Myanmar: Hats Off to the Aussies!

7Myanmar Australia will immediately give three million dollars (2.82 million US) in aid for victims of the devastating cyclone that ravaged Myanmar, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Wednesday.

The announcement by Smith, who is visiting South Korea, came as Australian aid groups joined their global agencies in scrambling to provide relief despite visa restrictions imposed by the country’s military.

“This is a massive tragedy for the people of Burma,” he told reporters in Seoul, using the country’s former name.

One million dollars of the Australian government relief will go to Australian aid agencies operating in Myanmar such as CARE, World Vision and Caritas.

Another one million will be allocated to the UN World Food Program, while one million dollars will go to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF.
The aid package is structured to ensure that “very quickly, we can assist in remedial efforts on the ground,” Smith said… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Channel News Asia>

I’m pleased that someone is offering substantial help to these poor people.  By contrast, the compassionate conservative Crawford Caligula urged Myanmar to accept a meager $250,000.  Lackluster Laura also showed her compassion by using the Myanmar news conference as an occasion to discuss the details of Jenna’s upcoming wedding.

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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

The $3 Million Terrorist

2bombing A top insurgent leader in Somalia whom U.S. officials have accused of having ties to al-Qaeda was killed in a U.S. airstrike early Thursday, according to the Islamist group he led.

The attack in the town of Dusa Marreb in central Somalia leveled a house belonging to the reclusive leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, who was inside at the time with at least one of his top commanders, according to his followers.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command confirmed that the United States had attacked “a known al-Qaeda operative and militia leader” in the vicinity of Dusa Marreb, about 300 miles northeast of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

A U.S. military official said five Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched against the village from a U.S. naval vessel. The official would not confirm the type of vessel or its home base but said ships from the Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, “routinely operate in the Horn of Africa area.”

The group that Ayro headed issued a statement calling him a “martyr.”

“We are here informing the Enemy of God” that Ayro’s “trained and educated colleagues are currently in operation. They are committed to the continuation of the Holy War,” said Mukhtar Robow, a spokesman for al-Shabab, the military arm of the Islamic Courts movement that has gained ground recently against Somalia’s weak transitional government and the Ethiopian troops backing it.

The United States recently designated al-Shabab a terrorist organization.

Reports varied on the number of people killed. Abdi Warsame, a headmaster in the area, said he counted 16 bodies strewn around a crater where Ayro’s house used to be, on the western outskirts of town… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Considering that one Tomahawk cruise missile costs US taxpayers about $600,000, we have paid $3 million to get one rather bush-league terrorist, and that doesn’t account for all the support cost of locating the terrorist and having a ship in position to take him out.

In addition, I have read estimated ranging from fifteen to thirty people killed in the blast, including women and children.  I bet their surviving relatives will be superb PR for the US.

We certainly could have accomplished this mission far less expensively and with far less collateral damage, assuming that the guy was actually a terrorist, and just someone the Bush/McConJob war machine does not like.  On that note, guess who else is on the terrorist watch list:

2mandela Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation “embarrassing,” and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

The requirement applies to former South African leader Mandela and other members of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC), the once-banned anti-Apartheid organization. In the 1970s and ’80s, the ANC was officially designated a terrorist group by the country’s ruling white minority. Other countries, including the United States, followed suit… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <USA Today>

How many cruise missiles would Bush and McConJob like to use to take him out?

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.

EU Urges US Not to Resume Executions

25whyDoWeKillPeople A total of 39 European countries issued a common declaration urging the United States not to resume executions.

The moves follows an April 16 ruling by the US Supreme Court, which by concluding that death by lethal injection does not violate the constitution has put an end to a de facto moratorium on capital punishment in the US.

“The European Union notes with disappointment the United States Supreme Court’s decision,” said the statement issued on behalf of all 27 EU member states and endorsed by 12 other countries.

“In light of this US Supreme Court decision, we strongly encourage the continuation of the de facto moratorium in place within the United States allowing the ongoing debate on the complex issues involved to be thoroughly deliberated,” it added.

At least 14 executions are reported to have been postponed while US judges considered their verdict. Three of these are now expected to take place this northern summer.

The EU is unanimously against the death penalty and in December submitted a resolution, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, calling for a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing it.

“The EU recalls that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the application of capital punishment represents an irreparable and irreversible loss of human life. No legal system is immune from mistakes and there is no reliable evidence that the death penalty provides added value in terms of deterrence,” EU governments said in their joint statement.

The EU statement was endorsed by 12 other European countries, including Norway, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia and Azerbaijan.

Inserted from <The Age>

This time, the US should follow the advice of our more civilized neighbors and leave the ranks of those nations who still practice such barbarism. Both parties are at fault here, but the GOP is especially rabid on this policy, conforming that they are, in fact, the pro-death party.

Will Bush Lose His Nazi Hideaway?

21Paraguay2 Last year we learned the Crawford Caligula purchased a hideaway in Paraguay, whose right-wing government has a long history of shielding Nazi war criminals and other miscreants from prosecution. So it came as no surprise that Texas Torquemada had made similar arrangements for himself.

Our paranoid friends over at Bring It On have put together a story that hasn’t exactly made Washington Whispers. It’s real short and real simple:

  • The Cuban news service reports that George W. Bush has purchased 98,840 acres in Paraguay, near the Bolivian/Brazilian border.
  • Jenna Bush paid a secret diplomatic visit to Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte and U.S. Ambassador James Cason. There were no press conferences, no public sightings and no official confirmation of her 10-day trip which apparently ended this week.
  • The Paraguayan Senate voted last summer to “grant U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.”
  • Immediately afterwards, 500 heavily armed U.S. troops arrived with various planes, choppers and land vehicles at Mariscal Estigarribia air base, which happens to be at the northern tip of Paraguay near the Bolivian/Brazilian border. More have reportedly arrived since then…

…As far as we can understand, all the paperwork and deeds and such are secret. But somehow the news leaked that a new “land trust” created for Bush had purchased nearly 100,000 acres near the town of Chaco.

And Jenna’s down there having secret meetings with the president and America’s ambassador to Paraguay, James Cason. Bush posted Cason in Havana in 2002, but last year moved him to Paraguay.

Cason apparently gets around. A former “political adviser” to the U.S. Atlantic Command and ATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Cason has been stationed in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama … basically everywhere the U.S. has run secret and not-so-secret wars over the past 30 years.

Here’s a fun question for Tony Snow: Why might the president and his family need a 98.840-acre ranch in Paraguay protected by a semi-secret U.S. military base manned by American troops who have been exempted from war-crimes prosecution by the Paraguyan government?…

Inserted from <Wonkette>

I covered the story HERE.

But the people of Paraguay may have thrown a monkey wrench (pun intended) into Bush’s plan to protect himself from the international justice he so richly deserves:

21Paraguay Former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo has won Paraguay’s presidential election, ending more than six decades of rule by the Colorado Party.

With results declared in most polling stations, Mr Lugo has 41% of the vote.

His main rival, Blanca Ovelar of the Colorado Party, has 31% and former army chief Lino Oviedo 22%.

The BBC’s Gary Duffy in the capital, Asuncion, says many wanted a leadership change to help confront the poverty and unemployment rife in the country.

Mr Lugo brought together leftist unions, indigenous people and poor farmers into a coalition to form the centre-left Patriotic Alliance for Change.

Observers say that the man often described as the “bishop for the poor”, is a virtual political novice, best known for his advocacy of land reform and calls to renegotiate an energy treaty with neighbouring Brazil.

Speaking to his supporters at his campaign headquarters, Mr Lugo said the result showed that little people could also win and that this was the Paraguay he had dreamt about – a country for everyone.

“I invite Paraguayans of all political types, even the ones who don’t share our ideals, to help this country that was once great be great again,” he told the cheering crowd.

Our correspondent says that jubilant supporters of Mr Lugo packed the streets of the capital, waving banners and singing songs, as it became clear not only that he had won, but that the victory would be respected… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <BBC>

I certainly hope that Paraguay’s new leadership will make it known that their nation is now out of the business of harboring war criminals, especially Bush and his Neocon Nazi minions.

All articles cross-posted from Politics Plus

Meltdown of U.S. Dollar Underway as China Dumps the Currency

19dollar Comments by China that it intends to move away from its reliance on the dollar triggered a sharp drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and heightened worldwide fears about the U.S. currency’s stability. Chinese Central Bank Vice Director Xiu Jian said that his country is planning to shift much of its $1.4 trillion national currency reserve from dollars to more stable currencies, such as the euro or Canadian dollar. After these comments, the dollar fell to record lows relative to other currencies — the lowest ever against the euro, the lowest in a generation against the British pound, and the lowest in 57 years against the Canadian dollar.

“The big issue on any currency is if its rate of depreciation is so fast that it scares away all capital, and the announcement that we heard from China sort of feeds those fears,” said Larry Smith, chief investment officer at Third Wave Global Investors.

China is the world’s largest investor in U.S. Treasury bonds and securities, holding more U.S. debt than any country but Japan. Because China’s currency is linked to the dollar, the country also maintains a massive reserve of the currency.

But this policy had already begun to shift at the time of Xiu’s comments. China has divested approximately 5 percent of its $400 billion holdings in the U.S. Treasury and established a $200 billion fund to help diversify its investments in equities and stocks around the world… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Natural News>

It will not be long before other nations follow suit. The mismanagement of our economy for the last seven years has been so profound that our currency is now a riskier investment than most nations will want to take. McFool plans to make our deficit and foreign debt even larger through more tax cuts for the rich.

All articles cross-posted from Politics Plus