Topic: General News.
The US military reported on Sunday three US troops were killed in Iraq over the weekend. 13 were injured in one attack. A Newsweek poll shows only 34% of Americans now support the war. 64% say the invasion has not made us safer, contradicting the BS flowing out of the White House for the past two years. Bush’s support has dipped, again, to 42%. Lucky for the brains trust in W’s circle, they don’t read polls.
Crazed anti-Bush mother goes Waco:
Cindy Sheehan, a mother who lost her son in Iraq last April and blames Dubya for his death, has set up a tent outside the ranch in Waco and vows to stay there until he comes out to speak with her about her son’s death. Despite what Bush says about the families he’s talked to knowing their loved ones died for a noble cause, she feels that with all the death going on in Iraq he shouldn’t be taking a five-week vacation. Crazy woman! Remember what happened to the mother of the sailor who died on the Kursk in 2000? Better watch out!
From the Royal Navy with love:
Speaking of Russian naval know how, the seven sailors trapped in an AS-28 mini sub off the Pacific coast of Kamchatka have been rescued by a British remote controlled sub that cut them loose from fishing nets. I read initially they were caught on fishing nets, but then it was reported they were caught on underwater radio cables. British Royal Navy Commander Ian Riches said the sub was indeed tangled in fishing cables, so that clears up that mystery. Or does it? One wonders why, in the five years after the horrible tragedy of the Kursk disaster, the Russian navy hasn’t got any better at this. At least, they didn’t have to rely on us for the rescue. That must be some solace to the xenophobic goons in the Kremlin.
Space Shuttle saga continues:
The Discovery has been waved off from its landing in Florida because of bad weather. Who was the genius that thought Florida ever had good weather? It now appears the shuttle will land tomorrow in California. Cross your fingers, because there is a 1 in 52 chance of disaster. If I had a choice, I think I’d rather travel on a Russian submarine.
Energy Bill will end our dependence on foreign oil:
Not really, that’s White House bullshit. When the law passed in congress I wrote it was now law. That was wrong. I used to watch School House Rock, I know better. What I meant was that it was as good as law. Well, today it does become law as W leaves the ranch to go to New Mexico to sign it into law. Attention Exxon/Mobil, your government check is in the mail.
The US state department announced that several conciliates in Saudi Arabia, including the US embassy in Riyadh, would be closed today and tomorrow based on certain credible threats which they declined to spell out. Are there any Saudi fanatics left in the Kingdom? I thought they were all in Iraq.
The US has also closed our conciliate a little closer to home in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where the police there are unable to stop a brutal and violent drug war which has been going on for more than a year. Hundreds of people have been assassinated and gun battles in broad daylight go on with no apparent attempt by Mexican authorities to do anything about it. The Mexican government is pretty torked off about it, but they simply have no control over the city, just a few miles from the US border.
Coddling religious fanatics: bad idea.
The chickens are coming home to roost in Israel. On August 4th an AWOL IDF soldier opened fire on a busload of Palestinians killing the driver and three passengers in the Israeli-Palestinian town of Shfaram. 13 others were injured. The local residents then proceeded to jump on to the bus and, judging by the stones found on the bus afterwards, stoned Pvt. Eden Natan-Zada, 19, to death.
Apparently, he was one of the extremists the Israeli security forces have been losing sleep over according to Micheal Matza of the Philadelphia Inquirer foriegn staff. “For months, top Israeli security forces have warned that Jewish extremists, desperate to sabotage Israel’s planned withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip, might attack Arabs or Muslim religious symbols.” [security officials had feared attack by jewish extremists]
The main worry is that the lunatics who still adhere to the teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane and their ilk might now try to do something crazy like attack the al-Aska mosque or the Dome of the Rock, with missiles or rockets or incite other violence that would prevent the withdrawal of the Gaza indefinitely.
By other violence, it must be assumed this means also killing Ariel Sharon, the settler’s erstwhile hero and champion, who has betrayed the settler cause, according to them.
Sharon called Natan-Zada a “blood thirsty Jewish terrorist.”Interesting choice of words, should the US now direct its anti-terror campaign against our own homegrown Jewish extremists? We are waging the “Global War Against Violent Extremism” after all; I should think some of these settler groups born in and funded from America might qualify.
Is it such a leap to think less peaceful groups, such as the JDL or Kahane Cai, who have been caught plotting bombings inside the US before might take action against the US government for supporting the Gaza pull out? Our blind and unwavering support for the government of Israel has come back to bite us in the past, it might again.
Netanyahu: new darling of nut jobs:
In regard to Arick Sharon being the former darling of the extreme lunatic fringe of Israeli politics, he is being challenged now by the presumptive new leader of the loonies, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has resigned from Sharon’s government in protest of the withdrawal from Gaza.
“Appeasement” to terrorism “doesn’t work,” he says. Neither does 30 years of occupation, but that’s another issue. Gaza is becoming a base for terror, “everyone sees that.” No doubt. “I am not willing to be part of a process that ignores reality and blindly proceeds to establish an Islamic terror base that will threaten the entire country.” Despite this fanatical boiler plate the Israeli cabinet voted 17-5 for the first stage of the Gaza pullout.
He’s obviously positioning him self within the Likud central committee to unseat Sharon, that appeasing peacenik, for another run at the Prime Minister’s job, perhaps in elections next spring.
With Netanyahu not only do you get a shameless political whore willing to get in bed with the most extreme religious nuts, but he’s a born again devotee of neo-liberal economics and is hell bent on ridding Israel of unions and socialism. (Except for the religious parties, they get all the government money they want.) If Brent Scowcroft thought Bush was wrapped around Sharon’s little finger, just wait.
Netanyahu visits Dupont Circle:
I have a very vivid recollection of Netanyahu showing up at the Washington Hilton for an AIPAC conference a few years back. He drew about 300 protesters who later clashed with pro-Israel demonstrators.
I was at my friend’s apartment on R Street NW and Connecticut Ave. just two blocks away from the big pow wow when all hell broke loose.
Hours before, enjoying a libation at the Child Herald, I had wondered why there were 3 metro buses full of riot police parked outside. Then I found out who was coming to the AIPAC conference.
Later, on the way to the apartment I noticed every car on a nearby street being towed and several helicopters hovering directly overhead. At my friends place we couldn’t even hear the TV from the noise. Even for DC this particular protest was a big deal. Even the Falun Gong people camped outside Hu Jintao’s hotel last year in Georgetown was a tea party compared to this.
AIPAC, Just a lobbying firm, really:
And what of AIPAC? Probably back when Netanyahu was at the Hilton Lawrence Franklin, who is charged with leaking information on a possible attack on Iran, was receiving an ‘at a boy’ from Netanyahu for all his good work spying for Israel. On August 5th AP reported that two former top officials of AIPAC had been indicted for “conspiring to disclose classified defense information,” by US Attorney Paul McNulty.
McNulty said Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman had crossed a “clear line [that] separates classified information from everything else.” Rosen and Weissman are being charged with aiding and abetting Franklin in passing along written classified information to persons not entitled to receive it. Rosen had been meeting with Israeli diplomats as far back as 1999.
One diplomat, Naor Gilon, has since been withdrawn from the US as “part of a normal diplomatic rotation,” according to the Israeli Embassy. Sure! These guys weren’t too swift about the spy biz, because Franklin was actually faxing classified information from the pentagon and didn’t stop giving it out to the press even after being interviewed by the FBI. Either that or they didn’t think they had anything to worry about because of the friendly climate in Bush’s Washington to Israel.
Brits gave Israel heavy water. Heavy, man.
And speaking of our nearest and dearest allies that never lie to us or spy on us: The BBC has uncovered documents that say the UK sold Israel heavy water in 1959 and 1960 to help them with their nuclear bomb program. AP: “In one of the documents, a British Foreign Office official cautioned against informing the US of the sale. ‘On the whole I would prefer NOT to mention this to the Americans,’ Foreign Office official Donald Cape wrote in an official paper at the time.” And they didn’t. They never told us they were building a bomb, but kept the requests for money coming. Poor defenseless Israel!
On the basis of Mordechai Vanunu’s revelations in the London Times of Israel’s nuclear bomb program at Dimona, “experts concluded that Israel has the sixth largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, consisting of hundreds of warheads.” And now they can deliver them anywhere in the world on their stealth submarines thanks to Jonathan Pollard, who didn’t spy either, by using converted cruise missiles that we sold them, and are now no doubt selling to India and Turkey. (And maybe China?)
Vincent was kidnapped and killed doing his job in Basra Iraq on August 2nd. Alaa al-Baldawy and Hannah Allam write in the Inquirer that Foster’s Iraqi translator Nouriya Sayhoud al Khal, who was taken along with him in the kidnapping was shot at least twice in the chest and leg. Foster was a journalist, a writer and a blogger. At least, 65 Iraqi and foreign news workers have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war.
No one knows why he was killed but the theory is that he was embarrassing the local militia, run by Muqtada al-Sadr, which has is suspected of being responsible for hundreds of kidnappings and murders of ex-Baathists since the beginning of the year.
You’ll remember that al-Sadr is wanted for murdering a rival cleric, led a bloody uprising against US occupation forces in April of 2004 and is a close and personal friend of Ahmad Chalabi.
The British who are in charge of that part of Iraq have apparently decided to hide behind their blast walls and wait for the order to withdraw.
[Hear an interview with Ann Miller on Radio Times today, which goes into the dangers journalists face around the world trying to do their jobs.]
He died last night at the age of 67. This is a real shocker and a terrible shame. I guess the last thing he did before he announced he had lung cancer was the UFO thing. I thought it was very brave of him to do an entire special on the controversial subject, that is usually considered very silly, and treat it with such respect and seriousness. I don’t believe any of that crap but it was a very interesting program. I always liked him better than Brokaw, even though they both had weird speech impediments. (Yes, I’m saying a Canadian accent is a speech impediment. I kid, I kid.) In any case, he will be missed.
Cook also met an untimely demise this weekend while hiking in the Scottish Highlands. Cook very honorably resigned from Blair’s cabinet over what he felt was Blair’s unjustified and illegal decision to go to war in Iraq and became a very credible and vocal critic of Blair within his own party in parliament. Not that he was a pantywaist pacifist. He was very much behind the war in Kosovo, which was also considered outside the bounds of the established world order. I was very much behind the Kosovo war, too, but I also felt Cook was a little too eager to get on with it and was too bullying and pompous. I feel he made up for it, though, with his principled stand against Blair and Bush.
[I defiantly did not agree with the way the war was waged. Wesley Clark was just a little too cavalier with the high altitude bombing.]