Showing posts from October, 2008

US risks overplaying hand with Pakistan strikes

With respect to imperial arrogance and ignoring the sovereignty of other nations there is bipartisan agreement between McCain and Obama. In respect to Pakistan raids Obama is actually more gung ho even then McCain.
One can expect anti-American feelings and exploitation of those feelings by Islamic militants will only grow. What the US is demonstrating is that the only way to deal with the US is through having military power that the US is not willing to challenge. This can only lead to huge increases in military expenditure by countries such as China and Russia and alliances with those countries by countries who cannot defend themselves against encroachment on their sovereignty by the US.

ANALYSIS-US risks overplaying hand with Pakistan strikes
Randall MikkelsenReuters North American News Service
Oct 30, 2008 00:01 EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. strikes at militants in Pakistan are stoking Islamabad's anger at a time analysts say the two countries must work more closely to figh…

Judge questions Dirty Bomb Plot Orders US to yield papers.

This is from the NY Times. There is ample evidence against the CIA claims it does not conduct or condone torture or render anyone for torture. In fact this is just standard denial in the face of plenty of contrary evidence in cases such as Maher Arar , Almalki, Nurredin, El-Maati etc. etc. etc. etc. Of course it is true that they do not condone the torture in public and make sure that when they render someone for torture they get assurances that there will be no torture. But the CIA does know that countries such as Morocco and Syria and Egypt use torture in interrogation.
This is what is called willful ignorance.

October 31, 2008
Questioning ‘Dirty Bomb’ Plot, Judge Orders U.S. to Yield Papers on Detainee
WASHINGTON — Saying he questioned the government’s claim that a Guantánamo Bay detainee had planned a radioactive-bomb attack in the United States, a federal district judge ordered the Justice Department on Thursday to give the detainee’s lawyers documents on his tre…

Philippines: Scandal games...

This if from Malaya. (Manila)
When the Senate tried to question Joc Joc before, he disappeared and ended up in the US where he tried unsuccessfully to obtain asylum. Now he is seeking asylum in the hospital! Don't be surprised if he suddenly disappears from the hospital. Arroyo would love him to disappear!

Joc Joc’ gets to staylonger in hospitalPing hits Villar stance on summons
SENATE marshals will have to wait for "a few more days" before they could bring former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc Joc" Bolante to the chamber for detention.
Senate President Manny Villar yesterday instructed Senate Sergeant-at-Arms chief Jose Balajadia to make sure that Bolante goes through the needed check-ups at the St. Luke’s Medical Center before he could be compelled to give his testimony on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.
Balajadia said the "few more days" could mean "reasonable number of days."
"It takes days for medical check…

Starbucks Blues

This is from BigMoney.
This corporate culture nonsense is big business it seems. Starbucks employees are associates not employees. Walmart uses similar rhetorical flourishes to build up a corporate culture of hot air with a balloon skin impervious to unions it seems.A wage slave by any other name apparently is much better off. The use of high sounding phrases to describe changes that make most workers worse off is also a good example of improving working conditions by rhetoric when the reality is that things are getting worse.

Starbucks Blues

By liza.featherstone
Created 10/29/2008 - 9:12pm

Fall is pumpkin-latte season for those who can still afford to indulge, but for Starbucks [1] workers, it's been a season of discontent. The coffee giant has recently responded to hard times with scheduling changes that are likely to inflict misery on its employees. These policies seem sharply at odds with Starbucks' reputation for social responsibility but make sense in the context of the c…

Obama and Socialism

This is from this Magazine.

The term ''socialism'' is used in popular discourse as a boo word. A boo word is one that has purely negative emotive meaning and very little cognitive meaning. Socialism replaces private ownership of the major means of production, distribution and exchange by some form of socialised ownership. Production is on the basis of need not on the basis of profit. Redistribution within a capitalist system may be progressive but it is not socialism. Often it is simply a means of stimulating capitalist production as in the recent distribution of tax refund checks by the US government in the hopes of stimulating buying and consumption. Even the partial nationalisation of financial institutions has nothing to do with socialism. It is a rescue plan to bail out the system in a crisis and when the crisis passes the institutions pass back completely into private ownership. Some institutions such as the courts, police, and often the post office, and some infr…

US unlikely to accept revised Iraq SOFA

This is from the Monterey-Herald.
Time is running out and it seems that the US has drawn the line at its final draft. While that draft gives more power to the Iraqis than earlier drafts it still does not give the Iraqis much jurisdiction when troops or contractors commit crimes and none when they are on missions.

U.S. unlikely to accept revised Iraq security pact
By LEILA FADEL McClatchy Newspapers
Article Last Updated: 10/29/2008 01:47:27 AM PDT

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi cabinet agreed Tuesday to amend a draft agreement governing the status of U.S. forces in Iraq, but introducing new provisions that the U.S. military is unlikely to accept.
Among other things, the amendments would give Iraqi authorities the right to determine whether a U.S. service member was on- or off-duty when he or she committed an alleged crime outside American bases, where such an American would be tried. It also would allow authorities to inspect all U.S. cargo entering the nation.
Iraqi politicians see the changes as …

US attack on Syria

This is from
The attack is puzzling. Syria has been trying very hard to repair relationships with the West and is even having talks with Israel. It has co-operated with the US against Al Qaeda. It always has done yeoman work torturing and interrogating terror suspects rendered to Syria by the US.
Security has much improved on the Syrian border. A US official was scheduled to meet with the Syrians now that is cancelled as a result of the raid. Perhaps there is conflict within the government between Pentagon and State Dept. but who knows.
Anyway the article is probably right that the permission came right from the top. It is an arrogant and stupid move so it could only have come from high up not from those lower down who probably have more sense. It puts the SOFA agreement in even more danger.
The unofficial official explanation aka propaganda is that it is warning to Syria to do better in the war on terror or else the US will move in. There is no official explanation…

William Bowles on the Global Crisis

This is an interesting take on the current crisis. Bowles is certainly correct that China will hardly profit from the US decline. The US is one of its big customers and it also holds a humungus amount of US dollars. Anyway the decline of the US as a world power I find quite unconvincing. The most you can say is that other powers such as China and India are growing in influence but that is about it.
Bowles also has an interesting comparison with the situation now as contrasted with after the second world war. It is true that there are differences but I think he is wrong that the war on terror cannot substitute for the war on communism. It can and does. In fact the wars associated with the war on terrorism represent a type of Military Keynesianism that keeps the economy in terms of the military industrial complex going. It remains to be seen whether there will be a stimulus program involving new large infrastructure projects in the U.S. but it is quite possible especially if Obama is …

The end of the road for the U.S. carmakers

Somehow I imagine that the taxpayer will end up bailing out at least some of the big three. Perhaps it will take the form of helping out financially with the merger of GM and Chrysler. As one wag described it: This is like thinking that if you tie two stones together and throw them in the water that being together will somehow keep them from sinking.
The failure of a big car maker could be the next big jolt to the economy.,0,1118586.story

The end of the road for U.S. carmakers?
Some analysts suggest failure may not be such a bad thing for Detroit's Big Three. Others, especially Michigan politicians, warn of calamity.By Ken BensingerOctober 28, 2008

Are the Big Three worth saving?The U.S. auto industry's downward spiral has accelerated dramatically in recent weeks. In a desperate bid for solvency, General Motors Corp. is seeking a merger with Chrysler. Chrysler has talked with Renault and Nissan about partnerships. And now Fo…

The attack on Syria and self defence

The Bush amplified definition of self-defense is simply a self interested definition that supports US aggression. It also removes any credibility that the US still has on the international scene. The same self-interested redefinition of terms has occured in the definition of torture. Experts can always be found to support these redefinitions and they are usually well rewarded for doing so. The second quote is from the NYTimes.
The first quote is from a widely accepted view of what would constitute justified anticipatory self-defence by the famous American Daniel Webster. The Syrian attack as the Pakistan attacks hardly fit the terms of this definition. Neither did the original invasion of Afghanistan let alone Iraq.

The most widely accepted modern standard for anticipatory self-defense was articulated by U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster in diplomatic correspondence with his British counterpart over the Caroline incident (often mischaracterized as the Caroline "case") and…

US faces International Condemnation in Wake of Syria Strike.

Interesting that Lebanon should condemn this attack. In spite of being supported strongly by the US the Lebanese government must show some independence or perhaps face civil war. The hostile stance of the US to Syria is causing Russia to move in to strengthen relations.
Notice that there is not any official comment upon the raid at all. There are just reports of anonymous US officials justifying the attack on grounds of self defence and on the basis of claims that are not at all verified. This does not keep them from being dutifully reported by an ''objective'' press. Not a single word of condemnation from European countries or South or North America. Surely Venezuela and Cuba will condemn the attacks at least.

US Faces International Condemnation in Wake of Syria Strike
Posted October 27, 2008
While the White House has declined comment and other US officials defended the strike on a Syrian border town yesterday which killed eight, international condemnation rained dow…

Claims of Syrian Nuclear Facility Falter over Lack of Evidence

So far no analysis has shown any evidence for US claims. No much in the news about this. If we hear anything it will be about Syrian intransigence in not allowing inspectors to visit three or four other sites. Apparently Western intelligence sources have infomed the IAEA that they are also suspect. What a wonderful way to get the IAEA to collect intelligence for free. Syria has denied the requests on security grounds. This sensible position will be spun as if it shows obvious guilt. This is from

Claims of Syrian ‘Nuclear Facility’ Falter Over Lack of Evidence
Posted September 21, 2008
With the IAEA’s next Board of Governors meeting set to begin tomorrow, the probe into Syria’s alleged secret nuclear facility appears to be faltering over lack of evidence. While the analysis of the samples taken from the facility during the IAEA’s June visit to the site are only partially complete, the tests so far have found nothing to back up the US claims about the nature of the target.

Analysis: Syrian raid suggests new US stance

This is from IHL. This is not really a new stance. The Bush ultra rogue state doctrine has always been that the US has the right to strike anywhere in world be it territory of friend (Pakistan) or foe(Syria) on the grounds of self-defence or even more vaguely as part of the war against terror. It is so common that the press doesn't even bother to mention that the policy is a clear violation of the UN charter and international law. Notice that they do not do this in countries such as Russia which might not just reply with rhetoric. Nor do they do it in cases where the terrorists are helpful to the US as with MEK in Iraq and they certainly do not help out Turkey with the PKK. The raids can simply be seen as a symbol of US imperial supremacy showing others, especially those that are weak, that the US is the world boss and policeman. Or to put it in the moral crapology of the US itself: The leader of the free and democratic world in the war against terror and the dark forces of evil.…

Philippines: Former official to be arrested on return from US.

US threatens to halt services if Iraq rejects troop deal.

This is from
This is a form of blackmail, no doubt about it. Sometimes the US simply ignores the political effects its actions cause. There are elections coming up in Iraq. Pro US groups will be left completely out in the cold except for the Kurds and even they may want to keep their distance.
If the Iraqi government were to sign SOFA without going through parliament as it could it would lose all credibility but this seems the only way that the agreement could be finalised without amendments. Does the US really want that?

US Threatens to Halt Services if Iraq Rejects Troop Deal
Posted October 26, 2008

As the United States struggles to get Iraqi officials to change their position on the all-but-dead Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) top US commander General Ray Odierno has issued a three-page letter to high ranking Iraqi officials. The letter includes a list of major services which the United States would halt if the Iraqi government does not approve the SOFA by the …

What if ..?

What if the Iranians decided in self-defence to attack Ashraf city the home of an anti-Iranian terrorist group in Iraq. Ashraf city is protected by the Americans even though those same Americans have the terrorist group on their terrorist list! Boggles the mind? Usually of course terrorists who support the US are not called terrorists at all. But these terrorists are not pure US supporters. They are Marxists and socialists who fought against the Shah and who supported Saddam Hussein at times. But then so did the US. Anyway what would happen if the Iranians who rightly regard these terrorists as a threat to them attacked Asraf city in the name of self defence? Well of course the Iranian attackers would be shot down if they used air transport and the US would no doubt do more than send a stiff diplomatic note to Tehran!
The MEK or PMOI are worried that if jurisdiction of Ashraf city is given to the Iraqi authorities they will lose their protection. The Iraqi govt. does not look as k…

The world's biggest and best armed Rogue State is at it again.

The everyday violation of international law by the U.S. is so normal now that commentary in the press does not even bring up the issue of these being violations. Of course if it were brought up nonsense would be brought up about the acts being self-defence. Here is a sampling of what is going on:

From Of course no US official so far has given an official version just anonymous stuff that sounds like it might as well be an official version. The second article shows the Pakistani prime minister's reaction to drone attacks. It is likely that relations with Pakistan will go from bad to worse. This is happening at a time when Pakistan is taking serious casualties from its own war on terror but the US could care less about that.

Syria Condemns US Attack as “Serious Aggression”
Posted October 26, 2008
An unnamed US military official has confirmed the attack on the Syrian border town of al-Sukkariya earlier this evening, which killed at least eight and wounded 14 others. He said …