American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, March 27, 2004
The central allegation - that Mr Bush was so obsessed with going after Saddam Hussein that he openly challenged his counter-terrorism adviser to find a link between September 11 and Iraq the day after the attacks took place - is serious.

[snip]

The White House did not let a single news cycle go by before questioning that the alleged encounter between the president and Clarke had ever taken place, assigning dark motives to a man who has served four presidents, three of them Republicans.


  But you don't have to be Bob Woodward to check Clarke's story out. There were other witnesses to this meeting, one of whom spoke to me.


  "The conversation absolutely took place. I was there, but you can't name me," the witness said. "I was one of several people present. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that the president had Iraq on his mind, first and foremost."


  This former national security council official was too terrified to go on the record - he knows how vengeful this administration can be.


  He remembers the late night phone call former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill received just before he published The Price of Loyalty, his account of how the Bush White House set its sights on Iraq from day one. He was about to discover the price of disloyalty to this administration.
Big Bush Lies -- New Anti-Bush Book

Congratulations to the brilliant Jerry "Politex" Barrett of BushWatch fame, creator and editor of the soon to be published (May 1, 2004) Big Bush Lies: 20 Essays and a List of the 50 Most Telling Lies of George W. Bush. (Full Disclosure: I'm proud to be one of the book's 19 contributors, having used the lawyer side of my recovering lawyer brain, to write the education lies chapter.)

As you can see from Big Bush Lies' front and back covers, it features twenty original essays by academics, activists, legal experts, financial leaders, and journalists. The essays document Bush lies and inconsistencies about Iraq and WMD's, foreign policy, the environment, energy, health and science, religion, education, women and minority policies, national security, 9/11, campaign lies, and other topics.

I've posted links to all the contributors here.

America is in danger of someday not being at war. Neo-conservatives have criticized the incoherent restrictions placed upon the ruling class by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They have also resisted civil libertarian and peacemaking impulses from within their own ranks. But neo-conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision for corporate and military dominion over the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for shifting arguments. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on crying havoc and let slip the dogs of war. And they have not fought for a Death Star that would enable America to destroy Alderaan and crush the Rebel Alliance once and for all. [more]


. . . via Wiley Wiggins
Friday, March 26, 2004
 
No matter how reckless or lunatic their policies ...Chris Floyd:
"I have a strategy. You're not in it."
-- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Operation Anal Cover began in 1981, after affable frontman Ronald Reagan and CIA headman George H.W. Bush took office. The Reagan-Bush team immediately began serious preparations for nuclear war with the Soviet Union, including a first-strike "decapitation" plan to take out the Kremlin leadership in one swift blow. Naturally, they feared the Red dastards were thinking along similar lines, hoping to turn the fabulous Ron into a little spot of hair dye and rouge on the Oval Office carpet.

Thus was born an elaborate scheme to set up a secret government, hidden in hardened bunkers, capable of waging war and controlling the civilian populace -- without any fussy bother from Congress or other elected representatives of the suckers out there. Instead, three separate teams of insiders were formed, each with a figurehead Cabinet member -- placemen like the Agriculture Secretary -- who would be "guided" by an all-powerful chief of staff. Dispersed around the country, the teams would use special communications links to rule the nation, for as long as the appointed ßber-chiefs saw fit.

No matter how reckless or lunatic their policies -- first strikes, illegal wars, targeted assassinations -- the bunkered elites will be safe from the burning and howling they provoke.
Alan Bisbort:
Too Bad to Be True
Alan Bisbort finally solves the problem of why so many people (and the press) keep giving Bush the pass: the "Too Bad to Be True" syndrome. People simply can't believe anyone, or any government, could be this bad.
Bush is too bad to be true on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE. Or, rather, he is too bad to be believable but his badness is indeed true. Can you think of any on which he is not wretchedly bad?

Are you better off financially under Bush? Are you safer? Are your skies and waters and food supply cleaner, or even free of arsenic, mercury, carbon dioxide, carcinogens and mad cow disease prions? Are your civil liberties more secure? Are taxes even going down, the mantra that serves as the fig leaf for this obscene neo-conservative beast? Is there even a clearly defined vision for the next four years, let alone next four weeks or days, which we can examine?

No, to all of these things.

No, a thousand times over, in fact.

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Quotable:
Mass hysteria is a phenomenon not confined to human beings; it may be seen in any gregarious species. I once saw a photograph of a large herd of wild elephants in Central Africa seeing an aeroplane for the first time, and all in a state of wild collective terror. The elephant, at most times, is a calm and sagacious beast, but this unprecidented phenomenon of a noisy, unknown animal in the sky had thrown the whole herd completely off its balance. Each separate animal was terrified, and its terror communicated itself to the others, causing a vast multiplication of panic. As, however, there were no journalists among them, the terror died down when the aeroplane was out of sight.
~ Bertrand Russell, 1951


Burundi’s ethnic civil war is nearing a conclusion, according to the country’s president, Domitien Ndayizeye. Now entering its 11th year, the conflict has killed at least 300,000 people and forced more than 1 million to flee their homes.

Speaking to journalists in Paris on Jan. 16, Ndayizeye said his country has reached “the point of no return on the road to peace and security.” He heads a transitional, power-sharing government that comprises both the majority Hutu and the minority Tutsi people.
This AP report is worth reading in full to get an overall impression of just how much Iraqi "democracy" will be formulated under the auspices of American domination.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
American Family Voices:
 Daily Reality Check
Clarke Barred: Bush Team
Flubs Attack Response
As expected, the administration organized a rapid-fire assault on Clarke's character and credibility. But the Bush team has gone to the well one too many times with this type of ad hominem attack. The American public has watched it happen to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson when he spoke out against the yellowcake claim, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill when he charged that the administration was putting too much focus on Iraq, and now Clarke. The pattern is clear: slime the opponent and wrap yourself in the American flag. At this point it is disturbingly obvious that the administration's quiver is out of arrows – Bush officials are reduced to making the talk show rounds armed only with the grownup equivalent of schoolyard taunts like, "I know you are, but what am I?"
Howard Stern Presents:
Bad American Presidents: GWB
[ 1:14, 2.3 MB, MP3 ]
Here come those FCC fines again.
Faltering Neo-Cons Still Dangerous
How They Might Influence the Election
By Bill Christison, Former CIA Analyst
Finally! A CIA analyst who agrees with
   me on who is and is not a Neocon!
To start with, let's spend a minute or two on definitions -- who's a neocon and who is not? Specifically, President George W. Bush and his very highest-level foreign policy advisers are not neocons. Bush himself, as well as Vice-President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, are all just plain conservatives and always have been, with nothing "neo" about them.
Of course, this article is not about re-affirming my beliefs about who the real Neocons are. But in recognizing them as he has, Christison is then free to connect the proper dots, and, to a quite great extent, they connect to Ariel Sharron's Lukid Party.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
What makes ex-USA Today reporter/fabulist Jack Kelley worse than other disgraced journalists is that he peddled the most divisive stereotypes imaginable -- and people believed him.

A Jewish settler named Avi Shapiro vows to eliminate the "sons of Arab whores." He dons his yarmulke and, along with 12 vigilantes, riddles a Palestinian taxi with bullets. A Pakistani youth unfurls a photo of the Sears Tower and sneers, like a villain in a Chuck Norris movie, "This one is mine."


Those are scenes that Jack Kelley, formerly a star reporter for USA Today (he quit in January), claimed to bear witness to in the Mideast. A devout Christian, he declared, "God has called me to proclaim truth." Last week his paper revealed him to be a fraud. That boy with dibs on the Sears Tower? Turns out he was a figment of Kelley's imagination. So was Avi Shapiro. Seven weeks into an ongoing investigation, it's clear that Kelley fabricated those characters and others in some of the world's least stable places, even writing scripts on his laptop computer so that his co-conspirators could help him fool fact-checkers.
Just this week Amnesty International said "this is not a situation where the central government has lost control. Men, women and children are being killed and villages are burnt and looted because the central government is allowing militias aligned to it to pursue what amounts to a strategy of forced displacement through the destruction of homes and livelihood of the farming populations of the region."


Israel's assassination of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin reverberated Tuesday in Iraq as top Shiite clerics pledged allegiance to the Palestinians and angry Muslims took to the streets.

For excellent background on what this means to the US effort in Iraq, &c, please read this from Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan.

"The president's feet are not to touch the dirt."




Here's a pic via Counterspin Central:



What's that penned in on the side there giving Bush a wide berth--livestock? Oh, hah, no! That's the military! I wonder if they're allowed to get dirt on their shoes?

Bush is such a Macho Man, man! Tough guys don't walk on grass! Uh, except for the tough men and women actually doing the fighting and dying for the Carlyle Group--I mean, "Operation Iraqi Freedom"--they can walk on the grass, penned in at a safe distance from the King. Tough Kings Don't Walk On Grass!
Monday, March 22, 2004
After more than 1 million votes went uncounted in the last presidential election, Athan Gibbs Sr. devoted his life to making sure voters in future elections would know their votes mattered.


The enterprising 57-year-old saw his invention of the TruVote vote-casting system as nothing less than the key to social justice and democracy in America.


As family members and business partners gathered at the TruVote office yesterday morning to mourn Mr. Gibbs' death, they vowed that his dream would not die with him.


Mr. Gibbs was killed about 10:30 a.m. Friday in a car crash on Interstate 65 near Eighth Avenue North as he drove from his north Nashville home to his downtown office at Tennessee State University's Business Incubation Center.

[ . . . ]

Mr. Gibbs was driven by his experiences growing up in Memphis in the 1950s and '60s, when minorities were struggling to exercise their right to vote. After a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights study of the 2000 presidential election showed that votes cast by African-Americans in Florida, a decisive state, were 10 times more likely to be rejected, Mr. Gibbs knew he had to take action. [more]
Richard Clarke, who was counterterrorism coordinator for President Bill Clinton and President Bush, asserts in a new book that while neither president did enough to prevent the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration has undermined U.S. national security by using the attacks for political advantage and ignoring the threat of al Qaeda in order to invade Iraq.

Clarke, who has spent more than 30 years as a career civil servant in Republican and Democratic administrations, issues a highly critical assessment of the Bush White House in "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror," which is being released today.
William Howell, 36, shot himself after following his wife around the yard with a handgun, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. Howell served with the 10th Special Forces group in Iraq and returned to Fort Carson last month, according to the Army.

Another soldier who was attached to that unit in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Georg-Andreas Pogany, has claimed that the 10th Special Forces Group ignored him when he sought help with mental problems there, and then charged him with cowardice instead. Pogany, 32, also says the Army is ignoring the side effects of an anti-malaria drug called Lariam he took with the Special Forces, which has been linked to mental problems, aggression and suicides. [more]
He said: "There was no reason for us to become involved in Iraq recently. That was a war based on lies and misinterpretations from London and from Washington, claiming falsely that Saddam Hussein was responsible for [the] 9/11 attacks, claiming falsely that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And I think that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair probably knew that many of the allegations were based on uncertain intelligence ... a decision was made to go to war [then people said] 'Let's find a reason to do so'."


Before the war Mr Carter made clear his opposition to a unilateral attack and said the US did not have the authority to create a "Pax Americana". During his Nobel prize acceptance speech in December 2002 he warned of the danger of "uncontrollable violence" if countries sought to resolve problems without United Nations input.


His latest comments, made during an interview at the Carter Center in Atlanta, are notable for their condemnation of the two serving leaders. It is extremely rare for a former US president to criticize an incumbent, or a British prime minister. Mr Carter's comments will add to the mounting pressure on Mr Bush and Mr Blair. [more]
Scientists have produced the first comprehensive evidence that the diversity of butterflies, birds and plants is in decline in the UK. They say their research supports the argument that mass extinction threatens life on Earth.

In the past 20 years, according to a study in the US journal Science today, about 70% of all butterfly species in Britain have shown signs of decline. About 28% of plant species and 54% of bird species also declined in areas studied over long periods. The finding comes from government-funded scientists using data painstakingly amassed over the past 40 years by 20,000 skilled naturalists .

Sandra Knapp, a botanist at the Natural History Museum, said the UK survey gave a crucial message for the world: "The lesson and the warning are there for all to see. Britain, by virtue of its well-known and well-studied biodiversity, is the canary for the rest of the globe.

"This adds enormous strength to the hypothesis that the world is approaching its sixth major extinction event," said Jeremy Thomas of the Natural Environment Research Council, who led the study of butterfly populations. "The others appear to have been cosmic events, either from outer space coming in or some major perturbation - volcanos, whatever - within the Earth. So they are believed to be physical events.

"You could say this latest one is an organic event: that one form of life has become so dominant on Earth that through its over-exploitation and its wastes, it eats, destroys, or poisons the others." [more]

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Yassin was by far the most senior Palestinian militant killed in more than three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. Since September 2000, 474 people — the majority of them Israelis — have been killed in 112 Palestinian suicide bombings. [more]

I would like to point your attention here not to any more details or comments on Yassin, Hamas, or Israel's official policy of murdering people it doesn't like--with reason or no--and the civilians that happen to be in the way, or even on the Hamas strategy of suicide bombing (which of course I emphatically condemn), but to a rather obvious omission that this paragraph begs: in this three years of Intifada, how many Palestinians were killed?

I see this a lot, it seems. The media--American, at least--will report the number of Israelis that were killed since Intifida, but most of the time the number of Palestinians killed in the same time period will go wholly unmentioned.

Well, I'll tell you. I'll give you the other half of the bookends to the number of 474 fatalities suffered on the Israeli side: according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, as of this writing,

the total number of Palestinian deaths in West Bank & Gaza since Sept 29th, 2000 is: 2,780.



I think--what with my rather elementary grasp of the basic concepts of 'formal journalism'--that if you are going to mention the total casualties of one side in a war, that it is really only perfunctory, it would seem, that you also mention the casualties on the other side . . . don't you think?

Does only one side suffer in a war?

And here, dear reader, I would like to plead with you two things (and I am only addressing the compassionate among you): whenever you see any reports of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine in the media, I beseech you to look for two things:

1) When the number of Israeli deaths since Intifada are given, are the numbers for Palestinian deaths also given?

2) Since Intifada, how much land have the Israelis stolen from the Palestinians? And to be fair: how much land have the Palestinians stolen from Israel?
Legendary reporter Carl Bernstein said he is deeply troubled by "the triumph of idiot culture" and put most of the blame on modern media outlets.
Washington Post - Letter to the Editor:
Smear on a Soldier for the Truth
Karen Kwiatkowski bitch slaps George Will for playing fast and loose in quoting her. (Here's George's article.)
Had Will bothered to read what I wrote, he would have recognized that I was listing one of many reported criticisms circulating in 2002. Also, Will -- by inserting his own words in a discussion of my writings -- intends to communicate that I am anti-Semitic. Will's abominable phrase, "those E-Ring Jews," is placed such that it seems as if I either wrote such a term or intended to. I did neither. Suggesting this is a vile, despicable smear.

I understand that my speaking out about what I saw in the Pentagon during the run-up to the Iraq war is disconcerting to people who support the Bush administration's foreign policy. I expected to be questioned on the merit and detail of my observations and memories. Surprisingly, not one defender or advocate of our actions in Iraq and associated propaganda has done that. Instead, people so in love with war without having spent a single minute in a military uniform attack me for standing up to be counted. Vituperative? Try cowardly.

Bad Georgie!

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