Showing posts from October, 2007

Threats on Kurdish Front Should have been expected

This is from the Huffington Post. This article explains some of the reasons why it should have been expected that their would be trouble with Kurdistan. The Kurds will not even fly the Iraqi flag!

James Zogby|
Threats on Kurdish Front Should Have Been Expected
Posted October 26, 2007 | 05:03 PM (EST)


When Saddam Hussein's brutal invasion and occupation of Kuwait was greeted by a joint U.S.-Soviet statement of opposition, and later by an international coalition determined to use force, if necessary, to free Kuwait, I was reminded of the cautionary maxim: "Never pick a fight you can't win."

Saddam apparently hadn't heard that piece of wisdom, or chose to ignore it, and in the end his country paid dearly for his foolishness.

When the U.S. was gearing up to invade Iraq in the Spring of 2003, I offered a slight variation of that same maxim, suggesting that it would be wise to "Never pick …

52% Of Americans support military strike against Iran

I am quite surprised at those high figures. Americans must be among the most gullible citizens in the world. Many seem completely oblivious to the psy-ops embedded in much mainstream media reporting about Iran. An attack on Iran is likely to be an unmitigated disaster but the exact consequences are unpredictable. Certainly the situation in Iraq will become much worse as the Shia will probably react against the US occupation on a much heightened level. This is from this site.

52% of Americans support military strike against Iran
Takeo Miyazaki / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

More than half of likely voters in the United States would support a U.S. military strike against Iran to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon, according to a poll released Monday.

The poll found 53 percent of Americans believe it is likely the United States will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the November 2008 presidential election.

The nationwide telephone survey, conducted by polling fir…

Immunity Jeopardizes Iraq Probe

So the Blackwater Guards are not only immune from prosecution in Iraq, it seems that they will be immune in the US because their testimony can not be used! The case of a guard who shot and killed an Iraqi vice-president's bodyguard last Xmas eve has still not be acted upon by the Justice Dept. Justice is not only blind, it seems to have top speed of a turtle.

Immunity Jeopardizes Iraq Probe
Guards' Statements Cannot Be Used in Blackwater Case

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 30, 2007; A01

Potential prosecution of Blackwater guards allegedly involved in the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians last month may have been compromised because the guards received immunity for statements they made to State Department officials investigating the incident, federal law enforcement officials said yesterday.

FBI agents called in to take over the State Department's investigation two weeks after the Sept. 16 shootings cannot use any information gleaned during ques…

US: Iran seeks nuclear weapons

Evidence shmevidence. The US has its hegemonic policy aims so evidence of Iran actually pursuing nuclear weapons' development is irrelevant. If evidence doesn't exist then manufacture it or suggest it. All that is needed is a supine media that listens more to psy-op puffery from US and other sources rather than a "technical" chap who knows about this stuff. Iraq did not teach the public anything it seems.

US: Iran seeks nuclear weapons Mon Oct 29, 1:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Monday brushed aside the UN nuclear watchdog agency chief's warning that there was no proof Iran seeks atomic weapons, and invited him to stay out of diplomacy with Tehran.
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told CNN Sunday that he had no evidence Iran was building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding "fuel to the fire" with their warlike rhetoric.

"He will say what he will. He is the head of a technical age…

Bipartisan Consensus: Iraq, Many More Years of War

This analysis sounds reasonably accurate to me. Unless the public gets much more active and demanding things will probably transpire much as predicted by Smith. HOwever, an attack on Iran may alter the situation considerably much for the worse I expect.

Bipartisan Consensus: Iraq, Many More Years of War

by Jack A. Smith

Global Research, October 24, 2007

After a few skirmishes, congressional Democrats have fled the field of battle with the Republicans over the matter of withdrawing some U.S. troops from Iraq. Ending the war itself was never a serious part of the several-month debate, although many Americans thought it was.

A consensus seems to be building in Washington that views a long term U.S. military presence in Iraq as a valuable geostrategic asset in the quest for regional and global hegemony. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is now talking about an occupation of an unlimited number of years with a minimum of 40,000 U.S. troops. The Democratic Party and the majority of its politici…

The Evangelical Crackup

I don't really know how significant this is or what the situation is in the US in general but it is interesting to see what seems to be evangelistic Christians becoming perhaps less politically involved.

The Evangelical Crackup
NYT/October 28, 2007

The hundred-foot white cross atop the Immanuel Baptist Church in
downtown Wichita, Kan., casts a shadow over a neighborhood of payday
lenders, pawnbrokers and pornographic video stores. To its
parishioners, this has long been the front line of the culture war.
Immanuel has stood for Southern Baptist traditionalism for more than
half a century. Until recently, its pastor, Terry Fox, was the Jerry
Falwell of the Sunflower State — the public face of the conservative
Christian political movement in a place where that made him a very big

With flushed red cheeks and a pudgy, dimpled chin, Fox roared down
from Immanuel's pulpit about the wickedness of abortion, evolution and
homosexuality. He mobilized hundreds of Kansas pas…

Kurdish leader defies Turkish invasion threat.

THis is from the Independent.
The Kurds are certainly showing they will not be puppets in fact will not even co-operate with the US or central government when it doesn't suit them. This can only lead to a Turkish incursion as I doubt the US or Iraqi govt. will do anything but wring their hands even though the US calls the PKK terrorists!

Iraqi Kurdish leader defies Turkish invasion threat
By Patrick Cockburn in Iraqi Kurdistan
Published: 29 October 2007
Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurds of northern Iraq, expressed defiance yesterday in the face of a threatened invasion by 100,00 Turkish troops, and was scornful of Turkey's claim that it wants only to pursue Turkish-Kurd rebels.

"We are not a threat to Turkey and I do not accept the language of threatening and blackmailing from the government of Turkey," he said from his mountain fortress of Salahudin 10 miles north of Arbil. "If they invade there will be war."

Mr Barzani is President of the Kurdistan Reg…

Guantamo military lawyer breaks ranks.

This is from the Independent. It is always heartening to see people who have the integrity, courage, and belief in the principles of their profession to stand up to the sort of bullying and violation of basic legal principles that is characteristic of the Bush administration. No doubt these people often face punishment and ruin of their careers.

Guantanamo military lawyer breaks ranks to condemn 'unconscionable' detention
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 27 October 2007
An American military lawyer and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamo tribunals has made a devastating attack on the legal process for determining whether Guantanamo prisoners are "enemy combatants".

The whistleblower, an army major inside the military court system which the United States has established at Guantanamo Bay, has described the detention of one prisoner, a hospital administrator from Sudan, as "unconscionable".

His critique will be the centrepiece of a hearing on 5 Dece…

British Commander: Basra fight pointless

The politicians need to assign handlers to top commanders so that utterances can be cleared before they get uttered. It seems that many military people seem blissfully unaware that their role is not to say what they believe but what they ought to believe according to their political masters.

Basra fight pointless, says British commander
Gethin Chamberlain in southern Iraq
Last Updated: 2:02am GMT 28/10/2007

One of the most senior British commanders in Iraq has claimed that there is no point in fighting on in Basra, likening British troops in the city to "Robocop" and admitting that innocent people were hurt as a result of their actions.

On the ground with British troops in southern Iraq

The officer, who spoke to The Sunday Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said commanders had concluded that a military solution was no longer viable.

"We are tired of firing at people," he said. "We would prefer to find a political accommodation."

The officer, who is responsible…

Plans for Iraq's Future: Federalism, Separatism, and Partition

From this site.
This is an interestig analysis of the Senate bill to "divide" Iraq. The article does actually mention briefly that the suggestions are seen to conform to the traditional imperial divide and rule tactics.

Plans for Iraq’s Future: Federalism, Separatism, and Partition
Author: Greg Bruno, Staff Writer

October 22, 2007

Don’t Call It “Partition”
Specific Concerns
Faithful to Federalism
Not the Only Option
Washington as Global Watchdog


A non-binding resolution that sailed through the U.S. Senate in September 2007 reignited debate over Iraq’s political future. Introduced by Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE) and Sam Brownback, (R-KS), the measure calls for a decentralized Iraqi government “based upon the principles of federalism” and advocates for a relatively weak central government with strong Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish regional administrations. The bill, based on a …

Turkey threatens incursion after Iraq talks fail

Unless the US comes up with some action rather than words it seems Turkey will be virtually forced to attack the PKK. The US is obviously very soft on certain groups it labels terrorists.

Turkey threatens incursion after Iraq talks fail
Sat Oct 27, 2007 1:07 PM EDT

By Thomas Grove

SIRNAK, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Saturday to order an incursion into northern Iraq against Kurdish guerrillas after the failure of talks with Iraq aimed at averting a cross-border raid.

"The moment an operation is needed, we will take that step," Erdogan told a large flag-waving crowd in Izmit. "We don't need to ask anyone's permission."

The talks collapsed late on Friday after Ankara rejected proposals by Iraqi Defense Minister General Abdel Qader Jassim for tackling guerrillas based in northern Iraq as insufficient and because they would not yield results quickly enough.

Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops, backed by fighter jets, he…

America's Self-defeating hegemony: Francis Fukuyama

Maybe history is not ending after all! I haven't heard anything about Fukuyama for some time. I find this article more impressive than his book! It is a clearly written well organised presentation of four important reasons why US hegemony is having difficulties maintaining itself. However, it is yet far from the point at which it has defeated itself!
I wonder if the real defeat of US hegemony will not come when the economy enters depression and the military Keynesianism bubble that props up the economy begins to collapse.

America’s self-defeating hegemony —Francis Fukuyama

When I wrote about the “end of history” almost twenty years ago, one thing that I did not anticipate was the degree to which American behaviour and misjudgements would make anti-Americanism one of the chief fault-lines of global politics. And yet, particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that is precisely what has happened, owing to four key mistakes made by the Bush administration.


Syrian "Nukes"? Not so fast.

This is from this site. I really don't think that one can be sure of any of these stories. There was an attack but what it was on we really haven't much of a clue.
We have all sorts of stories. Many of the stories are designed to advance an agenda on the part of the US and Israel. None of the stories will point out that the attack was a clear violation of international law. Can you imagine if Syria carried out such an attack on Israeli nuclear facilities!

Syrian "Nukes"? Not So Fast...
By Noah Shachtman October 26, 2007 | 10:29:19
So what did the Israelis really blow up in the Syrian desert last month? The conventional wisdom says it was a partially-built nuclear reactor, maybe constructed with North Korean help. Arms Control Wonk Jeffrey Lewis isn't so sure.

The New York Times' Mark Mazzetti and Bill Broad have two very good stories on the suspect site in Syria — one placing the leaks about the site in context of Administration internal debates over North Kor…

Cause of Glorietta Mall explosion still uncertain

This is from the Manila Times. It seems likely that the blast was accidental. It always did to me but it certainly is taking a long time to be certain. At least this article explains why the police found traces of a military type explosive. However, there is also a sceptical account of the accident explanation. One wonders about the skills of investigators.

Police: Glorietta 2 mall
explosion ‘likely accidental’

MALACAÑANG officials said there is a “high” probability that last Friday’s blast at the Glorietta 2 mall in Makati City was an accident.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday presented to the National Security Council the results of its investigations at a meeting convened by President Gloria Arroyo, four days after the explosion.

Despite the Glorietta incident, the country’s economic growth is expected to remain strong, driven mainly by consumption growth this year. The peso also strengthened further while the stock market index climbed, apparently shaking off the init…

Turkey Demands PKK extradition

Imagine the US is in a war on terrorism and in territory occupied by it, it refuses to do attack a group it categorises as terrorists or even demand they leave! Does the US think that Turkey is going to sit on its hands forever! As Chomsky has shown there are different kinds of terrorists. These are the kind who are not applauded but are tolerated.

Turkey demands PKK extradition
By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press Writer
Published: 27 October 2007
The US military commander in northern Iraq said yesterday he plans to do "absolutely nothing" to counter Kurdish rebels who are staging deadly cross-border attacks into neighboring Turkey.

It was the most blunt assertion yet by an American official in the last few weeks that US forces should not be involved in the fight. The Bush administration has said repeatedly that the border crisis should be resolved through diplomacy.

Turkey's top military commander said Friday that Turkish leaders will wait until its prime minister visits…

Pipeline Attack in Northern Iraq

This is from the NYtimes.
This shows that conflict in Iraq may be shifting to different locations including Kirkuk. If the Kurds don't act soon against the PKK they will face a Turkish incursion against PKK bases in northern Iraq.

Pipeline Attack in Northern Iraq

Published: October 20, 2007
BAGHDAD, Oct. 19 — In the latest bout of violence around the northern oil city of Kirkuk, insurgents blew up an oil pipeline, battled a convoy carrying bodyguards of a deputy prime minister and ambushed a police chief, Iraqi officials said on Friday.

Meanwhile, a top Kurdish leader issued a statement vowing to “defend” Iraqi Kurdistan from potential attacks by the Turkish Army.

The violence on Friday underscored the continued instability of the area surrounding Kirkuk, where some Sunni insurgents fled earlier this year from strongholds in Baghdad and Baquba after increased American troop deployments in central Iraq.

The deputy prime minister, Barham Salih, a K…

Wal-mart good at state tax avoidance

This shows how Wal-mart can hire high priced tax avoidance helpers to lower its tax burden. Of course small business will not be able to avail itself of such help. It means of course that states must find their funds elsewhere. Sometimes fortunately it seems the high risk strategies get them caught and they have to pay.

This Wall Street Journal article describes how Wal-Mart is able to pay
about half as
much state tax as a typical corporation.

Drucker, Jesse. 2007. "Inside Wal-Mart's Bid To Slash State Taxes."
Wall Street
Journal (23 October): p. A 1.

"In May 2001, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. issued an appeal to big accounting
firms: Find us
creative new ways to cut our state tax bills. Ernst & Young LLP swung
into action.
Senior tax experts at the big accounting firm swapped ideas via email
and in a series
of meetings. At least one gathering, according to an internal Ernst &
Young calendar,
took place in Wal-Mart's headquarters in the "Tax Shelter Room".&qu…

Iran condemns 'doomed' sanctions

The US seems determined to create a new cold war. Iran is being forced into the arms of Russia and China. Blocking financial dealings with the US and allies will force the development of stronger financial dealings with China and Russia and certainly Iran will no longer deal with the dollar in its oil sales. Other countries will balk at the control that the US is attempting to exert through its global influence on financial institutions..
This is from the Guardian.
Iran condemns 'doomed' sanctions

Ewen MacAskill in Washington, Fred Attewill and agencies
Friday October 26, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Iran has issued a defiant response to the harshest sanctions imposed on it by the United States since the 1979 Islamist revolution, saying the measures are "doomed to failure".
The head of the revolutionary guard, branded a "proliferator of weapons of mass destruction", said the sanctions would only drive the corps to defend the "ideals of the revolution more than ev…