Wanna Have An Adventure?

This is exactly what happened to me at work yesterday.

Somebody help me!

J.K.

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Some people don’t have maps

Now, where is America anyway?

American

A question directed to you miss shit-kicker; why am dem Americans so dumb?

Miss Shit-Kicker

Well, I believe that that Osama Americans is busy helping Iraq and South Africa and the oriental and the yellow peril and Al Qaeda and helping the Iraq helping to education for the future of the Americans of the great nation of Americans.

American

Thank you miss shit-kicker. You win the prize.

The End (of America).

J.K.


Abu Torquemada

Attorney General becomes the latest Bush ally to quit
Bush blames opposition as Gonzales quits
Bush ally Gonzales resigns post

Stop press; Bush blames everyone else because he is a drug-and-alcohol-addled sociopath. And a half-wit. And a disgusting sadist. And speaking of disgusting sadists…

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, embroiled in a row over the sacking of eight US attorneys, has formally announced his resignation.

Mr Gonzales formally announced his resignation today after informing Mr Bush by phone on Friday at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Mr Gonzales flew to Crawford to discuss it with him over lunch on Sunday. Mr Bush accepted his offer, effective September 17.

President George Bush finally lost his battle to hang onto the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, today after months of unremitting Congressional pressure over a series of scandals that included the firing of nine state prosecutors, wiretapping and torture.

As well as the sackings row, Mr Gonzales has also been criticised for helping to expand presidential powers in connection with the administration’s war on terror – from drafting the controversial rules governing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to authorising a secret phone tapping programme

Heckuva a job, Abu.

Considered by many to be one the worst US Attorney Generals in recent history, Mr Gonzales was even accused of perjuring himself before Congress. During testimony, he frequently said he could not remember key events about a secret government programme for spying on US citizens or the wholesale sackings of US attorneys because they were politically suspect.

Mr Gonzales lost credibility too when he got into a muddle over habeas corpus, suggesting before a Congressional committee, that it was not guaranteed by the constitution.

As Attorney General, Mr Gonzales wrote much of the dubious legal advice underpinning the “war on terror”. He justified the mistreatment and torture of terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay and other secret prisons and asserted that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to al-Qai’da and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan.

He was censured by some human rights groups after writing a memo to the president in which he said the war against terror was a “new kind of war” that renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders “quaint” some of its provisions.

He was the White House counsel from 2001 until 2005 when he took over as attorney general. He was a controversial figure even as counsel when he wrote that parts of the Geneva convention on the treatment of prisoners of war were “obsolete” and “quaint”. He also indicated that torture was acceptable in certain circumstances.

What a cv. What a loyal torturer. What a faithful warmonger. What a slime.

Paying tribute to Mr Gonzales, Mr Bush said on Monday that he had been subjected to “months of unfair treatment” and that “his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons”.

Mr Gonzales had played a critical role in the war on terror and “worked tirelessly to keep this country safe,” the president said.

It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honourable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.”

a talented and honourable person… his good name… we live in a time… worked tirelessly to keep this country safe… dragged through the mud… months of unfair treatment… impeded from doing important work…

I have grown to hate words.

The Democratic leader in the senate, Harry Reid, said: “This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House.”

Congress will do nothing because it is ineffectual and corrupt.

Mr Gonzales, 52, the son of immigrants, added: “I often remind our fellow citizens that we live in the greatest country in the world and that I have lived the American dream. Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father’s best days.

That must be the American dream where you wake up in a cold sweat, screaming.

But the Gonzales legacy may lie more in his wilful disregard for human rights law and his cavalier approach to the interrogation of detainees in the “war on terror”. In a 2002 memo, he wrote that Article III of the Geneva Conventions was outdated. He derided as “quaint” the regulations requiring captured fighters to be given “commissary privileges, scrip, athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments”.

He was also behind the controversial presidential order setting up military tribunals to try terror suspects rather than using civilian courts. Those tribunals have failed to achieve a single conviction so far and the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay has become a running sore for the administration in its relations with the outside world.

Of equal concern to Americans has been his use of the Justice Department and the FBI to improperly and possibly illegally use the USA Patriot Act to spy on US citizens. This month it was announced that information collected by America’s network of spy satellites inside the country was being shared with law enforcement offices.

Make no mistake; this man was scum of the highest order. The scum of the earth as we would say here in Ireland (a phrase normally reserved for the likes of Bertie Aherne). A war criminal. A monster. A sadist. A torturer. But coming so soon after Rove’s resignation, you have to wonder what is going on. Ordinarily these genocide artists and war criminals pull a diversionary stunt like this to conceal an atrocity perpetrated by the US of A (greatest army in the world gawd-demmit), or some anti-constitutional signing statement. But two in a row, within a few days…

Something big is about to happen. Something really big.

J.K.


Kucinich vs Paul

300px-dennis_kucinich_as_mayor_of_cleveland.jpg Why Kucinich And Not Ron Paul

Ron Paul doesn’t support impeachment. Dennis Kucinich sponsored legislation for impeachment.

Ron Paul doesn’t support 911 Truth and even worse implies that the government’s version of 911 is true. Dennis Kucinich supports investigating 911.

Dennis Kucinich supports not-for-profit healthcare. Paul supports free market healthcare based on the ability to pay.

Ron Paul wants to eliminate all federal taxation. Dennis Kucinich wants to shift the tax burden to wealthy persons and corporations.

Ron Paul supports the neoliberal free market agenda of free trade, deregulation of business, and privatization of public assets. Dennis Kucinich supports fair trade.

Ron Paul falsely claims that lower taxes benefit all of us but this is false because different types of taxes affect different portions of the population. If you lower a regressive tax like the payroll tax then it benefits the poor and middle classes but not the wealthy. If you lower a progressive tax like a tax on corporate profits, capital gains tax, or federal estate tax then this benefits wealthy individuals and corporations but not the poor and middle classes. Paul also falsely states that lower taxes create jobs which is that trickle down economics crap that Ronald Reagan promoted which proved to be false. Paul also states that lower taxes allow us to make more decisions for ourselves about our lives which is only true if he’s talking about regressive taxes that affect the poor and middle classes. Paul also falsely implies that all we have to do is cut spending and we”ll avoid economic disaster.

Ron Paul also wants to deport every single undocumented immigrant. Paul shamelessly exploits 911 for his anti-immigrant agenda when he says a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas when he knows full well there were no 911 terrorists and that the attack was really a controlled demolition. Kucinich wants to grant permanent legal residence to immigrants living in the US for 5 or more years and conditional legal status and work authorization to all law abiding immigrants living in the US for less than 5 years.

Ron Paul opposes the International Criminal Court where he justifies it by saying the ICC wants to try our soldiers as war criminals and that they are a threat to our independence as a nation. Well I say if our soldiers commit war crimes then they should be prosecuted as war criminals. The ICC is no threat to our independence as a nation. The only reason for anyone to oppose the ICC is to prevent international criminals from being brought to justice. Paul falsely claims that the jihadists are our direct enemies. Paul also falsely claims that our reason for going to war was a UN resolution. The UN had nothing to do with why our country went to war. Oil is the reason why our country went to war but Paul doesn’t mention this and instead blames the UN to support his anti-UN agenda.

Paul is also an anti-abortion fanatic. Paul wants to redefine life as beginning at conception. I guess he wants to throw any woman who has an abortion in jail. Paul also wants to overturn Roe vs Wade. Paul claims federal court tyranny has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn. His statement is an oxymoron. You can’t die if you’ve never been born. Paul is trying to impose his religious beliefs on those who don’t share them. Kucinich used to be against a woman’s right to have an abortion but his views on the issue changed several years ago and now he’s a strong defender of a woman’s right to choose.

Kucinich discusses 88 different issues on his website. Paul only discusses 10 topics on his website.

Jeez, you think you know someone…

J.K.


We’re an empire now – we create our own reality

Even I question the ‘truth’ about 9/11

Each time I lecture abroad on the Middle East, there is always someone in the audience – just one – whom I call the “raver”. Apologies here to all the men and women who come to my talks with bright and pertinent questions – often quite humbling ones for me as a journalist – and which show that they understand the Middle East tragedy a lot better than the journalists who report it. But the “raver” is real. He has turned up in corporeal form in Stockholm and in Oxford, in Sao Paulo and in Yerevan, in Cairo, in Los Angeles and, in female form, in Barcelona. No matter the country, there will always be a “raver”.

His – or her – question goes like this. Why, if you believe you’re a free journalist, don’t you report what you really know about 9/11? Why don’t you tell the truth – that the Bush administration (or the CIA or Mossad, you name it) blew up the twin towers? Why don’t you reveal the secrets behind 9/11? The assumption in each case is that Fisk knows – that Fisk has an absolute concrete, copper-bottomed fact-filled desk containing final proof of what “all the world knows” (that usually is the phrase) – who destroyed the twin towers. Sometimes the “raver” is clearly distressed. One man in Cork screamed his question at me, and then – the moment I suggested that his version of the plot was a bit odd – left the hall, shouting abuse and kicking over chairs.

Usually, I have tried to tell the “truth”; that while there are unanswered questions about 9/11, I am the Middle East correspondent of The Independent, not the conspiracy correspondent; that I have quite enough real plots on my hands in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Iran, the Gulf, etc, to worry about imaginary ones in Manhattan. My final argument – a clincher, in my view – is that the Bush administration has screwed up everything – militarily, politically diplomatically – it has tried to do in the Middle East; so how on earth could it successfully bring off the international crimes against humanity in the United States on 11 September 2001?

Well, I still hold to that view. Any military which can claim – as the Americans did two days ago – that al-Qa’ida is on the run is not capable of carrying out anything on the scale of 9/11. “We disrupted al-Qa’ida, causing them to run,” Colonel David Sutherland said of the preposterously code-named “Operation Lightning Hammer” in Iraq’s Diyala province. “Their fear of facing our forces proves the terrorists know there is no safe haven for them.” And more of the same, all of it untrue.

Within hours, al-Qa’ida attacked Baquba in battalion strength and slaughtered all the local sheikhs who had thrown in their hand with the Americans. It reminds me of Vietnam, the war which George Bush watched from the skies over Texas – which may account for why he this week mixed up the end of the Vietnam war with the genocide in a different country called Cambodia, whose population was eventually rescued by the same Vietnamese whom Mr Bush’s more courageous colleagues had been fighting all along.

But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It’s not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93’s debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I’m not talking about the crazed “research” of David Icke’s Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the “raver” bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be “fraudulent or deceptive”.

Journalistically, there were many odd things about 9/11. Initial reports of reporters that they heard “explosions” in the towers – which could well have been the beams cracking – are easy to dismiss. Less so the report that the body of a female air crew member was found in a Manhattan street with her hands bound. OK, so let’s claim that was just hearsay reporting at the time, just as the CIA’s list of Arab suicide-hijackers, which included three men who were – and still are – very much alive and living in the Middle East, was an initial intelligence error.

But what about the weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose “Islamic” advice to his gruesome comrades – released by the CIA – mystified every Muslim friend I know in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family – which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder – let alone expect the text of the “Fajr” prayer to be included in Atta’s letter.

Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious “war on terror” which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East. Bush’s happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that “we’re an empire now – we create our own reality”. True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs.

When Fisk, the venerable curmudgeon, states in no uncertain terms that he “would like to know the full story of 9/11”, that he is looking for answers, you must start to believe that the tide is turning. Truly we are living in interesting times.

J.K.


How can anyone keep a straight face and call this a strategy?


America’s illusory strategy in Iraq

Future historians of how Iraq was lost will, of course, alight on the memoirs and the memos of those who drove the policy, measuring declaration against execution, ambition against outcome. They will savour the solipsism of a Paul Bremer, the US viceroy whose disbandment of the Iraqi army left 400,000 men destitute and bitter, but armed, trained and prey to the insurgency then taking shape – but whose memoir paints him as a MacArthur of Mesopotamia.

They will be awed by the arrogance and fecklessness of a Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary and theorist of known unknowns, who summed up the descent into anarchy and looting in the hours after Baghdad fell (when, very possibly, Iraq was lost) – “Stuff happens”.

But their research will be greatly assisted by the diligence of the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the US Congress, which keeps on unearthing the bottomless depths of incompetence behind the Bush administration’s misconceived adventure in Iraq.

This week, the GAO reported that the Pentagon cannot account for 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 80,000 pistols supposedly supplied to Iraqi security forces – adding to well-founded suspicions that insurgents are using US-supplied arms to attack American and British troops.

This discovery might be considered the mother of all known unknowns, were it not that in March this year the GAO published a drily damning report on the coalition’s failure to secure scores upon scores of arms dumps abandoned by the Iraqi army after the 2003 invasion – and that by October last year it had still failed to secure this giant toolbox that keeps the daily slaughter going in Iraq.

That carnage continues, barely moderated by the “surge” of troops that this week raised US forces to their peak level in Iraq of 162,000 – a last heave that looks destined to be the prelude to withdrawal.

As a policy it is hard to see how any surge can fix an Iraq so traumatised by tyranny and war and then broken by invasion and occupation. It takes place as an already indecipherable ethnic and sectarian patchwork is being pulled bloodily to pieces. Iraq has reached advanced societal breakdown. Ethnic cleansing proceeds regionally, through neighbourhoods, even street by street.

There has been a mass exodus of teachers and doctors, civil servants and entrepreneurs, a haemorrhage of Iraq’s future. Nearly 4m Iraqis have been uprooted by this cataclysm. Instead of bringing democracy to Iraq and the Arabs, the 2003 invasion has scattered Iraqis across the Middle East – as well as creating laboratory conditions for the urban warfare urged on jihadis by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s strategist. The time to have surged is long since past.

Politically, there are no institutions, there is no national narrative. Ministries are sectarian booty and factional bastions. The interior ministry, headquarters for several death squads, is, according to the Los Angeles Times, partitioned into factional fiefs on each of its 11 floors – with the seventh floor split between the armed wings of two US-allied groups.

Two ostensibly benign by-products of the US invading Iraq were: the empowerment of the Shia majority there, giving the sect, a dispossessed minority within Islam, rights denied for centuries; and the welcome panic of an ossified Sunni Arab order based on a toxic mix of despotism and social inequity that incubated extremism. But Iraq’s Shia politicians seem unwilling to put state above sect. Such is the Sunni, jihadi-abetted backlash, and the intra-Shia fight over the spoils, that the Shia have not so much come into their inheritance as entered a new circle of hell.

The Shia-led government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has ceased to pursue even a communalist agenda, preferring the narrower sectarian interest of his faction of the Da’wa party. With the withdrawal of 17 of 38 members of Mr Maliki’s cabinet – including all the Sunnis and two big Shia factions – government has for most practical purposes ceased.

To believe any policy might work in these circumstances – let alone a slow-motion surge – requires heroic optimism. Some of that was placed in Gen David Petraeus, US commander in Iraq. At least until this week.

It turns out those Kalashnikovs went missing on his previous watch, as trainer-in-chief of the still barely existent Iraqi army. Gen Petraeus, a student of counterinsurgency with a PhD from Princeton and a gift for PR, had been lionised for his command of the 101st Airborne division in 2003-04, and especially his “hearts and minds” campaign in the north. After his withdrawal, however, two-thirds of Mosul’s security forces defected to the insurgency and the rest went down like fairground ducks. His forces appear not to have noticed, moreover, that Saudi-inspired jihadis had established a bridgehead in Mosul before the war had even started.

But US commanders seem to have no trouble detecting the hand of Tehran everywhere. This largely evidence-free blaming of serial setbacks on Iranian forces is a bad case of denial. First, the insurgency is overwhelmingly Iraqi and Sunni, built around a new generation of jihadis created by the US invasion. Second, to the extent foreign fighters are involved these have come mostly from US-allied and Sunni Saudi Arabia, not Shia Iran. Third, the lethal roadside bombs with shaped charges that US officials have coated with a spurious veneer of sophistication to prove Iranian provenance are mostly made by Iraqi army-trained engineers – from high explosive looted from those unsecured arms dumps.

Shia Iran has backed a lot of horses in Iraq. If it wished to bring what remains of the country down around US ears it could. It has not done so. The plain fact is that Tehran’s main clients in Iraq are the same as Washington’s: Mr Maliki’s Da’wa and the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq led by Abdelaziz al-Hakim. Iran has bet less on the unpredictable Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army, which has, in any case, largely stood aside during the present troop surge.

So, in sum. Having upturned the Sunni order in Iraq and the Arab world, and hugely enlarged the Shia Islamist power emanating from Iran, the US finds itself dependent on Tehran-aligned forces in Baghdad, yet unable to dismantle the Sunni jihadistan it has created in central and western Iraq. Ignoring its Iraqi allies it is arming Sunni insurgents to fight al-Qaeda. And, by selling them arms rather than settling Palestine it is trying to put together an Arab Sunni alliance (Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) with Israel against Iran. All clear? How can anyone keep a straight face and call this a strategy?

J.K.


Porky Pig

When the young conservative Republican student claims to favor Ron Paul over the other presidential candidates, the male presenter exclaims “Whoa!”, as if he was surprised she had made it through the rigorous big-candidate friendly screening process.

presenter: You’d vote for a — so if it was Porky Pig, you would vote for him just as long as he’s a Democrat?
student: I’m sorry? What?
presenter: If it was Porky Pig would you vote for him, just because he’s a Democrat?
student: Now, that’s taking it a little far. But –

American mainstream media is a disgrace. No criticism, no analysis, willing felators and facilitators of power politics. Proudly serving fair and balanced excrement to an enormous population of ignorant, retarded, indolent, in-bred child-rapists and klansmen.

Huzzah!

J.K.