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Lets's talk about democracy
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Monday, 2 May 2005
A bridge Darfur.

In his Inaugural speech president Bush said:

"When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side..."

Unless that traveler is in Darfur. According to human rights organizations dealing with the disaster in Darfur,

Political Affairs:

"Arbitrary arrest, torture and killings continue in the Darfur region of the Sudan... (An estimated) 400,000 [Figures vary wildly.] people have been killed and as many as 2 million have been displaced by violence led by a Sudanese government-backed militia known as the Janjaweed."

Colin Powell called the situation a "genocide."


"We concluded that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility and genocide may still be occurring."

And yet the L.A. Times reports our good friends in the Sudanese intelligence services get first class service on their flights to the U.S.:

"Late last year, a senior Mukhabarat official met in Washington with the CIA's counter-terrorism center to discuss Iraq, according to sources familiar with the talks."

Mukabarat? Wasn't that the name of Saddam's secret service? Oh, never mind, these guys aren't cold blooded killers with rape rooms etc. What? They are? But they're our cold blooded killers, right?

"Last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent a letter to the Bashir government calling for steps to end the conflict in Darfur. [Well, that's good, really letting them have it right Condi?]

But the letter, reviewed by The Times, also congratulated Sudan for increased cooperation with an African Union mission to Darfur. [When?] It also said the administration hoped to establish a "fruitful relationship" with Sudan and looked forward to continued "close cooperation" on terrorism."

But, the president says we stand for our ideals that have passed down through history:

(The)..."grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. [Unless they are born in Darfur.]

The enemies of liberty [The Sudanese government?] and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests." [Well, we're sure defending our interest, anyway. Close enough for government work.]

Nice company we keep.
And then there's China, but we expect them to be bad guys:

Access News:

"More than 70 percent of Sudan's total export earnings come from oil sales abroad. China has a 40 percent stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, the main international consortium extracting oil from Sudan.

Other large stakeholders include Malaysia's Petronas and India's national oil company, ONGC Videsh.

In Washington, Chinese embassy spokesman Sun Weide defended China's oil involvement in Sudan.
"I think the relationship between China and Sudan is a normal one. And oil, I think, cooperation, is only one area," said Sun Weide. "Nothing special about that."

Certainly not! Anyone think Burma knows where OBL is?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:27 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005 11:39 PM EDT
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War is our last option. This is the moment of truth.

The Times-online has published two articles on evidence,leaked memos, from nine months before the war that shows Tony Blair had already made up his mind to go along with the Americans in their invasion of Iraq. Despite Bush saying "war is not my first choice, it's my last choice," he had already made up his mind to go to war and was looking for a political justification.

Even before 9-11 according to former treasury secretary Paul O'Neil, who with Ron Suskind, wrote that Bush was determined to go to war with Iraq in Feb. 2001 but was just trying find an excuse. [Sound familiar?]


"There are memos," Ron Suskind told CBS. "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq."'

Another Pentagon document entitled "Foreign suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts" talks about contractors from 40 countries and which ones have interest in Iraq, Suskind said."

So, these memos coming out in England should inform the debate here on the reasons we're stuck forever in Iraq. But they won't, we don't care.

The Times:

"THE HEAD of MI6 told Tony Blair that the case for war against Iraq was being “fixed” by the Americans to suit the policy, according to a BBC documentary [Shown in March] that will reignite its battle with the government.

Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6, briefed Blair and a select group of ministers on America’s determination to press ahead with the war nine months before hostilities began.

After attending a briefing in Washington, he told the meeting that war was “inevitable”. Dearlove said “the facts and intelligence” were being “fixed round the policy” by George W Bush’s administration.

... {in the memo it records} a meeting in July 2002, attended by military and intelligence chiefs, at which Blair discussed military options having already committed himself to supporting President George Bush’s plans for ousting Saddam.

“If the political context were right, people would support regime change,” said Blair...at the July meeting Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said the case for war was “thin” as “Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran”.

Straw suggested they should “work up” an ultimatum about weapons inspectors that would “help with the legal justification”. Blair is recorded as saying that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors”.

The memo says: “There is more work to ensure that the figures are accurate and consistent with the US. But even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years.”

A separate secret briefing for the meeting said Britain and America had to create” conditions to justify a war.

The minutes show Goldsmith [Britsh AG] warned Blair eight months before war started on March 19, 2003 that finding legal justification would be “difficult”.

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of the defense staff, demanded unequivocal written confirmation.

Boyce was never shown Goldsmith’s more equivocal advice to Blair of March 7, 2003 and says today ministers failed to give him protection from prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

“I have always been troubled by the ICC,” he says, adding that if British servicemen are put on trial, ministers should be “brought into the frame as well”. Asked if that should include Blair and Goldsmith, he tells The Observer: “Too bloody right.”

Speaking of legal matters and trials for war crimes:

The Scotsman

"Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, warned Mr Blair he could not bypass the United Nations simply because France threatened to veto a move to war. A court "might well conclude" that war was illegal.

Yet there was no hint of this in the summary of the advice shown to the Cabinet and published - exposing Mr Blair to the charge that he misled both parliament and the public.

The extracts released last night were from the 13-page legal memo shown to Mr Blair but never seen by the Cabinet - in an apparent breach of official code. At the time of its preparation, the UN had passed Resolution 1441 warning Saddam Hussein to disarm - but had not authorized the use of force.

The Prime Minister wanted to know whether it was legal to invade Iraq without a second UN resolution...The leaked document shows Lord Goldsmith warning the legal effect of Resolution 1441 was "unclear". Indeed, he said the "safest legal course" was to seek the second UN resolution which never emerged."

Hence the Admiral's worries about the ICC.

The Brits were so worried about this and a second resolution that Rummy felt it necessary to step in to put some steel in their backbones!

Common' limeys, put up or shut up!

March 13 2003
The Age:

"US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created a furore when he suggested that Britain might pull out of any attack on Iraq, indicating the diplomatic disarray in Washington over a second Security Council resolution.

Mr Rumsfeld's gaffe yesterday came as President George Bush stumbled in his bid for United Nations Security Council support for a war on Iraq.

After a meeting with British defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon, Mr Rumsfeld initially indicated that British forces might not participate in the war if the Security Council failed to pass a second resolution opening the way for military action.

"To the extent they are able to participate in the event that the President decides to use force, that would obviously be welcomed," Mr Rumsfeld said. "To the extent they're not, there are work-around and they would not be involved, at least in that phase."

The moment of truth.

Thus Tony Blair at the Azores conference. Still desperately trying to get some legal cover for the war, even though, by the 17th of March 2003 he had got his AG to "change his mind" of whether the war was legal or not. Jack Straw said "Any action we are involved in or in the future will be involved in will be fully consistent with our obligations under international law." Okay, you keep telling your self that.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:12 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005 12:56 PM EDT
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Friday, 29 April 2005
Progess versus desperation.

President Bush last night on the war in Iraq:

"We're making good progress."

Fact check: (The president isn't a fact checker, remember?)

An estimated 12 well coordinated car bombings occurred today in Iraq. Luckily, the insurgency has spent itself, or it could have been much worse. (The "Allawi end of the insurgency countdown" is at almost three months and counting.)

The NY Times:

"At least 23 Iraqi policemen and troops were killed. Some reports put the total death toll at as many as 50 people. Later in the day, other car bomb attacks struck Diyarah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, killing two American soldiers, and near Taji, just north of Baghdad, where a bomber killed one American soldier and wounded two others. One American soldier was also killed and four were wounded by a homemade bomb Thursday night near Hawija, 150 miles north of Baghdad.

With Friday's attacks, at least 480 Iraqi policemen and troops have been killed by insurgents in the last two months, according to tallies by Western security contractors, Iraqi officials and local news accounts."

USA Today:

"President Bush...blamed rising violence in Iraq on U.S. progress being made there, saying coalition successes are making insurgents more desperate.

The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity that's available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become," Bush told reporters."

Sorry, that was from an article on 10/27/2003. (See Thursday, 21 April 2005 for link to a whole bunch more of the same talking points going back to the beginning of the war.)

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:46 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005 11:37 PM EDT
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Ahmad Chalabi in the hen house.
Topic: Iraq

"Thwarted in his bid to be Iraq's leader, one-time Pentagon favorite Ahmad Chalabi has nevertheless captured a key position in the new government ? a deputy prime minister's spot and temporary control of the lucrative oil ministry."

"Chalabi, a Shi'ite, replaces veteran oil technocrat Thamir al-Ghadbhan at the oil ministry's helm. Unlike his predecessors Ghadhban and Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, Chalabi -- scion of a Baghdad merchant family -- has no experience in the state-owned oil sector that employs 80,000."

Ahmad Chalabi has been appointed "temporary" oil minister in the new Iraqi "government?" What? That must be very reassuring to international oil interests. Keep your eyes on the silverware.

This appointment more than anything else shows the entire world what a crock this whole "sovereign Iraq" crap is. The Iraq people voted for the occupation to end. No such luck. Now, the biggest Ali Baba in Iraq has taken over the main source of the country's revenue. Imagine what the average Iraqi on the street must think about this as he waits for two days to get a few gallons of gas. (I wonder if this appointment was discussed with Crown Prince Abdullah in crawford?)

And why hasn't congress have anything to say about the man behind "curveball" getting his hands on the Iraqi oil spigot?

[Ahmad Chalabi, the onetime White House favorite who has been implicated in an alleged Iranian spy operation, sent Iraqi defectors to at least eight Western spy services before the war in an apparent effort to dupe them about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's illicit weapons programs, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said...Because even friendly spy services rarely share the identities of their informants or let outsiders meet or debrief their sources, has only in recent months become clear that Chalabi's group sent defectors with inaccurate or misleading information to Denmark, England, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, as well as to the United States, the officials said. Only later did the CIA learn that he ("Curveball.") was actually the brother of one of Ahmed Chalabi's top aides and had probably been coached to provide false information. The Washington Monthly.]

Oh wait, the president will explain...

I don't want cut into some of the TV shows that are getting ready to air ... for the sake of the economy." (Bush last night's press conference.)

Good night!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:51 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 April 2005 1:48 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 27 April 2005
Bunker busting bombs to a country that doesn't need them?
Topic: Israel


Here's a very interesting story, which will no doubt go un-noticed by the media, but not the rest of the world.

"The Bush administration has authorized the sale of as many as 100 large bunker-buster bombs to Israel. One expert said the move should serve as a warning to Iranians with nuclear ambitions...

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for economic progress in the Middle East," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release."

An "important force for economic progress?"

How does selling Israel something they don't need help "economic progress?"

Oh, now I see:

"The proposed deal (would be) worth as much as $30 million." And then they can resell it to the highest bidder, like they do with all the stuff we sell them. India? China? Pakistan?

On the win, win side:

The deal "would provide Israel with the capability to drop 5,000-pound bombs that can penetrate bunkers and other buried structures. The GBU-28 bombs can be dropped from Israel's American-made F-15 fighters."

How convenient! But here's the real deal.

"The Israelis want to be able to attack Iran's underground nuclear weapons facilities," said John Pike, a military expert at Globalsecurity.org in Alexandria, Va.

The propose sale should give notice to Tehran that the United States will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power if diplomatic efforts fail, he said."

So, we can't do it so we'll leave it to the Israelis.

Remember the Don Imus interview It's all starting to make sense.

Imus: "Why don't we make Israel do it?" [Take out Iran's nukes program.]

Cheney: "Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked...If, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had a significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwords."

Well, that leaves it up to us. We might be cleaning more up more than a diplotmatic mess though. Another 9-11 after this type of attack might buck up Bush's approval ratings. Right around the mid-term elections would do wonders!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:06 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 April 2005
We never make mistakes. Only the little countries do.
Topic: U.S. Military issues.

The BBC:

"An Italian journalist who was held hostage in Iraq has criticised a US military report into the killing of the agent who helped secure her release.
Italian Nicola Calipari was shot by US forces at a checkpoint as he escorted Giuliana Sgrena to Baghdad's airport.

US investigators are said to have found that the troops were "not culpable", in a report which Italy has not endorsed. [The Italians beg to differ.]

"The greatest disappointment would be if our authorities were to accept this insult without reacting," Ms Sgrena wrote in a front page editorial in her newspaper, Il Manifesto.

"All the words said about Calipari would turn into hypocrisy... and Nicola would have been our government's hero, just for one day."

Imagine if this was an American and he had just saved an American woman hostage! Strange, though, the timing of the story on the report. A few days earlier and Silvio Berlusconi would have been right in the middle of forming a new government. I'm sure it's just coincidental.

Everybody get's off scott-free in the U.S. military it seems. Especially fighter pilots. That must be the preception around the world.

Remember the "cablecar" incident in 1999? It's deja vu all over again

The Guardian:

"A tidal wave of anti-American fury was building up in Italy last night (Thursday) after it was learnt that a court martial in the USA had acquitted the pilot whose plane cut through a cable car line last year sending 20 passengers to their death.

A US military jury in North Carolina yesterday acquitted Richard Ashby, a marine captain who was piloting the Navy ?Prowler? jet that sliced through cables at a ski-resort in a valley near Cavalese in the Italian Alps on February 3 last year."

Or who could forget the straffing incident in Afghanistan that killed Canadian soldiers


"A military hearing officer Thursday recommended against court-martialing two U.S. pilots who killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan last year in a friendly-fire bombing one of the men blamed on the "fog of war."

Although Col. Patrick Rosenow said there was enough evidence to court-martial both pilots, he said "non-judicial or administrative punishment would maintain the interests of good order and discipline." Rosenow presided over the nine-day investigative hearing in January."

And then of course there's the big whitewash in the Abu Ghraib scannal.


"An Army inspector general's report has cleared senior Army officers of wrongdoing in the abuse of military prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere, government officials familiar with the findings said yesterday.

The only Army general officer recommended for punishment for the failures that led to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan is Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski [Scapegoat/woman.], who was in charge of U.S. prison facilities in Iraq as commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in late 2003 and early 2004. Several sources said Karpinski is expected to receive an administrative reprimand for dereliction of duty.

...the inspector general's was designed to be the Army's final word on the responsibility of senior leadership in relation to the abuses. It was the only investigation designed to assign blame, if any, within the Army's senior leadership."

So that's that. A few NCOs and PFCs get the hammer and the big shots get a pass.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 April 2005 1:03 PM EDT
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Monday, 25 April 2005
BBQ pork is off the menu, but there's oil for all!
Topic: The Saudis

The WaPo reports today the president seeks relief from the Saudis.

We're seeking releif from the mainspring of terroristim in the world. America standing tall!

What about terrorism anyway? "Bush's White House-based homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, is meeting with her Saudi counterparts on the sidelines." Wouldn't want to offend his royal highness, his hands are on the spigot.

"The global cost of oil will be at the top of Bush's agenda..." Of course, what elese would you talk to the Saudis about?

But the "president...said he's looking for "a straight answer" on how close the Saudis are to reaching production capacity. "I don't think they're pumping flat out," Bush said." [Who would know better about pumping oil?]

There will be no press conference at the ranch. Seems "Abdullah rarely talks with reporters." When you're a total autocrat, you don't have to.

Never mind, though, we're all friends. The Post goes on, "despite the difficult matters, Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the stage is set for a much friendlier meeting Monday than three years ago when Abdullah first visited the ranch

What the Post forgot to mention is that Robert Jordan worked for Baker-Botts who are defending the Saudis against the 9-11 families who are suing the Saudis for 9-11. And, oh by the way, he was Bush's lawyer when he was under investigation by the SEC for that "mix up" over his Harkin Energy Stocks.

Michael Isikoff in Newsweek wrote in 2003:

"April 16 - After months of working below the radar, a huge U.S. legal team hired by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sprung into action and begun a major counteroffensive against a landmark lawsuit seeking $1 trillion in damages on behalf of the victims of the September 11 terror attacks.

Baker Botts, a prestigious Houston-based law firm, filed a motion on behalf of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi defense minister. Baker Botts, Sultan’s law firm, for example, still boasts former secretary of State James Baker as one of its senior partners. Its recent alumni include Robert Jordan, the former personal lawyer for President Bush who is now U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia."

Dana Milbank wrote of the Harkin investigation:

"During the SEC investigation, which occurred while his father was president, Bush was represented by Robert Jordan, who'd been a law partner of Doty at the Baker Botts firm. Bush named Jordan ambassador to Saudi Arabia last year."

Nice little circle there. James Baker, the Saudis, Robert Jordan, corruption at a Bush owned oil company, 9-11, the Saudis....

See the "religious policeman" for more on the warm and snuggly Saudi family and their enlightened rule from someone who lives there.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:51 AM EDT
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Saturday, 23 April 2005
An idea whose time has gone.
By The New York Times

"WASHINGTON, April 22 - Leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee have urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to seek a formal invitation from the new Iraqi government for American troops to remain until domestic security forces are capable of fully defending their country.

A letter on April 18 from Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the Republican committee chairman, and Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat, argued that the initiative could "substantially reduce the daily threats to U.S., coalition and Iraqi security forces.""

Is it just me or does this sound deeply out of touch with reality? What they should be doing is formally declaring the U.S. has no territorial or oil interests in Iraq to start with. That might help take the wind out of the insugency's sails a little.

A formal invite from the Iraqi "governemnt" will be seen for the empty gesture it would be. That's like Karzai asking us for a security pact. Or the Sudaten German's asking for Hitler's help against the Chechs. [We want no Chechs!.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 April 2005 10:57 AM EDT
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Friday, 22 April 2005
South Florida Sucks!

Oh, the memories!

Hours after the "Jackbooted Thugs" [Quote from Tom DeLay.], (who we now refer to as hero's in the war on terrorism), had taken Elian from his family's home in Miami this post appeared at freerepublic.com

"Daivid," a towering intellect writes:

The local CBS affiliate (channel 4) and the local Univision affiliate (channel 23) have interviewed photography experts explaining that the ?happy? picture of Elian meeting with his dad is a fake. They have pointed out to several reasons for their conclusion, such as:

1. Elian had a very short haircut, almost a fade, this morning before the raid. After the raid, the ?happy? pictures show Elian with much longer hair on the sides and a different bang cut on his forehead.

2. The shades from Elian?s father and Elian do not match. For example, the father looks very dark while Elian looks almost pale. Elian plays outside every day in Florida sun, the father stays indoors, therefore Elian should look darker than his dad

3. The reflection of Elian?s father on Elian is suspect. It only occurs on Elian?s face but not on his body, at least at the same degree."

Well, there you go! Certainly, Miami's hysterical T.V. stations couldn't be making this up. Besides, Marisleysis said it! She's not crazy or anything. She knows things!!!

Just when you thought it couldn't get any crazier!

Then, of course, days before the seizure of the baby Elian, Alex Penelas, then mayor of Miami-Dade county, [Now residing in the political wilderness.] warned the federal Government he wouldn't police the streets if violence broke out. (Not that the "exile" community in Miami would ever get violent! See below.)

At a frantic press conference the mayor said:


"The federal government is provoking the community," Penelas said. "We do not condone inappropriate behavior. But I have a responsibility to tell the federal government when they've gone too far. And they've gone too far.

"If the Justice Department's handling of this matter . . . leads to civil unrest and violence," he said, "we are holding the [federal] government responsible.

Penelas...said that local law enforcement officers would not assist federal authorities in "repatriating the boy."

Weeks later on Nightline, when he was sitting right in front of Janet Reno, he was asked by Ted Koppel whether he blamed her for what happened. He just sunk down in his seat and made gibbering noises. Most of the program involved citizens of Miami-Dade berating the mayor for pandering to one segment of the community, ignoring the rest.

We're not violent! (Miami Vice is just a T.V. show.)


"Miami residents are bracing for a threatened one-day general strike by many of the city's 800,000 member Cuban-American community to protest the raid removing 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives. [It was a little difficult getting around for a few days because of all the roadblocks etc.]

Protesters predicted Tuesday's threatened general strike would turn the city into a "dead zone," [Wonder why Miami is one of the poorest cities in the U.S.?] while Miami City Manager Donald Warshaw said the day would simply be "business as usual."

Some demonstrators threw rocks at police and others set fires in the streets. More than 200 people were arrested, according to police.

How do "some demonstrators" wind up in 200 arrests?
In most places this would have been called a riot, but in Miami it's just "business as usual." After all, the "exile" community was letting off a little steam. They were angry. Miami-Dade is a county of some million people, most of them not Cuban, but we all had to put up with their little temper tantrum.

Jim Mullin of the Miami New Times wrote on the 20th of April of local leaders being concerned about the perception around the country that Miami's Cubans operated by "mob rule." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mullin compiled a list of about 70 violent acts, including bombings, assassinations and a bazooka attack, dating from 1968 to 2000 involving Cubans in Miami.

Check the link for all of them, but I picked out a few to illustrate the point that Miami isn't ruled by Mob Rule.

1968 From MacArthur Causeway, pediatrician Orlando Bosch fires bazooka at a Polish freighter. (City of Miami later declares "Orlando Bosch Day." Federal agents will jail him in 1988.)[Then later pardoned by George Bush senior.]

1976 Car bomb blows off legs of WQBA-AM news director Emilio Milian after he publicly condemns exile violence.

1983 Miami City Commissioner Demetrio Perez seeks to honor exile terrorist Juan Felipe de la Cruz, accidentally killed while assembling a bomb. (Perez is now a member of the Miami-Dade County Public School Board and owner of the Lincoln-Marti private school where Elian Gonzalez is enrolled.)

1993 Inflamed by Radio Mambi commentator Armando Perez-Roura, Cuban exiles physically assault demonstrators lawfully protesting against U.S. embargo. Two police officers injured, sixteen arrests made. Miami City Commissioner Miriam Alonso then seeks to silence anti-embargo demonstrators: "We have to look at the legalities of whether the City of Miami can prevent them from expressing themselves."

April 11, 2000 Outside home of Elian Gonzalez's Miami relatives, radio talk show host Scot Piasant of Portland, Oregon, displays T-shirt reading, "Send the boy home" and "A father's rights," then is physically assaulted by nearby exile crowd before police come to rescue.

And who could forget the mob that attacked the CNN tent in front of Elian's family's house?

I thought at the time this was as bad as it could get in South Florida, I had been through Andrew too, but then the 2000 election happened. That's when I decided after 30 years, I couldn't stomach the stupid people and the weather and the roaches and all the tourists anymore. It's been five years but it seems like yesterday and I couldn't be happier to be out of there. Thank God, I wasn't there for the Schiavo circus!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:11 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 April 2005 10:56 PM EDT
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Thursday, 21 April 2005
Famous last words, almost...

February 3, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's interim prime minister declared Wednesday that the success of the national elections had dealt a major blow to the insurgents -- who have not carried out a major attack since the balloting -- and he predicted they will be defeated within months. [Was he talking about the insurgency or the new "government?"]

"Within months" of that very prescient prediction.

April 21, 2005

"BAGHDAD (Reuters)- Iraq's caretaker prime minister Iyad Allawi escaped an assassination attempt on Wednesday night when a suicide bomber in a car attacked his convoy near his home, a government spokesman said."

Also White House spokeswoman Clare Buchan said:

"I think part of what you're seeing and what you've heard the President talk about is that the terrorists are seeing the progress that's being made, and that is making them more desperate."

No wait, that was from August 26, 2003. Oh well, just fill in the blank, they're desperate.

In another sign of desperation insugents shot down a Bulgarian helicopter killing 11 including 6 Americans.

We're not ever leaving are we?

(Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday agreed to spend $592 million for a new embassy in Iraq..."

[Way to get that budget deficit under control.]

I found this at Asia Times online, which kind of continues what I was talking about yesterday about us ever getting out of Iraq.

"The only way Iraq's transitional government can garner any measure of popular credibility is to demand a firm deadline for total American withdrawal. This is what the Shi'ite masses voted for. Yet this is the last thing on the minds of the White House/Pentagon/Green Zone axis that controls -or will control - the country.

Whenever there is a so-called "transfer of power" in Mesopotamia, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, like clockwork, steps on a plane to Baghdad. On his latest trip designed to issue orders for the new, supposedly sovereign Iraqi government, Rumsfeld, in a splendid Freudian slip, let it be known on the record the US "does not have an exit strategy" in Iraq: only a "victory strategy". This is code for "we're not going anywhere"

On democracynow.org yesterday Naomi Klein and Eric Gustafson, a Gulf War veteran and founder and director of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center debated the pros and cons of us pulling out.

Kline said:

"The resistance largely controls Baghdad at this point, a situation where there are between 50 and 60 attacks a day. The militias that Eric is warning about already control large sectors of Iraq, because providing security for the people of Iraq has never, from day one, been a priority of this occupation.

We saw the abandonment immediately by allowing the looting to take place and only guarding the Ministry of Oil, and it?s only gotten worse. You know, when I was in Iraq a year ago, this was the most persistent complaint -- was spiraling crime. And that's actually how the militias were created. They were created as a response to the fact that US Occupation never, ever prioritized giving security to Iraqis."

The militias are the key to this whole thing, I think. We've got big problem of our own making.

In the LA TIMES there is an article about the worsening situation in Basra, which was thought to be more or less stable. As I've noted on this blog before, the Brits are nowhere to be found. [Brit soldier to victim asking for help, ?You?re a sovereign country now. We can?t help. You have to go to the Iraqi authorities."]

"A series of recent daytime assassinations of Shiite and Sunni Muslim officials here has led to fears that Sunni insurgents, Shiite radicals and Iranian agents may be seeking to destabilize this southern city...

Tensions also have increased among Shiite groups as a result of a bloody raid staged by Shiite followers of radical cleric Muqtada Sadr on dozens of university students attending a coed picnic this month. The Sadr movement's Council for Vice and Virtue claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the students were beaten with clubs and shot at for ignoring religious prohibitions including mixing of the sexes. Several students were injured.
Essa blamed Iranians for some of the violence. Basra, which sits near the Iranian border, is a thoroughfare for many Iranian Shiites making pilgrimages to the Iraqi holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

But Essa [Sheik Khalaf Essa, a Sunni cleric and leader of Basra's Iraqi Islamic Party] has also acknowledged that Sunnis involved in the nationwide insurgency as well as local Sunnis probably had committed some recent attacks.

This month they were selling DVDs of the picnic incident in the Basra market to justify the attack and shame the students.

The disc shows male and female students socializing on a parched field. The Sadr supporters added a mournful soundtrack to the video: songs recounting the death of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad and the founder of Shiite Islam."

The main power broker in Iraq, the man who arranged the elections just the way he wanted it, the man the U.S. can't say "no" to, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani is likely to push for a wider role for Islam in the government. This stuff going on in Basra could be a preview of what's to come nationwide.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:38 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 April 2005 4:23 PM EDT
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