Archive for April, 2006

Friday Garden Blogging

Friday, April 28th, 2006

More colors coming out


Syringa vulgaris


Forsythia

Yes, the sky was that blue earlier today. Some of the colors were so bright on my trip to Unity that it hurt to look. Everything was crystal clear and sun drenched. But it remains quite cool, around 10°C during the day, and dropping to -4 or -5°C overnight. Fire danger remains high despite greening.

Bombs and nukes run amuck

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Infamous date in the annuls of Death & Destruction


Fascist bombing of Guernica happened April 26, 1937


Chernobyl, 20 years ago today

He thinks it’s “clean” and “safe”:

PRESIDENT BUSH (2-25-2006): I proposed an Advanced Energy Initiative to take advantage of new technologies. Under this Initiative, we will change how we power our homes and offices by investing in clean coal technology, solar and wind power, and clean, safe nuclear energy. And we will change how we power our cars and trucks by investing in hybrid vehicles, pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen…

What he doesn’t tell you about the hydrogen (does he know what it is?) is that it is not a primary source of energy. Where do you suppose they think the hydrogen will come from? Nukes, of course!!

US winning in Iraq

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Bearing Point still at work

It’s been a blockbuster couple of days on Democracy Now! More on today’s Daniel Ellsberg interview later…

For now, I want to point out a Democracy Now! interview important for anyone caring to understand what is really going on in Iraq. Surprise! The operation is very, very far from a “failure”, if we consider measures of “success” from the point of view of Bush-connected elites.

Of course the invasion and failure of reconstruction of basic services have been a disaster for the Iraqi people. But the chokehold the American invaders have put on Iraq’s economy and oil is exactly what these vultures have wanted all along. The Iraqi people have been damned by their overlord, President Bush, for the valuable commidity over which they live.

According to Antonia Juhasz, visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of the recent book, “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time,” the radical neo-liberal economic program the Bush administration has tried to impose on Iraq threatens to leave Iraq’s economy and oil reserves largely in the hands of multinational corporations.

ANTONIA JUHASZ: You know, in the report that you were quoting in the beginning of the hour, which said that the reconstruction failed because of poor planning, it’s a myth that there was not a post-war planning done by the Bush administration. The reason why it failed was because the interests it was serving were U.S. multinationals, not reconstruction in Iraq.

That plan was ready two months before the invasion. It was written by BearingPoint, Inc., a company based in Virginia that received a $250 million contract to rewrite the entire economy of Iraq. It drafted that new economy. That new economy was put into place systematically by L. Paul Bremer, the head of the occupation government of Iraq for 14 months, who implemented exactly one hundred orders, basically all of which are still in place today. And everyone who is watching who is familiar with the policies of the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Bank, the I.M.F., will understand the orders.

They implement some of the most radical corporate globalization ideas, such as free investment rules for multinational corporations. That means corporations can enter Iraq, and they essentially don’t have to contribute at all to the economy of Iraq. The most harmful provision thus far has been the national treatment provision, which meant that the Iraqis could not give preference to Iraqi companies or workers in the reconstruction, and therefore, U.S. companies received preference in the reconstruction. They hired workers who weren’t even from Iraq, in most cases, and utterly bungled the reconstruction.

And the most important company, in my mind, to receive blame is the Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco. They have received $2.8 billion to rebuild water, electricity and sewage systems, the most important systems in the life of an Iraqi. After the first Gulf War, the Iraqis rebuilt these systems in three months’ time. It’s been three years, and, as you said, those services are still below pre-war levels.

Long-time readers of Deep Blade Journal will recognize the name BearingPoint. Extensive material on the planned neoliberal transformation of Iraq is available here, and in the Reference document I produced 2 1/2 years ago when we were setting up opposition to the U Maine “Doing Business in Iraq” conference.

See more recent posts here and here for more information on the plan for US multinationals to control and dominate Iraq’s oil–a fight that they are pretty much winning, according to Antonia Juhasz.

Ray McGovern: This is not American

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Worthwhile PBS News Hour debate on “good” CIA leaks

I’m a bit late posting this. But check out Monday’s edition of the PBS News Hour featuring a debate between Richard Kerr, who was with the CIA for 32 years and was deputy director of central intelligence under the first President Bush, and Ray McGovern who was a CIA analyst for 27 years, now a member of the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Kerr take a hardline position against the now-denied presumption that fired CIA employee Mary McCarthy leaked information about CIA secret prison camps to the Washington Post. I concur with McGovern, however, that it is essential for the public to know about government activities that constitute war crimes:

KERR: … After all, CIA functions as an organization that does illegal things overseas. …

MCGOVERN: That’s the reason these prisons are overseas, because there is U.S. law, 18 U.S. Code 2441, the War Crimes Act, which forbids these activities, torture, rendition, putting people, disappearing people, and so forth. And so that’s why these things are created overseas.

But my point is: This is not American. This is not the country that we serve. And when we see this happening, somebody has to speak out.

The video for the segment is available at the News Hour site. It’s very good material at a time when the Bush Administration is starting to play harder and harder ball in its game to conceal its despicable activities.

Human traffic and hypocrisy

Monday, April 24th, 2006

President Bush: “Human trafficking is one of the worst offenses against human dignity. Our nation is determined to fight that crime abroad and at home.” July 16, 2004

Chicago Tribune: “Violations of human-trafficking laws and other abuses by contractors involving possibly thousands of foreign workers on American bases…” Iraq war contractors ordered to end abuses: Tribune series detailed undocumented pipeline of foreign workers into Iraq, and abuses perpetrated along the way. By Cam Simpson; Tribune Washington bureau; April 23, 2006

Now read this: “Disgrace” by digby.

Pukingly disgusting. The administration of President Bush is setting new 21st Century lowpoints in the vile world history of slavery, so that it can construct it’s imperial edifice in SW Asia. I’ve written about this in one other recent post.

Yuck, ick. I want to take a shower now, and try to remove these horrors which the aloof cruelty President Bush and his minions are bringing the world.

HOPE Festival 2006

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

If it’s Earth Day, this must be the HOPE Festival

Friday Garden Blogging

Friday, April 21st, 2006

Springing

Not sure what this is, they’re in the front yard

After a little rain last weekend, the weather has dried rapidly. Some wildfires have flared up. Winds have been very strong until today. A strong, dry wind whipped up a big fire in a 170-year-old church in Palmyra, about 40 miles from here.

Finding Inner Peace in a Time of Conflict

Thursday, April 20th, 2006


On Tuesday April 18, the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine had an amazing, wonderful event. Tibetan Buddhist monk KHEN RINPOCHE GESHE LOBZANG TSETAN spoke in Bangor, Maine on “Finding Inner Peace in a Time of Conflict.”

The podcast for the entire program along with more information is now available at http://peacecast.us.

Even those who attended in person will appreciate this podcast of the program because the cavernous echoes in the church made listening difficult. We were forced to move there after the crowd of over 120 people overwhelmed the Peace Center. For this recording Geshe Lobzang Tsetan was close-miked and the sound of his voice is especially clear in the playback, while the echoes are much muted.

Friday Garden Blogging

Friday, April 14th, 2006

Dandelions!


Sure sign of northern spring

My mom was not fond of the massive crop of dandelions we would get this time of year where I grew up in Minnesota. I’d give anything to be able to hear her (& my dad too) curse ’em.

It’s funny, I rather like ’em and would never raise a spreader of poison against ’em. The greens make an excellent salad.

Mom is gone two years today.

The real Iraq bioweapons story

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

Deep Blade Journal has the essential document concerning the history of Iraq and weaponizable bioweapons material:

United States exports of biological materials to Iraq: Compromising the credibility of international law by Geoffrey Holland (pdf format, 463kb download)

The only time Iraq ever had a real, functioning bioweapons development program was during the years (up to 1990) when it was supported by the US. Geoffrey Holland makes a convincing case that the illegality under international law of the export of weaponizable biotoxins to Iraq has never adequately been investigated. He has campaigned for several years now for a formal international process to address these charges.