Archive for September, 2007

It’s our observation that as the United States government continues its current foreign policy and its push to bring our form of government to countries that may not want it, the status of the U.S. as the arbiter of world affairs is diminishing. We can no longer announce that we are “the deciders” of world policy and not expect repercussions.

Other governments will take a page from the handbook the U.S. has been using and turn our treatment of them back on us.

We are on a steep and slippery slope here – and, after watching “the debates,” there appears to be no hope that the frontrunners in the 2008 campaign offer anything different. A different approach needs to be put forth – and we’re the ones who need to demand it. No more “lesser of two evils” – it’s time for NO evil!

The Iranian parliament on Saturday voted to designate the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Army as terrorist organizations, IRNA, the country’s state-run news agency, reported.

The CIA and the U.S. Army “trained terrorists and supported terrorism, and they themselves are terrorists,” the parliament said, according to IRNA.

The Iranian parliament said the condemnation was based on “known and accepted” standards of terrorism from international regulations, including the U.N. charter.

The parliament said it condemns the “aggressions by the U.S. Army, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan” and calls on the United Nations to “intervene in the global problem of U.S. prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret jails in other countries,” IRNA reported, quoting a statement from Iranian lawmakers.

The Iranian parliament also decried the CIA’s and U.S. Army’s involvement in the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, U.S. involvement in the Balkans, Vietnam and the U.S. support of Israel.

Of the condemnation, Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, said, “There are some things that don’t even deserve comment. This is one.”

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said he declined to comment “on non-binding resolutions passed by parliaments in countries with dubious records on human rights, democracy and that are state sponsors of terror.”

There was no immediate response from the U.S. State Department.

Washington and U.S. military leaders have long accused Iran of training and equipping insurgents in Iraq. The United States and Iran have not had formal diplomatic relations since 1980 after Iranian militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held Americans hostage for 444 days.

The Iranian lawmakers’ condemnation was in apparent retaliation for the U.S. Senate’s resolution Wednesday requesting that the United States designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or Quds Force, as a foreign terrorist organization.

The Senate resolution passed a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the U.N. General Assembly that an agreement reached last month between his country and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over its disputed nuclear program has, in the Iranian view, settled the matter.

Iran says its nuclear program is necessary for civilian energy production. The United States and other Western nations have accused Tehran of trying to build a nuclear weapon.

From CNN.com

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has consistently led the way in telling the story of what’s really going on in Iraq and Iran. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to him about America’s Hitler, Bush’s Vietnam, and how the US press failed the First Amendment.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York (more…) for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?

Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it’s been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei (more…) and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA’s best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they’ve been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn’t enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?

Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we’ve had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he’s not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That’s just their game.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?

Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You’d think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can’t possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren’t there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?

Hersh: Oh no. We’re going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can’t have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I’d actually be relieved because I’d know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he’s doing God’s work.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the options in Iraq?

Hersh: There are two very clear options: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: A lot of people have been saying that the US presence there is a big part of the problem. Is anyone in the White House listening?

Hersh: No. The president is still talking about the “Surge” (eds. The “Surge” refers to President Bush’s commitment of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the spring of 2007 in an attempt to improve security in the country.) as if it’s going to unite the country. But the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We’ve basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They’ve simply split.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is that why there has been a drop in violence there?

Hersh: I think that’s a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.

SPIEGEL ONLINE:So what are the lessons of the Surge (more…)?

Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he’s talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He’s not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You’re going to have a Kurdistan. You’re going to have a Sunni area that we’re going to have to support forever. And you’re going to have the Shiites in the South.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the US is over four years into a war that is likely going to end in a disaster. How valid are the comparisons with Vietnam?

Hersh: The validity is that the US is fighting a guerrilla war and doesn’t know the culture. But the difference is that at a certain point, because of Congressional and public opposition, the Vietnam War was no longer tenable. But these guys now don’t care. They see it but they don’t care.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the Iraq war does end up as a defeat for the US, will it leave as deep a wound as the Vietnam War did?

Hersh: Much worse. Vietnam was a tactical mistake. This is strategic. How do you repair damages with whole cultures? On the home front, though, we’ll rationalize it away. Don’t worry about that. Again, there’s no learning curve. No learning curve at all. We’ll be ready to fight another stupid war in another two decades.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Of course, preventing that is partially the job of the media. Have reporters been doing a better job recently than they did in the run-up to the Iraq War?

Hersh: Oh yeah. They’ve done a better job since. But back then, they blew it. When you have a guy like Bush who’s going to move the infamous Doomsday Clock forward, and he’s going to put everybody in jeopardy and he’s secretive and he doesn’t tell Congress anything and he’s inured to what we write. In such a case, we (journalists) become more important. The First Amendment failed and the American press failed the Constitution. We were jingoistic. And that was a terrible failing. I’m asked the question all the time: What happened to my old paper, the New York Times? And I now say, they stink. They missed it. They missed the biggest story of the time and they’re going to have to live with it.

Interview conducted by Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith

Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq, it was claimed last night.

Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).

The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President’s Texas ranch.

The White House refused to comment on the report last night.

But, if verified, it is certain to raise questions in Washington and London over whether the costly four-year war could have been averted.

Only yesterday, the Bush administration asked Congress for another £100billion to finance the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The total war bill for British taxpayers is expected to reach £7billion by next year.

More than 3,800 American service personnel have lost their lives in Iraq, along with 170 Britons and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

However, according to the tapes, one month before he launched the invasion Mr Bush appeared convinced that Saddam was serious about going into exile.

“The Eqyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein,” said Mr Bush.

“It seems he’s indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he’s allowed to take $1billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction.”

Asked by the Spanish premier whether Saddam – who was executed in December last year – could really leave, the President replied: “Yes, that possibility exists. Or he might even be assassinated.”

But he added that whatever happened: “We’ll be in Baghdad by the end of March.”

Mr Bush went on to refer optimistically to the rebuilding or Iraq.

The transcript – which was published yesterday in the Spanish newspaper El Pais – was said to have been recorded by a diplomat at the meeting in Crawford, Texas, on February 22, 2003.

Mr Bush was dismissive of the then French President Jacques Chirac, saying he “thinks he’s Mr Arab”.

Referring to his relationship with Downing Street, he said: “I don’t mind being the bad cop if Blair is the good cop.”

The President added: “Saddam won’t change and he’ll keep on playing games.

“The time has come to get rid of him. That’s the way it is.”

Days before the invasion began on March 22, 2003, the United Arab Emirates proposed to a summit of Arab leaders that Saddam and his henchmen should go into exile.

It was the first time the plan had been officially voiced but it was drowned out in the drumbeat of war.

A spokesman for Mr Aznar’s foundation had no comment on its authenticity.

Bomb attacks killed 57 people in Iraq yesterday.

From The Daily Mail

It seems that Hillary is acting very presidential already! And now we get a glimpse of how Bill would handle his future roll as First Gentleman.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign forced a magazine to drop a negative story about her by threatening to cut off the publication’s access to the former President Bill Clinton, it emerged yesterday.

The ruthless response to GQ magazine, and its decision to bow to the ultimatum, reflects the enormous leverage Mr Clinton brings to his wife’s White House bid at a time when her quest for the Democratic nomination appears more formidable than ever.

The magazine, which is due to have Mr Clinton on its cover for its December issue, was told that the former President would no longer cooperate unless it pulled an article it was about to publish detailing infighting and tensions within Mrs Clinton’s campaign.

Despite protests at the magazine, the article was duly sidelined, according to a respected US political website. In an e-mail statement to The Times, Jim Nelson, the Editor of GQ, said: “I don’t really get into the inner workings of the magazine, but I can tell you that, yes, we did kill a Hillary piece. We kill pieces all the time for a variety of reasons.” He refused to elaborate.

The move by the Clinton campaign provides a graphic example of the be-hind-the-scenes hardball tactics it employs in keeping the New York senator’s relentlessly disciplined presidential bid on track and on message, and the power that she and her husband have in shaping how her White House bid is perceived.

On Sunday Mrs Clinton pulled off the rare feat of appearing on all five Sunday-morning political talk shows, a privilege the networks are unlikely to afford her rivals. Her lead in the national Democratic polls over her nearest rival, Barack Obama, is so big – almost 20 per cent – that pundits are now asking not if she can win the nomination, but if she can be stopped.

President Bush also thinks that she will win the nomination, it emerged yesterday, and has even indicated in private that he believes she will succeed him. White House aides, on Mr Bush’s instructions, have been privately briefing her – and other Democrat candidates – about Iraq in case she wins the election next November. They have been urging her not to commit to an immediate withdrawal if she takes office in January 2009, because Mr Bush wants his successor – Democrat or Republican – to continue prosecuting the war after he leaves the Oval Office.

Although Mr Bush often says that he will not handicap elections, he told the author of a new biography about him that Mrs Clinton has “got a great national presence, and this is becoming a national primary”. In an off-the-record session with broadcast journalists just over a week ago, Mr Bush, according to those in the room, gave the impression that he thought she would win the presidency and that he had been thinking about how to turn Iraq over to her.

Mrs Clinton’s lead in national polls, and similarly big leads over Mr Obama in the early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, means that the contest in the first nominating state of Iowa has become crucial.

With Mrs Clinton succeeding in making her nomination look almost inevitable, her rivals are expected to be more aggressive and critical in a Democratic debate tomorrow night in New Hampshire, aware that time is running out to derail her.

From The Times UK Online

Has Bill-O been hanging around with Don Imus lately?! Maybe he can take an enforced vacation, too!

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George Bush’s battle to pronounce complicated words has been laid bare after White House officials mistakenly released an unedited copy of his UN speech, complete with phonetic spellings.

The script of the President’s address to the 192-nation UN General Assembly, which was accidentally distributed to journalists, revealed he is given a phonetic guide to key foreign names including countries and their leaders.

Among those contained in the speech were “Keyr-geez-stan”, the name of Zimbabwean president Robert “Moo-gah-bee” and the name of his new French ally, President “Sar-kozee”.

However he was given no help with the pronunciation of the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose name he duly stumbled over.

The President is famous for his verbal slipups. He has particular problems with the word “nuclear”, is prone to coining made-up words such as “misunderestimate”, and once forgot the name of President Musharraf of Pakistan.

According to David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, all presidential speeches contain phonetic guides, but passing the unedited version to the press was an “oversight”.

Despite the mix-up, the speech was described as eloquent. Mr Bush urged member states to join in a “mission of liberation” and predicted that the “long rule of a cruel dictator is nearing its end” in Cuba.

His words caused anger among the Cuban delegation, who walked out, calling the speech “arrogant and mediocre”.

Most of the US delegation in turn left the room when President Ahmadinejad rose to speak, reiterating that Iran’s nuclear programme was “completely peaceful and transparent”.

From The Daily Mail

No Child Left Behind? What do you do when it’s your President who’s left behind?!

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Offering a grammar lesson guaranteed to make any English teacher cringe, President George W. Bush told a group of New York school kids on Wednesday: “Childrens do learn.”

Bush made his latest grammatical slip-up at a made-for-TV event where he urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the centrepiece of his education policy, as he touted a new national report card on improved test scores.

The event drew New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings plus teachers and about 20 fourth and fifth graders from P.S. 76.

During his first presidential campaign, Bush — who promised to be the “education president” — once asked: “Is our children learning?”

On Wednesday, Bush seemed to answer his own question with the same kind of grammatical twist.

“As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured,” he said.

The White House opted to clean up Bush’s diction in the official transcript.

Bush is no stranger to verbal gaffes. He often acknowledges he was no more than an average student in school and jokes about his habit of mangling the English language.

Just a day earlier, the White House inadvertently showed how it tries to prevent Bush from making even more slips of the tongue than he already does.

As Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, a marked-up draft of his speech briefly popped up on the U.N. Web site, complete with a phonetic pronunciation guide to get him past troublesome names of countries and world leaders.

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the Iranian President’s speech at Columbia – as well as the “introduction” he received. You may have even have an opinion about it all.

Before you set it in cement, watch the interviews on The Real News – you may come away with a different idea.

The Real News 

a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats. Commencement Address American University, Washington, Monday, June 10, 1963

Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war. September 25, 1961

Our primary long-range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament — designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. June 10, 1963

It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race- -to advance together step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has been achieved. We invite them now to go beyond agreement in principle to reach agreement on actual plans. Address Before the General Assembly of the United Nations. September 25, 1961

I believe in an America… where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source. Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, September 12, 1960

In this serious hour in our Nation’s history when we are confronted with grave crises in Berlin and Southeast Asia, when we are devoting our energies to economic recovery and stability, when we are asking reservists to leave their homes and their families for months on end and servicemen to risk their lives–and four were killed in the last two days in Viet Nam and asking union members to hold down their wage requests at a time when restraint and sacrifice are being asked of every citizen, the American people will find it hard, as I do, to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility can show such utter contempt for the interests of 185 million Americans. News Conference April 11, 1962

Read more here. We will warn you – this is a JFK conspiracy site. However, when you read more of the quotes and/or watch the videos he suggests, it makes you wonder…