Showing posts from June, 2010

Mchrystal Retires as Four Star General

McChrystal has decided to retire after being relieved of his duties as commander in Afghanistan. However normally he would simply receive a pension as a three star general. The rules are that a general must serve two years at a given rank before retiring with a pension at that rank. McChrystal served only one year before he handed in his resignation. However Obama always generous with taxpayer money and anxious to please the military who often regard him with some uneasiness has seemingly waived the rules for McChrystal. McChrystal was after all Obama's choice. McChrystal will have to survive on a mere $12,475 per month. However, one can bet that McChrystal will not fade away and just enjoy his newfound leisure. He can busy himself writing memoirs, or become a military expert on one of the big TV chains or even buy out Xe (Blackwater) and resume a life at doing what he loves.

McChrystal informed the Army of his planned retirement on Monday.

Why did McChrystal want to be fired?

The only reasonable explanation of McChrystal and his staff's actions is that he wanted to be fired. McChrystal allowed Michael Hastings a reporter for the anti-war magazine Rolling Stone tag along with them for about a month. Hastings was able to record all sorts of intimate details of the goings on of McChrystal and his staff. He also recorded remarks that were insulting to many important U.S. politicians, including Joe Biden, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Holbrooke, and on and on. The McChrystal staff called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), I Suck At Fighting. This is the force that McChrystal commands. When Hastings subsequently penned a long article for Rolling Stone repeating remarks that obviously involved insubordination nevertheless McChrystal did not contest anything said in the article. He surely must have known that Obama would really have no choice but look like a complete wuss or have him fired or resign.
The question now becomes wh…

Wikileaks founder in hiding..

No doubt authorities would like to question him about his relationship to Bradley Manning who is alleged to have given Wikileaks numerous classified documents. Wikileaks is supposed to release another blockbuster video of an attack last year in Afghanistan but so far it has not appeared. This is from the Washington Post.

Wikileaks founder in hiding, fearful of arrest
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has gone into hiding, fearful of arrest by U.S. authorities, an Icelandic parliamentarian confirmed Friday.

“He’s just been following events in the U.S., and State Department press conferences and so forth, and they have been trying to get hold of him," Birgitta Jonsdottir, a close supporter of Assange in the Icelandic Parliament, said. “And obviously Julian Assange does not necessarily want to have a chapter written about any leaks.”

Authorities are interested in locating Assange following reports that an Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, recently transferred a huge volume…

UN Correspondents'Assoc. has flap with Israel over Flotilla presentation

If this is covered in the press at all it will just be to note Israel's objection to the presentation as being unfair. However as the exchange shows between the group and the Israeli mission, the Israelis were given an opportunity to present their film but only if they agreed to take questions a requirement of such presentations. The Israelis refused. This is from aljazeera.

Flotilla flap at the UN
By Kristen Saloomey in

Israel has engaged in a war of words with the United Nations Correspondents Association which hosted an event during which a passenger on board the Mavi Marmara was allowed to show a video that was shot as Israeli commandoes raided the aid ship.

The Israeli mission to the UN took aim at UNCA in a letter dated June 17. It says Israel was denied the opportunity to present its point of view to UN journalists and demands an apology.

"Offering UN media facilities to screen video produced by a one-sided activist while actively preventing a Member State of th…

Eric Prince puts Blackwater (Xe) up for sale.

Eric Prince has always been annoyed by the bad publicity that his firm has gained. He claims that performance does not count in Washington just politics. While Blackwater was for the most part successful in protecting its clients it did so in a way that could hardly be called a good performance. It was involved in killing innocent people and managed to make it and to some degree the U.S. an object of hatred in the areas it works. At the same time it often charged outrageous prices. As a result it is subject to lawsuits, criminal investigations and a tide of negative publicity. Some performance. In fact only Prince's Pentagon connections probably has saved the firm this long. So Prince is right that politics rather than performance counts. But finally the connections are being disconnected so Prince might as well sell before it gets worse. This is from the NYTimes.

Founder Puts Blackwater Security Firm Up for Sale

WASHINGTON — Burdened by lawsuits, criminal investi…

Noam Chomsky on Israel and the Gaza Flotilla Attack

Chomsky as usual is his usual truculent self when it comes to Israel. Although he himself he is Jewish he has been a consistent caustic critic of Israeli policy. He is so hated and feared it seems that he was not allowed in to Israel to give a speech.
Chomsky gives a bit of history noting that the boardings are not new but have been ongoing and tolerated by the U.S. and Europe. As to the issue of Hamas rockets and stopping them Chomsky points out that there was a truce and Hamas wanted to extend it but Israel would not agree. This is from CommonDreams.

Noam Chomsky on Israel and the Gaza Flotilla Attack: "Sheer Criminal Aggression, with no Credible Pretext"
CHICAGO, Illinois - June 2 - Professor Noam Chomsky, renowned foreign policy analyst and bestselling author of Hegemony and Survival and most recently of Hopes and Prospects (Haymarket Books) offered the following statement to Egypt's Al-Ahram regarding Israel's justification for it's attack on humanitarian ai…

Israel and the Tacitus Principle

This is a long detailed blow by blow critique of Israel's defense of its actions against the Freedom Flotilla. As the lead paragraph points out Israel depends upon audacity to defend itself once its crime has been exposed. This is from this site.

The Tacitus Principle: How Israel and its Apologists Defend the Indefensible

If there is one piece of ancient wisdom that has never lost even a bit of its validity over the centuries, it is Cornelius Tacitus' axiom that, “Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.” Indeed, this appears to be the underlying principle of the US-Israeli PR campaign that has been launched in the wake of the almost universally condemned Israeli commando raid on the unarmed Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which carried aid to the Gaza Strip in an effort to break the siege that has strangled the 1.5 million people there since 2007.

The facts of the attack are fairly uncontroversial. The Gaza Freedom Flotilla consists of several multinational, civilian ships …