It’s Time to Promote Peace in Afghanistan

By John W. Warnock

Global Research, March 30, 2008

In Canada the debate on Afghanistan has had a very narrow focus. The primary concern has been the role of the Canadian Forces in the counter-insurgency war. How many more Canadians will be killed? How long will our forces be in Kandahar province? What will the U.S. government think if Canada withdraws from the southern zone of conflict? If Canada pulls its forces out of Afghanistan, will there be chaos?

It is time for Canadians to consider what the Afghan people want. At the top of the list would certainly be an end to the death, destruction and despair, the other 3-D policy. A variety of surveys show at least 70% of Afghans do not want to see a return of the dreaded Taliban. Yet an even larger percentage supports a negotiated settlement with the Taliban to end the war. The U.S.-NATO policy, supported by recent Canadian governments, perpetuates the war.

Outside of Canada there is widespread understanding that the counter insurgency war is not working. This past year was the most destructive since the U.S. invasion, with at least 6200 Afghans killed, a 24% increase in roadside bombs, and a dramatic increase in suicide bombs. The United Nations, as well as U.S. and U.K. military leaders, report that the zone of operation of the insurgents is spreading. Attacks are now up to 550 per month.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...Unfortunately, Ottawa's prime concern in Afghanistan appears to be the butt-kissing idea of following the failed US strategy of counter-insurgent warfare.

Worried Yet? Saudis Prepare for "Sudden Nuclear Hazards" After Cheney Visit

by Chris Floyd

I. One Tick Closer to Midnight

Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. On Saturday, it was revealed that the Saudi Shura Council -- the elite group that implements the decisions of the autocratic inner circle -- is preparing "national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts' warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors," one of the kingdom's leading newspapers, Okaz, reports. The German-based dpa news service relayed the paper's story.

Simple prudence -- or ominous timing? We noted here last week that an American attack on Iran was far more likely -- and more imminent -- than most people suspect. We pointed to the mountain of evidence for this case gathered by scholar William R. Polk, one of the top aides to John Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to other indicators of impending war. The story by Okaz -- which would not have appeared in the tightly controlled dictatorship without approval from the top -- is yet another, very weighty piece of evidence laid in the scales toward a new, horrendous conflict.

We don't know what the Saudis told Cheney in private -- or even more to the point, what he told them. But the release of this story now, just after his departure, would seem to be a clear indication that the Saudis have good reason to fear a looming attack on Iran's nuclear sites and are actively preparing for it.

punditman says...Keep Reading ... (but you may want to grab a stiff drink).


Harper snubs Earth Hour


Thanks to its place of prominence in the capital, 24 Sussex Dr., the Prime Minister's residence, is always easy to spot. As Ottawa went dark last night for Earth Hour, it was even easier.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's lights stayed on.

punditman says...
Surprise, surprise, folks. Read the rest here and think about how stupid he is politically--even if doesn't believe in anthropomorphic climate change.

Barack Obama - The Tide Is Turning

punditman says...I always loved this song.


Too Timid, Too Little and Too Late

Frontline's War

Former CIA Analyst


Frontline's "Bush's War" on PBS Monday and Tuesday evening was a nicely put-together rehash of the top players' trickery that led to the attack on Iraq, together with the power-grabbing, back-stabbing, and limitless incompetence of the occupation.

Except for an inside-the-beltway tidbit here and there-for example, about how the pitiable secretary of state Colin Powell had to suffer so many indignities at the hands of other type-A hard chargers, Frontline added little to the discussion. Notably missing was any allusion to the unconscionable role the Fourth Estate adopted as indiscriminate cheerleader for the home team; nor was there any mention that the invasion was a serious violation of international law. But those omissions, I suppose, should have come as no surprise.

Nor was it a surprise that any viewer hoping for insight into why Cheney and Bush were so eager to attack Iraq was left with very thin gruel. It was more infotainment, bereft of substantive discussion of the whys and wherefores of what in my view is the most disastrous foreign policy move in our nation's history.

Full Article...

punditman says... For those interested in media bias and manipulation, here's an excerpt from the above Full article link:

"...the White House, and especially Cheney's swollen office, exert enormous pressure over what we are allowed to see and hear. The fear they instill in the corporate press, and in what once was serious investigative reporting of programs like Frontline, translates into programs getting neutered or killed outright-and massive public ignorance."

Operation Cassandra

by William S. Lind

Adm. Fallon's (forced?) resignation was the last warning we are likely to get of an attack on Iran. It does not mean an attack is certain, but the U.S. could not attack Iran so long as he was the Centcom commander. That obstacle is now gone.

Vice President Cheney's Middle East tour is another indicator. According to a report in The American Conservative, on his previous trip Cheney told our allies, including the Saudis, that Bush would attack Iran before the end of his term. If that report was correct, then his current tour might have the purpose of telling them when it is coming.

Why not just do that through the State Department? State may not be in the loop, nor all of DOD for that matter. The State Department, OSD, the intelligence agencies, the Army, and the Marine Corps are all opposed to war with Iran. Of the armed services, only the Air Force reportedly is in favor, seeking an opportunity to show what air power can do. As always, it neglects to inform the decision-makers what it cannot do.

The purpose of this column is not to warn of an imminent assault on Iran, though personally I think it is coming, and soon. Rather, it is to warn of a possible consequence of such an attack. Let me state it here, again, as plainly as I can: an American attack on Iran could cost us the whole army we now have in Iraq.

Full Article...


George W. Told the Nation

Lyrics by Tom Paxton

I got a letter from old George W.,
It said, "Son, I hate to trouble ya,
But this war of mine is going bad.
It's time for me to roll the dice;
I know you've already been there twice,
But I am sending you back to Baghdad."

Hey! George W. told the nation,
"This is not an escalation;
This is just a surge toward victory.
Just to win my little war,
I'm sending 20,000 more,
To help me save Iraq from Iraqis.

And, so, I made it to Iraq
In time for one more sneak attack,
And to my old battalion I was sent.
We drive around in our Humvees,
Listening to The Black-Eyed Peas
And speaking fondly of the president. (To Chorus)

Celebrities all come to see us,
Grateful they don't have to be us,
Politicians show their best face card.
Where is Bubba? Where's our leader?
Where's our favorite lip reader?
AWOL from the Texas National Guard

If you're hunkered in Fallujah
Wondering who it was who screwed ya,
Wondering what became of “Shock and Awe!”

You are feeling semi-certain
It has to do with Halliburton,
Dick Cheney's why you drew that fatal straw.

punditman says: This is an update of an old Paxton song entitled:
Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation. Check out this classic folkie here.


More Iraq War Propaganda

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Action Alert

No Antiwar Voices in NYT 'Debate'
Look back at Iraq features nine hawkish 'experts'

The New York Times offered a look back at the Iraq War in its March 16 "Week In Review" section that leaned heavily towards pro-war voices.

The Times explained to readers:
"To mark this week's fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the Op-Ed page asked nine experts on military and foreign affairs to reflect on their attitudes in the spring of 2003 and to comment on the one aspect of the war that most surprised them or that they wished they had considered in the prewar debate."

The "experts" who were asked to weigh in all more or less supporters of the Iraq War, most of whom evinced no regret about their errors. The neoconservative American Enterprise Institute provided three columnists: Richard Perle, Fred Kagan and Danielle Pletka, all of them among the strongest advocates for the invasion. The Times also gave space to the Brookings Institution's Kenneth Pollack, another strong supporter of the invasion.

Keep Reading...

punditman says... More propaganda from the newspaper with the masthead logo that states: "All the news that fit to print." Have they no shame?


Iraq: Five Years of War

...and the Media are still M.I.A.

punditman says...

Five years of combat, over 1.2 million Iraqi deaths, almost 4,000 American dead and tens of thousands of US wounded -- and still, the Iraq War's apologists and its media sycophants still don't get it. Or they refuse to. Instead, they remain so blinded by chesty notions of "American exceptionalism" and "good intentions" that they still can't see the desert for the shrubs.

Meanwhile, Iraq drowns in an ocean of suffering.

And whose fault could this be? According to the war's apologists, it lies not only with Jihadists and suicide bombers (who, it should be stressed, were conspicuously missing in pre-invasion Iraq), and other insurgents, who for some reason refuse to lay down their arms -- but also with the incompetents responsible for the "poor planning" behind the occupation and the lack of a "effective counter-insurgency strategy." In other words, blame the bureaucrats for messing up an otherwise "noble project." Missing from this analysis is the vileness of the project itself. Also missing is any hint that those who are directly responsible should be held directly accountable; namely, the Bush administration and others in the "coalition of the willing."

Typical of this mindset are the views expressed in an article by Pulitzer prize winner, John F. Burns, of the New York Times, entitled No end in sight to bleeding in Iraq.

Burns chronicles his and other journalists' boosterism as the first bombs began to fall on Baghdad five years ago:
On the evening of March 19, 2003, a few Western journalists had grandstand seats for the big event in Baghdad, the start of the full-scale American bombing of targets in the Iraqi capital.We were on the 21st-storey roof of the Palestine Hotel, with a panoramic view of Saddam Hussein's command complex across the Tigris River.

The first cruise missile struck the vast, bunker-like presidential command complex in what would become, under the U.S. occupation, the Green Zone. Then missiles and bombs struck palaces, military complexes, intelligence buildings, the heart of Saddam's tyranny. Iraqis yearning for their liberation called it "the air show.''

Among many on the roof, there was a sense that the suffering of millions of Iraqis that we had chronicled, and pitied, was ending. Those missiles and bombs seemed to be retribution for a ruthless dictator and the wretchedness he had visited on Iraq's people.

I get it. So the sentiment went something like this: "Yeah, sure, war is hell and all that, but we're embedded with the good guys...now on with the big event"!

Burns sees the whole Iraq debacle primarily in terms of a series of bureaucratic missteps, from the failure to stop mobs from looting historic sites while US marines stood by and followed their orders to protect only the Oil Ministry, to "the failure to find weapons of mass destruction; the absence of a serious plan for the period after Baghdad fell; the disbanding of the Iraqi army, and thus casting aside the help it might have given in fighting the insurgency; the lack of an effective American counterinsurgency strategy until the troop increase last year."

The failure to "find" weapons of mass destruction? Is he suggesting there was something significant to find? Are we to believe he never listened to former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter?, who, in the lead up to the ill-fated Iraq invasion, argued that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction?

The lack of an "effective" American counterinsurgency strategy until the troop increase last year? Ah, yes the "surge is working" -- that is if you consider ethnic cleansing and a bloody stalemate to be signs of "success."

Burns continues...
There were also instances when America's intentions were betrayed by its troops, with the abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib, with the shooting deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha and with the rape and murder of a teenage girl at Mahmudiya, along with the killing of three of her family, all leading to court-martial hearings that tore at the heart of anyone who starts from a position of admiration for the U.S. military.
Alright, now I am embarrassed for the guy. America's "intentions" (lilly white of course), were "betrayed" by a few soldiers? What did he expect would happen? I have a sneaky feeling he may have missed a few more "instances," so perhaps he should tune in to Winter Soldier.

Burns can easily be considered an early cheerleader of the Iraq invasion -- one of those journalists who urged it on, a laptop bombardier, if you will. Here is an excerpt from an October 2007 interview with him in The Independent:
In the pages of the New York Times he has argued that, even without WMD, "the stronger case [for military intervention] was the one that needed no inspectors to confirm: that Saddam Hussein, in his 23 years in power, plunged this country into a bloodbath of medieval proportions, and exported some of that terror to his neighbours."
This is liberal interventionism at its worst. Find a dictator with an appalling human rights record (easy enough), and viola! Causis belli! Invade the country, foist our Western ways on them, toss an election in and install a puppet regime. Aside from myopic idiocy, this sort of media cheerleading supports the doctrine of "preventive war," which stands in direct contravention to, and respect for, international law, treaties and institutions.

What's more, Burns sees his home-side rooting as having had no impact:
Although I was writing for an American newspaper with considerable reach and influence in Washington, DC, I didn't see myself as being a player in that process. I felt that that was something that was quite independent, at least in my mind.
Not a player? Just another "guy with an opinion" who called for the invasion of a country of 27 million people? I guess we are not supposed to notice where he works or the power of that soapbox (oddly enough, he is correct, but in hindsight: why should anyone trust the NY Times anymore, after the unmasking of Judith Miller as an administration mouthpiece in the lead up to war?).

The sycophantic mindset necessitates turning a blind eye to the crime of international aggression while ignoring other possible motives that the US and Britain might have had. Why Iraq? Why not Burma?

So, if there was no legal basis to invade Iraq, what moral imperative gave Bush the right to invade? Wait...it always comes to me...9-11! Media mealy mouths never fail to remind me of this. Never mind that Iraq had nothing to do with what occurred on that fateful day. But the sycophants ignored this long established fact, and in many cases, actually parroted this Cheney fiction in the lead up to war.

In an world full of honest reporting, the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq would by now be considered, an historic crime of great magnitude. A crime not just against the Iraqi people, who did not threaten anyone, but a crime against humanity and a crime against the truth. Not so.

You would think that after the release of a study by The Centre for Public Integrity that shows that at least 935 demonstrably false statements were made on 532 separate occasions by President George W. Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan -- that the media would care to report the truth about stove-piped intelligence. Not so.

What should be headline news is generally ignored or brushed aside and instead, we are supposed to believe that 935 false statements were the result of "faulty intelligence" -- instead of blatant lying and systematic propaganda.

If the mainstream media had viewed the Iraq War as the supreme crime that it is, then impeachment proceedings against Team Bush would have begun by now. And Team Blair and all other team members in the "coalition of the willing" would be facing similar charges. But not so.

Part of the basis for any such legal action would necessarily involve the idea of deliberate deception. Not surprisingly, neo-con apologists have never liked such talk. Back in July, 2003, Norman Specter wrote in the The Globe and Mail that, "The case for war did not rest on whether he (Saddam) had X number of biological weapons laboratories or Y amount of nerve agent. It rested on his record and ambitions."

At the time, Punditman wrote the following:

Well, no actually.

The "case for war", at least according to those who sent soldiers to wage it at their behest, actually rested upon Iraq being an imminent threat to the security of the US, indeed to "the peace of the world," (to pluck just one Orwellian passage from Bush's infinite inventory).

And that "case" was built upon a very specific set of claims, accusations, and assertions concerning Mr. Hussein's apparent possession of "vast quantities" of WMDs and his supposed links to Al Queda. These "facts" we were told, left the United States and Britain no choice but to attack ASAP. The cruelty of Saddam's regime and his previous aggressions and miscalculations notwithstanding were simply ad-on pretexts for regime change, once it became clear that the world wasn't buying the Bush-Blair "case for war."

Finally, you would think--you would hope, by now--that establishment media would at least view the Iraqi catastrophe through the lens of the victims while pointing out the underlying cause of the tragedy. Not so.

In June 2007, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees published a study that estimated that 2.2 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighbouring countries, another 2 million were displaced internally and 40% of Iraq's middle class is believed to have fled the country.

Meanwhile, in the seven months preceding the end of May, 2007, a mere 69 Iraqis were given refugee status in the United States. Good luck to the Iraqi refugee trying to flee to America! And yet his or her plight is the direct result of the violence and chaos brought about by this horrific war--a war initiated by the United States, a war that was unnecessary, unprovoked, and illegal -- and a war that has made conditions much worse in the region and, in many ways, much worse for America itself.

Then again, average Iraqis, and I dare say average Americans, were never the main concern of those who have so callously plotted their destinies, their deaths and their sufferings.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to do their job of masquerading as a functioning "fourth estate" -- as they kiss the king's behind.


Scott Horton Interviews Chris Floyd

Chris Floyd, author of the blog and the book Empire Burlesque, discusses some antiwar activists’ misplaced admiration for Adm. Fallon, his characterization of the Iranian people as “ants” to be “crushed,” the de-facto replacement of U.S. ambassadors by admirals and generals, the shallowness of the American media, the obvious and yet somehow unpopular fact that foreigners are people, the ongoing American atrocity in Somalia and the Democrats’ bankrupt “liberal interventionism.”

Chris Floyd is an award-winning American journalist, and author of the book, Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Regime.

Listen to the interview here -- courtesy of Antiwar.com.

punditman says...Chris Floyd tells it like it is. Will Americans ever wake up?

The U.S. Military's Assassination Problem

Software like "Bugsplat" is supposed to keep decapitation attacks precise. So why do we keep blowing up Iraqi wedding parties?
March/April 2008 Issue

IN 2004, when an American missile fired from a Predator drone killed Taliban leader Nek Mohammed, an observer told a journalist that the bombing was so exact it "didn't damage any of the buildings around the lawn where Mohammed was seated." It was an endorsement, if ever there was one, of the Bush administration's post-9/11 efforts at assassinations using what are known as decapitation attacks.

The practice, which is shrouded under a veil of intense secrecy, is generally regarded as warfare's answer to laser surgery: clean and accurate, cheaper than waging a protracted ground battle, and less risky for American troops. But in reality, these premeditated and narrowly focused air bombings often fail to kill their intended foe and hit civilians instead. "It's much more difficult to hunt people with a 2,000-pound bomb than people realize," says Marc Garlasco, who until 2003 was one of the Pentagon's leading analysts of air strikes, including assassinations.

During the invasion of Iraq, Garlasco's job was to analyze targets with an eye toward minimizing collateral damage using a software program called Bugsplat. Days after Baghdad fell, Garlasco, intent on examining firsthand the military's success or failure in sparing civilians, accepted a position with Human Rights Watch (hrw) and traveled to Iraq to do just that. Among the sites he studied was a Basra neighborhood where the United States dropped bombs meant for Lt. General Ali Hassan al-Majid—nicknamed Chemical Ali because of his role in gassing tens of thousands of Kurds. Garlasco had watched the bull's-eye attack live on video transmitted from a Predator drone. "We cheered when the bomb went in," he says.

But Chemical Ali survived, and witnesses told Garlasco that they'd never seen him in the targeted location. As part of his investigation for hrw, the analyst met a 50-year-old laborer whose home was destroyed in the attack, killing seven family members. He found that 10 neighbors had also died. "When I stood in the crater and I was talking to the survivors," Garlasco says, "it wasn't so cool anymore."

Keep Reading...

punditman says...Software like "Bugsplat"? I'm speechless.


Elliot's Mess

punditman says...I just knew that Bush$Co had something to do with this. Click on the link and then check out Greg Palast’s interview on Air America:

The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked.

Bereaved Iraqi Mother Vows Revenge on US

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Thursday, 13 March 2008

Um Saad, a middle-aged woman living in the Sunni district of Khadra in west Baghdad, blames the Americans for the death of her husband and two of her sons and threatens revenge.

"They are monsters and devils wearing human clothes," she exclaims vehemently. "One day I will put on an explosive belt under my clothes and then blow myself up among the Americans. I will get revenge against them for my husband and sons and I will go to paradise."

Just as the White House and the Pentagon were trumpeting the success of "the surge" – the dispatch of extra American troops to Iraq last year – and the wire services' claim that the country has enjoyed "months of relative calm", Um Saad saw Saif, her second son, shot dead as he opened the door of her house.

Keep Reading...

punditman says:
Winning hearts and minds, in the usual fashion. Sorta like this story or this story, or this story, or...for some Canadian flavour, this story...
On and on it goes...


Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam, al Qaida

By Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers Mon Mar 10, 7:08 PM ET

WASHINGTON — An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam's regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East , U.S. officials told McClatchy . However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.

The new study of the Iraqi regime's archives found no documents indicating a "direct operational link" between Hussein's Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...

Indeed, one of the justifications given by the criminals in the White House to invade Iraq, was an implied link amongst Iraq, al Queda and 9-11.

Here are a few reminders of the tricksters at work:

Here's Dick Cheney on Meet the Press on December 9, 2001, "it was pretty well confirmed" that attack mastermind Mohamed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official.

Then, in 2003, Cheney said the following:

"If we're successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it's not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it's not a safe haven for terrorists, then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

Here's George W., in his speech aboard the aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003: "The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We've removed an ally of al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding."

And here is Dubya last July:

"The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims," he said."

And many, many other examples--of how they deliberately tried to connect Iraq to 9-11.

Punditman always knew these were directly misleading statements, or in many cases, outright fibs-- meant to be implanted into the minds of a population suffering from media impoverishment. Thanks in the ensuing years to the power of the internet, for making things a little less impoverished.


More Media Bootlicking

From the Jungles of Ecuador to Times Square

punditman says...

It never ceases to amaze me how utterly incorrigible the mainstream media have become as they service their political masters. Two items in the March 7th Globe and Mail, both of which concern the ever-present topic of "terrorism," make this point crystal clear.

The first is an editorial pertaining to Colombia's recent incursion into Ecuador, their killing of Luis Edgar Devia Silva, a.k.a. "Raúl Reyes," spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and sixteen guerrillas and the resultant hullabaloo and threats of war amongst Latin nations. (I'd link to it, but the silly ninnies want me to buy an online subscription)...Anyway, the Colombian Army, with US aid, and right-wing paramilitaries, have been fighting the Marxist FARC insurgents for over four decades. Toss in the overlapping, corrupting influence of the drug war for good measure, and it is no surprise that all sides have horrendous human rights records.

But never mind the complexities and gray areas that inevitably beset any civil war. And forget you ever heard the old maxim that one person's terrrorist can be another's freedom fighter.

Globe and Mail editors have more important duties.

They report as gospel the claim by Colombia's right-wing President Alvaro Uribe, that Venezuela's left-wing President Hugo Chavez, is financially supporting FARC insurgents. Colombia's army stumbled across the "evidence" when they captured Reyes' laptop. Being the right stooge of Washington and no doubt familiar with its Orwellian-Rovian ways, Uribe claimed that FARC are trying to build a dirty bomb with $300 million (U.S) provided by Chavez. Why not? (claim it, I mean).

There's only one problem: The Globe and Mail apparently took no time to do their journalistic jobs and actually consider the supposed "evidence." Fortunately, Greg Palast, award-winning investigative journalist and best-selling author, did:

What the US press did not do is look at the evidence, the email in the magic laptop. (Presumably, the FARC leader’s last words were, “Listen, my password is ….”)

I read them. While you can read it all in español, here is, in translation, the one and only mention of the alleged $300 million from Chavez is this:

“… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call “dossier,” efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for ‘cripple’], which I will explain in a separate note. Let’s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto.”

Got that? Where is Hugo? Where’s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government.

Indeed, the entire remainder of the email is all about the mechanism of the hostage exchange. Here’s the next line:

“To receive the three freed ones, Chavez proposes three options: Plan A. Do it to via of a ‘humanitarian caravan’; one that will involve Venezuela, France, the Vatican[?], Switzerland, European Union, democrats [civil society], Argentina, Red Cross, etc.”

As to the 300, I must note that the FARC’s previous prisoner exchange involved 300 prisoners. Is that what the ‘300’ refers to? ¿Quien sabe? Unlike Uribe, Bush and the US press, I won’t guess or make up a phastasmogoric story about Chavez spending money he doesn’t even have.

So there you have it, folks: a Bush-league style hoax.

But that did not stop lazy editors from portioning out their propaganda. Not at all--in fact, mere accusations against President Chavez are enough for the Globe and Mail to go into hysterics and label Venezuela a "state sponsor of terrorism." FARC you see, are the only terrorists here, not the Colombian army or the right wing paramilitary death squads--they are merely "other belligerents." Predictably, the US press was in lock-step as well.

I don't know whether Hugo Chavez has ever sent any money to FARC guerillas in Colombia, and by the way, neither does the Globe and Mail. Certainly, the note on the laptop does not prove this; in fact, it appears to be about the recent hostage exchange and nothing else.

The point is: why should we automatically believe anything that comes from a corrupt and brutal US ally like Colombia while automatically dismissing anything that comes from a US adversary such as Venezuela? By extension, why should we believe anything that comes from the Bush administration, who, of course, weighed in as supporting Colombia's claims. With its legacy of lies, corruption and wars of aggression (known in honest circles as "state terror"), surely at this late date, the Bush administration should have zero credibility on the truth scale (but that is another matter--perhaps best reserved for my fantasy world where big media actually challenge power--what a concept!).

Instead, we tolerate a world in which the "truth" is dispensed at Washington press conferences or from "friendly" capitals like a new drug that hits the street--while sycophantic media mandarins line up to get their fixes. And though it may arrive in the form of half-truths, bold-faced lies, even false flag operations, it is this very poison, we are told, that can only come from official enemies--and not from our side, the "good guys."

Meanwhile, "terrorism" is defined by the same "good guys," who, incidentally, only fight it and never engage in it.

Which leads to the next item from my esteemed morning paper. A Reuters wire story explains that a small explosion occured at a US military recruiting station in Times Square early Thursday morning. There were no injuries.

But here's the kicker: "White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said there was no initial sign of any link to terrorism."

Translation: We can't pin it on Muslims or Marxists so therefore it isn't terrorism.

Truly amazing.

We live in The Matrix, people. Awaketh from thy slumbers!

UPDATE: Latin American leaders have now agreed to end the crisis.
So much for terrorist sponsors and dirty bombs.


Patience Is the Best Iran Policy

March 5, 2008

by Scott Ritter

The United Nations Security Council has agreed to tighten economic sanctions against Iran following Iran's continued refusal to suspend its ongoing program of uranium enrichment. This decision follows the release of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that also documents the expansion of Iran's enrichment activities. While the administration of President Bush has strongly pushed for the imposition of these new sanctions, there is good reason to question whether or not the Security Council action represents the best policy to deal with Iran's nuclear program.

With the IAEA now able to ascertain that the Iranian explanations about both the origin and use of its enrichment program are consistent with the information available to the IAEA, there no longer remains a technical justification for demanding the suspension of Iran's ongoing uranium enrichment activities. The IAEA has declared that it can account for all declared nuclear material in Iran and that it has adequate inspection and verification controls in place for the totality of Iran's declared enrichment program. The IAEA notes that it does not have conclusive evidence of any proscribed activities taking place inside Iran (documents made available to the IAEA by the United States, derived from sources of questionable origin, have been rejected by the Iranians as fabrications.)

Full article...