Subscribe: Wot Is It Good 4
http://wotisitgood4.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
american  bush administration  bush  case  iran  iraq  military  new  news  nuclear  people  president  sibel  turkey  turkish  war   
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Wot Is It Good 4

Wot Is It Good 4



when doves cry



Updated: 2018-02-25T23:08:32.353+11:00

 



That's all folks

2008-01-13T03:38:10.250+11:00

This blog is closed.

Please see the right hand side for links to some of my work on the Sibel Edmonds case.

I'm still working on the Sibel Edmonds case, and can be found at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak and Against All Enemies

See below this post for "What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?" - an overview of the case.



What the heck is Sibel Edmonds' Case about? And why should I care?

2008-01-13T03:47:06.242+11:00

Below is a short-as-possible piece which hopes to answer the burning question in Sibel's case: What the heck is her case about?For a longer version, see my recent interview with Scott HortonPlease call the offices of Congressmen Waxman - (202) 225-3976 - and Conyers - (202) 225-5126 - demanding open hearings into Sibel Edmonds' case and the State Secrets Privilege.-----------Sibel Edmonds' case is about the intersection of illegal arms trafficking, heroin trafficking, money laundering, terrorist activities and the corruption of many "highly-recognizable, highly-known names" in and around the US government. Sibel says that the people involved will go straight to prison if we can get hearings into her case. Richard Perle, in prison. Douglas Feith, in prison. Dennis Hastert, in prison. Marc Grossman, in prison.According to Sibel, the best place to begin trying to understand the case is a recent article by Phil Giraldi in the American Conservative. Sibel says “Giraldi has it 100% right; this I consider the most accurate summary of my case.”Giraldi writes: "Sibel Edmonds... could provide a major insight into how neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time. On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to Ankara. But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have profited from the Turkish connection.[]Turkey benefits from the relationship by securing general benevolence and increased aid from the US Congress - as well as access to otherwise unattainable military technology. The Turkish General Staff has a particular interest because much of the military spending is channeled through companies in which the generals have a financial stake, making for a very cozy and comfortable business arrangement. The commercial interest has also fostered close political ties, with the American Turkish Council, American Turkish Cultural Alliance and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations all developing warm relationships with AIPAC and other Jewish and Israel advocacy groups throughout the US.Someone has to be in the middle to keep the happy affair going, so enter the neocons, intent on securing Israel against all comers and also keen to turn a dollar."Giraldi goes on to list some neocons who are "linked to Turkey" - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, and Stephen Solarz - and he suggests that they "enrich themselves" via drug trafficking and arms dealing.The American Turkish Council (ATC)The main Turkish lobbying group in the US is an organization called the American Turkish Council (ATC) - one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country. The ATC is heavily stacked with former government officials - statesmen, lobbyists and 'dime a dozen generals' - lobbyists and representatives of the military-industrial-complex (MIC). Brent Scowcroft is the chairman, and heavy hitters from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and other 'defense' contractors populate the board.It's perhaps not surprising, then, that Turkey is a major recipient of US military aid - running to the billions of dollars - with much of it financed by the US taxpayer. Giraldi suggests in his article that this largesse appears to be the result of bribes paid to congressmen - a suggestion that shouldn't surprise anyone - but there's much more to the story than the usual Iron Triangle / Revolving Door story that we're all familiar with.In a 10-page article in Vanity Fair on Sibel's case, the ATC is described as "a front for criminal activity" involving "large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder." We'll discuss the drug side of the story shortly, but let's first take a quick look at the military technology element - not only are the MIC contractors bribing congress to ensure that military aid flows to Turkey ([...]



Sometimes fearmongering isn't enough (guest post by noise)

2007-06-04T16:18:41.727+10:00

Arkansas GOP chief Dennis Milligan:

He said he’s “150 percent” behind Bush on the war in Iraq.

“At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country,” Milligan said. (1)




Clemons sez he is a big fan of Scott

2007-06-03T21:22:46.563+10:00

* Horton interviewed Steve Clemons. Clemons sez he is a big fan of Scott. Everyone sez that about Horton.

* Taibbi takes Giuliani apart.

* Jeralyn:
"My answer to the question as to whether Rudy is more dangerous than Bush: Of course he is. He's smarter and more Machiavellian.

A more apt question would be whether he's more dangerous than Dick Cheney. Probably not. But it's also why, happily, he won't be successful in his bid for the Presidency."

* scott interviewed Jim Lobe. Lobe says he thinks the Turks will invade conduct cross-border raids into Iraq "starting in a month or so."


* Other Horton:
"(Larry) Wilkerson’s parting comment is telling. “They are dangerous men who will lie about almost anyone or anything,” Wilkerson angrily responded by e-mail, singling out Feith, DiRita, Cheney and Rumsfeld for scorn."
* i'll be offline (my) monday



Postsecret

2007-06-03T17:55:28.071+10:00

Postsecret
(image)



US let Pakistan go nuclear: ex-CIA official

2007-06-03T15:24:24.833+10:00

Dawn (in Pakistan, in full):
"US let Pakistan go nuclear: ex-CIA official

WASHINGTON, May 3: The Reagan administration allowed Pakistan to continue its nuclear programme because it needed Islamabad’s support to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, says a former CIA official.

Richard Barlow was an analyst for the CIA, monitoring Pakistan’s nuclear programme during the Reagan era. In 1989, he moved over to the Pentagon, where he worked for then Secretary of Defence Richard Cheney.

In an interview to a Washington news site, Raw Story, Mr Barlow claims that he lost the job when he raised objections to his bosses about senior Pentagon officials allegedly lying to Congress concerning Pakistan’s emerging nuclear programme.

When Mr Barlow joined the CIA in 1985 as a counter-proliferation intelligence officer with particular expertise on Pakistan, he soon learned that US officials were aware of Pakistan’s efforts to establish a weapon-cable nuclear programme but chose to ignore them.

According to Mr Barlow, individuals at the State Department later actively facilitated procurement, tipping off targets of sealed arrest warrants in undercover operations and illegally approving export licenses for restricted goods.

In 1985 — following the arrest of a Pakistani agent in the US who attempted to procure specialised switches for nuclear detonators — Congress took steps to prevent Pakistan from developing nuclear weapons, passing bills that would cut off economic and military aid to Pakistan if it were found to be involved in nuclear activities.

“However, President Reagan wanted military and economic aid to continue flowing to Pakistan to ensure its ongoing support of his covert war against the Russians in Afghanistan,” Mr Barlow says.

In 1987, Mr Barlow engineered the arrest of some of Pakistanis in the US as part of an undercover operation. He says the arrests came with the full support and knowledge of the highest levels of the CIA and the Reagan administration.

The arrests sparked a firestorm. Proof of Pakistan’s proliferation activities would trigger the provisions of the so-called Solarz Amendment and put an end to Pakistani aid.

The amendment’s author, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs Chairman Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-NY), called for a top-secret briefing by the CIA. Mr Barlow was sent to represent the agency.

Under orders from the CIA, he told the subcommittee that there were “scores” of illegal transactions that should have triggered the Solarz Amendment. He also claimed that the Pakistanis involved — including a retired general — were agents of the government of Pakistan.

While Mr Solarz and others in Congress favoured Mr Barlow, he claims that some senior officials of the Reagan administration tried to undercut his testimony. US officials running the covert Afghan war — the Directorate of Operations, the former National Intelligence Officer for Proliferation who had been responsible for briefing Congress and the State Department’s regional office — were particularly upset and tried to get him fired for engineering the arrests and spilling the beans, he says.

A US court, however, convicted the Pakistani nationals arrested for assisting their country’s nuclear programme and President Reagan triggered the Solarz Amendment for the first and only time.

Immediately afterward, President Reagan invoked a national security waiver provision in the law, nullifying the amendment.

Mr Barlow left the CIA and in early 1989, after George H. W. Bush became president, he joined the Pentagon’s Office of Non-Proliferation Policy."



Military equipment found in Turkish train wreck

2007-06-03T13:35:06.580+10:00

Turkish MSNBC (thanks Mizgin)

"Military equipment found in Turkish train wreck: Buyukanit

There has been speculation in the media, denied by Tehran, that a consignment of arms was being sent to Syria from Iran.

The chief of the Turkish general staff has confirmed that military equipment was found amongst the cargo of a freight train that was derailed by a terrorist bomb last week.

General Yasar Buyukanit said that while he would not comment in detail on the allegations that a cache of warms and munitions had been found at the site of the train derailment, he did say that there was military equipment aboard the train.

Claims that a cargo container on train that derailed in south eastern Turkey on May 24 after a terrorist group detonated a mine on the tracks was found to contain weaponry surfaced in the media soon after the incident.

“An investigation is already under way,” Buyukanit said. “If the cars of the train enter the country from the border without undergoing a detailed check, officials do not check them again. There is something wrong here. A car derailed and weapons appeared. It is impossible to say something before the investigation is completed. But I can say that there was military equipment.”"



an apology

2007-06-03T13:41:25.891+10:00

Yesterday I did something very stupid, and I linked to something that, rightfully, caused a lot of offence.

I asked the author of the video to pull it down, they agreed, and sent me this message:
The video is down. Too bad, I received a bunch of inquiries and phone calls from friends asking me who she is. I'd tried telling them before about her but nobody seemed to care. Suddenly, mix her story with pop culture crap and people open their eyes - go figure. Maybe it has something to do with how their brains have been re-wired over the last bunch of years with all the crap they watch on tv. Oh well, please pass on my apologies... and, please, tell her my intentions were sincere. I'll try to figure out another way to get people to open up to her case.
I understood that this was the intention behind the video, and I saw the video in that context. It is a common at youtube to use trashy 'pop culture' to bring attention to an issue in this way, and it is understood that there is no link between the actual content of the video, and the pop culture element.

Regardless, it was appalling judgement by me. Sincere apologies.



RIP

2007-06-03T08:30:01.424+10:00

Steve Gilliard, RIP.



Sibel Edmonds - still waiting for justice.

2007-06-03T07:44:04.585+10:00

(object) (embed)



This Is How I Protest The War

2007-06-02T16:15:23.044+10:00

* clemons:
"There are a lot of new good people -- working together finally -- in this administration. But Vice President Cheney, and his national security spearcarriers -- David Addington, John Hannah, and David Wurmser -- will be out there to sabotage and oppose him at every turn. These rivals can't be seduced to support David Gordon's logic. They need to be out run, embarrassed, exhausted, pushed out of the room, or crushed.

That's how one wins against Cheney's followers. David Gordon's appointment is a sign that smart realists are ascendant."

* Henry Rollins - "This Is How I Protest The War" (10 mins)

* Mizgin has a letter from a soldier. go read.

* your president speaks:
"Sometimes I'm not poetic enough to describe what it's like to be in the presence of the Holy Father. It is a moving experience. And I have not been in the presence of this particular Holy Father."



Repudiate Now.

2007-06-02T10:21:50.156+10:00

Scott Ritter:"Impeachment is the constitutional remedy for a unilateral president whose governance is an insult to traditional American democratic norms and values. However, impeachment alone is simply a measure which addresses the symptoms of a larger malaise that has stricken America. The arrogance associated with the concept of the unitary executive is prevalent throughout mainstream American political life. The passivity of the legislative branch is one byproduct of the dominance of the unitary executive. It is also an indicator that the will of the people, as expressed through their election of the people's representatives to the Congress of the United States, no longer has the weight and bearing long associated with the American democratic experience. Any effort to impeach Bush and any of his administration found to be engaged in activities classifiable as "high crimes and misdemeanors" would fail to rein in the unitary executive core of any successor. One only has to listen to the rhetoric of the Democratic candidates for president to understand that this trend is as deeply rooted among them as it is with President Bush. Americans today look for leaders without recognizing the absolute necessity of electing team players. The Founding Fathers deliberately designed the executive branch to be strong and independent, but also made sure, through an elaborate system of checks and balances, that it operated merely as one of three separate but equal branches of government. The "in your face" efforts of the Bush administration to minimize the role of Congress and to achieve political control of the judiciary are simply more public manifestations of trends that occurred in a more quiet fashion in past administrations, Republican and Democratic alike. When America elects a leader who states clearly that he or she will work with their equal partners in governance, the Congress, for the good of the country, and who will acknowledge the supremacy of law set forth in the form of binding legislation passed by the will of Congress void of any limiting or contradicting "presidential signing statement," then we will finally have a leader who is truly worthy of the title "President of the United States of America." But this will not happen of its own volition. The impeachment of President Bush would not in and of itself terminate executive unilateralism. It would only limit its implementation on the most visible periphery, driving its destructive designs back into the shadows of government, away from the public eye, and as such, public accountability. Impeach President Bush, yes, if in fact he can be charged with the commission of acts which meet the constitutional standard for impeachment (and I believe he could, if Congress only had the will to do its job). But to truly heal America, we must repudiate everything President Bush stands for, in terms of not only public and foreign policy, but also in terms of his style of governance, since the former is derived from the latter. Repudiation is a strong term, defined as "rejecting as having no authority or binding force," to "cast off or disown," or to "reject with disapproval or condemnation." In my opinion, the complete repudiation of the presidency of George W. Bush is the only recourse we have collectively as a people to not only seek redress for the wrongs committed by the Bush administration, but also to purge society of this cancer that threatens to consume and destroy us as a whole, and which would continue to manifest itself in our system of governance even after any impeachment proceedings. Like any cancerous growth, the Bush administration has attached its malignancy to the American nation in a cruel fashion, its poisonous tentacles stretching deep into our national[...]



FARA Puts Some Records Online

2007-06-02T08:57:27.242+10:00

* CQ: "Foreign Lobbying Database Up and RunningTracking the efforts of foreign countries and organizations to lobby the U.S. government became easier this week. The Justice Department launched a searchable online database of filings under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) — including reports filed during the current month."we'll see. Sunlight Foundation is more circumspect: "FARA Puts Some Records Online"* Amy: U.S., Russia Trade Barbs Over Missile PlanThe standoff over U.S. plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe continues to intensify. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. policy was akin to “diktat” and “imperialism.”Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Some members of the international community have a desire to dictate their will to everyone on any issue, without coordinating their actions with common norms of international law."Meanwhile Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responded to Putin during a visit to Germany.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "Democratic institutions and an open society are not a source of weakness. Nor is freedom of speech and freedom of the press a nuisance. They are pillars of modern society. When we differ with Russia, we will consult, we will address their views seriously and we will express our own views candidly. In that regard I have to tell you that I find Russia's recent missile diplomacy difficult to understand, and we regret Russia's reluctance to accept the partnership if missile defence that we have offered."* Amy: British Teachers, South African Trade Union Back Israel BoycottIn Britain, the main union of British college teachers has endorsed a call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The measure calls Israeli academia “complicit” in Israel’s forty year occupation of Palestinian lands. The congress of the University and College Union represents more than 120,000 British teachers. The move comes as South Africa’s largest trade union federation is preparing its own campaign to call for a national boycott on Israeli products and an end to diplomatic ties with Israel. Willy Madisha, president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), said: “The best way to have Israel comply with United Nations resolutions is to pressure it by a diplomatic boycott such as the one imposed on apartheid South Africa.” * Amy: Dow Jones Considers Murdoch Bid for WSJIn media news, Dow Jones has announced its now open to talks on selling the Wall Street Journal. The news comes just one month after Dow’s controlling family, the Bancrofts, rejected a takeover bid from News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch. Dow now says its open to Murdoch’s offer. * Amy: Ex-Rove Aide Resigns as Arkansas U.S. AttorneyAnd finally, the former top aide to chief White House strategist Karl Rove has stepped down as U.S. attorney for Arkansas. Tom Griffin’s resignation came just hours after Congressmember John Conyers had asked for information about Griffin’s role in a scandal first reported by the journalist Greg Palast for both the BBC and Democracy Now. Palast obtained internal Republican emails showing Griffin had sent so-called voter “caging-lists” designed to challenge voters from casting ballots. The caging lists were skewed towards targeting people of color, predominantly African-Americans.[...]



The Crazies

2007-06-02T09:29:12.287+10:00

* NYT: " Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought today to minimize any sense of division within the Bush administration over Iran after the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency delivered a pointed new warning against what he called the “new crazies” pushing for military action against Tehran.“The President of the United States has made it clear that we are on a course that is a diplomatic course,” Ms. Rice said here. “That policy is supported by all of the members of the cabinet, and by the vice president of the United States.”At the same time, President Bush today strongly criticized the Iranian government for holding four American citizens, and demanded their release.Ms. Rice’s assurance on U.S. strategy came as senior officials at the State Department are expressing fury over reports that members of Vice President Cheney’s staff have told others that Mr. Cheney believes the diplomatic track with Iran is pointless, and is looking for ways to persuade Mr. Bush to confront Iran militarily.[]Reports about hawkish statements by members of Mr. Cheney’s staff first surfaced last week in The Washington Note, a blog run by Steve Clemons of the left-leaning New America Foundation. The report has alarmed European diplomats, some of whom fear that the struggle over Iran’s nuclear program may evolve into a decision by the Bush administration to resort to force against Iran.In interviews, people who have spoken with Mr. Cheney’s staff have confirmed the broad outlines of the report, and said that some of the hawkish statements to outsiders were made by David Wurmser, a former Pentagon official who is now the principal deputy assistant to Mr. Cheney for national security affairs. The accounts were provided by people who expressed alarm about the statements, but refused to be quoted by name.During an interview with BBC Radio that was broadcast today, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he did not want to see another war like the one still raging in Iraq five years after the American-led invasion there.“You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say, ‘let’s go and bomb Iran,’“ Mr. ElBaradei said, in his strongest warning yet against the use of force in Iran. “I wake up every morning and see 100 Iraqis, innocent civilians, are dying.“[]During an interview with BBC Radio that was broadcast today, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he did not want to see another war like the one still raging in Iraq five years after the American-led invasion there.“You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say, ‘let’s go and bomb Iran,’“ Mr. ElBaradei said, in his strongest warning yet against the use of force in Iran. “I wake up every morning and see 100 Iraqis, innocent civilians, are dying.“Mr. ElBaradei, who has urged Western powers to consider allowing Iran limited enrichment on its own territory, is already facing criticism from Bush administration officials who say he should stick to monitoring Iran’s nuclear program and leave diplomatic policy to the six countries that have banded together to try to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.But several Western European officials also echoed his concern, and said privately that they are worried that Mr. Cheney’s “red lines” — the point at which he believes that Iran is on the brink of acquiring a nuclear weapon and a military strike is necessary — may be coming up soon. “We fully believe that Foggy Bottom is committed to the diplomatic track,” one European official said Wednesday. “But there’s some concern about the vice pres[...]



I'd be happy to forgive Gore for 2000

2007-06-01T15:24:57.868+10:00

In the comments here I briefly mentioned Gore on Lehrer talking about whether violent revolution was appropriate in 2000.From Lehrer: "GWEN IFILL: Let me ask you one final question, which is, as you were putting this book together and assembling your thoughts about what you see as a broad-based collapse in a lot of the way we think and reason in our society, did you ever think to yourself, based specifically on the indictment that you make against the Bush administration, that perhaps you conceded too soon in 2000?AL GORE: Well, there was -- I took it all the way to a final Supreme Court decision. And in our system, there is no intermediate step between a final Supreme Court decision and violent revolution.So, at that point, having taken it as far as one could, then the question becomes, are we going to be a nation of laws and not people? Do I support the rule of law, even though I disagree with the Supreme Court's decision? I did disagree with it, and I think that those of us who disagreed with it will have the better of the argument in history."Gore has used a similar formulation in the past. In an interview in New York Magazine, May 06: "Does he, like many Democrats, think the election was stolen?Gore pauses a long time and stares into the middle distance. “There may come a time when I speak on that,” Gore says, “but it’s not now; I need more time to frame it carefully if I do.” Gore sighs. “In our system, there’s no intermediate step between a definitive Supreme Court decision and violent revolution.”Later, I put the question of Gore’s views on the matter to David Boies, his lawyer in the Florida-recount battle. “He thought the court’s ruling was wrong and obviously political,” Boies says. So he considers the election stolen? “I think he does—and he’s right.”"SteveA sez: "I did not see Gore on Lehrer. From what you said here, though, it seemed he understood that the election had been stolen. He might have been able to make a case if he had wanted. But, he figured he had two options only. He could either go along with the result as he was given it by the Bush people, knowing they had stolen the election, or he could have taken a course that would have inevitably lead to violence in the streets.Is this why politicians on the left never do anything in this country?They always think that doing something will get lots of people killed?So, people on the Warren Commission planned to cover it up because if the general population knew that the assassination of their President was an inside job, then, they figured, there would be blood in the streets and we can't have that.We can't challenge the efforts of republican operatives to steal elections because why? Democrats do the same things? The people who steal elections whether dem or rep are not against killing large numbers of Americans if it means preserving their hold on power?Do we go along with making the 9-11 murders into some bogus act of war by foreigners when there were obvious questions about who had to be involved on the inside because to open up those questions would have lead to blood in the streets?I do not think that fighting in the streets can get us anywhere where we want to be. So, I am very interested in finding some third alternative between "rule by gangsters" and the "blood in the streets" options Gore sees for us.Did anyone ask Gore whether he thought the consequences to the country of his acquiecence to the coup would be worse than if he had decided to stand up for something? He could have just stated the facts as he saw them. Maybe he could have argued that we should not let the coup stand, nor should we start shooting up the place.Did anyone a[...]



Im Piç

2007-06-01T17:58:53.787+10:00

With Turkey in the news again, calipendence sent me this little creation of his last week that I forgot to publish.

From Calipendence:
"Piç" = bastard
"im" = sign of
"Im Piç!" = "Bastard Sign!"

(image)
Rather than "Bastard Sign!", I'd be tempted to go with Sign of The Bastard - but let's impeach him anyhow.

Update from calipendence in the comments, in case i wasn't clear:
"Should note to non-Turkish speaking folks that "Im Piç!" sounds like "Impeach!" when pronounced in Turkish. Thus it should read something like "Impeach! Impeach! Impeach!" to us listening..."



a 12-dimensional hyperspatial jigsaw puzzle

2007-06-01T12:30:02.640+10:00

Starroute in the comments re Turkey et al:"I happened to run across that rocket story at Google News yesterday and have been scratching my head over it ever since. Since the Turks claimed the missiles were bound for either Hezbollah or the Palestinians, my first thought was that it might be disinfo connected with the current US scheme to tilt towards the Sunnis (with Saudi support) and smash all Shi'ites that Seymour Hersh has been talking about.Additionally, the Daily Star (is that Lebanese?), says, "The Iranian Embassy issued a statement Wednesday denying that the weapons belonged to Iran, and said the allegations were being made 'by circles' aiming to disrupt Turkey's close relations with Iran."So -- are the Turks doing this, or are they being set up? Are they really smuggling weapons or is the whole thing an elaborate stage show? And would "circles" be a reference to the US, the Kurds, or Israel -- or an insinuation of all three doing ring-around-the-rosies together?The damn thing is like a 12-dimensional hyperspatial jigsaw puzzle. Any way I try to fit it together, I come up a few pieces short."thnx, as always.I don't feel like I have a grip on what is going on either.(and Yep, the Daily Star is from Lebanon)update: Mizgin in the comments:Let me tell you something . . . if you go to the Habur border crossing, which leads into South Kurdistan (N. Iraq), you will see commercial vehicles waiting in a line that is kilometers long, on both sides of the border.Why is that? Turkish customs inspections.So, now, the Turkish press wants me to believe that Iran just "covertly" slipped a train car with rockets across their border without anyone in the Turkish government knowing about it?Please . . . tell me another one.The Turkish government knows very well that Iran is transporting rockets across "Turkish" territory (oh, coincidentally, that's really Kurdish territory, territory that the Turkish military keeps a TIGHT grip on, i.e. OCCUPIES. They have a habit of kicking out journalists or human rights workers who get too "nosy" in "The Region" or too concerned with what goes on there.)The question is: Why did the Turkish military permit the news to be published? What do they stand to gain from it? Are they giving a message to the US, reminding the US just how very valuable they (the Pashas) are to the US? After all, it was just last week that two US F-16s from Iraq happened to "stray" into "Turkish" territory. . . after two Turkish F-16s happened to stray into Iraqi Kurdish territory and TSK launched artillery into some Southern Kurdish villages.Are the Pashas giving a message to Iran, because they've been conducting military operations in conjunction with Iran--funny that, NATO's second largest army conducting military operations with a member of the "Axis of Evil." I have no doubt they've got a number of other deals going on with Iran.But then, everyone in "The Region" knows that Turkey's been getting it on with Iran for some time . . . just like they've been getting it on with certain Iraqi Sunni tribes and the Iraqi Turkmen Front (hehehe . . . and people wonder why there's so much violence in Kerkuk?)There are even Turkish mercenaries, based in the US, operating in Kerkuk.Or did the Pashas permit publication simply because they are dying to stick it to AKP?Welcome to our world.BTW - someone left an anon comment on the blog yesterday that CNN Turk was saying yesterday that 'oops, they made a mistake, there were no rockets on the train'[...]



When you say Iraq is about controlling the oil

2007-06-01T09:50:39.614+10:00

* Josh: "When you say (Iraq is) about controlling the oil, that's not the same as saying that the oil companies themselves -- ExxonMobil, Shell, etc. -- want to own the oil in the ground or want more generous concessions from the governments. They probably do. But I don't think this is what that's about. The oil companies, in case you haven't noticed, make a decent amount of money under the current system of working with the local oligarchies and kleptocracies in the countries in question.This is about the US controlling the region itself, having troops on the ground and structures in place so that none of the nominal governments in the region can act on their own without US assent. That's a whole different question than which companies have the right to pump the stuff out of the ground."maybe... maybe not* Atrios: "Why Do We Stay In Iraq?Josh Marshall heads down the path to madness in order to try to answer that question.The answer is unknowable because there isn't one. There are a variety of powerful actors who have different motives. It's as true, if not more true, for the continued occupation as it was for the initial invasion.George Bush started the war because Saddam tried to killed his Dad and because he wanted to prance around on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit. He later got stubborn about the whole thing when those mean Democrats started criticizing him, and he began to buy into the transformational rhetoric due to his increasing messianic bent. And, now, it's about his "legacy."Dick Cheney started the war because of his insatiable lust for the black stuff. Dick Cheney keeps us in Iraq because of his insatiable lust for the black stuff.Don Rumsfeld went to war to prove that he could achieve any military result with 3 marines, an armed aerial drone, and his left pinky. He stayed in Iraq because George Bush told him to and because he still needed to prove his awesomeness.AEI and Viceroy Jerry went to war because they were excited about their new libertarian paradise laboratory.Paul Wolfowitz had grand dreams about transforming the Middle East into who knows what.Tom Friedman and others went to war because they have the mentality of 5 years olds and they thought that the smartest thing we could do was whip out our giant schlong and wave it around for awhile. Tom Friedman and others stay in Iraq because they think that if they don't keep popping cialis ("If your occupation lasts longer than 6 months...") the world will notice our little tiny shriveled up thingy.Karl Rove went to war so his boy could prance on the aircraft carrier and win re-election. He stays because leaving Iraq will anger wingnuttia.Lots of other people stay in Iraq just because they don't like to admit they're wrong. Their egos are more important anything.The sensible liberals at Brookings were so stupid they thought Saddam was a threat. They were the stupidest people of all, because that was about the only thing which had nothing to do with why we invaded Iraq. They stay in Iraq because they're unable to accept responsibility for their actions.Democrats went to war because they were scared of losing their elections. They stay there because they're scared of losing elections.Ultimately it's all centered around oil, the endless needs of the military industrial complex, and various other financial interests masquerading as ideology. But there isn't one reason, just a grand harmonic convergence of wingnuttery."* amy: "Israel Dismisses Truce Talks, Launches AttacksIn Israel and the Occupied Territories, Israel has dismissed the prospect of a truce with Palestinian militants and continued i[...]



trying to provoke more Islamic violence

2007-05-31T19:44:58.286+10:00

Winter has this from Craig Murray:
"I am in general opposed to violence, except as a last resort. And I know that the police are not all fascists. Many policemen don't like the drive against civil liberties any more than I do. But, even granted that they are only doing their job, I can promise you this. The first policeman who stops me as I am peacefully going about my lawful business, and demands to know who I am and where I am going, will get punched on the nose.

As the government whittles away our basic freedoms, there comes a point where you either resist, physically, or we all lose our liberty. I think Reid and Blair's new proposal for a police power to "Stop and question" takes us to that point.

Of course, having skin of a regulation Scottish blue colour, I am not likely to be stopped. Jean Charles De Menezes was killed for having a slightly olive complexion and dark hair, and it is people of his hue and darker who will in fact be stopped and questioned.

The proposal is obvious madness - if the government was looking to provoke young British Muslims, no tactic would work better. Which does lead us, quite seriously, to be forced to question whether Reid and Blair are trying deliberately to cause an even further deterioration in community relations. There are two possibilities: either they are trying to provoke more "Islamic" violence, or they are very stupid.

Come to think of it, there is a third possibility. They may be trying to provoke more Islamic violence, and be very stupid."
Winter likes the third option, and notes that Murray "appears to be way too honest for the Foreign Service."



interview

2007-05-31T19:10:42.273+10:00

Sibel and I gave an interview on Peter B Collins show today. You can download it here if you are interested - there's not much new ( about 25 mins.)

We talked, in part, about whether Waxman's reluctance to hold hearings might be due to the fact that there are some Democratic ex-congressmen involved in the bribery scam.

Sibel says that there are at least two democrats involved - I said that Stephen Solarz' name comes up in the case.



Let this be a lesson.

2007-05-31T18:54:09.438+10:00

* Digby has this from The Italian Letter:
"Yet Rove had reason to be concerned. His own internal polling six months before the (2004) election showed that Bush would gain 3.5 percent more if Iraq, strongly identified with Cheney ceased to be an issue --- a critical margin in what would certainly be a close election."
If I'm not mistaken, in 2004, Rove was begging Democrats to focus on Iraq. Let this be a lesson.

* clemons:
"We were all very lucky that the thin-skinned former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist withdrew from contention. I have liked Frist from time to time -- mostly because he believes in science and rationality -- but recently had an odd personal battle with him that exemplified why the former Tennessee senator would have been a personnel disaster at the Bank."
huh?

* Horton has the youtube of a Dennis Miller / Ron Paul interview. Miller asks Paul why he didn't wanna go invade iraq: "didn't you think it was time to get it on with radical islam?" huh? is this a new one? Saddam as 'Radical Islam'?



Turkey-Iraq border tension grows

2007-05-31T14:17:49.979+10:00

BBC: "Turkey-Iraq border tension growsTension is rising on Turkey's border with Iraq amid speculation Ankara may be about to launch an incursion to tackle Kurdish rebels.Turkey is continuing a military build up and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to rule out action.Turkey blames rebels of the PKK group for a recent suicide bombing in Ankara and a landmine attack on troops.[]Last week two US F-16 fighter jets based in Iraq made an incursion into Turkish airspace that Turkish media said was an attempt to intimidate Ankara into refraining from any action inside Iraq.The US said the violation of the airspace was "unintended" and was under investigation.Mr Erdogan warned Washington there should be no repeat.In an interview with the private NTV news channel he said Iraq the US and Turkey should carry out a joint operation against the PKK."Mizgin is your go-to place for related news - and has been blogging on this all week.Here's the AP this morning: "Turkey has sent large contingents of reinforcement soldiers, tanks and armored personnel carriers to its border with Iraq as debate heated up over whether to stage a cross-border offensive to hit Kurdish rebel bases."rewritten 9 hours later: "Turkey has reinforced its border with Iraq with large contingents of soldiers, tanks and armored personnel carriers as it urged the U.S. to crackdown on Kurkish rebel bases there and debated staging a cross-border offensive."The latter seems to be a little softer...Mizgin also has this disconcerting news : "The Turkish cargo train with serial number 55555, which was attacked and derailed by HPG forces (PKK’s armed wing) on May 25, was transporting 300 rockets from Iran to Syria[]Turkish intelligence service MIT is now investigating the matter. The final destination of the rockets is believed to have been the Lebanese Hezbollah or Palestinian organizations according to Turkish media."Update:mizgin in the comments:"Thanks for posting a reference to the news of the Turkish-assisted rocket transport from Iran to Syria, Lukery, but the news is not originally mine. It comes from a comrade, the owner of DozaMe.The Hurriyet article referenced at DozaMe makes the claim that the rockets were American-made.We had a report of Turkey doing the same thing during the Lebanon war last summer, during which time they were using Turkish Red Crescent vehicles to transport the arms. Turkey had engaged in similar activity in South Kurdistan beginning in April, 2003 and culminating in the famous "bagging" incident of a Turkish special team (which led to the movie--Kurtler Vadisi Irak).The news of the transport of rockets with Turkey as go-between for Iran seems to be consistent with Sibel's information, don't you think?"re the last point, I don't know enough about the details to know whether it dovetails into Sibel's case - but who knows, maybe it is arms-for-drugs again...[...]



amy good man edition

2007-05-31T10:34:20.712+10:00

* Amy:
"Bush Admin Taps Zoellick to Head World Bank
The Bush administration has announced plans to name former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. Zoellick spent four years as the U.S. trade representative until 2005. He went on to the State Department before leaving to join the financial firm Goldman Sachs last year. Zoellick previously served as a paid advisor to the energy company Enron before its collapse. He was an early backer of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and a co-signatory of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century letter calling for Iraq regime change. Public health advocates are criticizing the appointment. Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance called Zoellick “a terrible choice”, saying: “He has been a close friend to the brand-name pharmaceutical industry, and the trade agreements he has championed block patients access to generic medication… As a market fundamentalist he is also much less likely to stand up for a strong and effective public sector.”"

* Amy:
April-May Deadliest 2-Month Period of Iraq War for U.S.
In other Iraq news, the Pentagon has announced ten U.S. troops were killed in Iraq Monday. Their deaths make this month the third-deadliest for the U.S. military of the Iraq war. April and May now also mark the deadliest two-month period since the invasion, with at least two hundred and nine servicemembers killed.
* Amy:
Putin Denounces “Powder Keg” U.S. Missile Plan
Tension is increasing with Russia over U.S. plans for a new missile shield in Eastern Europe. On Tuesday, Russia says it had successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile designed to overcome missile defense systems. The test came as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned a U.S. missile deployment would have consequences.
Russian President Vladimir Putin: “Our point is clear, we consider it harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a powder keg and to stuff it with new weapons."
* Amy:
Iran Charges 3 U.S. Citizens With Espionage
In Iran, three American citizens have been charged with espionage and endangering national security. Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, has been jailed since earlier this month. Also charged are urban planning consultant Kian Tajbakhsh and journalist Parnaz Azima. All three face the death penalty if convicted. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice called the charges “a perversion of the rule of law.”



we get feedback

2007-05-31T10:15:05.278+10:00

priscianus jr in the comments:
I hope you will forgive me for the following comment, which I've wanted to make for a long time; I find this is as good an occasion as any.
[]
On the other hand, you have made it clear on many occasions that you are anti-religion, full stop. It's bad and it's all the same.

Now this is your blog, and that being the case, you may write whatever you like; but for this reader, at least, your writing on anything to do with religion, totally unlike your other stuff, shows an almost complete ignorance of, not to mention lack of sympathy with, the subject. It's kind of like your hobby horse, and in my opinion (at least in the uninformed way you handle it) has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the blog. So I overlook it. But I do find it a bit painful.
I suspect that priscianus jr speaks for most of you...



Islam taking root in Turkey's bureaucracy

2007-05-30T17:10:12.030+10:00

IHT (with some magic marker editing by me):Islam taking root in Turkey's bureaucracyThe little red prayer book was handed out in a public primary school here in western Turkey America earlier this month decade. It was small enough to fit in a pocket, but it carried a big message: Pray in the Muslim Christopath way. Get others to pray, too."The message was clear to me," said a retired civil servant, whose 13-year-old son, a student at the Yesilkoy Ibrahim Cengiz ButtFuckNowhere School, received the book. "This is not something that should be distributed in schools."This leafy, liberal city would seem like one of the least likely places to allow Islam Christianism to permeate public life. But for some residents, the book is part of a subtle shift toward increasingly public religiosity that has gone hand-in-hand with the ascent of the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Bushco.The phenomenon is complex: The party has not ordered changes, but sets examples through a growing network of observant teachers and public servants (and lawyers) who have been hired since it came to power in 2002 2000.The shift goes to the heart of the question that has gripped this country for the past two months electoral seasons: As the party settles more deeply into the bureaucracy, will it bring Islam Xtianists with it? Or will it keep its roots in the past, and leave the public sphere as nonreligious as before?The answer is as complex as Turkey USA itself. In more-religious Turkish cities, the party has had a moderating influence, persuading deeply conservative residents to support the European Union vote against their own interests. But here in Denizli, a city situated closer to Greece than Iran DC, which never voted for pro-Islamic Xtianist parties before Erdogan's Bush's, the party's new recruits seem to be laying the groundwork for a more pious Christopathic society.The mayor, Nihat Zeybekci, a charismatic businessman and a member of Erdogan's party, strongly disputes claims that the party has limited freedoms. Alcohol is still sold near mosques. His party has women in local government. Newspapers are allowed to publish. People can still usually gather in groups of three or more without a permit."I get offended when a lady says to me, 'When you have absolute control, will I still be able to swim at the beach?' use satire?" he said. "It's like asking if they know I'm a thief."But secular residents say that they see changes, and that they are the inevitable outcome of several decades of economic transformation. "In a very quiet, deep way, you can sense an Islamization, Bible Thumping" said Bedrettin Usanmaz, a jewelry shop owner in Denizli DC. "They're not after rapid change. They're investing for 50 years ahead." They've invested for the last 30 years.At the heart of the issue is a debate about the fundamental nature of Islam Christopatholgy and its role in the building of an equitable society. Turks like Zeybekci argue that their country has come a long way since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's The Founders' secular revolution in 1923 1787, and that it no longer needs to enforce controls such as of women wearing head scarves."It's like locking everybody in a stadium, when you know that only three are thieves," Zeybekci said in his office, hung with pictures of Erdogan and Ataturk Bush & Cheney.But secular Turks Americans argue that Islam Christopathology will always seek more space in people's l[...]