Ex-CIA officer Slams US Allegations against Iran as Sham

US Creating False pretexts for Another War

In an alarming exposure of the acceleration and urgency of the American war party's push towards catastrophic war with Iran, Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter terrorism officer, in an interview [1] on 24th July with Anti War Radio debunked the NeoCons' repeated myth of Iran's support for AlQaeda as a pretext for war. Whilst acknowledging Iran's helpfulness in trying to establish security in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Giraldi spoke of the United States' hypocritical and illegal support for terrorist separatists groups inside Iran, and various plans and scenarios which have been drawn up to destroy Iran's military and economic infrastructure by massive bombardment, with the use of nuclear bombs a real and stated possibility.

Giraldi refuted the assumption that sharing hostilities towards the US, placed Iran and AlQaeda in the same camp and sharing similar agenda, arguing that Iran followed a very different agenda in its dealings with the US. He emphasised both the fact of Iranians' helpfulness in Iraq, in terms of pushing for greater stability, and also their help and cooperation in Afghanistan, as well as the reality of the deep hostilities between Shiia Iran and Sunni extremism of AlQaeda. Giraldi recalled the major attack against the Iranian consulate general in Afghanistan by the Taliban, a close ally of AlQaeda, in which 11 Iranian diplomats were killed, and the regular AlQaeda violent attacks against Shiia population in Iraq, and concluded that a Shiia Iranian-AlQaeda alliance was not a plausible possibility.

Full article...

Americans Moving to Canada at 30-Year High

The number of Americans admitted to Canada last year reached a 30-year high, with a 20 per cent increase over the previous year and nearly double the number that arrived in 2000.

The results of a survey, conducted by the Association for Canadian Studies, also revealed that the so-called “brain drain” of Canada appears to be narrowing.

The survey found that 10,942 Americans came to Canada in 2006, compared to just over 9,262 in 2005. In 2000, 5,828 came to the country.

While twice as many Canadians went to the States than Americans came to Canada, that ratio diminished between 2005 and 2006.


punditman says: It is impossible to tell from the article above, how many of this new wave of Americans moving to Canada are political refugees. However, it stands to reason that this is certainly a factor in the increased numbers–post 2004 election, when there was much talk in the media of this phenomenon picking up steam if Bush “won” again.

Looks like it is happening…

On the other hand, the reason Canadians still go to the United States is quite simple: economic. This is the so-called brain drain amongst professionals that has been going on for decades. They perceive they can make more money and pay less taxes, although the evidence is inconclusive. The fact is the US economy is simply bigger and people go where the opportunity is, or where head office tells them to go. What is not clear is how many of these folks on either side of equation eventually return home.

Here is an interesting factoid: Microsoft recently announced that it would be opening offices in Vancouver, largely due to the fact that Canadian visa laws are far less stringent than American ones. It is easier to employ foreign workers in Canada than it is in the United States.

This clear trend of more Americans emigrating to Canada echoes what happened in the 1960s. The total number of American citizens who moved to Canada during the Vietnam War era was about 125,000. If you divide that number by 10 years (of war), then you get about 12,500, so the 2006 number of almost 11,000 looks like it is approaching these old averages. Surprise, surprise!


Amputations Bring Health Crisis To Iraq

by- Suzie-Q @ 4:06 PM MST

Iraq is facing a hidden healthcare and social crisis over the soaring number of amputations, largely of lower limbs, necessitated by the daily explosions and violence gripping the country.

In the north of Iraq, the Red Crescent Society and the director general for health services in Mosul have told US forces, there is a requirement for up to 3,000 replacement limbs a year. If that estimate is applied across the country, it suggests an acute and looming long-term health challenge that has been largely ignored by the world.

The revelation of the scale of limb loss suffered by Iraqi civilians is not entirely surprising, even though it has gone unreported. Levels of amputations performed by military surgeons on US troops in Iraq are twice as high as those recorded in previous wars: the most recently available figures suggest 6 per cent of wounded US troops require an amputation, compared with 3 per cent in other conflicts.



As U.S. Army Closes Bases, Germans Bid Sad Farewell

by- Suzie-Q @ 8:53 AM MST

BUEDINGEN, Germany — Sixty-two years after they arrived in this medieval village — and 17 years after it ceased to be the front line in the Cold War — U.S. troops are leaving and preparing to hand their base back to the town.

The 640 soldiers in the 1st Squadron of the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Regiment will be gone by mid-August. Most have already left, the latest in a rush back to the States that's seen American troop levels in Europe fall by about a third since 2005. The U.S. also is shutting down bases this summer in Gelnhausen, Darmstadt and Hanau and a barracks in Mannheim.

At a time when two-thirds of Germans view the U.S. unfavorably, it sounds like perfect timing. That's not the view in Buedingen, however.

"I can't think of a negative thing to say about America," said lifelong resident Ursula Schmueck, who helps run a 1950s museum in town. "I don't know anyone who could. We all love America here. I think that's because we know it."

Buedingen is a fairy-tale town of 8,500 people. It has its own Witches Tower, a Jerusalem Gate and Schwan (Swan) Inn, all dating from before 1600, as well as its own legend. According to the story, 500 years ago a new countess refused to consummate her marriage because of the din from the croaking of frogs. That set off a wild night of frog-catching by the entire town.



When Pressing A Tough Sale, Bush Is A Lousy Salesman

by- Suzie-Q @ 7:22 PM MST

WASHINGTON — President Bush now has what he asked for — time to sell the people and the Congress on the Iraq war.

But an extra 60 days from Congress, the addition of the talented Ed Gillespie to run the White House communications strategy, and a newly ramped-up sales pitch cannot change the underlying fact: George Bush is a poor salesman.

He's never really sold the country or Congress something it didn't already want. And when he's tried to sell something the people or the politicians didn't want, he's fallen flat.

Think of the recent battle over immigration.

Despite his long, hard push for a comprehensive overhaul of border security while providing a path to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants already here, he succeeded only in insulting his own political base. In a May interview with McClatchy Newspapers, for example, he questioned the patriotism of conservatives criticizing a proposal he charged they hadn't even read.

They were outraged. The proposal died.



Court Tells U.S. to Reveal Data on Detainees at Guantánamo

by- Suzie-Q @ 9:45 AM MST

P. Sabin Willett, a lawyer for the detainees, called Friday's court ruling “a resounding rejection of the government’s effort to hide the truth.”

A federal appeals court ordered the government yesterday to turn over virtually all its information on Guantánamo detainees who are challenging their detention, rejecting an effort by the Justice Department to limit disclosures and setting the stage for new legal battles over the government’s reasons for holding the men indefinitely.

The ruling, which came in one of the main court cases dealing with the fate of the detainees, effectively set the ground rules for scores of cases by detainees challenging the actions of Pentagon tribunals that decide whether terror suspects should be held as enemy combatants.

It was the latest of a series of stinging legal challenges to the administration’s detention policies that have amplified pressure on the Bush administration to find some alternative to Guantánamo, where about 360 men are now being held.

A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington unanimously rejected a government effort to limit the information it must turn over to the court and lawyers for the detainees.



Insurgents form political front to plan for US pullout

punditman says:
It had to happen: the bulk of the Iraqi Sunni resistance has unified to fight a common foe: US occupation. The article below, from The Guardian, puts the lie to the whole “We are fighting al-Queda in Iraq” hogwash. These people are Sunni-based but exclude both al-Queda and the Ba’athists from their ranks. They are committed to freeing Iraq from foreign troops, reject cooperation with parties involved in political institutions set up under US occupation, and they anticipate negotiating an early US withdrawal. They want a temporary government to run the country until free elections can be held. They deny they get support from any foreign government, claiming they have been offered and rejected funding and arms from Iran (interesting) and have been under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Turkey to unite (also interesting). “We are the only resistance movement in modern history which has received no help or support from any other country,” Abdallah Suleiman Omary, head of the political department of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, told the Guardian. “The reason is we are fighting America.”

I am guessing you would be hard pressed to find this type of solid reporting and analysis of the Iraqi resistance anywhere in the US media. The reason is that the situation on the ground in Iraq flies in the face of the simplistic sloganeering and blatant lying coming out of the White House.

Leaders of Iraqi groups say attacks will go on until Americans leave

Seumas Milne in Damascus
Thursday July 19, 2007

Seven of the most important Sunni-led insurgent organisations fighting the US occupation in Iraq have agreed to form a public political alliance with the aim of preparing for negotiations in advance of an American withdrawal, their leaders have told the Guardian.

In their first interview with the western media since the US-British invasion of 2003, leaders of three of the insurgent groups - responsible for thousands of attacks against US and Iraqi armed forces and police–said they would continue their armed resistance until all foreign troops were withdrawn from Iraq, and denounced al-Queda for sectarian killings and suicide bombings against civilians.

Speaking in Damascus, the spokesmen for the three groups - the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Ansar al-Sunna and Iraqi Hamas - said they planned to hold a congress to launch a united front and appealed to Arab governments, other governments and the UN to help them establish a permanent political presence outside Iraq.

Full article…


Bombing and Spraying Afghanistan

The New Air War in the Hindu Kush


The rising tide of Afghan civilian deaths has opened a rift between the U.S. and NATO's 37,000-member International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). According to NATO officials, the U.S.'s increasing use of air power has badly damaged support for the war in both Afghanistan and Europe.

Daan Everts, the senior NATO civilian in Afghanistan, says the U.S. has created "a fallout that is negative because the collateral damage and particularly the civilian casualties are seen as unduly high, certainly by the Afghan people. This is of concern to us."


punditman says: This helps explain why support for the war is falling amongst Canadians as well. In addition to the US air war, there is the disastrous opium-spraying program thanks to DynCorp, a private US mercenary company that has done extensive spraying of coca plants in Columbia. Perhaps citizens in NATO countries are waking up to the reality of who is in charge of this war, who is making a mess of it and who the cannon fodder are?


John Fogerty De Ja Vu

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Report: Al Qaeda may use Iraq operatives to attack U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Al Qaeda will try to tap its allies and resources in Iraq in its efforts to exact another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, according to a top government intelligence report released Tuesday.

Officials have expressed concern in the past that the Iraq war is providing a theater for al Qaeda to train insurgents and test the terror network's capabilities.

"In addition, we assess that its association with [al Qaeda in Iraq] helps al Qaeda to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for homeland attacks," said the declassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate.

Full Article

punditman says: Of course these warnings have nothing at all to do with all of the scandals and political problems facing the Bush administration. Nothing.

Impeach Now--Or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy


Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.

Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship in the form of "executive orders" that are triggered whenever Bush declares a national emergency. Recent statements by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, former Republican senator Rick Santorum and others suggest that Americans might expect a series of staged, or false flag, "terrorist" events in the near future.

Many attentive people believe that the reason the Bush administration will not bow to expert advice and public opinion and begin withdrawing US troops from Iraq is that the administration intends to rescue its unpopular position with false flag operations that can be used to expand the war to Iran.



Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

· Military solution back in favour as Rice loses out
· President 'not prepared to leave conflict unresolved'
Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Julian Borger
Monday July 16, 2007


The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo."


punditman says:
Could this be Dick's last stand?


About 200,000 Troops In SE Turkey-Security Sources

by- Suzie-Q @ 2:39 PM MST

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, July 13 (Reuters) - Turkey's army has boosted troop levels in the southeast to more than 200,000, most of them stationed along the border with Iraq, security sources told Reuters on Friday.

The unusually large-scale buildup, which includes tanks, heavy artillery and aircraft, is part of a security crackdown on Kurdish rebels hiding in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, said the security sources, who declined to be named.

NATO member Turkey has refused to rule out a possible cross-border operation to crush Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels, despite opposition from the United States and Iraq.

The military General Staff in Ankara was not immediately available for comment on the troop numbers.


'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi... You know, so what?'

Interviews with US veterans show for the first time the pattern of brutality in Iraq
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 12 July 2007

It is an axiom of American political life that the actions of the US military are beyond criticism. Democrats and Republicans praise the men and women in uniform at every turn. Apart from the odd bad apple at Abu Ghraib, the US military in Iraq is deemed to be doing a heroic job under trying circumstances.

That perception will take a severe knock today with the publication in The Nation magazine of a series of in-depth interviews with 50 combat veterans of the Iraq war from across the US. In the interviews, veterans have described acts of violence in which US forces have abused or killed Iraqi men, women and children with impunity.


punditman says:
This is what happens in all wars. Ordinary people turn into ruthless killing machines. No one should be surprised at how people behave under horrific circumstances. No side is ever spared and no side is without sin. These atrocities are the natural outcome of a war that is itself an atrocity of the highest order: the supreme crime of international aggression. Time to stop sugar-coating the deeds of the "good guys" and see reality for what it is.

'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi... You know, so what?'

Interviews with US veterans show for the first time the pattern of brutality in Iraq
By Leonard Doyle in Washington

It is an axiom of American political life that the actions of the US military are beyond criticism. Democrats and Republicans praise the men and women in uniform at every turn. Apart from the odd bad apple at Abu Ghraib, the US military in Iraq is deemed to be doing a heroic job under trying circumstances.

That perception will take a severe knock today with the publication in The Nation magazine of a series of in-depth interviews with 50 combat veterans of the Iraq war from across the US. In the interviews, veterans have described acts of violence in which US forces have abused or killed Iraqi men, women and children with impunity.

The report steers clear of widely reported atrocities, such as the massacre in Haditha in 2005, but instead unearths a pattern of human rights abuses. "It's not individual atrocity," Specialist Garett Reppenhagen, a sniper from the 263rd Armour Battalion, said. "It's the fact that the entire war is an atrocity."

Full article...

punditman says:
This is what happens in all wars. Ordinary people are turned into ruthless killing machines. No side is spared, no side holier than thou. Citizens of the West should stop sugar-coating the actions of "our" side, and instead recognize that these atrocities are the natural result of a war based upon lies.


Most Iranians Want US Ties, Recognize Israel - Poll

Poll published in Wall Street Journal shows most Iranians willing to recognize Israel in the frame of agreement to restore relations with US
Yitzhak Benhorin

An overwhelming majority of Iranians, 70 percent, favor normal relations and trade with the United States, a nationwide poll conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow has found.

In return for normal relations with the US, most Iranians were willing to recognize Israel and Palestine as independent states, ending Iranian supports for armed groups in Iraq, and adopt a transparent nuclear policy, Terror Free Tomorrow President Ken Ballen wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

Full article...

punditman says:
Here is what the White House thinks: "All the more reason to bomb 'em back to the stone age." The Bush administration is not interested in what is actually happening inside Iran. They certainly don't care about the Iranian people. If they did, they would not be aiding and abetting attacks against Iran from inside Iraq. In fact, friendly, diplomatic relations with Iran is their worst nightmare, because this would undercut their propaganda offensive and would only derail their preparations for a full-scale assault against Iran before Bush's term expires.


Michael Moore v. Wolf Blitzer (7/9/07)

Part One of Michael Moore taking on Wolf Blitzer, unscripted. Well worth playing both all the way through!

Michael Moore - Wolf Blitzer, Part Two

Part Two of Michael Moore takes on Wolf Blitzer, unscripted.


The War on Terror as Fraud: Iraq al-Qaida group threatens Iran

CAIRO, Egypt - The leader of an al-Qaida umbrella group in Iraq threatened to wage war against Iran unless it stops supporting Shiites in Iraq within two months, according to an audiotape released Sunday.

punditman says:

Let’s see if I get this straight: al-Qaida in Iraq (an organization that never existed before the US invaded), has threatenened Iran, accusing them of arming Shite insurgents in Iraq. Sound familiar? This pronouncement may as well have come straight out of a White House press conference. As usual, the interests of the neo-cons and those of their supposed enemy dovetail in rather convenient fashion.

Unfortunately, we should not be surprised. Lately, award-winning journalist Seymour Hersch has been writing about how the US has been secretly funding al-Qaida-linked groups in Iraq as part of a shifting strategy to confront Iranian (Shia) influence.

At the same time, the Bush administration has a history of accusing Iran of harbouring al-Qaida fighters. Confused? This, despite the fact that Iran handed hundreds of al-Qaida and Taliban detainees over to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and other Arab and European countries, after the US invaded Afghanistan. Iran hates al-Qaida and the US neo-cons sabatoged an opportunity to work closely with Iran in the war against al-Qaida and its Taliban sponsors, back in 2002. Moreover, it was revealed recently that the Bushies have a policy to blame Iran for any future al-Qaida attacks on the US and use it as an excuse to bomb them.

Gotcha! Your war on terror is a fraud. Future historians will debate just how deep the rot goes–-providing there is a livable world once the wackos of all stripes are done with it. But one thing is clear: these insane and deceptive ruses are part and parcel of the Bush administration’s MO–-contradiction and hypocrisy, mere tools of their deadly trade. Thinking people understand this, but they need to act decisively to expose all of the crimes and lies intended to instill fear, confusion and paralysis. Meanwhile, the rest of the population needs to escape from the matrix.


Tribal Chief Says NATO Airstrike Killed 108 Afghan Civilians

punditman says:

Here we go again. The mainstream media is mostly focused on whether or not the Afghan War is worth the cost--in Western lives. But the reality is that foreign forces have been killing thousands of innocent Afghanis--men, women and children--for almost six years.
It is worth noting that as citizens, we have no say whatsoever over the military strategy that is being pursued in our names. This means that if you support the war, then you support the way it is being waged because you can't have your war and eat it too. There is to be no tinkering around the edges by Joe Sixpack, no tweaking of tactics. You don't get to say, "I support the mission, I just wish we didn't kill civilians."
Supporters of this campaign need to ask themselves why they think aerial bombardment and counter-insurgency win hearts and minds when the history of warfare teaches us that these techniques merely turn civilians against the occupier, adds to the number of foe and heightens their resolve to strike back in any way they can.


U.S. Aborted Raid on Qaeda Chiefs in Pakistan in ’05

by- Suzie-Q @ 5:06 PM MST

WASHINGTON, July 7 — A secret military operation in early 2005 to capture senior members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas was aborted at the last minute after top Bush administration officials decided it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan, according to intelligence and military officials.

The target was a meeting of Qaeda leaders that intelligence officials thought included Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s top deputy and the man believed to run the terrorist group’s operations.

But the mission was called off after Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, rejected an 11th-hour appeal by Porter J. Goss, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said. Members of a Navy Seals unit in parachute gear had already boarded C-130 cargo planes in Afghanistan when the mission was canceled, said a former senior intelligence official involved in the planning.



Six Canadian soldiers killed in southern Afghanistan

Six Canadian soldiers killed in southern Afghanistan

punditman says:
Six more dead. We are told by the Harper government and all the pro-war supporters with their yellow ribbons on their Hummers, that Canadian troops support the Afghan mission 100%, and that anyone who criticizes Canadian policy is adversely affecting the morale of our professionally trained military. Oh, and they are helping the Taliban too.

These claims fly in the face of elementary logic. First, it makes no sense that all troops support a dubious mission that has no end-game strategy. Has anyone done a poll? An unbiased scrutiny of Canadian soldiers' opinions is hardly likely but here is what one mother of a soldier who served in Afghanistan, was wounded, and is now home, has to say.

Assuming she is a real person and not some devious insurgent disguised as the mother of a returning soldier (I hear the ludicrous claims already), then perhaps she is on to something? No doubt they will weather it through, as soldiers do, but that doesn't mean that each and every grunt in the field agrees with the mission, or thinks that it is working. We may never know.

Nor does it follow that criticism back home affects the fighting ability of a force of professionals who joined the army of their own free volition, and who by now, certainly know what they are getting themselves into by the time they are shipped out, or they should.

Finally, the accusation that criticizing the mission amounts to helping the Taliban--the favoured bookmark in the Harper-Bush play book--barely warrants the time and space it has taken to record this disgusting, political cheap shot.

Keith Olbermann: Resign Bush and Cheney, Resign!

This is well worth the listen. It's great to hear a member of the Big Media call for resignations in the White House. Of course, when that doesn't happen, it's time to IMPEACH! Even if that fails, it is well worth the effort.


Unimpeachably Impeachable

punditman says: With precious few in Congress willing to take the obvious next step, the Bushies will simply try to run out the clock. The fact that they may get away with it could spell the final death knell for US democracy (what's left of it).

by Ray McGovern from antiwar.com

Last week's four-part Washington Post feature on Vice President Dick Cheney removed any doubt in my mind as to whether he and President George W. Bush have committed the kinds of high crimes and misdemeanors that warrant impeachment.

While President George W. Bush bears the ultimate responsibility, the nature of the evidence against Cheney and his closest associates is so specific and overwhelming that it makes sense to impeach and bring him to trial first.

Subpoenas from Capitol Hill are flying downtown into executive office buildings like paper airplanes, but the potential for obfuscation and delay is immense, and the danger to the Republic speaks for a more urgent, simpler approach.

As hundreds are killed each day in the misbegotten war in Iraq with no end in sight, the same officials who brought us Iraq – with the vice president in the lead – are salivating for war on Iran.

There is a blizzard of possible charges warranting impeachment, and that is part of the problem. It's not only outrage fatigue, it is knowing how to sort through what Thomas Jefferson called "a long train of abuses and usurpations" to select the most heinous, when it is difficult to discern which of them most offends our Constitution and the rule of law.

Suggestion: From the most heinous, select just one for which there is ready proof – one not susceptible of the kind of diddling that has been so prevalent in Washington these past several years.

Why not focus on a high crime that the Bush administration has already admitted to, with claims it is above the law and the Constitution: electronic eavesdropping on Americans without the required court warrant.

This charge has the additional advantage of precedent. It was included in the second (of three) Articles of Impeachment voted against President Richard Nixon by a 28 to 10 vote by the House Committee on the Judiciary on July 27, 1974.



Bush Commutes Libby Prison Sentence

by- Suzie-Q @ 7:35 PM MST

Former White House aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, right, is escorted to a waiting vehicle with his attorney, Theodore Well, left, outside federal Court in Washington, Thursday, June 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak investigation Monday, delivering a political thunderbolt in the highly charged criminal case. Bush said the sentence was just too harsh.

Bush's move came just five hours after a federal appeals panel ruled that Libby could not delay his prison term. That meant Libby was likely to have to report soon, and it put new pressure on the president, who had been sidestepping calls by Libby's allies to pardon Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.

"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald disputed the president's assertion that the prison term was excessive. Libby was sentenced under the same laws as other criminals, Fitzgerald said. "It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals," the prosecutor said.