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Lets's talk about democracy
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Wednesday, 31 March 2004
hmmm...this is interesting

Iraq was invaded 'to protect Israel' - US official
By Emad Mekay

WASHINGTON - Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States, but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group.

Inter Press Service uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001 - the 9/11 commission - in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch US ally in the Middle East.

Zelikow's casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect Israel appears at odds with the public position of US President George W Bush and his administration, which has never overtly drawn the link between its war on the regime of Saddam and its concern for Israel's security.

The administration has instead insisted it launched the war to liberate the Iraqi people, destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to protect the United States.

Zelikow made his statements about "the unstated threat" during his tenure on a highly knowledgeable and well-connected body known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which reports directly to the president. He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.

"Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel," Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of September 11 and the future of the war on al-Qaeda.

"And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell," said Zelikow.

The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked to the Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so far cost the lives of nearly 600 US troops and thousands of Iraqis, was motivated by Washington's desire to defend the Jewish state.

The administration, which is surrounded by staunch pro-Israel, neo-conservative hawks, is currently fighting an extensive campaign to ward off accusations that it derailed the "war on terrorism" it launched after September 11 by taking a detour to Iraq, which appears to have posed no direct threat to the US.

Israel is Washington's biggest ally in the Middle East, receiving annual direct aid of US$3-4 billion.

Even though members of the 16-person PFIAB come from outside government, they enjoy the confidence of the president and have access to all information related to foreign intelligence that they need to play their vital advisory role. Known in intelligence circles as "Piffy-ab", the board is supposed to evaluate the nation's intelligence agencies and probe any mistakes they make. The unpaid appointees on the board require a security clearance known as "code word" that is higher than top secret.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:18 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 3 April 2004 3:19 PM EST
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Tuesday, 30 March 2004
The other mess we're in, continued...

Explosions, Shootouts With Uzbekistan Militants Leave 2 Dozen Dead
Fighting Comes After Uzbek Officials Blame Islamic Radicals for Attacks
By Peter Baker

Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, March 30, 2004; 1:35 PM

MOSCOW, March 30 -- A series of explosions and shootouts in Uzbekistan on Tuesday left about two dozen people dead in the bloodiest wave of violence to hit the former Soviet republic since it enlisted as a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, officials and witnesses said.

Twenty suspected militants and three Uzbek police officers were killed in an hours-long confrontation that played out not far from the country home of President Islam Karimov, according to a duty officer at the Uzbek Interior Ministry reached by telephone in Tashkent, the capital.

Some of the militants were shot by Uzbek officers while others blew themselves up, witnesses said. A civilian was also killed, a witness said.

The violence came after 19 other people died in explosions and attacks Sunday and Monday that the government blamed on Islamic radicals. Uzbekistan has suffered from sporadic terrorist incidents over the last five years, but the group fingered by Uzbek officials this week denied any involvement in the latest attacks.

The latest bloodshed began Tuesday morning when two women driving a car up to a police checkpoint on the road to Karimov's official residence in northern Tashkent were stopped, got out and detonated belts of explosives, according to official accounts. Police chased other militants into a nearby residential area and surrounded buildings where they took refuge. The two sides exchanged gunfire for hours, according to officials and witnesses, with some of the militants exploding grenades to kill themselves. Another woman suicide bomber reportedly killed herself in a blast as well.

"We could see shooting and then we saw that one of the houses caught fire," Natalya Bushuyeva, an Uzbek journalist at the scene, said by telephone. "The shooting lasted for a long time. The shooting was so messy that the special services were shooting at each other."

One man who ventured out of his home was shot by militants who apparently mistook him for a police officer, she added.

Uzbekistan became a front-line partner in the U.S.-led battle against Islamic terrorism shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and the Pentagon. At Karimov's invitation, the U.S. military opened a base that it continues to use to stage operations in Afghanistan.

But Washington has criticized the secular Karimov government's harsh policies toward observant Muslims as excessive and counter-productive, threatening recently to cut off financial aid if its human rights record does not improve. At least 6,000 people remain in Uzbek prisons because of their religious or political beliefs, according to human rights groups.

Human Rights Watch issued a 300-page report Tuesday on Uzbekistan's repression of Muslims, documenting what it called "systematic torture, ill-treatment, public degradation and denial of due process." The report concluded: "Uzbekistan's campaign against independent Islam has targeted Muslims who exhibited no objective independence from the state but who were simply deemed 'too pious' by state agents."


Amnesty report:

Rummy's take on Uzbekistan:

Source: Reuters
Uploaded/Updated: 02/25/2004 12:53:29

Since the start of the U.S. offensive against Afghanistan's Taliban militia and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, the United States and its allies have used Uzbekistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan as rear bases for military operations.

But Rumsfeld reiterated an earlier statement by Secretary of State Colin Powell that the Pentagon had no intention of establishing permanent bases in Central Asia as part of a realignment of U.S. forces around the world.

Rumsfeld said Washington was interested in discussing military "operating sites" in the region where it might gain access for "occasional use."

Karimov, a former Communist leader, permits only state- sponsored Islam in the country of 25 million, which rights groups estimate holds some 6,000 political prisoners.

A report by the U.N. rapporteur on torture, Theo van Boven, found in 2002 that torture in Uzbek jails was systematic and routinely used to terrorize opponents and obtain confessions which sometimes resulted in courts giving the death penalty.

In Mukadyrova's case, which Britain's ambassador described as "simply appalling," she was jailed for anti-constitutional activity after police said they found Muslim pamphlets in her home. She had previously campaigned for justice for her dead son and distributed pictures of his scalded and mutilated corpse.

Mukadyrova was fined $280 and freed, but the government says Uzbekistan's proximity to Afghanistan and the danger of militant Islam is reason enough to crack down on Muslims at home.

Foreign Minister Sadyk Safayev, who met Rumsfeld Tuesday, said in Brussels last month that his country had implemented an action plan to crack down on torture in its jails


And of course, there's always the oil angle:

"Uzbekistan is the eighth-largest producer of natural gas in the world, but lacks the ability to export most of it. Uzbekistan currently serves as a crucial link in the gas transport chain linking Turkmenistan's enormous gas deposits with Russia.

Uzbekistan is party to the Central Asia Oil Pipeline agreement with Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. If completed, the pipeline would transport oil from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and other Central Asian states via Afghanistan to Gwadar on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast.

Uzbekistan is also party to the parallel Central Asia Gas Pipeline project, which would bring gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to Pakistan and India, via Afghanistan. Likewise, Uzbekistan could contribute to a proposed pipeline linking Kazakhstan and China, and has actively been seeking to participate in the project."


Note this pipeline project mentioned above was the one the Taliban wouldn't go along with before we attacked Afganistan:

As described in many accounts, notably the recently published
"Osama Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth" by Jean Charles Brisard and
Guillaume Dasique, the CentGas consortium led by Unocal had plans
for a 1,005 mile oil pipeline and a 918 mile natural gas pipeline
from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. This project
stalled because of the political instability in Afghanistan.

In August 2001, George W. Bush revived negotiations with the

Journalist William Rivers Pitt notes that, "intense scrutiny has
shaken loose two e-mails sent by Enron's Ken Lay to his employees
in August of last year. In them, Lay waxes optimistic about the
strength and stability of his company, and exhorts his employees
to buy into the company's stock program." Pitt believes that,
"while many observers view this as the gasping lies of a drowning
criminal", Lay's messages must be considered in light of the
timing: His last e-mail was sent on August 27th, about the same
time as the final Taliban meeting with the Bush administration.

Was Kenneth Lay anticipating a significant piece of a new pipeline
deal, and an Enron contract, courtesy of George W. Bush?

After the Taliban refused the Bush administration's "carpet of
gold", America dropped its "carpet of bombs" on Afghanistan,
allegedly in retaliation for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Was Ken
Lay also anticipating a war, and a way to profit from it?

Former Unocal lobbyist Hamid Karzai now heads a bombed and gutted
Afghanistan. Bush's US envoy is Zalmay Khalizad, another former
Unocal representative, who helped draw up the plans for the
original CentGas pipeline. Pipeline projects have resumed.

The rest of this is very interesting.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:37 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 March 2004 3:39 PM EST
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Monday, 29 March 2004
Victory in Iraq (No wonder they don't want her to testify under oath.)
Condi Rice on 60 minutes on March 28th 2004:

"The war on terrorism is a broad war, not a narrow war. And Iraq, one of the most dangerous regimes, I think the most dangerous regime in the world's most dangerous region, in the Middle East [More damgerous than Israel?] - is a big reason, or was under Saddam Hussein, a big reason for instability in the regions, for threats to the United States.

He had used weapons of mass destruction. He had the intent and was still developing the capability to do so. Saddam Hussein's regime was very dangerous. And now that Iraq has been liberated and that Iraq has a chance to be a stable democracy, the world is a lot safer. And the war on terrorism is well served by the victory in Iraq."


"And the war on terrorism is well served by the victory in Iraq."


Here's how the victory is going today...

03/29/04 Centcom: 1 Soldier Killed, 1 Wounded near Al-Habbaniya
A 13th COSCOM soldier is dead and one is injured as the result of an improvised explosive device attack near Al-Habbaniya at approximately 10:30 a.m.

03/29/04 AP: 2 New Hampshire soldiers injured in Iraq
Sgt. Jason Weaver, 30, of Franklin, was shot in the left leg, and Spec. Gerard Lamson, 26, of Ashland, suffered shrapnel wounds to both hands when their police patrol was attacked in Mosul.

03/29/04 DOD: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Pfc. Leroy Sandoval Jr., 21, of Houston, Texas, died March 26, due to hostile fire in the Al Anbar Province

03/29/04 DOD: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Master Sgt. Timothy Toney, 37, of Manhattan, N.Y., died March 27, due to a non-combat related incident at Camp Wolverine, Kuwait.

03/29/04 Reuters: U.S. Soldier Killed in Bomb Attack Near Falluja
A U.S. soldier was killed on Monday when a bomb was detonated beside a military convoy near the flashpoint town of Falluja west of Baghdad, the U.S. army said.

03/29/04 utv: British "Civilian" Killed Was On Leave From The Army
Colour Sergeant Christopher Charles McDonald, 39, was in Iraq but not on military duty when he was killed in the northern city of Mosul, the Ministry of Defence said.

03/29/04 AP: Aberdeen Soldier Injured In Iraq
An Aberdeen soldier has been seriously injured in Iraq. According to the South Dakota National Guard's Web site, Sergeant Sean Lessin suffered a head injury while loading a military convoy. The injury was not related to combat.

03/29/04 BBC: British troops clash with Iraqis - 2 Wounded
Two British soldiers have been injured after troops clashed with dozens of Iraqis.

03/29/04 AP: US Soldiers Kill Four Insurgents In Northern Iraq
U.S. soldiers in the northern city of Mosul shot and killed four rebels suspected of involvement in attacks in the region, the military said Monday.

03/29/04 Centcom: Updated Marine Killed In Action
CAMP MEK, Iraq - One Marine assigned to the 1st Marine Division was killed as a result of enemy action in the Al Anbar Province on March 26.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 6:25 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 29 March 2004 6:30 PM EST
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Our new buddy
This wouldn't have anything to do with African oil, would it?-------------

Colonel Gadafy
The prodigal son returns

Friday March 26, 2004
The Guardian

If a fatted calf - or lamb - was slaughtered yesterday in Tripoli, it will have been by the Libyan hosts rather than by their guest, Tony Blair. But there was no doubting the strength and passion with which the prime minister welcomed the return of that remarkable prodigal son, Brother Leader of the Revolution Muammar Gadafy, to the international family. Mr Blair spoke of partnership, of sympathy, of dialogue and, more practically, of oil contracts and a new military relationship with the UK. He conceded that it was "strange, given the history, to come here and do this", but argued that these are strange times. The world according to Mr Blair's book is a wholly different place since September 11. Col Gadafy has renounced weapons of mass destruction, has offered convincing proof and deserves his full reward. If other nations with dangerous WMD programmes are convinced they will meet with "a sympathetic response" on giving them up, the world will also become a much safer place.

Like all of Mr Blair's arguments, this is delivered with burning conviction, but it should not be taken quite at face value. Mr Blair surely cannot be expecting to sit down any time soon with Kim Jong-il or Ariel Sharon to congratulate them on giving up their nuclear programmes. Of course, Col Gadafy has taken a very welcome step - even if he was never regarded as a serious WMD threat and had condemned September 11 in unqualified terms immediately after the event. We should congratulate the Foreign Office for its quiet and effective diplomacy, only wishing that it had been given the chance to display as much patience in another area. Yet it would have been more appropriate for the foreign secretary to go to Tripoli, in return for the visit of his Libyan counterpart to London. A future prime ministerial visit could then be considered calmly in the light of progress over the Yvonne Fletcher case and the desire of the Lockerbie families for more light to be shed on what is still an obscure as well as shocking act of terrorism. Col Gadafy should be encouraged, but not at such a forced pace.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:53 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 29 March 2004 2:54 PM EST
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Sunday, 28 March 2004
The kettle calling the pot black
Colin Powell on Face the Nation today speaking of Richard Clarke:

..."I looked at what he said before the commission this week and when I looked through
his book and when I also looked at what he had said to the Congress in 2002 in the
background press briefings he gave, there are inconsistencies and contradictions between
what he is saying now and what he said then."


Hmmm..I wonder who else might have a problem with inconsistencies and contradictions...?

Powell in Feb. 2001:
"He (Saddam) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."

Powell in Feb. 2003:
"The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction pose to the world."


Posted by bushmeister0 at 8:58 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 29 March 2004 6:26 PM EST
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Way beyond 1984

Want to find out which party your neighbors gave money to and how much?

This is a little scary:


Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:33 PM EST
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Okay, this isn't good...
Court Opens Door To Searches Without Warrants

POSTED: 3:55 pm CST March 26, 2004
UPDATED: 4:36 pm CST March 26, 2004

NEW ORLEANS -- It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.

Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.

The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell."


Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:29 PM EST
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Friday, 26 March 2004

According to the Washington Post, Condi Rice is finally coming clean on the 'how could we have known they'd use planes as missiles?'lie she's been spouting since 9/11. Did I say lie? I meant she "misspoke."

By the way, the White House says she'll testify at the 9/11 investigation, but only in private and not under oath. Well, you can see why she doesn't want to take the oath.

"Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste disclosed this week that Rice had asked, in her private meetings with the commission, to revise a statement she made publicly that "I don't think anybody could have predicted that those people could have taken an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center . . . that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." Rice told the commission that she misspoke; the commission has received information that prior to Sept. 11, U.S. intelligence agencies and Clarke had talked about terrorists using airplanes as missiles."


Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:20 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 28 March 2004 5:34 PM EST
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Beware the Dragon
While we're bogged down in the Middle East and in South Asia, China is busy getting their ICBM program together. Within a short while they'll have a missile that can reach New York. They can already hit Los Angeles. This presents problems if we ever have to help Taiwan defend itself.

China has already threatened that they won't let economic factors or the upcoming Olympics in Beijing prevent them from attacking Taiwan if it declares independence. The apparent re-election of Chen Shui-bian doesn't bode well for a smooth releationship with the People's Republic over the next four years.

Here's some info on China's defence posture:
China Nuclear Forces Guide

There was an interesting report on "The World" yesterday on this subject:

"Beijing is growing anxious over talk of independence for Taiwan and
Beijing's military arsenal is growing as well. A Chinese attack on
Taiwan could draw the United States into war. China's missiles, already
aimed at Taiwan, are powerful enough to reach America."


Some more background on the Taiwan/China problem from www.globalsecurity.org


Remember when we were "very sorry" for the Chinese pilot that died in the EP-3 Spy Plane incident in April 2001? They got our most sophisticated spying platform and took it apart peice by peice. This makes us extremely vunerable. You think we had intelligence problems in Iraq? Well, this is much worse.

Too bad two thirds of our entire military is in the Middle East. We might not be able to "do what it takes" to defend Taiwan if China decides they've had it with president Chen.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:43 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 26 March 2004 5:28 PM EST
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Thursday, 25 March 2004
That "W" is a real funny guy!
I hope the families of the two GIs that died today are yuking it up!

Bush Pokes Fun at Media Dinner

The president was a scream last night, at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association 60th annual dinner.

It's absolutely worth reading the full text of his remarks.


Among his funnier lines:

* "Do you know what Rummy's favorite TV show is? 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.' (Laughter.) My Cabinet could take some pointers from watching that show. In fact, I'm going to have the Fab Five do a make over on Ashcroft. (Laughter.)"

* "A couple of years ago when I was here, I read from my book of 'Misarticalations.' (Laughter.) Fortunately, my verbal phonation and electricution -- (laughter) -- have improved."

I'm trying to find the pictures that went along with his "White House Election-Year Album" slide show, but so far I haven't succeeded.

As Jennifer Frey writes in The Washington Post, he "described a picture of himself doing what looked like the shuffle in the Oval Office in front of Condoleezza Rice as 'here I'm trying to explain John Kerry's foreign policy to Condi.'"

And he "put up dorky-looking pictures of himself. A recurring joke involved photos of the president in awkward positions -- bent over as if he's looking under a table, leaning to look out a window -- accompanied by remarks such as 'Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere!' and 'Nope, no weapons over there!' and 'Maybe under here?'"

See White House Briefing by Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 6:25 PM EST
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