Saturday, January 31, 2004
Friday, January 30, 2004
Cluster bombs: War crimes of the Bush administration (Time to Frog-March Chimp_junta out of White House, in front of an International Firing Squad?)
By Paul Rockwell
Online Journal Contributing Writer
January 29, 2004—The formal war in Iraq has ended, and most of the big guns have fallen silent. Yet the death toll continues to rise, not merely because of the brutality of occupation and the resistance, but because of one of the most heinous, unpredictable weapons of modern war—the cluster bomb.
All over Iraq, unexploded cluster bombs, originally dropped by U.S. troops in populated areas, are still killing and maiming civilians, farm animals, wildlife—any living thing that touches them by accident. (A pet--your precious kitty or puppy dog? or anything you love...killed by Chimp_junta cluster bombs. How does the dirty bastard sleep at night? Don't you want elChimpo to touch the next one? I do. ed.)
Under Article 85 of the Geneva Conventions, it is a war crime to launch "an indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population in the knowledge that such an attack will cause an excessive loss of life or injury to civilians." Under the Hague Conventions, Article 22 and 23, "The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited," and "It is especially forbidden to kill treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army."
A cluster bomb is a 14-foot weapon that weighs about 1,000 pounds. When it explodes it sprays hundreds of smaller bomblets over an area the size of two or three football fields. The bomblets are bright yellow and look like beer cans. And because they look like playthings, thousands of children have been killed by dormant bomblets in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. Each bomblet sprays flying shards of metal that can tear through a quarter inch of steel.
The failure rate, the unexploded rate, is very high, often around 15 to 20 percent. When bomblets fail to detonate on the first round, they become land mines that explode on simple touch at any time.
Human Rights Watch reports that 1,600 Kuwaiti and Iraqi civilians have been killed, many more injured, by explosive duds following the Persian Gulf war.
Under the Geneva Conventions, cluster bombs are criminal weapons because it is impossible to use them in significant numbers without indiscriminate effects.
In the war in Bosnia in 1995, Major General Michael Ryan recognized the inherent danger to civilians and, out of respect for the laws of war, prohibited the use of cluster bombs in the European theatre. According to Air Force reports, "The problem was that the fragmentation pattern was too large to sufficiently limit collateral damage and there was also the further problem of potential unexploded ordnance."
A U.N. clearance expert said that "our experience in Kosovo showed us that children and youths are highly susceptible to the submunitions."
There is a humanitarian crisis in every country where the U.S. dropped cluster bombs—in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Under Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions on Civilians, the Occupying Power has a responsibility to return evacuated personnel to their homes at the end of hostilities—a responsibility which live cluster bombs make impossible to fulfill. Thousands of displaced persons in Afghanistan cannot return to their homes because their farms, houses and villages are replete with unexploded bomblets.
Before the invasion of Iraq, Human Rights Watch called for a moratorium on the use of cluster bombs. Human Rights director Steve Close predicted that "Iraqi civilians will be paying the price with their lives and limbs for many years." A U.N. weapons commission described cluster bombs as "weapons of indiscriminate effects."
In defiance of U.N. reports, Air Force studies, and repeated warnings from Human Rights Watch, Rumsfeld reauthorized the expanded use of cluster bombs with full knowledge of their indiscriminate and treacherous results.
The consequences of his war crime, as reported by international journalists and photographers, are appalling.
On April 10, Asia Times described the carnage of U.S. cluster bombs. "All over Baghdad, the city's five main hospitals simply cannot cope with an avalanche of civilian casualties. Doctors can't get to the hospitals because of the bombing. Dr. Osama Saleh-al-Deleimi at the al-Kindi hospital confirms the absolute majority of patients are women and children, victims of . . . shrapnel and most of all, fragments of cluster bombs. 'They are all civilians, ' he said. 'The International Committee of the Red Cross is in a state of almost desperation . . . casualties arriving at hospitals at a rate of as many as 100 per hour and at least 100 per day.'"
Anton Antonowicz reported in The Mirror (U.K.) from a hospital in Hillah: "Among the 168 patients I counted, not one was being treated for bullet wounds. All of them, men, women, children, bore the wounds of bomb shrapnel. It peppered their bodies. Blackened the skin. Smashed heads. Tore limbs. A doctor reported that 'All the injuries you see were caused by cluster bombs . . . The majority of the victims were children who died because they were outside.'"
Reporting from Baghdad on March 27, Doug Johnson wrote: "I'm overwhelmed and tired. For three days now I've concentrated on visiting injured civilians in hospitals and seeing bombed sites. This morning we interviewed an extended family of 25 that had been living in six houses together on one farm just outside of Baghdad. At 6:00 p.m. yesterday, B-52s dropped cluster bombs on their farm destroying all six houses, killing four and severely injuring many others. Even the farm animals were killed. We were told that the yellow cylinders landed in their yard, and when they and the animals crept closer to investigate, the bombs detonated."
During the invasion of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld lauded the accuracy of stealth bombers and missiles—a boast met with mockery in the streets of Baghdad. But whatever we think about Rumsfeld's humanitarian missiles, he cannot plead ignorance about the traits and effects of cluster bombs. Ever since the Vietnam catastrophe, from the hospitals of Saigon to the clinics of Afghanistan, into the wailing hospitals of Iraq, doctors have been digging shrapnel out of the maimed bodies of once-playful children all around the world. Cluster bombs were always known for their inaccuracy, their indiscriminate and unpredictable nature.
Regarding the use of cluster bombs, among other war crimes—the use of depleted uranium, "the wanton destruction of cities and towns," collective reprisals against civilians in Operation Hammer—the U.S. media are still silent. Years ago in the midst of France's brutal war in Algeria, the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre admonished the French intelligentsia:
"It is not right, my fellow countrymen, you who know very well all the crimes committed in our name. It's not at all right that you do not breathe a word about them to anyone, not even to your own soul, for fear of having to stand in judgment of yourself. I am willing to believe that at the beginning you did not realize what was happening; later, you doubted whether such things could be true; but now you know, and still you hold your tongues."
Paul Rockwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a columnist for In Motion Magazine.
Bill Schneider, CNN grantor of the "Political Play of the Week," Gets Our First POLITICAL PLOY OF THE WEEK!!
Bill Schneider, today on Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff, you implied that the recent Hutton report in Great Britain, which on first reading seemed to exonerate LapDog-Tony Blair of certain things relating to the “suicide” of David Kelley, also exonerated him of all things mendacious about himself and, laughably--GWBush!!
You either lie, or you don’t know the difference between the two reports.
Your sincere support of lies and propaganda on CNN are such a highlight of our political day.
Therefore, because of your idiotic report, and continued unflinching support YOU GET THE FIRST NASTY LETTERS TO CROOKED POLITICIANS POLITICAL PLOY/BULLSHIT OF THE WEEK AWARD!
The Black Commentator - The Awesome Destructive Power of the Corporate Power Media - Issue 75--(Must Read. Best Article of the YEAR, Anywhere)
Howard Dean has joined the list of victims of U.S. corporate media consolidation. Dean shares this distinction with Dennis Kucinich and the people of the formerly sovereign state of Iraq, among many others. Dean was stripped of half his popular support in the space of two weeks in January while John Kerry – tied in the polls with Carol Moseley-Braun at seven percent just two months earlier – rose like a genie from a bottle to become the overnight presidential frontrunner. Both candidates were shocked and disoriented by the dizzying turns of fortune, and for good reason. Neither Dean nor Kerry had done anything on their own that could have so dramatically altered the race. Corporate America decided that Dean must be savaged, and its media sector made it happen.
This commentary, however, is not about the merits of Howard Dean. If a mildly progressive, Internet-driven, young white middle class-centered, movement-like campaign such as Dean’s – flush with money derived from unconventional sources, backed by significant sections of labor, reinforced by big name endorsements and surging with upward momentum – can be derailed in a matter of weeks at the whim of corporate media, then all of us are in deep trouble. The Dean beat-down should signal an intense reassessment of media’s role in the American power structure. The African American historical experience has much to offer in that regard, since the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements were born in a wrestling match with an essentially hostile corporate (white) media. However, there can be no meaningful discussion of the options available to progressive forces in the United States unless it is first recognized that the corporate media in the current era is the enemy, and must be treated that way.
Rich man’s mic
It is no longer possible to view commercial news media as mere servants of the ruling rich – they are full members of the presiding corporate pantheon. General media consolidation has created an integrated mass communications system that is both objectively and self-consciously at one with the Citibanks and ExxonMobils of the world. Media companies act in effective unison on matters of importance to the larger corporate class. For all politically useful purposes, the monopolization of US media is now complete, in that the corporate owners and managers of the dominant organs are interchangeable and indistinguishable, sharing a common mission and worldview. (That’s the underlying reason why their “news” product is nearly identical.) Monopolies do not require a solitary actor – an ensemble acting in concert achieves the same results.
In the past year we have seen consciousness-shaking evidence of the corporate media’s implacable hostility to any manifestation of resistance to the current order. Media rushed to embed themselves in the US war machine’s Iraq invasion, and collaborated to actively suppress public awareness of a full-blown movement against the war. Hundreds of thousands of protestors were made to disappear in plain sight. Corporate media conspired – which is what businessmen in boardrooms do as a matter of daily routine – not only to shield the public from dissenting opinions (their usual assignment), but to drastically diminish, distort and even erase huge gatherings that were profoundly newsworthy by any rational standard. This is not mere bias, but the end result of the corporate decision making process. There is no line separating “news” producers from larger corporate structures, nor can media companies be neatly segregated from the oligarchic herd. Corporate media’s ties to the Pirates in Washington are organic and nearly seamless. Their collusion seems almost telepathic, because they share the same class and worldview – the most far reaching consequence of media consolidation.
Death by ridicule
The corporate media is a window on the dialogue among the rich. They are saying loudly and uniformly that even mild resistance to their rule will be treated as illegitimate and subjected to censorship and ridicule by their media organs. The scope of tolerable dissent has been narrowed, as reflected in the behavior of corporate media. The Dean beat-down is just the latest twist in the tightening of the screws.
The thoroughly Republican nature of corporate opinion molding mechanisms is evident in their treatment of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. The media giants subjected Clinton to the full fury of the Hard Right’s campaign to destabilize his presidency, ultimately resulting in impeachment hearings. Al Gore, a sitting vice-president seeking the top job in 2000, was reduced to a caricature by the corporate press corps and punditry – the torture of a thousand daily cuts. Gore’s cardboard image was the cumulative product of relentless corporate press commentary, disguised as reportage. Jay Leno and the other late night jokers feed off carrion that has already been slaughtered by corporate “news” media.
Clinton’s Republican predecessors were not subjected to anything approaching such scrutiny and abuse. It is self-evident that George Bush, who should have been buried under a glacier of scandal and criminality within months of entering the White House, enjoys the full-time protection of the corporate press. Their institutional intention is to elect him again. Media apologists offer fictions about press vs. power, when in reality corporate media = corporate power, just as Bush = corporate power. The Democrats are not part of this equation.
Thus, the rich men’s media descended on the Democratic Party primary process in order to mangle and denigrate it, while propping up the corporate champion in the White House. The New York Times, through its chief political reporter, Adam Nagourney, set the parameters of coverage by eliminating any mention of the three “bottom tier” candidates – starting with his “analysis” of the May televised debate in South Carolina, a state in which Al Sharpton is a key player! Nagourney systematically erased Sharpton, Kucinich and Carol Moseley-Braun from his weekly coverage of the contest – a professionally suicidal routine were it not consistent with the objectives of corporate management. The Times proudly sets the standard for national reporting, but its leadership was not necessary to ensure that the bottom tier would remain at the bottom. The organs of corporate speech all march to the same tune because there is not a dime’s worth of difference between their owners.
Get rich or drop out
The corporate media’s weapons are censorship and ridicule. Dennis Kucinich absorbed the full measure of both. However, TV “news” producers, mindful of viewer demographics, tried to avoid direct aggression against the characters of Moseley-Braun and Sharpton. ABC finally showed its true corporate colors at the New Hampshire debate in the person of Nightline’s Ted Koppel. Imperiously addressing the bottom trio, Koppel said:
“You've [to Kucinich]got about $750,000 in the bank right now, and that's close to nothing when you're coming up against this kind of opposition. But let me finish the question. The question is, will there come a point when polls, money and then ultimately the actual votes that will take place here in places like New Hampshire, the caucuses in Iowa, will there come a point when we can expect one or more of the three of you to drop out? Or are you in this as sort of a vanity candidacy?
Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley-Braun acquitted themselves well in the exchange. The real story here is that Koppel felt empowered to all but demand that the three most progressive candidates (and both Blacks) vacate the Democratic presidential arena. Koppel had fumed to the New York Times about the uppity intruders, the month before. The day after the debate, ABC withdrew its reporters from all three campaigns. (None of the other networks had even bothered to give full-time coverage to the bottom tier.)
Koppel’s arrogance, so unbecoming to a journalist, is rooted in his actual status at ABC/Disney: he is a corporate executive who pretends to be a newsman on television. His professional history notwithstanding, Koppel and each of the high profile TV “news” personalities are millionaire executives who act as spokesmen for the corporate divisions of their parent companies. They interact with executives of other divisions, principally marketing – the domain of sales and “impressions.” Koppel is incapable of thinking in terms other than money and polls, an important marketing tool. He is proprietary about the political process because, as an esteemed executive in the ruling corporate class, he thinks he owns it.
Howard Dean’s brilliant use of the Internet allowed him to capitalize on anti-war sentiment while assembling a funding base independent of the usual corporate suspects. Dean’s December surge took the corporate media by surprise, alarming the bosses and their friends in the White House. Like a Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the corporate media rose with one voice to question Dean’s “electability.”
It is important to note that in mid-December, according to Newsweek’s poll, Dean, Kerry and Clark were doing equally in a match-up with George Bush, at 40, 41, and 41 percent, respectively. There was no statistical basis to single out Dean as unelectable..
Dean had just gotten the endorsement of Al Gore and two of the nation’s most important unions, AFSCME and SEIU. No matter. The corporate media has the power of self-fulfilling prophesy, and they know it. Negative impressions rained down on Dean like a monsoon, and didn’t let up even after the damage was done. Dean was tagged by the media as a loser to Bush well before he let out “The Scream” – an innocuous, non-event, on the night of his Iowa defeat.
Dean understands what was done to him, although there’s nothing much he can do about it. In an interview with CNN’s repugnant Wolf Blitzer, the candidate said: “You report the news and you create the news… You chose to play it [“The Scream”] 673 times.”
It is clear from the numbers that Democratic voters, determined to be rid of George Bush, were afraid to support the “unelectable” Dean. Lots of them ran to Kerry, who had polled at only 7 percent nationally, in November. Kerry had done and said nothing to affect this sea change. The irony here is that it is Bush who is so scary to Democratic voters that they backed away from Dean, whom the corporate media had pegged as a “scary” guy.
Chris Bowers offered a compelling analysis of the corporate media coup in the January 28 Daily Kos:
In order to reduce the increasing control of the Political Opinion Complex over our political process, we need to begin developing and strengthening institutions strong enough to counter its current influence. Specifically, we need to further develop networks where political information can be mass distributed outside of the POC's control. Not long ago, there were several such outside institutions. Unions and churches were a far more pervasive part of people's lives. Newspapers and periodicals were significantly more numerous and varied in their political outlook. Public television and radio had far larger audiences. Political parties and societies were either machines or at least overflowing with active members. All of these now weakened institutions once served as means to perform end-runs outside the control of the corporate media and the Political Opinion Complex. Engagement with the political process through means other than television was far greater. However, those institutions no longer serve as significant counter-weights to the strength of the Political Opinion Complex Black corporate radio
African Americans faced a much more hostile establishment (white) press in the days of Jim Crow, local newspapers that often incited mob violence against Blacks and, on occasion, announced lynchings in advance. In the Fifties Blacks employed informal and church networks and the Black press (where it existed) to create mass movements – facts on the ground that could not be ignored. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and, later, mass marches and jail-ins in Birmingham drew the attention of the northern-based corporate media. More interested in recording the show than supporting the protestors, the media nevertheless served to fire up the spirit of Black America and hasten the demise of Jim Crow.
As the Sixties unfolded, mass incendiary activity presented the media and nation with additional facts – burning cities are not easily ignored. The corporate press grudgingly integrated their staffs. Although Black newspapers went into steep decline, Black radio sprouted news departments that encouraged local organizers to tackle the tasks of a post-Civil Rights world.
Thirty years later, media consolidation has had the same strangulating effects on Black radio as in the general media. Radio One, the largest Black-owned chain, recently entered into a marketing agreement with a subsidiary of Clear Channel, the 1200-station beast. Both chains abhor the very concept of local news.
There is no question that Blacks and progressives must establish alternative media outlets, and not just on the Internet. However, there is no substitute for confronting the corporate media head-on, through direct mass action and other, creative tactics. The rich men’s voices must be de-legitimized in the eyes of the people, who already suspect that they are being systematically lied to and manipulated. African Americans have an advantage in this regard, since we are used to being lied to and about.
No society in human history has confronted an enemy as omnipresent as the US corporate media. Yet there is no choice but to challenge their hegemony.
The world can be changed, but only by changing the way others see their world.
The FUCK Heard Round the World: Or Has Senator John (FUCK) Kerry MORPHED into Howard Dean--DEAN_LITE?
...The surge in support for the Kerry campaign is in large measure the product of efforts by the Democratic Party establishment, with the support of the major media, to channel antiwar sentiment behind a candidate deemed more politically reliable than Dean, the former governor of a small New England state who has made sharp-tongued attacks on “Washington Democrats” as well as on the Bush administration....Link to balance of story!...
And for the original story on Kerry's Says A FUCK word, tune in right here boys and girls:
Kerry's Desperate Hours
Rolling Stone: Did you feel you were blindsided by Dean's success?
Kerry: Well, not blindsided. I mean, when I voted for the war, I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, "I'm against everything"? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did.
(Takes a REAL MAN to talk FUCK talk...A Really Presidential Man supported by Ayatolla Carville, Ayatolla Begalla, and the New Democrats -- and FUCK you OLD Democrats who might have wanted a NEW message! Kill that messenger and take his story!
Instead of Kerry being BUSH_Lite, He Is Now DEAN_LITE!!
But will Kerry ever piss on the media that have made him out of 98 lbs of clay? Or does he OWE them now? I think he ... we report, you decide.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
New Left Ayatollah James Carville, ex-hero of many Dems, needles a supporter of Dr. Howard Dean on CNN Crossfire:
(This is a truncated transcript. Click on link above and below to see the whole, dumb thing. ed.)
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. Howard Dean, M.D., is back on the campaign trail and trying desperately to stay on message. His message: I am the great and powerful Oz. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain or my continuing string of losses or my campaign's money problems. And the list goes on and on.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: For all practical purposes, is the race for the Democratic nomination already over?
CARVILLE: Congresswoman, Governor Dean said today that he's pulling back on the September (sic) 3 Democratic primaries. And one expects that he's not going to win any of those. In your home state of Michigan, if he loses Michigan, will you urge him to drop out of the race and support whoever the obvious nominee is? .....
CARVILLE: What date does he need to win one by? Can you just give us an idea when?.....
And then, despicable gopper_lite ex-hero Private numnuts Carville administers what he thinks is the coup de grace to his Dr. Dean supporting guest, Michigan Congresswoman and Dean supporter Carolyn Kilpatrick.
CARVILLE: Congresswoman, I want to go back to you, because there's -- there's some thought that perhaps Governor Dean will -- after it's obvious he's not going to get the nomination, will run some kind of a guerrilla campaign and perhaps even become part of some third-party movement. Would you discourage anything like that?.....
Link to the whole disgusting exchange....
What is the worst thing about this whole, mendacious and ugly rip-off of the Democratic party by the new Ayatollah of the left, Carville?
He thinks HE and the "Democratic Leadership Conference" are the real red meat of the 'Party.' Ayatollah Carville, and his shit-eating grinner bud Ayatollah Begalla are now telling everyone in the "Party" it is ALL OVER BUT THE ^^SCREAMING^^.
It almost makes you wonder what the hell we all came to rescue Bill Clinton for? Carville was a hero to the left. Clinton was the best, duly elected President of my lifetime, and many of us might agree. But when the righties just had to have some red meat of their own, it was Clinton's dick that made them hot.
Carville and Begalla, not household names at all then, put out the call and many of us came to the rescue. I went to work at CNN as a host in their chat rooms, gutting out conversations that were destructive to the President. Undercover, as HiF|yer_CNN...I hope somebody out there remembers me! I know the management of the chat room remembers me...a ghoulish little red-head who used the name "Jackie-CNN" and her cowardly, five foot nothing husband who used the screen name "Joe-CNN."
It was my job to support and sustain the Dems and our president whenever possible, even if that meant working as a transcript editor and typing at 100 wpm to discredit gopper mother fuckers in high-profile interviews. It was great!
Ignorant bastards on the right, working in the chat rooms with me, decided to make me a target of their wrath and frustrations. They never knew of my affiliation with the "Party." But they knew I labeled elChimpo an IDIOT in chat, (big no no although any comments about Al Gore were allowed)
I put my job on the line for two years helping the Clinton administration, including Carville and Begalla as well. Today, I find myself wondering if I was hoodwinked by these sneaky, mendacious Dem politicos.
All supporters of Howard Dean must look at the transcripts of the last several weeks of Crossfire to see a clear pattern:: Any guest who supported Dr Dean was attacked on the sly by Carville and Begalla, and honestly (at least) by the hosts from the right, Bob (Felony criminal) Nofacts and Fucker (polyester pop-top) Carlson.
Dr. Dean will prevail. He will fight all of these new Ayatollahs of the Left as well as the right wing of the Republican party. He will overcome the fanatical personal assassination attempts from his own party, most mercilessly the 'New Democrats.'
And the Doctor will come into office as he has come into this campaign: OWING NO ONE EXCEPT US, HIS PEOPLE....OWING THE DEMOCRAT PARTY NOTHING. OWING BIG BUSINESS NOTHING. OWING BANKS AND CREDIT CARD COMPANIES NOTHING...OWING THE DEEP POCKETS IN THE POLITICAL WORLD NOTHING...
DOCTOR HOWARD DEAN AND HIS ADMINISTRATION WILL TOTALLY TRANSFORM AMERICA.
And then you will see the new ayatollahs, little jimmy carville and shit-eating grinner Begalla, kissing HIS ring!
Sick of Politics the way it is 'gamed' here now? Ready to jettison both Dems And Goppers?
Statement by the Socialist Equality Party
27 January 2004
E-Mail Editor of NLTCP
The Socialist Equality Party calls upon all of our supporters and all readers of the World Socialist Web Site to join in launching an independent socialist campaign in the 2004 US elections.
The SEP is running on a democratic and socialist program to defend the interests of working people and to oppose war, social reaction and attacks on democratic rights. Its candidates are Bill Van Auken for president and Jim Lawrence for vice president. Bill Van Auken, 54, is a full-time writer for the World Socialist Web Site. He lives in New York City. Jim Lawrence, 65, is a retired auto worker, who worked at General Motors plants in the Dayton, Ohio, area for 30 years. He is a member of United Auto Workers Local 696 and has run as a socialist candidate for Congress.
The SEP will also seek to place candidates on the ballot in as many congressional races as possible.
The SEP campaign is of immense importance for working people not only in the US, but internationally. It takes place within the context of an unprecedented eruption of American militarism and an assault on the rights and conditions of US workers that serves as the model for governments in every other part of the world.
Millions of people in the US and around the world sense that the Bush administration represents a new and ominous turn in the direction of American policy. They are looking for the means to fight back. They will not find them in the sound bites and mudslinging of the Democratic and Republican candidates. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being squandered on these campaigns, but there is no serious or honest discussion of the social and political crisis gripping the country.
In launching this campaign, the Socialist Equality Party is completely realistic. We understand very well that our candidates will, in the present situation, win only a limited number of votes. But the purpose of our campaign is to raise the level of political debate within the United States and internationally, to break out of the straitjacket of right-wing bourgeois politics and present a socialist alternative to the demagogy and lies of the establishment parties and the mass media. Our campaign is not about votes. It is about ideas and policies.
The Socialist Equality Party will use the elections as an opportunity to develop a serious discussion on the social and political crisis, and lay down the programmatic foundations for the building of a mass movement for a revolutionary transformation of American society.
The SEP intends to conduct this campaign not simply on a national, but on an international level. We want our campaign to represent the interests of masses of working and oppressed people all over the world, whose lives are profoundly and disastrously affected by the policies pursued by American imperialism. Given the global impact of the United States, it would be entirely appropriate to allow the citizens of every country to participate in the election of an American president. As that is not yet possible, the SEP candidates will utilize the elections to develop a conscious sense of international unity among American working people and their class brothers and sisters all over the world.
We see this fight for international unity as the most important task of our campaign. It is essential to inspire a genuinely worldwide movement against imperialism—one that opposes all forms of chauvinism, regardless of whether its reactionary appeal is based on religious, ethnic or national identity.
We say to all those who see the need for such an alternative: contact the Socialist Equality Party today, sign up to help place our candidates on the ballot in your state, fight for the policies of the SEP campaign by agreeing to run as an SEP candidate in your congressional district!
Link for rest of agenda...
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Vulgar Democrats in www.NDOL.org, including Paul Begala and James Carville, chuckle about Dr. Dean
It was called the Whitewater Investigation and was led by a vicious, mad, sneering bastard with the unfettered dogs of the GOP...idealogues with the names of Henry (wife-swapper) Hyde, Dan (melon killer) Burton, (Chemical) Tom Delay, Newt (contract on America) Gingrich--JUDGE STARR
They were on a mission to destroy Bill Clinton. It was a vast, right wing conspiracy. When it was called by name, it hid its snake-like head and pretended not to exist.
But it was exposed by then-long-ago-heroes such as James Carville and Paul Begala.
Now the other side of both of these men has appeared. They are in fact, idealogues of the "New Democrats." They have become the Ayatollahs of the left. The Bin-Ladens of progressive politics. The smirking charletans of the bygone Clinton era that make me wonder what the great fight back then was all about.
Dr. Howard Dean, a candidate for President of the United States, a leader in all respects...a creative thinker and the man who made it OK to be a Democrat in the United States again, has become the target of these new Ayatollahs of the left. Together with the frumpy looking Al From et al, they have decided that Senator John (FUCK) Kerry was the presidential one, and Dr. Dean was not: Electable.
Electable. That's the New Ayatolla's password for heaping their shit on Dr. Dean. Electable.
My message to the keepers of the party's light...to these guys who think THEY are the Democrats and the rest of us are under their fucking spell. My message to them is the same as the message your new front runner had for US a while back:
FUCK Carville. FUCK Begalla. Burn their books. They don't tell anyone who to vote for. And I have seen Begalla's stupid grin on Xfire about enough to know a shit-eating grin when I see it. Even Bob NoFacts and Fucker Carlson play Carville and Begalla like banjos now. Crossfire is a joke. It should be called CircleJerk.
I say, Dr. Dean if these critters don't support the picks of the Dem party, and instead start using their free time on Xfire to try and hurt the Dean campaign, FUCK em.
And to Begala and Carville: You asked for the help and support of all Democrats when Clinton was under attack. And you got it. And now is the time to support the only hope the Democratic party has to bring in enough new blood to toss out Bush: Dr. Howard Dean.
Do you really think Kerry won those elections on his own? Do you think there were no "crossover votes" from goppers trying to throw the election? What is the matter with the two of you?
FUCK KERRY. FUCK...remember that John John? You used it like a word-grendade when you were loosing everything. And no one remembers how UNPRESIDENTIAL that was. They only remember Howard Dean promising 3,500 young people from all across the country that they could count on HIM to go to the next 10 states.
Yeah! That was what made the big news...Yeah Yeah Yeah....
SIX REASONS DR. HOWARD DEAN WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE USA
The Threat That Confronts America, and especially THE CHIMP_JUNTA!!! George Soros and his Billion$$$
Attack on Scrooge McDuck
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004
According to the seers and soothsayers of the right, a terrible new threat confronts America and its inspired leader George W. Bush. Like Shakespeare’s Calpurnia, they warn their mighty Caesar of lionesses whelping in the streets, strange omens and portents in the night sky, and they do fear them. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has waxed apoplectic; James K. Glassman of the American Enterprise Institute forsees "a great threat not just to the re-election of George Bush, but
to our truly open society." (Can you believe this idiotic bullshit??? A threat to not only our society but to FUCKING GEORGE W BUSH???)
Even the Washington Post has expressed alarm. And what’s the cause of all this hubbub? Simple: the Democrats have found a Scrooge McDuck of their own. International financier George Soros, among the richest men in the world, plans to devote a small fraction of his estimated $7 billion to defeating President Bush. The
Hungarian-born tycoon, who emigrated from England to the U.S. in 1956, has pledged a reported $18 million to three liberal organizations: $5 million to internet advocacy group MoveOn. org, $3 million to former Clinton aide John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, and another $10 million toward a Democratic voter registration drive.
Sounds ominous, right? By taking advantage of an obscure constitutional loophole permitting even billionaires to oppose Bush, Soros bids to overturn the natural order. As if that weren’t enough, he’s taken to writing books and articles and granting interviews explaining why he believes that Bush’s re-election would have terrible consequences for
America and the world.
Writers in the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times have expressed consternation that a foreign-born citizen would be so cheeky. A website called GOPUSA.com has described the Jewish financier as a "descendant of Shylock." The Postasks Democrats to compare the consequences of "conservative financier Richard Mellon Scaife opening his bank account on behalf of Mr. Bush."
It’s worth wondering what’s in Washington Post water coolers these
The reclusive Mr. Scaife, who unlike Soros inherited his pile, has bankrolled right-wing causes for decades. Had editors read their own newspaper’s fine reporting back in 1999, they might realize that without Scaife’s largesse, we might not have such ornaments to democracy as the Federalist Society, the American Enterprise Institute, News-Max.com or the American Spectator magazine.
Scaife’s funding of the Spectator’s secretive, $2.6 million "Arkansas Project" during the Clinton years contributed to the care and feeding of Whitewater witness David Hale, a convicted felon making absurd allegations against the president. It also financed articles describing the president of the United States as a drug smuggler and murderer. Operatives hired by the Spectator even probed the private lives of journalists deemed unfriendly to Kenneth Starr. Unlike Clinton’s sexual antics, Starr placed his office’s investigation of the "Arkansas Project" under seal. Grand Jury secrets, you see.
The estimable Mr. Soros, in contrast, works in broad daylight. He even writes his own books. His latest, entitled "The Bubble of American Supremacy" argues that the Bush administration has responded to the 9/11 terror attacks exactly as Osama bin Laden wanted it to: by implementing "a radical foreign policy agenda" in which might makes right. An excerpt appeared in the December 2003 Atlantic Monthly. "The Bush doctrine," Soros wrote "... is built on two pillars: the United States will do everything in its power to maintain its unquestioned military supremacy; and the United States arrogates the right to pre-emptive action. In effect, the doctrine establishes two classes of sovereignty: the sovereignty of the United States, which takes precedence over international treaties and obligations; and the sovereignty of all other states, which is subject to the will of the United States. This is reminiscent of George Orwell’s ‘ Animal Farm’: all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
The Bush doctrine, Soros recently told Josh Marshall, "is unacceptable cannot possibly be accepted—by the rest of the world." By invading Iraq under false pretenses, he thinks, the U.S. rid the world of a despicable tyrant at the expense of its fundamental credibility. When President Bush uses farcically Orwellian doublespeak like "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities" to describe Saddam’s non-existent military threat, he doesn’t even expect to be believed by any but the dullest voters. And when Bush boasts, as he did in his State of the Union speech, that "no one can now doubt the word of America," and that he "will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country," he doesn’t mean that Iraq’s imaginary links to 9/11 have been proven. He means that any nation he threatens had better back down.
Having lived under Nazi and communist occupation, Soros insists that people who call Bush a "fascist" are both wrong and counter-productive. He also insists, however, that an ideology of pure power is profoundly un-American and doomed to fail. How that makes the man a danger to democracy, I cannot imagine.
• Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient of the National Magazine Award.
Register to vote, folks. It will take two votes for every real vote...Chimp_junta means to steal this election.
Chief US inspector admits Iraq had no WMD stockpiles--or--The Bastards Lied Lied Lied. Sucker!
By Peter Symonds
28 January 2004
The admission by the CIA’s top weapons adviser in Iraq, David Kay, that the country possessed no stockpiles of so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) nor related production facilities is a devastating refutation of the lies used by the Bush administration to justify its illegal invasion and occupation. The comments are all the more damning coming from someone who was one of the most rabid advocates of ousting Saddam Hussein as the only means of ending the alleged threat posed by Iraqi weapons.
Last Friday Kay resigned his post as head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG)—a collection of 1,400 special forces troops, intelligence officers and technical experts who have been scouring Iraq since Baghdad fell attempting to uncover evidence of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Kay was appointed by the CIA to head the team in May after it failed to find anything remotely resembling the masses of weapons that Bush and his top officials claimed existed prior to the US-led attack.
Kay was not chosen for the post because of any technical or scientific expertise—he has none—but because of his record of support for the Bush administration’s actions. Prior to the invasion, Kay, who had served previously as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq, routinely appeared in the media lending his “expert” credentials to attack the credibility of the continuing UN weapons inspection efforts and to warn of the dangers posed by the Hussein regime and its alleged WMD stockpiles. The Bush administration picked Kaye as ISG head because it knew he could be trusted to stop at nothing in manufacturing a case.
Kaye and his team have spent nine months not only checking weapons dumps and possible production sites, but also interrogating hundreds of Iraqis to try and extract information about the country’s WMD programs. Scores of Iraqi scientific experts have been held without charge or trial at a US base outside the Baghdad airport and subjected to months of questioning about their activities. Most have now been released—presumably because Kay concluded nothing useful could be learned from them.
Kay presented an interim report on his work to several US congressional committees last October in which he was forced to concede that he had found no stockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons—large or small—nor the production facilities or precursors necessary to manufacture them. The remainder of his report consisted of a lengthy and elaborate obfuscation—cobbling together assertions about Hussein’s “intentions” with unsubstantiated claims concerning Iraqi scientific research into weapons or “weapons concepts.”
In comments over the past few days, Kay has declared he now believes there were no stockpiles of weapons prior to the US attack on Iraq. In an interview on National Public Radio on Sunday, he said: “I think there were stockpiles at the end of the first Gulf War and... a combination of UN inspectors and unilateral Iraq action got rid of them.” Asked whether he believed that Iraq destroyed its banned weapons just before the US-led invasion, Kay bluntly replied: “No. I don’t think they existed.”
Nor, it appears, does the Pentagon or White House. Kay explained that he resigned—at least in part—because the military had insisted on reallocating elements of the huge ISG team from the costly and futile exercise of hunting down imaginary weapons of mass destruction to the more pressing task of combating the armed resistance against the US-led occupation. The ISG’s focus has now shifted. Kay’s replacement, Charles Deulfer, has been assigned to concentrate on Iraq’s WMD programs, rather than any actual hoards of weapons.
Kay, however, remains completely unapologetic. During his National Public Radio interview, he was timidly asked about comments just months before he was appointed to the ISG that he was “absolutely confident” weapons would be found. Kay unabashedly declared that he felt no embarrassment at all. In an interview on NBC television yesterday he reiterated his view that the US invasion of Iraq was “absolutely prudent.”
Kay and other US spokesmen are at pains to invent new justifications for the US war on Iraq, now that it is obvious that no WMD stockpiles are going to be found. The old lies are to be replaced with new falsifications and diversions in an effort to contain the political damage not only to the Bush administration, but also to the Democratic Party and the media, which rubber-stamped the lies of the Bush White House and supported the invasion.
Kay placed the blame for the gulf between the pre-war claims about Iraq’s weapons and the post-invasion reality on US intelligence agencies, rather than on the Bush administration. Asked on National Public Radio whether Bush owed the nation an explanation, Kay replied: “I actually think the intelligence community owes the president, rather than the president owing the American people.” It was a technical issue, not a political issue, he said.
Kay stands reality on its head. The US invasion of Iraq was never about the alleged threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Rather, the September 11 attacks on the US were seized upon by the Bush administration to press ahead with long-held ambitions to subjugate Iraq as a means of gaining control of the world’s second largest reserves of oil and to position the US strategically to dominate the Middle East and Central Asia.
The threadbare lies about Iraq’s WMD capacity and the Hussein regime’s alleged links to Al Qaeda were aimed at stampeding public opinion in the face of opposition from close US allies in Europe and, more importantly, from the millions of people in the US and around the world who joined anti-war protests. It was not a matter, as Kay would have it, of the inadequate or mistaken character of US intelligence. Rather, the Bush administration was desperate for anything—even the most transparent falsifications—to bully the UN and the broader population into supporting an invasion that had been planned and prepared well in advance.
Kay’s claim that the White House had brought no pressure to bear on intelligence agencies is a lie. Even the supine US media was compelled to report Vice President Richard Cheney’s visits to CIA headquarters to browbeat officials into making a stronger case for war. Disenchanted with the CIA’s efforts, the most militarist elements of the Bush administration—the so-called neo-conservatives in charge of the Pentagon—set up their own intelligence unit—the Office of Special Plans—which had no qualms about feeding the most dubious information to a compliant press.
In an article in the latest issue of Atlantic Monthly, Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst and, like Kay, a supporter of the Iraq war, described the situation in the intelligence agencies in late 2002 and early 2003, based on numerous complaints he received from former colleagues. “Intelligence officers who presented analyses that were at odds with the pre-existing views of senior Administration officials were subjected to barrages of questions and requests for additional information... Reportedly, the worst fights were those over sources. The Administration gave greatest credence to accounts that presented the most lurid picture of Iraqi activities. In many cases intelligence analysts were distrustful of those sources, or knew unequivocally that they were wrong. But when they said so, they were not heeded; instead they were beset with further questions about their sources,” he wrote.
To justify his claim of “intelligence failure,” Kay also pointed to the fact that the Clinton administration, along with the intelligence agencies in Europe and elsewhere, assessed that Iraq had significant stocks of chemical and biological weapons. Far from proving the case, his comments simply highlight the complicity of the preceding Democratic administration in the US and all the major powers—including France, Germany and Russia—in using claims about Iraqi WMDs to justify repeated US air raids and a decade-long economic embargo which cost the lives of an estimated half million Iraqi men, women and children.
Kay ignores the fact that France, Germany and Russia were demanding that a new and even more onerous UN inspection regime imposed in late 2002 be given time to verify Iraqi claims that it had no prohibited weapons. At the time, Kay was part of an intensive media campaign to belittle and criticise UN activities as inadequate and useless, while claiming that Iraq had vast stores of weapons. As chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix noted recently, the US should have known the intelligence was flawed last year when leads followed up by UN inspectors didn’t produce any results. “I began to wonder what was going on. Weren’t they wondering too?” he asked.
Some White House officials, most notably Vice President Cheney, as well as key US allies—the British and Australian prime ministers—are sticking to the original lie, claiming that more time is needed to find Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons. Others, however, like Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was responsible for presenting the US fabrications to the UN last February, appear to be taking their cue from Kay. After insisting last year that Washington had incontrovertible evidence that Hussein had a vast arsenal of prohibited weapons, Powell admitted last weekend during his visit to Georgia that they simply may not exist. Like Kay, he now speaks of the Hussein regime’s “intention” to reconstitute weapons programs in the future.
The general line of these officials, as well as the establishment media, is that the absence of Iraqi WMDs is irrelevant, because the war was justified on other grounds. Aside from the intrinsic obscenity of the claim that the subjugation and occupation of a weak and impoverished country by the world’s most powerful military apparatus represents a victory for “democracy,” this sophistry ignores the indisputable facts of recent history.
The Bush administration, as well as its satellite in London, did not consider the claims of Iraqi WMDs “irrelevant” when it was conducting its propaganda campaign in advance of the military assault on Iraq. On the contrary, it considered it politically essential to concoct a false picture of a hostile country bristling with deadly weapons that could at any time be utilised by terrorists to kill and maim thousands of American (or British) citizens.
This elaborate and deliberate lie was critical for several reasons. First, it was needed to spread fear and terror in the US, the better to drag a skeptical and reluctant population into an unprovoked war. Second, it was essential in fabricating a legal fig leaf for a war that was ultimately carried out in defiance of the UN Security Council and without any international legal sanction. That legal fiction was based on a claim of “self-defence.”
The demand for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US and allied troops from Iraq must be linked to the call for a genuinely independent inquiry into the tissue of lies that preceded the war, leading to the impeachment and criminal prosecution of those responsible for war crimes.
Money | Too poor to go bankrupt?
Tricky-Dick Gephart did. So did a whole 'bipartisan' group of paid-off chumps in our congress, including cockroach Tom Delay.
Last year the people of America missed getting slammed with the horribly misnamed "Bankruptcy reform and Consumer PROTECTION ACT(!?!?!)
Maybe what is worse than the act itself, which requires among other things that you pay a lawyer, and then requires among more other things, that you set up a schedule to talk to your creditors every few months so they can remain hounding you for the rest of your life!!
And this is Chapter 7...the type of bankruptcy in place since 1215 in Old England...meant to give debtors a fresh start on life.
Politicians have decided that all that money they are stuffing in their pockets from credit card companies, credit union collection facilities, and banks and mortgage companies, is more important by FAR than your right to a fresh start in life.
Although Tricky-Dick Gebhart was one of the worst offenders along with his alter ego, (Chemical) Tom Delay (R-TX) (a killer who has gassed thousands of his own people, cockroaches), a little research will show there is a pretty good majority of both (D) and (R) getting all kinds of payoffs and special no interest loans (i.e. Jim Moran (D) VA) to push this consumer rip off through Congress.
Heh, The "Bankruptcy Reform and Consumer Protection Act." What a piece of shit. What a pack of lies. What a bunch of lousy bastards we have placed in Washington to do the bidding of the "K" street lobbyists.
IT WILL PASS THIS YEAR. BANKRUPTCY IS COMING TO AN END IN AMERICA UNDER CHIMP_JUNTA AND ONLY YOUR LETTER TO CONGRESS CAN STOP THE DEMOLITION OF THE LITTLE GUY IN FAVOR OF BIG MONEY...THEY ARE BUYING AMERICA ON THE CHEAP...AND YOU ARE PART OF THE DEAL, SCHMUCK.
Isn't it about time to get rid of some of this trash and put outsiders in the loop?
If you think they won't screw you with the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy laws, here's what they are doing right now in jolly old poodle Blair's country:
Link...Money | Too poor to go bankrupt
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Michael Moore enlists with General Clark: the pathetic--and predictable--logic of protest politics
Monday, January 26, 2004
The long march to New Hampshire
By Sidney Blumenthal
Jan. 22, 2004 | A year ago a deeply disoriented, dispirited and disjointed congressional Democratic Party, having just lost the Senate, its patriotism impugned, gathered to applaud George W. Bush's State of the Union address, a call to arms in Iraq. Against that tableau the feisty former Vermont governor Howard Dean slowly began his ascent as the antiwar, anti-"Washington Democrats" and generally anti-Bush candidate. He had this vast unpopulated territory to himself. In Iowa, where Rep. Richard Gephardt from neighboring Missouri was always the favorite, Dean suddenly pulled ahead, as he did nationally. But then his march veered onto a murder-suicide scene.
No sitting member of Congress' lower house has ever been elected to the presidency. Dick Gephardt's earnest manner, measured flat speech and universally acknowledged decency belied his loudly ticking ambition. His career was an unusual chronology: both unifying stands for the party and destructive episodes that tore the party apart -- but all somehow seen as stalwart.
His early distinction came in the aftermath of the 1984 Reagan landslide, when he became the first head of the newly founded Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group created in reaction to Walter Mondale's old politics of dependence on the unions. But in 1988 Gephardt ran for the presidential nomination as the champion of trade protectionism and aggrieved industrial labor, winning the Iowa caucuses by calling for high tariffs. However, his candidacy soon collapsed on its narrowness and negative attacks against the others in the race. In the first year of Bill Clinton's administration, Gephardt rancorously split the Democrats by opposing the North American Free Trade Agreement, and that division contributed to the party's losing the Congress in 1994 for the first time in two generations. Gephardt became the minority leader. In 1997, a frustrated Gephardt, without provocation or an issue, raised the banner of the hard left and denounced Clinton as a sellout to Republicans. Widely criticized by his members, he then retreated and wound up strongly defending Clinton in the impeachment trial.
Gephardt planned his 2004 campaign as a reprise of Iowa 1988, but the labor federation as a whole refused to endorse him and he was left with a handful of industrial unions and little else. His last hurrah was a last stand. His message was reduced to the nub of raw protectionism as he devoted himself to tearing down Dean, attacking him as a conservative wolf in liberal lamb's clothing. An independent expenditure committee financed and directed by people closely aligned with Gephardt produced a TV ad conflating Osama bin Laden's visage with Dean's: "Americans want a president who can face the dangers ahead, but Howard Dean has no military or foreign policy experience. And Howard Dean just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy." The other candidates all leaped on the new front-runner. And the media predictably trained its harsh glare almost exclusively on Dean, putting him in the spotlight of a series of absurd pseudo-scandals on the order of a messy divorce involving a Vermont state trooper that ABC News bizarrely hyped as Dean's "question of judgment."
Dean's campaign was a stroke of innovation, using the Internet to create a new form of democratic political organization, the emergence of a party where one existed only in the patchiest way across the country. But in the heat he began to melt. His temperament began overshadowing his message. He demeaned his rivals as "cockroaches," implored the Democratic National Committee chairman to force them to halt their criticisms of him, declared, "I'm going after everybody because I'm tired of being a pincushion here," and shouted at a Republican at town hall meeting, "You sit down. You had your say and now I'm going to have my say." After Al Gore's surprise endorsement, others flooded in, and Dean clutched them like shields. Overnight, the insurgent appeared defensively crouched. In the fury, Dean reiterated his antiwar position -- but forgot to mention that as the only governor in the field, he had proven experience on the domestic issues that voters most cared about.
As both Gephardt and Dean slashed away at Dean, the door miraculously sprang open for Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards. Kerry, from Massachusetts, has a sparkling résumé as a Vietnam War hero who also led protests against the war -- and a far more liberal record than anyone else, including Dean. But as the very first front-runner, he had imploded his candidacy through constant indecision, lugubrious speech, imposition of a top-down establishment campaign run from Capitol Hill, and a vote for the Iraq War that he could not adequately explain but insisted on doing so at length. Edwards, a first-term senator from North Carolina, had no record to speak of but energy and smoothness. With attention riveted on Dean's floundering they seized upon the anti-Bush theme for themselves. Kerry appended it to his résumé. Edwards, a millionaire trial lawyer whose greatest skill is making a summation to a jury, presented himself as the modern upholder of the old economic populism, "son of a mill worker," surpassing Gephardt as his generational successor.
In the Iowa caucuses, Dean was damaged and Gephardt's support disintegrated, most of that drifting to Edwards. Kerry, rejecting his previous Iraq War position as best he could, soared as the figure of experience. Edwards called Bush the president of the "privileged few." Kerry mocked Bush's bravado: "Bring it on! Just don't let the door hit you on the way out!" They both passed unscathed because, while evading the distorting media gaze, they learned from Dean and became intensely and pointedly anti-Bush, the sine qua non for legitimacy among Democrats.
But the dynamic that has lifted them up is only beginning to unfold. Political geography is now destiny. While Iowa puts a premium on niceness, New Hampshire prides itself on flintiness. Iowa instinctively wants to reward the worthy; New Hampshire habitually wants to kill the king. Iowa tries to reach a consensus in front of the neighbors in the caucus; New Hampshire, in the privacy of the voting booth, wants to assert individuality. Iowa wants to cast a considered ballot; New Hampshire wants to, as its state motto proclaims, "live free or die." Will Dean recover? Will Wes Clark and Joe Lieberman, absent from Iowa, galvanize support or play assassins? Is there a new king? If there is, will he survive?
Link to Salon Premium (Subscription or free day pass required)
And Novak Still Has a Job? Or as John (Oh I'm the Hole Package) Kerry would say, **FUCK!!**
Decorated CIA veterans demand that Congress hold the Bush White House accountable for exposing undercover agent Valerie Plame.
Editor's note: Following is the full text of a letter sent by former CIA officers to House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other key House leaders on Tuesday, calling for a congressional inquiry into the Valerie Plame case.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Jan. 23, 2004 | The Honorable Dennis Hastert
Speaker: U.S. House of Representatives
H-232 U.S. Capitol
Dear Mr. Speaker:
We, the undersigned former intelligence officials in the U.S. intelligence community, request that you launch an immediate, bipartisan congressional investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other members of the media that exposed her status as an undercover CIA officer. The disclosure of Ms. Plame's name was an unprecedented and shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, has damaged U.S. national security, specifically the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.
While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the Congress must send an unambiguous message that the intelligence officers tasked with collecting or analyzing intelligence must never be turned into political punching bags. We believe it is important that Congress speak with one voice on this issue. Moreover, the investigation must focus on more than simply identifying who leaked this information. We believe it is important for Congress to help the American people understand how this happened and take a clear stand that such behavior will not be tolerated under any administration, Republican or Democrat. A thorough and successful congressional investigation of this crime is necessary to send a clear signal that the elected representatives of this government will not accept nor ignore the political exploitation of the men and women in our intelligence community. A professional, thorough investigation will also help boost the weakened morale of our intelligence personnel and renew their confidence and trust in the elected leadership of the country.
Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government's protection.
For the good of our country, we ask you to please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. intelligence community by immediately launching a congressional investigation.
Larry C. Johnson, former Analyst
James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer
Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst
Brent Cavan, former Analyst
Dr. Marc Sageman, MD, Ph.D., former Case Officer
James A. Smith, former Case Officer
John McCavitt, former Case Officer
Ray McGovern, former Analyst
Ray Close, former Analyst
William Wagner, former Case Officer
(But wait a minute, the criminal Novak still sits on his fat ass on Crossfire and jeers Democrats? And said on every occasion he had his false teeth in his mouth that Bill Clinton was a yada yada yada who lied yada yada about sex sex sex ....
How does this disgusting, old vampire still have a job with any major news organization? He is as bad as John (Oh I'm the whole package) Kerry yelling **FUCK** AT A NEWS CONFERENCE AND NOT GETTING ANY AIR TIME!! Let alone 50 remixes on the Internet.)
But hey, what the fuck, Kerry ain't nuttin' anyway ;-))
Kerry Running out the Clock In New Hampshire? What does he have to say about his WAR VOTE? IS THAT LEADERSHIP? OR CRAVEN FOLLOW-BUSHSHIP?
Sunday, January 25, 2004
John-John Edwards, Smarmy liar Caught in the act! (No wonder so many think the only thing lower than whale=shit is the lawyers down there who eat it.)
"Edwards, who surged to his second-place finish in Iowa by emphasizing his positive agenda and staying out of the race's bitter attacks, apologized on Wednesday after he found out his campaign circulated a memo to campaign volunteers suggesting ways to slam his opponents."
John John John you stinkin' bush_lite type liar, you!
Caught in the act of doing this, you claim you know nothing (lawyer s8it) and then...APOLOGIZE!!
The same little thug who said "we donna need peeble lak you Dean commin roun t'here tellin peeble lak us'n rednecks what kinna flags to put on our piggups...."
Remmmmemmer that, Mr goodhair? And BTW, what about that vote to put the IRAQ WAR in the hands of el_chimpo? tsk tsk running against yourself here...eh? Positive campaign? I donna think so...you little liar.
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Some Really Interesting "Alternative" Press--News You Won't Get Anywhere Else
Democrats bow to Bush on budget attacks http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/jan2004/budg-j24.shtml
Call to investigate Britain for Iraq war crimes http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/jan2004/war-j24.shtml
Britain: Revelations on US spying compared to Pentagon Papers
Canada-US agreement whitewashes Arar case http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/jan2004/arar-j24.shtml
Australian government seeks to cut off disabled pensioners http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/jan2004/disa-j24.shtml
Right Wing Media Frenzy--and the Phony 'Meltdown" of Howard Dean
New York-based Russ Baker is an award-winning journalist who covers politics and media.
The so-called Dean "meltdown," the claims that his campaign is finished, and his forced contrition are all symptoms of how debased the political dialogue has become.
It's true that Dean yelled at his Monday night rally in Iowa. And so what? Basically, at a pep rally, he yelled like a football coach. This is described as being "unpresidential." But says who? Besides, what's the definition of 'presidential?' Isn't giving insulting nicknames to world leaders unpresidential? Isn't sending hundreds of American soldiers to die for uncertain and misrepresented ends in Iraq unpresidential—or worth considering as such? Isn't having an incredibly poor grasp of essential world facts and an aversion to detail and active decision making unpresidential?
As far as I can tell, the worst Howard Dean has done is to try to be himself. (And, when criticized for that, to show some willingness to alter his demeanor.) But neither of those is good enough for a media that smells a good story—allegedly about personality, much more interesting than issues.
We saw and see nearly every news outlet playing the footage of the rally again and again. We see headlines in the less-cautious papers about Dean "imploding," and gleeful spin from Republican strategists that Dean is "finished."
From Slate magazine ("Mean Dean Loses Steam") to The New York Post ("Dean's Ballot-Box Conspiracy Theory"), it's all about painting him as unseemly, unstable and irrationally angry, rather than focusing on his ideas. And yet, carefully scrutinized, virtually everything the man has said accords with the beliefs and understanding of a significant portion of the American populace, and, significantly, of what has been reported in the media.
But once something like this "meltdown" story gets started, the media go into a kind of inexorable black hole, and the pull is so great it becomes hard for thinking journalists and editors to resist. And not just journalists. It takes extraordinary mettle for anyone in the limelight to resist this. Once the howl of the pack gets loud enough, questioning the seriousness of Dean's so-called 'problems' becomes tantamount to downplaying allegations against Michael Jackson.
Sometimes it's hard to remember, but presidents aren't primarily dinner party hosts or recruiting posters for perfection. They're supposed to be smart people who can make intelligent choices, mostly in private, that serve our interests. And they're supposed to be human.
Ed Muskie probably wouldn't have been a bad president, nor would George Romney or John McCain, all of whom got slammed for showing quintessentially human traits on the campaign trail. Muskie didn't like his wife being attacked; Romney admitted to having been "brainwashed" on Vietnam (obviously less so than those fellow GOPsters who couldn't admit their mistakes), and McCain was charmingly blunt if occasionally brutish. As each could attest, candor isn't a priority in this society. People want to hear what makes them feel good and safe and strong, no matter the reality.
As for Dean, one doesn't need to take sides to see that the treatment of this man is unbecoming of the media. It's also going to be seen in retrospect as colossally one-sided, not in any way balanced by comparable scrutiny or criticism of his rivals.
If anything, this affair is a kind of test. Dean seems too tough a customer to back out after such a setback. And the fact remains that he essentially still holds exactly the same constituency he did before. If his supporters keep their eye on the ball, if Dean refuses to be distracted or rattled, and if the media somehow manage to restrain their headlong rush into tabloid-land, this country may yet have a meaningful conversation on what really matters.
------------------------------------end of feature----------------------------
By the way, political junkie and junkie-ettes, here's a question for you! Remember that smarmy piece of campaign ad fluff with those two 'senior citizens' outside the restaurant chattering like nattering nabobs of negativism about "Dr Dean should take his Volvo driving, latte drinking....yada yada yada back to Vermont..."
Who was responsible for that ad? No one would take credit for it as I recall.
The answer is now coming out. Mr...make that Senator (I'm the full package) Kerry's campaign snuck that trash in there! And he would have you think he is Mr. Clean!
Kerry, you sneaky, good-hair DLC plant, you. Why don't you act presidential and take credit for that great piece of advertising! Scared?
Hell, you play on as a war hero...actually you zigged when you should have zagged and caught a bullet...We called that a 'ticket' home from VN! Hell, Mr. Hero, you may have shot your own ass to get out of there. Possible?
Looks like we have another bush_lite liar on the way here, fellow news junkies. News at 'leven!
And New Hampshire voters have the chance to set things right by voting for Dr. Dean. Period. Kerry is the sure loser in November. The Goppers blast fax has been OFF for 5 days. Gopper thugs are planning their vacations into right-wing nudist camps for the week before the election. They are planning to walk on the corpses of the 9-11 dead in their gory NYC campaign to get the junta in office again.
And that, my friends will be the end of America. Count on it. Kerry Must Go.
KERRY MUST GO
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Chimper_junta and Blair: Face Trial for War Crimes or be Branded as Cowards and Killers
Gene Lyons--Arkansas' Best Journalism Right Here On NLTCP!
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004
To me, the single most significant event of the 2004 election campaign
hasn’t been the Iowa caucuses or President Bush’s State of the Union
address. Rather, it was the quick debunking of an attempted smear of
retired Gen. Wesley Clark by a half-dozen or so news organizations
functioning exactly as a free press should. Basically, the Republican
National Committee got caught doctoring Clark’s words in a vain attempt
to manufacture a "flip-flop" on the Iraq war. Given the dreadful
standard set during the 2000 campaign, when the Washington insiders who
set the tone of political coverage at the nation’s major newspapers,
magazines and TV networks conducted themselves like a high school
clique trying to fix a prom queen election, the Clark incident came as a
welcome surprise. Has war sobered them, or has American journalism
begun to recover from Ted Baxter Syndrome?
Ted Baxter, for the uninitiated, was the comically pompous anchorman on
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Like many celebrity pundits of the cable
TV era, he thought the news was about him.
But hold the sociology. First, a quick outline of the ill-fated effort
to portray Clark as a two-faced opportunist. Whether or not the
incident shows GOP fear of facing the former four-star general in the November
election, as Clark insisted, it definitely indicates that turning the
Democratic nominee into a caricature won’t be as easy as lampooning Al
Gore with phony stories like "inventing the Internet," " earth-tone
What happened was that on the same day RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie had a
speech scheduled in Little Rock, Clark’s hometown, the infamous" Drudge
Report" just happened to produce one of its "worldwide exclusives"
claiming to show that, contrary to his campaign rhetoric in New
Hampshire, Clark supported Bush’s rush to war with Iraq during
congressional testimony in 2002.
In his speech, Gillespie portrayed Clark as a hypocrite and turncoat.
"There was no stronger case made than that expert testimony, the
testimony of Gen. Wesley Clark," Gillespie claimed.
Drudge "reported" a passage from Clark’s testimony that was
suspiciously like to that in an RNC fax. "There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is
a threat," Clark supposedly said. "... Yes, he has chemical and
biological weapons. He’s had those for a long time. But the United
States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we
were before September 11 th of 2001.... He is, as far as we know,
actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn’t have nuclear
warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our
in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we."
But the quote turned out to be problematic, as Knight-Ridder reporters
Dana Hull and Drew Brown determined in an article headlined: "GOP chair
claims Clark supported war; transcripts show otherwise."
Clark’s words had been taken completely out of context. In fact, he had
pointedly argued that Iraq was a manageable problem and no imminent
threat existed. He’d urged that Bush form "the broadest possible
coalition including our NATO allies.... [Force] should be used as the
last resort after all diplomatic means have been exhausted."
The reporters also noticed that the Drudge/RNC quote "further distorted
Clark’s testimony" by adding sentences they were unable to find in the
transcript. Dogged research by the estimable Josh Marshall on his
Talking Points Memo Web site subsequently determined that the first and
last sentences appeared on Page 6, the bit about post-9/11 defensive
posture on Pages 25-26. Indeed, Clark argued that the U.S. was actually
in a better strategic position vs. Iraq, leaving ample time for
In short, Clark’s words had been yanked out context and their order
jumbled to alter their meaning. The ellipses concealed gaps of 11,500
words, roughly a dozen times the length of this column. I’d argue they
were essentially manufactured quotes, a firing offense at any
self-respecting journalistic organization—not a phrase which describes
"The Drudge Report."
The heartening part was that it wasn’t only Knight-Ridder and Josh
Marshall and liberal watchdog sites like mediawhoresonline. com that
blew the whistle. While some of the usual suspects such as The
Washington Times and The Wall Street Journal Editorial page got taken
(or pretended to get taken) for a ride, many others did not.
According to the Columbia Journalism Review’s brand-new Web site, The
Campaign Desk, "most of the major newspapers including the Washington
Post, the New York Times and the Boston Globe ran pieces reflecting the
whole story." (The Democrat-Gazette also got it right.)
The brainchild of the renowned journalism school’s new dean, Nicholas
Lemman, CJR’s new enterprise means to provide "real-time" media
criticism putting the Paula Zahns of the world on notice. (On her CNN
broadcast, Zahn treated the Drudge quotes as factual.) Next time,
sweetheart, do your homework and get the facts. Your professional
reputation may once again depend upon it.
Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient
of the National Magazine Award.
End of Gene Lyons
------------------------- But Now I Must Post This Lovely Poem-------------------
Ode to CNN's phony prevaricator Paula Zahn:
(paula & drudge
(sitting in a tree
(first comes love
(then comes marriage
(then comes paula with a baby carriage!
Iowa--Kerry, Edwards Win; RNC Smear Campaign comes in First!
By Patrick Martin
21 January 2004
Monday night’s caucuses in Iowa, the official beginning of the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, were won by Massachusetts senator John Kerry, who received 38 percent of the vote, with North Carolina senator John Edwards, the runner-up, receiving 32 percent. Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, the frontrunner in fundraising and national opinion polls, placed a poor third, with 18 percent of the vote. Congressman Richard Gephardt was a badly beaten fourth, at 11 percent, and pulled out of the race the next day.
In analyzing an event such as the Iowa caucuses, it is always necessary to keep in mind that the Democratic Party is one of the two main political institutions of American capitalism. It serves the interests of the financial oligarchy, and the ruling elite is deeply concerned with the selection of the candidate who may well, if circumstances warrant it, replace George Bush in the White House.
For all the attempts by the Republican Party and the media to present Bush’s reelection as an inevitability, there are serious divisions within the American ruling class, and fears that the recklessness of the Bush administration, in both foreign and domestic policy, has set the stage for disaster. A debacle in Iraq or Afghanistan, or a major financial crisis at home, could lead to a rapid collapse in political support for a government that was installed, not through the popular vote, but through the undemocratic intervention of the Supreme Court.
All the more reason for care in selecting the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Before entrusting any individual with the executive power of the American government for the next four years, the ruling elite puts them through their paces. This involves a process of political competition among the candidates and manipulation of public opinion through the mass media, which is not an exact science and has many uncertainties. But notwithstanding such complexities, in the final analysis the ruling elite will choose the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. Iowa was the first step in that decision.
It has been clear for several months that there are grave reservations about Dean in ruling circles. His campaign peaked several weeks before Iowa with the endorsements by former vice president Al Gore and former senator Bill Bradley, the two major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000. But Dean has been under relentless attack in the media since the New Year began, and this certainly had its impact in Iowa.
The concerns over Dean relate not so much to his political program, including his avowed opposition to the war, which is well within the prescribed parameters of bourgeois politics. Dean has made it clear that he opposes withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and supports the Bush administration’s broader campaign of military intervention all over the world, the so-called “war on terror.”
From the standpoint of the ruling elite, Dean’s campaign, fueled by an upsurge of antiwar sentiment and the mobilization of a section of college-age youth, represents something of an unknown quantity. With the Democratic Party so lacking in any genuine popular base, the impact of such a campaign is unpredictable. So is Dean himself—the long-time governor of a tiny state, with a population smaller than that of a mid-sized city, who has operated largely outside the scrutiny of the political and media establishment.
The television networks, the big newsweeklies, and most important daily newspapers all published scathing critiques of the Dean campaign. In some cases, as in an editorial by the Washington Post, the media openly branded Dean “out of the mainstream” of US politics. For the most part, such sentiments were attributed to Dean’s rivals within the Democratic Party—although the White House and the Republican National Committee also made their contribution.
This criticism focused not only on political remarks considered beyond the pale, such as Dean’s comment—stating an obvious truth—that the American people were no safer following the capture of Saddam Hussein. It became increasingly personal and vituperative, directed at his choleric temperament and even at his relationship with his wife, an MD who is continuing her practice while her husband campaigns.
The media barrage had its impact both on the Iowa campaign and on the candidate himself. Dean adapted to the criticism by shifting to the right. He virtually effaced the differences between his position on the war and that of rivals such as Clark, Kerry and Edwards—differences that were not all that great in the first place, since Dean supports the US occupation of Iraq.
Dean’s personal appearances in Iowa became increasingly problematic. He engaged in a televised shouting match with an elderly Bush supporter who challenged him at a campaign event. He appeared flummoxed when attacked during the final Iowa debate by Al Sharpton about his record on hiring minorities for top state offices in Vermont (which has virtually no black or Hispanic population).
Media coverage of the Iowa caucuses generally depicted the affair as an example of democracy at its finest. In fact, the 122,000 who attended the caucuses for Kerry, Edwards, Dean and Gephardt were fewer than the number attending in 1988, the last multi-candidate Democratic contest, between Gephardt, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and Paul Simon.
Terry Neal, online political columnist for washingtonpost.com, was one of the few commentators to puncture the pretense. He wrote January 20, after a week in Iowa: “For all the talk about how engaged people here are in the political process, you almost never meet a person outside of campaign events who professes much enthusiasm or interest in the process. To put this thing in perspective, no matter what the turnout is, it’ll be a pittance of the half-million registered Democrats in a state of nearly three million people. Given that, it’s a little astonishing how much media attention the results will get.”
As for the claims that the Iowa caucus-goers were carefully weighing the political programs and capabilities of the candidates, there is far more evidence that very few political distinctions were drawn, and that many people voted on the basis of superficial considerations: the “tone” of candidates’ ads, how they looked when they criticized their opponents, even their physical appearance.
There were some attempts in the media to suggest that the Iowa vote signified a shift to the right among Democratic voters. One AP dispatch said flatly, referring to Dean, “His anti-war, antiestablishment message didn’t resonate.” Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsen claimed that Kerry and Edwards were moderate alternatives to the more liberal Gephardt and Dean.
But there is no reason to believe such claims. There were few clear distinctions among the candidates on either foreign or domestic policy. Entrance polls showed that 75 percent of the caucus goers opposed the war in Iraq and 50 percent strongly opposed the war. The most widespread sentiment was hostility to the Bush administration and Bush personally. Yet, more of those voting backed Kerry—who supported Bush’s war resolution—than Dean and Dennis Kucinich, who opposed it.
Similarly, on social and economic questions, both Kerry and Edwards focused their last week of campaigning on populist appeals to the concerns of working-class and middle-class families. Both postured as militant opponents of the policies of the Bush administration on education, health care, tax cuts for the wealthy and attacks on environmental protection laws.
The outcome of the contest for the Democratic nomination remains to be determined. Kerry, Edwards and Dean immediately flew to New Hampshire, whose primary will take place next Tuesday, January 27. Dean is leading in the polls there, trailed by retired general Wesley Clark, who skipped the Iowa campaign. New Hampshire is followed by seven states holding caucuses and primaries on February 3, and the contest could continue until March 2, when primaries in California, New York, Ohio and other states complete the choosing of the bulk of the delegates.
Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the campaign was said to have boiled down to two tiers: Dean and Gephardt battling for first place; Kerry and Edwards vying for third place, with the loser likely to be forced out. But Gephardt’s campaign essentially collapsed, demonstrating the utter prostration of the trade union bureaucracy.
Some 21 industrial unions backed Gephardt’s candidacy, based largely on the promise of protectionist measures against foreign imports. According to polls of those entering the Iowa caucuses, Gephardt won only 22 percent of the union vote—and only 11 percent overall—in a state that he had won in the 1988 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The media gushed over Gephardt’s appearances with Teamsters president James Hoffa, who barnstormed through the state with a coterie of well-stuffed union officials and their bodyguards, but this did not cut much ice with rank-and-file workers in any union.
There was one more sidelight to the Iowa caucuses. Several hours before the caucuses began, a spokesman for Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who placed fifth in the contest with 2 percent of the vote, announced he had struck a deal with Senator Edwards for mutual support in those precincts where Edwards or Kucinich did not reach the 15 percent required to win a delegate.
The Kucinich spokesman said that all the other candidates had sought such an agreement. He did not explain why Kucinich, avowedly the most fervent opponent of the war, would reach a vote-swapping agreement with Edwards, who voted to authorize the war, except to say that Edwards had a “positive message” and that Kucinich “likes him a lot.”
((David Brooks, Con-talker on PBS's lame Shields & Brooks, said his little pecker got hard when he heard Edwards speak...so much so that he went to 3...count em...3 of the Democrat's drawling meetings so he could hear Edwards tell Governor Dean: "The prollem is wen Peeble lak U Howard Dean come down heaaa to the South (you lousy new england trash) and tell Peeble lak me what kinna stickerz to put on our carzzz")
Actually, Brooks did say he went out of his way to hear this wonderful Dem speak, and Edwards the little freak did say that to Governor Dean.
The talk about Brooks' dick was hyperbole. He has no dick. Dick quit. (ed)
Monday, January 19, 2004
Entire Chimp_junta blockading Investigation of Murder of Journalists by American Tank Fire April 8, 2003
By Mike Head
19 January 2004
An investigation by Reporters Without Borders into the United States military’s killing of two news cameramen at Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel last April raises a series of new questions about their deaths, as well as the wider casualties inflicted on reporters by US forces during the war on Iraq.
The detailed report, Two Murders and a Lie, demonstrates that the Pentagon and the Bush administration lied repeatedly about why an American tank deliberately opened fire on the hotel last April 8. The high explosive shell killed Ukrainian cameramen Taras Protsyuk (of Reuters news agency), aged 35, and 37-year-old Spaniard José Couso (of the Spanish TV station Telecinco). Three other members of the media corps stationed in the hotel were seriously wounded.
It was the second direct hit within two hours on a building known to house international journalists. Al-Jazeera correspondent Tariq Ayoub, a 34-year-old Palestinian Jordanian, was killed in a missile strike on the Arab-language broadcaster’s Baghdad offices. Surviving Al-Jazeera staff sought shelter in the nearby offices of rival satellite station Abu Dhabi TV, which then also came under US attack.
The attacks came at a vital point in the invasion. US forces were blasting their way toward the centre of the Iraqi capital, where Washington was anxious to claim victory in the conquest of the country. Broadcasts from the Palestine Hotel’s journalists, who had defied Pentagon warnings not to remain in the capital, had showed some of the widespread mass killings being conducted by US troops in Baghdad’s streets.
The next day, April 9, a US tank pulled down Saddam Hussein’s statue in Firdos Square, just below the hotel, cheered by a handpicked crowd. Despite the carefully stage-managed character of the event, footage and photographs of the statue’s toppling were beamed around the world and became the symbol of the regime’s fall.
French journalist Jean-Paul Mari investigated the attack on the hotel for Reporters Without Borders, with help from the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur. He gathered evidence from journalists in the hotel at the time, from others “embedded” with the US Army units that fired on the hotel and from the American soldiers and officers directly involved. Only one media organisation refused his requests for information: Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. (FAUX FUCKS! .ed)
Mari records that Pentagon officials, speaking barely an hour after the fatal incident, immediately stated that an M1 Abrams tank opened fire on the hotel in response to “enemy fire” coming from the hotel or the area around it. They accused the Saddam Hussein regime of being responsible for the deaths by operating snipers from the hotel. These false claims were maintained at the highest official level in the days that followed, despite numerous accounts from surviving journalists denying that any shots had been fired from the hotel.
On April 8, the Pentagon insisted: “We have reports of Iraqi snipers in the vicinity of the hotel, operating from the hotel, proving that this desperate and dying regime will stop at nothing to cling to power.” Less than two hours after the shelling, General Buford Blount, the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), whose tank fired the shot, said: “A tank was receiving small arms and RPG fire from the hotel and engaged the target with one round.”
This lie was amplified in Washington the next day. Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke stated: “Our forces came under fire. They exercised their inherent right to self-defence.” Vice-President Dick Cheney declared that the suggestion that US troops had deliberately attacked journalists was “obviously totally false ... You’d have to be an idiot to believe that ... The attack on the hotel was simply the result of troops responding to what they perceived to be threats against them.”
However, the official line was partially contradicted by the soldiers involved, who later spoke to several journalists. Sergeant Shawn Gibson, the tank gunner who fired the fatal shot, and his immediate superior, Captain Philip Wolford, who authorised it, denied they had fired because of shooting from the hotel. They said the 4-64 Armor Company of the 3ID’s 2nd Brigade, which was stationed on the Al-Jumhuriya Bridge soon after US troops entered Baghdad, was seeking to neutralise an alleged Iraqi “spotter” monitoring and reporting on US military activity. They aimed their fire at individuals with lenses or binoculars on a hotel balcony, from where some of the media were filming.
Gibson and Wolford emphatically denied knowing, or being told by their superiors, that reporters were stationed in the hotel. Three embedded journalists attached to the 3ID confirmed that their units appeared not to have been informed that the Palestine Hotel had become the media’s headquarters. One, Chris Anderson, a freelance photographer working for a photo agency, said his unit was told that the journalists were still at the Rashid Hotel, the former site of the Iraqi information press centre. In fact, on Pentagon advice that the Rashid Hotel would be targetted, the media corps had shifted to the Palestine Hotel three weeks earlier.
Reporters in the hotel reiterated that they and their employers had informed the Pentagon of their precise location and had been assured by the Pentagon that they would be safe. Associated Press photographer Jerome Delay had received a message from the Pentagon, saying “Don’t worry we know you are there.” Mari notes that General Blount’s 3ID headquarters had ample access to information from the Pentagon, from the US Central Command Doha base (in Qatar) and from the media.
The report comments: “It is inconceivable that the massive presence of journalists at the hotel for three weeks prior to the shelling, which was known by any TV viewer and by the Pentagon itself, could have passed unnoticed. Yet this presence was never mentioned to the troops in the field or marked on the maps used by artillery support soldiers. The question is whether this information was withheld deliberately, out of contempt or through negligence.”
The report concludes that the deaths were a case of “criminal negligence” and “not therefore a deliberate attack on journalists or the media”. It finds that: “At the top level, the US government must bear some of the responsibility. Not just because it is the government and has supreme authority over its army in the field, but also because its top leaders several times made false statements about the incident. They also talked regularly about the dangers journalists faced in Iraq.”
Reporters Without Borders has demanded the re-opening of the US Army’s inquiry into the incident. The Army’s cursory, seven-paragraph report, released last August 12, completely exonerated all military personnel. “They fired a single shell in self-defense in full accordance with the Rules of Engagement,” it concluded. The report amended the official line slightly. It did not speak of direct shooting from the Palestine Hotel but of an “enemy hunter/killer team” operating from the hotel. Thus, the Pentagon’s initial lie was enhanced and made more vague.
Basic questions remain
Despite Mari’s report, there are good reasons to doubt that the killings simply resulted from official negligence and to conclude that a re-opened military inquiry would only produce another whitewash report. Several basic questions must be posed.
1. If the incident were merely a terrible mistake, why did the Bush administration, from Cheney down, go to such lengths to lie about it? Mari records that US Secretary of State Colin Powell twice restated the original false claim well after the event, including at a Madrid press conference last May 1. “Young American soldiers trying to liberate that part of the city came under enemy fire and their lives were in danger so they responded,” Powell asserted.
2. First-hand accounts by Palestine Hotel reporters pointed to a calculated, unhurried attack. France 3 TV footage showed US tanks deliberately firing at the hotel. “They (US tanks) headed there, moved their turrets and waited at least two minutes before opening fire,” said Herve de Ploeg, the journalist who filmed the attack. “It was not a case of instinctive firing.... I’m very specific because I was due to go on air.”
3. How can the claim of mistake be squared with the intentional strike on the Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV offices just before the Palestine Hotel was shelled? As the World Socialist Web Site reported at the time, the strike on Al-Jazeera’s broadcasting facilities was undoubtedly deliberate. Al-Jazeera had written to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last February 23 giving the precise location of its office so as to avoid being targetted.
It seems that Washington has simply refused to investigate this act of murder. Reporters Without Borders filed a Freedom of Information request with the Pentagon last October for the results of any inquiry into Tariq Ayoub’s death. No reply has been received.
4. Why did the White House and the Pentagon warn journalists not to remain in Baghdad, or try to operate independently anywhere in Iraq once the invasion started? White House spokesman Ari Fleischer stressed last February 28 the Pentagon’s advice to the media to pull their journalists out of Baghdad. Asked whether this was a veiled threat to “non-embedded” reporters, he said: “If the military says something, I strongly urge all journalists to heed it. It is in your own interests, and your family’s interests. And I mean that.”
The official responses to the Palestine Hotel killings were laced with similar comments. On April 8, for example, while expressing “deep regret” for “the loss of any innocent civilian life,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Baghdad was “a dangerous place for journalists” and accused the Iraqi government of “intentionally putting civilians in danger”. The Army’s August 12 document echoed this line: “Baghdad was a high intensity combat area and some journalists had elected to remain there despite repeated warnings of the extreme danger of doing so.”
Before launching the Iraq war, the Bush administration established an unprecedented regime of embedded journalism. In the guise of allowing greater coverage of the battlefield, the system’s rules and logistics were designed to ensure favourable, sanitised and monitored reportage of the US-led operation. Some 600 reporters, predominantly from the few countries participating in the US-led coalition, were assigned to specific military units. This arrangement meant they could make no independent assessment of the war or the casualties being inflicted on Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
5. The deaths in Baghdad were part of a wider pattern. The International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the European Broadcasting Union condemned numerous instances in which non-embedded journalists were fired upon, detained or roughed up by US soldiers. No less than 12 were killed in action, at least five by US troops.
They included British ITV journalist Terry Lloyd, who was killed near Basra, apparently by US fire, last March 22. Lloyd, one of the few non-embedded journalists who managed to enter Iraq in the early days of the war, was heading toward Basra, which coalition commanders had falsely reported was under their control. Two of Lloyd’s team, cameramen Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Osman, are officially still missing. Daniel Demoustier, a French cameraman injured in the same attack, accused US troops of firing on their media vehicles to “wipe out troublesome witnesses”.
6. There is every reason to conclude that the pressure to silence non-embedded voices increased as the battle for Baghdad reached its climax on April 8 and 9. Dispatches filed from the Palestine Hotel observed that the soldiers seemed unprepared for the fierce, urban guerilla type resistance they had encountered for days. Other reports indicated that hundreds of people were being indiscriminately mowed down by tanks and armoured vehicles in various Baghdad suburbs.
7. Attacks on journalists still continue in Iraq. In one incident, two US tanks opened fire at close range on a Palestinian-born Reuters cameraman outside a notorious US-run jail in Baghdad on August 17. Mazen Dana, 43, a highly respected and award-winning media representative, was fatally wounded in the chest and bled to death on the spot. Dana was with a group of journalists in clearly marked vehicles. Colleagues who witnessed the killing immediately rejected US military command claims that its soldiers mistook the camera he was holding for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
A month later, the Pentagon also described his death as “regrettable” while insisting that troops had acted within the rules of engagement. It has also failed to reply to a Freedom of Information request for further information on this case.
These ongoing killings point to an orchestrated campaign to intimidate journalists and suppress unvetted coverage of the Iraq operation. All the media victims were attempting to operate outside the “embedded” regime adopted by Washington, with the willing collaboration of the major media conglomerates. It is clear that no inquiry by the military can be trusted to reveal the truth. There must be a genuinely independent inquiry into the entire edifice of official deception surrounding the Iraq war, leading to the criminal prosecution of those in Washington responsible for war crimes.
Chimp_junta: Lies, Dirty Lies, Fucking lies, fucking dirty lies, and despicable lies.
There is only one way we, the people, in order to form a more perfect union and get the truth about the war crimes of Bush, Cheney, Rummsfeld, Wolferwitz, domestic terrorist Perle, Indicted war criminal Tommy Franks, Powell and Rice, will be when Dr. Howard Dean in Inagurated in January of 2005.
Less than ONE YEAR from now, we will be rid of this nightmare our country has sufferd for the last three years. We will be able to exhale. We will have our country back.
It will take years and years of fence mending around the world; years and years of environmental re-enforcement to stop the disintigration of our EPA's authority that chimp_junta, in the day after its inaguration, whispered in its ear, "I'm gonna kill you, eh eh eh."
There can be no shame in hating these dirty bastards, each and every one of them. They should be the target of every rotten egg in the country. There should be high-dollar amounts paid out, on a deck of cards basis, for direct egging of any of them!
Perhaps we can get the major supermarket chains to donate the eggs that have run over their date, and then give gift certificates to the winners.
For instance, someone lands one on Rice...In Her Face?? $1,000 worth of free groceries. Anywhere else above the waist in the frontal target area? $500.
Now anyone who can take the smirk off of elChimpo with a direct egg hit, that should be worth a FULL YEAR OF FREE GROCERIES in my opinion!!!
Write the webmaster and tell him what you think? How much would you pay for the deck of cards? $5? $7.50? $10.00? $100.00---all to go into the account to keep the game on the road!!
Let's take our country back...One chicken farm and a good right arm at a time!!!