Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WTC7's preannounced demise

Alex Jones, he of Prison Planet, has found a video recording, purportedly an original of the BBC broadcast on 9/11, that has the BBC reporter reporting the collapse of WTC7, some 20 minutes before it actually occurred. The building is still standing in the background as she speaks.

The BBC has published, in a response by Richard Porter, head of News, BBC World, a 5 point article that is a masterpiece of bullshit.

The main points, beside the blubbering are:
  1. If the reporter said the building collapsed before it did, it was an error.
  2. We lost the original tapes by accident, really.
  3. We don't really dispute the recording, but nobody remembers too good what happened.
There's a lot of effort being made to keep the video off the web, doomed to failure, of course, chop one down and a thousand bloom. Here's a link to one, subject of course to galloping link rot.

Bookmark it!

The charming and erudite Limited, Inc. points out a great site, IRC Right Web that will be very useful for those of us that want to know who is feeding us the misinformation at the core of our national discourse. In their own words:
Right Web explores the many ties that link the main players, organizations, corporate supporters, foundations, educational institutions, and government representatives in what could be described as a new architecture of power. Right Web aims to shine a spotlight on how these links influence the direction of foreign, military, and homeland security policies, and to illuminate this web for the public.
And check out Limited, Inc., too.

Cheney's Magical Mystery Tour

It's getting so you never know where our VP will show up, and what will happen. After today's bombing at the big airbase at Bagram near Kabul, Cheney did get to meet with Karzai, which was supposed to happen yesterday, but there was a blizzard. It was supposed to be a three hour meeting, but cut short to an hour, much to Karzai's relief, undoubtedly.
Now, it's off to Oman, or better, back to Oman since he was there before Pakistan. Where next?
Line up for the Mystery Tour!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Stuff and nonsense

Sy Hersh has a new NewYorker article that has a lot of material about our upcoming adventures in the Middle East. If you're not convinced that the US is going to strike Iran and happy that way, don't read the article.

Cheney's been off globe-trotting, dropping in on Oman and Pakistan after the planned and seemingly not very welcomed visits to Japan and Australia. As Froomkin notes:

President Bush has all but vanished from the national and international radar. But Vice President Cheney is everywhere and in the thick of it all.

His credibility may be shot, he and his boss may be lame ducks, his signal achievement -- the war in Iraq -- may now be almost universally disparaged, his former chief of staff may soon be found guilty of multiple felonies, but it would appear that rumors of the vice president's demise as a political force have been greatly exaggerated.

The NYT continues to promote the Iran is attacking our troops in Iraq thesis. Today's article, without a byline by Michael Gordon but with his contribution, once again lacks real evidence, but that won't stop them from publishing justifications for war because, I suppose, that's what they're good at.

I'm hoping against hope that I'm a poor and paranoid prognosticator, but I see an attack coming this spring, probably in late March or April.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Cassie Blogging

Oops, the clown show continues

Apology Issued Over Iraq Politican's Son
Who are our friends,
who are our foes,
it's hard in a war,
where nobody knows,
who we are fighting.
But anyway, on to VICTORY!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

2010 or so...

Oh, my.

U.S. Official Admits to Big Delay in Revamping No-Fly Program

This is your lean mean government in action, my bitches.

Mideast Tour

The estimable Badger points out another interesting fact about Condi's last trip to the Middle East. After the disaster with Olmert and Abbas she went to Amman to meet with the heads of intelligence of four states, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE. Apart from from the oddity of a Secretary of State meeting with operations people rather than diplomats, the goal of the meeting raises speculation that she is shoring up support for moves against Iran. This, I suppose, goes with the strategy of turning over southern Iraq to the Iranians.

Also on the ME front, Jim Lobe at the Asia Times points out that Elliot Abrams is causing trouble for Condi at the White House. Is that who sabotaged the meeting in Jerusalem?

Finally, Paul Rogers speculates that Blair's withdrawal plans were forced on him by the British military, and it anticipates the ultimate failure of the entire Iraq adventure.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Far East Follies

Very interesting article at Counterpunch, discussing the North Korea agreement and how Japan, and especially the PM Abe, got stiffed by their buddies the US. At least in that part of the world, it seems that Cheney has lost some of his mojo. Can it be that's why he's on a trip to Japan and Australia, or does he just want to get away from the Libby trial?

Of course, it's just speculation about Cheney, one of the features of the ongoing fiasco of US foreign relations is that you can't tell who is in charge, if anyone. The only one we know is not in charge is Feckless Leader himself, since he's too busy remembering his lines which is hard.

Condi's last trip to the Middle East being a case in point, why would she sit down with Olmert and Abbas, the first high level meeting with the US, Israel, and Palestinians since 2003, and come away with nothing, not even a post-meeting press conference of all three. I smell sabotage, and blaming Cheney has its logic, but we'll have to just wait and see.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Part 2

Here's a link to the second part of Roger Morris's portrait of Donald Rumsfeld. I linked to Part 1 here.
Read them both, Roger pulls no punches:
As no other cabinet officer in history, he turned over crucial, self-sustaining functions of his department to privateers and private armies. He surrendered vital supply and commissariat services for the American military to profit-plundering contractors for whom U.S. forces were neither fellow warriors, nor even share-holders, but captive "customers" to be treated with the offhandedness afforded by guaranteed contracts. He ceded security and combat functions essential to the national mission to a corps of thousands of hired guns whose qualifications, standards of conduct and ultimate loyalty -- all integral to the safety and success of American forces -- were beyond effective governmental control or measure. (Exposed in a Congressional hearing February 7, the scandal of the infamous Blackwell Security Corporation, shirking amid vast profit the arming and protection of its own ranks, would be only a glimpse of the larger disgrace.)
Believe me, that's just a small sample of some world class invective. Bravo, Roger!

Friday Cassie Blogging

Thursday, February 15, 2007


The Dickies

No, it's not my own awards show, it's the band, doing the Banana Splits Theme song, rock on...

(h/t norbizness)

Delhi meeting, who knew?

The foreign ministers of Russia, China and India met yesterday in Delhi. As usual, a high level meeting of three of the largest nations on earth is barely covered by our newspapers of record (NYT, WaPo, though the Boston Globe did pick up the Reuters feed).

According to a Times Online (the UK newspaper) article, Giants meet to counter US power:
It was the second such meeting in the past two years and came after an unprecedented meeting between their respective leaders, Manmohan Singh, Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin, during the G8 summit in St Petersburg in July.

It also came only four days after Mr Putin stunned Western officials by railing against American foreign policy at a security conference in Munich.
The unipolar approach of the Cheney administration is accelerating the realization that the US needs to be countered by a more unified approach. The US, like the Brits before them, has always played the divide and conquer strategy and it has always worked well in the past. This time, the outrageous and dangerous nature of current US policies may prove that strategy's undoing.

All three nations have much to lose from an attack on Iran, India and Russia are trying to get a pipeline across Pakistan (see the Asia Times article reference here), and China is also trying to lock up agreements for Iranian gas. With the Feb. 21 UN deadline for a stop to Iranian enrichment, and the US undoubtedly pushing for stronger sanctions if they fail to comply, it will be interesting to see if the three will form a more united front on this and other issues.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

North Korea

This sums it up, except it lacks a mushroom cloud on the windy road.

Rummy's rumminess

Tom Engelhardt hosts an article by Roger Morris (in two parts, second part Thursday) exploring the life and times of Donald Rumsfeld. It is a must read, as Tom says:
If you don't understand him, you can't fully grasp the unprecedented ruin which is American foreign policy today.
I've always been interested in politics and world affairs, and I'm shocked at just how much of what Morris recounts was unknown to me, dependent as I was on the MSM. I don't know if the internet can help to save the world, but at least we'll have a better idea of why we're spiraling down the shitter.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

India in the middle

M K Bhadrakumar at the Asia Times once again gives valuable insight into the maneuvers going on around energy cooperation and competition.
For me, there were several bombshells that I hadn't seen reported elsewhere:
Most importantly, apart from underlining that expansion of relations with Iran is important for India, Mukherjee described Iran as a factor for stability in the region. That is to say, India disregards Washington's propaganda that Iran is aiding and abetting terrorism and is threatening regimes in neighboring countries.

Equally, Mukherjee called for the Iran nuclear file to be sent back to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the competent forum to handle the issue. "A solution based on talks and a peaceful approach can be realized through close cooperation between Iran and the IAEA. Besides, both sides should be flexible," he said. In sum, Mukherjee made out with great poise and resoluteness that New Delhi has its own independent foreign policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.
I would call this seriously going off the reservation by India. Naturally, the fierce warriors among the Democrats started blustering. Tom Lantos, now head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said:
...Delhi must keep its side of the bargain, "which India is not doing", over the nuclear deal with the US and that it is imperative that "we have to work on that issue".
Since India has a major treaty with the US on nuclear cooperation in the works, one would think that would give the US more control over India's policy, however, another player may be influencing the game:
There seem to be fears in Washington that India may be dragging its feet and, in the process, Russia may steal a march over US companies in supplying nuclear plants to India. It is estimated that the nuclear deal will generate US$80 billion in downstream business.
The main issue, as stated in the article, is energy security. Russia, India, China, and soon the Europeans are going ahead with planning for the limited resources of the future, while the US lives its unipolar dream of being able to bomb everyone into submission and give the profits to the multinationals. The liberal energy market that has allowed private interests to reap huge profits and exert huge power through the 'democracies' of the West may be in its last days. The big question right now is how far the US will go down the road to destruction.

It's unfortunate that the Democratic party is unwilling or unable to discuss these issues except as spokesmen for AIPAC. It makes me doubt that the last election will do anything meaningful to pull us back from the abyss.

Gangsters 2

Uri Avnery points out the MO of the gang currently running Israel, as well as their motives.
As he puts it:
Both in foreign and domestic relations, Mafia methods reign: violence, sudden blows, targeted eliminations.

When these methods are applied by a politician haunted by corruption affairs, an uninhibited war-monger who is fighting for survival by all means available - this is indeed a very dangerous situation.
He hasn't gone as far as to suggest, as I do below, that the gang is basically the same as that running the US and Britain.

But Israel is in a far more precarious position, and the Israeli people are the most directly threatened by this lawlessness. What causes me to strike my head on the keyboard is the belief, shared by many people I know, that unquestioning support of this gang makes the Israelis safer when the opposite is true.


To follow up on this post below, apart from US News who said that 'an important legal ruling is pending' on Cheney's contention that he is above the law, the only other major media organization that has commented or reported on this is, strangely enough, Al-Jazeerah.


And you've been worried that your tax dollars are being wasted. Well, TPM Muckraker has the scoop, a lot of money goes to keeping our Congresspersons fit and relaxed and that must be money well spent.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Congratulations are due

Well, the 'weekend evidence' has been recorded and the media is trying to make the best of it to justify a war with Iran.

For a good summary of just how sketchy the information that was presented is, and the absurd manner of its presentation, I recommend this post by NewsHog.

The persons with the info, three 'senior defense officials' that presented the evidence remain anonymous, but that, to our shepherds of public opinion, is SOP, it probably even makes it more believable to them, after all who wants to put their name to the truth?

It must be a sign of my lack of fitness as a journalist that I find it unacceptable that these people are granted anonymity by the likes of Joshua Partlow in his WAPO article 'Iran Sending Explosive to Extremist Groups in Iraq, Officials Say'. Joshua swallows it like honey.

Unfortunately, this 'evidence', justified and certified by the media, will be used to allow an attack on Iran under the Iraq AUMF. This these brilliant reporters will not tell you, at least for now. The whole media act is being done this way so that Bush can say to Congress, "You already said yes".

So congratulations, war enablers Michael R. Gordon, Joshua Partlow, et al., you've done your work again, your duty, like four years ago, though Judy Miller's style of breathless hysteria will surely be missed.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Who you gonna call?

Michael R. Gordon!

On line it's the top article on the NYT, three pages long, Iran is supplying IEDs to the Shiites, evidence other than hearsay, none.

It had been announced that evidence was to be presented by the administration last Wednesday that Iran was supplying IEDs to... somebody.

That was delayed.

Now Gordon says:
The Bush administration is expected to make public this weekend some of what intelligence agencies regard as an increasing body of evidence pointing to an Iranian link, including information gleaned from Iranians and Iraqis captured in recent American raids on an Iranian office in Erbil and another site in Baghdad.
Strange time, the weekend. Ready for the talking heads on Sunday, but less real coverage. And Mr. Gordon plays his role to set the stage, and the New York Times puts him front and center.

What a whore, and what a pathetic excuse for a newspaper.

Update: This seems part of an end-run around the delay in releasing the 'evidence' (due to doubts about its validity), more machinations in the 'intelligence community', and the 'press'.

Update 2: Glenn Greenwald has more.

Update 3: It's all explained here.

Update 4: Hey, this updating is easy, and fun too! Anyway Think Progress has more, including this:
In little noted comments on Feb. 2, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley acknowledged that the Iran briefing washeld back because it was “overstated” and not “focused on the facts.”
and this:
But a new report in the National Journal states that it was the intelligence community, not the White House, that demanded the briefing be “scrubbed” of overstated claims:
Go read the whole thing.

The Supremacy of the Vice President

From USNews:
An important legal ruling is pending over Vice President Cheney's refusal to disclose statistics on document classification and declassification activity. The Information Security Oversight Office, which is responsible for the policy and oversight of the government's security classification system, has asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to direct Cheney's office to disclose these statistics.
If I understand this kertuffle correctly, there is an executive order that all classified documents must be tracked statistically. There is also an executive order that the Vice President can classify and declassify documents. Cheney is saying his executive power to classify is freed from the executive order to keep statistics by right of his legislative powers.
How can Feckless Leader permit this infringement of his God given executive powers by the legislative powers? Who's on first? Where will it all end?

This is a hint here that Cheney believes himself beyond executive orders by his constitutional legislative powers as Vice President. He believes he can follow or not follow them as he see fit. Very interesting. Could Bush even revoke his powers to classify, or is it too late?

What other powers does he have?

(h/t Kevin Drum)

Over the cliff?

The invaluable Asia Times has another must read article by M K Bhadrakumar, Iran turns up the heat on gas where he describes the latest maneuvers by Iran, Russia, India, China and others to set up energy (gas) infrastructure and agreements.

I recommend you read the entire three page article, but here are a few points that stick out for me:
Iran is the "last frontier" for European countries seeking to access natural gas from the Middle East. By 2015-20, Europe will face serious gas shortages, even if Russia augments its supplies via the Northern European pipeline. Tehran knows it is a "special case" for European countries. Tehran was hoping all along that it could normalize relations with the European Union, and that it would receive serious economic and political carte blanche.
Between them, Russia and Iran control more than 40% of the world's natural-gas reserves.
In geopolitical terms, what merits attention will be the prospects of an "energy club" taking shape within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) framework. Significantly, the foreign ministers of India, Russia and China are to meet in New Delhi in a trilateral format this month. Meanwhile, the Indian foreign minister has just concluded a visit to Iran, setting the requisite political climate for accelerated energy cooperation.
Primakov added, "You see, we want the American hegemonistic aggressiveness to be blunted. Objectively, things will be moving in this direction because giants such as China and India are rising. By the way, the combined GDP [gross domestic product] of China and India is exceeding that of the United States and they are growing 2.5 times faster than the United States."
The unipolar world that the Cheney administration 'strategists' conceived and tried to implement is in tatters, though the US is still paying for it, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. After all, there's still a lot of (US taxpayer) money to steal. But the Europeans in particular are finding themselves in a delicate position, dependent on the US for their security arrangements and US leadership, and more dependent on Russia and Iran (especially in the future) for their energy needs.

India and China are less beholden to the US and have correspondingly greater flexibility to line up advantageous energy deals now. The political impotence of Europe will cost them in the long run, it seems.

Of course, the kicker here is the US and their intentions in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere in central Asia. Tom Engelhardt paints a disquieting picture of our current situation in his latest article: Over the Cliff with George and Dick, Thelma and Louise Imperialism. Tom points out that just about anyone who has a lick of sense in the 'establishment' is starting to jump up and down and wave their arms to attract our attention to the fact that an attack on Iran would be a disaster for all concerned.

In that over-the-top interview with CNN's Blitzer, Vice President Cheney, in essence, accused him of, as the Washington Post put it, "embracing defeat."

What an apt phrase for Dick himself -- and for his presidential pal! Having long embraced a fantasy of victory, they now show every sign of wrapping their arms around their own Iraq defeat as if it were victory, and -- with the enthusiasm of Thelma and Louise, trapped by all those cop cars -- taking the only path that seems open to them. As the alternatives grow ever starker -- surrender to all those "Democrat" electees, to the reporters and the critics, the cavilers and the antiwar demonstrators, the ragtag insurgents, the alien Mullahs, and even the panicked Republicans in their own ranks -- what's left but that liberating, exhilarating trip over the cliff?

Well, if you're not worried now, Paul Rogers enumerates the massive naval force that the US is building in the Gulf, and what it seems to imply.

Sleep well!

Friday Cassie Blogging

A Few Words in Defense of Our Country

-from Randy Newman
(h/t Ken Silverstein)

Thursday, February 08, 2007


When looking at the antics of the Cheney administration, it's difficult to maintain a steady eye without suffering a sense of vertigo. Supporting the Shiites in Iraq and saber-rattling against Iran, denouncing a nuclear armed North Korea while demolishing the agreements that were made to avoid it, calling for the militarization of space and protesting when the Chinese blow up a satellite, the list goes on and on.

I've found that the best solution to keep one's head from exploding while reading the news is to keep this handy phrase in the front of my mind: "These are gangsters."

Why gangsters? Let me count the ways:
  1. They hate and fear the rule of law.
  2. They lie out of instinct more than necessity.
  3. They steal everything that isn't nailed down, and much that is.
  4. Everything to them is secret, except when information is useful for slander and blackmail.
  5. They have no regard for their citizens, nor for the military.
  6. Institutions are only useful if they can be subverted and used for their own ends.
  7. Violence and death aren't unfortunate necessities, they're fun!
  8. They can only be driven from power, they will never give it up.
These gangsters are now in power in at least three countries in the world, the US, Britain and Israel, there's a good chance that Turkey is another, and Russia was certainly on its way to overt gangsterism before Putin fought back.

Point 8 above is the kicker, of course, and it's why I'm looking forward to the next two years, both as cosmic entertainment, and as a student of history. The forces that need to be arrayed to drive them from power will be hard to hide this time, far more so than the forces that put them in power. There is no guarantee of success, and it will in all probability lead to supreme power being passed on to others rather than a return to a republic, hopefully they will be more inclined to bear their responsibilities and care about the preservation of the country and the world. Certainly, if Cheney is still in power in 2009 we'll know that we are thoroughly fucked.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Astronauts run amok!

What a bizarre country.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Proliferation's enablers

Glenn Greenwald's post 'Enforced orthodoxies and Iran' does an excellent job (as usual) of pointing out the political double-think enforced on presidential candidates by AIPAC, as well as the incongruent behavior of the enforcers of orthodoxy.

What I'd like to point out is the policy straitjacket that the Democrats have created for themselves, and its implications. A few points:
  1. When Clinton and Edwards maintain that 'all options are on the table' they are specifically including a nuclear first strike on Iran.
  2. None of the Democratic candidates have created any distance from the Bush's policies of encouraging nuclear proliferation in India and Pakistan, Edwards has specifically endorsed Bush's deal with India.
  3. None talk about the possible threat to Israel from Pakistan.
  4. None talk about the dangers of Israel's nuclear arsenal, despite the fact that their current Minister for Strategic Threats, Avigdor Leiberman is a dangerous extremist who may well end up the Prime Minister.
  5. Bush's disastrous policy that has led to a nuclear North Korea is mostly unmentioned.
  6. None have opposed Bush's plans for a new generation of nukes, and the costs and risks that it entails.
Make no mistake, the Democrats' failure to challenge any of Bush's policies is an endorsement of them, and promotes the doctrine of American/Israeli exceptionalism and unilateralism that is making the world more dangerous with each passing year; that means more dangerous for America and Israel, too. Despite the rhetoric on Iran (who is to be punished for asserting their rights under the treaty), Bush has overseen the dismantling of the non-proliferation agreement that had maintained a modicum of sanity in a dangerous world. The risks of further proliferation throughout Asia and the Middle East are far greater than they were six years ago, yet no Democrat speaks loudly and clearly about the dangers, nor does any offer any policy proposals to reverse this course.

Until Democrats will speak out in the interest of the American people rather than that of a relatively small group of fanatics (and that's what AIPAC is) there is little to be hoped for from the upcoming presidential contest. Unless they can see that Iran is only a small part of a big ugly mess that we can only make worse with this 'no option off the table' cowardice, there's little hope that disaster can be averted.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Two down

Edwards, now Clinton. Will all of the Democratic presidential candidates be enablers of the next war with Iran? (I know, not Kucinich, but a baby hippo will be the candidate before he will.)

Clinton just met with AIPAC, you know, those guys who relayed classified information to the Israelis, hawked the war in Iraq and are now hawking an attack on Iran. Of course, since she had the temerity to suggest trying to talk with the Iranians before letting the bombs fly, they grumbled a bit.

Anyway, digby paints a good picture of the cliff the Dems are walking off, read it.

Friday Cassie Blogging