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Lets's talk about democracy
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Friday, 9 July 2004
A nuclear free zone in the Middle East... Dream on.
"Israel's Atomic Energy Commission unveiled today a Web site on the country's highly secretive nuclear program, though it is limited to the most basic information and a few long-distance photos...(New York Times.)

The Web site notes that Israel has two nuclear research centers, including a nuclear reactor in the Negev Desert, outside the southern town of Dimona.[Whoa, don't give away too much there!]

There is no reference to nuclear weapons on the Web site, which says the Dimona facility is for "expanding and deepening basic knowledge of nuclear science and related fields and providing an infrastructure for the practical and economic utilization of atomic energy.....[Yeah, right.]

The country has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and has not allowed international inspectors to visit the Dimona reactor...

Israel argues that its shrouded nuclear program serves as an effective deterrent in a region where several of its enemies have sought nuclear weapons.

Israel points to past nuclear projects in Iraq and Libya, and says that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

Many senior Israeli officials regard Iran's nuclear program [They did sign the "nuclear non-proliferation treaty."] as the most serious security threat facing Israel in the coming years, though Iran denies it is attempting to build such weapons.

Israel's critics have argued that Israel is able to maintain its clandestine program with the blessing of the United States, while other countries in the region have faced tremendous international pressure over their nuclear weapons programs, real or perceived."

Israel is bent on preventing Iran from getting nukes.

On Feb. 17, 2003, under secretary of state John Bolton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to discuss, ironically, weapons of mass destruction.

According to Ha'aretz:

After Bolton told Sharon of the impending Iraq invasion:

"In a meeting with Bolton on Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Israel is concerned about the security threat posed by Iran. It's important to deal with Iran even while American attention is turned toward Iraq, Sharon said."

Interestingly, the Guardian reported:

"So excited was Israeli premier Ariel Sharon about this whole new Middle East order [Post Iraq invasion] in the making that he told the Times, 'the day after' Iraq, the US and Britain should turn to that other 'faraway' enemy - Iran.

For Israel, the ayatollahs' Iran had always seemed the greater menace of the two, by virtue of its intrinsic weight, its fundamentalist, theologically anti-Zionist leadership, its more serious, diversified and supposedly Russian-assisted nuclear armaments programme, its ideological affinity with, or direct sponsorship of, such Islamist organisations as Hamas or Hizbollah. "

In the same article the point is hammered home that Israel is preoccupied most intensely with Iran...

"...Former Minister Moshe Sneh was warning that Israel 'cannot possibly put up with a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands'... he said, 'since Iran threatens the interests of all rational states in the Middle East'...'If the Western states don't do their duty, Israel will find itself forced to act alone, and will accomplish its task by any [ie including nuclear] means.'

The hint of anti-American blackmail in that remark was nothing exceptional; it has always been a leitmotif of Israeli discourse on the subject...'

Within two years,' said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, 'either the US or Israelis are going to attack Iran's [nuclear sites] or acquiesce in Iran being a nuclear state.'"

Now, the scary part:

Israel now has the capability to strike Iran with nuclear tipped Harpoon Cruise Missiles from German built submarines:

Walter Pincus has reported in the Washington Post:

"Israel has acquired three diesel submarines that it is arming with newly designed cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to former Pentagon and State Department officials, potentially giving Israel a triad of land-, sea- and air-based nuclear weapons for the first time.

(Three 1,925 ton Type 800 Dolphin class submarines have been built in German shipyards for the Israel Navy. Modern submarines with the most advanced sailing and combat systems in the world, they combine extensive sophistication with very easy operation. The purpose of these submarines is to enable the Israel Navy to meet all the tasks faced in the Mediterranean Sea in the 21st century. The submarines cost $320 million each, and are twice as big as the aging Gal-class submarines that the Israeli navy has relied on to date.)

The U.S. Navy monitored Israeli testing of a new cruise missile from a submarine two years ago off Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, according to former Pentagon officials.

"One former senior American official said U.S. analysts have studied the nuclear capability of the cruise missile. But, according to a former Pentagon official, "It is above top secret knowing whether the sub-launched cruise missiles are nuclear-armed." Another former official added, "We often don't ask."

The possible move to arm submarines with nuclear weapons suggests that the Israeli government might be increasingly concerned about efforts by Iraq and Iran to develop more accurate long-range missiles capable of knocking out Israel's existing nuclear arsenal, which is primarily land-based.

Although developing a sea-based leg would preserve the deterrent value of Israel's nuclear force, according to analysts, it would complicate U.S. efforts to keep other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere from seeking to acquire nuclear arms. It also could spur a nuclear arms race in the Middle East."

To say the least...

Active Duty says:

"Though Iran says it has no hostile designs , Tehran's atomic program heads the list of Israeli fears. Navy chief Adm. Yedidiya Ya'ari said submarines were a crucial deterrent.

The ultimate role of the submarine is to linger for extended periods, almost anywhere it needs to be, undetected," he told Reuters, declining to comment on foreign analysts' assessments that the vessels carry nuclear-tipped missiles.

It has a range of functions including hitting the enemy from where he least expects it. You can understand that as you wish," he said. "

Jonathan Pollard:

America's worst traitor, who spied for Israel and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 1987, coincidentally was in Naval intelligence. Much of what he gave the Israelis had to do with how the U.S. monitored Soviet submarines.

From Free Rpublic

"A significant percentage of Pollard's documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world

They also revealed how America was able to learn what it did -- a most sensitive area of intelligence defined as "sources and methods." Pollard gave the Israelis vast amounts of data dealing with specific American intelligence systems and how they worked.

For example, he betrayed details of an exotic capability that American satellites have of taking off-axis photographs from high in space...

While orbiting the earth in one direction, the satellites could photograph areas that were seemingly far out of range. Israeli nuclear-missile sites and the like, which would normally be shielded from American satellites, would thus be left exposed, and could be photographed. ("Israel's highly secretive nuclear program, though it is limited to the most basic information and a few long-distance photos." Wonder why?)

"We monitor the Israelis," one intelligence expert told me, "and there's no doubt the Israelis want to prevent us from being able to surveil their country."

The data passed along by Pollard included detailed information on the various platforms -- in the air, on land, and at sea -- used by military components of the National Security Agency to intercept Israeli military, commercial, and diplomatic communications."

[The main reason this is so disturbing is that, we can't track Israeli submarines.]

See also,

The wacko fringe trying to get Pollard released:

In particular: U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens)

He is busy saving the world from Armageddon. Specifically, asteroid strikes(i.e. Big time military nuclear contracts. Star Wars through the backdoor. Search long enough and you'll find "Palestinian animals" somewhere along the line.)

W is on the ball with this issue though,

From the Book on Bush by Eric Alterman:

"Asked for instance, in July 2003, whether he might revisit the case of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Bush replied, "Well, I said very clearly at the press conference with Prime Minister [Mahmoud] Abbas, I don't expect anybody to release somebody from prison who'll go kill somebody..."

Clearly Bush had never even heard of Pollard, who is only the most famous foreign spy to be captured and tried in the United States in the past thirty years and whose jail sentence remains a significant bone of contention in U.S.-Israeli relations."

[Another four years ought to take care of that little problem.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:08 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 July 2004 9:22 PM EDT
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Thursday, 8 July 2004
"Kenny Boy" Lay turned himself in today
(The New York Times)

"Kenneth L. Lay, the former chairman and chief executive of Enron, turned himself in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Houston today after he was charged on Wednesday in a sealed indictment by a federal grand jury examining the financial fraud that led to the collapse of the onetime energy giant.

The charges are the culmination of almost three years of investigation against Mr. Lay, who has said he has done nothing wrong. The indictment was delivered by prosecutors to a federal magistrate and is expected to be unsealed today, when the specific charges will become known."

[Update The federal indictment adds 11 counts against Lay to charges already filed against his hand-picked protege, former CEO Jeffrey Skilling, and former top Enron accountant Richard Causey.
It accuses Lay of participating in a conspiracy to manipulate Enron's quarterly financial results. It also accuses him of making public statements about Enron's financial performance that were false and misleading and omitting facts necessary to make financial statements accurate and fair.
In a separate action, the Securities and Exchange Commission led civil charges Thursday against Lay, accusing him of fraud and insider trading and seeking recovery of more than $90 million in what the agency said were illegal proceeds from stock sales.]

The Mind Boggles:

Delving into the whole Enron story is a little daunting, so I've highlighted a few interesting aspects of the influence and connections and crimes of the company and you can go from there.

Dabhol plant

Of course, there's Enron's Dabhol plant in India for one thing. The Bush administration put a lot of pressure on the Indian governemnt to play ball with Kenny Boy. Seems an Indian governor was getting a little uppity about paying off a debt to Enron:

(Free Republic)
"A series of e-mail memos obtained by the Washington Post and NY Daily News in January revealed that the National Security Council led a "Dabhol Working Group" composed of officials from various Cabinet departments during the summer of 2001. The memos suggest that the Bush Administration was running exactly the sort of "war room" that was a favorite subject of ridicule by Republicans during the Clinton years.

The Working Group prepared "talking points" for both Cheney and Bush and recommended that the need to "broaden the advocacy" of settling the Enron debt. Every development was closely monitored: "Good news" a NSC staff member wrote in a e-mail memo: "The Veep mentioned Enron in his meeting with Sonia Gandhi." The Post commented that the NSC went so far that it "acted as a sort of concierge service(20) for Enron Chairman Kenneth L. Lay and India's national security adviser, Brajesh Mishra" in trying to arrange a dinner meeting between the Indian official and Lay."

Centgas Pipeline

Oh yes, and then there is that pesky "CentGas pipeline" which rolls into the Dabhol plant and the Taliban. See below regarding Zalmay Khalizad. (He drew up the plans for the pipeline)

From alternet.org

1: Starting in the mid-1990s, Unocal and its partners planned to build a 1,000 mile gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Multan, Pakistan. Cost: about $2 billion (all pipeline routes shown are very approximate). Also considered was a more difficult route from Iran to Multan, which is not shown here.
2: A proposed 400-mile extension from Multan to New Delhi would bring some of the ultra-cheap gas into India's network of gas pipelines. Cost: $600 million.
3: The HBJ pipeline carries most of India's liquid natural gas.
4: Hazira, north of Bombay, is the end of the HBJ pipeline. But in 1997, Enron announced plans to link Dabhol to the Hazira terminal. Enron also said they were going to add to about 1500 miles to the HBJ pipeline. Costs: $300 million and $900 million, respectively.
5: Any gas pipeline across Pakistan could have a spur to the seaport of Gwadar, where tankers could take gas to Korea and Japan, largest consumers of liquid gas in the world. A sea route from Gwadar to Dabhol would be even easier.

"Although Unocal had the largest share, the "Central Asian Gas Pipeline" (CentGas) consortium had six other partners, including companies in Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil Company -- the next largest shareholder with 15 percent -- and groups in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan. They vowed to continue the project, and had strong national interests in seeing the Afghanistan pipeline built.

The U.S. looked for other options, and the Trade and Development Agency commissioned a feasibility study for an improbable east- to- west route that would cross the Caspian Mountains and end at a Mediterranean seaport in Turkey. The company hired for that study was Enron. If that pipeline were to be constructed, Turkmenistan signed an agreement that it would be built by Bechtel and GE Capital Services -- the same American companies that were Enron's business partners in the Dabhol power plant.
No matter which direction the Central Asia natural gas would eventually flow, Enron would profit."

Other Enron follies:

Beyond that whole twisted tale we get into Afghanistan, but for now, suffice to say Hamid Karzai, another Unocal employee, has signed the deal and the pipeline will be built.

James Baker III (He's the one representing the Saudis against the families of 9-11 victims.)

The prestigious Enron Prize

"Mikhail Gorbachev former president of the Soviet Union, will visit Houston Thursday, October 16, to accept the prestigious Enron Prize for Distinguished Public Service from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University. On hand during the ceremony will be former U.S. secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, Cyrus Vance and James A. Baker, III.

The Enron Prize is awarded to men and women who, through their personal and political courage, have made historic contributions to public service in both the domestic and foreign policy fields. Created in 1995 through an endowment from the Enron Corp., Gorbachev is the second recipient of the Enron Prize. The first recipient was General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."


"What would you think the following may have in common? Ken Starr, James A. Baker III (who is a former, Sec. of State, Sec. of the Treasury, and twice White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Reagan and Bush), Enron (formerly Hughes Tool), Hughes Aircraft, Hughes Electronics, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute? How about fraud, billions of dollars in estate tax fraud, corruption, satellite and missile technologies transfers, the "China-Hughes" Conspiracy, and even
including arming Sadaam Hussein in Oct. 1989, and doing so by charging the U.S. taxpayers well over $1 billion dollars to do it?"

(This whole Baker/Hughes connection is mind boggling. Do check the link above out!)

Go to Baker/Hughes web site to for links to all its companies. You'll be amazed.

But probably not by this...

Who cuts up the pie?

"Simply getting Iraq's oil fields back to their pre-1991 production of about 3.5 million barrels a day will take at least 18 months and cost about $5 billion initially, with another $3 billion in annual operating expenses, according to the Baker Institute study.

If the U.S. government is handing out the contracts for this job, the biggest beneficiaries, according to Banc of America Securities energy analyst Jim Wicklund, would be Dallas-based Halliburton (HAL: Research, Estimates), Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI: Research, Estimates), Weatherford International Inc. (WFT: Research, Estimates) and Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB: Research, Estimates) -- in that order.

All of them are oilfield service companies with the expertise to rebuild Iraq's fields." [Hmmm...]

More Enron follies:

Ralph Reed:(Washington Post)

Just before the last presidential election, Bush campaign adviser Ralph Reed offered to help Enron Corp. deregulate the electricity industry by working his "good friends" in Washington and by mobilizing religious leaders and pro-family groups for the cause.

For a $380,000 fee, the conservative political strategist proposed a broad lobbying strategy that included using major campaign contributors, conservative talk shows and nonprofits to press Congress for favorable legislation. Reed said he could place letters from community leaders in the opinion pages of major newspapers, producing clips that Reed would "blast fax" to Capitol Hill.

"We are a loyal member of your team and are prepared to do whatever fits your strategic plan," Reed wrote in an Oct. 23, 2000, memo obtained by The Washington Post.

"In public policy," he wrote, "it matters less who has the best arguments and more who gets heard -- and by whom."

Last month Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, asked for a federal investigation into whether Rove arranged the 1997 Enron contract to avoid paying Reed from Bush campaign funds. Others have questioned whether the Bush camp had hoped to ensure Reed's allegiance during the early days of the campaign.

He claims credit for helping Bush win several key presidential primary victories, and he has served as an adviser to members of Congress. Since 1997, when Reed opened Century Strategies, his consulting clients have included political candidates and corporations with interests in Washington. He dropped Microsoft Corp. as a client in 2000 after charges that he had lobbied Bush on behalf of the software company while Bush was governor of Texas."

And then there was the "Lay-out:"((WSWS.org)

Wenonah Hauter, from the watchdog group Public Citizen, testified that Enron's subsidiaries acted in concert with one another so the giant energy trader could inflate prices. This occurred under the oversight of Thomas White, Bush's secretary of the army who is under pressure to resign because of his actions as an Enron executive.

"In the first three months of 2001 at the height of skyrocketing prices and rolling blackouts, White's division traded more than 11 million megawatts of electricity in the California market alone, making nearly 98 percent of these trades," Hauter said. At the same time, she said, "Enron divisions set astronomical prices up to $2,500 a megawatt hour [the standard price at the time was less than $340 a megawatt hour].

By selling power to itself at inflated prices, Enron helped skyrocket prices in California's deregulated market."

Naturally, there is much, much more, but time and space don't permit.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:19 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 9 July 2004 12:19 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 7 July 2004
Our man in Kabul
Zalmay Khalizad is up to his old tricks again. Remember, he's the ex-Unocal adviser who met with the Taliban in Houston in 1998 to talk about the oil pipeline mentioned in "Fahrenheit 9-11". [See "The other mess we're in.]

Asia Times reports:

"Latif Pedram, spokesman and co-founder of the newly established Afghanistan National Congress (ANC)... confirmed regular Asia Times Online reports that US and Afghan officials are in "constant contact and negotiations" with senior Taliban leaders, including some ministers of the fundamentalist Islamic regime toppled in late 2001...

They regularly meet with Zalmay Khalilzad, President George W Bush's [Afghan-born] ambassador and personal envoy to Afghanistan and President Karzai, who recently reiterated that except for a few, most of the Taliban are good nationalist people."

"The real aim of the negotiations between the Americans and British with the dreaded Taliban is to keep Afghanistan firmly under the tutelage of Pakistan and shutting it to the influence of other regional players such as Iran, Russia, China and India."

The Washington Post quotes Khalizad from a November 2001 article speaking of those "good nationalistic people:"

"The Taliban does not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran...We should . . . be willing to offer recognition and humanitarian assistance and to promote international economic reconstruction. . . . It is time for the United States to reengage" the Taliban.


Well, I guess the Bishies are taking his advice. What else can they do? The Taliban were the only ones who ever put an end to the opium production.

"Liberated" Afghanistan is a basket case. Opium production is at an all time high. A U.N report from January said of 220,000 hectares under opium cultivation globally, 90,600 hectares are in Afghanistan. That's close to a quarter of total world production. 40% of the Afghan economy relies on opium.

The BBC says, "The Afghan drugs trade is growing so fast some fear the country could become a narco-state, where drugs barons rule, not the government."

Upcoming "elections?"

"Afghan presidential and parliamentary elections will not be held at the same time, the government has said. Vote organisers told the Cabinet on Tuesday that a simultaneous vote was "impossible", President Hamid Karzai's spokesman, Jawad Ludin, said.

But he stressed that presidential polls would go ahead by late October. The vote was postponed from June because of slow voter registration and rising violence by militants opposed to the US-backed Kabul administration."

The Asia Times: "Farooq Wardak, a member of the election management body, said wrangling between officials and political parties had delayed setting the date for elections, which should have been made last week if elections were to take place in September (90 days' advance notice)...the Americans also want the elections before their own elections in November "in order to allow President Bush a major electoral card, explaining to the Americans that the US has restored democracy in both Afghanistan and Iraq".

Good luck with that. Let's see him explain about the "good" Taliban and the "bad" Taliban.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:47 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 July 2004 11:21 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 6 July 2004
God really is on our side!

You know who...

"On this Fourth of July, we confirm our love of freedom."
"But we also understand that freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world."

[Some thoughtful back and forth]

You can't talk sense to them," Bush said, referring to terrorists.

"Nooooo!" the audience roared.

"You can't negotiate with them."


"We must be relentless and determined to do our duty," he concluded to sustained applause.

Washington Post

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:07 AM EDT
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Monday, 5 July 2004
Rick Sanchez; major jackass.
Rick Sanchez might possibly be the biggest jackass in the entire world. This article doesn't really do him justice. I remember, shortly after hurricane Andrew him postulating, based on the Channel Seven "sky scam" helicopter images of the destruction in South Dade County, that "there must be 10,000 people dead down there;" as my co-worker who hadn't heard from her brother or sister in days burst into hysterics.

This man is a menace. He's the only person I've ever seen swagger while sitting, by the way.

He really has no place on T.V. Or maybe, he does. Who knows? I just know for years now, whenever a tire screeches on the way out of a Dolphin's game someone always says, "Watch out! It's Rick Sanchez!"

From the Miami "New Times," all about Mr. Sanchez of MSNBC fame:


"The most in-depth critique comes from Barry Crimmins, a veteran political humorist who wrote a web column this fall about Sanchez. Crimmins was upset that the MSNBC talker happily called the tale of death and destruction in Palestine a "great story."

"I couldn't believe someone could employ a superlative after seeing a tale of such boundless grief and horror," Crimmins wrote. "But then, this was my first dose of Rick Sanchez."

Crimmins then recounts the Sanchez experience:

Within the next few segments, Sanchez demonstrated that he is a media post-9/11 wonder. He's quick to editorialize, smugly supportive of the Purported War on Terror, and always interrupting what little information trickles in from other MSNBC staffers and guests. Cable news has become a word-association test for dopes like Sanchez.

Holding up a headline from a New York tabloid about violence in Bethlehem, he expressed outrage by bellowing, "BETHLEHEM -- WHERE JESUS WAS BORN!" Now there was something we needed in a story about the Middle East -- religious zealotry from a news anchor.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:00 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 July 2004 1:10 AM EDT
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Sunday, 4 July 2004
Humanity's "Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."

The most reverend Moon declared on March 23rd in front of adoring congress members "Hitler and Stalin have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons."

At an event sponsored by the Washington Times Foundation and the International Interreligious Federation for World Peace (IIFWP, a Moon lead group, the most divine personage finally declared he was "The world's "Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent

The "Host Committee" for the blessed event included:

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md), upon whom Moon bestowed an Ambassador of Peace Medal at the ceremony.

(However, Bartlett "does not recall." If you have any questions reagrding this issue, please feel free to write him at: http://www.bartlett.house.gov/)

Stangely, according to the "Hill News:" (http://www.hillnews.com/news/062204/moon.aspx)

Archbishop George Augustus Stallings Jr., a member of the invitation committee and founder of the Imani Temple in Northeast Washington, D.C., said letters were sent to all Congress members stating that Moon and his wife would be at the event and "every member on the host committee agreed to be on the original [Feb. 4] event."

Stallings said "a follow-up letter" went to those members, confirming their status on March 23 and that unless they opted out in reply their names would remain on the invitation as such.

Other distinguished members of the glorious event included:

Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Chris Cannon (R-Utah) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) as "Congressional Co-Chairs." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Phil Crane (R-Ill.) and GOP consultant Charlie Black

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:49 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 4 July 2004 12:53 AM EDT
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Saturday, 3 July 2004
North Korea bows in suplication to the village people.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell donned a hard hat and tucked a hammer in his belt Friday, performing a version of the Village People's hit ``YMCA'' at the conclusion of Asia's largest security meeting.

[I feel so sorry for this poor guy.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 8:56 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 July 2004 1:11 AM EDT
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Saudis have a friend in the White House. (And torture with impunity)
Mood:  on fire
The New York Times reports today that in, "February 2003, an agreement was reached in principle...(that) Prince Saud, the foreign minister, (had) agreed to arrange pardons and release... (of ) five Britons and the two others if the United States would send home a handful of Saudi prisoners from Guant?namo, the American official with knowledge of the negotiations said...

One Defense Department official said a basic question hanging over the discussions was, `Why are we doing this for these guys when we haven't done this for other, better allies?" The official added, "We were just told to do it.'"


The Britons in question were tortured repeatedly by the Saudis; according to the Guardian from 2003: "One of the Britons released last month from a Saudi jail has said he was tortured "beyond endurance" during his imprisonment.

Sandy Mitchell said he was chained, beaten and denied sleep until he confessed to a crime he did not commit.

Mr Mitchell, 44, from Kirkintilloch, was one of six men from the UK arrested three years ago after a series of bomb attacks in Riyadh that left one Briton dead and several other westerners injured.

"I was kept awake for nine days chained to the door of my cell so I could not sleep or sit down," he said. "In the evening times I was hooded, taken upstairs in chains to one of the interrogation rooms where the beatings then progressed to torture.

"The beatings started with punching, kicking, spitting, and eventually progressed to hitting me with sticks. They had this axe handle and I was beaten on the soles of my feet."


Mr Mitchell told the Sunday Times that he had been told his death sentence was to have been a crucifixion,which involves the victim's head being partially severed and their body fixed to an x-shaped cross and hung in public for three days.

The Saudi authorities claimed that the blasts were part of a feud between illegal alcohol smugglers and not the work of Saudi dissidents." [Not that they have any insurgency problems.]

(60 minutes reporting last year on the torture and forced confessions of these men said they were arrested in order to get the British to shut down an anti-Saud newspaper that was being published in London.)

In August 2003 Al-Jazeera reported


"Mitchell said that he had also been pressured into making a public confession on television after being told by Saudi police that his wife and young son were being tortured, the newspaper added.

Mitchell and British-born William Sampson, who now holds a Canadian passport, faced execution for allegedly masterminding bomb attacks in 2000 and 2001. The bombings left a Briton dead and two other Britons and an Irishwoman injured.

But the men's families, lawyers and others argued they were scapegoats for attacks carried out by Islamist radicals operating in Saudi Arabia.

All seven were released after Saudi King Fahd granted them royal clemency. According to the Observer newspaper, the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, played a key role in securing the men's release.

"The prince has excellent connections within Saudi Arabia. He has been very keen that the case should be re-looked at by the Saudi authorities," a spokesman for Charles was quoted as saying."

Well, of course, now we know the Saudis have better connections with the Bush White House, which is what this is really all about.

The whole thing was a big quid pro quo; for the Brits to get their people back and get the pressure off Blair, get the Saudis sweet for the invasion of Iraq and ultimately to clear the decks for "W's" holy crusade.

Typically, the Saudis are the big winners. Bush and CO. are all about keeping us safe from terror by locking hundreds of people up and throwing away the key, except when it comes to Saudi terrorists.

(The NY Times)

"American officials involved in the Saudi case described it as highly unusual and said the backgrounds of those detainees raised greater concerns than those of others. Some officials also said the case showed how considerations other than security and intelligence could influence releases of prisoners."

Our good friends the Saudis, of course, are blameless:

[The Guardian]



"No one was available for comment at the Saudi embassy in London yesterday but last month Adel al-Jubeir, foreign affairs adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah, said: "We have the evidence, we have the proof, and we stand by it. I don't expect that the men who were pardoned would come out and say 'Oh gee, the Saudis were really right, we were alcohol smugglers and we tried to shoot each other'.

`But for people to think that Saudi Arabia tried to pin charges on foreigners in order to hide a terrorism problem is preposterous.'" {How crazy is that?}

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:17 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 July 2004 5:05 PM EDT
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Friday, 2 July 2004
Here we go again...

(The Miami Herald)
More than 2,100 Florida voters -- many of them black Democrats -- could be wrongly barred from voting in November because Tallahassee elections officials included them on a list of felons potentially ineligible to vote, a Herald investigation has found.

A Florida Division of Elections database lists more than 47,000 people the department said may be ineligible to vote because of felony records. The state is directing local elections offices to check the list and scrub felons from voter rolls.

But a Herald review shows that at least 2,119 of those names -- including 547 in South Florida -- shouldn't be on the list because their rights to vote were formally restored through the state's clemency process.

Of the 2,119 people who obtained clemency, 62 percent are registered Democrats, and almost half are black. Less than 20 percent are Republican.

Those ratios are very close to the same in the list of 47,000 voters who the local elections officers are supposed to review and possibly purge from the registration rolls.


Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:20 PM EDT
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Thursday, 1 July 2004
Peace in our time!

Flash: Chamberlin Meets Sum.

Okay, I thought we were going to war with North Korea and now I'm even more convinced. Colin Powell is over there to get things straight with them and you know how much he's respected and listened to at the White House so I'm sure this will be a big success.

The tough guy talk is back and the reasonableness from last week can be explained as "we showed flexibility in our position last week because we wanted our colleagues in the six-party talks to recognize that the United States was seeking a peaceful diplomatic solution." [But not really]

There's always hope though. Paek Num Sum, the North Korean foreign minister, might meet with Powell, which is supposed to be a big 'no no,' "no direct talks" and all, but Powell hints "the North Korean foreign minister will be here tomorrow and participating in discussions of the whole group and it remains to be seen what other discussions he and I may or may not be participating in tomorrow."

Whatever they do or don't do, it doesn't matter because it's "Mr. Credibility" himself in the talks and neither the Koreans nor the Bush administration cares what he does.

Wait for the next round when they send John Bolten back.


Keep in mind the U.S. says they plan to pull 12,500 troops out out of South Korea by the end of 2005 and along with the 3,600 already on their way out to Iraq, troops have already been moved out of Seoul, supposedly because of the bad PR from the death of a young girl, but it's really to get them out of the way of the initial barrage of North Korean artillery and maybe even a nuclear strike.

See my musings on North Korea below for info on
naval deployments and such related to this subject.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:57 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 July 2004 5:01 PM EDT
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