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Come to the Iraq Energy Expo and Conference! (update)

(Cross-posted at DailyKOS

When:           October 17-19, 2008

Sponsor:       Iraqi American Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Where:          Baghdad Convention Center,

                     Baghdad International Airport

Accommodations:    Rasheed Hotel, Baghdad, Iraq

                              Caravan Hotel (BIAP area)

You’re invited, if you’re in the oil business and have any expertise to offer, that is:




It is my pleasure to invite you all to the IRAQ ENERGY EXPO AND CONFERENCE, October 17-19, 2008.

The year 2008 marks a tremendous new opportunity for investment in Iraq’s upstream and downstream oil and gas infrastructure. To help facilitate this process, the Government of Iraq is working tirelessly to pass the new hydrocarbon law. As a result of this landmark legislation, companies from around the world will be able to participate in increasing Iraq’s oil and gas capacity in the 2nd largest oil reserve in the world.

As a result of this momentous achievement, and on behalf of the Iraqi Government and the Ministry of Oil, we would like to invite all international oil companies to participate in this historic event. The location for this international exhibition will be the newly constructed Baghdad Convention Center at the Baghdad International Airport.

The Ministry of Oil and its technical staff are very interested to see the latest technologies in this ever-changing industry. In return, the Ministry is prepared to provide detailed explanations of its needs for the coming years. Your participation at the expo is essential to helping us understand your company’s capabilities. We look forward to seeing you there.

Dr. Hussein Al-Shehrestani

Minister of Oil

(emphasis mine)

Mr. McGoo? No truer words ever could have been spoken!

Dear All,

As I see a certain “friend” of mine is occupying the top spot, on this the day after his birthday, to which so many of us have been celebrating, his mere existence, in fact, and with absolutely no wish to intrude, pre-empt or diminish the importance of the latest episode of “Through the Darkest of Nights,” of which episodes, I am a great fan, I really feel a great need to give you all something to think about — on this terribly sad eve of Memorial Day.  


First, I want to alert you all to a fact — I tried 5 times to post the following on (I had successfully posted one just before this attempt).  I received a pop-up message, as follows (was not able to copy), but wrote it down:

“Windows Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site http:/…

Operation aborted.”

As I said, I attempted to diary the information listed below five times:  sumting wong!

Overlooked by Media, Important Torture Testimony!

Cross-posted at DailyKOS

Memos written at the request of high-ranking government officials by Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo on August 1, 2002 (also signed by Jay Bybee, now a federal judge) and March 14, 2003, assured the Bush administration that

. . . . the Department of Justice would not enforce the U.S. criminal laws against torture, assault, maiming and stalking, in the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.”

Of course, we know that the purpose of Yoo’s memos were simply established as a means of legal clearance for all that ensued thereafter.  

Daniel Levin, Acting Assistant Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel (December 30, 2004)

. . . . specifically rejects Yoo’s definition of torture, and admits that a defandant’s motives to protect national security will not shield him from a torture prosecution.  The rescission of the August 2002 memo constitutes an admission by the Justice Department that the legal reasoning in that memo was wrong.  But for 22 months, the [sic] it was in effect, which sanctioned and led to the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody.”

Note:  all quoted material above from Marjorie Cohn, President National Lawyers Guild.

Buckle up . . . .

Here we go again!  Only this time it’s not anthrax, it’s ricin!

Ricin has been found in a motel room in Las Vegas.

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) — Seven people were hospitalized, one of them in a coma, after a substance believed to be the deadly toxin ricin was discovered yesterday in a Las Vegas hotel room. . . .

The FBI, which is cooperating with the inquiry, said there is no reason to suspect terrorism. Ricin is made from castor beans and has no antidote. Alternative uses include experimental cancer treatments. . . .

Federal officials have warned police departments to look out for ricin, which could be deadly in the hands of terrorists. It may be used to contaminate air-conditioning systems, drinking water or lakes, the FBI has said. . . .

Traces of ricin were also found five years ago in a London apartment during a British-based counterterrorism raid.

But not to worry!  Bush has already taken action!!!!!!

President Bush and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff speak in regards to emerging Las Vegas ricin incident.

Washington, DC (Rotters) – President Bush, appearing with Homeland security Director Michael Chertoff early this morning at a White House press conference, officially elevated the national terror alert system to the color code Orange, representing a high probability for terrorist activities. The elevation came in response to the presumed discovery of the highly toxic chemical ricin at a Las Vegas motel late yesterday.

“Perhaps this might turn out to be a case of premature ejac… er… exaggeration,” stated President Bush in regards to the terror alert,” but we have been simply left with no alternative. I take my duties to protect America very seriously. It is possible that the substance in question might turn out not to be ricin, but without warrantless wiretapping thanks to the Democrat controlled Congress’ inability to pass a bipartisan measure, it may be too late to spread panic before we know for sure.”

Homeland security Director Michael Chertoff seconded the president’s concern. “The reality is that we are ramping up for more of these terror warning elevations, both justified and false alarms, because the truth of the matter is we just don’t know.”

Chertoff went on to say that Homeland security had swung into high gear, and would be investigating nationwide every level of America’s castor bean production, and was considering a national recall of castor oil. Tests later today would likely clarify the identity of the compound and possibly its origins, but Chertoff stated that this would come too late to amplify the necessary initial sense of panic needed.

“I think it’s very ironic that this incident surfaced in Nevada,” concluded Bush. “I hope it will send a message to Senator Reid and other like-minded individuals in Congress that the telephone companies must have immunity so that we’re able to know everything that’s going on in this country ahead of time.”

Satire very close to “home.”

[See the website for the real picture shown — it is priceless.]


Iran or Bust??? Gets Scarier by the Day!!!!

As everyone knows, the NIE (“National Intelligence Estimate”) advised that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003.  Bush was aware of this as far back as August, 2007, and probably sooner, if the truth be known.

Nonetheless, nothing has stopped him from continuing his rant about how dangerous Iran is to us and the world.  And in December, 2007, and this month, January, 2008, his efforts increased.

His trip to the Middle East of January 8, 2008, supposedly predicated on a wish to help the peace effort between Palestine and Israel, and a meeting with both leaders (for the first time), also included Kuwait to meet with U.S. troops [to prep them?], Amb. Cocker and Gen. Petraeus and [hold onto your seats] to hold round-table discussion on democracy with Kuwaiti women, Bahrain for meeting with King Hamad and visits with U.S. Navy 5th fleet, United Arab Emirates, to meet with Pres. Sheikh Khalifa and deliver a speech in Abu Dhabi, then to Dubai and to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah, then meetings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and then to Sharm el-sheikh, Egypt, to meet with Pres. Hosni Mubarak and then return to the U.S. on Jan. 16th.

. . . . Bush hopes to spur negotiations among Israeli and Palestinian leaders vowing to make peace and lay the ground work for two independent states by year’s end. . . . .

and this is the best:

. . . . Bush, also touring several Arab nations, will address more than the role they can play in encouraging reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. He also will explain his vision for democracy in Iraq and his concern about the potential security threat posed by Iran. . . .(emphasis mine)

The article goes on at great length about the so-called efforts Bush hopes to make toward the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and peace negotiations.  Doubt as Bush set to visit Mideast — Chances called slim for breakthroughs as final year begins.  


This will be a quickie! Add your voice!

For those of you who do not receive E-Mail from The Pen, here is an Action Page, where you can show your support for the Impeachment of Vice-President Cheney and support H.R. 333.

In addition, they will send you, at your request, Impeach Cheney posters and a hat, as well.

Impeach Cheney

Your personal message will be sent to individual House members, and copies will be sent to BOTH Nancy Pelosi and the House Judiciary Committee itself, as well as any newspaper you may designate.

The names are being added like crazy — just in the last hour there have been 500 or more signatures, getting close to 16,519 now and it’s non-stop.

Fascism Absurdity! (Updated)

Nick Egnatz, of Munster, Indiana, is a Vietnam vet, an articulate non-stop Veterans for Peace activist, and a formative member of the NW Indiana Coalition Against the Iraq War.  His group marched in the Chicago Rally and was part of the group appearing and speaking at Federal Plaza.

At any rate, I just received the following Press Release from him and read it in near disbelief.  The Press Release speaks for itself.

There’s more:

More on the Chicago Rally!

First, thanks to Sheddhead for the essay and great pictures. 

This would have been sooner, but I’m kinda’ new at this digital stuff and uploading on a public site, etc.

As Sheddhead said, the day turned out beautiful, although a little brisk.

I did not attend the Union Park Rally, or the march, but instead went early to Federal Plaza, where all protestors ultimately gathered.

Federal Plaza
Early arrival at Federal Plaza

There’s more:

Something hopeful on Iraq? Well, maybe!

(Admitting to some timidity – this is my first effort!)

On the weekend of September 1, 2007, a group of leaders from both the Sunni and Shi’a Iraqis met in Finland, at an undisclosed location at closed meetings to discuss and draft peace principles with leaders of Northern Ireland and South Arica, utilizing protocols similar to peace settlements of those countries.

The meeting was sponsored by the Finnish Crisis Management Initiative [CMI] and the McCormack Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts and, although, the British and American authorities knew of and sanctioned this meeting, they were prohibited from having presence there.

Tom Hayden, in an article published in The Nation said,

Chairing the closed meetings near Helsinki were Martin McGuinness, the former Irish Republican Army commander, lead negotiator with the British, and now Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Roelf Meyer, former leader of the pro-apartheid National Party in South Africa’s peace negotiations. The Irish delegation also included former IRA hunger striker Leo Green, minister Jeffrey Donaldson, former Stormont speaker Lord Alderdice, and former loyalist paramilitary leader Billy Hutchison. South African participants included ANC leaders Mac Maharaj and Rashid Ismail, key participants in the military and political negotiations in South Africa. [Read more “here.

Names of the Iraq delegations’ have not been released but reportedly included six Sunni and nine Shi’a who signed a statement of principles. About thirty Iraqis were present, including Akram al-Hakim, minister of national reconciliation for the Baghdad government, representatives of Moktada al-Sadr, Sunni leader Adnan al-Dulaimi, and Humam Hammoudi, the Shi’a chairman of the Baghdad parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

Did you see anything in the media giving us knowledge of this important meeting?

It appears that the Iraqis were enthusiastic about this meeting.

The Iraqis saw former military enemies–McGuinness and Hutchison, for example, or South African apartheid leaders and ANC guerilla commanders–chairing meetings together on how sharply divided communities can coexist.

The key question for the Iraqis, who are circulating the draft at home, is whether the major parties believe their armed strategies have reached a stalemated point of no return, or whether one side [and foreign sponsors like the US and UK] still hopes for a military victory. In South Africa and Northern Ireland, secret peace discussions were initiated while the wars were proceeding, but eventually grew into the peace processes as the rival parties concluded that armed struggle [or military occupation] had reached its limits.

There were notable highlights at the meeting.

when Irish and South African representatives told stories of how their militarized strategies ultimately led to stalemate and the prospect of endless war. “The most remarkable impression on the Iraqis was McGuinness, once evil incarnate to the Protestants”, who now sits as vice-minister to First Minister Ian Paisley, the right-wing fundamentalist preacher trained at Bob Jones University who swore that the Catholic Church was the “whore of Babylon.” A meaningful peace process “only emerged in both countries when all parties agreed that those who adhered to violence had to be brought into negotiations, and that those parties adhering to violence had accepted that violence could never lead to accommodation. One could see Iraq heads nod in agreement.” [Padraig O’Malley: September 24 op-ed piece in the Boston Globe]

The so-called “Helsinki principles” which were agreed to, with each Iraqi signatory praying “In-sha’Allah” as they signed their names, are very general and appear utopian, but so were the early framework agreements in Ireland and South Africa. Most importantly, all parties agreed to continue the discussions towards a settlement.

A set of 12 principles were mapped out in order to start work toward a nationally mutual effort toward a permanent peace.

Among the points were:

Aside from promising to resolve political differences peacefully, the agreement commits the Iraqi parties to consider the creation of a disarmament commission, and the formation of a group to deal with the legacy of Iraq’s past.

They also seek an end to international and regional interference in Iraq’s affairs(emphasis mine)

This to me is the most positive and dynamic effort I have heard of with regard to the Iraq catastrophe.  I’m not sure how we can keep tabs on progress, but going to sources outside the U.S. is probably the answer.

While I feel strongly about this, I am also concerned about the extent to which the Bush Administration will attempt to derail these negotiations, since I firmly believe that they have no interest in there being peace in Iraq!  They have continually funded the Sunnis (the Al Qaeda in Iraq), the Shi’ites and other factions ensuring the continuation of strife throughout the country. The reasons?  I’m sure you have a very good idea!

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