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Big Brass Blog is a group blog founded in February of 2005 by Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Melissa McEwan of Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister). The mission of this collaborative effort is to stand as the premiere forum where strong, enduring voices of Progressivism provide what liberal politics has been missing: the unapologetic, unrelenting voice of liberalism in the darkness visited upon our world by Right-wing extremists, their ruinous policies, and their hypocritical beliefs.

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29 November 2010

Secret US Embassy Cables

by: Peter of Lone Tree

Notice to Readers with U.S. Government Security Clearances: The terms of your agreements with the U.S. Government may prohibit you from viewing the following SECRET//NOFORN document.

CABLEGATE WIKILEAKS


Hat tip to Kevin at Cryptogon.com
15 November 2010

"Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says"

by: Peter of Lone Tree

WASHINGTON — "A secret history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad.

"The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.

"It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible."


Read the rest in the New York Times.
05 January 2010

Intelligence Fail

by: Foiled Goil

The President is really ticked, as we all should be. This kind of screw-up is NOT acceptable.

"The Urgency of Getting This Right"

Jesse Lee, The White House Blog:

This afternoon the President met with relevant agency heads to discuss the ongoing reviews of the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day and move forward on rectifying the problems that were exhibited that day. Afterwards he spoke to the press and the American people about what he and his Administration is doing to keep America safe:
(Excerpt)

The bottom line is this: The U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack. But our intelligence community failed to connect those dots, which would have placed the suspect on the "no fly" list.

In other words, this was not a failure to collect intelligence; it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had. The information was there. Agencies and analysts who needed it had access to it. And our professionals were trained to look for it and to bring it all together.

Now, I will accept that intelligence, by its nature, is imperfect, but it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged. That's not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it.

Video and full transcript are available at the White House link, above.


29 October 2009

Spooky

by: Foiled Goil

Honestly, I'm not surprised. Not even a little bit.

By Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti and James Risen:
Brother of Afghan Leader Said to Be Paid by C.I.A.

The Rachel Maddow Show:
U.S. working at cross purposes to CIA in Afghanistan?

Oct. 28: The New York Times reported that the brother of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is actually on the CIA’s payroll. Rachel Maddow talks about this revelation with Tim Weiner, author of "Legacy of Ashes." [ 7:09 ]

From the transcript:
The politics of the war took a turn so twisted and sensational last night that the new plot line sounds like it's straight out of the cynical, disillusioned American cinema of the 1970s.

According to reporting from the "New York Times'" trifecta of Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti and James Risen, the brother of the president of Afghanistan, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, widely described as a drug kingpin whose assumed corruption, undermines the credibility of the whole Afghan government and his brother, the president, Ahmed Wali Karzai-and President Hamid Karzai.

Mr. Ahmed Wali Karzai is also, apparently, according to the "New York Times," a long-time employee of us-specifically, of the CIA. Current and former American officials tell "The Times" that brother Karzai helps the CIA by doing lots of things, including operating a paramilitary group, renting out housing to U.S. forces and acting as a go-between for the Americans and the Taliban.

The allegations would be salacious at any time, but this week, after America just lost seven service members and three DEA agents while on an anti-narcotics trafficking mission, this week, the allegations are more than just salacious, they are explosive and they may have the political potential to affect the course of the war.

As national security reporter Spencer Ackerman put it today at the "Washington Independent," quote, "CIA money funds a politically connected drug dealer. Opium funds the Taliban. We are in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. How much CIA money has indirectly funded the Taliban?"

This nauseating question being asked just as the Taliban claimed responsibility for a daylight attack on westerners in Kabul which killed at least 11 people, including five U.N.-related workers.

Joining us now is Tim Weiner. He's author of "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA." He's also a former national security and foreign correspondent for "The New York Times."



TPMCafe:
Taliban Finances
The piece this morning on the Taliban's financial network reminds me of Napoleon's famous quote, "an army marches on its stomach". Without the up to $400 million from the opium trade, that is used to pay the fighters, the Taliban would be a far less serious threat.

Taliban finances, large graphic

Christiane Amanpour, CNN:
World failing to dent heroin trade, U.N. warns


·
25 August 2009

Sibel Speaks

by: Foiled Goil

Brad Blog has the transcript (pdf) and the five videos of the August 8 deposition.

SIBEL EDMONDS' DEPOSITION: VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT RELEASED

Thanks to a subpoena issued by the campaign of Ohio's 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian, her remarkable allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and agents of the government of Turkey are seen and heard here, in full, for the first time, in her under-oath deposition. Both the complete video tape and transcript of the deposition follow below.

Though there was much concern, prior to her testimony, that the Obama Dept. of Justice might re-invoke the "State Secrets Privilege" to keep her from speaking, they did not do so. Nor did they choose to be present at the Washington D.C. deposition. [snip]

Among those named by Edmonds as part of a broad criminal conspiracy: Reps. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA), as well as an unnamed, still-serving Congresswoman (D) said to have been secretly videotaped, for blackmail purposes, during a lesbian affair.

High-ranking officials from the Bush Administration named in her testimony, as part of the criminal conspiracy on behalf of agents of the Government of Turkey, include Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, and others. [snip]

Edmonds' on-the-record disclosures also include bombshell details concerning outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson's front company, Brewster Jennings. Edmonds alleges the front company had actually been shut down in August of 2001 --- three years prior to Bob Novak's public disclosure of the covert operative's identity --- following a tip-off to a wire-tap target about the true nature of the CIA front company. The cover was blown, Edmonds alleges, by Marc Grossman, who was, at the time, the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. Prior to that, Grossman served as ambassador to Turkey. He now works "for a Turkish company called Ihals Holding," according to Edmonds' testimony.



·
01 August 2009

Our History Needs Truth

by: Foiled Goil

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.
~Aristotle

Don't Turn the Page on History

Facing the American World We Created


Tom Engelhardt, An American In Hell:
In the name of everything reasonable, and in the face of acts of evil by terrible people, we tortured wantonly and profligately, and some of these torture techniques -- known to the previous administration and most of the media as "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- were actually demonstrated to an array of top officials, including the national security adviser, the attorney general, and the secretary of state, within the White House. We imprisoned secretly at "black sites" offshore and beyond the reach of the American legal system, holding prisoners without hope of trial or, often, release; we disappeared people; we murdered prisoners; we committed strange acts of extreme abuse and humiliation; we kidnapped terror suspects off the global streets and turned some of them over to some of the worst people who ran the worst dungeons and torture chambers on the planet. Unknown, but not insignificant numbers of those kidnapped, abused, tortured, imprisoned, and/or murdered were actually innocent of any crimes against us. We invaded without pretext, based on a series of lies and the manipulation of Congress and the public. We occupied two countries with no clear intent to depart and built major networks of military bases in both. Our soldiers gunned down unknown numbers of civilians at checkpoints and, in each country, arrested thousands of people, some again innocent of any acts against us, imprisoning them often without trial or sometimes hope of release. Our Air Force repeatedly wiped out wedding parties and funerals in its global war on terror. It killed civilians in significant numbers. In the process of prosecuting two major invasions, wars, and occupations, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans have died. In Iraq, we touched off a sectarian struggle of epic proportions that involved the "cleansing" of whole communities and major parts of cities, while unleashing a humanitarian crisis of remarkable size, involving the uprooting of more than four million people who fled into exile or became internal refugees. In these same years, our Special Forces operatives and our drone aircraft carried out -- and still carry out -- assassinations globally, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, sometimes of innocent civilians. We spied on, and electronically eavesdropped on, our own citizenry and much of the rest of the world, on a massive scale whose dimensions we may not yet faintly know. We pretzled the English language, creating an Orwellian terminology that, among other things, essentially defined "torture" out of existence (or, at the very least, left its definitional status to the torturer).

And don't think that that's anything like a full list. Not by a long shot. It's only what comes to my mind on a first pass through the subject. In addition, even if I could remember everything done in these years, it would represent only what has been made public. [snip]

However busy we may be, whatever tasks await us here in this country -- and they remain monstrously large -- we do need to make an honest, clear-headed assessment of what we did (and, in some cases, continue to do), of the horrors we committed in the name of... well, of us and our "safety." We need to face who we've been and just how badly we've acted, if we care to become something better. [snip]

Perhaps the greatest fantasy of the present moment is that there is a choice here. We can look forward or backward, turn the page on history or not. Don't believe it. History matters.

Whatever the Obama administration may want to do, or think should be done, if we don't face the record we created, if we only look forward, if we only round up the usual suspects, if we try to turn that page in history and put a paperweight atop it, we will be haunted by the Bush years until hell freezes over.

Ryland: A Sibel Edmonds 'Bombshell' - Bin Laden Worked for U.S. Until 9/11

Edmonds expert fills in details from recent BRAD BLOG interview with noted, gagged FBI translator/whistleblower...


Brad Friedman, July 31, 2009:
After explaining the difference between what she does and doesn't know first hand, she went on to explain: "I have information about things that our government has lied to us about. I know. For example, to say that since the fall of the Soviet Union we ceased all of our intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban - those things can be proven as lies, very easily, based on the information they classified in my case, because we did carry very intimate relationship with these people, and it involves Central Asia, all the way up to September 11." ...

Her complete response, pulled from the lengthy interview (full, commercial-free audio here) has been transcribed by Luke Ryland, perhaps the world's foremost expert in all things Sibel Edmonds related.

Today in a highly-recommended diary at dKos, Ryland filled in a good junk of details from Edmonds' references, reporting that her comments are, in fact, a "bombshell"...

...These 'intimate relations' included using Bin Laden for 'operations' in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. These 'operations' involved using al Qaeda and the Taliban in the same manner "as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict," that is, fighting 'enemies' via proxies.

As Sibel has previously described, and as she reiterates in this latest interview, this process involved using Turkey (with assistance from 'actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia') as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army.


After filling in many of the details, with scores of informational links to support the allegations, Ryland summarizes thusly:

The bombshell here is obviously that certain people in the US were using Bin Laden up to September 11, 2001.

It is important to understand why: the US outsourced terror operations to al Qaeda and the Taliban for many years, promoting the Islamization of Central Asia in an attempt to personally profit off military sales as well as oil and gas concessions.

The silence by the US government on these matters is deafening. So, too, is the blowback.


Read his full diary here

The truth is the only thing worth having, and, in a civilized life, like ours, where so many risks are removed, facing it is almost the only courageous thing left to do.

~E.V. Lucas



· · ·
22 May 2009

Raw Story On Sy Hersh Story

by: Foiled Goil

Hersh did not say Cheney ordered Bhutto assassination

Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story
In a telephone conversation with RAW STORY, Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh refuted reports that he told an Arab television network that former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. [snip]

Hersh told RAW STORY Investigative News Editor Larisa Alexandrovna that he made no such statements. [snip]

The only Arab television channel to interview Hersh recently is Gulf News, which spoke to him during the Arab Media Forum in Dubai. In the interview, Hersh does not even mention Bhutto’s name, but does condemn former Vice President Cheney for running an “executive assassination ring” which carried out operations all over the world.

A video of Hersh speaking to Gulf News reporter Abbas Al Lawati is available on the Internet.

“In Cheney’s view this isn’t murder, but carrying out the ‘war on terror,’” he said. “And in the view of me and my friends, including people in government, this is crazy. The vice president is committing a crime. You can’t authorize the murder of people. And it’s not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s in a lot of other countries, in the Middle East and in South Asia and North Africa and even central America.”

Hersh originally alleged Cheney oversaw the activities of an assassination ring while speaking at the University of Minnesota in March.

Related post


· ·
18 May 2009

Seymour Hersh Drops Another Bomb Shell

by: Foiled Goil

Now here's a wtf moment:

'US special squad killed Benazir'

The Nation (pk):

Former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on the orders of the special death squad formed by former US vice-president Dick Cheney, which had already killed the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief of that country.

The squad was headed by General Stanley McChrystal, the newly-appointed commander of US army in Afghanistan. It was disclosed by reputed US journalist Seymour Hersh while talking to an Arab TV in an interview.

Hersh said former US vice-president Cheney was the chief of the Joint Special Operation Command and he clear [sic] the way for the US by exterminating opponents through the unit and the CIA. General Stanley was the in-charge of the unit.

Seymour also said that Rafiq Al Hariri and the Lebanese army chief were murdered for not safeguarding the US interests and refusing US setting up military bases in Lebanon. Ariel Sharon, the then prime minister of Israel, was also a key man in the plot.

A number of websites around the world are suspecting the same unit for killing of Benazir Bhutto because in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV on November 2, 2007, she had mentioned the assassination of Usama Bin Laden, Seymour said. According to BB, Umar Saeed Sheikh murdered Usama, but her words were washed out from the David Frosts report, he said.

The US journalist opined that it might have been done on purpose because the US leadership did not like to declare Usama dead for in the case the justification of the presence of US army in Afghanistan could no more be there, hence no reason for operation against Taliban.
UPDATE - May 22, 2009: See story update


· ·
07 April 2009

"We Create Our Own Reality" - Fixing Intel To Fit Policy

by: Foiled Goil

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community.” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That's not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

~Ron Suskind, October 17, 2004


Got that? We may think there are real-world consequences to the policies of the president, real pain and real grief for real people. But to the White House, that kind of thinking is passé. The White House doesn't even recognize that kind of reality.

~Bob Hebert, October 22, 2004

Katharine Gun: The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War
Katharine Gun worked at the British intelligence agency when she discovered an NSA memo that she used in an attempt to stop the invasion of Iraq.
Marcia Mitchell, t r u t h o u t | Perspective:

Pigeons are coming home to roost in the prestigious halls of the United Kingdom's Parliament building. Whether they make it across the Atlantic to the US Capitol is a matter that should be of interest to all Americans.

On March 19, Katharine Gun testified before British lawmakers, asking them to commit to a full public inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq. Gun is well-known to Members of Parliament. She was the young British secret service officer who was arrested for leaking an illegal US spy operation against members of the UN Security Council debating the decision for war. The operation, mounted by the NSA, targeted six nations whose vote for a preemptive strike was considered essential to winning broad international support for war.

"What we were being asked to do was to politicize intelligence, and we subsequently found out ... that policy was being fixed around intelligence," Gun said in her testimony last week.

The plot she revealed was conceived in America by an American intelligence agency whose director at the time repeatedly assured the US public - and the Congress - that the NSA "does nothing unlawful." Others saw it differently. Manipulating intelligence to fit policy was one thing, albeit both disgraceful and outrageous; manipulating people was tantamount to blackmail.

If Gun and others seeking a new and full Iraq war inquiry are successful, the NSA misadventure will once again be a matter of investigation, at least in Great Britain. Not a slap dash of whitewash, but true scrutiny. And, because the United Kingdom agreed to join in the illegal spy operation at the request of the United States, a related issue will once again be back on the front burner - that of American influence over British decision-making at the highest levels.

Five years ago, on the day following its collapse at the Old Bailey, members of Parliament hotly debated issues surrounding the Katharine Gun case. Especially troubling, and certain to be troubling again, was this question of whether the Americans led the British not only into spying against the UN, but also into an unpopular - and perhaps illegal - war.

The words of MP Colin Challen, spoken during that earlier, historic debate, will come back to haunt this time around:

"The substantive issue is whether or not we acted at the behest of the American government." The possibility of having been so seriously flummoxed by politicians across the pond was, and continues to be, painfully disturbing. The illegal spy operation and the preemptive strike against Iraq were linked in an enduring relationship by Challen and his colleagues. To reexamine one act is to reexamine the other.

Earlier investigations into pre-war intelligence issues, such as those reported by Lord Butler and Lord Hutton in the UK and by the Iraq Intelligence Commission in the US, have not answered the most compelling questions about how and why the US and the UK went to war without a clear UN mandate and with reliance upon egregiously flawed intelligence. Neither have they addressed the issue raised in the Gun case from the beginning - the legality of the war.

Hopefully, a new investigation into the how and why of it all will remind the world that "getting rid of Saddam Hussein," so often touted as the justification for war, ignores the existence of international accords prohibiting a preemptive invasion for the purpose of regime change. Thus far, few have taken notice of this inconvenient truth, especially in the mainstream US media - which essentially ignored the Gun case - and in certain high places on both sides of the Atlantic.

The US Iraq Intelligence Commission was empanelled to explore, among its other mandates, the quality and value of pre-war Iraq intelligence. The problem was the mandate the commission did not have - one that relates directly to what happened a few days ago in London, and to those pesky pigeons winging their way to the House of Parliament.

What the commission lacked, according to its own report, was the power "to investigate how policy makers used the intelligence they received."

And there's the rub.

It's going to take investigating decisions of the policy makers and intelligence manipulators, not the intelligence collectors - if the truth is to be revealed. Investigators need to knock on doors on Downey Street [Downing Street] and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Former UK diplomat Carne Ross, who left the UK Foreign Office over questions about the validity of pre-war intelligence and the legality of the war, agrees. He told Members of Parliament last week that, "There should be a full public inquiry ... into the decision-making that took place."

Katharine Gun agrees.



· · · ·
20 September 2008

Do you think GLOBALIZATION is good or bad? Do you think GLOBALIZATION is another term for NEW WORLD ORDER?

by: Jersey Cynic

I am really really REALLY trying to put aside my tendencies toward conspiracy theories here folks. After watching the recent Jon Stewart/Tony Blair Interview I felt that maybe, just maybe, the idea of a "global society" might be what we need. We ALL occupy this earth - so let's ALL get along. Mr. Blair sounds most reasonable when he expresses the need for people of ALL faiths to come together. ( I do wonder why he recently picked Catholicism as his religion of choice though.) After watching the interview, I fell asleep - quite peacefully - and had very nice, vivid dreams of a world where we ALL get along.






When I woke up this morning, all of those "conspiracy theories" came rushing back when I picked up the morning paper and read the front page headlines:

VALUING FAITH -- BRITAIN'S EX-LEADER ASSUMES NEW ROLE IN WORLD, AT YALE
The near trillion dollar bailout did manage to get a portion of the front page, but since that's old news, it only got 1/3 of the page while Blair's "VALUING FAITH" took up 2/3 of the page.

Here's the online story (The online headline is worded a bit differently: Tony Blair Assumes New Role As Yale Teacher)

I couldn't just let well enough alone. I found myself searching for Globalization = New World Order and just finished reading a well written, and what I believe a very rational piece on the subject:
Globalization = New World Order = Globalization

In this day and age, globalization is synonymous with New World Order, and we all know what that means, unless you have been living under a rock for the last decade. New World Order means the end of any sort of freedom, right or liberty, it means, in the best conspiracy theory fashion, the end of the world as we know it. You lose your own culture, your own language, your own religion, your own beliefs, your own identity.

Most people still laugh at the idea, I almost do myself, especially after taking such topic as globalization so lightly. I read a few books, and I thought, could it be true, is it possible, or is it just conspiracy theories? But when the new Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown, makes a first speech after taking power, with no less than 17 references to New World Order and Globalization, I have to wonder, who is he really working for? Consider this:




At times like these, I feel so lost, desperate, that even new elections, new Prime Ministers, new Presidents, do not give me hope. They are all on the same war path, they are all about globalization and New World Order, and ultimately, not many of us really understand what this is all about and where it will lead us.

We can only see the state of the world today, multiple cases of genocide, a nuclear Third World War around the corner, the greatest stock market crash in history awaiting us at the bank; we are all now Americans and our world leader is the American President. It is the End of the World, as my grandfather would say, after blaming it all on the Communists.

Now, I don't even know what a communist is; the concept has been eradicated from my education, as I am from one of the new generations, the ignorant one without a purpose in this world. Not the Baby Boomers Generation, not even Generation X, not even the new youngest generation, Generation Kill. I am from a lost generation in between Generation X and Generation Kill, as I said, a lost meaningless generation without an identity. For a while we were called Generation Y (why), it came after X. As I said, an insignificant and utterly powerless generation. That's mine!


The entire article is well worth a read.



Crossposted at Blondesense
18 August 2008

It's Okay, If You're a Bushevik?

by: Foiled Goil

Only the Busheviks Can Invade

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show on the Russo-Georgia conflict:



[ 4:40 ]


Readjustments in Pipelineistan

Andrew Bacevich, America and the World



· · ·
14 August 2008

Georgia On My Mind

by: Foiled Goil

McCain gets confused about the conflict in Georgia

Think Progress:
For anyone who thought that stark international aggression was a thing of the past, the last week must have come as a startling wake-up call.

Perhaps McCain is giving himself a wake-up call, since just yesterday he seemed to have thought that “stark international aggression was a thing of the past.” In a press conference with reporters, he said, “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”

McCain: ‘In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.’

Think Progress:
In recent days, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) rhetoric toward Russia has mostly been overblown bluster, including an accusation that the country wanted to restore its old empire. However, since a cease-fire was announced and his predictions were proven wrong, McCain has backtracked, saying there won’t be a Cold War. To justify his new position, he told reporters in a press conference today:
In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.
As Matt Yglesias writes, “We all recall, of course, John McCain’s outrage when the United States violated this rule back in 2003.”

Daily Show: Invading sovereign countries is fine… unless they’re in Europe

C and L:
Jon Stewart recaps the current situation in Georgia (and the media’s ridiculous coverage of it), and calls out President Bush for having the chutzpah to condemn Russia for invading and disrespecting Georgia’s sovereignty — because only reckless bully countries with no disregard for international standards do that kind of stuff.

Was the War in Georgia a Neocon Election Ploy?

Robert Scheer, TruthDig:
Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser.

Previously, Scheunemann was best known as one of the neoconservatives who engineered the war in Iraq when he was a director of the Project for a New American Century. It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

There are telltale signs that he played a similar role in the recent Georgia flare-up. How else to explain the folly of his close friend and former employer, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, in ordering an invasion of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, an invasion that clearly was expected to produce a Russian counterreaction? It is inconceivable that Saakashvili would have triggered this dangerous escalation without some assurance from influential Americans he trusted, like Scheunemann, that the United States would have his back. Scheunemann long guided McCain in these matters, even before he was officially running foreign policy for McCain's presidential campaign.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia's membership in NATO. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met with Saakashvili and supported his bellicose views toward Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Scheunemann is at the center of the neoconservative cabal that has come to dominate the Republican candidate's foreign policy stance in a replay of the run-up to the war against Iraq. These folks are always looking for a foreign enemy on which to base a new Cold War, and with the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime it was Putin's Russia that came increasingly to fit the bill.

Yes, it sounds diabolical, but that may be the most accurate way to assess the designs of the McCain campaign in matters of war and peace. There is every indication that the candidate's demonization of Russian leader Putin is an even grander plan than the previous use of Saddam to fuel American militarism with the fearsome enemy that it desperately needs.



· ·
31 July 2008

Two For One

by: Foiled Goil

Al Qaeda's chemical weapons expert has been killed...
Officials: Al Qaeda's Mad Scientist Killed

CIA Drone Targeted Chemical Weapons Expert Abu Khabab Al-Masri On Afghanistan-Pakistan Border

July 29, 2008

One of al Qaeda's top chemical and biological weapons experts was killed in an air strike by a CIA pilotless drone in a remote Pakistani border region, senior Pakistani intelligence officials told CBS News Tuesday morning.

Intelligence officials investigating the early Monday missile attack confirmed that Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri was one of six men killed and his remains had been positively identified.
...again.
U.S. Strike Killed Al Qaeda Bomb Maker

Terror Big Also Trained 'Shoe Bomber,' Moussaoui

Jan. 18, 2006

ABC News has learned that Pakistani officials now believe that al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert was one of the men killed in last week's U.S. missile attack in eastern Pakistan.

Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of four known major al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit in the village of Damadola early last Friday morning.



· · ·
14 April 2008

Allies?

by: blackdog

From Democratic Underground, breaking and fairly astounding news.

Source: Reuters

Israel's secret service has declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit.
Monday, April 14, 2008

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's secret service has declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders have shunned him, U.S. sources close to the matter said on Monday.

Carter angered the Israeli government with plans to meet Hamas's top leader, Khaled Meshaal, in Syria, and for describing Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as "a system of apartheid" in a 2006 book.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who brokered Israel's first peace treaty with an Arab neighbor, Egypt, signed in 1979, met Israel's largely ceremonial president, Shimon Peres, on Sunday but was shunned by the political leadership, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Another source described the snub as an "unprecedented" breach between the Israeli Shin Bet and the U.S. Secret Service, which protects all current and former U.S. presidents, as well as Israeli leaders when they visit the United States.


With friends like this who the hell needs enemies? Being as there is some chance that I am 12.5% Jewish I claim the right to sound off against the Jewish State without being charged as an "antisemitic".

Fuck you.

To keep this from being a totally negative post I include this, enjoy please.

11 March 2008

Waxman Calls for Blackwater Investigations

by: Foiled Goil

Chairman Waxman Calls for Blackwater Investigations

The Gavel – March 10th, 2008:

This morning Chairman Henry Waxman of the Oversight Committee sent letters to the Internal Revenue Service (pdf), the Small Business Administration (pdf), and the Department of Labor (pdf) to request investigations into whether Blackwater has violated federal tax, small business, and labor laws through improper classification of security guards as “independent contractors” rather than “employees.”

The executive summary of the memorandum to Committee staff (pdf) explains:


On October 22, 2007, I wrote to Blackwater CEO Erik Prince raising concern that Blackwater evaded millions of dollars in federal tax payments through its improper classification of security guards as “independent contractors” rather than “employees.” My letter was based in part on a March 2007 Internal Revenue Service ruling, which concluded that Blackwater violated federal tax law by designating an armed guard as an independent contractor. Committee staff estimated that Blackwater failed to pay or withhold up to $50 million under its contract with the State Department.

Since then, the Committee’s investigation has revealed two other contexts in which Blackwater appears to have improperly exploited this “independent contractor” designation. First, despite the fact that Blackwater is one of the largest private military contractors, receiving nearly $1.25 billion in federal contracts since 2000, Blackwater has sought and received special preferences normally reserved for small businesses. As it did in the tax context, Blackwater claimed that its security guards were not “employees” for the purpose of counting the company’s total number of staff. As a result, Blackwater obtained small business contracts without competing with other qualified bidders that properly designated their guards as employees. The Committee staff has identified at least 100 small business set-aside contracts. worth over $144 million, that have been awarded to Blackwater since 2000.

In addition, Blackwater has refused to cooperate with an audit by the Department of Labor into Blackwater’s potentially discriminatory employment practices. The audit seeks to determine whether Blackwater has complied with affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws imposed on all federal contractors. Blackwater has argued that it is not bound by these laws since it classifies its security guards as “independent contractors” rather than “employees.” On this basis, Blackwater has refused to turn over documents requested by the Department of Labor, stalling the Department’s inquiry for the last six months.

In all three instances, Blackwater has asserted in official communications that its security guards are independent contractors because the company does not exercise sufficient control over their activities in Iraq or Afghanistan. Blackwater has claimed in official communications that its security guards are “in no way directly supervised or controlled by Blackwater”; that they “do not report to any of the Blackwater entities regarding their work in the field”; and that they “do not report to Blackwater regarding their operations in country.” Blackwater has also claimed that it “plays no role in the development or planning of the contractors’ security missions” and “has little if any knowledge regarding the location or activities of these independent contractors.” According to Blackwater, its “only real involvement is to pay the independent contractors.”

All of these claims appear to be false. [snip]



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