her. But the case raises profound questions about democracy and the public's right to know on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ms. Gun's legal peril began in Britain on March 2, when the Observer newspaper exposed a highly secret memorandum by a top U.S. National Security Agency official. Dated Jan. 31, the memo outlined surveillance of a half-dozen delegations with swing votes on the U.N. Security Council, noting a focus on "the whole gamut of information that could give U.S. policy-makers an edge in obtaining results favorable to U.S. goals" - support for war on Iraq.

[ . . . ]

"This leak," Daniel Ellsberg replied, "is more timely and potentially more important than the Pentagon Papers." The exposure of the memo, he said, had the potential to block the invasion of Iraq before it began: "Truth-telling like this can stop a war." [more]
Much like the eye opening post below I'd like to offer you some tools for discernment in the light of recent headlines. Since the post is really lengthy I'd ask you to go here to read more.
Especially since a lot of the same players are involved now as when Reagan and the elected President Bush dealt with Saddam we need to get the truth out.
Monday, December 15, 2003
Shaking Hands With Saddam Hussein


Here's a friendly reminder of where the Reagan administration stood with regard to Saddam. In spite of all Dubya's post-9/11 rhetoric about Saddam being an "evil-doer" and a part of the "axis of evil," it is quite apparent that once upon a time many of the figures in his administration were more than happy to cozy up to Saddam during the Reagan years (e.g., as the Rumsfield/Saddam handshake photo suggests). True, the Reagan administration did pay lip service to the notion that Baghdad's use of chemical weapons was naughty, but actions speak louder than words. The truth of the matter is that Saddam's regime served a purpose: as a secular barricade against Iran and its brand of Islamic fundamentalist (or faith-based) governing, and as a source of cheap oil. Hence, any statements of protest to Saddam's chosen warfare strategies were done with a wink and a nod. Truth is, no one in the administration really cared as long as Saddam was seen as cooperating with them.

What did we send to Iraq during the 1980s? As Michael Moore notes:

* Bacillus Anthracis, cause of anthrax.
* Clostridium Botulinum, a source of botulinum toxin.
* Histoplasma Capsulatam, cause of a disease attacking lungs, brain, spinal cord, and heart.
* Brucella Melitensis, a bacteria that can damage major organs.
* Clostridium Perfringens, a highly toxic bacteria causing systemic illness.
* Clostridium tetani, a highly toxigenic substance.


Who sent these shipments of biological agents to Saddam? None other than American Type Culture Collection.

For more details check this 1994 report from the US Senate.

Who did business with Iraq? Check out this article Made in the USA, Part III: The Dishonor Roll America's corporate merchants of death in Iraq for a detailed rundown. It's an eye-opener.
Instasandbox
The news broke on Sunday, and by Monday, little eight-year-old Glenn Reynolds was in a state. He couldn’t wait for recess. When it finally came, he ran up to the sandbox where two classmates were already playing.

“We captured Saddam! We captured Saddam!" Glenn shouted. "Nya, nya, nya, naya!” A few kids playing kickball nearby turned their heads toward the commotion.

Joe continued scooping sand into a bucket. “Oh jeez. Really? And you think that’s going to change anything?”

Glenn started pacing and gesturing erratically. “Hahaha. Score one for me! Woos.”

Joe leaned toward Jack, who was navigating a dump truck over a bumpy sand road. “Is he still playing this game?”

“God yes. It never ends. It’s his favorite game in the whole world – the U.S. versus Islamic fundamentalism.”

“No, I think it’s the true patriots versus the insidious liberals.”

“It’s both, really,” Jack replied, raising the back end of the dump truck.

“Aha! You're dismayed at this victory in the war. Therefore you are objectively anti-American.”

Jack shot Joe a look. “See?”

[more]
NEWS CONFERENCE:
Voting Security Concerns Rise to New Level
From Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting:
16 DEC 2003, Seattle WA - This is of national interest. Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting" and Andy Stephenson, a democratic candidate for Washington secretary of state, have uncovered new holes in the electoral system in King County and in as many as 14 additional states.

These security breaches affect both the optical scan systems (fill-in-the-dot or draw-the-line) and touch screen voting systems, and may also indicate significant security problems with absentee voting procedures.

At the Tuesday press conference, Harris and Stephenson will distribute a packet of documents to support their findings. Whereas electronic voting concerns have focused on complex issues like cryptographic security and computer source code, the new security flaws uncovered by Harris and Stephenson are more serious and also easier to explain. Because the subject matter is sensitive, reporters will want copies of the original documents to substantiate the findings, and these will be released at the news conference.

This information affects four counties in Washington State and locations in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Maryland and Virginia.

"What we have are two intertwined security breaches which deserve immediate attention from the U.S. Congress," says Stephenson. "We need to address procedural safeguards as soon as possible to put a halt to these problems and prevent them from ever happening again."

A 20-page dossier will provide the specific U.S. locations affected, as well as the details on multiple security breaches which may have compromised the integrity of at least two dozen elections.

I haven't yet got Bev's dossier, but am familiar with at least some of what it will certainly include. All of the "official" studies to date on e-vote security focus almost entirely on the e-vote terminals (DREs) themselves. Bev will be covering the machines that tally the results from these (most certainly Diebold's), and if you are worried about the DREs, you haven't seen the tally machines yet. You could steal a whole state at once from these.

The Press Conference itself: 2 p.m. Tue. December 16 - Seattle Labor Temple - 2800 First Ave. - Seattle. When I get a link to Bev's dossier, I'll add it here.

Can we come home now?
Following up on my earlier point (Oh, my God!), I (and most of you) did not get to set the bar on any of this Iraq business. The wingnuts did. Neither I nor you were allowed to even enter the debate (if there ever was one). First, it was WMDs. Then that morphed into "getting Saddam". We did not set those bars; they did! Well, the WMDs weren't there, and we "got Saddam". It's now time to come home.

Democracy? Fine, give them one day of it. (Let's try next Tuesday.) That's all you can "give" anyone. The Iraqi's get to vote on whatever kind of government they want. If they vote for a democracy, fine. They vote against one? Well, that's democracy. A democratic society is fully free to vote to end its own democracy if it desires.

Look. The capture of Saddam is merely a declaration of "open season" in Iraq, and after this, there is only one reason for us to stay there: to divide up the loot. Many Iraqi's think this is why we are there already, more will follow, and this administration has proven itself far to clumsy to be able to not make it appear that way.

Mission accomplished. Time to come home.

From Greg Palast:
Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was taken into custody yesterday at approximately 8:30pm Baghdad time. Various television executives, White House spin doctors and propaganda experts at the Pentagon are at this time wrestling with the question of whether to claim PFC Jessica Lynch seized the ex-potentate or that Saddam surrendered after close hand-to-hand combat with current Iraqi strongman Paul Bremer III.

Ex-President Hussein himself told US military interrogators that he had surfaced after hearing of the appointment of his long-time associate James Baker III to settle Iraq's debts. "Hey, my homeboy Jim owes me big time," Mr. Hussein stated. He asserted that Baker and the prior Bush regime, "owe me my back pay. After all I did for these guys you'd think they'd have the decency to pay up."

Keep reading.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has announced that he is turning the state's 791-bed Lawtey Correctional Institution into the nation's first (fundamentalist Christian) faith-based prison, complete with job training, parenting classes, and lots of hallelujahs. Jails for Jesus! Hallelujah! Forget (just for a moment) the Constitutional issues. Studies indicate that these faith-based efforts not only do not provided better results for less money (as their advocates claim), but may actually be producing worse results.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Oh, my God!
Tim Russett is such a whore!

OK, I'll comment on it. Saddam's capture is very good news. There simply was no way that anyone could reasonably consider leaving Iraq with Saddam still out there. At least now the topic of really leaving can be put on the table.

But what is this crap with Russett bringing Lieberman on his program to comment on Saddam's capture? What in the hell is NBC's interest in promoting Leiberman's taking a pot shot at Dean, and why did Russett sell out to it? Lieberman should have had to pay for that obvious campaign commercial.

And then there's Lieberman's Saddam should be tried in someplace with the death penalty! Iraq has the death penalty, and though I personally oppose it, Iraq gets the first shot! Nobody needs Joe Lieberman telling anyone how Saddam should be tried.

So Joe, you got your free 15 minutes of fame. Hope you enjoyed it. Remember that "Anybody but Bush" mantra? Add your name to it!

Saddam Hussein has been captured in a raid on an farmhouse in Adwar, 10 miles from Tikrit. Beneath the farmhouse he was found in a well camouflaged, vented "spider hole" with 750,000 dollars and a couple AK-47 rifles and a pistol. He was taken without a fight.
Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress says Hussein will be tried before the Iraqi people.
Asked on BBC radio if Saddam, arrested in his home town Tikrit early on Sunday, would be handed over to the Iraqi people, he said (Chalabi): "Yes. It won't be very long before a court case is prepared."

The US is not sure how the case will be disposed.
US Lt Gen Richardo Sanchez said at a news conference today that the US-led coalition was still deciding what to do with Saddam.

“At this point, that has not been determined, we continue to process Saddam at this point in time and those issues will be resolved in the near future,” Sanchez said.

This is what the NY Times Pentagon correspondant has to say about how it was planned, pre-capture, for the former Iraqi dictator to be tried.

Iraqi's are celebrating his capture.

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