Monday, June 19, 2006

Iraq FUBAR, Compliant Media, Missing Soldiers, Nothing for Something, Bush Gets Tough, Kappes of CIA and Big Pharma Big Greed.

The Green Zone in Baghdad is probably the safest place for U.S. personnel in all of Iraq. That's not suggesting in anyway that the Green Zone is actually safe. It is becoming a decidedly unsafe place for Iraqis to be associated with.

We hear so much about the progress that's being made in Iraq, but we see little evidence. That's most likely because there is very little evidence to show.

U.S. military occupation has done very little in the way of stablizing Iraq. Just about everyone that has the ways and means to leave Iraq has left Iraq. And just about everyone else is thinking about it.

Bush promised that Iraq would have the best infrastructure in the region. It don't and it won't. Most of the funds that were to be used for reconstruction were moved to other projects. Electricity and oil production are below pre-war levels.

Editor & Publisher has the details of a cable sent to the Secretary of State from the American Embassy in Baghdad about the risks to Iraqis that work in the Green Zone. If we can't protect our own employees, how are we going to make the whole country safe?

As a footnote in one of the 23 sections, the embassy relates, "An Arab newspaper
editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he
said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province, as political parties and
their militiast are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq."

-- Embassy employees are held in such low esteem their work must remain a secret
and they live with constant fear that their cover will be blown. Of nine
staffers, only four have told their families where they work. They all plan for
their possible abductions. No one takes home their cell phones as this gives
them away. One employee said criticism of the U.S. had grown so severe that most
of her family believes the U.S. "is punishing populations as Saddam did."

-- Fuel lines have grown so long that one staffer spent 12 hours in line
on his day off. "Employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were
getting one hour of power for every six hours without.....One staff member
reported that a friend lives in a building that houses a new minister; within 24
hours of his appointment, her building had city power 24 hours a day."

I'll bet this don't get very much play on American network or cable news, it seems that they don't have much interest in saying anything negative about Bush. It's not like the good old days when they would spend 90% of their time speculating on Clinton non-issues. Mark Crispin Miller of The Nation tells it like it is.

Contrary to the counterclaims in 1996, there was, as The Nation noted then,
copious hard evidence of corporate meddling with the news, and also, even more
important, lots of subtler evidence of reportorial self-censorship throughout
the media cartel. And yet what stood out as egregious back then seems pretty
tame today, now that the press consistently tunes out or plays down the biggest
news, while hyping trivialities, or, if it covers a disaster, does so only
fleetingly and without "pointing fingers." (New Orleans is now forgotten.) The
press that went hoarse over Monica Lewinsky's dress is largely silent on the
Bush regime's subversion of the Constitution; its open violation of the laws
here and abroad; its global use of torture; its vast surveillance program(s);
its covert propaganda foreign and domestic; its flagrant cronyism; its suicidal
military, economic and environmental policies; and its careful placement of the
federal establishment into the hands of Christianist extremists. Whether it's
such tawdry fare as Jeffrey Gannon's many overnights at Bush's house, or graver
matters like the Patriot Act, or the persistent questions about 9/11, or the
President's imperial "signing statements" or--most staggering of all--the
ever-growing evidence of coast-to-coast election fraud by Bush & Co., the
press has failed in its constitutional obligation to keep us well informed about
the doings of our government.

Yet, some how, even bogus news that may be beneficial to Administration policy manages to get a lot of coverage. And the folks on the right just eat it up and, true or not, it soon becomes part of their mythology. The latest right wing myth, brought to you by the PR firm Benador Associates. By way of Larry Cohler-Esses and The Nation.

The neoconservative campaign to equate Iran with Nazi Germany received a setback in May. Bloggers and a few journalists quickly exposed as wholly concocted a story about a new law that would require Iranian Jews to wear yellow insignia.
Within days the National Post of Canada--founded by disgraced neocon media mogul
Conrad Black and now owned by the no less hawkish Asper family--was forced to
apologize publicly for its "scoop." But by then the New York Post, Rush
Limbaugh, the Drudge Report, right-wing blogs and some wire services had picked
up the claim, bringing the phony news to millions
Nevertheless, the debunking exposed the moving parts of a media machine intent
on priming the public for war with Iran--as it did earlier with stories about
Iraq's nonexistent WMD. Ubiquitous in this campaign, as it was with Iraq, is the
PR firm Benador Associates. Its president, Eleana Benador, told me it was her
agency that placed the article with the National Post. Its stable of writers and
activists, a Who's Who of the neocon movement, includes Richard Perle, Michael
Ledeen, Frank Gaffney, Charles Krauthammer, Victor Davis Hanson and Iranian
exile journalist Amir Taheri--the author of the bogus piece. Even among a crowd
notable for wrongheaded analyses, Taheri stands out, with a rap sheet that
leaves one amazed that he continues to be published. It is here that the role of
Benador is key; the firm gives Taheri a political stamp of approval that
provides entree to hawkish media venues, where journalistic criteria are

The media has reported the apparent kidnapping of two American soldiers from a checkpoint south of Baghdad. But they fail to ask the obvious question, "Just how in the hell did two U.S. Army Airborne Infantry get kidnapped?" I mean this is not supposed to happen. There's some officers in the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division that have some explaining to do about how this could come about. You don't just leave a checkpoint in a hot zone that insecure.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A farmer claiming to have witnessed an attack on a
U.S. military checkpoint said Sunday that insurgents swarmed the scene, killing
the driver of a Humvee before taking two of his comrades captive. The U.S.
military has only said the soldiers are missing.

U.S. troops, backed by helicopters and warplanes, fanned out across the
"Triangle of Death" south of Baghdad searching for the missing servicemen. At
least four raids had been carried out, but the captives were not found, the
military said.

Another local resident said the soldiers searched houses on Sunday and
promised a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the missing

Other progress in Iraq includes;

In Baghdad, gunmen kidnapped 10 bakery workers, and a mortar attack killed four
people. Police also found the bodies of 17 people around the capital, including
four women and a teenager who had been handcuffed and shot in the head, the
latest apparent victims of sectarian death squads.

Here's a small example of why the country is going broke. We pay military contractors for things the military don't want. We're crazy.

Over the past decade Vibration & Sound Solutions Ltd., a small
Alexandria defense contractor, has received a steady flow of federal contracts
to work on "Project M" -- $37 million in all from annual "earmarks" by
congressional supporters such as Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.).

All the applications have one thing in common: The Pentagon hasn't wanted

We heard all about it from the right wing propaganda machine the last election, "Kerry flip-flops". But will we hear it now that Bush is doing it, or at least says he's going to do it. I'll believe it when I see it.

The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies
that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it
began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics

Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled
back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which
subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department. The number of
employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in
1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6
million to $212,000, according to federal statistics.

We have a new number two man at the CIA, Stephen R. Kappes. I don't know much about him, but he's a real life CIA spook, he's not a Bush crony and some Republicans don't like him because he thinks for himself. Sounds good to me.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), a ranking member of the House Armed Services
Committee, is one of Kappes's most vocal critics. Weldon criticizes what he
calls Kappes's failure to pursue the congressman's view that a colleague of
Manucher Ghorbanifar, one of the instigators of the Iran-contra affair, had
important information on Iran's nuclear program. "Kappes was the ringleader of
an internal CIA rebellion," Weldon wrote in his recent book, "Countdown to
Terror." "He was one of many in the CIA resistant to needed reforms."

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who succeeded Goss as chairman of the
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Washington Times last month
that Kappes was guilty of "gross insubordination" for his behavior at the agency
under Goss.

And if you really want to get mad a someone, how about a drug company that has a drug that will prevent thousands of people from going blind and it's cheap, but they won't put it on the market for that use until they can mark the price up from about $10 a treatment to over $1,000 a treatment.

A major drug company is blocking access to a medicine that is cheaply and
effectively saving thousands of people from going blind because it wants to
launch a more expensive product on the market.

Ophthalmologists around the world, on their own initiative, are
injecting tiny quantities of a colon cancer drug called Avastin into the eyes of
patients with wet macular degeneration, a common condition of older age that can
lead to severely impaired eyesight and blindness. They report remarkable success
at very low cost because one phial can be split and used for dozens of

But Genentech, the company that invented Avastin, does not want it used in
this way. Instead it is applying to license a fragment of Avastin, called
Lucentis, which is packaged in the tiny quantities suitable for eyes at a higher
cost. Speculation in the US suggests it could cost £1,000 per dose instead of
less than £10. The company says Lucentis is specifically designed for eyes, with
modifications over Avastin, and has been through 10 years of testing to prove it
is safe.

1 comment:

  1. What do you think it will take for the MSM to admit the U.S. has lost the war in Iraq? Will every last soldier, sailor and marine have to be killed? Will it take another three years of anarchy? 10, maybe? It's chaos, and eventually the U.S. will be driven out like the Poms were in the 1920s. Then you'll have an angry Shiite empire stretching from Iran through Lebanon. It will topple the Saudi dictatorship and there goes the West's oil. This disaster in Iraq has set in motion the end of life as you know it, people. Thanks, President Cheney!


I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)