Friday, June 23, 2006  

The Iraqi dead

have names and loved ones who mourn their loss. I am including in full the post found on Emotions because occasionally we see a name in the news, hear that some American soldier "accidentally " offed some Iraqi. And there is nothing but a few facts to touch us. Here is what happened to one Iraqi in March of this year.
We lost our family senior,but that wasn't all...
I can't bear more anxiety, fear, and sadness. Counting our losses every day. Yesterday we lost our dear family senior; he is my father's uncle. He was shot to death by the American soldiers in his parent's in-law neighborhood. He is 78 years old. He was such a great man, educated, warm, and faithful to his wife who died with cancer, he raised his three children by himself to up bring a doctor, an engineer and an accountant. He remained without marriage for twenty years. Then he got married again. He was an ex-officer in the army….We all loved and honored him…we used to gather in his house every Eid; I will miss his kiss over my forehead as he used to, when we kiss him.My uncles and of course my dad considered him their best friend. They had very nice memories together; he was definitely their model…He will be missed by his friends and family, he is that kind of person that leaves emptiness.I couldn't sleep last night, neither my parent's, my husband nor my father in law. I wonder if the soldier who shot him and left him in his car ,asked himself about that old man , did he wondered if he was alive or died immediately?.. Did he sleep as a lamb?! Probably he forgot all about it, and had nice dreams….….The soldiers left him dead in his car after they shot him BY MISTAKE , then Iraqi policemen found him , used his cell phone to call one of the his family members.........
more details about the accident ......

We need help to stop the violence, and the disrespect of the humanity. I am giving some of the details about my relative's accident to seek for help, and investigation. On Wednesday afternoon about 5 pm. My dear grand uncle was shot by many American bullets from the right side while he was driving his car (Dark brown" Opel\vectra", model 1991.), in a residential neighborhood, "Al Tairan ". The report of the forensic doctor mentioned that the victim was turning his head toward the left, when he got the first bullet on his neck (that one caused immediate death), the other was in his upper right side of his chest, and the third bullet was on his upper part of his right arm.Such accidents, I mean shooting innocent people, had been repeated to a large extent that turned the appreciation of the Iraqis toward the American liberation from Saddams' regimen to hate or violence or at least suspicious about the intentions of the Americans' coexistence in Iraq …I doubt, there is any Iraqi still trust the Americans' being in their homeland, even the most peaceful optimistic……..
more about my daily life events....l
on the second day after the accident,I left my bed in the morning to find a sandy storm; I asked Sunshine to stay home to avoid asthma attack. But she refused (self-willed girl)…After an hour, she phoned; as soon as I heard her voice I expected she had asthma attack. But I was wrong; she phoned to tell me that she was in najma's house because a rocket or a bomb exploded to leave some damages in her school, with two injured girls, and 900 terrified girls….


Crossing The Line: Life In Occupied Palestine: Setting the bar high: An interview with Dahr Jamail

Crossing The Line: Life In Occupied Palestine: Setting the bar high: An interview with Dahr Jamail

Thursday, June 22, 2006  

Bush: Hungarian Revolt Should Inspire Iraq

"The lesson of the Hungarian experience is clear," Bush said in the courtyard of Buda Castle where he celebrated the coming 50th anniversary of Hungary's bloody revolt against communist rule. "Liberty can be delayed, but it cannot be denied," the president said.

This man has no sense. None, zip, nada. And his script writer should be flogged.
While it is nice to see the US recognize the Hungarian Revolt for the seminal event that it was, recommending the example of the Hungarian Freedom Fighters to the Iraqis is either an amazing feat of hubris or a foolish act that surpasses the "bring it on," comment.

Bear with me, for a moment as we take a trip back 50 years:

On October 23, 1956, students, workers and others demanded freedom from Soviet rule. Twelve days later, Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary and brutally put down the revolt. Less than a month later, on November 4, the Soviets prevailed and Hungary remained under Soviet rule until 1989, when the wall fell. Despite pleas and repeated requests, the US did not help the Hungarian Freedom Fighters in their quest to rid their country of Soviet domination which had started after the Russians liberated Hungary from the Nazis in 1945 and the Communists took over in 1949.

Bush seems to think the Iraqis are the Hungarians after Hitler come again, but if you re-examine the sequence of events, you may see something different:

Hungary - Nazis (Hungary)- liberated by the Russians -- taken over by the Russians(Communists) -- 1956 Revolt (put down by the Russians) - Hungary 1989 free of Russia after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Iraq - liberated from Saddam Hussein by the US - taken over by the US - growing insurgency being put down by the US and the US installed government - ?

So, who, exactly are we in this equation? Have we become the Soviets?

And just how clueless does Bush (or whoever wrote this ridiculous speech) think the insurgency, opposition, etc are?

Some may be very simple people, but there will many among them and among ordinary Iraqis for whom the parallel is quite clear.

So, Bush thinks the Iraqis should heed the example of Hungary...I bet they will.
read the rest here


Utterly ridiculous

are the new guidlelines in Afghanistan against journalists who criticize the government or the US troops there.

These spring from the able minds at the Ministry of the Interior,
Lawmaker Shukria Barikzai, a former editor of a women's magazine, said the restrictions violated the constitution.

"From any angle we look at this, it cannot be in the interest of Afghanistan and its commitment to the international community," which has been pushing the country towards democracy, she said.

The sanctions include, in part:
Considering the "present situation," media reports should not "weaken people's morale and affect the national interests," it says, referring in part to stories about the regular Taliban attacks.

The list, marked "not for publication," says there should be no interviews with "terrorist commanders" and that criticism of the
NATO and US-led forces based in Afghanistan is forbidden.

This is part of a 24 point list delivered to editors.

Any time the "Ministery of the Interior" does something like this anywhere, one should be VERY nervous because the secret police tend to hang out in places like this, preparing to pounce at the Ministry's behest.

Just who is behind this and isn't this criticism of Nato and US-led forces...hmmm...shades of several years ago in the US- except we have (had?) such an entrenched freedom of the press that it didn't work.

Which goes back to a point I made in a previous post- why is it that we seem to reserve certain freedoms for ourselves but not support them for others? And why is there no statement from the White House to the effect that we encourage free speech even when that means the freedom to criticize us? The silence is deafening...

read more.
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What progress has wought

in Iraq sounds very much like a nightmare. Here is William Blum's take on what "staying the course" has meant for Iraq:
National Public Radio foreign correspondent Loren Jenkins, serving in NPR's Baghdad bureau, met earlier this month with a senior Shiite cleric, a man who was described in the NPR report as "a moderate" and as a person trying to lead his Shiite followers into practicing peace and reconciliation. He had been jailed by Saddam Hussein and forced into exile. Jenkins asked him: "What would you think if you had to go back to Saddam Hussein?" The cleric replied that he'd "rather see Iraq under Saddam Hussein than the way it is now."

When one considers what the people of Iraq have experienced as a result of the American bombings, invasion, regime change, and occupation since 2003, should this attitude be surprising, even from such an individual? I was moved to compile a list of the many kinds of misfortune which have fallen upon the heads of the Iraqi people as a result of the American liberation of their homeland. It's depressing reading, and you may not want to read it all, but I think it's important to have it summarized in one place.

Loss of a functioning educational system. A 2005 UN study revealed that 84% of the higher education establishments have been "destroyed, damaged and robbed".

The intellectual stock has been further depleted as many thousands of academics and other professionals have fled abroad or have been mysteriously kidnapped or assassinated in Iraq; hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, other Iraqis, most of them from the vital, educated middle class, have left for Jordan, Syria or Egypt, many after receiving death threats.

"Now I am isolated," said a middle-class Sunni Arab, who decided to leave. "I have no government. I have no protection from the government. Anyone can come to my house, take me, kill me and throw me in the trash."[1]

Loss of a functioning health care system. And loss of the public's health. Deadly infections including typhoid and tuberculosis are rampaging through the country. Iraq's network of hospitals and health centers, once admired throughout the Middle East, has been severely damaged by the war and looting.

The UN's World Food Program reported that 400,000 Iraqi children were suffering from "dangerous deficiencies of protein". Deaths from malnutrition and preventable diseases, particularly amongst children, already a problem because of the 12 years of US-imposed sanctions, have increased as poverty and disorder have made access to a proper diet and medicines ever more difficult.
read the rest here.
It's something to think about as the Congress dithers over withdrawal.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006  

Egyptian blogger

to be released. From The Independent:
Egyptian authorities have ordered the release of an award-winning blogger and activist, imprisoned 45 days ago on charges including insulting the President.

Alaa Seif al-Islam, 24, who was arrested at a pro-reform demonstration on 7 May, had drawn the ire of the authorities for his provocative weblog and taking part in banned street protests. He is expected to be released from the Tora prison in Cairo today.

read more
The article also lists several other on-line dissidents.

Alaa is charged with, among other things, "insulting the president."

As a Westerner, I cop to a certain level of arrogance (and ignorance, I guess), but I have to say, if you don't like being insulted, either don't be president OR (here's a thought) stop behaving like a petty dictator who bends to the whims of the mouths with the most money. Being insulted comes with the territory. You really can't expect people to like you all of the time, no matter how much you oppress them. Sorry.

It's a simple concept, really- the people elect you, you do your best for them, you either get voted back in (and none of that phoney 99.9% of the wilya voted for you crap. Nobody, except maybe dogcatcher, gets 99.9% of the vote), or you don't- at which point you bow out gracefully and find something else to do.

Now, I can hear the Egyptian bloggers going but, but, but...the US....!

Yes, yes, I know. We are a stupid people ruled by the village idiot funded by monsters.
Sadly, it's mostly true.

And what is also mostly true, is that the US spends a tremendous amount of energy supporting these kinds of governments with thin skins and a taste for abusing their own citizens in exchange for control of markets, allies in the war on terror and so-called friends.

It's a pact with the devil- although, to be honest, I am not sure which side is the lesser of two evils.

And before the right wing gets all snarky on me, consider this:

Yes, I can insult the US president and still be around to go to work in the am (do I HAVE to????), and isn't this wonderful. This is all well and good, but since you're spouting democratic rhetoric here- why aren't those same rights something we should support in other places? If you and I can enjoy and exercise these rights, Alaa and the others should, as well. And our government has no business propping up others who abridge freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to petition the government and freedom of religion (should sound familiar to you- That would be in the Bill of Rights).

You can find out more about Alaa and the others on The Arabist.

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Say NO! to rendition

On Bloggers Against Torture, elendil has posted the following letter that you can use as a template to write your senator. Elendil says:

Support for Durbin amendment #4341 to Defense authorization bill (S. 2766) "No Rendition to Torture" amendment

In the comments I've put a sample letter to use to draft a fax to your Senators to urge them to support this amendment against rendition. We do not know the exact timing of the vote, but it could be soon so it is critical to make your voice heard today, by fax or phone (via No2Torture email group).

Dear Senator:

We urge you to vote in favor of the Durbin Amendment #4341, a mechanism to prohibit extraordinary rendition of detainees to countries likely to practice torture. Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment must never be permitted under U.S. policy, under any circumstances. The practice of U.S. delivery of a prisoner under the protection of diplomatic assurances that the receiving country will not torture must be monitored by our government to ensure that the U.S. is not unwittingly complicit in the practice of torture by other countries. As Senator McCain and Senator Dodd have eloquently reminded us all, this principle arises from our knowledge of ourselves as a country that is grounded in the rule of law.

Sen. Durbin's amendment has two parts. First, it would reaffirm the legal prohibition on sending an individual to a country where it is likely that he or she will be tortured. Second, it would require the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and other relevant officials, to certify to Congress that a country which has given diplomatic assurance that it will not torture an individual has, in fact, complied with that promise. If the Secretary of State is unable to verify that a particular country is complying with its assurances, the United States would be prohibited from transferring anyone else to that country.

Sen. Durbin's amendment would not prohibit the use of diplomatic assurances as the basis for renditions. Rather, it would provide that such assurances satisfy our national treaty obligations when coupled with a required procedure to ensure compliance with the diplomatic assurances concerning the treatment of an individual detainee.

Religious leaders from across the spectrum of belief systems have proclaimed as recently as last week, in an ad in the New York Times, that every human being has dignity and worth, and that no human being should ever be tortured or treated in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner. Torture under any circumstances violates our nation's most cherished values. Sen. Durbin's amendment is a modest step to ensuring that those values are protected by U.S. policy concerning rendition.

Yours truly,


Donkephant: Torture Awareness Month - Day 21 & 1/2

Donkephant: Torture Awareness Month - Day 21 & 1/2


What, exactly

does this mean? I was struck by this when reading the NYT this morning...
"There were traces of torture on their bodies, very clear traces," General Jassim said. "It was brutal torture. The torture was something unnatural."

Since when is torture natural?

This from the NYT article on finding the remains of the two soldiers

Tuesday, June 20, 2006  

Ahhh, the good old days...

when Rummy was just a pup. Thought I would dust off this gem in honor of PBS airing "The Dark Side." From the incomparable David Hume Kennerly and First Post:


Color Correction

Thank You! John Singleton and LA Times columnist Patrick Goldstein. I cannot TELL you how many times I have lectured on race, representation and the US media, and asked students to think about who shows up on prime time and in ads and have them say, oh yeah...

It's appalling.

In so many TV markets it's still blonde #1-X on the news, there are no CSI heads of color (or a woman), the terrorists are still Middle Eastern (no casting calls for a Timothy McVeigh-type?), very few recognizably Asian or Native American characters who aren't shop owners or having major problems, so what gives in the 21st Century?

And for those of you who think it is just so much leftist boo-hoo, ask yourself, how would you feel about a Black or Latino prime time leading character in a non-comedy role or who isn't a doctor or a cop? Starting to squirm? Thought so.

And, so today in the LA Times:
IN Hollywood, to paraphrase the old James Brown song, it's a white, white, very white world. Sometimes when I sit in on a production meeting or visit a movie set or have lunch at the Grill I'm struck by the fact that in an industry with an ever-growing roster of African American and Latino actors and filmmakers, the odds of my seeing a black or Latino executive are about as good as seeing a studio chief pumping gas at a truck stop in Wyoming.

Having made movies about multiethnic subjects his entire career, both as a hit director ("Boyz N the Hood," "Four Brothers" and "2 Fast 2 Furious") as well as a producer ("Hustle & Flow"), John Singleton knows exactly what it's like to pitch an idea that revolves around people of color to a roomful of white executives. "Basically the American studio structure is the same as it's been since Louis B. Mayer and Jack Warner ran the business," he says. "This is not one of these businesses run by affirmative action. In Hollywood, affirmative action is all about — how much money can you make?"
read the rest here and then Laila Lalami's very funny "What Hollywood Owes Me Money" on her blog, (see side bar for link)


Closing time...

by Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post makes some compelling points as to why Gitmo has got to go:

We'd better not turn away just yet from the suicides of those three detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The rest of the world clearly isn't ready to move on. And with good reason.

In many newspapers around the globe "Guantanamo" is much more than the name of a beautiful harbor on Cuba's southern coast. It has become shorthand for a whole litany of American excesses in George W. Bush's "global war on terror," the most visible example of how the United States blithely ignores the values of due process and rule of law that it so aggressively preaches, if necessary at the point of a gun.

You can read the rest here.


Hi, my name is Bill Frist...

and I'm delusional.

What is up with Frist? Is he still harboring delusions that this is Vietnam II:Get It Right This Time! ?

"We cannot retreat. We cannot surrender. We cannot go wobbly. The price is far too high," said Frist, R-Tenn., suggesting that Democrats want to do just that.

Oh, come on! Send him back to Post-Colonialism 101. Frist really needs to make up his mind here: are we still "at war?" In which case, an independent Iraq is a figment of his and others' imagination. OR, are we "assisting" (love that word in this context) the "new Iraqi government," in which case, shut up and let Al-Maliki try to do a few things. It's not like Bush and Co have provided electricity a mere 12 hours a day (see the infamous Green Zone memo mentioned below) or made the streets safe or protected important monuuments or anything...

All this talk of putting the Iraqis on notice to get their act together is just so much bull. You don't drop in unannounced (The Great White Hope as daytripper) on a sovereign government, and a sovereign government would not put up with that level of grandstanding, let alone diplomatic disrespect.

Can you imagine what would happen if Al-Maliki did something like that? Homeland Security would have him in isolation so fast, unless, of course, his plane was shot down first as a suspicious entity in American airspace.

And the Democrats!
In the end, Senate Democrats brushed aside calls by some of their rank-and-file for a firm withdrawal timetable and on Monday proposed the resolution that would urge — but not require — the administration to begin "a phased redeployment of U.S. forces" this year. It also would call for the administration to give Congress by year's end its plan for "continued redeployment" after 2006.

Take a friggin' stand already. Since when has "urging" anything on this administration had any effect?

The difference between the Congress and jellyfish is becoming blurrier and blurrier every day.
read the rest here.


M is for Murder (and interestingly enough, also for marine...)

More on the three marines up on murder charges:
WASHINGTON — Three U.S. Army soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder in connection with the killing of three Iraqi detainees as well as with threatening the life of a fellow soldier who they feared would challenge their accounts of the deaths, military officials said Monday.

so, just how many "bad apples" are there?
read the rest.


More Iraq news...

The bodies of the two missing marines, showing signs of torure, have been found. The U.S. military said the remains were believed to be those of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore. This is a terrible tragedy for their families.
AP has the rest.
Something to ponder: torture is never relative. And if it is wrong for one group, it is equally wrong for the other. NOTHING justifies this kind of behavior.


Amazing show...

I wish it were coming to the West Coast.

The New York Times has a review of an amazing show, "Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery," the second of three exhibitions organized by the New York Historical Society on American slavery. (hence the photo of a work by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons). This is a powerful presentation on how the legacy of slavery/colonialism affects the US to this very day.
If you are anywhere near NYC, check it out.
Read the review here.


Cool Local Activism

Heads up! Save the date, June 25 for a showing of the documentary, Invisible Children and a benefit concert for ChildSong Uganda.
Where: Rebecca's Coffee House 6-9 pm (3015 Juniper, off Fern, South Park).
Proceeds go to help the child soldiers of Uganda.
To find out more about about ChildSong Uganda, go here and to find out about Invisible Children, made by three San Diego-based locals, go here.

Monday, June 19, 2006  

Hello? Anyone out there?

It seems the tooth fairy has left the Green Zone. Poor, poor Khalilzad. Iraq is just not cooperating. The fabled good news that the Right says is missing, is indeed, AWOL. Gas shortages? Well, no, say the Good News Guys. Beg to differ, says the memo. Life is B.e.t.t.e.r! :>, so say the professional Pollyannas. Some of the employees mentioned in the memo leaked out of the Green Zone count themselves lucky to be able to get home without being assaulted.

Now, where have we heard those things? Hmmmm?
Oh, yeah! Riverbend, The Jarrar family in Baghdad, Dahr Jamail, Mark Manning, etc. Those people accused of being the vultures of bad tidings.

Turns out, maybe, they are just telling it like it is.
Read the memo here
You can find links to the above sources off to the side.

And guess what, you can down load the memo and keep it. But do it soon cause it's going to go away because it just wouldn't do to let a little thing like facts get in the way of Accomplishing the Mission. No, indeedy.


Oh my (the sound of much handwringing)

Christopher Hitchens in a snit- how utterly delicious!

If you now want to say that Joseph Wilson can't be relied upon even to tell the difference between you and the well-known Nizar Hamdoon, then you are taking a stand upon much firmer ground. (Except that you oddly rely on his account, rather than yours, to say that you don't recall the last meeting between Saddam and a U.S. ambassador. Have you no memory or diary of your own?) You are also wise to have avoided reading his ludicrous book. Wilson is one of the great clowns of our time, and proves it every day. By the way, he has recently spoken highly of you as "a world-class opera singer" who "went to the Vatican as his last post so that he could be near the great European opera houses in Rome." (See Craig Unger's piece in the July 2006 Vanity Fair.) If you think he doesn't know you well enough even to know your face, let alone to discuss your operatic accomplishments, then complain to him, not to me. I would love to be the one who put you two (back?) in touch. I certainly never said that you were actually an opera singer, though there's something minor-key operatic about your long moans and sobs of self-pity on the Wagner question. I took care to say that a liking for Wagner—which I share—is no condemnation.

You can read more of this here.

This is what Hitches is responding to:
Sorry everyone, but I think it is time to respond to Hitch-Hitch Hitchens who really got himself all hitched- up in knots trying to prove that "Wowie Zahawie" did go uranium shopping in Niger. Better late than never.

The rest is here.


From Slate

comes this wonderful examination of torture with interactive parts. Thanks, Slate!


Find this cartoon here and read more about David Hicks

Sunday, June 18, 2006  


It's been a little more than a month and I just wanted to say:

to everyone who has dropped by (yes, even the CIA- glad to see you're spending my tax dollars wisely), linked, allowed me to link, allowed me to shamelessly quote, left a message, and otherwise participated.

And now for a message from our sponsor:

Go Out There and Make Some Noise! for what you think is important! You Actually Matter!
(NB: June 26 is International Anti-Torture Day)


Hooray for Dad!

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my brothers, my cousins, my cousin-in-laws, my brother-in-laws, my friends and all you good daddies out there. In these times, it is a tough job to raise decent, caring kids and you guys are simply amazing.
These are mighty times, and the parenting you do today will produce the mighty citizens of tomorrow.
(see this and other fab pixs here. (thanks!)
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Irony is not dead,

but sure is wasted on certain people.
This from the North County Times (near Camp Pendleton)
OCEANSIDE ---- About 25 people demonstrated outside the main gate to Camp Pendleton on Saturday morning to protest the treatment of seven Marines and a Navy corpsman held in the base brig.

The troops are accused of killing a 52-year-old Iraqi man before they returned from Iraq in April. A Pendleton spokesman said the troops were being held in shackles. (snip)The troops are accused of kidnapping and murdering an unarmed Iraqi civilian, and then making it appear as if the Iraqi was armed. An attorney for one of the Marines said he expected them to be charged with murder this week.(snip)"These (supporters) are people who feel it's not right to shackle Marines," Walker said. "They are caged like animals when we don't even know what happened yet."

you can read the rest here
And in countless TV and radio interviews people objected to their incarceration, being confined to base, etc.

The incident being referred to is this one:
Knight Ridder identified the man as Hashim Ibrahim Awad.

Investigators have concluded U.S. Marines dragged the man from his house and shot him before placing the shovel and AK-47 next to his body, implicating him as an insurgent, the official told CNN.
(rest here
And, apparently, at least one Marine wife has objected to seeing her husband in chains.

Now, granted, the chain issue is a little disturbing, although sticking them in the brig and hancuffing them when they are moved has some civilian parallels.

They are, after all, being acccused of premeditated murder. In the civilian world, they would probably not be walking around, given the nature of the crime or the fact that with no real ties to the area, they would be considered flight risks.

Interestingly enough, neither the NCT, the protesters or their supporters are comparing the marines' incareration with this:
Marines in Iraq conducted mock executions of juvenile prisoners last year, burned and tortured other detainees with electrical shocks, and warned a Navy corpsman they would kill him if he treated any injured Iraqis, according to military documents made public Tuesday.

The latest revelations of prisoner abuse cases, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit against the government, involved previously unknown incidents in which 11 Marines were punished for abusing detainees. Military officials indicated that they had investigated 13 other cases, but deemed them unsubstantiated. Four investigations are pending.
(read the rest here)

We now know, of course, that detainee abuse was horrific and wide-spread. And we also know, that many of the people in Abu Ghraib were innocents, caught up in sweeps and that no charges were brought against them ever by the US. And then there's Guantanamo, a lovely resort, beloved of Amnesty International, a place AI calls "a legal black hole." After four years most of the inmates of Gitmo have not been charged with anything and have no hope of due process.

So, being thrown in the brig for something like pre-meditated murder in the US takes on a certain relativity when compared with the above cases.

Unless the marines would prefer to have their day in Iraqi court, in a country, where, as foreign soldiers, they are accused of kidnapping, killing amd covering up the murder of a national of that country.

Had any foreign soldier with no diplomatic immunity done that in the US, people would be calling for his head, and requesting that it be delivered in a box tied with a red, white and blue ribbon.

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One of the reasons

I am not impressed with Robert Novak is this:
Jacques Aigrain, CEO of Swiss Re.
George Alogoskoufis, finance minister of Greece.
Ahmad Chalabi, former deputy prime minister of Iraq and long-time opponent of Saddam Hussein.
George A. David, chairman of Coca-Cola.
Paul Desmarais, CEO of Power Corporation.
Richard Holbrooke, key American negotiator for 1995 Bosnian peace accords.
Vernon Jordan, friend and onetime presidential aide to Bill Clinton.
Henry Kissinger, foreign-policy guru and secretary of state under Richard Nixon.
Johann Koss, Norwegian Olympian and president of Right to Play organization.
Ed Kronenburg, director of NATO's private office.
Bernardino Leon Gross, Spain's foreign minister.
Ronald S. Lloyd, chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston.
Frank McKenna, former New Brunswick premier, now deputy chair of Toronto Dominion.
Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.
Gordon Nixon, Royal Bank of Canada president, CEO.
George Pataki, governor of New York state.
Richard Perle, senior foreign policy adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush.
Heather Reisman, chair and CEO of Indigo Books and Music Inc.
David Rockefeller, retired banker, heir to oil fortune.
Dennis Ross, former Clinton Mideast negotiator.
Giulio Tremonti, VP of Italy's chamber of deputies.
James Wolfensohn, U.S. Mideast envoy, former head of the World Bank.
Robert Zoellick, deputy U.S. secretary of state.


This list courtesy of the Toronto Star and

And who might these lovely people be? Why, the Bilderberg group.
Wikipedia describes them thusly:
The Bilderberg group or Bilderberg conference is an unofficial annual invitation only conference of around 130 guests, most of whom are persons of influence in the fields of business, academia, media, or politics.

Due to discussions by public officials and powerful business leaders (and others) being off-the-record, these annual meetings are the subject of much criticism (for circumventing the more typical democratic process of discussing issues openly and publicly) and numerous conspiracy theories.

The elite group meets annually, in secret, at exclusive, five-star resorts throughout the world, normally in Europe, although sometimes in the United States or Canada. It has an office in Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands.
with all of Wikipedia's other stuff it adds.

The B-group is a magnet for conspiracy theorists and crazies, but it is also very secretive, frequented by people with power, money, influence (well, in Chalabi's case, that is relative) and in a position to make VERY important decisions (like what? Oh, little things, like invade Iran? Not invade Iran?).

The BBC had this to say in 2004: PAY ATTENTION:

A former journalist, Mr Gosling runs a campaign against the group from his home in Bristol, UK.

"My main problem is the secrecy. When so many people with so much power get together in one place I think we are owed an explanation of what is going on.

Mr Gosling seizes on a quote from Will Hutton, the British economist and a former Bilderberg delegate, who likened it to the annual WEF gathering where "the consensus established is the backdrop against which policy is made worldwide".

"One of the first places I heard about the determination of US forces to attack Iraq was from leaks that came out of the 2002 Bilderberg meeting," says Mr Gosling.

read the rest here.

And then there is this group, the Trilateral Commission, whose members are listed (sort of)here.

Also a target of much conspiracy theory discussion. And also linked, via a number of members, to the Bilderberg Group.

And now, back to our friend Robert Novak.

In 1986, in a presentation to which Heritage Foundation interns were invited (which, amazingly enough, included me). Novak spoke at length about the late Ronald Reagan, in such glowing terms that, being from California, I felt I simply had to say something. And also, having been in Europe, when Reagan so happily placed himself at Normandy and then laid wreaths on the graves of SS soldiers- Novak left me no choice.
So I said my piece- something about how problematic it should be that the great Communicator, the leader of the Free World, should see himself as the great actor upon a soundstage where directors come and go, but he, the Great Actor remains (Novak's protrayal) and didn't Novak find that a bit troubling), which the great Novak thought was silly from one so young (as in "Young Lady, I don't think you understand. "But, sir, yes I do. I'm from California.")

Later on we had a brief tete a tete during which I mentioned Reagon, Bilderberg and Trilateral Commission in the same sentence. The great Novak harumpfed and allowed as how I was being extra silly and didn't I know that none of this was true and not to believe all those lies, harumpf.

Unfortunately, I had just returned from Europe, poking my nose into various stories and researching them and had good connections with AP, AFP, SIPA and a couple of other people and had read a very well-researched book on exactly this topic by a very respected author.

I mentioned said book and author and the tenor changed slightly. Well, said the great Novak, ok. Harumpf, the Bilderberg Group does exist, but not the Trilateral Commission, and I don't understand what all the fuss is about. It's just a bunch of people with prestige and position getting together for a nice time. Surely, he said, you would understand that.

And then I asked when the Saudis would turn up on the Iran-Contra radar- and off the great Novak went in a huff.

And ever since, I have had no respect for the b boy of the Republicans. And I am not surprised that he was not, in any way, made responsible for the Plame Affaire.

And btw, Mr. Novak, both the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group do exist.
Sweet dreams.
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