More Wars?

GOPSeal Three weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith’s recently published account of the Iraq war decisions.

Feith’s account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country’s top military leaders.

Feith’s book, ‘War and Decision’, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W. Bush on Sep. 30, 2001 calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing ‘new regimes’ in a series of states by ‘aiding local peoples to rid themselves of terrorists and to free themselves of regimes that support terrorism.’

In quoting from that document, Feith deletes the names of all of the states to be targeted except Afghanistan, inserting the phrase ‘some other states’ in brackets. In a facsimile of a page from a related Pentagon ‘campaign plan’ document, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes are listed as ‘state regimes’ against which ‘plans and operations’ might be mounted, but the names of four other states are blacked out ‘for security reasons’.

Gen. Wesley Clark, who commanded the NATO bombing campaign in the Kosovo War, recalls in his 2003 book ‘Winning Modern Wars’ being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.

Clark writes that the list also included Lebanon. Feith reveals that Rumsfeld’s paper called for getting ‘Syria out of Lebanon’ as a major goal of U.S. policy.

When this writer asked Feith after a recent public appearance which countries’ names were deleted from the documents, he cited security reasons for the deletion. But when he was asked which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, ‘All of them.’… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <IPS>

This is confirmation of a story I posted here in March, 2007. That story was the video of a statement by Gen. Clark, which I am reposting here:

McCain-redphoneNow we have confirmation from within the inner circle of the GOP Reich that Iraq was only part of a plan for world domination through military force. They made the US a rogue state, and all involved in their attempt to implement this plan should be tried as war criminals.

On the campaign trail, McBoomBoom has promised more wars. I submit to you that these are the wars.


All articles cross-posted from Politics Plus

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The Rewards for Killing Our Troops

4KBR In March, House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced that he was investigating the accidental electrocution of troops in Iraq and pressed Defense Secretary Robert Gates for uncensored details on at least a dozen deaths since 2003. Contractor KBR is at the center of the probe, with questions about whether it irresponsibly ignored wiring problems.

Today, The New York Times has more details on this malpractice, including the fact that senior KBR and Pentagon officials repeatedly ignored warnings by KBR electricians:

One electrician warned his KBR bosses in his 2005 letter of resignation that unsafe electrical work was “a disaster waiting to happen.” Another said he witnessed an American soldier in Afghanistan receiving a potentially lethal shock. A third provided e-mail messages and other documents showing that he had complained to KBR and the government that logs were created to make it appear that nonexistent electrical safety systems were properly functioning.

KBR itself told the Pentagon in early 2007 about unsafe electrical wiring at a base near the Baghdad airport, but no repairs were made. Less than a year later, a soldier was electrocuted in a shower there.

John McLain, the electrician who in 2007 told a visiting defense contracting agency official about his concerns over the logs, was fired shortly after the incident. Another employee “said his KBR bosses mocked him for raising safety issues.”

This sort of refusal to acknowledge and correct errors seems to be standard operating procedure within KBR, unfortunately. Former employee Jamie Leigh Jones revealed that after she was gang-raped by co-workers, not only did the company place her “under guard in a shipping container,” but warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she would lose her job. In an opposite situation, a KBR employee who was “busted by the military” for looting in Iraq was “given a promotion.”

Similarly, Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse, who oversaw contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers, told the Senate in 2005, that KBR represented the “most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.” Reflecting the Pentagon’s efforts to protect KBR, Greenhouse was demoted almost two months to the day after voicing that critique.

Despite all these irresponsible, unethical actions (as well as providing contaminated water to troops and evading millions in taxes), KBR recently announced that it had tripled its first quarter net profits and received new contracts worth up to $150 million for 10 years to provide assistance to the U.S. military overseas.

Inserted from <Think Progress>

There you have it.  If your company kills US troops through fraudulent contracting practices, you will reap the rewards of record profit and more no-bid contracts from the Bush/McBoomBoom/GOP Reich.  This is especially true is a good chunk of those profits end up in the pockets of ChickenHawk Cheney.

How do they get away with it?  Despite many requests for a DOJ investigation into KBR’s illegal activities, the DOJ has ignored all such requests.  This will not go on indefinitely.  With a Democrat in the White House and an honest AG, the investigations will proceed.  Under a statute from WWII, the federal government can sue them for treble damages.  Unfortunately, they have foreseen this.  As I explained on March 12, 2007,  Halliburton relocated their corporate HQ to Dubai to place themselves out of reach of US courts.  In addition, they spun-off KBR, so it is now a subsidiary.  They can raid the KBR for its assets and let it fail should the judgements pile up.

ChickenHawk 1, Whales 0

3whales Efforts to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from being killed by ships are being blocked by Vice President Dick Cheney according to leaked documents.

A behind the scenes struggle is raging between the White House and US government scientists who want to force ships to slow down near the calving grounds of the almost extinct right whale.

The right whale controversy is the latest example of the Bush Administration sidestepping the advice of its on scientists which are aimed at protecting endangered species or threats to the environment. On Monday, a judge had to order the administration to release its much-delayed decision aimed at protecting the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

Only 350 of the whales remain in Atlantic waters off America’s eastern seaboard and they are considered one of the most endangered species on Earth. Government scientists warn that the loss of just one more pregnant female is enough to doom the species, which was almost hunted to extinction in the 19th century.

Every year around three right whales are either injured or killed in collisions with ocean-going vessels like containerized cargo ships even though they are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Right whales frequently wash up on shore bearing deep scars from being struck by ships propellers.

To reduce ship strikes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided that ships should restrict their speed to 10 knots or less near whale feeding and calving grounds during parts of the year.

cheney-chickenhawk But Mr Cheney’s office, which tends to operate in secrecy, sent letters repeatedly questioning whether the rule was needed according to leaked documents. Flatly contradicting the scientific research Mr Cheney’s staff argued, “that we have no evidence that lowering the speeds of ‘large ships’ will actually make a difference.”

A critique of the scientists analysis by the administration led to a strongly worded reply in which they said: “The basic facts remain that there is a direct relationship” between a vessel’s speed and the likelihood of death or serious injury to the whale, and “at vessel speeds at or below 10 knots, the probability of death/serious injury is greatly reduced.”

There was, the scientists wrote, “no basis to overturn our previous conclusion that imposing a speed limit on large vessels would be beneficial to whales.”

Congressman Henry Waxman who publicised the correspondence said it was “the latest instance of the White House ignoring scientists and other experts.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <The Independent>

There is only one endangered species we can afford to lose: the ChickenHawk!

The Kantor Video Is Bogus

3MichaelKantor A former aide to President Bill Clinton, and current informal adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton, expressed outrage and shock on Friday after a videotape from 1992 surfaced allegedly showing him describing Indianans as “white n—rs.”

Mickey Kantor, who served as campaign chairman during Clinton’s 1992 run for the White House and says he has offered help and advice to Sen. Clinton, insisted that the tape was a fraud and that he was exploring legal steps against the individual who posted it online.

“I’ve never used that word in my entire life, ever, under any circumstance, ever,” an angry Kantor told The Huffington Post, citing his and his parent’s work fighting for civil rights. “I have listened to [the video] and so have you. You can’t tell what it is I’m saying in that second sentence, you can’t decipher that.”

Indeed, a review of the original copy of the 1993 film The War Room, from which the excerpt was taken (around the 4:40 mark) is virtually inaudible. The sound suggests, if anything, that instead of saying “How would you like to be a worthless white n****r?” Kantor says, “How would you like to be in the White House right now?”

The director of the film, moreover, says that Kantor never uttered those words. “He does not say that. He does not say that,” D.A. Pennebaker told Ben Smith

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

The doctored video has been removed from YouTube, but from what I understand, it spread like wildfire.  I don’t know whether or not the original source was actually working for the Obama campaign, so I shall not speculate on that, but there has been enough sniping between the campaigns for me not to inform you that this particular item is a fraud.

A Sad Case of Suicide

74019529MW004_DC_MADAM_ATTE Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the “D.C. Madam” of intrigue and introspection, committed suicide yesterday. Her mother found her body hanging in the shed on her property in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Why do we feel so sad?

It was a sorry finish to a sordid tale. Had it been a classic literary tragedy, it couldn’t have ended any other way. She was a fallen woman, all scarlet-lettered and walking shame, every archetype of female sin and suffering.

We didn’t feel particularly connected to her. Aside from a few media types, not many people attended her public trial last month, where she was convicted of running a prostitution ring. Everyone had moved on; there were newer and more salacious scandals.

Maybe we feel sad because of the gendered irony. The powerful men whose names surfaced in the scandal, the ones who did not appear in the courtroom, who did not have to discuss their menstrual cycles publicly, have all remained unscathed.

David Vitter is still that good-looking junior senator from Louisiana. Harlan K. Ullman (creator of “shock and awe”) is listed as a senior associate on the Web site of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Former State Department official Randall L. Tobias, who previously oversaw AIDS relief, promoting abstinence and a policy requiring grant recipients to swear they opposed prostitution, slunk back to Indiana after his resignation. There, he was appointed president of the board of the Indianapolis Airport Authority. The city’s mayor said that America “believed in second chances.”

We anticipated that Palfrey would be sentenced to a few years in prison, do her time quietly and then emerge like Heidi Fleiss, like Lil’ Kim, like Martha Stewart, like any number of the bad girls for whom a prison sentence functions as a cleansing ritual, a path back into society’s embrace… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

No doubt Palfrey would have served only a small portion of her sentence and emerged to a a book/appearance deal that would have made her wealthy for life, but in the process, it would have exposed some more very powerful people.

Did you hear the joke about thet whistle blower that was found in a field with 47 bullet holes?  That was a sad case of suicide too.

Burma: Rice Matters More Than Rights

30yadana In a report to be released today, a human rights group says that Burmese soldiers guarding a Chevron Corp. pipeline have killed nearby villagers while ordering others to serve as forced labor.

Drawn from interviews with villagers as well as Burmese refugees in Thailand, the report by EarthRights International accuses the Burmese military of terrorizing people who live near the Yadana pipeline. A spokesman for San Ramon’s Chevron called the report’s accusations baseless.

Chevron co-owns the pipeline, along with French oil giant Total and a Burmese company. Total runs the project, while the other companies act mainly as investors. EarthRights does not accuse Chevron or its partners of committing any human rights abuses themselves.

Instead, the EarthRights report calls on the companies to shut down the pipeline as a way of placing pressure on Burma’s military rulers, whose deadly crackdown on pro-democracy activists last year provoked international condemnation.

“No one’s saying Chevron could single-handedly bring human rights and democracy to Burma,” said Marco Simons, EarthRights’ legal director and an author of the report. “But if they’re employing security forces that are committing abuses, they have a moral responsibility to do everything in their power to stop those abuses.”

The report argues that the Yadana project has become the single largest source of income for the Burmese government, bringing in an estimated $969 million each year and undercutting international sanctions designed to isolate the regime.

Chevron came under intense pressure from human rights activists and politicians to pull out of Burma after last year’s crackdown.

A Chevron spokesman said Monday that the company had not received the new report and could not comment on most of its accusations… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <San Francisco Chronicle>

Why has there been no more than lip service from the US over this issue?  The Reich would answer that there are sanctions against Burma in place, and fail to mention the one exception.  I’ve discussed this before on October 4, and the reason remains unchanged.  Athough Yadana provides majority of the junta’s revenue, and shutting it down could bankrupt the Burmese government, Chevron remains the exception to the sanctions.  Why?  Rice matters more than rights, and we’re not talking about food.

30chevronrice Condoleezza Rice was a Chevron Director from 1991 until January 15, 2001 when she was transferred by President George Bush Jr. to National Security Adviser. Previously she was Senior Director, Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, and Special Assistant to President George Bush Sr. from 1989 to 1991.

Another Chevron Corporation giant in the Bush administration is Vice President Dick Cheney. Vice President Cheney was Chairman and Chief Executive of Dallas based Halliburton Corporation, the world’s largest oil field services company with multi-billion dollar contracts with oil corporations including Chevron. Lawrence Eagleburger, a seasoned Bush counselor who held top State Department posts under George Bush Sr., is a director of Halliburton Corporation… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Aztlan.net>

For Bush, McConJob and the GOP, killing innocent villagers and using them as slave labor is fine, ac long as CondiCorp continues to earn record profit.  McConJob has proposed more tax cuts for corporations like this.

‘No Acquittals’ at Gitmo

29bush_hitler The former chief prosecutor here took the witness stand on Monday on behalf of a detainee and testified that top Pentagon officials had pressured him in deciding which cases to prosecute and what evidence to use.

The prosecutor, Col. Morris D. Davis of the Air Force, testified that Pentagon officials had interfered with his work for political reasons and told him that charges against well-known detainees “could have real strategic political value” and that there could be no acquittals.

His testimony completed one of the more unusual transformations in the contentious history of Guantánamo. Colonel Davis, who is on active duty as a senior Air Force official and was one of the Pentagon’s most vocal advocates of the Guantánamo military commissions, has become one of the most visible critics of the system.

Testifying about his assertions for the first time, Colonel Davis said a senior Pentagon official who oversaw the military commissions, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann of the Air Force Reserve, reversed a decision he had made and insisted that prosecutors proceed with evidence derived through waterboarding of detainees and other aggressive interrogation methods that critics call torture.

Called to the stand by a Navy defense lawyer and testifying before a military judge, Colonel Davis said General Hartmann directed him last year to push war crimes cases here quickly. He said the general was trying to give the system legitimacy before a new president took office. He testified that General Hartmann referred to the long difficulties the Pentagon had had in operating the military commissions and said, “If we don’t get some cases going before the election, this thing’s going to implode.”

Spokesmen for the Pentagon and General Hartmann declined to comment on Monday, saying that the questioning was continuing before the military judge…

Inserted from <NY Times>

I first posted about Col. Davis on February 21. The GOP Reich likes to compare these tribunals with the Nuremberg trials, but in Nuremberg we did not extract testimony under torture and we did not decide the verdicts before the trials took place. Some might argue that some of these terrorists do not deserve a fair trial. Whether or not this is true, what they do or do not deserve is not relevant. This is not about who that are. It’s about who we are. At Nuremberg, we tried and convicted German judges for running exactly the same kinds of courts that Bush and the GOP are running here. If we ignore our own standards of justice to combat terrorism, then the war on terror is already over and the terrorists have won.

All articles cross-posted from Politics Plus