Monday, October 31, 2005

More Libby-Rich Information

Steve Sailer has more on the Libby-Rich connection.

As I pointed out on Friday, you can make a lot of money being a mob lawyer, but in return you normally have to sacrifice your ambitions for positions of power and trust in the government. Nobody would allow John Gotti's lawyer to become "Dick Cheney's Dick Cheney," but, until very recently, there were few vocal objections to I. Lewis Libby, the long-time lawyer for world-class mobster Marc Rich, being a key player in the White House for the last half decade. Why the double standard?

Also, the Forward has noted the relationship between the ADL and Mark Rich:

Prominent individuals associated with Birthright Israel wrote to the president urging him to pardon Rich. So did the ADL's national director, Abraham Foxman, whose organization received $250,000 from Rich. Foxman later declared at a press conference that it had "probably" been a mistake to lobby Clinton for the pardon...

Read the entire entry at Steve's blog here

Summary of Events to Date

We should all be grateful for the gifts we have received for Fitzmas, as well as the many we gifts have received prior to.

James Wolcott sums these gifts up nicely:

Obviously, there was a spot of news while I was away. I refuse to feel let down that there was only one indictment, though of course more would have been a bonus. I look at it this way: If a year ago, anyone had predicted that Tom DeLay would be under indictment, Bill Frist would be under the microscope on a cheesy stock deal, a guilty plea would have been obtained in the AIPAC scandal, and one of the leading neo-cons--Cheney's #2--would be hit with five indictments and forced to resign--we would have thought the fortune teller was dipping into the cough medicine. So let us give thanks for the statues that have toppled, and hope that more crashes will echo down the hall.

Although some may have hoped for more, the indictment will keep Bush and the neocons in the news cycle as events lead up to the trial. Even if that is the only outcome, it may be enough.

And you never know - a few surprises may still await us.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Scooter Libby, Mob Lawyer

From Steve Sailer:

Scooter Libby, Mob Lawyer:

Yet, from 1985 to 2000, the now-indicted Scooter Libby represented Marc Rich, one of the most notorious organized crime figures in the world, a man who, while on the lam from the U.S., systematically looted post-Soviet Russia and mentored many of the "oligarchs" in corrupt practices. When Libby's 15 years of work paid off with a pardon for Rich in the last hours of the Clinton Administration, after frantic entreaties for Rich by high figures in the Israeli government, opprobrium rightfully rained down on Bill Clinton's head. And yet, Libby immediately moved into the crucial position of chief-of-staff to Vice-President Cheney.

If Libby had spent the previous 15 years representing John Gotti, he couldn't have attained such a high position in the government. What is it about working for Marc Rich that made Libby largely immune to criticism?


Best Comment So Far

The best comment on the Libby indictment is:

And speaking for Libby, Cheney reminds us that in our system of law, the accused is presumed innocent. Tell that to the prisoners held without charges. And why isn't Cheney advocating torturing Libby to get at the truth??!!


Surely Alan Dershowitz would agree that troops are being killed everyday, and that this "ticking time bomb" makes it necessary to torture Libby to determine if we went to war on false pretenses.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Israel Spies Clerical Error

Not much to add to this article:

Jerusalem: Israel has blamed a clerical error for a Government statement that appeared to admit that its Mossad intelligence agency operated in New Zealand last year.

The arrest in Auckland of two Israelis who confessed to trying to fraudulently obtain a New Zealand passport soured diplomatic ties. Israel apologised over the incident but made no comment on Wellington's charges that the men were spies.

Announcing talks yesterday between the Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, and the New Zealand ambassador, Jan Henderson, an Israeli Government statement noted that the meeting would be the first of its kind "since the incident with the Mossad".

Asked if this constituted an official admission, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Regev, said "incident with the Mossad" should have been in inverted commas to reflect that, as far as Israel was concerned, espionage was a New Zealand allegation.

"We have never said more than we have said in the case," Mr Regev said. "This issue has been solved in a satisfactory way with the New Zealand Government."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Better Late than Never

John Kerry is calling for removal of 20,000 troops by the end of this year.

WASHINGTON - Sen. John Kerry says President Bush should bring home 20,000 troops from Iraq over the Christmas holidays if the December parliamentary elections there are successful.

Defeated by Bush last year and a potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Kerry called for a "reasonable time frame" for pulling back troops rather than a full-scale withdrawal advocated by some Democrats. He said it could be completed in 12 to 15 months.

"It will be hard for this administration, but it is essential to acknowledge that the insurgency will not be defeated unless our troop levels are drawn down ... starting immediately after successful elections in December," Kerry said in a speech Wednesday at Georgetown University.

The sharks are starting to smell the blood.

Neocon Plumbers

While the name of the blog is Gorilla in ihe Room, right about now it should be Elephant in the Room. All the talk of the Plamegate indictments, and nobody can mention what the real bottom line of all this is.

Nobody except Bob Cesca, that is:

It's almost laughable to watch various pundits and analysts focus so closely on the details of who leaked what and when, while completely missing the big, diabolical picture. Smearing Joe Wilson and leaking his wife's name to Judy Miller, Matt Cooper, Bob Novak, and the rest is just one small part of a much larger and prearranged plot orchestrated by the PNAC neocons since the first Gulf War ended and Bush 41 lost re-election.

Tell it like it is, Bob.

Bob Cesca on the Neocon Plumbers

Keep Your Expectations Low

I highly doubt the Fitzgerald investigation will lead to indictments that have anything to do with the Yellowcake incident. At best, the investigation may uncover information related to the yellowcake story.

However, if you want to believe, at least for the next few days, that Yellowcake may be involved, read Justin Rainmondo here.

What crime, however, has been committed? New light has been shed on this mystery with the breaking news that Fitzgerald is homing in on the question at the heart of his investigation – who forged the Niger uranium documents, and how did they get passed off as reliable enough information to be referenced in the president 2003 State of the Union address?

You will only have a few hours more to hope this is the case, like the hope you have with lottery ticket in your pocket or that the Houston Astros can still win the world series.

Enjoy it while you are able.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No-sex With Israeli Women Clause

This article is from 2003, but it continues to show how Israeli value differ from US values. While this is a private company, that lack of outrage on the part of police demonstrates that Israel has different values on issues such as these.

Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job.

According to a contact they are required to sign, male workers may not have any contact with Israeli women - including prostitutes, a police spokesman, Rafi Yaffe, said.

He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and that no investigation had been opened.

An Israeli lawyer who did not want to be named said while the contract might appear legal, it would be rejected if challenged in court. "The point is that a Chinese worker will agree to anything and then will not have anyone to help them if there is a problem," he said.

The labourers are also forbidden from engaging in any religious or political activity. The contract states that offenders will be sent back to China at their own expense.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Lucky Sperm Club

From The Huffington Post:

Which of the following apply to George W. Bush, Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger, Jr., or both:

1. Which of these men had a father who was considered stupid but now thought to be a genius compared to his son?

2. Which of these men is currently on the defensive about his support for an incompetent woman in his office?

3. Which of these men may have to ask for the resignation of a subordinate because of a mounting scandal?

4. Which of these men appointed as his top deputy a loyal member of his father's regime?

5. Which of these two men's favorite TV series was "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and even owned a watch with the inscription "Live Long and Prosper"?

6. Which of these men lists as his desert island must-haves a Bible, running shoes, fishing rod, and books?

7. Which of these men had a "defining moment" while on an Outward Bound trip?

8. Which of these men said that he decided to "recommit my heart to Jesus Christ” after a fateful walk on the beach?

9. Which of these men works out five times a week?

10. Which of these men works out six times a week?

11. Which of these men is reportedly referred to as "the nitwit" around the office?

12. Which of these men can’t stand it when people are late?

13. Which of these men spends an annual "Rambo" weekend out in the woods with friends?

14. Which of these men’s favorite dessert is pralines-and-cream ice cream?

15. Which of these men is the luckiest man on the face of the earth?

Answers here.

Frank Rich Utters the Words

Frank Rich is a Jewish gay op-ed writer for the NYT. He has made a remarkable switch from theater critic to political commentator making one wonder just what qualifies someone for that position.

Even though Rich has been against the war in Iraq, his background and audience make it nearly impossible for him to come to conclude that ethnic and emotional ties to Israel on the part of some in the Bush administration played a major factor in the decision to invade Iraq.

Rich can't say this because, as we have seen from many comments in this blog, some people think even if it were true such information might set of a "kristallnacht" in the United States. I mean, we all know that at any given time we are only one step away from the next holocaust here in the US, aren't we?

Knowing how close we are to the next holocaust, the US public is clearly not ready to hear anything about the well being of Israel being a factor in the decision to invade Iraq, even if such information is true.

Even with this understand, however, Rich's can't help himself in a recent op-ed and he blurts out (only parenthetically mind you) that securing the middle east for Israel was a motive to invade Iraq:

But here, too, was an impediment: there had to be that "why" for the invasion, the very why that today can seem so elusive that Mr. Packer calls Iraq "the 'Rashomon' of wars." Abstract (and highly debatable) neocon notions of marching to Baghdad to make the Middle East safe for democracy (and more secure for Israel and uninterrupted oil production) would never fly with American voters as a trigger for war or convince them that such a war was relevant to the fight against those who attacked us on 9/11. And though Americans knew Saddam was a despot and mass murderer, that in itself was also insufficient to ignite a popular groundswell for regime change. Polls in the summer of 2002 showed steadily declining support among Americans for going to war in Iraq, especially if we were to go it alone.

Of course he has to throw out the oil production and a "wag the dog" line of thinking as well, just to keep some squid ink in the mix. But, at least it is something.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Everone Thought There was WMD

Some still try to claim that the WMD claims were just a "mistake" -- a mistake made by not on the US, but also the intelligence agencies of many other countries. This claim is made despite the fact that own CIA was highly doubtful of WMD in Iraq and had to be forced to conclude that there might be WMD in Iraq on the basis of forged documents that most in the CIA knew were suspect.

David Fiderer exposes some more common misconceptions (or lies) about the Iraq WMD program here.

After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the first intrusive inspections in Iraq led to discovery and destruction Saddam’s remaining nuclear weapons program. In 1995, Saddam’s son-in-law revealed a second crash nuclear program (using a fatally flawed design) that U.S. bombs smashed during the Persian Gulf War, prior to the inspectors’ arrival. Before 1991, Iraq relied on European technicians, equipment and manufacturing expertise for its nuclear weapons program, (which, after seven years, remained unsuccessful.) Lacking foreign assistance thereafter, Iraq remained incapable of building any nuclear device.

The article contains abundant useful information.

Fitzgerald Investigation Broadening

Chris Mathews confirms that the Fitzgerald investigation is broadening to the yellowcake documents.
MSNBC (video)

You should watch this clip. It is very enjoyable.

There now exists a very real chance that the story will be exposed.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Forgotten Investigation

Many of you may remember that Senator Pat Roberts was going to investigate the Niger Yellowcake "mistake." but that investigation has been on hold to the point where it has been cancelled.

So, we are not going to investigate the source of the error (that includes a fraudulent Italian document) that caused us to mistakenly spend half a trillion dollar, 2,000 American lives, 25,000 Iraqi lives (or more) and 20,000 American casualties.

That make sense.

So, we are left to see if the Plame investigation will somehow lead to information that will shed light on the Yellowcake, as suggested by Justin Raimondo here.

Laura Rozen explains just why the investigation is going nowhere:

But the main reason he has been inhibited is that previous public comments he made apparently caused the Pentagon to abruptly stop cooperating with the investigation. At the July 2004 press conference occasioned by the release of the Phase I report, Rockefeller asserted that certain activities of members of the office of then–Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, including a secret Rome meeting with the Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, might have been “unlawful.” At that point, Feith’s office simply stopped cooperating with the investigation, and Roberts hasn’t compelled Feith or his staff to comply. “[The Defense Department] got very skittish about volunteering as they had been up to that point,” an SSCI staffer told the Prospect. “They got all lawyered up. Roberts’ position, and [the Defense Department’s], has been either ‘show us what you’re talking about’ or ‘withdraw the statement and we’ll continue our cooperation with you.’ Rockefeller wouldn’t do either.”

The fact that there may have been unlawful conduct should make it more imperative that this investigation is completed, not less. Perhaps we need another special prosecutor appointed?

Laura goes on:

But committee staff sources say that before the cooperation ceased, the committee had received from Feith’s office internal memos suggesting that the office may indeed have been conducting unlawful activities. In particular, Democratic staffers are interested in a secret December 2001 meeting of two Feith deputies, Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, with Ghorbanifar in Rome. The meeting also included members of a foreign intelligence service (Italy’s SISMI). The catch is that it wasn’t reported in advance to the intelligence committee or the CIA, in possible violation of Section 502 of the National Security Act, which says that anyone conducting intelligence activities must inform the committee and the agency.

This doesn't seem very complex to me. If they can show Franklin and Rhode met with Ghorbinifar (long time friend of Leeden), they have a case. What's the problem?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bill Kristol, PNAC and the White House

It is interesting that so many still know so little about the events that caused us to enter the war with Iraq. It all started long before 9/11. reminds us of the history of PNAC and Bill Kristol.

Do these posters have a clue that William Kristol is the Chairman of PNAC, The Project for a New American Century? This is the organization that boasts among its members Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, and 6 other key players on the Bush team in 2001. Do the freepers know how close Kristol is to the major players in the White House, and the access he has to these men? Does it even dawn on them that no one would have to ‘leak’ to Kristol at all. He is an insider who knows what’s going on in the Bush WH. Do the freepers give Kristol any credit for being one of the most influential neocons in the nation, and one of the major architects of the Bush foreign policy? No way, The freepers haven’t the slightest clue.


I wonder how they would react if they found out about the tell-tale “new Pearl Harbor” comment made by Kristol’s group years before 9/11? I wonder how these people would feel if they had a clue as to the true goals and visions of the people they support. These people are mindless, uninformed, unsophisticated mental midgets. They are strong in numbers, week in intellect, show no signs of the ability or willingness to think for themselves, and they are full of irrational hate based on inaccurate or unsubstantiated information.

We are then linked to a nice backgrounder of Bill Kristol that should be read by everyone.

Judith Miller Everywhere

If it is a reporter's job to go where the action is Judith Miller certainly was doing hers. Whether reporting false stories of WMD or impugning the credibility of people exposing the false information used to take us to war, she is there.

She also is visiting Israeli prisoners who later accuse the Israeli's of torturing them.

Bridgeview used car salesman Muhammad Salah recalls being beaten, housed in a "refrigerator cell" and threatened with rape by Israeli soldiers until he admitted to bankrolling overseas terrorists, according to a new filing in U.S. District Court.

In an odd twist, the interrogation was witnessed by embattled New York Times reporter Judith Miller, and defense attorneys suggested Monday the best way for the U.S. government to prove its case -- and prove Salah wasn't abused -- is to call the controversial journalist to the witness stand.


"When I was not being actively interrogated, I was still forced to remain awake. I was either handcuffed behind my back to a forward slanted child-size chair in a position that caused excruciating pain between my shoulder blades and in my back since I had to balance myself and the chair so I wouldn't slide off," Salah said, according to court records.

"If I was not shackled to the small chair, I was put in a dark, freezing, closet-sized cell in which I could not stand upright, sit or lie down. ... Most of the time, my head was covered with a filthy, foul-smelling hood reeking of urine, vomit and other unpleasant substances."


Salah -- a naturalized U.S. citizen born May 30, 1953, in a refugee camp near Jerusalem -- has recanted all of his statements to the Israelis. Miller told the Sun-Times in 1998 that Salah did not appear to be a man under duress when questioned and that she believed his recanted statements.

Of course, if it is a reporter's jobs to file accurate reports, Miller fell far short of that goal.

Sun Times

Monday, October 17, 2005

Nation Building

It is hard not to watch the vote in Iraq unfold without mixed feelings.

The Iraqi constitution is highly flawed in both procedure and content. It establishes a religious state and is loaded with potential sources of future conflict such as oil revenue sharing between provinces.

If the constitution passes, and Iraq gains some short term stability, it will only embolden the US to engage in more nation building in the future, long before the true outcome of Iraq is know. It will also reward those who pulled us into this conflict using false evidence and arguments.

There are some positives, however. If Iraq gains some short term stability it may allow the US to pull out most, if not all, of its troops. This will be a positive on many levels including reducing likelihood of conflict with Syria and Iran and saving US lives and money.

What are the chances for success in Iraq? We won’t know for some time (unless there is a civil war, in which case we will know right away). However, a historical look at past nation building efforts in the American Conservative paints a bleak picture:

To see how nation building in general works out, I have compiled a list of all the cases since 1850 in which the United States and Great Britain employed military forces in a foreign land to cultivate democracy. I included only those cases where ground troops were deployed and clearly intervened in local politics. I have left aside the cases involving lesser types of involvement such as sending aid or military advisors or limited peacekeeping efforts or simply having military bases in the country.


The results of applying these principles to the political outcomes in the 51 cases of intervention are shown in the following table. Overall, the results indicate that military intervention succeeded in leaving behind democracies in 14 cases—27 percent of the time. The conclusion, then, is that nation building by force is generally unsuccessful.

Twenty-seven percent is better than I would have expected. Still, a one in four chance is not a very good bet on which to place half a trillion dollars and almost 2000 American lives (or 20,000 if you include injuries).

And, of course, if we wanted to perform nation building it would have been preferable for the nation to debate that reason prior to the Iraq war, rather than drum up a story about immanent threat and large scale WMD development only to switch the rational when these reasons proved to be false.

Nation Building

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Leeden and Yellowcake

Here is a list of some of the items that point to Leeden being involved with the forged Niger Yellowcake documents.

As far as Ledeen and the Niger uranium forgeries, Giraldi explained in the interviews that the "couple of CIA agents" were paid in foreign accounts and that Fitzgerald had "already found the money trail." Ledeen's connections to the Office of Special Plans and Sismi are well documented, he attended a number of meetings in Italy with Harold Rhode, who "practically lived out of (Iranian spy) Ahmad Chalabi's office," Manucher Ghorbanifar and guilty Israeli spy Larry Franklin, around the time the Italians began passing on the (already debunked) story back to the US./

IDF Solders Infiltrate Palestinian Stone Throwers

This seems to be a regular tactic employed by the IDF. It all seems rather scandalous to me.

Bil'in residents: Undercover troops provoked stone-throwing

By Haaretz Service and Itim

Prison Service troops disguised as Arabs incited Palestinian youths to throwing stones at Israel Defense Forces troops during a weekly demonstration against the separation fence in the West Bank village of Bil'in, village residents said on Friday.

The residents said that the disguised troops told the youths to throw the stones and then joined them in doing so. When they were asked their identity, they presented themselves as Arabs from Lod, a city in central Israel, who arrived with the Israeli and foreign demonstrators.

When the troops, members of the Prison Service special unit Masada, did not heed a request to show identification and were found to be in the possession of firearms, their identities were reportedly exposed. IDF soldiers came to the scene and dispersed them.

A few months ago, the same unit was accused of similar activities in a Bil'in demonstration, after which a military court judge ruled that the unit lacks the authority to operate in the Palestinian territories.

This puts a lot of weight behind claims that at least some violence by the Palestinian people is politically useful to Israel.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Round Up

Justin Raimondo on Syria and Israeli spying:
Justin Raimondo

Jewish Journal says the goverment still has work to do in Israeli spying case:
Franklin Defiant

Catch-22 at the NYT:
Huffington Post

On blurring anti-zionism with anti-semitism:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Plame Investigation Broadening

The WSJ claims the Plame investigation is broadening. I am a bit skeptical, but it is certainly interesting.

The New York Times reporter who went to jail to avoid testifying in the CIA leak case was quizzed by the special prosecutor again yesterday and has agreed to return to the grand jury today.

Judith Miller's additional testimony comes as the endgame is intensifying in the legal chess match that threatens to damage the Bush administration.

There are signs that prosecutors now are looking into contacts between administration officials and journalists that took place much earlier than previously thought. Earlier conversations are potentially significant, because that suggests the special prosecutor leading the investigation is exploring whether there was an effort within the administration at an early stage to develop and disseminate confidential information to the press that could undercut former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Central Intelligence Agency official Valerie Plame.

Links to interesting commentary can be found here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Questions We Want Answered

The press needs to dig deeper on this issue.

At the beginning of 2001, a few weeks before George Bush took office, there was a break-in at the Niger embassy in Rome. Strangely, nothing of value was taken. Months later came 9/11 and a month after that, as George Bush wondered how to get back at the terrorists, a report from the Italian security service (Sismi) reached the CIA: Iraq was seeking to buy uranium.

Disappointingly for the neocons, the CIA sent Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to check the story: he reported that it was nonsense. When the story was repeated by Bush, Wilson went public. His wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, was then outed by the White House. Hence Rove's predicament.

An organisation called the Office of Special Plans (OSP) was set up in the Pentagon by Douglas Feith, a former consultant to Israel's Likud party, to prepare for the war. In the words of Robert Baer, a distinguished former CIA man, it was a "competing intelligence shop at the Pentagon"..."if you didn't like the answer you're getting from the CIA". In short, bogus stories would get a second chance at the OSP.

A clue to the ancestry of these black arts can be found in 1980, when right-wing Republicans wanted Ronald Reagan elected. They publicised a story that Billy Carter, the then President Jimmy Carter's colourful brother, had received $50,000 (£28,000) from the Libyan government.

The story was always denied by the President and no evidence of the payment was found, but the story helped to elect Reagan. Its source? Sismi, and an associate of a man called Michael Ledeen.

Ledeen is an intriguing and enduring presence in the murkier parts of US foreign policy. He is an American specialist on Italy with a long-standing commitment to Israel. According to The New York Times, in December 2001, a few months after the CIA first heard the Niger claims, Ledeen flew to Rome with Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian arms dealer, and two officials from OSP, one of whom was Larry Franklin. In Rome they met the head of Sismi.

Some months later, the documents were published, having been sold to an Italian journalist by a Roman businessman linked to Sismi. So far, so circumstantial. One man who might well know the answer to all this is Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of counter terrorism operations at the CIA. His belief is that the documents were produced in the US but "funnelled through the Italians". When an interviewer asked Cannistraro "if I said Michael Ledeen", he reportedly replied "I don't think it's a proven case ...You'd be very close"

The Independent

Reasonable People Can Disagree

Reasonable people can disagree. The question is, can they disagree reasonably.

London synagogue belongs to Neturei Karta, ultra-Orthodox sect opposed to state of Israel as national homeland for Jews

Hackney Gazette

An Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Stamford Hill in London has been attacked and vandalized - not by anti-Semitic thugs, but by fellow Jews who regard its leaders' outspoken condemnation of Israel as a betrayal.

Rising tensions over the forced evictions by Israeli troops last month of Jewish settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank as part of the Middle East peace process has sparked a backlash among Stamford Hill's Orthodox Jewish community.

Windows at the synagogue in Alkham Road were smashed after bottles were hurled at them last Thursday evening and the front of the building was covered with red spray paint.

The synagogue belongs to Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox sect opposed to the Zionist political movement that established the state of Israel as a national homeland for Jews.

The sect claims that the concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to the teachings of the Torah and has led to the bloodshed in the Middle East.

In recent years it has staged the public burning of the Israeli flag on street corners in Stamford Hill.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Oct 10 2004 Round Up

Democracy in Iraq won't stop insurgency.
War and Piece

Data mining and Spying by China.
War and Piece

Another discussion of anti-semitism and anti-zionism:
Jews sand frontieres

And here is an interesting comment made on Antony Lowenstein's blog:

Dear Antony
Dont let anyone silence you - hang in there - it is people like you who are actually giving Israel some hope for a future.

I was in Israel and the Occupied Territories last month and the situation there is truly horrendous.
Im an Australian but have been living OS for the last 4 years, and I had forgotten how linited political debate is back home. The arguments that get you a bucketload of hatemail in Australia are mainstream political debate in Israel. The typical editorial page of HAARETZ would get you slapped down as an antisemite.
The real threat to Israel is that the Palestinians are getting fed up with this whole charade - they are starting to lose all interest in a 2 state solution as it becomes clear that the "state" will be a chopped up bantustan. And they are not exactly unaware of the demographic trend running in their favour....[All errors in original]

It really is true. Most debate regarding Israel would be completely uncontroversial if made with regard to any other country or international situation. It is possible to discuss spying by China or the Philippines, for example, in a reasonable and rational manner. One can state that interests of France and the United States are not the same with little expectation of argument.

Bring these issues up with regard to Israel, however, and you will receive another response entirely. The lack of open dialog on Israel is not a healthy situation.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Iraq is not Germany

Iraq is not Germany. Never was; never will be.

The current US GDP is eleven trillion dollars. Thats 11,000 billion. The GDP of Iraq is around fifty-four billion. That's 54 billion, or 0.5% of US GDP.

In 1940 the US GDP was 943 Billion and German GDP was 387 Billion. Thus, German GDP was 41% of US GDP, which represents eighty times (80x) the GDP of Iraq relative to the US.

It is hard to understand how anyone could make the claim that the threat presented by Iraq in any way resembled the threat presented by Germany in WWII. Any analogy is preposterous.

Someone making that analogy simply doesn't know his facts, or he thinks you don't know your facts.

Of course, that doesn't stop George Bush from trying. See Bush equates bin Laden with history's greatest tyrants.

There is no economic miracle on the face of the earth that could ever allow Iraq to present a real threat to the US in our lifetime.

And even if there was linkage between Iraq and terrorism, which there isn't, this threat can be handled with heightened US security measures and controls. We now know that 9/11 was a long sequence of security misteps. We have taken many measures to improve the situation and we could take many more steps if we had the political backbone.

Any threat of terrorism is only made real by our unwillingness to take strong preventative measures including strong immigration control measures and a foreign policy that places the interests of the United States at least a notch above other interests.

Terrorism was not a concern in WWII. What did we do then that we are unwilling to do now?

Iraq missle deployment circa 2001 (Parody).

German battleship gun factory circa 1940.

Hat Tip: Thrasymachus


GDP 1940

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

US 'aiming at Syria regime change'

Israel is making some bold predictions about US actions against Syria. How do they know what the US is going to do before we do?

Will action against Syria increase or decrease mid-east stability? Will they make it easier or harder for the US to disengage from the mid-east?

If the answers are "decrease" and "make harder," can we really say these actions in the interest of the US?

From the Telegraph:

Israel predicted yesterday that America would impose fresh sanctions on Syria in an attempt to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Shaul Mofaz, the defence minister, said he believed sanctions would follow publication of a United Nations report expected to implicate senior Syrian officials in the murder of Rafik al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.

President Assad could face US military action

"I won't be surprised if Syria gets a red card," Mr Mofaz told Israel radio. "[The United States] will take actions against Syria, beginning with economic sanctions and moving on to others, that will make it clear to the Syrians that their policies do not comply with UN decisions, the US's new world order or the prohibition of sovereign states to support terrorism."

On Saturday, President George W Bush and his national security council are to discuss America's options on Syria, ranging from tightening existing limited sanctions to military action.

Washington regards Syria as a transit point for fighters travelling to Iraq and a safe haven for Iraqi Ba'athists to organise and finance the insurgency. With US troops mounting repeated campaigns against insurgents in Iraqi towns along the Syrian frontier, some senior US officers advocate cross-border "hot pursuit" operations. Others call for assassinations of insurgent masterminds in Syria.

Any action will have to await the outcome of the UN investigation into Mr Hariri's murder in February.


Republican Nightmare

Iraq veterans are starting to run for political office, often as Democrats running against sitting Republicans.

In Ohio a House member in a safe Republican seat barely won a special election a few months ago. Support for the war has fallen substantially since then.

This is the type of pressure will get us out of Iraq fast. When House Representatives start losing their otherwise safe seats we will start to see action.

It would also be helpful if some veterans ran against pro-war Democrats. Any Iraq veterans in Nancy Pelosi's district interested?

Democrats should understand that these guys are not going to be party liners, but rather mavericks that vote their own conscience on most issues.

I think that is just what congress needs at this time.

WASHINGTON - Lawyer Patrick Murphy and five other veterans of the
Iraq war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions. Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.

This summer, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran, nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in an Ohio district considered a GOP stronghold. Hackett focused on his wartime experience and his opposition to Bush's policies. On Monday, with support from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other party leaders, Hackett decided to seek a higher office, the Senate seat now held by two-term Republican Mike DeWine, said spokesman David Woodruff.

"Some guys don't think it's time to question our government, but the fact is I love my country," said Murphy, 31, who fought with the 82nd Airborne Division. "We need to have an exit strategy now."


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bansky Wall Art in Israel

Bansky is an English graffiti "artist." While I generally don't want to encourage this activity, I think the "canvas" in this case is fair game.

See the rest here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

PNAC Heads for Europe

The people from PNAC want to do for Europe what they have done for the US.

The neoconservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC) has launched a new transatlantic effort, "Committee for a Strong Europe," Liberation journalist Pascal Riche reports. Hmm. After Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Committee for a Free Lebanon, etc. one wonders, is preemptive attack in order or something that won't involve US troops? So far, just a statement of principles and a hunt for signatures. But the honorary chairmen are 2008 GOP presidential hopeful John McCain, recently feted by the American Spetcator magazine, and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.

If you know some Europeans perhaps you should warn them.

warandpeice [french]

News Clips

Delay speaks in front of Zionist Group:JTA

Fomer AIPAC employees to request dismissal: JTA

Iraq war hurt Katrina relief effort:Independent

Is Israel planning a strike: YNet

Book deal for Judith Miller: Huffington Post

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Homeward Bound

It will take a range of action to move us in the right direction on Iraq (move us out that is).

The DC protest was very helpful. So are actions like "Homeward Bound."

Retired general: Iraq invasion was 'strategic disaster'

The Lowell Sun

WASHINGTON -- The invasion of Iraq was the “greatest strategic disaster in United States history,” a retired Army general said yesterday, strengthening an effort in Congress to force an American withdrawal beginning next year., Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Odom, a Vietnam veteran, said the invasion of Iraq alienated America's Middle East allies, making it harder to prosecute a war against terrorists.

The U.S. should withdraw from Iraq, he said, and reposition its military forces along the Afghan-Pakistani border to capture Osama bin Laden and crush al Qaeda cells.

“The invasion of Iraq I believe will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history,” said Odom, now a scholar with the Hudson Institute.

Homeward Bound, a bipartisan resolution with 60 House co-sponsors, including Lowell Rep. Marty Meehan, requests President Bush to announce plans for a draw-down by December, and begin withdrawing troops by October 2006.

This is an idea whose time has come.

Lowell Sun

Steve Sailer

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Atta, Abramoff and Able Danger

Abramoff's mafia and murder connections open up lots of opportunity for stories like this.

On Other Abramoff News:

[A] lot of people have been tying Abramoff to Atta based on the confirmed visit of 9/11 terrorists to Abramoff's SunCruz Casino, which made news last week because of the, also confirmed, NY mob involvement in the murder of one of it's owners

You can shrug it all off as "six degrees of separation," but the peices seem to be falling into place for Justin Raimondo.

Juan Cole on AIPAC

Juan Cole writes a post for the ages here

The American system is one of checks and balances, and takes it for granted that there will be lobbies on both sides of an issue. But because there are no wealthy, organized, well-connected lobbies on the other side of AIPAC or the Cuban-American National Foundation (e.g.), US government policy ends up being unbalanced and often irrational on those issues. [...] Is this really a situation that serves the American people? Franklin, the "go-to" man at the Pentagon for then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, was trying to get up a US war against Iran, and was soliciting AIPAC's help. We already know that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has tried as hard as he could to get the US into a war against Tehran. Do the rest of us, who already have one military occupation of a Middle Eastern country we're not comfortable with, have any say at all in this? Don't we need a PAC for Middle East Peace that could begin offsetting AIPAC, the War PAC? If the pro-Israeli lobby or the Israeli prime minister want wars in the Middle East, why don't they fight them themselves? By the way, AIPAC has for several years been attempting to get Congress to pass a law that would put it in charge of the Middle East professors, like myself, and in a position to punish our universities financially if any of us criticize it or Israeli policy. The most dangerous thing about key elements of the Zionist lobby is that they really do want to gut the US First Amendment when it comes to Israeli interests.

Read it completely, and mail to anyone who has any interest in these issues. It is brilliant.