Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Under the wide and starry sky

They think wer stoopid

The FBI has released four security tapes from buildings around the Murray building in Oklahoma City around the time of the blast. Each of the tapes goes blank in the minutes before the blast, and then starts up after.

The FBI explanation is that they all 'ran out of tape'. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the beach


Please be informed that when you gentlemen die, and proceed on to hell, you will have to bear the burden of hearing this phrase being repeated throughout the eternity of your damnation:
American military and intelligence officials, who insisted on anonymity because they were discussing classified information, said...
And worse, you will be forced to reply:
So what, they insisted.
Hope to see you there!


America has been lied to, OMG:
In John Farmer’s book: “The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11″, the author builds the inescapably convincing case that the official version... is almost entirely untrue...
The 9/11 Commission now tells us that the official version of 9/11 was based on false testimony and documents and is almost entirely untrue. The details of this massive cover-up are carefully outlined in a book by John Farmer, who was the Senior Counsel for the 9/11 Commission.
Farmer, Dean of Rutger Universities' School of Law and former Attorney General of New Jersey, was responsible for drafting the original flawed 9/11 report.
More fun stuff:
Farmer states...“at some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened... I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described …. The [Norad air defense] tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years. This is not spin.”
The 9/11 Commission head, Thomas Kean, was the Republican governor of New Jersey. He had the following to say... “We to this day don’t know why NORAD [the North American Aerospace Command] told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth. . . " When Bush's own handpicked commission failed to go along with the cover up and requested a criminal investigation, why was nothing done?

 Why? Well, duh.

I can't wait until this is covered by the NYT and WaPo. Haw, haw!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Topping yesterday's leak in the NYT on McChrystal's request for more troops, the WaPo today released a redacted version of his Afghanistan assessment, complete with an introductory article by famed stenographer reporter Bob Woodward, from a few weeks ago. When leaks start to flow like the river, you can be sure that there are conflicting policy assessments that are fighting it out by means of a dutiful press.

As we've seen before, Obama sits on his hands as the messages trap him into decisions that are bad for his administration, and worse for the country. It happened in the bankster bailout, it happened on the health care 'debate', and it's happening now on Afghanistan. Well, you go to war with the President you've got, to paraphrase Rummy.

McChrystal, as usual, lays most of the blame for past failures on the Afghanis themselves, guilty of corruption, drug smuggling, warlordism, and incompetence. On the other hand, the Taliban (also Afghanis, you may recall) are described as muscular and sophisticated. And they got that way without our help!

The complaint about warlords must be especially galling to Karzai, who was given the warlords as a fait accompli after the invasion. He has had to deal with them, and he has, of course. Much of the aid money is undoubtedly channeled to them to keep them quiet and to augment their income from the drug trade.

These warlords and their private armies, what does McChrystal propose to do about them? From what I read in the assessment, he doesn't address the issue of private militias at all. One might think that to consolidate the power of the state, private militias, no matter how friendly, should be disarmed. Maybe it would make sense to see the Taliban as just several allied and currently hostile militias among many. It's hard to take seriously an assessment that ignores the facts on the ground that determine the condition of much of the population.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Schit and Whanker

No, I meant to say Schmitt and Shanker, faithful NYT stenographers for an anonymous senior White House official today, any anonymous official tomorrow or yesterday. Said official, like totally off the record, says that the good Gen. McChrystal needs more troops in Afghanistan, AND SOON, or the whole thing might just head directly into the shitpile, not passing go, nor collecting $200.

This grim assessment is, as announced, CLASSIFIED, but since an anonymous White House official has leaked it to the NYT, we of the hoi polloi are allowed to receive its wisdom without being shipped off to GITMO or BAGRAM

Who do you think the senior WH official is?

The classified news is contrasted in the article with Obama's statement that decisions have not been made about further troop deployments. The implication is that the WH official is putting on pressure, prodded by McChrystal, to cough up the 40,000 or so troops he wants. Despite previous articles spelling out that figure, S &W let us know that that figure is, yes, classified.


The report was read by 'lawmakers', but they couldn't take notes on a five page document. Probably so they can't recall the number of troops. 4, 400, 4000, all those zeros, who can remember without notes.

As now normal for Afghan reporting, there was no mention of the good Gen. Petraeus, who has remained remarkably under the radar as McChrystal takes the heat. Smart!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quid pro quo

Obama's announcement that the plan to deploy missiles in Poland and the Czech republic is a no go leads to the obvious question, what does the US get in return.

Since no one really questioned the fact the the missiles would be aimed at Russia, and had nothing to do with Iran from a military point of view, whatever the US does get will be given by Russia.

The most probable quid pro quo is support for new sanctions against Iran. The Russians seem to sending mixed signals, first FM Lavrov said Russia would not support further sanctions, then Medvedev said 'well, maybe' and today Lavrov once again stated Russian opposition to 'swift new sanctions'.

There is the remote possibility that Obama decided to give up the missile deployment on its own merit, which would make it the most intelligent foreign policy decision of his short administration. We can hope so, anyway.

War is Peace

Tom Engelhardt points out, in case you hadn't noticed it, that indeed, War is Peace.

Or, you might say, more war means, somehow a better peace, McChrystal want 40,000 more troops for Afghanistan, 1,000 more troops are going to Iraq, and the war drums are upping it a notch for an attack on Iran, which means, of course, war.

I still can't believe that the US (or Israel for that matter) is stupid enough to launch an attack on Iran. The drumbeats are part of a push for sanctions, the Russians and Chinese don't want an attack on Iran either, but the danger remains that they might call our bluff this time, and leave 'no other choice'.

It looks like things are heating up again, and the lunatics are still in charge of the asylum.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Taliban?

I would think that the great majority of people in Pakistan, all things being equal, would opt not to be ruled by the Taliban. I can even imagine that few of the Taliban fighters, in terms of their obnoxious social policies, would want to be ruled by the Taliban.

But when you read things like this editorial in Dawn, and you realize that the Taliban oppose the kleptocrats in power for reasons other than just reactionary Islam, it's clear why their power and influence continues to grow: "Country for sale?"

Starting with Musharraf, and now continuing with Zardari and company, the Pakistan government is leasing out millions of acres of farm land to foreign corporations/governments, allowing all the food produced to be shipped out, as well as profits. There are cash payments, of course, the big part of which are probably skiing in the Swiss alps.

According to a recent study, Pakistan is at extreme risk in food security. Compared with having food, and not being able to view western DVDs and have your haircut, what would you choose?

Iran controls Iraq

Michael Hastings does an interview with Col. Douglas Macgregor that has much interesting material. Regarding our new COIN generals, Macgregor explains why they like COIN so much:
What the generals have today Afghanistan and Iraq, they like. There is no maneuver. You move in, you have a very weak adversary, you set up a base, and you do operations from the base. Your enemy has no armor, no artillery, no air force. You are able to go where you like and do what you like. There are no high risk maneuvers. There are no exceptionally agile or dangerous enemies that can put your forces in complete risk. This is not 1950—the 8th Army is not in danger of being overrun by the North Koreans or the Chinese. The generals are much more comfortable with static light infantry warfare against a weak adversary that drags on for years because it is low risk for them.
From that point of view Iraq was really low risk, Afghanistan is worse, if only because of the terrain. What's the same is the total lack of any technological challenge to the occupations. Both the Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban make use of very primitive armaments. The US has evidently been successful in convincing any prospective nation that might want to up the ante, a la Hezbollah, with more modern and effective armaments. But just that lack of support means that the Taliban, with a little help from some friends, could make things much more difficult.

And why the Saudis are lacking in gratitude to their big christian brother, despite our victory in Iraq:
If the United States advanced the border of Iranian strategic power to your border, would you be grateful? Since we have no influence over Iran, who does? If you are looking for an opportunity to influence your security—the Iranians don’t invade overtly. They develop fifth columns in your Shiite populations and eastern Saudi Arabia is heavily Shiite. The deal involves tanks, BMPs, a lot of armaments. These are the things we’ve been selling the Saudis for years, and it looks like we’re being edged out of that market. This has nothing to do with Russian success. It has everything to do with our behavior in the region. People don’t understand that something that everybody in the Persian Gulf understands, in Saudi Arabia understands that is, Iran controls Iraq, not the United States or its forces.

Anyway, it's a good interview, so read it already.
(h/t NewsHoggers)

Shove your public option, Obama

My HMO, which in the past has been unresponsive about my substance dependence, finally got me a nice long stay at a real classy treatment center in Ciudad Juarez.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The continuing clown show in Afghanistan just put on one of its best performances. A senior US diplomat has either left the country in a huff, or has been booted out by his Norwegian superior, depending on whose spin you're listening to.

The two 'diplomats' got into it in a meeting with Afghan officials to discuss the much maligned elections. Peter Galbraith, the US diplomat, is a good buddy of Richard Holbrooke, known for his strong arm techniques. Galbraith was doing his best to emulate him, browbeating the Afghan election committee. Eide, the Norwegian, evidently thought that Galbraith was acting out of turn.

The tragi-comedy of the elections has little to do with fraud, it's all about the US getting their fair haired boy into power, whoever that might be at the moment. The more these spats continue, the harder it will be for the US to accept Karzai for another term.

But how to get rid of him? By now, it's going to be almost impossible to have even a run off election before winter. That means keeping a very precarious president in office, when the US clearly wants him out. What to do, what to do???

Monday, September 14, 2009

This is America

Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near Charleston, W.Va.
In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Back in the Forties and Fifties you could make the argument that people and government didn't know the consequences of pollution. Now it's just the money that talks, and the whores in Congress and the bureaucracy just take their cut and play Sgt. Schultz.
The E.P.A. administrators during the last eight years — Christine Todd Whitman, Michael O. Leavitt and Stephen L. Johnson — all declined to comment. 
Ve know nothink!
And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead
-B. Dylan, Masters of War

Starry, starry night

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Journalist, not interpreter

Though not uniform, CNN actually gets it right, most of the reporting on the rescue of Stephan Farrell have labeled Sultan Munadi, killed in the raid, an 'interpreter', including the NYT (who employ Farrell).

Munadi was actually a well respected Afghan journalist. You'd think that the self-regarding unctuous little shits at the Times could keep that straight, but they've never bothered to cloak their racism too deeply. Oh, and they ask for contribution for Munadi's family. Big of them.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Mr. Van Jones might have been able to continue as the 'Green Jobs Czar' is he had only called Republicans 'assholes', a simple statement of fact even if vulgarly expressed.

But expressing doubt on the catechism of 9/11 cannot be excused, not even after a full recantation. After all, two past and present wars, and an unknown number of future wars are all justified by the narrative of the events of that day. Doubting the 9/11 narrative was a slap in the face to Obama, who has paraded under its banner as faithfully and assiduously as George W. Bush.

He had to go. Let it be a warning to you all.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Obama blasts Israeli plan

This story seems to play up the administrations remarks. Gibbs said the President 'regrets' the reports of the Israeli action to expand the settlements. However, Blog Simple has new details of the possible serious rift between Washington and Jerusalem.


White House sources have said that President Obama has threatened Israel with 'consequences' if they go ahead with plans to build more 'settlements'.

One senior official stated that President Obama was going to 'stamp his little feet', perhaps even in public, if the Israelis didn't renounce their plan. Further actions were also under consideration, including 'holding his breath until blue in the face'.

But another official said that breath holding was not on the table, at least for now, "It's got the Secret Service worried." he said, adding that Obama's complexion made the action "problematic".

Israeli officials, speaking off the record, professed to be unconcerned about the President's tough new line. "Nyah, nyah, he's a poopie face." was stated by more than one.

Maliki got warned

Look at this sequence of events:
  1. Iraq PM Maliki goes to Damascus to meet with Assad on August 18.
  2. A huge bomb explodes by the Iraq Foreign Ministry in Baghdad on August 19.
  3. The NYT says that the bombs are evidence that Iraq can't handle security on August 20.
  4. Maliki summons the Syrian ambassador, basically accusing Syria of being behind the bombing on August 25.
It looks to me that Maliki got a warning to stay away from Syria and he obeyed or risked further attacks by people with inside access to Iraqi security. I wonder who that might be? Syria? I don't think so.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Obama is different

Over at Tom Dispatch, David Swanson matches up the first seven months of the Obama administration with what we could have expected if George W. Bush had been reelected to a third term.

As Blog Simple has also opined in the past, there just isn't much difference between the two. Wherever you look, the same policies and people continue without a break.

But, as he points out, some things have changed:
Which doesn't mean there aren't differences in the two moments. For one thing, Democrats have now joined Republicans in approving expanded presidential powers and even -- in the case of wars, military strikes, lawless detention and rendition, warrantless spying, and the obstruction of justice -- presidential crimes. In addition, in the new Democratic era of goodwill, peace and justice movements have been strikingly defunded and, in some cases, even shut down. Many progressive groups now, in fact, take their signals from the president and his team, rather than bringing the public's demands to his doorstep.

If we really were in Bush's third term, people would be far more active and outraged. There would already be a major push to really end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan. Undoubtedly, the Democrats still wouldn't impeach Bush, especially since they'd be able to vote him out before his fourth term, and surely four more years of him wouldn't make all that much difference.
So, the net result of Obama's election is a de-politicization of the anti-war/social justice movements, and the declawing of those few Democrats with claws. But wasn't that really the plan? Face it, we've been taken, suckers!

The Pentagon is worried about Obama

McClatchy's Nancy Youssef reports that McChrystal will be asking for between 21,000 and 65,000 more troops for our oldest, yet newest excellent quagmire.

The request for an increase was supposed to be included in the latest assessment from McChrystal, but was delayed by political concerns.

Youssef also says that Obama has and is being pressured by our supremely competent generals to up the ante:
Some White House officials said the administration feels it was pressured to send the additional 17,500 combat troops and 4,000 trainers earlier this year, before the administration was comfortable with its plan for Afghanistan, because of the country's election in August.

Obama now feels that McChrystal and his superior, Army Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the Central Command, are pressuring him to commit still more troops to Afghanistan, a senior military official said. The official said that retired Marine Gen. James Jones, Obama's national security adviser, told McChrystal last month not to ask for more troops, but that McChrystal went ahead anyway and indicated in interviews that he may need more.
This has been the fifth assessment since Obama took office. Keep on trying until you get one you like, what?

The White House is also dismayed that the US public hasn't lined up to cheer on the colossal waste and idiocy. Chanting 9/11 just doesn't work like it used to. Damn!

The whole article is worth reading, It's the first article that suggests that the Pentagon is playing their own hand against a White House that might be getting cold feet. Pentagon vs. Obama, who will win?

I'm betting on the Pentagon, by forfait.