October 5, 2007 archive

New revelations on the Israeli bombing of Syria

The indispensable Laura Rozen quotes Intelligence Online, which says the targets were Korean SCUD missile parts: 

In attacking Dair el Zor in Syria on Sept. 6, the Israeli air force wasn’t targeting a nuclear site but rather one of the main arms depots in the country.

  Dair el Zor houses a huge underground base where the Syrian army stores the long and medium-range missiles it mostly buys from Iran and North Korea. The attack by the Israeli air force coincided with the arrival of a stock of parts for Syria’s 200 Scud B and 60 Scud C weapons.

  The parts were shipped from North Korea aboard a container ship flying the Panamanian flag. The U.S. Navy wanted to board the ship in Morocco’s territorial waters but Rabat vetoed the operation. The parts were loaded aboard six trucks in the Syrian port of Tartus on Sept. 3 and took three days to reach Dair el Zor. The trucks and their loads were destroyed the moment they arrived at the underground base. A unit of military police that escorted the convoy was also wiped out in the attack.

The really interesting part is below the fold:

Christopher Columbus & His Crimes Against Humanity

Christopher Columbus:

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The Christian Crusades had ended in 1291, the Black Death had been deliberately blamed on innocent Jews who said what their Christian torturers forced them to, that they poisoned water wells, causing the Black Death. Of course, the real cause was in the stomachs of fleas, not planetary alignment, earthquakes, or God’s Judgment. Nonetheless, the extermination of European Jews began in 1348 again, along with a key notorious origin of Manifest Destiny.

Four at Four

This is an OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started.
Three things cause sorrow to flee: water, green trees, and a beautiful face.

  1. In an effort to evade his eventual war crimes trial, George W. Bush today said his “government does not torture people! You know, we stick to U.S. law and our international obligations.” Bush noted he has “highly trained professionals questioning these extremists and terrorists!” Adding, “by the way, we have gotten information from these high-value detainees that have helped protect you!So shut up already, ixnay onway ayingsay eway orturetay. Bush blamed his torture policies on Congress, saying “the techniques that we use have been fully disclosed to appropriate members of the United States Congress”. He claimed to be protecting Americans from “further attack”.

    Bush was facing backlash over a secret memo condoning torture by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department, which was covered in yesterday’s Four at Four. The memo sanctioned the use of head slapping and simulated drowning. According to TPMmuckraker, Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) chair and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) of the House Judiciary committee has demanded the release of secret legal opinions from 2005 and 2006 condoning the use of ‘enhanced interrogation’.

    The New York Times reports that debate in Congress erupted on techniques used by the C.I.A. Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), Senate Intelligence Committee chair, sent a sternly worded letter to acting attorney general Peter Keisler, requesting “copies of all opinions on interrogation since 2004.” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senate Judiciary Committee chair, said the Bush administration had “reinstated a secret regime by, in essence, reinterpreting the law in secret.” Leahy promised that Michael Mukasey, the nominee for attorney general, would be questioned about his views on interrogation. I’m sure Mukasey will not be forthcoming and the Democrats will still approve him.

  2. A group of monks at the U.N.In the ‘Envoy to Myanmar Briefs the U.N.‘, Warren Hoge and Seth Mydans of The New York Times reports, “Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said today that the use of force to put down peaceful protests in Myanmar was ‘abhorrent and unacceptable’ and that the government of the country must release those it has arrested and start a dialogue with political opponents. Mr. Ban made his remarks to the Security Council before his special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, reported on his four-day emergency trip to the country this week.”

    James Orr of The Guardian reports that “Mr. Gambari was ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the regime’s leader, General Than Shwe was ready to hold talks with the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.”

    “Of great concern to the United Nations and the international community are the continuing and disturbing reports of abuses being committed by security and non-uniformed elements, particularly at night during curfew, including raids on private homes, beatings, arbitrary arrests, and disappearances,” [Mr. Gambari] told the security council.

    He added that there were unconfirmed reports that the number of casualties during the protests had been “much higher than the dozen people reported killed by the government”.

There’s more news below the fold.

  1. The Amazon is ablaze with the worst fires in a decade.

  2. Today’s “Guns of Greed” — an overview of Blackwater and mercenary news.

Plus, there’s a bonus story today about kickin’ back and taking like easy in the smaller cities of Italy. So get your boarding pass and fly off to below the fold…

NASA’s James Hansen’s New Climate Warning

Climate scientist James Hansen has issued a new draft report on climate change with a warning that we are “dangerously close” to tipping points.

The paper, entitled: Global Warming: East-West Connections, co-written with Mikiko Sato, is important for both its predictions and its validation of the current climate conditions vis-a-vis the climate through both history and from a global perspective.

Some analysis below the jump…

A Man With A Vision

Last evening I sat in Boston’s Old South Meeting House, where the cradle of dissent and free speech rocked this country.  The shades of Sam Adams, John Hancock, Phyllis Wheatley and others cast shadows over visitors and urge them to listen and to speak. Although I have passed by the Meeting House many times, I had not been inside until yesterday.

I shivered to think at what risk, at what peril and at what price the dissenters of that time incurred in order to speak truth to power and to question the inherent right of King George to infringe upon their freedom, their liberty and their right to self-governance.

Charlie Savage was leading a lecture and discussion of his new book, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy.

Charlie spoke to his pursuit of the history and mystery of the presidential signing statements, the recalcitrance of the current crop of presidential candidates to speak to what they believe about inherent and concentrated executive power, and what they intend to do about it and with it if elected to office.

But he also spoke about the genesis of the unitary executive idea, and all roads lead to Cheney. 

American gods Part IV

My stomach lurched, but I kept the foul broth down.

I waited, wondering how quickly the effect started taking hold.

“What do you think, Ria, are my feelings about this matter correct?” You asked.

I heard her reply, but she was speaking more quickly than I could hear, and I was uncertain it was even in English. I felt fine, and wondered if perhaps they were feeling the effects more quickly.  They didn’t seem to be making sense.

Tear it Down !

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Amnesty International has a new, graphic campaign to gather together the many voices who demand that the United States  tear down Gitmo.

The Other Affirmative Action

Via atrios and TAPPED, Jack and Jill Politics and my old blogging friend Prometheus 6:

At the elite colleges – dim White kids
By Peter Schmidt
September 28, 2007

AUTUMN AND a new academic year are upon us, which means that selective colleges are engaged in the annual ritual of singing the praises of their new freshman classes.

Surf the websites of such institutions and you will find press releases boasting that they have increased their black and Hispanic enrollments, admitted bumper crops of National Merit scholars or became the destination of choice for hordes of high school valedictorians. Many are bragging about the large share of applicants they rejected, as a way of conveying to the world just how popular and selective they are.

What they almost never say is that many of the applicants who were rejected were far more qualified than those accepted. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it was not the black and Hispanic beneficiaries of affirmative action, but the rich white kids with cash and connections who elbowed most of the worthier applicants aside.

White Man’s Burden.

“We Do Not Torture”

Would you buy a used car from this man?

He is a lying war criminal.

I Got Nuttin’

Or rather there are a whole bunch of little Somethings that add up to Nuttin.

Iraq: Not The President

Ezra Klein wrote a great piece taking apart the very silly Roger Cohen's lament that “liberal hawks” like himself are misunderstood. They are NOT neocons Cohen insists. Ezra responded:

This shouldn't be necessary to say, but increasingly, it seems like the only point worth making to the commentariat. American politics isn't about you. It's not about your ideas, or your personal vision of the world, or your purity. . . . It is the impact of your ideas, and your commentary, that matters. . . . Here's why: Roger Cohen is not president. George W. Bush is. And until Roger Cohen's foreign policy vision integrates itself with an understanding of American power, and how ideas interact with the current administration, he is, effectively, a neoconservative, or, worse, an enabler of the neoconservatives who's able to advocate for their policy agenda without needing to answer for their failures.

(Emphasis supplied.) Great stuff. But it is worth asking this question – are progressive pundits, progressive blogs, and progressive activists considering  how their “ideas interact with the current administration?” I think not. There is precious little discussion from most about the fact that the only way to stop the Bush Administration's Iraq Debacle is to not fund it after a date certain. So either they are of the view that NOTHING can stop the Iraq Debacle while Bush is President (and if they think so, they should say so), or they are just as guilty of the narcissism Klein accuses Cohen of. Moreover, while George Bush will not be President after January 2009, neither will Ezra Klein or any other progressive pundit, blogger or activist. More.

The TaleMaster 1…A’Drui

This little tale started itself about a dozen years ago. It was originally a one page background for a D&D character. Then came a dream or three which added so much more. Life & Death interfered for many years. I’ve begun dreaming of the tale again, recently. This will eventually be a book, I hope.

This is the first public ‘showing’ of my scribblings. Please tell me what you think!


my Heartfelt Thanks to Pfiore8, DianeW and Cronesense for their many words of encouragement & inspiration…

Especial Thanks to ek…for making this readable…

And last but certainly not least…
  Thank You buhdy! I Love this place.

This never would have seen the light in orange.

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