Monday, January 29, 2007

MSNBC: Saudis waging oil price war vs Iran?

JB wrote:
The third part of the US-Israel-Saudi axis against Iran, but this may be far more effective than anything Israel can do short of war.

Are Saudis waging an oil-price war on Iran?

Falling fuel costs probably not a coincidence, oil traders say


<>By Robert Windrem
Investigative producer
Oil traders and others believe that the Saudi decision to let the price of oil tumble has more to do with Iran than economics.

Their belief has been reinforced in recent days as the Saudi oil minister has steadfastly refused calls for a special meeting of OPEC and announced that the nation is going to increase its production, which will send the price down even farther.

Saudi Oil Minister Ibrahim al-Naimi even said during a recent trip to India that oil prices are headed in the "right direction."

Not for the Iranians.

Moreover, the traders believe the Saudis are not doing this alone, that the other Sunni-dominated oil producing countries and the U.S. are working together, believing it will hurt majority-Shiite Iran economically and create a domestic crisis for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose popularity at home is on the wane. The traders also believe (with good reason) that the U.S. is trying to tighten the screws on Iran financially at the same time the Saudis are reducing the Islamic Republic's oil revenues.

For the Saudis, who fear Iran's religious, geopolitical and nuclear aspirations, the decision to lower the price of oil has a number of benefits, the biggest being to deprive Iran of hard currency. It also may create unrest in a country that is its rival on a number of levels and permits the Saudis to show the U.S. that military action may not be necessary.

The Saudis firmly and publicly deny this, saying it's all about economics. Not everyone believes them.

"If under normal circumstances, the price of oil was falling this dramatically [17% in the last few months], Saudi Arabia would have already called for a special OPEC meeting," says one oil trader. "It's got to be something else and that something else has to be Iran."

Costs higher in Iran
The trader notes that Iran, OPEC's second largest producer, is "in trouble" both in the short and long term. Iran's oil reserves, he notes, are declining more rapidly than Saudi Arabia's and are more difficult to extract. While a barrel of oil costs the Saudis $2-3 to get out of the ground and to market, that same barrel costs Iran as much as $15-18.

"Iran does have some oil that costs them $8-10 but most of it is in that upper range," he said.

Moreover, Iran has a large domestic market for oil, particularly fuel oil, which Saudi Arabia, with its smaller population and milder climate, does not.

Perhaps more important, because Iran has limited refining capability, it must import more than 40 percent its gasoline, making it the second largest importer of gasoline in the world after the United States, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency.

And since Iran sells gasoline at a rate comparable to the rest of the Gulf states — around 33 cents a gallon — it must subsidize the price on a massive scale. In fact, say traders, Iran is paying about $1.50 per gallon to subsidize domestic gasoline consumption — the world market price of gasoline minus the tiny price per gallon — a practice that is costing Iran billions of dollars annually and eating up most of the state-run oil company's discretionary funds.

Iran has other problems that make it vulnerable. Inflation is officially running at 17 percent, the highest since the revolution, and unemployment is at 11 percent. U.S. intelligence, though, believes the real figures are much higher, with inflation as high as 50 percent and joblessness much higher among the country's restless youth). In addition, capital outflow is estimated at $50 billion annually and budget deficits are a chronic problem, leading to overseas borrowing.

And none of this takes into account the possibility that the United Nations will impose harsher sanctions if Iran continues its work on nuclear weapons technology.

Political fallout
There are domestic political consequences to such a convergence, note traders and officials in both the U.S. and Iran. Ahmadinejad was elected on campaign promises that he would end corruption and better distribute the nation's oil wealth. He has been unable to do either; now, with declining oil revenues, his job will be even more difficult.

One sign of this is the street demonstrations he has faced each time his administration has so much as floated the suggestion of a small increase in the price of gasoline. To counter his inability to fulfill his domestic promises, Ahmadinejad has played the nationalism/nuclear card, accusing the West of trying to stifle Iran's legitimate energy needs.

How long and how successfully he can play these cards is debatable. Municipal elections last month unveiled a lot of dissatisfaction as opposition parties swept through municipal majlises throughout the country. His rival in the 2005 presidential election, Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, has criticized him publicly for the first time, as have others close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Student demonstrations and local newspapers are becoming increasingly critical of the "dictator."

Meanhwhile, the Bush administration is only too happy to see Ahmadinejad's deteriorating domestic situation — and to let the Saudis further turn the screws. Moreover, administration officials are hinting they will be applying financial pressures to complement the Saudis. (As one official said recently, Iran cannot operate in the oil markets without using dollars.)

The officials did not reveal how the pressures would work, but said they are underway. The U.S. blacklisted the state-owned Bank Sepah, Iran's fifth largest, in recent weeks and last month, Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh acknowledged having difficulties in financing oil projects. Commerzbank of Germany also has announced that it will no longer handle dollar-currency transactions for Iranian banks at its New York branch.

One trader is convinced that the U.S. and Saudis sealed a secretive deal on Iran when Vice President Dick Cheney met with King Abdullah in what appeared to be a hastily arranged summit in Riyadh in late November 2006. There have been lower-profile meetings as well that could have dealt with the arrangement.

Equipment problems
Long term, traders say that the Iranian oil will become even more expensive, if not impossible, to extract because Iran does not have access to up-to-date exploration and drilling equipment. Only two countries, the U.S. and Canada, manufacture the equipment needed for the job and they simply do not sell to Iran. Iranian attempts to get the Japanese to sell some of their equipment — not the same quality as the North American equipment but adequate — failed when the U.S. pressured the Japanese.

The biggest field discovered in the past 35 years, at Azadegan, near the Iraqi border, is considered "geologically complex," according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and thus will be costly to develop. The lower world oil prices, the more difficult it becomes to make the field profitable and to get foreign investors to do complicated joint ventures with the national oil company.

Rafsanjani is known to believe that Iran should not continue to anger the U.S. and should align itself with the Americans in a fight against the Sunnis, an opportunity that is slipping away as Iran angers the U.S. in Iraq and on the nuclear front. And this week, reformist Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri joined in the criticism.

For the U.S. and Saudis, this can only be seen as good news.

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Paul Craig Roberts: Bush's Iran attack flying below the radar

It's very hard to improve or add to Paul Craig Roberts's loudly shouted warning that Bush-Cheney are determined to attack Iran, most likely in early spring, or shortly after their second battle carrier group is in place in the Persian Gulf at the end of February.
Nevertheless, I'll make two points.

1. The Iran attack is necessary from their point of view because they have no other agenda besides permanent war. If they don't widen the war to Iran, then the domestic pressure to get out of Iraq would in all likelihood grow to such an overwhelming point that Congress might actually do something useful. (Even the current non binding resolution now bruited about is useful and very likely scary to the administration, but it's only a tiny step.)

2. The situation may be slightly more dynamic than Roberts suggests. There is evidence that some of the so far relatively quiet pushback on Iran may be working. Comparing the two recent speeches on the subject, Bush's Library Speech (1.10.07) and his State of the Union (1.23.07), there's a dramatic drop off in the later speech in the explicit level of anti Iran bellicosity. It might very well be that the pushback has forced them to proceed much more behind the scenes and under the radar than they had hoped.

Hillary Clinton, unprompted, warned against such a widening of the war last week on the Leherer News Hour and the enormity of the coming calamity broke through the normally impervious arrogance of Thomas Friedman, to the point that he devoted a paragraph to it in a recent column.

In other good news, Cheney is losing credibility even among some of his right wing media supporters if David Brooks on the Leherer News Hour is any guide. "What planet is he on?" chortled Brooks, referencing Cheney's recent dust up with Wolf Blitzer, when Darth Vader insisted that "We've had enormous successes" in Iraq.

It seems like we have only one more month to get Hillary, Hagel, Obama and the other presidential contenders to shout down the Iran attack. Unfortunately, the Bush Cheney low key approach seems more likely to get to the finish line. On the other hand, it's a riskier strategy. Unlike the Iraq war which was front page for months, and from their point of view, exceedingly well prepared, when it finally happened, it was a fait accomplit, and there was no effective backlash. The current, relatively stealthy Iran attack could result in unpredictable fireworks, similar to Nixon's venture in Cambodia.

I can't resist a shout out to my war for oil or war by Illuminati friends. Do any think that the coming Iran attack is also a war for oil? When will it be clear that it's a war for war, for chaos, for destruction and for no self serving, empire or imperial, or world government purpose? It's Hitlerian, Napoleonic and Maoist in its suicidal regime.


Targeting Iran
Why Can't Americans See What's Coming?


January 27 / 28, 2007

The American public and the US Congress are getting their backs up about the Bush Regime's determination to escalate the war in Iraq. A Massive protest demonstration is occurring in Washington DC today, and Congress is expressing its disagreement with Bush's decision to intensify the war in Iraq.

This is all to the good. However, it misses the real issue--the Bush Regime's looming attack on Iran.

Rather than winding down one war, Bush is starting another. The entire world knows this and is discussing Bush's planned attack on Iran in many forums. It is only Americans who haven't caught on. A few senators have said that Bush must not attack Iran without the approval of Congress, and postings on the Internet demonstrate world wide awareness that Iran is in the Bush Regime's cross hairs. But Congress and the Media--and the demonstration in Washington--are focused on Iraq.

What can be done to bring American awareness up to the standard of the rest of the world?

In Davos, Switzerland, the meeting of the World Economic Forum, a conference where economic globalism issues are discussed, opened January 24 with a discussion of Bush's planned attack on Iran. The Secretary General of the League of Arab States and bankers and businessmen from such US allies as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all warned of the coming attack and its catastrophic consequences for the MIddle East and the world.

Writing for Global Research (January 24), General Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs and former Joint Chief of Staff of the Russian Armies, forecast an American nuclear attack on Iran by the end of April. General Ivashov presented the neoconservative reasoning that is the basis for the attack and concluded that the world's protests cannot stop the US attack on Iran.

There will be shock and indignation, General Ivashov concludes, but the US will get away with it. He writes:

"Within weeks from now, we will see the informational warfare machine start working. The public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian militaristic hysteria, new information leaks, disinformation, etc. . . . The probability of a US aggression against Iran is extremely high. It does remain unclear, though, whether the US Congress is going to authorize the war. It may take a provocation to eliminate this obstacle (an attack on Israel or the US targets including military bases). The scale of the provocation may be comparable to the 9-11 attack in NY. Then the Congress will certainly say "Yes" to the US President."

The Bush Regime has made it clear that it is convinced that Bush already has the authority to attack Iran. The Regime argues that the authority is part of Bush's commander-in-chief powers. Congress has authorized the war in Iraq, and Bush's recent public statements have shifted the responsibility for the Iraqi insurgency from al-Qaeda to Iran. Iran, Bush has declared, is killing US troops in Iraq. Thus, Iran is covered under the authorization for the war in Iraq.

Both Bush and Cheney have made it clear in public statements that they will ignore any congressional opposition to their war plans.
For example, CBS News reported (Jan. 25) that Cheney said that a congressional resolution against escalating the war in Iraq "won't stop us." According to the Associated Press and Yahoo News, Bush dismissed congressional disapproval with his statement, "I'm the decision-maker."

Everything is in place for an attack on Iran. Two aircraft carrier attack forces are deployed to the Persian Gulf, US attack aircraft have been moved to Turkey and other countries on Iran's borders, Patriot anti-missile defense systems are being moved to the Middle East to protect oil facilities and US bases from retaliation from Iranian missiles, and growing reams of disinformation alleging Iran's responsibility for the insurgency in Iraq are being fed to the gullible US Media.

General Ivashof and everyone in the Middle East and at the Davos globalization conference in Europe understands the Bush Regime's agenda.

Why cannot Americans understand?

Why hasn't Congress told Bush and Cheney that they will both be instantly impeached if they initiate a wider war?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Friday, January 26, 2007

Amira Hass: Prohibitions in Palestine

The Restrictions Remain
Life Under Prohibition in Palestine
January 22, 2007

All the promises to relax restrictions in the West Bank have obscured the true picture. A few roadblocks have been removed, but the following prohibitions have remained in place. (This information was gathered by Haaretz, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Machsom Watch)

Standing prohibitions

* Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are forbidden to stay in the West Bank.

* Palestinians are forbidden to enter East Jerusalem.

* West Bank Palestinians are forbidden to enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing.

* Palestinians are forbidden to enter the Jordan Valley.

* Palestinians are forbidden to enter villages, lands, towns and neighborhoods along the "seam line" between the separation fence and the Green Line (some 10 percent of the West Bank).

* Palestinians who are not residents of the villages Beit Furik and Beit Dajan in the Nablus area, and Ramadin, south of Hebron, are forbidden entry.

* Palestinians are forbidden to enter the settlements' area (even if their lands are inside the settlements' built area).

* Palestinians are forbidden to enter Nablus in a vehicle.

* Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are forbidden to enter area A (Palestinian towns in the West Bank).

* Gaza Strip residents are forbidden to enter the West Bank via the Allenby crossing.

* Palestinians are forbidden to travel abroad via Ben-Gurion Airport.

* Children under age 16 are forbidden to leave Nablus without an original birth certificate and parental escort.

* Palestinians with permits to enter Israel are forbidden to enter through the crossings used by Israelis and tourists.

* Gaza residents are forbidden to establish residency in the West Bank.

* West Bank residents are forbidden to establish residency in the Jordan valley, seam line communities or the villages of Beit Furik and Beit Dajan.

* Palestinians are forbidden to transfer merchandise and cargo through internal West Bank checkpoints.

Periodic prohibitions

* Residents of certain parts of the West Bank are forbidden to travel to the rest of the West Bank.

* People of a certain age group - mainly men from the age of 16 to 30, 35 or 40 - are forbidden to leave the areas where they reside (usually Nablus and other cities in the northern West Bank).

* Private cars may not pass the Swahara-Abu Dis checkpoint (which separates the northern and southern West Bank). This was cancelled for the first time two weeks ago under the easing of restrictions.

Travel permits required

* A magnetic card (intended for entrance to Israel, but eases the passage through checkpoints within the West Bank).

* A work permit for Israel (the employer must come to the civil administration offices and apply for one).

* A permit for medical treatment in Israel and Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem (The applicant must produce an invitation from the hospital, his complete medical background and proof that the treatment he is seeking cannot be provided in the occupied territories).

* A travel permit to pass through Jordan valley checkpoints.

* A merchant's permit to transfer goods.

* A permit to farm along the seam line requires a form from the land registry office, a title deed, and proof of first-degree relations to the registered property owner.

* Entry permit for the seam line (for relatives, medical teams, construction workers, etc. Those with permits must enter and leave via the same crossing even if it is far away or closing early).

* Permits to pass from Gaza, through Israel to the West Bank.

* A birth certificate for children under 16.

* A long-standing resident identity card for those who live in seam-line enclaves.

Checkpoints and barriers

* There were 75 manned checkpoints in the West Bank as of January 9, 2007.

* There are on average 150 mobile checkpoints a week (as of September 2006).

* There are 446 obstacles placed between roads and villages, including concrete cubes, earth ramparts, 88 iron gates and 74 kilometers of fences along main roads.

* There are 83 iron gates along the separation fence, dividing lands from their owners. Only 25 of the gates open occasionally.

Amira Hass writes for Ha'aretz. She is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Nation: Letters from readers on 9/11

I wonder if Bush's more and more evident insistence on all war all the time is making some people reevaluate their position on 911.

The Nation
This article can be found on the web at


[from the February 5, 2007 issue]


"9/11: The Roots of Paranoia" by Christopher Hayes (Dec. 25) drew more mail than almost any Nation article in memory, except perhaps on the JFK assassination. Letters ran the gamut from the enraged (canceled subscriptions, charges of Nation stonewalling, anger at the use of the term "paranoia") to the complimentary ("My thanks to Mr. Hayes for trying to chart a middle road between credulity and paranoia"). But almost all agree that we don't know the whole story of what happened on September 11, 2001.


Laguna Hills, Calif.

Most 9/11 Truthers are like me: We don't know what the heck happened, but we know the government is hiding something from us. We know they lie, and if we were to ask cui bono? the answer is obvious. The bottom line is that we want a real study. We need proof from this government, for it stepped outside our circle of trust long ago.



Sarasota, Fla.

As articles debunking the various 9/11 truth movements go, Christopher Hayes's was refreshingly devoid of the snarky condescension that typifies such pieces. It nevertheless gravitated to the most extreme claims, such as those in the video Loose Change, while strategically ignoring the trenchant and as yet unanswered questions propounded by others whose credibility is not so easily impugned.

I invite Nation readers to view to the inquiries by the Family Steering Committee, formed by the "Jersey Girls," whose loved ones died that day and without whose heroic efforts there never would have been a 9/11 Commission. A compendium of Unanswered Questions appears on their website: And for anyone who wonders just how dissatisfied, no, angry they have become about the whitewash that was performed by that commission, there is an excellent DVD about these remarkable women titled 9/11 Press for Truth.




I am an airline pilot, retired after years of flying heavy jets on international routes. During my training I reviewed reports and photographs of thousands of aircraft accidents. I watched live news footage from the Pentagon on 9/11. I recognized immediately that what I saw could not possibly have been an aircraft crash scene.

Where did the energy of 200 tons of mass striking that building go? The roof fell downward when it should have been blown into the next state. It doesn't take a PhD to figure out what any high school physics student could. Nor does it take an airline pilot like myself to notice the minimal damage, lack of aircraft parts, bodies, cargo, baggage, etc. that should be spread out in a 360-degree pattern.

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of this scene is the U-shaped burn pattern, viewed from above, that extends through all five Pentagon segments and has two 90-degree turns. As a Vietnam Special Forces vet I'd suggest the possibility of faulty explosives that fizzled and burned rather than exploding.



Eugene, Ore.

On 9/11, I was a senior pilot for a major airline. Prior to that time, I spent six years as a captain on the B-767/757. I watched the second airplane hit the World Trade Center on television. All my instincts told me something was wrong with the official explanation. I still read everything I can find about the events of that day in an attempt to find some truth that satisfies my misgivings. I have found many authors who seem legitimate and who raise questions that need to be answered. Others are so outlandish as to appear to be spreading disinformation. Until there is a very open investigation with the world as its witness, nothing will be resolved. The implications of 9/11 are huge. As it is, our society may never recover from all the lies and disinformation and structural changes to our governance that have been made in its name.



Putnam Valley, NY

Christopher Hayes's point that the antidote to the Truth Movement is "a press that refuses to allow the government to continue to lie" is valid. However the March 2005 Popular Mechanics article cited by Hayes to debunk the most prevalent conspiracy theories has itself been debunked. I refer readers to the following websites:



Ann Arbor, Mich.

As a boy growing up in New York City, I observed the Twin Towers being constructed from my perch on Staten Island. A bank of steel support columns in the center held it all up. The architects anticipated that aircraft could accidentally strike the buildings, so they built them to withstand a hit from a Boeing 707. I am incredulous that those buildings collapsed, and the explanations I have seen do not convince me, including those in Popular Mechanics. The fact is that no steel frame skyscrapers on fire have collapsed before or since the collapse of the WTC buildings. Please join the demand for a real investigation into 911.



Oregon, Wisc.

As the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, I read "9/11: The Roots of Paranoia" with great interest. Its author cites a few of the questions that have troubled students of 9/11, but neglects most of the answers that we have established based upon objective, scientific investigation. In the name of fair play, here is a summary of our findings, substantiation for which may be found at our website,

One preliminary point. If belief in conspiracies is enough to qualify one as "paranoid," then our highest government officials should be escorted to homes for the mentally bewildered, since they had been propounding a conspiracy theory even prior to investigation. Consider:

The impact of the planes cannot have caused enough damage to bring the buildings down, since the buildings were designed to withstand them (as Frank DeMartini, the project manager, observed), the planes that hit were similar to those they were designed to withstand, and the buildings continued to stand after those impacts with negligible effects.

The melting point of steel at 2,800 degrees F is about 1,000 degrees higher than the maximum burning temperature of jet-fuel-based fires, which do not exceed 1,800 degrees under optimal conditions, so the fires cannot have caused the steel to melt, which means that melting steel did not bring the buildings down.

UL certified the steel in the buildings up to 2,000 degrees F for three or four hours before it would significantly weaken, whereas these fires burned too low and too briefly at an average temperature of around 500 degrees--about one hour in the South Tower and one and a half in the North--to have even caused the steel to weaken, much less melt.

If the steel had melted or weakened, the affected floors would have displayed completely different behavior, with some asymmetrical sagging and tilting, which would have been gradual and slow, not the complete, abrupt and total demolition that was observed.

William Rodriguez, the senior custodian in the North Tower and the last man to leave the building, has reported massive explosions in the sub-basements that effected extensive destruction, including the demolition of a fifty-ton hydraulic press and the ripping of the skin off a fellow worker, a report corroborated by the testimony of many other custodians.

Rodriguez has reported that the explosion occurred prior to the airplane's impact, a claim that has now been substantiated in a new study by Craig Furlong and Gordon Ross, "Seismic Proof: 9/11 Was an Inside Job," which demonstrates that these explosions actually took place as much as fourteen and seventeen seconds prior to the airplanes' impacts.

Heavy-steel-construction buildings like the Twin Towers are not generally capable of "pancake collapse," which normally occurs only with concrete structures of "lift slab" construction and could not occur in redundant welded-steel buildings, such as the towers, unless every supporting column were removed at the same time, as Charles Pegelow has pointed out to me.

The destruction of the South Tower in about ten seconds and of the North Tower in nine is even faster than free fall with only air resistance, which would have taken at least twelve seconds, which, as Judy Wood has emphasized, is an astounding result that would have been impossible without extremely powerful explosives.

The towers are exploding from the top, not collapsing to the ground, where their floors do not move, a phenomenon that Wood has likened to two gigantic trees turning to sawdust from the top down, which, like the pulverization of the concrete, the official account cannot possibly explain.

Pools of molten metal were found at the subbasement levels three, four and five weeks later, an effect that could not have been produced by the plane-impact/jet-fuel-fire/pancake collapse scenario, which, of course, implies that it was not produced by such a cause.

WTC-7 came down in a classic controlled demolition at 5:20 pm after Larry Silverstein suggested the best thing to do might be to "pull it," displaying all the characteristics of classic controlled demolitions: a complete, abrupt and total collapse into its own footprint, where the floors are all falling at the same time, and so forth, an event so embarrassing to the official account that it is not even mentioned in the 9/11 Commission report.

The hit point at the Pentagon was too small to accommodate a 100-ton airliner with a 125-foot wingspan and a tail that stands forty-four feet above the ground; the debris was wrong for a Boeing 757: no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies, no luggage, no tail! Which means the building was not hit by a Boeing 757.

The Pentagon's own videotape does not show a Boeing 757 hitting the building, as even Bill O'Reilly admitted when it was shown on The O'Reilly Factor; at 155 feet, the plane was more than twice as long as the seventy-one-foot Pentagon is high and should have been present and visible; it was not, which means that the building was not hit by a Boeing 757.

The aerodynamics of flight would have made the official trajectory--flying at high speed barely above ground level--physically impossible; and if it had come in at an angle instead, it would have created a massive crater; but there is no crater and the government has no way out, which means that the building was not hit by a Boeing 757.

If Flight 93 had come down as advertised, there should have been a debris field about the size of a city block, but the debris is distributed over an area of about eight square miles, which would be explainable if the plane had been shot down in the air but not if it had crashed, as required by the government's official scenario.

There is more, especially about the alleged hijackers, including that they were not competent to fly the planes and their names were not on any passenger manifest. Several have turned up alive and well and living in the Middle East. The government has not even produced their tickets as evidence that they actually could have boarded the aircraft they are alleged to have hijacked. Did Osama call from a cave in Afghanistan and charge them to his MasterCard?

President Bush recently acknowledged that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. The Senate Intelligence Committee has reported that Saddam was not in cahoots with Al Qaeda. And the FBI has acknowledged that it has "no hard evidence" to tie Osama to 9/11. If Saddam did not do it and Osama did not do it, then who is responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans that day? We believe the nation is entitled to the truth.


*Dave Lindorff: Iraq War was no blunder: it was a prelude to attacking Iran

Dave Lindorff has again written a very important article. See my comments in double brackets and and italics.
Thanks to JG for spotting this one.

Dave Lindorff wote:(excerpt)

So many apparently stupid decisions were made by people who should clearly have been too smart to make them, from leaving hundreds of tons of high explosives unguarded to cashiering all of Iraq's army and most of the country's civil service managers, that it boggles the mind to think that these could have been just dumb ideas or incompetence. (L. Paul Bremer, for instance, who made the "dumb" decision about dismantling the Iraqi army, prior to becoming Iraq's occupation viceroy, had headed the nation's leading risk assessment consultancy, and surely knew what all the risks were of his various decisions.)

Dave Lindorff: Was Iraq War a 'Blunder' or Was It Treason?
by Dave Lindorff, co-author of "The Case for Impeachment"

Published on BuzzFlash (

New Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), is calling President Bush's invasion of Iraq a "stark blunder" and says that his new scheme to send 21,500 more troops into the mess he created is just digging the hole deeper.

I wonder though.

It seems ever more likely to me that this whole mess was no blunder at all.

People are wont to attribute the whole thing to lack of intelligence on the president's part, and to hubris on the part of his key advisers. I won't argue that the president is a lightweight in the intellect department, nor will I dispute that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and that whole neocon gang have demonstrably lacked the virtues of reflection and humility. But that said, I suspect that the real story of the Iraq War is that Bush and his gang never really cared whether they actually would "win" in Iraq. In fact, arguably, they didn't really want to win.

What they wanted was a war. [[They wanted permanent war. 911 was their vehicle. From the beginning they insisted that it was a WAR on terror, not a police action.]]

If the war they started had ended quickly with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, that would have served their purposes, at least for the short term. Bush would have emerged from a short invasion and conquest a national hero, would have handily won re-election in 2004, and would have gone on to a second term as a landslide victor. But if it went badly, as it has, they figured he would still come out ahead. He would be a wartime president, and he'd make full use of that role, expansively misdefining his "commander in chief" title to imply authority over the Congress and the courts, to grab power heretofore unheard of for a president. [[At a certain moment, certainly by the time they cashiered their first pro-counsel, Jay Garner, they needed a rationale to stay, create permanent bases, and continue their overriding mission which was to destroy Iraq. They had two reasons.

1.They are about destruction. What does it mean to say that the Bush-Cheney (Rumsfeld) administration is about destruction? It means they are nihilists. That means they believe in destruction for its own sake. They pretend to believe that reconstruction will follow destruction. Their understanding of Year Zero is that first everything will be destroyed and then a new reborn society will follow. But their track record for reconstruction is what it is.

2.They wanted to ensure Israel's domination of the Middle East by crushing any possiblilty of a challenging Arab power.]]

This, I suspect, was the grand strategy underlying the attack on Iraq.

If I'm right, there may have been method to the madness of not building up enough troops for the invasion to insure that U.S. forces could occupy a destroyed Iraq and help it rebuild; method to the madness of allowing looters free sway to destroy the country's remaining post-invasion infrastructure; method to the madness, even, of allowing remnant forces of Hussein's to gather up stockpiles of weapons and even high-density explosives, so they could mount an effective resistance and drag out the conflict.

So many apparently stupid decisions were made by people who should clearly have been too smart to make them, from leaving hundreds of tons of high explosives unguarded to cashiering all of Iraq's army and most of the country's civil service managers, that it boggles the mind to think that these could have been just dumb ideas or incompetence. (L. Paul Bremer, for instance, who made the "dumb" decision about dismantling the Iraqi army, prior to becoming Iraq's occupation viceroy, had headed the nation's leading risk assessment consultancy, and surely knew what all the risks were of his various decisions.)

We expect a measure of idiocy from our elected leaders and their appointees, but not wholesale idiocy!

This disaster has been so colossal, it almost had to have been orchestrated.

If that's the case, Congress should be taking a hard look at not just the latest installment of escalation, but at the whole war project, beginning with the 2002 campaign to get it going. Certainly throwing 21,500 new troops into the fire makes no sense whatever. If 140,000 of the best-equipped troops in the world can't pacify Iraq, 160,000 aren't going to be able to do it either. You don't need to be a general to figure that out. Even a senator or representative ought to be able to do it. So clearly Congress should kill this plan.

Since it's not about "winning" the war, it has to be about something else. My guess would be it's about either dragging things out until the end of 2008, so Bush can leave office without having to say he's sorry. But of course, it could also be about something even more serious: invading Iran. [[Yes of course. Iran is next if Congress will allow him, but I'm afraid that train has already left the station. It's about permanent war. Their projected war against Iran will allow them to stay in Iraq and their war against Iran will allow them to stay in Iraq if a wider war against Russia and China -- not to mention other lesser powers has not already begun.]]

We know Bush is trying mightily to provoke Iran. He has illegally attacked an Iranian consulate in Iraq (an act of war), taking six protected consular officials there captive. He is sending a second aircraft carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf, and is setting up Patriot anti-missile missile bases along Iran's western border. This buildup has all the earmarks of a pre-invasion. All that's needed now is a pretext -- a real or faked attack on an American ship, perhaps, ala the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" that launched America into the Vietnam War.

The way I see it, either way the president is committing treason, because he is sending American troops off to be killed for no good reason other than for aggrandizing power he shouldn't have, and/or simply covering his own political ass.

[[Yes it's treason just like 911 and so many more of the crimes committed by this outlaw regime. But it's not about aggrandizing power: they already have all the power. It's about using their power to make war, to destroy. And it's not realpolitick or for any vicious but self serving reason. It's about destruction and suicide. All that is necessary to understand destruction as their motive is to consider the implications of endless war. Endless war means self destruction as well.]]

Treason is the number one impeachable crime under the Constitution, and we're at a point where Congress is going to have to act or go down in history as having acquiesced in the worst presidential crime in the history of the nation. [[It's even more than that. It's about survival. Once we attack Iran, the consequences could include nuclear war -- just as the Israelis have recently warned.]]

DAVE LINDORFF is co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available at [1] and at [2].


Source URL:


Monday, January 22, 2007

John Loeffler: New Congress Shredding the Constitution

John Loeffler
January 19, 2007

Senate Bill 1 and House Resolution 4682 under Fire

Bad things often come in good packages. Currently both houses of congess are considering ethics bills to provide for much-needed lobbying and earmark reform. However, buried in one section of both house and senate bills are provisions to severely restrict the ability of grassroots organizations to monitor the actions of their elected representatives and report on these to their clients. In reality, it will achieving exactly the opposite of ethics reform because it allows for more congressional acvitivty away from public scrutiny.

The advent of alternative media has had a major impact on U.S. politics for the last twenty years. Slowly but surely the exclusive chokehold the country's national information gatekeepers -- major radio and TV networks plus the major newswire services -- previously held on the flow of news has been eroded by talk radio, both on-air and internet, weblogs and online newspapers.

A decade ago politicians discovered with much chagrin that this "alternative media" was actually affecting the outcomes of elections and limiting what they could get away with once in office. Statements and actions by politicians which the mainliners left unchallenged were examined minutely in the alternative media. Even small sections of pending bills lawmakers hoped wouldn't be noticed have made it into blogs and on the air in record time, resulting in angry calls to force removal of the offending provisions. There are too many people watching them carefully and reporting through the relatively inexpensive medium of the internet.

Now it seems some congressmen want to fight back. Buried within Senate Bill One, which as we pointed out promotes long-sought lobbying reform, exists Section 220 defining individuals or organizations reaching more than 500 people on a grassroots level with information about political issues as lobbying organizations, if the information can be construed as urging people to contact congress.

These individuals or groups would be required to register and subsequently file unwieldy amounts of paperwork, whenever they transmit political information to their subscribers. Failure to do so would result in $50,000-$100,000 fines per violation plus jail time for willful failure to comply. This would be a staggering burden of proof and compliance to small grass roots individuals or organizations affected by the new requirements.

Depending on how the language of the bill is interpreted, groups affected by this opprobrious legislation includes publishers of small newsletters and financial publications, websites, broadcast and internet talk show hosts, alternative radio shows, public interest organizations, civic organizations, even churches and religious denominations, and other nonprofit groups. The definitions include even private individuals, who might voluntarily pay for media space to distribute important messages to the general public on political matters with which they are concerned.

Under Senate Bill One and its House companion bill H.R. 4682 an organization is classified as a “grassroots lobbying firm” if it attempts to influence the general public to contact federal officials in order to express their own views on a federal issue. It must spend only only $50,000 ($25,000 under the House bill) for such efforts in a quarterly period, it will be required to register as lobbyists. Many radio programs and websites easily spend that amount of money in the course of their activities.

This is not the first time Congress has sought to impede freedom of speech. Every so often an attempt is made to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which requires broadcasters to provide equal time and balanced viewpoints for political and social issues. While this sounds fair, and it worked when only editorials were involved, in reality it creates a nightmare for radio and TV station licensees that engage in talk formats, because the paperwork and logistics required to comply with such a law make it impossible for the stations to function. As such the Fairness Doctrine is a stealth way to surpress free speech on radio stations by making it very difficult for them to function. As such, even the Financial Sense Newshour might be forced "off the air."

Providing this type of compliance for talk shows is impossible and the risk of large fines for violations of arbitrary stipulations is so great, that stations tend to cancel talk shows and run programming they consider to be less "risky." In essence the talk shows can be chased off the air just with the threat of arbitrary fines and penalties. Senate Bill One will have the same effect on small grassroots publishers, websites, radio shows and organizations if it passes as is. Remember, failure to jump through all the paperwork hoops properly for Senate Bill One could result in $50,000-$100,000 fines per violation!

Currently, an amendment to Senate Bill One been proposed by Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) to remove Subsection 220 from the bill, which includes grassroots organizations among those classified as lobbying organizations. Persons concerned about the loss of alternative media and the danger to free speech should contact their senators and urge them to vote for the Bennett amendment. Members of the House should be urged to vote against provisions in House Resolution 4682, which included grassroots organizations.

It's interesting to note that if Senate Bill One were currently law, writing this would be illegal because we had not filed the proper paperwork with the federal government. Assaults like this on the First Amendment and the right of the people to have free speech and seek redress must not to be tolerated in whatever form they appear.

There is debate among legal experts as to exactly how the provisions of Senate Bill One could ultimately be interpreted and applied, which brings us down to a rule of thumb: If we can't agree what this means as a bill now, we definitely don't want it as law later.

© 2007 John Loeffler - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 21, 2007

*Geov Parrish: Bush has already fired the opening shots against Iran and Syria

Has anyone else noticed that Hillary on the PBS News Hour last week, without prompting, warned against expanding the war against Iran? She said it quietly at the end of her interview, but she said it.
Now we have to find ways of getting Iran into the presidential campaign (Am I really writing these words 22 months early?).
Your turn, Obama.

The New Yorker (1.22.07, "The Planner," Steve Coll) did its usual deconstruction of Bush's speech, but failed even to mention his overt threat against Iran. What were they thinking during that part of the speech (see below)? . Oh ho, hum, another threat against Iran, that's so 2007. It's as if March, April and May are too far away, are on some other planet like Mars. No need to register that part of the speech.

They don't realize that Bush is insisting on war in Iraq so that he can make war on Iran and he's insisting on war with Iran and Syria so that he can continue to make war indefinitely on Iraq. Read below to see what happens when this happens.

And the billion in reconstruction money for Iraq? The sick joke is that the press seems to take this seriously. How many billions of US taxpayer dollars, not to mention Iraq oil money has gone to Iraqi reconstruction and what has been reconstructed? Has anyone connected the dots to indicate that procedures were in place (rather not in place) to insure that no reconstruction would be done, that all the money would be thrown down the toilet (read Halliburton, etc). As they are fond of saying, the last thing they're in business to do is nation building. Is it so hard to see what's the first thing they're in business to do?


PS.If you're in the mood to make yourself even more sick with worry, try clicking on Michel Chossudovsky's "The Unthinkable: The US-Israeli Nuclear War on Iran,"

The new war
Geov Parrish -

01.16.07 - Historians will differ as to when, exactly, we climbed into this particular Hell-bound handbasket. November 8, 2000, the first stolen election. September 11, 2001. March 20, 2003, the illegal invasion. November 2, 2004, the second stolen election.

Or January 10, 2006. The evening when, with a casualness only the Idiot King could muster, the United States also declared war on Iran and Syria.

Congress -- both parties -- had better hop a clue train, and fast. Same for corporate media and the American public. The so-called "surge" (i.e., escalation) in Iraq is a militarily useless smokescreen; sure, more American soldiers and lots more Iraqis will die for no particular reason, but that wasn't the big news from Bush's speech and actions. Bush, as they say in the news business, buried the lead, because to come right out and present Armageddon as a fait accompli would have invited a domestic political firestorm.

So to speak.

Instead, the conflagration is elsewhere. What Bush did last week is to start a region-wide Middle East war that will inevitably involve the United States, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and any combination of the Gulf States. And don't forget Afghanistan, with the rapidly advancing Taliban, and Pakistan, where a global anti-West jihad will be just the thing to topple Musharraf and give Islamists the nuclear bomb.

Hundreds of thousands have already died in a war involving only two of these countries. Think of what adding another 12 or 13, plus nuclear weaponry, can achieve.

Do you suppose that if he puts on a fake bushy mustache and beard, George W. Bush is Osama bin Laden?

They certainly seem to have the same vision of a global war of Islam vs. Judeo-Christianity. Bin Laden, of course, couldn't make it come true in his wildest dreams. But Bush could. And, now, has.

From Bush's Jan. 10 speech:

...Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge.

This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

In other words, we will go into Iran and Syria. And for the most transparently false reason imaginable: to interdict weapons (specifically, IEDs) supposedly coming from Shiite Iran to arm the Sunni insurgency –- which is then using them to blow up not just Americans, but the Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiites in our Bush-caused (civil war/ethnic cleansing/genocide/pick three).

Did you follow that? Bush is invading Iran because he's claiming Iran is arming its own enemies. Seriously. He really thinks we're that stupid. Rather than lie his way into an illegal invasion with absurdities, as he did in 2003, Bush is now lying his way into an illegal invasion by invoking the fantastical.

That wasn't all:

"...We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region.

We will expand intelligence sharing, and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies."

Patriot air defense systems? Against IEDs and car bombs? Of course not, no more than Bush's second carrier strike group is there to fight a counter-insurgency war in the desert. Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites aren't using missile systems. But Iran might. And nothing says "don't retaliate" after a military strike like a spare nuclear warship or two. These American moves, like many others, are all about war with Iran. Which, thanks to their mutual defense pact, automatically also means war with Syria, which has never made peace with Israel and is closely allied with the Hezbollah forces on the verge of triggering civil war in Lebanon.

Speaking of Israel, the London Times reported last week that the Israeli armed forces are actively training to drop a tactical nuclear bomb on a suspected Iranian nuclear facility.

The story was datelined Washington, D.C.

As if to celebrate his casual declaration of Rapture-Here-We-Come, within hours of Bush's speech, American forces launched a pre-dawn raid on an Iranian consulate in a Kurdish city in northern Iraq, in the process "detaining" six Iranian diplomats in contravention of every known diplomatic law. It was, essentially, the first shot after the declaration of war. (The diplomats are undoubtedly now at some permanent U.S. base in Iraq, being waterboarded and held in stress positions.)

Two days later, Condoleezza Rice confirmed that the consulate raid was on Bush's specific orders, and done under the authority of a secret executive order Bush signed months ago.

That's no surprise. This has been coming for a long, long time. Neocons have been openly talking for decades, as has the Bush administration, of their desire to "remake" the entire Middle East, not just Iraq. Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker reported two years ago that the U.S. military had already begun covert operations in Iran in preparation for a military strike or invasion there. Scott Ritter claimed impeccable sources told him the invasion was planned for June 2005. Hersh kept pumping out articles on Iran war preparations last year, revealing, among other things, that the neocons around Bush (in favor) were battling the Joint Chiefs of Staff (opposed) over the prospect of nuking Iran. While Democrats continued to watch poll numbers and dither on the desirability of attacking Iran, Bush made a number of military moves in late September suggesting a possible strike in time for the midterms. And his whole "rollout" strategy of executing Saddam just before the new year ("Morning in Iraq!") and reshuffling his military leadership to put people capable of fighting (and anxious to fight) a broader regional war in charge, have all pointed us to this moment.

This is pure, unadulterated madness. A broad regional war, even if it doesn't lead to World War III and Armageddon, will kill millions, almost certainly see the first use of nuclear weapons in 60 years, will make Americans (and Israelis) far less safe, will destroy America and the world's economies, will bankrupt our country, cripple our military, and will permanently isolate America as a globally despised moral leper. Oh, and we'll lose. Badly.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats wring their hands over trying to prevent the deployment of 21,500 extra troops to Iraq, the first of which, in the 82nd Airborne Division, had already arrived in Baghdad before Bush's speech.

Congress, both parties, needs to yank military funding from Bush's control. Now. Period. End of statement. Bush is not only launching a truly catastrophic war, but is threatening this country's future, and is directly defying Congress and the will of American voters, not to mention the Constitution, to do it. This larger regional war must be stopped, as Malcolm X once said, by all means necessary.

On January 27 there is a national anti-war rally scheduled for Washington, DC, with smaller events in communities across the country. Turn out. If you can, go to Washington. There's a lobby day on January 29, but marching on one day and lobbying on another isn't enough. Stay there. Camp. Shut things down. Insist that Congress do nothing else until this insanity is ended. If that means removing Bush and Cheney from office to stop them from destroying our country, do it.

In capitol cities from Manila to Santiago to Djakarta to Belgrade to Kiev to La Paz to much of the former Soviet bloc, crowds in the last two decades have demanded, successfully and nonviolently, that their countries be run by leaders who actually have the countries' best interests in mind. These ordinary people, many millions of them, took real risks and made real sacrifices to force change.

Did they care about their futures any more than you care about yours? Go to Washington, or make your voice heard where you are. Make sure Congress and our 217-year-old government do not walk away from the challenge now being presented by a president from Shakespeare's nightmares.

Act. Today, and in the weeks to come. Muslim, Jewish, and Christian mothers across the Middle East, and America, and the world, will thank you.

(c) 2007,


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Keith Olbermann's anti Bush tirade: See it to believe it

Olbermann's tirade against Bush made in the wake of the Surge speech, is the strongest attack on any president that I've ever seen on mainstream TV. You've got to see it to believe it.
One question: Is Olbermann's underlying assumption that Bush is incompetent or somehow on the wrong ideological path in his quest to bring Democracy to the Middle East and safety to the US and its allies?
Or does Olbermann recognize that the Iraq war was not a mistake, but was rather a deliberate attempt to destroy the country, wreck the US economy and endanger our security in order to pursue his suicidal endless war agenda?


Olbermann's 1/11 Special Comment about Bush, Iraq and plans to attack Iran and Syria
This aired last night. Olbermann must be one of our closest friends in the mainstream media. I find him truly remarkable. Listen for when he makes reference to "conspiracy theorists" and "fertilizer". Was he alluding to the 9/11 Truth Movement?

Of course, I couldn't resist adding my own special comment about 9/11 at the end of the video. Hopefully, a lot of people will watch this for Keith and end up getting their eyes opened up even more. Watch all eight minutes and tell me what you think of my work.


Paul Krugman: The Surge, a tactic to buy more time for permanent war

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The New York Times

The Texas Strategy

Hundreds of news articles and opinion pieces have described President Bush’s decision to escalate the Iraq war as a “Hail Mary pass.”

But that’s the wrong metaphor.

Mr. Bush isn’t Roger Staubach, trying to pull out a win for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s Charles Keating, using other people’s money to keep Lincoln Savings going long after it should have been shut down — and squandering the life savings of thousands of investors, not to mention billions in taxpayer dollars, along the way.

The parallel is actually quite exact. During the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, people like Mr. Keating kept failed banks going by faking financial success. Mr. Bush has kept a failed war going by faking military success.

The “surge” is just another stalling tactic, designed to buy more time.

Oh, and one of the favorite techniques used by the owners of savings and loan associations to generate phony profits — it involved making high-interest loans to crooked or flaky real estate developers — came to be known as the “Texas strategy.”

What was the point of the Texas strategy? Bank owners were certainly gambling — with other people’s money, of course — in the hope of a miraculous recovery that would bail out their negative balance sheets.

But the real point of the racket was a form of looting: as long as they could keep reporting high paper profits, S.&L. owners could keep rewarding themselves with salaries, dividends and sweetheart business deals.

Mr. Keating paid himself a million dollars just weeks before his holding company collapsed.

Which brings us to Iraq. The administration has spent the last three years pretending that its splendid little war isn’t a big disaster. There have been the bromides (we’re making “good progress”); the promises (we have a “strategy for victory”); and, as always, attacks on the media for not reporting the good news from Iraq.

Who you gonna believe, the president or your lying eyes?

Now Mr. Bush has grudgingly sort- of admitted that things aren’t going well — but he says his “new way forward” will fix everything.

So it’s still the Texas strategy: the war’s architects are trying to keep their failed venture going as long as possible.

The Hail Mary aspect — the off chance that somehow, things really will turn out all right — is the least of their motivations. The real intent is a form of looting. I’m not talking mainly about old-fashioned war profiteering, although there is no question that profiteering is taking place on an epic scale. No, I’m saying that the hawks want to keep this war going because it’s to their personal and political benefit.

True, Mr. Bush can’t win another election with phony claims of success in Iraq, the way he did in 2004. But escalation buys him another year or two to claim that we’re making progress — and it gives him another chance to prove that he’s the Decider, beyond accountability.

And as for pundits who promoted the war and are now trying to sell the surge: for a little while longer they can be Very Important People who have the president’s ear.

Meanwhile, the nation pays the price. The heaviest burden — in death, shattered bodies, broken families and ruined careers — falls on those who serve. To find the personnel for the Bush escalation, the Pentagon must lengthen deployments in Iraq and shorten training time at home.

And the back-door draft has become a life sentence: there is no limit on the cumulative amount of time citizen-soldiers can be required to serve on active duty. Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be reservists.

The rest of us will pay a financial price for the hundreds of billions squandered in Iraq and, more important, a price in reduced security.

Escalation won’t bring victory in Iraq, but it might bring defeat in Afghanistan, which the administration will continue to neglect. And it has pushed the military to the breaking point.

Mr. Bush calls his critics “irresponsible,” saying that they don’t have an alternative to his strategy. But they do: setting a timetable for withdrawal, so that we can cut our losses, and trying to save what can be saved. It isn’t a strategy for victory because that’s no longer an option. It’s a strategy for acknowledging reality.

The lesson of the savings and loan scandal was that when a bank has failed, you shouldn’t let the owner string you along with promises — you should shut the thing down. We should do the same with Mr. Bush’s failed war.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Paul Craig Roberts: Only Impeachment Can Stop Bush

Bush Must Go

Only Impeachment Can Stop Him


When are the American people and their representatives in Congress and the military going to wake up and realize that the US has an insane war criminal in the White House who is destroying all chances for peace in the world and establishing a police state in the US?

Americans don’t have much time to realize this and to act before it is too late. Bush’s “surge” speech last Wednesday night makes it completely clear that his real purpose is to start wars with Iran and Syria before failure in Iraq brings an end to the neoconservative/Israeli plan to establish hegemony over the Middle East.

The “surge” gives Congress, the media, and the foreign policy establishment something to debate and oppose, while Bush sets his plans in motion to orchestrate a war with Iran. Suddenly, we are hearing Bush regime propaganda that there are Iranian networks operating within Iraq that are working with the Iraqi insurgency and killing US troops.

This assertion is a lie and preposterous on its face. Iranian Shi’ites are not going to arm Iraqi Sunnis, who are more focused on killing Iraqi Shi’ites allied with Iran than on killing US troops. If the Iranians wanted to cause the US trouble in Iraq, they would encourage Iraqi Shi’ites to join the insurgency against US forces. An insurgency drawn from 80 per cent of the Iraqi population would overwhelm the US forces.

CBS reports that the news organization has been told by US officials “that American forces have begun an aggressive and mostly secret ground campaign against networks of Iranians that had been operating with virtual impunity inside Iraq.” To manufacture evidence in behalf of this lie to feed to the gullible American public, US forces invaded an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq and kidnapped five consulate officials, claiming the Iranians were part of plans “to kill Americans.” In typical Orwellian fashion, Secretary of State Condi Rice described Bush’s aggression against Iran as designed to confront Tehran’s aggression.

Iraqi government officials in the Kurdish province and the Iraqi foreign minister have refused to go along with Bush’s propaganda ploy. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari announced that the Iranian officials were no threat and were working in a liaison office that had Iraqi government approval and was in the process of being elevated into a consulate.

The Iraqi foreign minister said that US troops tried to seize more innocent people at the Irbil airport but were prevented by Kurdish troops.

The Kurds, of course, have been allies of the US forces, but Bush is willing to alienate the Kurds in the interest of provoking a war with Iran.

If Bush is unable to orchestrate war with Iran directly, he will orchestrate war indirectly by having US troops attack Iraqi Shi’ite militias. Bush has already given orders for US troops to attack the Iraqi Shi’ite militias, who oppose the Sunnis and have not been part of the insurgency. Obviously, once Bush can get US troops in open warfare with Iraqi Shi’ites, the situation for US troops in Iraq will quickly go down hill. Bush will be able to blame Iranian Shi’ites for arming Iraqi Shi’ites that he can say are killing US troops.

Bush has also ordered the Persian Gulf to be congested with TWO US aircraft carrier attack groups. There is no military or diplomatic reason for even one attack group to be in the Persian Gulf. If Bush fails to orchestrate a war with Iran by kidnapping its officials or by attacking Shi’ite militias, he can orchestrate an event like the Tonkin Gulf incident or have the Israelis pull another USS Liberty incident and blame the Iranians.

The Tonkin Gulf incident was used by the Johnson administration to deceive Congress and to involve the US in the Vietnam war. Johnson alleged a North Vietnamese attack on US warships.

In 1967 Israel attacked and destroyed the US intelligence ship Liberty, because Liberty’s crew had picked up proof that Israel had initiated the war with Egypt and intended to attack Syria the next day. Some have speculated that Israelis hoped their attack on the Liberty could be blamed on Egypt and used to draw the US into the war against Egypt.

In 2003 the Moorer Commission, headed by Admiral Tom Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, concluded:

“That in attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States.”

“That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of USS Liberty.”

“The Captain and surviving crew members were later threatened with court-martial, imprisonment or worse if they exposed the truth; and were abandoned by their own government.”

“That due to the influence of Israel’s powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people.”

“That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation, and specifically are unwilling to challenge Israel’s interests when they conflict with American interests.”

On the 30th anniversary of Israel’s destruction of the liberty, Admiral Moorer said that Israel attacked the Liberty because Israel knew that the intelligence ship could intercept Israel’s plans to seize the Golan Heights from Syria, an act of Israeli aggression to which the US government was opposed. Admiral Moorer said, “I believe Moshe Dayan concluded that he could prevent Washington from becoming aware of what Israel was up to by destroying the primary source of acquiring that information--the US Liberty. Moorer reports that after a 25 minute air attack “that pounded the Liberty with bombs, rockets, napalm and machine gun fire . . . three Israeli torpedo boats closed in for the kill . . . the torpedo boats’ machine guns also were turned on life rafts that were deployed into the Mediterranean as well as those few on deck that had escaped damage.”

Admiral Moorer says, “What is so chilling and cold-blooded, of course, is that they [Israel] could kill as many Americans as they did in confidence that Washington would cooperate in quelling any public outcry.” The US invasion of Iraq and the looming US attack on Iran are proof that Israel has even more power over the White House today.

Bush has many ways to widen his war in the Middle East. His brutal aggression against Somalia has largely escaped criticism for the war crime that it is. On January 11 the US National Intelligence Director told Congress that Hezbollah in Lebanon may be the next US threat. Just as he lied to the entire world about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, Bush is lying about Iran. Bush and the neoconservatives are frantic for war with Iran to get underway before the US Congress forces a US withdrawal from the failed adventure in Iraq.

Bush’s entire “war on terror” is based on lies. The Bush Regime, desperate to keep its lies covered up, is now trying to prevent American law firms from defending the Guantanamo detainees. The Bush Regime is fearful that Americans will learn that the detainees are not terrorists but props in the regime’s orchestrated “terror war.”

On January 13 a New York Times (editorial) said that “Cully Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, tried to rally American corporations to stop doing business with law firms that represent inmates of the Guantanamo internment camp.” Stimson alleged that it was “shocking” that American law firms were “representing detainees down there.” He suggested that when corporate America got word of if, “those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms. We want to watch that play out.”

The only reason for the Bush Regime’s policy of indefinite detention without charges is that it has no charges to bring. The detainees are not terrorists. They are the Bush Regime’s props in a fake war that serves as cover for the Regime’s hegemonic policy in the Middle East.

The only action that can stop Bush is for both the Democratic and Republican leadership of the House and Senate to call on the White House, tell Bush they know what he is up to and that they will not fall for it a second time. The congressional leadership must tell Bush that if he does not immediately desist, he will be impeached and convicted before the week is out. Can a congressional leadership that lives in fear of the Israel Lobby perform this task?

All the rest is penny-ante. Revoking the Iraqi War Resolution as Rep. Sam Farr has proposed or requiring Bush to obtain congressional authorization prior to any US attack on Iran simply lets Bush and his Federalist Society apologists for executive dictatorship claim he has commander-in-chief powers and proceed with his planned aggression. Cutting off funding is not itself enough as Bush can raid other budgets. Non-binding resolutions of disapproval are meaningless to a president who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.

Nothing can stop the criminal Bush from instituting wider war in the Middle East that could become a catastrophic world war except an unequivocal statement from Congress that he will be impeached.

Bush has made the US into a colony of Israel. The US is incurring massive debt and loss of both life and reputation in order to silence Muslim opposition to Israel’s theft of Palestine and the Golan Heights. That is what the “war on terror” is about.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Henry Norr: Amazon customers protest Bezos's blatant attack on Carter's book on Israeli apartheid

It's bad enough to have to recognize that Amazon
CEO, Jeff Bezos is one of them. It's even more discouraging to find that that his ideology is so strong that he would go to the length of cutting off his nose for the sake of brutal racist Israeli policies. If he read Carter's book and others, it'd be easier for him to see that among many other atrocities, the Israelis and people like himself are assisting Bush-Cheney's drive to permanent war, and their mad plan to attack Iran. How many books does Bezos think he'll sell after that?
As far as signing the petition, perhaps Henry Norr could draw up one that doesn't place people like me who have an connection in a conflict of interest and doesn't commit us to breaking all our Amazon relationships. The goal might be to get the most possible numbers to focus on Bezos's shameless pro Israeli partisanship.

David comments:
Yes, I think I have the same problem with breaking any connection with Amazon and would appreciate an alternative petition.
Henry responds:
Hi, Ronald. I understand the bind you are in, but I'm not sure there are enough people in a situation like yours to justify a whole separate petition, or if there are, it would surely be better if someone in your category wrote the petition and publicity. How about just e-mailing directly to I'm sure Mr.Bezos himself won't read it, but somebody will. If you know other people who have business connections with Amazon but don't like what they're doing with Carter's book, maybe you could also organize them to write to Bezos. Regards, Henry

Henry Norr wrote:
Hey, folks, here's the latest on the campaign to get to treat Carter's book fairly. The total of signatures on the petition has now topped 13,000. And if anyone thinks we may have been overreaching in charging Amazon with bias, do check out their version of NY Times bestseller list - Carter's book ranks 5th on the Time list, so Amazon deals with that "problem" by shamelessly skipping from 4 to 6 on the page where they display the list. Mind-boggling!

If you haven't yet signed the petition, it's not too late - onward to 20,000!


January 17, 2007
Contact: Henry Norr
(510) 841-5035

10,000+ Customers Demand Fair Treatment
for Jimmy Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
Online giant favors hostile review,
omits former president's latest book from bestseller list

Berkeley, CA – More than 10,000 customers of have signed an online petition threatening to close their accounts and take their business elsewhere if the Internet shopping site continues to present a new book by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in an unusually negative light.

The petition, posted at , accuses Amazon of treating Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid unfairly by posting a lengthy and unabashedly hostile review on the page where it lists the book, in a section normally reserved for short, even-handed descriptions of the title in question.

In addition, Amazon simply omits the Carter book from its version of the New York Times bestseller list. In reality, the book ranked number 5 in the Times' latest list of hardcover nonfiction bestsellers. Amazon's version of the same list, however, avoids mentioning Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by brazenly omitting the number 5 slot – it jumps directly from number 4 to number 6! (Compare to ).

In the book Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to bring about a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, points to Israel's 40-year-long occupation of the Palestinian territories as the key obstacle to peace in the region. He compares Israel's treatment of the Palestinian population to the brutal apartheid system that once kept South African blacks subjugated.

The review that provoked the petition, written by New Yorker staff writer and former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg, labels the book "cynical," disparages Carter's understanding of the conflict as "anti-historical," and accuses him of being "easy on Arab aggression and Palestinian terror." The review originally appeared in the Washington Post.

According to Henry Norr, a former journalist and initiator of the petition, its purpose is not to challenge Amazon's right to post a negative review, but to demand the same kind of nondiscriminatory treatment most books get on the site. The Goldberg review appears on the Amazon page < > under the heading "Editorial Reviews," a section that on most Amazon book pages contains only one- or two-paragraph synopses from book-listing services such as Publishers Weekly or the American Library Association's Booklist, or descriptions by the book's publisher or by Amazon itself.

Currently, the "Editorial Reviews" section on Amazon's U.S. site includes a one-paragraph, 198-word blurb from Publishers Weekly followed by the full, 20-paragraph, 1,636-word text of Goldberg's totally negative review.

The petition, which is addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, suggests several possible remedies: removing the Goldberg review, moving it to a secondary page Amazon already uses for additional material on the book, or "restor[ing] a semblance of balance by giving comparable space and prominence to a more positive evaluation of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."

If Bezos doesn't choose one of these options by January 22, petition signers pledge to stop shopping at Amazon, to completely close their accounts, and to urge friends, family, and associates to do likewise.

"I think Amazon should stick to their usual formula of posting only brief, more or less neutral descriptions on the main page for any book," said Norr. "But if they insist on including Goldberg's attack piece on the U.S. site, they owe it to their customers – as well as their shareholders - to put something more positive alongside, something that mentions the many merits of the book."

"If you want to see what a normal review looks like, you have only to go to the Amazon UK treatment of Carter's book," said Paul Larudee, who worked with Norr to publicize the petition. "It is a single paragraph, mildly promotional, but not grinding any particular political ax. By comparison, the North American site is hatchet job."

Other international Amazon sites also present the book even-handedly, according to reports by signers of the petition. So does the U.S. site of Amazon's chief competitor, .

Before creating the petition, Norr, Larudee, and others sent e-mail directly to Bezos, objecting to Amazon's one-sided treatment of the book and suggesting several favorable assessments – from publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Nation – that could be added.

"Unfortunately, Bezos turned us all down flat," Norr said. Responses from Amazon's "Executive Customer Relations" staff suggested that the letter writers post their own reviews. In fact, Amazon does display reader reviews on its book pages, and in the case of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, a large majority of the posted reviews are positive about the book. Reader reviews, however, are not displayed as prominently on the page as "Editorial Reviews," and they may not carry as much weight with potential buyers.

The petition also complains that Amazon does not include information customers need in order to evaluate Goldberg's attack on the book – such as the fact that he volunteered to serve in the Israeli military and served as a military policeman guarding Palestinian detainees in a prison camp notorious for its harsh conditions.

The petition was first posted on January 10, when it garnered 84 signatures. The next day 693 more customers signed on, and since then the total has climbed steadily. Signers come not only from the U.S., but from all over the world. Many added comments expressing admiration for Carter's book, disappointment over the site's apparent bias against it, and determination to follow through on closing their accounts if Amazon doesn't correct the situation. The petition will be sent to Bezos later this week.

As of noon PST on Jan. 17, the total number of signatures on the petition stands at 12,989 and continues to climb rapidly.


Other assessments of Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid:

Ali Abunimah, "A Palestinian view of Jimmy Carter's book," Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2006:

George Bisharat, "Truth at last, while breaking a U.S. taboo of criticizing Israel," Philadelphia Inquirer,
Jan. 2, 2007:

Chris Hedges, "Get Carter," The Nation, Jan. 8, 2007:

Saree Makdisi, "Carter's apartheid charge rings true," San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 20, 2006:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New York Times: Scientists Warn of Diminished Earth Studies From Space

This is the latest in a string of reports that indicate that Bush's space program with a goal of a a manned Mars mission program is a deliberate and thus far quite successful effort to defund basic science and important Earth monitoring systems. One thing these people are good at is destruction and returning us to the dark ages.



Several prominent scientists welcomed the report, saying that while the overall tightening of the federal budget played a role in threatening Earth-observing efforts, a significant contributor was also President Bush’s recent call for NASA to focus on manned space missions.

“NASA has a mission ordering that starts with the presidential goals — first of manned flight to Mars, and second, establishing a permanent base on the Moon, and then third to examine Earth, which puts Earth rather far down on the totem pole,” said F. Sherwood Rowland, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California, Irvine, who shared a Nobel Prize for identifying threats to the ozone layer.


The report is the latest in a string of findings from such panels pointing to dangers from recent disinvestment in the long-term monitoring of a fast-changing planet.


The committee identified significant gaps in instrumentation or plans for satellites orbiting over the poles, around the Equator, and positioned so that they remain stationary over spots on the rotating Earth.

One of the most important aspects of such monitoring is launching new satellites before old ones fail. Without this overlap, it is hard to assemble meaningful long-term records that are sufficiently precise to uncover trends, the report’s authors said.

Scientists Warn of Diminished Earth Studies From Space

The nation’s ability to track retreating polar ice and shifting patterns of drought, rainfall and other environmental changes is being put “at great risk” by faltering efforts to replace aging satellite-borne sensors, a panel convened by the country’s leading scientific advisory group said.

By 2010, the number of operating Earth-observing instruments on NASA satellites, most of which are already past their planned lifetimes, is likely to drop by 40 percent, the National Research Council of the National Academies warned in a report posted on the Internet yesterday at

The weakening of these monitoring efforts comes even as many scientists and the Bush administration have been emphasizing their growing importance, both to clarify risks from global warming and natural hazards and to track the condition of forests, fisheries, water and other resources.

Several prominent scientists welcomed the report, saying that while the overall tightening of the federal budget played a role in threatening Earth-observing efforts, a significant contributor was also President Bush’s recent call for NASA to focus on manned space missions.

“NASA has a mission ordering that starts with the presidential goals — first of manned flight to Mars, and second, establishing a permanent base on the Moon, and then third to examine Earth, which puts Earth rather far down on the totem pole,” said F. Sherwood Rowland, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California, Irvine, who shared a Nobel Prize for identifying threats to the ozone layer.

In an e-mail statement, John H. Marburger III, President Bush’s science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, acknowledged that there were many challenges to maintaining and improving Earth-observing systems, but said the administration was committed to keeping them a “top science priority.”

The report, “Earth Science and Applications From Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond,” proposed spending roughly $7.5 billion in constant 2006 dollars on new instruments and satellite missions through 2020, saying that would satisfy various scientific and societal priorities while holding annual costs around what they were, as a percentage of the economy, in 2000.

“We’re trying to present a balanced, affordable program that spans all the earth sciences,” said Richard A. Anthes, the co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report and the new president of the American Meteorological Society.

The report is the latest in a string of findings from such panels pointing to dangers from recent disinvestment in the long-term monitoring of a fast-changing planet.

“This is the most critical time in human history, with the population never before so big and with stresses growing on the Earth,” Dr. Anthes said. “We just want to get back to the United States being a leader instead of someone you can’t count on.”

Satellite-borne instruments, using radar, lasers and other technology, have revolutionized earth and climate science, allowing researchers to accurately and efficiently track parameters like sea level and tiny motions of the Earth from earthquakes, the amount of rain in a cyclone and moisture in air, and the average temperature of various layers of the atmosphere.

The committee identified significant gaps in instrumentation or plans for satellites orbiting over the poles, around the Equator, and positioned so that they remain stationary over spots on the rotating Earth.

One of the most important aspects of such monitoring is launching new satellites before old ones fail. Without this overlap, it is hard to assemble meaningful long-term records that are sufficiently precise to uncover trends, the report’s authors said.

The report went beyond discussing ailing hardware and said the White House science policy office should do more to ensure that society and science were benefiting fully from the reams of data flowing from orbiting instruments.

Senior officials at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration welcomed the report and said it would be considered as they sought to sustain Earth observations in a time of tight budgets.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company