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Occasional comments on politics also see: for occasional comments on all the arts, especially in Seattle; and and and and ten sub sites if you want to be excessively well informed about the Austrian author Peter Handke

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

# 9 Wednesday March 15/06 post

WPer: "I think we're getting 90 percent of the story" in Iraq

UC Berkeley News

That statement from Post reporter Jackie Spinner prompted disbelieving guffaws from a UC Berkeley audience. "The Iraq war has so polarized this country," she said. "That's why you hear hisses and boos and claps, depending on what you're saying -- people want to hear journalists reaffirm their previously held beliefs about the war. And I don't do that. I simply speak what I see. And I'm sorry if that's offensive to people, but I'm a journalist." PLUS: "Why did it never cross my mind that [Saddam Hussein] didn't have [WMDs] but wanted us to believe that he did?" says NYT reporter John Burns. Posted at 11:25:53 AM


Posted on Tue, Mar. 14, 2006

U.S. military airstrikes significantly increased in Iraq

By Tom Lasseter

Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - American forces have dramatically increased airstrikes in Iraq during the past


Lessons of Iraq War Start With US History

by Howard Zinn

On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many people into supporting the war.

I believe there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture.


Bush's Fake Aid
by Joshua Kurlantzick, Rolling Stone
Add the Millenium Challenge Account to the long list of Bush's failed initiatives. This time, the losers are the world's poor.




15 March 2006

In light of the recent violence in Nigeria, PINR encourages you to read its January 31 Intelligence Brief on the country. Indeed, as PINR warned in November 2005, expect an "escalation of violence by N.D.P.V.F. members against government security forces and Western energy interests in the Niger Delta."

"Intelligence Brief: Iran, Nigeria"


A Grand Unifying Theory Of Everything Seth Lloyd believes that "the universe is a gigantic quantum computer. When you zap things with light to build quantum computers, you're hacking existing systems. You're hijacking the computation that's already happening in the universe, just like a hacker takes over someone else's computer." Wired 03/14/06


Dollar may lose Arab customers over DPW

LONDON, March 14 (UPI) -- Arab nations are exchanging dollars for euros in the wake of congressional rejection of the Dubai Ports World takeover of U.S. ports management.

The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, said it was looking to move one-tenth of its dollar reserves into euros, the Independent reported Tuesday.

The move helped lower the value of the dollar Monday and boost the price for euros.

"The issue is whether we will see similar attitudes taken by other Middle Eastern banks," said Monica Fan of RBC Capital Markets. "It is a question of momentum."


Blair Told Of US Mess In Post-War Iraq

by Hannah K. Strange
UPI U.K. Correspondent
London (UPI) Mar 15, 2006
British Prime Minister Tony Blair received stark warnings from senior diplomatic and military staff three years ago that the United States was mishandling the post-war occupation of Iraq with disastrous effects, a series of leaked memos has revealed.


Flint: It's clear that King's best days at CNN are behind him Wall Street Journal These days, Larry King seems more interested in celebrities and crime, diminishing not only his own reputation and influence, but that of CNN as well, says Joe Flint. King's ratings have dropped as viewers switch to more aggressive cable talk shows. Flint writes: "The real trouble is that Mr. King often appears disengaged. He seems to do little research before sitting down with guests."


Pass It On: You Have A Right To Know!

A new, easy, on-line FOIA request form. As they say, there is no better way to send a strong signal that American citizens believe in the rule of law then exercising your constitutional rights.


New York Times assigns Kornblut to cover Hillary Clinton New York Observer The assignment signals a formal shift in the Times' coverage of Hillary Clinton from local officeholder to national personality, reports Gabriel Sherman. Until now, the Senator had been covered through the paper's Metro desk. "[Anne] Kornblut joins a scrum of no fewer than four Times reporters following Mrs. Clinton," writes Sherman. PLUS: Fortune managing editor Eric Pooley announces office hours

NYT Mag photo makes presidential hopeful Warner look freakish (NYO) ===

Impeachable Strategy
by David Corn,
Democrats who believe that impeachment will come before they control the House are wasting precious time. ===

Understanding Islamism
by Rami G. Khouri,
The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are winning because of political and national grievances, not religious fantasies.


President Bush this week said that a newspaper -- the Los Angeles Times -- had published details of a new technology used to defend against improvised explosive devices, and that jihadists used details from that newspaper story to develop techniques for defeating the new technology. Noah Shachtman of argues that there is reason to doubt the President's account. See "The Enemy is Me," March 14:


"In another sign of increasing government secrecy, the Federal Aviation Administration has removed from its Web site the transcript of a heated public hearing during which pilots ridiculed no-fly zones that have surrounded Washington since 9/11," writes Lance Gay of Scripps Howard News Service. See "FAA yanks potentially 'sensitive' information from Web site," March 15:


"Intelligence in the Civil War" is the topic of a new study published by the Central Intelligence Agency. See: ===

IMPEACHMENT TALK GOES MAINSTREAM William Goodman, AlterNet. From the Wall Street Journal to MSNBC, talk of impeachment is no longer on the fringe. ===

Published on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 by the

Inter Press Service

US Abuses, Sense of Irony Missing in Rights Report

by William Fisher

NEW YORK - Noah S. Leavitt, an attorney who has worked with the International Law Commission of the United Nations in Geneva and the International Court of Justice in The Hague, told IPS: "The sad reality is that because of the [George W.] Bush administration's haughty unilateralism and its mockery of international prohibitions on torture, most of the rest of the world no longer takes the U.S. seriously on human rights matters."


Al Gore, the Victim of a Presidential Mugging, says "I truly believe that American democracy faces a time of challenge and trials that are more serious than we have ever faced."


Orville Schell on Journalism under Siege in Baghdad

Back in September 2004, the Wall Street Journal's Farnaz Fassihi, then covering Iraq, wrote an email to friends that began: "Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest." A year and a half later, it's still a striking account to read, because the grim news she was delivering both as a reporter -- "One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if anything could salvage it from its violent downward spiral…" --

'"Ladies and Gents," the South African pilot matter-of-factly announces over the intercom, "we'll be starting our spiral descent into Baghdad, where the temperature is 19 degrees Celsius."

Understanding Slobodan Milosevic: between the cold war and Iraq

Tom Gallagher
13 - 3 - 2006

Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia found

dead in his cell in The Hague on 11 March 2006, was an unscrupulous opportunist whose brazen defiance of western democratic states and the United Nations in the 1990s ended in only a narrow defeat. He showed how precarious and shallow was the peace following the long cold war, even in the heart of Europe. He recognised the weakness of the democratic world, its complacency and even moral abdication in the face of the flagrant manipulation of nationalism, and its unwillingness to take risks to defend the Bosnian state and its largest group, the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) from massacre and ethnic cleansing.
Former top judge says US risks edging near to dictatorship

· Sandra Day O'Connor warns of rightwing attacks
· Lawyers 'must speak up' to protect judiciary,,1729396,00.html
Media lies and hypocrisy in wake of Milosevic's death


The War Dividend: The British companies making a fortune out of conflict-riven Iraq


It's Regime Change, Again
by Tom Porteous,
The White House is making the same mistakes with Iran as it did with Iraq. This time, the damage to America will be much worse

Death squads operated from inside Iraqi government, officials say

By Matthew Schofield

Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Senior Iraqi officials Sunday confirmed for the first time that death squads composed of government employees had operated illegally from inside two government ministries.

A copy of the DNI memo, marked For Official Use Only (not RELIDO), was
obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Intelligence Community Implementation of Releasable by Information
Disclosure Official (RELIDO) Dissemination Marking," DCID 8 Series
Policy Memoranda 1, June 9, 2005:

A copy of the directive, marked For Official Use Only, was obtained by
Secrecy News.

See "Intelligence Community Policy on Intelligence Information
Sharing," DCID 8/1, June 4, 2004:


Sen. Russ Feingold announced yesterday that he would introduce a
resolution to censure President Bush for "authorizing the illegal
wiretapping program and then misleading the country about the
existence and legality of the program." See:


See "Secrecy Under Scrutiny" by David E. Kaplan, U.S. News and World
Report, March 20:

A sidebar takes a look at Freedom of Information Act policy. See
"Finding out what Uncle Sam has on you" also by David E. Kaplan:


Money's Going to Talk in 2008

'Entry Fee' for Presidential Race Could Be $100 Million

Feingold to Call for Rare Presidential Censure


Vanity Fair: Bush Had Ties to Abramoff

Vanity Fair: Bush Had Ties to Abramoff, Joked With Him About About Weightlifting

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON- Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff says President Bush knew him well enough to joke with him about weightlifting. "What are you benching, buff guy?" Abramoff said Bush asked him. The president has said he doesn't know Abramoff.


Disaster Warning from UN: Death of the World's Rivers


Michael Schwartz on Rebellion and Pacification in Iraq

The Broken Branch: An Unusual Lawsuit Takes Congress to Task For Shoddy and Partisan Lawmaking, In Which A Bill Is Unconstitutionally Being Treated as Law

Friday, Mar. 10, 2006

Two seasoned non-partisan Congress-watchers have teamed up (again) to report some bad news about Congress, assessing a decade of Republican rule. Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, and Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, have written a new book, The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get it Back on Track .

While I am familiar with the prior work of Mann and Ornstein, which is always distinguished by its excellence, all that I know about their new book, to be published in June 2006, is the pre-publication description. According to the publisher (Oxford Press), this latest work reveals that after forty years of Democratic control, the House of Representatives was in need of reform. But that did not happen.


Sandra Day O'Connor Warns Against Partisan GOP DeLay/Bush Dictatorship.



When Congress moved to sink a deal that would have passed control of six major American ports to a company owned by the government of Dubai, President Bush threatened a veto. Now, the company, Dubai Ports World, has resolved the problem by backing away from the deal in the face of overwhelming opposition from Congress. The position of the president, that "in order to win the war on terror, we have got to strengthen our relationships and friendships with moderate Arab countries in the Middle East," has failed to impress members of Congress concerned about their prospects in this year's mid-term elections. As Irwin M. Stelzer wrote in The Daily Standard this week, protectionism of this type may well undermine the economic forces which have created so much wealth in this country over the last sixty years.

Still, it hasn't been all bad for the president. Yesterday, Bush signed into law the latest version of the Patriot Act, extending indefinitely all of the original act's provisions but two, and those two for another 4 years. The Patriot Act has been the source of so much debate in the last 4 years, and yet, somehow, it was ultimately extended with little opposition, and signed with little fanfare.


Norton stepping down as interior secretary; "...among the most outspoken cheerleaders for controversial drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and she repeatedly raised the ire of environmentalists by making it easier -- and faster -- for companies to win permits to explore for resources in public lands, particularly throughout the west."


Cheney Quotes Racist Anti-Semite to Demonstrate 'Progress' In the Middle East

Clinton Quiet About Past Wal-Mart Ties


In the first 68 days of the Zapatista "Other Campaign" in Mexico, Narco News' "Other Journalism" has published 247 original reports, video newsreels, radio reports, audio files, and original translations: 64 of them original reports in English... almost one per day, reported by Authentic Journalists all volunteering our time and labor


Though many experts consider the NSA program to be illegal because it violates the clear language of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Commentary author Gabriel Schoenfeld argues that disclosure of the program is the crime that should be investigated and prosecuted. That perspective is examined in "Bill Keller in Chains: Commentary's case for prosecuting the Times under the Espionage Act" by Jack Shafer, Slate, March 9:


> Alterman tried to sound alarm bell re Bush's war on press in '05 (CAP)


The Espionage Statutes and Publication of Defense Information," Columbia Law Review, May 1973, vol. 73, pp. 929-1087 (a large 6.3 MB PDF file):


Judge Says Libby Can See Bush Briefings

Bottom of Form 1


Published: March 10, 2006

CIA ON THE PRESIDENT'S DAILY BRIEF Some new details on the preparation of the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and its presentation to the President and a small number of other officials are discussed in a Central Intelligence Agency declaration filed last week in the prosecution of former Vice Presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. "Six mornings a week, intelligence briefers meet with the President and selected senior Executive officials to provide a daily intelligence briefing. Each briefer meets with one or more designated officials to present an oral briefing and a binder containing written materials for each official's review," wrote CIA official Marilyn A. Dorn. She argued in her declaration that responding to Mr. Libby's request for production of various PDBs and related material would be extremely burdensome and might also infringe on executive privilege. See her March 2, 2006 declaration (filed March 3) here: A March 7 response from Mr. Libby is available here:


"It is impossible to talk about groups of people without generalizing," the document explains. "It then follows that it is hard to talk about the culture of a group without generalizing. This handbook attempts to be as accurate and specific as possible, but inevitably contains such generalizations." A copy of the new Handbook was obtained by Secrecy News. See "Arab Cultural Awareness: 58 Factsheets," DCSINT Handbook No. 2, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, January 2006:

09 March 2006

In July 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq, PINR wrote, "If current trends persist in Iraq, most likely U.S. and U.K. support for the occupation of Iraq will continue to fall. More analysts and politicians are warning that the only way to create stability in Iraq is to drastically increase the amount of troops on the ground to an approximate force of 225,000, up from the current force of 156,000. ... failure to create stability will further anger the Iraqi people, thus creating more support for attacks on coalition troops, and also lead to major political fallout for both the Bush and Blair administrations."

That telling analysis from July 2003 can be read at:

"Coalition Forces Find Themselves in a Predicament"

For PINR's most recent analysis on Iraq, please see:

"Red Lines Crisscross Iraq's Political Landscape"


House Votes to Dump State Food Safety Laws


Warner: Civil war would warrant Iraq pullout

By Gordon Trowbridge
Times staff writer

The U.S. should pull its forces out of Iraq if that country descends into a sectarian civil war, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said March 7.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a strong supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, said he was speaking only for himself and not other Republicans, and that he doesn't believe the term "civil war" now applies to Iraq. But his statements raise the possibility that a worsening of the security situation could turn calls for a pullout into a bipartisan chorus.


WASHINGTON - More and more people, particularly Republicans, disapprove of

Top of Form 1

Bottom of Form 1

President Bush 's performance, question his character and no longer consider him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency.


is called "churning" in some other context, no?

US says its closing Abu Ghraib prison and moving 4500 prisoners to other jails in Iraq. Bush administration-condoned and outsourced torture and human rights abuses continue, but now with new addresses.


"From the beginning of the occupation, any claims the occupying power had to legitimacy were sacrificed when most cities were left to govern themselves. In June 2004, when the Bush administration officially handed "sovereignty" (which it already didn't possess) to the Iyad Allawi government which it had put in power, it withdrew any claims it might have had to such authority; and yet it also failed to deliver any of the ingredients of sovereignty to its supposed successor..."

Michael Schwartz on Disintegrating Iraqi Sovereignty


Joysey. Judge Says Port Lease Remains Valid

By JANET FRANKSTON Associated Press Writer

(AP) - NEWARK, N.J.-A New Jersey judge on Thursday axed a bid by officials from two states to end Port Newark's lease with a company that plans to sell operations at major U.S. ports to an Arab-owned company.

Superior Court Judge Patricia K. Costello denied a request by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to immediately terminate its 30-year agreement with London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. However, the judge said the bi-state agency's lawsuit against the company can continue.

Company based in Dubai ready to give up attempt to take management stake in U.S. ports

By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press Writer

(AP) - WASHINGTON-A Dubai-owned company said Thursday that it was prepared to give up its management stake in some U.S. ports, a move made as congressional leaders warned President George W. Bush that both the House of Representatives and Senate appeared ready to block the takeover.

SSA MARINE here in Seattle, I was betting on them right off the bet. Theres no one else who can handle it.


As Bill Conroy and Narco News continue to investigate and uncover
documents regarding the allegations of massive corruption in the
Bogotá office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the
Colombian newsmagazine Cambio (owned and directed in part by former
drug legalization supporter Gabriel García Marquéz) has dug up a
juicy tidbit of its own. In this week's issue, whose cover reads "The
Price of Justice," the magazine reveals that on January 31 of this
year the U.S. Justice Department received the last $1.3 million of an
$83 million payment from the family of slain Colombian paramilitary
boss and narco-trafficker Gonzalo "The Mexican" Rodríguez Gacha. In
return for the massive payment, the family - Rodríguez' widow and
seven of his "heirs" - received immunity from prosecution, which they
were facing from the Jacksonville, Florida U.S. District Court.


DeLay On Abramoff: I Love You, I Love You Not, I Love You…

DeLay, Northern Mariana Islands,

1997 :

When one of my closest and dearest friends, Jack Abramoff, your most able representative in Washington, D.C., invited me to the islands, I wanted to see firsthand the free-market success and the progress and reform you have made.

DeLay, in a letter to his constituents,

2/6/06 :

The reality is, Jack Abramoff and I were not close personal friends.I met with him only occasionally…

CNN, on DeLay's reaction to the new Vanity Fair article,

3/9/06 :


The imprisoned president

Sidney Blumenthal

Republicans representative of their permanent establishment have recently and quietly sent emissaries to President Bush, like diplomats to a foreign ruler isolated in his forbidden city, to probe whether he could be persuaded to become politically flexible. These ambassadors were not connected to the elder Bush or his closest associate, former national security advisor

Brent Scowcroft , who was purged in 2005 from the president's foreign intelligence advisory board and scorned by the current president.

Scowcroft privately tells friends who ask if he could somehow help that Bush would never turn to him for advice. So, in one case, a Republican wise man, a prominent lawyer in Washington who had served in the Reagan White House, sought no appointments or favours and was thought to be unthreatening to Bush, gained an audience with him. In a gentle tone, he explained that many presidents had difficult second terms, but that by adapting their approaches they ended successfully, as President Reagan had.


Senator Resumes Lobbyist Huddles

Santorum Suspended Sessions Jan. 30


Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Charles Babington Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 9, 2006; Page A04

After saying in January that he would end his regular meetings with lobbyists, Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), the third-ranking GOP leader in the Senate, has continued to meet with many of the same lobbyists at the same time and on the same day of the week.



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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website