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It’s October, and I’m surprised. Should I also be scared?

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Let’s see….  

1. Our economy — that venerable house of cards — is collapsing, and the architects show no signs that they intend to do anything but stack more cards into the rafters (to hell with the foundation, to hell with the people below).

2. The news media essentially serve as a 24-7 infomercial for McCain-Palin, and yet Obama is still ahead — by double digits, according to some polls —  which means that people aren’t lining up anymore to buy the Bush-Cheney line of bullshit.

3. And, lastly, according to a Sept. 30 article in Army Times, George Bush has officially done the utterly unprecedented: He ordered a brigade of troops to to begin patrolling U.S soil, beginning on Oct. 1st, as part of the new NorthCom force. Bush dispatched the brigade in case our country needs help with “civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE attack.”

Should I be scared? I am.

But it’s a safe bet that — since this post isn’t about Sarah Palin — no one will read it, which means that, on the topic of fearful things, I can plant my tin foil hat firmly on my head and talk without fear of reprimand.

According to the Army Times article, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team goes by the incredibly adorable name, “Sea Smurf” — which is the phonetically-correct moniker for it’s official name: CCMRF (the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force). Their mission is slated to last for a year, during which time we can all take comfort in the words of Sea Smurf commander, Col Roger Clouter: “We’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role.”

Different, indeed. The brigade is equipped to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” which includes, “equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.”

If the idea of soldiers patrolling your neighborhood with shields, batons and rubber bullets makes you nervous, take comfort in this: The Army Times article did issue a correction in early October, regarding the use of their non-lethal package. Accordingly, “A non-lethal crowd control package fielded to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, described in the original version of this story, is intended for use on deployments to the war zone, not in the U.S., as previously stated.”

Rubber bullets aside, one strategic problem with the Sea Smurf’s NorthCom mission is that, according to an April 2008 GAO report, Northcom has not bothered to involve local and state officials and governments — much less the National Guard — in their emergency preparedness planning and coordination efforts. In other words, NorthCom appears set to go it alone, leaving legislators, governors, mayors, the National Guard and the media,  to — I don’t know — step in line? 

The unprecedented pre-emptive deployment of NorthCom military troops onto U.S. soil was paved in October 2006 when Bush signed the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.  A few lawmakers, such as Sen. Patrick Leahy, protested — as did governors across the country, who saw blazing red flags in the bills provisions. The governors banded together and repeatedly petitioned leaders on Capitol Hill with letters of protest, which were met, one by one, with silence. One such letter, signed by every member of the National Governors Association, read, in part:

This provision was drafted without consultation or input from governors, and represents an unprecedented shift in authority from governors . . .to the federal government….. We urge you to drop provisions that would usurp governors’ authority over the National Guard during emergencies from the conference agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act

So much for democracy. The bill passed like a hot knife through butter.

The roles of traditional emergency preparedness team workers seem to have been usurped by Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Whatever that means.

On this topic, the bi-partisan group of legislators that released the aforementioned April 2008 GAO report had a few things to say:   

I remain convinced that almost seven years after 9/11, the U.S. Northern Command, as presently structured, serves no real purpose and is a waste of taxpayers’ money. The only hope to transform this sham command into a viable asset for the American people would require major changes.  — Gene Taylor, D-Mississippi 

The United States Northern Command is supposed to be out in front in the Pentagon’s efforts to support civil authorities in emergencies. It should be planning and identifying possible equipment shortfalls. Above all, it should be working closely with state and local communities. Instead, the command is doing very little of this core activity. — Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont

Clearly, a bias against playing a supporting role to civilian authorities has resulted in large gaps in NORTHCOM’s ability to fulfill its stated mission. The fact is, governors and their National Guard are and will continue to be our nation’s first domestic military responders. And until they and NORTHCOM can work together more seamlessly, NORTHCOM’s ability to be of assistance in homeland response will continue to face significant challenges. — Chris Shays, R-Connecticut

NORTHCOM’s duty is to provide military support to States and the Department of Homeland Security, but it hasn’t fully figured out this emergency support mission. Any crack in our emergency preparedness capability today will become a gaping hole in our catastrophic response tomorrow. — Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi

Instead of working with the governors, the National Guard Bureau and the State Adjutants General, Northern Command has held the country’s historic first military responders at arm’s length. Northern Command needs to accept its supporting role or get out of the way. — Tom Davis, R-Virginia
 

It is a curiosity. I mean, For more than 100 years – since the end of the Civil War – deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Unless I missed something, a major hurricane has not hit the mainland in recent days, nor has a spate of riots broken out  in our major cities. And there’s no imminent threat of an impending chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high explosive. Is there?  

Not that there’s a damned thing we can do about it. But I’m just saying….

Of course, it’s my prerogative to speculate on such things. After all, I am part of the tin-foil hat brigade, and have been since falling prey to tertiary Lyme Disease in 2002. Ever since, I’ve been on the vanguard with those who have long-believed in such unspeakable things as a Wall Street catastrophe, not to mention bizarre theories about bio-warfare pandemics, a second (and maybe a third) stolen election, 9-11 as a false flag operation, the Patriot Act, Dick Cheney’s oil imperialism agenda, the ascent of mercenary armies, martial law, internment camps, government-controlled media, geophysical warfare and so on — complete with all the legislative frills and scary, terrorist-bullying jargon necessary to making these newworldorder-ish things alternately possible, invisible, overt, covert and, ultimately, unstoppable.

 

Granted, a single brigade of Sea Smurfs dispatched to the blood red soils of Georgia, USA hardly seems like an overwhelming threat. But it is unprecedented, and it is also, um, un-American. So it’s only natural that I’d jump on board, in full-tin regalia, fully unsurprised — yet as surprised as the next person — by the house of cards, the McCain-Palin infomercials and the Sea Smurf Brigade. Only, unlike the steadfast tin soldier, I don’t feel so brave. And my heart’s not doing so well, either.    

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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Army Times: (Sept. 30, 2008)  Brigade Homeland Tour Starts October 1st

Salon.com: (Sept. 24, 2008) Why is a U.S. Army Brigade Being Assigned to the “Homeland”?

Patrick Leahy: (April 16, 2008) GAO: NORTHCOM Failing in Civil Support Mission

CQ.com: (Dec. 1, 2006)  Fine Print in Defense Bill Opens Door to Martial Law

Global Research: (October 9, 2008) FEMA Sources Confirm Coming Martial Law

The Progressive: (October 7, 2008)  Leahy Concerned About NorthCom’s New Army Unit

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Having created the conditions that produced history’s biggest bubble, America’s political leaders appear unable to grasp the magnitude of the dangers the country now faces. Mired in their rancorous culture wars and squabbling among themselves, they seem oblivious to the fact that American global leadership is fast ebbing away. A new world is coming into being almost unnoticed, where America is only one of several great powers, facing an uncertain future it can no longer shape. — From Asia Times  (October 10, 2008)  Wall Street: A New Iraq War

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On the Occasion of the 7th Anniversary of 9-11….

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On the occasion of the 7th anniversary of September 11th, a call for mourning: A call for mourning for the lives lost, a call for remembrance of all that was lost that day; a call for questions to be asked, and for questions to be answered; A call for 9-11 to no longer be exploited by any political party or person for political gain.

On the occasion of the 7th anniversary of September 11th, a wake up call: a call for mourning, a call for remembrance, a call for truth.

 

The Elephant in the Room – Part 1 of 10

Winner: Best Documentary – London Independent Film Festival. 2008

 The Elephant in the Room is a documentary following British filmmaker Dean Puckett through his journey into the 9/11 Truth Movement: a global movement of ‘conspiracy theorists’ who believe that the official explanation about what happened on 9/11 is totally or partially inaccurate. The filmmakers travel from middle England, across Europe and to New York for the six year anniversary of the attacks, where the film takes one final twist as we are introduced to the 9/11 first responders who are suffering from various grave health difficulties due to the toxic dust that they breathed in trying to help their country during the weeks after this tragic event. Told with a personal hands on approach that avoids advancing any one position, the film asks the question: are these crazy conspiracy theorists? Or is 9/11 Truth a credible political movement?

The Elephant in the Room – Part 2

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The Elephant in the Room – Part 3

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The Elephant in the Room – Part 4

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The Elephant in the Room – Part 5

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The Elephant in the Room – Part 6

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The Elephant in the Room – Part 7

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The Elephant in the Room – Part 8

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The Elephant in the Room – Part 9

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The Elephant in the Room – Part10 of 10

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Other films related to 9-11 and truth 

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An upcoming film: Zeitgeist will premiere on October 2nd, 2008 at the 5th Annual Artivist’s Flim Festival in Los Angeles Film Festival. See trailer and high-definition, 2-hour film (available online thru Oct 3rd) here

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Loose Change 9-11   See full-length film here.

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Check out this website: The FeelGood Foundation works to assist and improve the lives of the 9-11 first reponders and their families. Learn more about them here, where you can also browse their shop and/or make a tax-deductible donation. Below is their mission statement: 

The primary mission of the FealGood Foundation, a non-profit organization, is to spread awareness and educate the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders, as well as to provide assistance to relieve these great heroes of the financial burdens placed on them over the last five years. A secondary goal of our Foundation is to create a network of advocacy on 9/11 healthcare issues. We not only advocate for Ground Zero workers, but show others how they can advocate for themselves and help others through grassroots activism.

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Dick Cheney: The Eight Most Dreaded Words in The English Language

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A film by Robert Greenwald: “Unconstitutional – The War on Our Civil Liberties”

Joe Biden said it best: “For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: ‘The vice president’s office is on the phone.'”

Truly, Biden’s words last night flew by so fast — and coming, as they did, seemingly out of nowhere — that we almost missed them. But these words were, perhaps, the most important words spoken at the convention last night. For those of us who have been paying attention — really paying attention to just what in the hell has happened to our country over the past 7 years — we know that Joe Biden hit the nail on the head: Dick Cheney.

It was Dick Cheney and his henchmen, David Addington and John Yoo, who orchestrated the assault on our Constitution and Bill of Rights; Dick Cheney who orchestrated the cooking of intelligence to go to war in Iraq. It was Dick Cheney who orchestrated the transfer of power in this country from the people’s voice to corporations, so that his corporate cronies could rake in billions upon billions of dollars in the U.S. wars for oil all over the world — from Afghanistan and Iraq, to the more recent war-by-proxy in Georgia (not to mention the other covert wars throughout the Caucuses, Latin America and all of Africa ). 

It was Dick Cheney and his henchmen who orchestrated a system of laws that would legalize torture, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, illegal detention, the loss of habeas corpus for anyone deemed a terrorist suspect — up to, and including, American citizens, who have been relentlessly spied on over the past 7 years for evidence that they, themselves, might be deemed “rebellions” or “homegrown terrorists” or “terrorist sympathizers” or  “terrorist suspects” or “enemy combatants” for being so bold as to have an opinion on peace, on war, on animal rights, on human rights. 

And it was Dick Cheney and henchman, such as Karl Rove, who orchestrated the fearmongering to feed their “war on terror” — not to protect America from the bad guys, but to scare the hell out of us. It was Dick Cheney who groomed those fears, then exploited them to strong-arm our entire country into gladly surrendering our rights and our laws and, with them, the soul of our country, which has stained our integrity throughout the world. It is Dick Cheney who is a war criminal. It is Dick Cheney who is guilty of myriad impeachable offenses, yet is so powerful that not even the laws of the land dare touch him. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Make no mistake: When Joe Biden referred to “the eight most-dreaded words in the English language,” he wasn’t kidding.

Which makes it all the more important that we pay attention — really pay attention — in the coming months and years because there is nothing to stop the force that is Dick Cheney, save the overwhelming protest of the American people, all the way to Capitol Hill. And even that may not be enough. Remember these things, come election day, when the voting machines malfunction, and the ballots are all screwed up, and hundreds of thousands of people discover their names have been deleted from the lists of registered voters, and the lines at *certain* polls are 8 hours long. Remember this during the months after inauguration, as you discover that — despite all the campaign rhetoric and promises — our leaders on Capitol Hill still seem incapacitated to doing “the right thing.”

Ain’t no election gonna change the fact that some of the most powerful people in the world bow to the sound of those words, and will long continue to do so, even when the words have been reduced to only five: Dick Cheney’s on the phone.

CBC News Documentary: Dick Cheney: the Unauthorized Biography

 

A Bibliography: The Truth About Georgia’s War Against South Ossetia

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cartoonAs a counterpoint to the pervasive U.S. media propaganda about Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia, we are offering links to websites devoted to more accurate and truthful news and perspectives on the U.S.-Georgia offensive against South Ossetia. We’ll add to the list as time permits.

AUGUST 27, 2008 

Informative links, courtesty of William Bowles: http://williambowles.info/asia/georgia-index.htmlThe Mysterious ‘Sarkozy Letter’: http://www.creative-i.info/?p=369

AUGUST 20, 2008

It’s not rocket science, folks.

Just this past weekend, there seemed to be hope. Georgia and Russia each signed the 6-point peace deal (although, granted, the U.S. pulled a sleazy, petty, underhanded trick and deleted the preamble from Georgia’s copy of the peace plan, which stated that the document was the result of an agreement between the presidents of Russia and France.

Still…. Sleazy, petty, underhanded, preamble-deleting tactic aside, a potentially catastrophic war appeared to have been averted as of this past weekend. All that was left was drafting this plan into a U.N. Security Resolution. Yet, here we are today: four of the six points have disappeared; inserted in their place is incendiary language that is not only a flagrant affront to Russia, but is spawned from false premises — outright lies — and completely contradicts the terms of the freshly-signed six-point peace plan. The newly-inserted language is the verbal equivalent of Georgia’s August 7th brutal attack on South Ossetia.

In other words, it has the U.S. written all over it.The events of today add just a bit more insult to injury. Russia countered the ridiculous 2-point draft U.N. resolution with something the media is now terming, “its own” draft U.N. resolution. The fact is, “its own” draft is no more and no less than the very 6-point peace plan that all sides agreed to and signed this weekend. Here’s the view from elsewhere in the world:

AntiWar.com: “The Narrative Versus the News: Journalism in the age of perpetual war” (excellent article, includes Georgia war)

McClatchy: “Pentagon, White House at odds over aid to Georgia” The White House is frustrated, the officials said, but the Pentagon is unperturbed.

Military.com: “Hegemon Hijinks”

The Moscow Times: “How Sarkozy Ended the Fighting” In clinching a six-point truce between Moscow and Tbilisi in three days, French President Nicolas Sarkozy carried out a diplomatic tour de force that could cement his legacy.But the actual documents signed by Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Mikheil Saakashvili are not identical, and there is a third copy of the peace plan with the signatures of the leaders of Georgia’s separatist republics, Abkhazia’s Sergei Bagapsh and South Ossetia’s Eduard Kokoity.

Reuters: “Russia Circulates Own Draft U.N. Resolution“

Reuters: “White House: Russia needs to return any U.S. equipment” (Bush issues lost and found notice on the U.S. arms given to Georgia’s military to wage its brutal war on South Ossetia. )

Salon: Rice: Military power is “not the way to deal in the 21st century” Whatever one’s views are on the justifiability of each isolated instance, it’s simply a fact that the U.S. invades, bombs, occupies, and interferes in the internal affairs of other countries far more than any other country on the planet. It’s not even a close competition.

AUGUST 19, 2008

Were this war truly about democracy and human rights — and not oil — the conflict would have been long ago resolved with simple diplomacy. – Zeus

A re-cap of the events leading to the war in Georgia:

THE PUPPET REGIME

In 2004, the Bush Administration installed puppet-President Saakashvili in Georgia, under the guise of removing a corrupt leader and bringing democracy to Georgia. Three years later, in November 2007, the Georgian citizens, who formerly supported Saakashvili, were now protesting in the streets, charging him with corruption and demanding his resignation. The Georgian military (now armed to the teeth with U.S. democracy) brutalized the protestors with high-tech, mob-control weaponry from the U.S. Saakashvili was re-elected in a corrupt, rigged election, much like the previous two U.S. presidential elections, only more violent.

U.S. AGGRESSION AGAINST RUSSIA

In mid-July 2008, the U.S. and Georgia staged joint NATO military exercises on the Russian border, which heightened existing tensions between Russia and the U.S.-Georgia. Two weeks later, Georgia attacked South Ossetia, one of two Russian-allied, independent states within Georgia’s borders. Russia counter-attacked, claiming defense of its ally. The U.S. media correctly reported that Georgia had invaded South Ossetia. War ensued, soon joined by a fullscale propaganda war, as the U.S. media stopped reporting that Georgia had started the war, and began blaming Russia. Russia termed Georgia’s assault a U.S. war-by-proxy.

A PLAN FOR, UH, PEACE

As tensions escalated, a peace plan was forged. The plan called for, among other things, a cease in hostilites and for both sides to return to their pre-war positions: Georgia in Georgia, and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. Georgian president, Saakashvili, initially refused to sign the plan, because it was “just a political document.” The U.S. and Georgia upped the war rhetoric, defying the terms of the peace plan AND the wishes of the South Ossetians and Abkhazia, by insisting that these two independent states would now fall under Georgia’s control. To make it look like Russia (not the U.S.) was defying the peace plan, the U.S. media began referring to South Ossetia and Abkhazia as “ethnic Georgia,” and accusing Russia of refusing to leave Georgia. Russia’s anger escalated. It stepped-up its assault in Georgia-proper, and began destroying U.S. military installations within Georgia, deeming them a threat to Russia. Bush responded by announcing the U.S. installation of missile bases in Poland. Russia accurately deemed this a threat against Russia, and threatened a nuclear response to these missiles being placed in Poland.

MORE PEACE

Concurrent to the bilateral threats of nuclear holocaust, a 2nd peace plan was drafted, which reinforced and clarified Russia’s right to defend South Ossetia and Abkhazia until such a time when international discussions could take place to establish the political future of these two states. Russia signed the plan. Saakashvili signed a peace plan, too, which Russia claims lacked the introductory clause contained in the peace plan Russia signed. While the U.S.-Georgia may have agreed, on paper, to the plan, they are hoping that no one will notice that they are, in practice, violating the treaty by insisting that South Ossetia and Abkhazia belong under Georgia’s control, even tho neither state wants to be under Georgia’s control. The U.S. is further insisting that Russia withdraw entirely from the two independent states, despite that the treaty allows Russia’s presence there. These covert lies are a flagrant display of agression against Russia. In this, the Bush Administration is forcing Russia’s hand. If one didn’t, uh, know better, it would appear that the U.S. wants to go to war with Russia.

MEANWHILE, THE PROPAGANDA WAR RAGES ON….

Russia claims to be destroying U.S. stocks and supplies at Georgia’s military installations, which it deems as threats to Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.The U.S. has promised to replace whatever military arms Georgia has lost in this war. U.S. is accusing Russia of slaughtering Georgians, which seems true, but to what extent is difficult to discern because both the South Ossetian and the Abkhazian armies are now ruthlessly attacking Georgia-proper. These armies likely have Russian backing, the same way Georgia has U.S. backing, ergo, the U.S. and Russia are staging covert wars against each other.

Russia also claims that Georgian and U.S. mercenary forces are dressed in Russian military garb, attacking their own citizens in Georgia and filming it, to use as propaganda to further villify Russia to the world community, gaining support for future aggression against Russia. What a mess.Let us be the among the first to state the obvious: When a peace plan is drawn up and signed, it is customary for all parties to then abide by the agreement.

This war is an evil game. We fault the Bush Administration for starting this war and for sidestepping the terms of the peace plan by intentionally perpetuating this war through lying and using aggressive war rhetoric to exacerbate tensions and undermine any possibility for a real peace. That innocent people are, indeed, being slaughtered in this game is criminal. Many in the U.S., including presidential candidate, McCain, want to see more slaughtering. They want the U.S. to bomb Russia, even if this means fullscale nuclear holocaust. Americans are so enamored of the Bush brand of democracy, that it’s worth the annilhation of all life on this planet to spread this democracy. Even as Americans are still stinging from the knowledge that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with spreading democracy and freedom, and had everthing to do with controlling Iraq’s oil. Oh, the short memories of these stupid, stupid Americans, who are once again eating Bush’s war propaganda like candy. So who’s the puppet now?

Unless U.S. citizens want to see the entire planet engulfed in nuclear holocaust, they would be well-advised to call their representative to voice opposition to Bush-Cheney’s support of Georgia and this war for oil. Were this war truly about democracy and human rights — and not oil — the conflict would have been long ago been resolved with simple diplomacy.

AUGUST 16-18

It seems the closest we can find to truth in the media on this war is through political cartoons. The above cartoon sums things up quite well. With propaganda occupying all sides of this war, it’s a rarity to find verifiable, trustworthy, factual news articles. Here are a few we found for August 16-18:

ANTIWAR.COM/REUTERS: “Georgia rebel region sacks government, declares emergency” The president of Georgia’s separatist region of South Ossetia fired his government on Monday and declared a month-long emergency to cope with the aftermath of an armed conflict with the central government.

THE NATION: “Ceasefire and Chaos in Georgia” After nearly two weeks of war, most of Georgia remains in chaos. A bridge thirty miles west of the capital city of Tbilisi was blown up on Saturday afternoon, severing the country’s east-west rail link.

PRAVDA: “Georgian President Saakashvili eats his tie on TV live “ The BBC has recently aired a TV report, in which Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili ate his tie. The report was about the situation in the area of the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia. The footage showed Saakashvili making a call to a top Western official. It could be clearly seen that Mr. Saakashvili was having a nervous breakdown. Watch the video here

AUGUST 14-15, 2008

ANTI-WAR.COM: “Blowback From Bear-Baiting” Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and John McCain, and America’s lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

COMMON DREAMS.ORG: “Putin’s War Enablers: Bush and Cheney” — All sides have committed massacres and behaved abominably. There are no clean hands involved…. Still, not everyone in NATO agrees that Saakashvili is a hero. While traveling with the negotiating team of President Nicolas Sarkozy, one French official observed that “Saakashvili was crazy enough to go in the middle of the night and bomb a city” in South Ossetia. The consequence of Russia’s riposte, he said, is “a Georgia attacked, pulverized, through its own fault.”

CONSORTIUMNEWS: “Washington Post and the Great Disconnect” On Tuesday, the sub-head for the Washington Post’s lead editorial read, “The West confronts an unfamiliar sight: a nation bent on conquest.”
 
FAIRNESS & ACCURACY IN REPORTING (FAIR): “Georgia/Russia Conflict Forced Into Cold War Frame” — U.S. corporate media frequently evoked the Cold War as a key to understanding the conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia. This was certainly true of the media themselves, which generally placed black hats or white hats on the actors involved depending on whether they were allied with Moscow or Washington.
 
IRISH TIMES: “Rivals say they plan to remove Georgian president” — Georgian opposition politicians have wasted no time in trying to undermine president Mikheil Saakashvili, who remains broadly popular in Georgia but is still widely perceived in the country as having started the war with Russia.
 
THE NATION: “Georgia’s First Mistake: Taking McCain Seriously” — What was Mikheil Saakashvili thinking when he started poking at Russia in a manner that Mikhail Gorbachev correctly observes has “turned out to be a time bomb for Georgia’s territorial integrity.”? That question is easily answered.
WASHINGTON POST: “McCain’s Focus on Georgia Raises Question of Propriety” — After Chiding Obama, He Dwells on Crisis as a President Might 
 
Question of the Day:   Who’s telling the truth: the U.S. or Russia?  

Answer:  While I can’t speak for Russian, I can state, unequivocally, that the U.S. has stacked lies upon lies into this conflict, the core lie being that Georgia is a sovereign, fledgling democracy. Georgia is a U.S.-installed puppet regime, a corrupt, pseudo-democracy run by thugs, guilty of myriad crimes against its people, not to mention its more recent crimes — war crimes — committed against the independent territory of South Ossetia. That the lies of the U.S. administration have been so thoroughly promulgated through the media into a deliberate propaganda campaign to canonize Georgia and demonize Russia is a reckless and dangerous thing to do. For these reasons, we cannot accept, on its face, any information originating from the U.S. administration. We suspect, however, that Russia is now doing some of the same. The fact is, none of us knows the truth — not even those in charge of the facts. As we’ve seen in other wars for oil over the past several U.S. administrations, truth is the first victim of war. By the time it returns home (if ever) its pertinence is merely academic. The damage has long-since been done.  

AUGUST 13, 2008 

ANTI-WAR.COM: “‘Poor Little Georgia’ – Not!” Bill Kristol and the Menshevik myth of democratic Georgia “ 

“…. refusing to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states allows the U.S. and the European community to maintain the fiction of Russian “expansionism.” According to Washington, the Russians invaded “Georgia”; Saakashvili’s invasion of South Ossetia doesn’t qualify as aggression, since how can you invade your own country? South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia, you see. Just like a small mammal is part of the anaconda that swallowed it whole…..
….(The) dictatorial tradition is today carried on by President Mikheil Saakashvili, who unleashed police on demonstrators, injuring 500 people, during the hotly contested elections and shut down independent media with the same alacrity displayed by his Menshevik predecessors. It is little short of astonishing that Kristol holds up this smarmy regime of small-time hoodlums with big-time regional ambitions as some kind of model, the ideal U.S. ally whose fate we might even go to war over. Georgia, in Kristol’s view, is worthy not only of U.S. support, but of membership in an imaginary “League of Democracies,” a neocon project touted by John McCain and pushed by the neocon-dominated wing of the GOP as the “conservative” answer to the United Nations.”  

COMMONDREAMS.ORG: This War Has Been Approved by Your Government

 
THE GUARDIAN: Mikhail Gorbachev Speaks: “We had no choice.” Leaders in the Caucasus must stop flexing military muscle and develop the grounds for lasting peace.
 
THE GUARDIAN: “Bush rebuking Russia? Putin must be splitting his sides”
Moscow has to take some of the blame. But it is the west’s policy of liberal interventionism that has fuelled war in Georgia
 
THE GUARDIAN: ‘I’ve never heard anything so monstrous as people shelling a hospital’ Tom Parfitt travelled to Tskhinvali, in a trip organised by the Kremlin, to witness first hand the destruction caused by the battle for South Ossetia
 
THE NATION: “Georgia War: A Neocon Election Ploy?” Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the US presidential election?
 
THE NATION: “The War We Don’t Know” Five days after Georgia invaded and seized the breakaway separatist region of South Ossetia, sparking a larger-scale Russian invasion to drive Georgian forces back and punish their leaders, Russia surprised its Western detractors by calling a halt to the country’s offensive.
 
THE NATION: “The New American Cold War” Published almost exactly two years ago, this article by Stephen F. Cohen provides a backdrop against which to understand the current Russian-Georgia crisis.
 
REUTERS: “Pentagon says no plans to control Georgia ports” (We, here at the canarypapers, wonder just where Georgia President, Mikheil Saakashvili, got the, uh, crazy idea that Georgia’s “ports and airports would be taken under the control of the U.S. defense ministry”?)  Question of the Day: Why is there an outpouring of world aid being sent to Georgia, the instigator of this brutal war, and not to South Ossetia, where up to 2000 innocent citizens died and thousands more were injured in Georgia’s savage attack?  

Answer:  *ding* Because, gradually, over the past week, the U.S. media have stopped calling South Ossetia and Abkhazia by their proper names, and have started calling them “ethnic Georgia.” This way, the U.S. can neatly pretend that the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are *not* Russian-allied, autonomous regions within Georgia, and pretend, instead, that they *are* Georgia, itself, (which they are not, and have not been since 1991). The beauty of this lie is three-fold: (1) The U.S. can now pretend that Georgia never invaded South Ossetia (after all, how does a country invade itself?) and therefore claim that Georgia didn’t start this war, and didn’t slaughter thousands of South Ossetians. (2) The U.S. can now invade South Ossetia under the guise of offering humanitarian aid to “ethnic Georgians” (despite that Russia is already tending humanitarian aid in South Ossetia), and can also accuse Russia’s presence in both autonomous regions (which is allowed under the terms of the peace deal) of being a breach in the peace deal, since — in the make-believe world of George Bush and the U.S. media — South Ossetia and Abkhazia no longer *quite* exist. (3) This way, if Russia protests the U.S. invasion of these two territories, the U.S. can now — in words, anyway — claim to be supporting the sovereign democracy of Georgia-proper (and, heavens no, not in Russian-allied territories), and can then accuse Russia of most anything, including hampering the U.S. relief efforts in Georgia, and thereby gain world support for…. for what? War?  

And just what happens, from here, to the tens of thousands of South Ossetians, who fled to the safety of Russia in the wake of Georgia’s brutal assault, is any one’s guess.

AUGUST 1-12, 2008 

American Chronicle – Bush Administration Behind Conflict Between Russia and Georgia

Anti-War.com – The Real Aggressor: Georgian invasion of South Ossetia sets the stage for a wider war
 
Chimes of Freedom – How the BBC is Deliberately Distorting the News from the Georgia Region
 
Creative i – Israel and U.S. Behind Georgian Aggression?
 
Creative i – The Real Reason Behind the Military Buildup of Ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia and Its Invasion of Russian South Ossetia
 
Dandelion Salad – “Georgia’s aggression on South Ossetia is ethnic cleansing” plus media briefing of Russia’s General Staff
 
Dandelion Salad – “Bush’s War in Georgia; Will it be the Flyswatter or the Blunderbuss?”
 
Dandelion Salad – “Georgia vs. South Ossentia: A Story of Genocide” (plus, “See the Ugly Face of War”)
 
Dandelion Salad – American Says U.S. and Georgia to Answer for Violence
 
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) – Assess medical needs of wounded in South Ossetia & Georgia
 
EurasiaNet – GEORGIA: TENSIONS FLARE OVER BREAKAWAY SOUTH OSSETIA (three days before war started)
 
Global Research – South Ossetia: The War Has Begun!
 
Global Research – South Ossetia says over 1,000 dead after Georgian attack
 
GlobalSecurity.org – August 12 Conditions on the Ground, Peacetalks & Propaganda
 
The Guardian – Plucky little Georgia? No, the cold war reading won’t wash
 
Information Clearing House – “Bodies are lying everywhere. It’s hell.”
 
Lenin’s Tomb -Putin Wins, Probably
 
Nation (The) – Getting Georgia’s War On
 
Otago Daily Times – Georgia’s folly
 
Pravda – War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA
 
Pravda – The Two-Faced, Underhanded Foreign Policy of Georgia
 
Reuters – U.S. Troops Start Training Exercises in Georgia
 
Seattle Times – Russia orders halt to military action in Georgia (Tuesday, August 12)
 
Spiked – Georgia: the messy truth behind the morality tale
 
Turkish Weekly – Russia Warns Georgia Over South Ossetia (one day before the war started)
***see also YouTube video clips, below, for addt’l current news reports
 
 
BACKGROUND STORIES (2004-2008) DOCUMENTING GEORGIA’S LEAD_UP TO THIS WAR:
All Headline News – Police Clearout Shuts Down Georgia’s Pro-Opposition Media Station
Anti-War.com – Comrade Cheneyvs. President Putin
Anti-War.com – Does Putin Not Have a Point?
BlackAnthemMilitaryNews – U.S., Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine conduct exercise in Georgia
Consortuium News – Bush, Georgia & Authoritarianism
Deutsche Welle – Russia, US Swap Warnings as Condoleezza Rice Visits Georgia
Foundation for Defense of Democracies – Georgia on His Mind – George Soros’s Potemkin Revolution
GlobalSecurity.org – Georgia must stop hostile actions to improve relations with Russia
The Guardian – Georgia on Their Mind
Human Rights Centre June 2008 Report: “Georgia’s Parliamentary Elections – Unprecedented Brutality and Election Fraud”
International Herald Tribune – Russia warns Georgia on ‘provocations’
Newsweek – (2006) War in the Caucasus? The dispute between Georgia and Russia has all the makings of a tragic conflict.
Radio Free Europe – Overwhelming Support For South Ossetia Independence
Radio Free Europe – Criticism Mounting Over Georgia’s State Of Emergency
Radio Free Europe – Georgia: Groups Urge U.S. To Tie Aid To Human Rights Progress
The Seattle Times – Thousands protest delay in Georgia’s election
The Tiraspol Times – Georgia in US-financed arms race for war on Abkhazia, South Ossetia
Toronto Sun – Shevy’s Big Mistake: Crossing Uncle Sam
Turkish Weekly – South Ossetia votes for independence, West and Russia split
Workers World – Mass Protests Shake Former Soviet Republic 

  ***VIDEOS:   

YouTube Video “Russia Today” news broadcast, 7/12/07: Georgia and South Ossetia: the propaganda war goes on
YouTube – “Russia Today” news broadcast, 4/4/08: Putin says NATO expansion a ‘direct threat to Russia’
YouTube – “Russia Today” news broadcast, 4/29/08: Russia Not Planning War with Georgia
YouTube – “AlJazeera” news broadcast, 8/5/08: Ossetian Children Evacuated to safety
YouTube – “Russia Today” news broadcast, 8/8/08 : Georgia begins war to retake South Ossetia
YouTube – “Freedom Movement Info” video, 8/9/08: Georgian aggression and war crimes against Ossetia
YouTube – “Russia Today” news broadcast, 8/10/08: A Reporter’s View from South Ossetia, calls it “a massacre”
YouTube – Still-photo slide show of the damage in South Ossetia, August 11, 2008
YouTube – “Russia Today” broadcast, 8/12/08: CNN (stupidity or complicity?) airs misleading footage of Tskhinvali ruins (in South Ossetia) to portray “devastating” damage to Gori, Georgia!
YouTube – “Russia Today” broadcast, 8.12.08: McCain’s & Obama’s statements on the war
YouTube: “WorldNews4You” video, 8/12/08: Russia & Europe draw up peace plan
YouTube: “WorldNews4You” video, 8/12/08: Western allies vs. Russian allies — mixed to peace plan from world leaders
YouTube – “Russia Today” broadcast, 8.13.08: McCain & Obama statements mirror Bush party line, vs. statements of unknown US presidential candidate, Gloria LaRiva, who speaks the truth
YouTube – “Russia Today” broadcast, 8/12/08: South Ossentian survivors speak out
YouTube – “Russia Today” broadcast 8/12/08: Reports on the ground: Cities destroyed in South Ossetia, 2000 dead, thousands injured, 35,000 refugees. Georgia firing on fleeing refugees, even as peacetalks under way.
YouTube – “Russia Today” news broadcast, 8/13/08: Saakashvili uses western media as his weapon against Russia
YouTube: “Russia Today” news broadcast 8/13/08: No more fighting, but victims’ misery continues
YouTube: “Russia Today” news broadcast 8/13/08: Severely wounded airlifted to Moscow
YouTube – “Russia Today” broadcast, 8/13/08: A child born as the war began

photo left: TENS OF THOUSANDS OF GEORGIANS PROTEST AGAINST BUSH-CHENEY’S PUPPET REGIME PRESIDENT, MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, ACCUSING HIM OF, AMONG OTHER THINGS, LEADING GEORGIA AWAY FROM DEMOCRACY

 More words to chew on:

1.) This is a war for oil. Not so different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And Somalia. And, for that matter, any and every oil-strategic country in Africa and the Middle East. 

2.) Georgia is a corrupt, pseudo-democracy — a puppet-government, installed by Bush-Cheney. The rosy coup that hailed President Saakashvili into office turned out to be a farce. The people who cheered him IN now want him OUT. Increasingly reviled by Georgians (much like Bush in our country, and for many of the same reasons) Saakashvili is the target of widespread protest, which he violently suppresses. Georgia’s recent history is a carbon copy of our own (stolen elections, the firing of Supreme Court judges, a powerless Congress, and media censorship).3.) The U.S. has given billions to Georgia over the past 10 years (70% of Georgia’s budget is spent on defense) and has been training and arming their military — recently staging JOINT exercises called “Partnership for Peace” right at Russia’s border.4.) Georgia invaded South Ossetia. Not the other way around. South Ossetia did not need or ask to be “saved” by Georgia. Russia came to South Ossetia’s defense AFTER they were attacked by Georgia. Georgia slaughtered 1500 people in South Ossetia on the first day of this war.5.) About the ‘disproportionate’ force Russia is waging against Georgia …. The death toll, as of yesterday, was Georgia 40; South Ossetia 2000. At least the Russians have not targeted innocent men, women and children, as the U.S. and Georgia forces have in South Ossetia. 

Written by canarypapers

August 15, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Media Whiteout: Who’s the Real Bully in the Russia-Georgia War?

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Looks like business as usual: The U.S. installs a corrupt, pseudo-democratic puppet regime in an oil-strategic country, then arms and trains its military to the teeth, so that they can (and, rest assured, they always do) stage a U.S. war-by-proxy, so that the US can wrest control of yet more oil-strategic territory. Only, this time, Bush-Cheney are playing a game of Russian Roulette, their guns aimed straight into the mouth of World War III.
Russia has been warning, for several years now, against Georgia invading South Ossetia. Russia has also, through its Foreign Ministry, urged treaties to forge peaceful resolutions to the escalating tension between Georgia and South Ossetia. And as these efforts have failed, the warnings have only grown stronger: Do not attack South Ossetia. Or else. These efforts have all fallen on deaf ears — the treaties left unsigned by U.S./Georgia leaders — as the reporting of this history virtually whited-out by the U.S. media and its allies, with very few exceptions. By the same token, the Bush Administration’s repeated promises to put “heavy pressure” on Mikhail Saakashvili to not attack South Ossetia have fallen on deaf ears in Russia. Perhaps this is due to the billions of dollars the U.S. government has spent arming and training Georgian soldiers to fight the war on terror, while waging chronic aggression against South Ossetia and performing those joint “peace exercises” at the Russian border.
Courtesy of the U.S. media (and the media of all allies of the U.S., who depend on our ill-gotten oil) the truth about this war is in white-out mode, replaced by the sort of propaganda and lies necessary to bolstering support for waging an illegal, immoral war that has been called, by one reporter in South Ossetia, “a massacre” of its citizens. Much like the war in Iraq. This dearth of media truth and balance in the U.S. media nicely dovetails into the Bush Administration’s claims that Russia “does not want peace,” and that Russia is the savage, the war monger in this scenario. The media accounts of this war make increasingly rare mention to the fact that it was U.S.-backed Georgia (not Russia!) that instigated this war — invading South Ossetia and destroying their towns, their homes, and brutally killing their citizens. Either the media are stupid or complicitous: 90% of South Ossetia’s citizens are Russian; and South Ossetia has been harmoniously allied with the Russian government for years now. These are not opinions or conspiracy theories. They are facts.

 

Our media have ignored the build-up to this war, the same as they are now whitewashing the real bully in this war. The media, instead, perpetuate the myth that South Ossetia is somehow being “saved” by the U.S. and Georgia, despite that they do not want to be “saved” from a willing alliance with Russia. Make no mistake: This is a war of choice. This is a war for oil. This is a war started by the Bush Administration, using Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili as its pawn, and Russia as the ruse. Perhaps our administration didn’t really believe all those Russia warnings of retaliation. Perhaps Bush-Cheney thought their Georgia pawns and mercenary armies could overwhelm the pro-Russian province of South Ossetia (and likely their neighbor, Abkhazia, too) as brutally as America’s Ethopian pawns have overwhelmed Somalia. Or, perhaps Bush-Cheney couldn’t care less what anyone thinks or says about the atrocities they commit in the name of spreading freedom and democracy.

As recent history has shown, the war crimes of the Bush Administration are so layered in lies that — by the time the rest of the world figures out the real truth — the death and destruction are little more than a footnote in the history of yet one more nation, swallowed up by the Bush-Cheney war machine. Soon forgotten in George Bush’s crafty war rhetoric will be the South Ossentian citizens — that’s innocent men, women, children and vulnerable elderly citizens — who were brutally slaughtered in the first day alone of this war by Saakashvili’s hand. The rest of South Ossentia citizens — those ‘lucky’ ones, who have scrambled for safety, toward the Russian border, and whose lives have been forever altered as their homes and their villages have been decimated — will likely not even be allowed the trivial dignity of a footnote.

And this aspect deserves bold-face type: these citizens are fleeing — not into Georgia, but into Russia. Whose media version does this part of the story fit? The American media version — in which Russia is waging an unprovoked and ‘disproportianate’ war on Georgia? The American version, in which the U.S. and Georgia merely sought to save the poor little, independent province of South Ossentia from the evil empire? Or the version told by both Russia and South Ossetia — versions that paint Georgia and the U.S. as war criminals, slaughtering innocent citizens in their illegal invasion of South Ossetia?

Do you suppose the South Ossentians are lying? Do you suppose that Sarmat Laliyev, a 28-year old South Ossentian, fleeing toward Russia, was lying, when she said, “We lost our city … The Georgians are like Nazis, they are killing civilians, women and children with heavy artillery and rockets”?

PHOTO ABOVE: Russia sends Teams of Buses to Evacuate 15,000 South Ossetia Citizens Forced to Flee Their Homes
 
With the war in full swing, the U.S. propaganda machine is running at full-pitch. The U.S. pretends that Georgia is being victimized, as their pleas for a cease-fire go unheard by Russia. The U.S. accuses Russia of ‘disproportionate’ force against Georgia, while ignoring the fact that a ceasefire is hardly possible, until Georgia withdraws from South Ossetia, which they’ve so far failed to do, despite repeated demands by Russia. Cheney says that, “Russia’s military action against Georgia must not go unanswered.” Bush is urging “peace.” He is urging Russia to stop the violence. His lies about who started what are delivered “in a serious and somber tone,” as he claims the United States is “deeply concerned” about the fighting, and calls this a “dangerous escalation” that is “endangering regional peace.” Duh.

No doubt, the majority of US citizens, in their perennial ignorance of world politics, in general (and of any issue, in particular, that doesn’t involve Paris, Brittney, J-Lo, Angelina or Madonna) will start waving American flags and railing against the godless evil empire: Bush is the good guy, here. After all, he’s calling for peace, right? And peace is good. Even George Bush’s brand of peace, is good, right? I mean, sometimes peace means you gotta go to war, but that’s okay, too, so long as it’s not on American soil….

… so long as the war happens to someone else, not us.

One important difference between Georgia and, say, KosovoYugoslavia is that, this time around, the US is staging its proxy war right on Russia’s border. And Russia has made clear that they are not going to be so indifferent this time around. Bush-Cheney knew this, of course, before they equipped Georgia to attack South Ossetia, which begs the question: What are they thinking?
The answer here, as in all modern U.S. conflicts — from Kosovo, to Iraq, to Colombia, to Afghanistan, to Somalia and the entire continent of Africa — can be summed up in one word: oil.

For years, Washington has been supporting and/or installing Georgian politicians who are favorable to the U.S. oil agenda — most recently the corrput autocrat, Mikhail Saakashvili — while pouring military aid into the Georgia, and arming and training their troops for… for…. For what? For war. This has been utterly clear to Russia over the past several years, and especially over the past several months, as they’ve watched U.S. and Georgia forces amass on the Russian border, as part of the euphemistically named “NATO Partnership for Peace program.”

 

 

Written by canarypapers

August 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

The U.S. War Machine Leaves an Ugly Slick of Oil & Blood

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UPDATE — DECEMBER 31, 2009: The post below, originally published on July 26, 2008, was written as an outcropping of our disgust over the genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place in the United States’ brutal covert war in Somalia. We never finished this post and never will (see note at bottom of this page). However, the information herein continues to be as relevant today as it will be tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. (Think Obama constitutes a change from the Bush Administration’s warmongering for oil under the guise of fighting terrorism? Think again.)

Many Americans would be surprised to know that, throughout the course of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has also been busy with wars elsewhere in the world. Only, we don’t call them wars. We call them things like peacekeeping missions, nation-building or “low intensity conflicts.” Or, as is the case in Colombia, where the U.S. is at work wresting control of oil pipelines and trying to destabilize the bordering oil-rich countries, such as Venezuela, while demonizing the leaders of these countries, we call it a “war on drugs” — even as the U.S. is the pusher man working out of Colombia, using the proceeds from our drug sales to fund our war machine in South America. (Think about it. Has cocaine ever been cheaper or more available than since Clinton and Bush began their war on drugs in Colombia? The same is true of heroin in the Afghanistan drug trade). And we don’t, as a rule, fight these wars ourselves. Instead, we buy off corrupt dictators and/or destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders and install corrupt dictators of our own choosing. Then we build armies for them — funding, training and arming these paramilitaries to the tune of millions, so that they can fight our various covert and proxy wars on terror around the globe, which are, coincidentally, in the most mineral-strategic countries on the planet — from South America to Africa and the Middle East. It is no coincidence that the U.S. is the world’s largest arms supplier, our war machine generating loyalties, death and destruction in over 174 states and territories.


These wars are given little scrutiny on the media radar, even as they’re claimed to be part of the larger war on terror — or, in the case of, say, Sudan, they fly under the guise of humanitarian efforts. Much like Somalia, Yemen is not so strategic for its oil reserves, but for its natural gas reserves. Oh, and there’s also that matter of its location (location, location). Specifically, Somalia and Yemen are located across from each other, like mirrors, on either side of the opening from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. This strait connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden through which our oil and gas laden ships must pass.The U.S. has been covertly warring for years to control this shipping lane. As such, news stories — past present and future — on Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia and, yes, pirates are inseparable from this larger story, a story about a superpower that will use any ruse to get what it wants, up to and including climbing in and out of bed with friends, enemies and even the terrorists we claim to be fighting.

As for the collateral damage from our clandestine wars — genocide, ethnic cleansing and untold millions of human lives ground into starvation, disease, misery, death and civil war — America alternately ignores and feigns outrage. When it becomes strategically feasible and/or necessary, the U.S. military steps out of the shadows, setting up high-profile military installations, so that we may help these poor victims, or protect them from the “bad guys,” with whom we may or may not still be in bed. This is the story being replayed in countries throughout the world. Yemen is no exception.

Considering that during the months before 9-11, the FBI had their finger on the pulse of the pre-9-11 terrorist network in Yemen (to which the Bush Administration was in
“ignore” mode), it is curious that U.S.has subsequently enjoyed the sort of relationship with Yemen over the past 8 years, where we could rendition detainees there to be tortured at our CIA black sites in Yemen. Which makes it somehow ironic that the media is using the Yemen connections of the recent underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab
/AbdulMutallab, to help us recall and re-ignite our anger over 9-11. It seems the American public is now being signaled that it’s time to switch from from ignore-mode to the outrage-mode being feigned by our leaders. This is, of course, our cue, as patriotic, freedom-loving Americans to rally behind our pre-Christmas bombing campaign waged on the innocent men, women and children in Yemen, which promises to be an ongoing campaign in the war formerly known as Bush’s war on terror. It is no coincidence that this latest bombing campaign was already underway when the underpants bomber boarded the plane for America. Nor is it a coincidence that the trail of the underpants bomber is littered with questions that, for the official record, go unasked and unanswered.

Such has been the nature of America’s war on terror, beginning with 9-11. Our leaders can afford to be arrogant and sloppy because, truth be known, the U.S. is untouchable. We encourage those interested in these stories to do their own research. This page is a good starting point. Our apologies that we cannot finish our own effort out, and for any dead links on this page.


July 26, 2008

An odd coincidence: Pick any oil-rich spot on the globe, and you will find the U.S. engaged in the war on terror.

In this vein, why has there been such a preponderance of al Qaeda terrorists (or, rather, a preponderance of **propaganda about **al Qaeda) surrounding the oil fields of the world over the past 7 years?

The current war in Iraq is not the first U.S. war for oil. Nor is it the first war for oil that has claimed massive civilian casualties, which were then concealed by the U.S. media. This is the first war for oil, however, fought on the grounds that a foreign country posed a direct threat to the U.S. — false grounds — which our government intentionally deceived us into believing. This is also the first war for oil fought under the mantle of spreading freedom and democracy, even as the U.S. government funds and arms both sides in a civil war: Shiites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shiites — who then terrorize, torture, slaughter and commit ethnic cleansing of the very Iraqi populations we’re supposedly fighting to “save” from the evil terrorists. There’s a term for the type of warfare being waged by the U.S. in Iraq. It’s called war crimes.


That the American people have not demanded accountability from Congress, and have largely remained silent about the atrocities of this war – whether through complacent ignorance or sheer disbelief that our government could actually commit such atrocities — has only served to condone this war and the policies of this administration. Our collective silence has, in effect, given Bush-Cheney carte blanche to wage other wars on terrorism – wars now being fought in countires throughout the world, with scarcely a mention in the U.S. media.

Unknown to most Americans is that dozens of countries throughout the world have now been accused of harboring al Qaeda terrorists. Unknown to most Americans is that the Bush-Cheney Administraion is and has been waging clandestine wars in these countries, under the banner of “fighting terrorism,” sometimes called “peacekeeping missions” and “nation-building.” Unknown to most Americans is that we are currently spending millions of dollars in each of these countries, to fight mere handsful of alleged al Qaeda terrorists, whose existence — in many instances — is based on “intelligence” as leaky as the intelligence that sent us to war in Iraq. The potential and the reality (as seen in both Iraq and Afghanistan) is that these wars result in “chasing needles by burning haystacks,” as entire populations of innocent civilians are brutalized by the Bush-Cheney war machine , as it pursues small handsful of terrorists, who may or may not even exist.

In Iraq, alone, the Bush-Cheney war machine left in its wake over 4 million “displaced” Iraqi citizens — driven from their homes through violence and ethnic cleansing. From this point forward, if there were any questions left regarding the true intention of the U.S. forces, one need look no further than the billions of U.S. dollars spent building the enormous network of permanent U.S. bases over the past 7 years. These mega-bases have been built with every U.S. lifestyle amenity imaginable — from Baskin Robbins to Burger King, from miniature golf to swimming pools, from Hertz Rent-a-Car to department stores, and from football stadiums to movie theatres — not to mention air-conditioning, satellite internet access, cable television and international phone service.
The average Iraqi citizen has not enjoyed some of these amenities — such as electricity, food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care — since the days of Saddam Hussein. Ironically, construction on the permanent U.S. bases in Iraq proceeded swiftly toward completion, while U.S. work on to restore the most rudimentary of services for Iraqis — such as water purification, food, health care and electricity — fell to the wayside.

A Crude Awakening

Despite what we, in America, hear on the evening news, the words ‘victory’ and ’success’ do not belong in the same sentence with the word ‘Iraq.” The situation in Iraq is one of humanitarian crisis. Five years into the U.S. invasion of their country, Iraq is now deemed, the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East since 1948. Human rights and relief agencies throughout the world (International Red Cross, Amnesty International, Oxfam) have described the situation as “disasterous,” as a “dire humanitarian crisis,” calling Iraq, “one of the most dangerous countries in the world…. a place of carnage and despair.” Our vice-president, Dick Cheney, recently described Iraq as a “successful endeavor,” a sentiment we hear echoed daily from our mainstream U.S. media. Would the American public be silent, if they knew that we are waging similar wars in dozens of countries?
Question: When is a war a war?
Is it a war, if it’s called a ‘low-intensity conflict’? Is it a war, if only a small number of U.S. military troops are sent in? And is it a war, if the soldiers are from private mercenary armies hired through U.S. corporations? And is it a war, if our military funds, trains and arms rogue armies to fight these wars? Is it a war if the military’s stated purpose is ‘peacekeeping’ or to lend humanitarian aid? And what if it’s a little of each? Is it a war?
The answers lie in the oil fields: If U.S. military engagement and/or aid results in the U.S. gaining control of a country’s oil/mineral profits — at the expense of the native populations, who suffer impoverishment, torture, ethnic cleansing and/or genocide as a result of our actions — then that military engagement is, indeed, a war. It is a war for oil.  
Curious to know just how many wars are being fought for oil, we decided to take a head count of each and every country where the U.S. is fighting the war on terror. Our bet is that each and every one is also, ultimately, a war for oil. Whether the resulting silence from this truth is deafening, or not, is anyone’s guess.

Pick a Continent, Any Continent…

Say, Africa. Although Africa is but one stop on Dick Cheney’s proposed world tour for oil, it’s a good place to start, since the entire continent stands to be devoured, beginning with its name. Renamed in February 2007 (for military purposes only, mind you) Africa is now called the U.S. African Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM). As shown on this map, USAFRICOM was created from the existing United States European Command (USEUCOM), United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) and United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). Whatever that means. It is with some haste, then, that we inventory the African countries involved in Bush-Cheney’s global war on terror.

Lost in all the flurry of Bush’s February 2007 announcement of the surge in Iraq was his concurrent announcement of another surge — this one on the continent of Africa. Having neatly accomplished ‘Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems’ in their war for oil distribution in Iraq, Bush-Cheney — poised, now, to undertake another empire — easily won congressional approval for “African solutions to African problems.” aka, U.S.AFRICOM: the U.S. African Command and its military arm ACOTA. A Department of Defense military operation, AFRICOM was created by Bush-Cheney to enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa. Started in October 2007, and set to be fully operational by September 30, 2008, AFRICOM is installing military commands in a total of 53 African countries – that’s all of Africa, except Egypt.

In an August 2007 congressional briefing, State and Defense Department officials emphasized to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that AFRICOM’s aim is to boost cooperation on anti-terrorism and peacekeeping activities, and programs that promote regional stability. In this same briefing, Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant for African affairs, echoed this sentiment — assuring Congress that AFRICOM is focused on security, not combat. On the heels of this assurance, however, she nonetheless cautioned: ” I would anticipate that there would be an increase in the amount of exercises we conduct and other military-to-military cooperation activity.”

Many in Africa are understandably suspicious. Believing, perhaps, that past is prologue — the majority of countries are protesting the presence of AFRICOM, as are many individuals around the world, including some high-profile activists, such as Danny Glover , who consider the ongoing U.S.-British militarization of Africa to be little more than a strategy toward gaining control of Africa’s natural resources, most notably its oil. As one critic noted: “Peace operations” and “nation building” are what the military and the mercenaries call their activities. But just like Bush’s “healthy forests” and “clear skies” initiatives, the names mean the opposite of what they do.


The Oil Fields of Africa: Black Gold, Texas Tea

The conundrum the Bush-Cheney Administration faces in Africa is the same all the world over: how to pry the mineral rights from the rightful owners — the African people, in this case — while convincing Congress and the American public that our presence is purely benevolent? The events of September 11th provided an easily path: wage war on terror. This path is all the easier in Africa, where so many countries are already under the control of corrupt, suppressive dictators, whose loyalties are easily purchased.

The tactics used by Bush-Cheney are generally the same, however, no matter what the county. First, they make a case for terrorism in the country – preferably al Qaeda. Then, and not necessarily in this order, they (1) provide U.S. military assistance to fight terrorism, (2) accuse any one who disagrees with the U.S. military presence of being a terrorist insurgent, (3) incite existing cultural tensions toward divisiveness or civil war, (4) fund and arm the “goods guys” and/or the “bad guys” (aka terrorists) to physically remove — through either ethnic cleansing and sometimes genocide — the native populations living on the lands around the oil fields and pipelines, (5) if these populations protest, label them as terrorist insurgents.

Throughout each step of the process, U.S. oil interests are expanded and secured — under the guise of “economic development” for the host country. When all is said and done, however, it is the U.S. who owns the controlling interests in their oil fields. Of course, by the time AFRICOM was created, Bush-Cheney had already done the legwork, having identified terrorist influences in most of the oil-rich African countries set to receive AFRICOM’s military commands. And in a few countries — such as Somalia and Sudan — they’d already accomplished steps 1 through 5.

_____________________________

As an aside, a smattering of quotables on the topic:

After the end of the Cold War, U.S. policy toward Africa was driven by President George H. W. Bush’s vision of a “New World Order.” …. President Bush announced in his 2006 State of the Union Address his intention to “to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025,” …. analysts estimate that Africa may supply as much as 25% of all U.S. oil imports by 2015. — from the Report for Congress, “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa,” March 10, 2008.

Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we’ve known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. — From President George H.W. Bush’s speech, “Toward a New World Order,” delivered before the nation and a joint session of Congress, September 11, 1990

Along with Latin America, West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest growing sources of oil and gas for the American market. African oil tends to be of high quality and low in sulfur, making it suitable for stringent refined product requirements, and giving it a growing market share for the refining Centers on the East Coast of the U.S.Dick Cheney, May 16, 2001

In the aftermath in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, it is increasingly clear that the United States ignores Africa at its peril….The continent’s failed states and huge swaths of ungoverned territory offer sanctuary to terrorist groups.American Enterprise Institute May 2004 conference bulletin: Leave No Continent Behind: U.S. National Security Interests in Africa

Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works. Armed Forces Journal, June 2006. “Blood Borders: How a Better Middle East Would Look,” by Ralph Peters

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It is easy to understand, then, the fears of African citizens, who feel helpless to the incoming U.S. military presence in their countries. Some in America know this same helplessess, as we’ve seen war protesters branded as terrorist sympathizers or “homegrown terrorists” in recent years. The difference between Americans and Africans is that we do not have a history (up to this point, anyway) of being forced from our homes by the U.S. military, or of witnessing the mass slaughtering of our families, neighbors, communities, of whole towns of people, who protested the policies of the U.S. government. The fear of these African countries is understandable, then, as America’s war on terror turns its calculating eye toward the oil fields of Africa.

U.S. Oil & Mineral Claims vs. Terrorist Claims in Africa:
An Alphabetical Compendium of Coincidences

 
Algeria
Angola
**Benin (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Burkina Faso (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Cape Verde (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
Chad / Chad-Cameroon
Congo-Brazzaville
Côte d’Ivoire (peacekeeping)
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)
Djibouti
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia (= Somalian war)
Eritrea
Gabon
**Ghana
Guinea-Bissau
**Lesotho
Liberia
Libya (pre-U.S. sanctions and post-U.S. sanctions)
**Madagascar
**Malawi
**Mali
Mauritania
**Morocco
**Mozambique
**Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Swaziland
**Tanzania
Togo
Zambia
Zimbabwe
** these countries receive aid through compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation, created by Bush in 2002, to “undercut terrorism by attacking poverty overseas.” While most of these countries lack significant oil reserves, their geographical & political relationships with oil-rich countries lends a strategic importance to U.S. interests in Africa.
 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original idea with this post was to document every mineral/gas/oil-rich country in the world where the U.S. is engaged in various military operations. Frankly, the task is too disgusting to continue. To anyone interested in such things, just google to find which countries have rich reserves of oil and gas (or gold, diamonds and other minerals). Then google the name of any of these countries + “al Qaeda” or “insurgents” or “Dick Cheney” or “U.S. military,” or “USNORTHCOM” or “Blackwater,” or “mercenary armies,” or the name of either Bush Jr. or Sr.

Dig just a little, and you will find the U.S. in the thick of it, secretly funding covert and proxy wars, arming and training paramilitaries. You can also google terms such as: genocide, ethnic cleansing, humanitarian crisis, starvation, rape, death squads, disease, etc. and find your way to the U.S. through the back door, so to speak. Depending on the country, you may also find a “war on drugs,” particularly in South America, but also in Afghanistan. This is how the U.S. funds some of it’s illegal wars, as there is only so much money that can be hoodwinked out of Congress to fund our covert wars. One notable exception to the rule will be Darfur, where China beat us to the punch. In Sudan, however, the U.S. and China seem to be in partnership, each country jockeying for their fair share of oil an

The Surge in Iraq: Ethnic Cleansing, with Perks

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To hear the mainstream media, the most pressing issue in Iraq right now is the surge. Not U.S. war crimes in Iraq; not ethnic cleansing; not torture; not the U.S. no-bid contracts for Iraqi oil. Not the fact that this is an illegal war to begin with (see video, below). Just the surge: Did it work? Did it reduce U.S. deaths? Was it a success? Did it help? Did it curb violence? Did it improve security in Iraq?

There are as many ways of asking the question as there are ways of answering it, and the sheer volume of questions exaggerates the urgency of the topic, much like the flag-pin flak that dominated headlines for several months this spring. This would be good news — the media’s current obsession with the surge — were it seeking to correct history, or even to correctly record history. Instead, the media seems to be working in concert with the Bush Administration to re-write history.

As is the case with most aspects of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, it will likely be 30 years or more before the history books catch up with the truth. For now, the best the truthsayers can hope for is that, against formidable odds, the issues of true urgency in Iraq and the rest of the world will sooner be given the attention — and ultimately the justice — that they deserve.

Enter Democracy, American Style

On July 14th, the New York Times published Obama’s forward-looking op-ed, titled, My Plan for Iraq, which focused on ending the war in Iraq. The next day, Obama purged his website of criticism toward the surge. This was likely in response to the growing media circus over Obama’s criticism of the surge, as the media doggedly ignores the dull nuances of actually ending the war in Iraq, in favor of muckraking new controversy over last year’s news. To this end, the media has been barraging both candidates with the same bald-faced question: Was the surge a success?

Here again, we’re seeing the fruit of the U.S. media, which operates under a perverse field-of-dreamsesque tactic to the delivering the news: if you can’t build a media circus with substance or facts, just start throwing shit — elephants, tent posts, camel dung, flag pins, rumors, rotton apples, innuendo and lies — and keep pitching it. The viewers will throng to see your discordant pile of bullshit and will be every bit as outraged as you want them to be.

Just yesterday, CBS aired a Katie Couric interview with Obama, in which Couric (who could have asked the likely next-president anything under the sun) instead pitched him a rotten apple: Was the surge a success? Did the surge — the addition of 30,000 additional troops — help the situation in Iraq? To this, Obama offered a detailed answer, with many nuances, which included his perspective that the surge in Iraq has spent resources that could have been spent in Afghanistan, where bin Laden is supposedly located. Couric — apparently not satisfied with the lack of fodder in Obama’s answer — re-phrased her question: Do you think the level of security in Iraq would exist today without the surge? (Read that: Are you patriotic? Do you love America as much as John McCain?)

Instantaneously, on the heels of this interview, the network broadcast Couric’s interview with John McCain — not to get his perspective on the surge, but to get his perspective on Obama’s perspective of the surge. To this end — while McCain’s name was utterly absent in Couric’s interview with Obama — 100% of the questions she posed to McCain were specifically about Obama — including her one comment in the interview, when she observed, “You sound very frustrated with Senator Obama’s perspective.”

If the grin on McCain’s face was any indication, he was more than happy to partake in Katie’s interview style. He began by parading his latest talking point: Obama would “rather lose the war than lose the campaign.” From here, he found a dozen different ways to chide Obama’s naivetee and to accuse him of denying “the sacrifice of brave young Americans.” At the end of the interview, Katie asked McCain about Barack Obama’s assertion that the war on terror is centered in Afghanistan, where 9-11 was planned. McCain argued that Iraq is the center in the war on terror. And to back this up, he recited a quote, which he attibuted to bin Laden: Go to the country of the two rivers.

If those words sound like lofty, Big Chief-to-Kimosabe dialogue, straight out of a B-grade western, you’ll have to consider their true source: a convoluted trail of sources, actually, that winds through Washington, intersecting with a cowboy from Crawford, Texas and another from Wyoming, before resuming its torturous route through the Middle East, into Iraq, then back again.

The Land of the Two Rivers.

Even tho it’s faster to just say Iraq, there are some people — and McCain’s apparently one of them — who find it faster to say the land of the two rivers. This is because the phrase has become code, in military circles — an efficient form of verbal shorthand for drawing a political-geographical-historical connection between Al Qaeda terrorists, Iraq, 9-11 and Osama bin Laden.

For the uninitiated, ‘the land of the two rivers’ refers not to Iraq, per se, but to al Qaeda in Iraq, which goes by the name, Tandhim Qa’idat Al-Jihad fi bilad Al-Rafidain, which translates roughly to The Al Qeada Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers. This was the official name assigned to Al Qaeda in Iraq when it formed in 2004. (NOTE: Pause here to reflect on the fact that Al Qaeda did not exist in Iraq until one year after the U.S. invasion). Since then, this phrase has been oft repeated in the many purported Al Qaeda missives and messages purportedly sent by Osama bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi, and purportedly posted on various jihadist websites. The ‘two rivers’ phrase has also become a staple item on some U.S. websites — from McCain’s campaign website, to the White House website, to various right-wing havens. While I’ve yet to discover any of the purported jihadist websites, nor even the names of these purported jihadist websites that purportedly, originally posted these purported terrorist messages, I’m sure they must exist, because the White House tells us so.

There are some who believe that most, if not all, of these terrorist messages are counterfeit — sourced out of thin air, or from “intelligence” gathered from torture sessions, then manufactured and released by the propaganda machines of our own government and AIPAC . Regardless, this has nothing and everything to do with Barack Obama.

The Circus Comes to Town

As Obama and his predecessor John Kerry well know — when it comes to matters of flag, country and war — it takes only the slightest perversion of the facts to twist public perception. And the Republicans are masters of the smear, which is why McCain repeatedly seeds the media with statements such as, “Obama was wrong about the surge and refuses to acknowledge that fact.” McCain’s hope, here, is that one of these seeds will take root and grow into a full-fledged smear: Obama is a terrorist appeaser; he’s weak on war; he’s unpatriotic; he’s unAmerican. And the U.S. media scans every inflection of every word — ever-ready to pitch the next circus.

Fact is, Obama was right: the surge was wrong. Fact is, McCain was also right: the surge was a success. But not for the reasons you’ve heard. The surge was a success because, in 2007, we began paying our enemy to stop killing us. The surge was a success because we hired and armed tens of thousands of these enemies — Sunni insurgents — to work side-by-side with U.S. soldiers, despite that only weeks earlier, these same Sunnis had been ambushing and killing Americans. The surge was a success because, at the moment we began paying and arming these Sunnis, we officially began funding and arming both sides in the civil war.

The surge was a success because the 30,000+ U.S. troops sent to Iraq provided the necessary manpower to implement the concurrent surge of 90,000 Sunni insurgent troops we were hiring. The surge is working because these 90,000 Sunnis — along with the 450,000 Shiites security forces already in the U.S. employ — are doing just as the U.S. directs: carrying out the ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing — Sunnis against Shiites, and Shiites against Sunnis — called “the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history” . By intensifying the divisions (and, in some cases, creating division where none existed before) the U.S. undermines the goal of reconciliation and compromise between Shiites and Sunnis .

The media, working under the auspices of our government, reports this dynamic as a “refusal” of the Iraqi government to take control. This myth (which seems to suggest that Iraqis are too lazy or corrupt to take control of their own country) will continue to be reported and will continue to be swallowed by the American public, so long as the U.S. can fuel rage between the Sunnis and Shiites. But only so long as the U.S. keeps funding this civil war — paying Sunnis to brutalize Shiites, and paying Shiites to brutalize Sunnis.

Lest we forget, this is a war for gas and oil. A unified Iraq serves no good purpose in this war. The surge is working because the U.S. has made great strides in dividing Iraq into a more conquerable state.

If this sounds foreign to you, it’s not because I’m a raving conspiracy theorist, but because most of what we’ve been told about the surge is a lie. Fact is, however, most Americans — whether by naivetee or choice — prefer to believe the propaganda, to the extent that, when they do hear a morsel of truth, they turn away in disbelief, either because it is too horrible to contemplate, or because it seems too incredible to be true.

Our administration and our media have conditioned us to do this — to relegate all anti-Bush news into the realm of the tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists. And this would be just fine with me, if not for the fact that these disbelieving Americans, who enjoy such a complacent ignorance of the facts, are the same Americans who will be electing our next president, not to mention our representatives on Capitol Hill.

The fact is, were the voting American public more informed about the facts, our politicians wouldn’t be compelled to campaign from both sides of the fence: addressing the real truth, while also pandering to the Bush Administration’s version of the truth, as perpetuated by the media and swallowed — hook, line and sinker — by the American public. If Americans were truly paying attention — which would require considering the validity of uncomfortable and often outrageous truths — our elected officials could not *get away* with doing this — with capitulating on their party’s policies, based not on facts, but on the public’s perception of the facts, as woven by a propaganda-driven media that is bereft of the facts. This is part and parcel of how we got into this war in the first place.

Pleasant Truths vs. Dry Statistics

When was the last time the evening news mentioned the 100,000 Iraqis who have been killed during this war? Or ethnic cleansing? Or the millions of Iraqis violently displaced from their homes? When you hear on the evening news that the surge is a success, you can believe it, so long as you understand, “For whom?”

The death toll of 4000, reached by American soldiers over a period of 5 years has been reached more than 25 times by Iraqi citizens. During the first 7 months of the surge, alone (February-August 2007), a total of 4000 Iraqi men, women and children were killed every 7 weeks. Using the most conservative of estimates, a total of 17,117 Iraqi men, women and children were killed during the first 7 months of the surge. That’s an average of 81 people killed each day. That’s 2445 people killed each month — more deaths, even, than before the surge, when the average daily death was a staggering 79 per day. In May 2007, alone, the Iraqi death toll was only 20 fewer people than were killed on September 11th on U.S. soil.

Before your eyes completely glaze over from math fatigue, consider this: The monthly death toll was instantly cut in half after August 2007. And the trend continued, so that — to date — Iraqi deaths averaged 36 per day, instead of 81.

What happened? What happened during August 2007 to cause such a sudden, dramatic decline in Iraqi deaths?

Bush-Cheney-Petraeus would like us to believe it was the success of the surge — despite that the level of violence only grew during the first 7 months of the surge. A more logical explanation would be the ceasefire declared in August 2007 by one of our ‘enemies — Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Shiite Mahdi Army, who opposes the U.S. occupation as strongly as he opposed the Saddam Hussein regime. Many of the Mahdi Army leaders are, in fact, former political prisoners who suffered torture under Saddam Hussein. Maqtada al-Sadr’s unilateral ceasefire in August 2007 was said to be in response — not to the surge — but in effort to weaken the rogue elements that had infiltrated his army and committed violence in their name, which ran contrary to their cause. Whatever the reasons for the ceasefire, it instantly cut the Iraqi death toll in half. Just like that.

Well, sort of….

There’s the Surge, and then there’s the Surge

When Bush announced the surge in his January 2007 address to Americans, most of us heard the part about sending 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. What we missed was the *other* surge he annonced: “We will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance,” In plainspeak, Bush was announcing the addition of 90,000 Sunni insurgents to the U.S. military, being armed and paid — on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime — to work as security forces. Bush failed to mention, however, that our new “Iraqi forces” were actually Saddam Hussein’s former henchmen, who had been working side-by-side with al Qaeda for the previous several years — ambushing and killing American soldiers.

On the heels of Bush’s speech, it became necessary to re-define the enemy, to un-demonize the Sunni insurgents: No longer were Sunnis the enemy; only ‘extremist’ Sunnis were enemies. This was necessary, if for no other reason than to gain Congressional approval for the $150 million budget (received) to hire, train, arm and sometimes bribe these Sunni insurgents. And, because this plan looked as bad on the surface as it truly was, military commanders in charge of recruiting these Sunni security forces were officially, for the record, ordered to “not deal with those who have American blood on their hands.” As if this blood could literally be seen on their hands, or as if the “bad” insurgents would have, tattooed on their foreheads, “I killed Americans.”

Equally important to un-demonizing our Sunni enemies, was the need to un-demonize our own history with these Sunnis, so that the U.S. military could make the transition from hunting down, torturing and executing Sunnis, to hiring them to work side-by-side with our own military. This strategy must surely have seemed odd to those 450,000 Shiites — still in the employ of the U.S. military — who had spent the past several years torturing and killing innocent Sunni citizens and insurgents alike, while displacing them from their homes in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Yes, the U.S. strategy of hiring Sunnis to work with our security forces must have seemed awfully odd to the thousands of Shiites in U.S. employ, working with the U.S.-backed Badr Brigade (not to be confused with the Sadr Army) in Iraqi interior ministry, who’d spent the past 3 years working in the infamous U.S.-backed Wolf Brigade Death Squads (see video, below), terrorizing, torturing and ultimately executing Sunnis — many of whom were forced to make public confessions before being executed, with their confessions broadcast on the show titled, “Terrorism in the Grip of Justice,” (a joint effort between MEMRI and the U.S.) which aired six nights per week during the spring of 2005 on the U.S.-funded Al-Iraqiya television network.

To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq’s central government.

To make this transition more palatable, our government began calling these former Sunni insurgents, “volunteers.” To date, the U.S. military employs approx. 90,000 of these volunteers at the rate of $360 per month, plus weapons and ammunition. The Sunni sheiks who oversee these ‘volunteers’ receive an average of $8000 per month. These salaries are but a tiny fraction of that $150 million total allocation in the 2008 U.S. budget to pay off these Sunni insurgents and their sheiks. These soldiers go by various euphemisms, such as Iraqi Security Volunteers, or ISVs; neighborhood watch groups; Concerned Local Citizens; Critical Infrastructure Security; Sahwa; or, most famously, the Sunni Awakening. The U.S. military’s use of the term “volunteer” with these soldiers is particularly misleading, as is implies these Sunnis are somehow volunteering their time in the name of Iraqi security. Or, perhaps our government merely views these Sunnis as being like our own military — serving in a volunteer, rather than a compulsory capacity.

What’s Next?

In his prepared testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in April 2008, Nir Rosen commented on the U.S. military’s stance in arming both sides in a civil war:

“David Kilcullen, the influential Australian counter insurgency advisor (to Petreaus), defined it as ‘balancing competing armed interest groups.’ Though supporters of the war touted the surge as a success, they forgot that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed, the millions displaced, and the thousands of dead and wounded Americans just so that violence could go back to the still horrifying levels of just a couple of years ago.”

Recognized at its inception as a tricky ploy (paying off and arming America’s enemies to act like America’s friends) this strategy at least — along with Sadr’s ceasefire –worked to lower the death toll of both Iraqis and Americans. Hence, the success of the surge. Problem is, while arming both sides in a civil war to work as “security forces,” the U.S. has not undermined the supposed goal of forging Iraqi unity, but we have created a deadly house of cards.

As Nir Rosen earlier observed in his March 2008 Rolling Stone article, titled, The Myth of the Surge, “Loyalty that can be purchased is, by its very nature, fickle.”

With only the slightest provacation, either side in this civil war — both now armed to the teeth with U.S. weaponry — could turn their weapons against U.S. soldiers. It’s no wonder, then, that Petraeus has repeatedly urged caution over the current lull in violence, terming it a “fragile and reversible” peace, while simultaneously pushing for a “pause” in any planned troop withdrawals after July 2008.

One of many tent cities spanning the horizons throughout Iraq. Here, the people lack food, water, electricity and other basic needs of human existence. They are also prey to marauding killers. Human displacement is but facet of the U.S. strategy in Iraq (divide & conquer the citizenry for easier plundering of their oil resources). This tactic has resulted in what’s been called “the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history.” One could infer from this that the U.S. even topped Saddam, in terms of inhumanity and ethnic cleansing.
Our Fragile Peace in Iraq: A multi-trillion-dollar death contraption made of spit, baling wire and duct tape, held together with a pack of lies
Our fragile peace in Iraq has been accomplished by the U.S. strategy of funding two sides in a civil war and empowering both to kill and displace one another, resulting in what’s been called, “the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history” . By intensifying the divisions between the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis — and making impossible any sort of unity in Iraq — the U.S. can continue to tout the myth of the Iraqi government’s “refusal” to take control of their government. That is, so long as we continue to fund their civil war and to back ethnic cleansing — paying Sunnis to displace Shiites and paying Shiites to displace Sunnis.
Former Sen. Mike Gravel, not one to mince words, hit the nail on the head when he observed:

“Obviously the tactic of bribing the Sunni warlords will fail the minute we stop bribing them. And then of course the cowardly act of blaming Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki for the failure in Basra, of saying it was all his initiative, when we were totally complicit.”

In a perfect world, every politician of good conscience would be railing against 7 years of lies, and would be unafraid to stand side-by-side with Wexler, Kucinich, Baldwin, Hinchey , Holtzman & Barr and others who are daring to speak the truth on Capitol Hill. Instead, we live in a world where those rare truthsayers on Capitol Hill — such as Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney — are belittled, ridiculed, ignored, painted as nuts, hacks, conspiracy theorists and terrorist appeasers, and ultimately driven out of town on a rail.

For this reason, and this reason alone, I am willing to temporarily suspend my disgust at Obama for deleting his criticism of the surge, not to mention his equally reprehensible backslide on the FISA bill. I do this in the hope that his eye is ultimately on the bigger picture, that he is merely being pragmatic, trying to avoid the sort of dog and pony show that could potentially — and against all that is sane and rational in this world — swiftboat his candidacy. My hope is that Obama hasn’t truly lost his bearings, but that he indeed *gets it* as I’ve clearly heard him articulate in many of his speeches and statements. My hope is that he indeed intends to do the right thing by this country and this planet — not the least of which is to purge from our national dialogue the lies we’ve been conditioned to believing for the past 7 years. This is a war for oil. And no amount of spin can change the fact that it is just plain wrong.

NOTE: THIS POST WAS TRANFERRED FROM A PREVIOUS CANARYPAPERS BLOG (SAME NAME, DIFFERENT SERVER). FOR SOME REASON, THE FORMATTING DIDN’T MAKE A SMOOTH TRANSFER. OUR APOLOGIES FOR THE DISCORDANT APPEARANCE/LAYOUT OF THE TEXT.