Monday, December 10, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How media tries to soften and spin the Iranian Intelligence report....

In article "Rice disputes openness of Iran democracy" There is an interesting double standard. Notice:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, working to defend U.S. strategy on Iran, questioned the openness of the Iranian government on Wednesday after its president said a new U.S. intelligence review concluding his country has stopped developing nuclear weapons amounts to "a final shot" against Tehran's critics.


Earlier Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said the conclusions of the report, which said that Iran's nuclear weapons development program has been halted because of international pressure, amounted to "a declaration of victory for the Iranian nation against the world powers over the nuclear issue."

In both paragraph the author adds his own interpretation of the report (i.e. "intelligence review concluding his country has stopped developing nuclear weapons") to Ahmadinejad's comment.

Ahamdinejad comment most likely is referring to the fact the intelligence agencies are saying Iran is NOT working on nuclear weapons. As such all US propaganda to the contrary is null and void. Hence "final shot", "victory" comment.

At the same time the author may like to juxtapose his reading of the document with that of the Iranian president. But then he doesn't do similar juxtaposing in US administration official. Check this paragraph:

"I am not going to comment on that comment except to say that what the National Intelligence Estimate shows, and the transparency with which the administration released it, is what it means to live in a democracy and I hope one day that the people of Iran will live in a democracy too," she [Dr Rice] said.

Even though, Dr Rice doesn't want to "comment on the comment" the author puts her comment in with no editorial! There is no juxtaposition of the facts of the report with her statement. It could say something like:

Dr Rice said that the conclusion of the report, which said Bush administration has been knowingly misleading the world in its propaganda against Iran, as sign of "transparency". She went on further to say that she wishes Iranian would live under same deception!

Monday, November 19, 2007

In The Shock Doctrine and Baghdad Year Zero Naomi Klein argues that the economic policies behind US foreign policy is the root cause of its problems in Iraq and elsewhere. She further argues that these policies are based on Milton Friedman and Chicago School economic models. Interestingly, Milton Friedman is said to be the "Economist who gave voice to the monetary theories which propelled the governments of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher".

There is an interesting interview with Milton Friedman billed as "his last interview the November before he died at his apartment in San Francisco overlooking the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge". In it he says:

NPQ | Even in the free market US, President Bush, at the height of his power, couldn't convince the American public to move toward privatizing Social Security.

Friedman | There is no doubt this aging issue will test the argument over the efficiency of the market versus political demands for government to step in.

On the question of whether inequality of the market might lead the less-well-off democratic majority to push for state control, I'm not so sure. The important issue is not how much inequality there is but how much opportunity there is for individuals to get out of the bottom classes and into the top. If there is enough movement upward, people will accept the efficiency of the markets. If you have [an illusion of] opportunity, there is a great tolerance for inequality. That has been the saving grace of the American system.

The Friedman's policy fails because it is hard to paint illusion of opportunity in societies where community is more important than the individual. When individuals talks to one another in coffee shops, tea houses, or chat rooms they quickly realize in world, dominated by multinationals and Wall Marts (aka Free Market) there is no opportunity.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dilbert got it right....

Dilbert is feeling smelling rats in current Propaganda:
A Feeling I'm Being Had

Thursday, September 13, 2007

General Petraeus exposes Bush administration hypocrocy! Iraqi insurgents "were already well enough armed "

Check out this exchange on General Petraeus hearings on 9/11/07:

SEN. ROBERT BYRD: ....You’ve touted success in Anbar province. Just a few months ago, the tribes in Anbar province were shooting and killing Americans. Recently they decided they dislike the terrorists there more than they dislike Americans, so they are cooperating with us for the time being, while we give them money and arms. This recalls to my mind our policy in the 1980s in Afghanistan of arming the Taliban to fight the Soviet Union. We all know how that short-term policy hurt our long-term interest. What guarantee can you give us that the tribes in Anbar are not going to turn around and use the guns that we gave them against our troops once they feel we no longer serve their interest? Isn't that a short-sited policy?

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Senator, first of all, we are not arming the tribes. We have not provided weapons to them. What we did initially is basically give a thumbs up when they asked if it would be OK if they pointed the weapons they did have -- they were already well enough armed -- at al-Qaeda, because they had come to reject the Taliban-like ideology and barbarity of al-Qaeda in the Euphrates River Valley.

General is saying the Sunnis (which are the smallest minority in Iraq -- about 20%) "were already well enough armed" and didn't need US to arm them. The same general then wants to tell us that other Iraqi groups (representing majority of Shiites) get their arms from outside (Iran and Syria are the current propaganda targets).

It is interesting that at the begining of the war the US policy was to go against Syria to stop the flow of arms to Sunni groups, but now the general admits that these groups were well armed all along!

It is also interesting to note that general recognizes that al-Queda's strategy of surge in violence policy in Iraq was the reason why the Iraqi tribes -- that were originally allied with Al Queda against US -- decided to "pointed the weapons" toward Al Queda. Yet he fails to see that his proposed surge against the Shiites have also caused the Shiite groups -- that were allied with US against Saddam Hussein -- to also turn their gun against US forces.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

easy credit became the American substitute for decent wages

An interesting statement:
The sad truth is that people earning Wal-Mart-level wages tend to favor the fashions available at the Salvation Army. Nor do they have much use for Wal-Mart's other departments, such as Electronics, Lawn and Garden, and Pharmacy.

It gets worse though. While with one hand the high-rollers, H. Lee Scott among them, squeezed the American worker's wages, the other hand was reaching out with the tempting offer of credit. In fact, easy credit became the American substitute for decent wages. Once you worked for your money, but now you were supposed to pay for it. Once you could count on earning enough to save for a home. Now you'll never earn that much, but, as the lenders were saying -- heh, heh -- do we have a mortgage for you!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bush will and won't say

According to Bush to invoke Vietnam in arguing against Iraq pullout

"Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left," Bush will say.

"Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields,' " the president will say.

But he wont say:

...Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Iraq is that the price of America's occupation paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like: Shock-and-awe, Abu Gharib, Mission Accomplished, Torture, Neocons, Fallujah, Samarra, ...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Deja vu

Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist conversation with Hermann Goering, Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Hermann Goering proclaimed that although "the people don't want war," they "can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What is the secret? A must listen speech.

One of my favorite stories about the Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by the host for their impressions. "I have to tell you," said the spokesman, "that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV day after day that all the opinions on all the vital issues are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the gulag. We even tear out their fingernails. Here you don't have to do any of that. What is the secret?"

What is the secret? It is a question seldom asked in newsrooms, in media colleges, in journalism journals, and yet the answer to that question is critical to the lives of millions of people. On August 24 last year the New York Times declared this in an editorial: "If we had known then what we know now the invasion if Iraq would have been stopped by a popular outcry." This amazing admission was saying, in effect, that journalists had betrayed the public by not doing their job and by accepting and amplifying and echoing the lies of Bush and his gang, instead of challenging them and exposing them. What the Times didn't say was that had that paper and the rest of the media exposed the lies, up to a million people might be alive today

Listen to the speech:

Freedom Next Time: Filmmaker & Journalist John Pilger on Propaganda, the Press, Censorship and Resisting the American Empire

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Trying to make sense of it....

In the article Warplanes keep watch on Iraqi insurgents you have:

Controlling the air is what F-16 pilot Maj. Paul Miller does for a living. He's now learning how to fight a ground war.

Four years into the war in Iraq, the challenges of fighting insurgents are changing the way U.S. fighter pilots approach their missions. The training has shifted from traditional tactics of air dominance to emphasize more specialized roles as eyes in the sky — such as locating buried bombs or honing in on small, highly mobile targets.

"This is a lot more on the go," Miller said from this base on Japan's northern frontier. "It's a pickup game."


"We may not be able to read a license plate, but we can tell you if the guy behind the bush is smoking, and whether he's smoking with his right or left hand," Miller said. "It's that exact."

I am then wondering how come there has never been irrefutable evidence that Iran or Syria, or indeed any foreign country has been supplying weapons to Iraq or Afghanistan?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

An interesting read

More on the current round of propaganda:

Consider the Source: 'NYT' Reporter Targets Iran

Spotting Propaganda!

In today's world it is next to impossible to know the truth. But it is possible to spot inconsistencies that are inevitable in propaganda.

Take for example the pre-Iraq war statement by Prime Minister Tony Blair in which he claimed that Iraq was capable of lunching missile toward London, armed with WMD, in 45 minutes. To be able to lunch a missile from Iraq to London, you would think then Iraqis must have figure out basics of warfare. But after the war, the same British Prime Minister is in capable of understanding that Iraqis are capable of assembling a road side bomb (which is hell of lot less high tech than a missile would have been).

The other interesting example is 9/11. The official story says that some folks in caves of Afghanistan were able to plan, and organize hijacking of 4 US airlines AND fly them toward World Trade Center and Pentagon with deadly accuracy. You would think if the official story is accurate, the people who have organized such a huge event would be capable of organizing any thing.

But today, in press conferences from Iraq we have:

Dakdouk [A "senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative", that was captured and no doubt "well treated" since March 20] told U.S. interrogators that the Karbala attackers "could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force," Bergner said. Source

Some thing must give here.... Operation against the Krabala base must have been a hell of lot simpler to pull off compared to the 9/11. There has even been similar incidents in the past where Iraqis have entered a US base, or penetrated many layers of security in Green Zone with explosives. Even since this incident 3 of US troops were captured by Al Queda.

After 9/11 we were led to beleive Bin Ladin and company pulled off the 9/11, now why would the general says that "they could not have conducted this complex operation without" outside help?

It just doesn't add up!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The "legal obstacle"!

June 29, 2007
DoD Media Roundtable With Secretary Gates and Gen. Pace in the Pentagon Briefing Room, Arlington, Va.

Q Mr. Secretary, can I ask you about Guantanamo? You have said publicly that you would like to see it closed. There have been reports that there are efforts underway to look at that a bit more seriously.

Can you tell us how seriously you're looking at closing Guantanamo, and whether you've reached any conclusion about whether that's feasible or if you're close to reaching a conclusion?

SEC. GATES: I think that, as I said when the chairman and I appeared before the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I think that the biggest challenge is finding a statutory basis for holding prisoners who should never be released and who may or may not be able to be put on trial. And I think that this is the challenged that faces both the administration and the Congress. The president said he wants to close Guantanamo. Obviously a lot of people on the Hill want to close it. We want to close it as a detainee facility.

But getting past this obstacle, this legal obstacle and finding some way in statute to permit this, whether it's a variety of administrative and appeals processes or whatever that are ultimately satisfactory to the members of the Congress, I would hope that we can work together to try and find that kind of a solution.

Q Do you feel you've made any progress since you came into office and expressed an interest in moving forward in that regard?

SEC. GATES: I think people are working harder on the problem.

Q Follow-up? Okay, same subject, if I may. You said it may not be possible to try some of these people. Why wouldn't it be, if they've done these things that you say they have?

SEC. GATES; It may depend on the nature of the information that is against them, if it involves sensitive intelligence sources or something like that.

Q I wanted to ask you about the relationship with Congress right now. You have said, in terms of confirmation hearings, that you wanted to limit the discussion about -- I think what you referred to as past mistakes. But since you have said that now, we have seen significant Republican defections on Capitol Hill, most notably Senator Lugar, from the president's Iraq war strategy.



It is interesting that the US defense secretery can make such outragreous statement and the next reporter goes on about "relationship with Congress right now"! Sign of times!

Monday, June 25, 2007


A year ago Palestinians captured an Israeli soldier in Gaza. We have:

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has accused Cpl Shalit's captors of committing a war crime.

"International humanitarian law absolutely prohibits taking and holding a person by force in order to compel the enemy to meet certain demands, while threatening to harm or kill the person if the demands are not met," the group said.

"Furthermore, hostage-taking is considered a war crime."

Hamas airs 'first Shalit message'

Same day we have Israel announces mass prisoner release that quotes Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

"As a gesture of good will towards the Palestinians, I will bring before the Israeli Cabinet a proposal to free 250 Fatah prisoners who do not have blood on their hands, after they sign a commitment not to return to violence," Olmert told the gathering.

What is a person that is not guilty (i.e. "who do not have blood on their hands") yet have been arrested from their own homes, imprisoned for many years and wont be released until the Israeli "demands are not met" (i.e. "after they sign a commitment")?

A Hostage? And the holder of the hostages a "war criminals" at least 250 times over?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Faith based foreign policy

Interview on the Charlie Rose Show

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
May 7, 2007

QUESTION: And that history will say that we had to go to Iraq; otherwise --

SECRETARY RICE: History, I think, will say that in giving, in -- ridding the world of Saddam Hussein, first of all, who was a threat in his own right, but then in giving the Iraqi people an opportunity to build an Iraq based on legitimate democratic values and legitimate democratic institutions, that we hope to lay the foundation for a very different kind of Middle East and we hope to reverse a trend that has been developing in the Middle East now for decades. And that trend is that with the absence of freedom, healthy political forces were not coming into being and unhealthy ones, extremist forces were getting stronger and stronger. And yes, I think we will succeed. I know it's hard.

QUESTION: And you know people think that we're less close to that goal than we were.

SECRETARY RICE: I know, but you know, Charlie, I know too that the argument that because terror -- we're fighting the terrorists, that they've now gotten stronger doesn't make sense to me. [With 650,000+ Iraqis killed, wouldn't some folks at least be out for revenge?]. Because the question is, if we weren't fighting them, would they be getting weaker? I don't think that was the message of September 11th. They were getting stronger. The question was, when we were really going to start confronting them. And we've really now started confronting them.

But I also know as a student of history that there have been a lot of times in history when it seemed that we weren't going to succeed, when it seemed impossible that we were going to overcome, whether it was the Soviet Union, a country with 30,000 nuclear weapons, 5 million men under arms covering 12 different time zones with its power throughout the globe. No one ever thought that we would overcome that or certainly that it would collapse peacefully. I know there have been other times when people doubted our will and doubted our capability. [Thankfully George W and Miss Rice were not in charge back then! Her response remind me of when Dan Quayle was comparing himself to Jack Kennedy.]

QUESTION: Or doubted our judgment.

SECRETARY RICE: And doubted our judgment, frankly. And you know, things that seemed impossible at the time seemed inevitable in looking back at them in retrospect and I think we'll see that again [Faith based foreign policy?].....

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Where do Iraqis get their ammunitions?

In today's CNN the article 9 U.S. soldiers, journalist killed; torture chamber found Says:

U.S. and Iraqi forces chasing a suspected terrorist with ties to Iran early Sunday discovered a bloodstained torture chamber and a massive amount of artillery stored in a building in Baghdad's Sadr City, the U.S. military said.

"Had that thing gone off -- when you start talking about 150 artillery shells -- the extensive damage that it could have done in killing innocent civilians in Sadr City would have been horrific," U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said at a news conference Sunday.

Not exactly sure what the "a bloodstained torture chamber" means, it sounds as a metaphor for whole Iraq. The "150 artillery shells", on the other hand, is an interesting tidbit of information here.

Bush administration has been touting Iran and Syria as source of explosives in Iraq. It is interesting that the General doesn't mention the type and origin of the shells. But logically we can infer the source.

Iraqi resistance doesn't have artillery batteries to require artillery shells. It would be absurd to say Iran and Syria have been shipping artillery shells to the "insurgents" when they don't have means to fire them. The discovery seem to be another confirmation that the source of the Iraqi ammunitions were the massive amounts of hardware that were sold to Saddam. An infrequently failure of Bush Administration war has been the failure to secure Saddam's arsenal. It allowed the "insurgency" capture and harvest the explosives in the shell for use against the US and British forces. Ironically, the shells may have been US or European made!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Soviet Style Journalism lives on.

New York times had this story on the front page:

In one of the new joint American-Iraqi security stations in the capital this month, in the volatile Ghazaliya neighborhood, Capt. Darren Fowler was heaping praise on his Iraqi counterparts for helping capture three insurgent suspects who had provided information he believed would save American lives.

“The detainee gave us names from the highest to the lowest,” Captain Fowler told the Iraqi soldiers. “He showed us their safe houses, where they store weapons and I.E.D.’s and where they keep kidnap victims, how they get weapons, where weapons come from, how they place I.E.D.’s, attack us and go away. Because you detained this guy this is the first intelligence linking everything together. Good job. Very good job.”

The Iraqi officers beamed. What the Americans did not know and what the Iraqis had not told them was that before handing over the detainees to the Americans, the Iraqi soldiers had beaten one of them in front of the other two, the Iraqis said. The stripes on the detainee’s back, which appeared to be the product of a whipping with electrical cables, were later shown briefly to a photographer, who was not allowed to take a picture.

To the Iraqi soldiers, the treatment was normal and necessary. They were proud of their technique and proud to have helped the Americans.

“I prepared him for the Americans and let them take his confession,” Capt. Bassim Hassan said through an interpreter. “We know how to make them talk. We know their back streets. We beat them. I don’t beat them that much, but enough so he feels the pain and it makes him desperate.”

Doesn't the "they were proud of their technique and proud to have helped the Americans" remind you of the Soviet Union Journalism where every one was proud to help to bring glory to the mother land and the USSR!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

How it works...

In the 80s President Reagan started the budget cuts on social services including mental health services to pay for the his Star Wars and for "re-arming America" project. Now President Bush's Radio Address says:

We can never fully understand what would cause a student to take the lives of 32 innocent people. What we do know is that this was a deeply troubled young man -- and there were many warning signs. Our society continues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whose mental health problems can make them a danger to themselves and to others.

Colleges and state and local officials are now confronting these issues, and the Federal government will help. I've asked top officials at the Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services to provide the Virginia Tech community with whatever assistance we can, and to participate in a review of the broader questions raised by this tragedy.

I have directed these officials to travel to communities across our Nation, to meet with educators, mental health experts, and state and local officials. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt, to summarize what they learn and report back to me with recommendations about how we can help to avoid such tragedies.

...."report back to me with recommendations about how we can help to avoid such tragedies", Right! Just don't hold your breath to see any thing meaningful to come out of the report.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Karl Rove and the new justification for Iraq!

In "2007 Lincoln Day Dinner program" Karl Rove makes yet another connection to Bin Ladin and need to stay in Iraq.

Essentially he says that if US leaves Iraq, it would be a victory for Bin Ladin which soon would translate into a Khalifat system, headed by Bin Ladin, that would rule people all over Arab world and North Africa.

Paranoia aside this is interesting in that

  • Karl Rove see US as guardian of others, as if they are minors. You would think if the people in the Arab world and North Africa want to live under Bin Ladin's Khalifat then US wont be able to stop them anyways, and if they are not interested in Khalifat system, then they would resist Bin Ladin just as they are resisting US occupation. Either way it is none of Karl Rove's business.

  • If after Bin Ladin is so dangerous and powerful how come Bush administration hasn't been able to capture or kill him? Doesn't that speak volume about the incompetence of the Bush administration?

You can watch the program in 2007 Lincoln Day Dinner program

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

End Political Violance

"... there is no moral difference between stealth bomber and a suicide bomber... both kill innocent people for political reasons"

Tony Benn, President Stop the war Coalition.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Which lie do you want to believe in?

The problem of Bush Administration is that the more it talks the more it reveal its incompetence. This has never been more evident than when it is trying to accuse Iran of aiding and arming the Iraqi resistance.

After all, Bush administration claimed Iraq's WMD was a threat in 2003, surely they were not talking about the WMD that they bought from US in the 80s. To call Iraq a threat then, Bush and Blair must have considered Iraq has an arms industry capable of producing WMD that could threaten the US or Europe. Tony Blair even went as far as saying Iraq's missiles were within 45 minutes of being fired on to London. Essentially they claimed that with all UN sanctions on Iraq, the Iraqis had developed the expertise to threaten far beyond their borders.

Now it wants to claim that Iraqis are incapable of developing bombs that would destroy even a Humvee and it needs Iranian "technology" to build an IED!

The question is which lie do you want to believe in?
a)Iraqis can't even produce a IED, or
b)that they were capable of producing WMD that would threaten United States (half way around the globe)!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quote of the Year!

An Exchange between Senator Specter and Alberto Gonzales in Senate Judiciary Committe:

Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus?

Gonzales: I meant by that comment that the Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.


Like President, like Attorney General?