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 Sunday, April 30, 2006

Iran Crisis: The SAME Dirty Tactics and Spin by the Bush Administration Spread by the US Media

  Read here full article "President's tactics echo buildup to invasion of Iraq in Toronto Star"

Set aside the American spin — dutifully disseminated by the media — regarding the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's nuclear program.

Rather than augment America's case, it proves how counterproductive George W. Bush's bullying tactics have been.

Bush's tactics bear eerie parallels to his 2002-03 buildup to the invasion of Iraq.

The ostensible issue then (in Iraq) was the hidden weapons of mass destruction.

Now, it is the Iranian intention to develop a nuclear bomb.

Iran's nuclear program is NOT new.

It began in the 1970s under the Shah, with U.S. co-operation.

But following the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, a 45-nation cartel, wouldn't sell Iran nuclear technology. So it went to the black market.

What it bought there is a matter of debate.

But Iran is NOT in violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

Its enrichment of uranium, under international inspection since 2003, is legal. (What transpired before that we do not fully know).

Iran even opened up some military installations, where the inspectors found no nuclear activity. Two years ago, Iran voluntarily agreed to suspend enrichment.

It did so while negotiating with Britain, Germany and France in an attempt to end the U.S.-led Western freeze on technological transfers, including spare parts for civilian planes.

When those talks failed, Iran removed the seals on nuclear material to resume low-level enrichment. That, too, was legal. The IAEA inspectors were present when the seals came off.
So, what is Iran guilty of?

  • It has not been fully forthcoming on what enrichment equipment it bought pre-2003.

  • It is yet to prove that its work is solely for peaceful purposes.
But the IAEA has NOT found a smoking gun.

Hence its conclusion: The glass is half-full and half-empty.

On Friday, the agency added what Iran has already said: the enrichment program continues.

Along the way, Iran had made two offers: set up a consortium to let other nations partially own and operate its commercial enrichment facility, thereby removing the secrecy around it, or, alternatively, ditch that facility in return for a small experimental facility (which would pose little threat of nuclear proliferation), along with an ensured supply of nuclear fuel, plus security assurances that it won't be whacked (by the U.S. or Israel).

But the U.S. would NOT agree. It says Iran might make a bomb.

But there's NO way the IAEA can measure intentions.

That Iran has an unsavoury regime does NOT mean that Bush can have carte blanche to start a war.

Bush says he does not plan to. But that's what he said on Iraq.

The more he drags Iran into the Security Council, the greater control he has over what he really wants: regime change.

That, in turn, drives Iran even more toward the bomb.

The more debate and resolutions he can generate in the council, the better for Bush, even if Russia and China don't fully go along.

The media hysteria would help ratchet up the fear factor and keep the spotlight off the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also all his troubles at home.

Secondly, it would let him turn the Iran case into "a test of the credibility of the Security Council," the same way he did on Iraq.

Condoleezza Rice is already using that phrase.

None of this is to say that Iran's nuclear program should not be curbed.

But one cannot think of a worse way than Bush's way.

He is pushing Iran to take the North Korean path: pull out of the Non-proliferation Treaty altogether to shield itself from any international inspection and develop the bomb.

It is this dangerous game of chicken that Stephen Harper is getting Canada into, by supporting Bush holus bolus on Iran.

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Thailand: The Right Regal Touch - Timely and Effectively

  Read here full article by John Aglionby "King halts Thailand's troubles" in The Guardan UK

Ruler steps in to end months of stalemate and street fighting

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King Bhumibol Adulyadej

The much revered King of Thailand had achieved what all his quarrelling subjects could not - a political compromise.

Months of turmoil and angry demonstrations have paralysed Thailand's parliament in a political soap opera of revolt and belligerence.

But yesterday there appeared to be a sudden light at the end of the tunnel after a dramatic intervention by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The monarch - who is almost a deity to Thais - persuaded feuding politicians to bury some of their differences and sending the previously apathetic judiciary into a frenzy of activity.

The most telling consequence of the change in atmosphere is that King Bhumibol has demonstrated he remains probably the world's most powerful constitutional monarch, ruling over a nation where no one dares not comply with his wishes. This is in spite of the fact that he announced on his last birthday that it should no longer be considered illegal to challenge him.

Thaksin's critics argued that the premier's authority was illegitimate because he had widely abused his power for personal gain. Meanwhile the government continued to accuse the three main opposition parties of electoral chicanery because the opposition had boycotted an 2 April snap election. The move left Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party as the sole candidate in most constituencies.

The opposition then took advantage of electoral laws stating that contestants in single-candidate seats must win 20 per cent of eligible votes to get elected and that all seats must be filled for parliament to meet. Thirty-eight seats stayed empty and after by-elections last weekend 14 remained vacant with little prospect of being filled. Thai Rak Thai had argued that the constitution should be ignored and parliament should meet anyway while the opposition wanted the election annulled and the king to appoint a prime minister to oversee constitutional reform.

Meanwhile, the judges who had the power to decide appeared frozen into inaction through fear.

Then King Bhumibol entered the fray, only the third time he had intervened in domestic politics in his 60-year reign.

In speeches to newly-appointed judges, the 78-year-old monarch described the state of the country as a 'mess', the April election as 'undemocratic' and calls for him to appoint a leader as overstepping his power. He instead ordered the judiciary - resolve the crisis or resign.

'You cannot administrate the country by messing up,' he said. 'You cannot think in haste and pass the buck to the King, which is worse than messing things up in other areas, because the King has no authority.'

The political chill lifted rapidly.

On Friday, acting on the regal advice, the presidents of the supreme, administrative and constitutional courts held their first ever joint meeting to seek a solution to the crisis.

Hours later the administrative court cancelled yesterday's by-elections.

The cancellation immediately prompted speculation that the 2 April election would be nullified.

Yesterday morning the head of the leading opposition Democrat party, Abhisit Vejjajiva, used his address at the party's conveniently timed annual general congress to end his party's election boycott and deliver an election manifesto he called a 'people's agenda for reform'.

For its part, Thai Rak Thai dropped its demand that parliament meet even if some seats were unfilled. And leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the anti-Thaksin street movement which had organised months of protests, announced they would respect the king's wishes and abide by the courts' decisions.

Not one word criticising the king's action as undemocratic meddling by an unelected figurehead has been uttered.

PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul, facing charges of lese majeste for mentioning the king at a protest rally, was also pleased by the intervention because 'Thaksin refuses to defuse the situation because he is using the mask of democracy to disguise himself. He's a tyrant.'

King Bhumibol did not mention Thaksin by name but he has on several occasions publicly told the thin-skinned prime minister to accept criticism.

Many people appreciate, however, that they cannot rely on the king forever, particularly since his successors will certainly not be as experienced as him and might not be as deeply revered.

'It's important to have a final arbiter,' said political analyst Dr Thitinan Pongsudhirak. 'But the king can only do so much. If the people don't get it, mired in their own complacency and bogged down in their own petty conflict then the country is headed for disaster.'

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 Saturday, April 29, 2006

Israel Lobby Pushing Hard for United States to Attack Iran

  Read here full article "Stepping Stone to War" by Justin Raimondo

Only 21 members of the House stood up against the overwhelming bipartisan wave of support for Iran Freedom Support Act, which would impose economic sanctions on the Iranians – and openly proclaims the goal of effecting "regime change."

While the Iran Freedom Support Act contains language explicitly disavowing the charge that it represents a blank check for war with Iran, that is precisely what it does.

It sets the stage for isolating Iran economically and paves the way for the creation of an Iranian version of Ahmed Chalabi and his "heroes in error."

We will, once again, pay for the privilege of being lied to.

Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican, said the bill reminds him of a 1998 congressional resolution – the Iraq Liberation Act – that paved the way for the Iraqi debacle.

Yet most of the "antiwar" contingent in the House of Representatives caved and voted in favor, including Democrats John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Jack Murtha, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Lee, and Lynn Woolsey.

Passage (of the bill) is a major goal of AIPAC, Israel's premier lobbying organization in the U.S., which for the past two years has featured the alleged Iranian threat to America as its convention theme: this year's conclave featured a multimedia exhibit supposedly dramatizing how Iran is "pursuing nuclear weapons and how it can be stopped."

As Middle East expert Trita Parsi, of the John Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, put it: "I don't see any other major groups behind this legislation that have had any impact on it."

The Israelis have made no secret of their efforts to get Uncle Sam to launch an attack.

If you guys don't, a number of Israeli officials have implied, then we will.

This last, however, is an empty threat, as the Israelis don't have the military capacity to wipe out Iran's widely dispersed nuclear research facilities in a single blow, and, in any case, are more than likely to wait until the last possible moment before they take the unusual step of fighting their own war.

After all, why should they, when the U.S. is perfectly willing to sacrifice American troops and treasure on the altar of Israel's alleged national security interests?

Iran represents a threat to nothing and no one but Israel, and everybody knows it.

It is likewise universally acknowledged that the one Middle Eastern power we definitely know to be in possession of a substantial nuclear stockpile is Israel.

The Iranians, then, could be seen as engaging in a defensive policy of deterrence: after all, Israel has never even acknowledged its nukes, let alone declared a policy of "no first strike."

Unlike the Israelis, the Iranians are signatories of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

But of course we aren't allowed to mention that, because depicting the government of Israel as a gang of duplicitous scheming aggressors intent on holding a nuclear sword of Damocles over the entire Middle East would be "anti-Semitic," according to the latest definition of anti-Semitism, albeit all too true.

The timing on this vote is significant on two counts.

Coming as it did at a time when the debate about Israel's inordinate influence over U.S. foreign policy is getting heated, this vote demonstrates that, as John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt point out in "The Israel Lobby":

"AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on the U.S. Congress.

Open debate about U.S. policy towards Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world."

The sheer power of what Mearsheimer and Walt call "the Lobby" is further demonstrated by the general public revulsion against the consequences of our very similar policy in Iraq.

In the Senate, the primary proponents of this bill are likely to be Hillary Clinton and the rabidly neocon wing of the Republican Party.

Seymour Hersh and others seem to think the Bush administration will beat President Hillary to it, and that military operations involving both the Americans and the Israelis have already commenced.

The Iran Freedom Support Act would merely drag these covert activities up into the sunlight, although their roots would stay submerged in the murky underworld of shadowy exile groups and Pentagon subcontractors.

Let no one say they were against this war with Iran, when it comes, if they didn't vote with the heroic 21 naysayers. These sanctions against Iran are but a prelude to war, just as sanctions were the first step in the long run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Events are proceeding at an ever accelerating pace, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now saying the time for talking is over and the time for action has begun – not military action (at least not yet), but action by the Security Council of the United Nations, whose "credibility is at stake."

I wonder if that same standard applies to the many UN resolutions that Israel continues to defy. Hasn't the UN already lost all credibility when such brazen defiance has gone unnoticed by the Security Council?

Let no one say they weren't warned.

Using Iraq as a "model" for the methodology of the War Party, we can see, when it comes to Iran, that all the elements are falling neatly into place.

Once again, we have the specter of WMD and their possible existence or nonexistence: a mirage projected by the credulous Western "mainstream" media, one that is sure to dissipate only after we're waist-deep in an Iranian quagmire.

Another familiar phenomenon: dubious exile groups, along the lines of the infamous Iraqi National Congress, only this time even wackier, wilder, and woolier.

The Bush administration is going too slow for the Lobby's taste, and the House vote is a good indication of their displeasure.

In spite of widespread antiwar sentiment and a general disgust with the notion of meddling in the affairs of other nations, the War Party has effectively seized control not only of major policymaking bodies of the U.S. government, but also both major political parties.

Mearsheimer and Walt describe the campaign by Israel's amen corner to rush us into another war:

"The Bush administration has responded to the Lobby's pressure by working overtime to shut down Iran's nuclear program.

But Washington has had little success, and Iran seems determined to get a nuclear arsenal.

As a result, the Lobby has intensified its pressure on the U.S. government, using all of the strategies in its playbook."

As for this White House, while it may have developed plans for an attack on Iran, the current administration seems eager to draw out the diplomatic dance as long as possible, even in the face of what Mearsheimer and Walt depict as a Katrina-like storm of propaganda and political pressure:

"Op-eds and articles now warn of imminent dangers from a nuclear Iran, caution against any appeasement of a 'terrorist' regime, and hint darkly of preventive action should diplomacy fail.

The Lobby is also pushing Congress to approve the Iran Freedom Support Act, which would expand existing sanctions on Iran.

Israeli officials also warn they may take preemptive action should Iran continue down the nuclear road, hints partly intended to keep Washington focused on this issue."

The Lobby is on the march, and war is in the wind. The cries of the banshee pundits and the sonorous resolutions coming out of Israeli-occupied Capitol Hill, are portents of the coming storm.

Mearsheimer and Walt, two distinguished professors from two of our nation's most prestigious universities, have been vilified by the Amen Corner and have had their thesis twisted and willfully misunderstood by ultra-Zionists and anti-Semites alike.

They have admirably refused to get down in the gutter with such dishonest, agenda-driven scribblers, and instead have let their work speak for itself as a predictor and critic of U.S. policy in the Middle East:

"One might argue that Israel and the Lobby have not had much influence on U.S. policy toward Iran, because the United States has its own reasons to keep Iran from going nuclear.

This is partly true, but Iran's nuclear ambitions do not pose an existential threat to the United States. If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuclear China, or even a nuclear North Korea, then it can live with a nuclear Iran.

And that is why the Lobby must keep constant pressure on U.S. politicians to confront Tehran.

Iran and the United States would hardly be allies if the Lobby did not exist, but U.S. policy would be more temperate and preventive war would not be a serious option."

As for this essay's predictive value: in light of the knowledge that it was commissioned by The Atlantic magazine and written sometime last year, the section on the Iran nuke issue seems prescient, an ample demonstration of the paper's thesis – that the Israel lobby has hijacked American foreign policy, especially when it comes to the Middle East.

Mearsheimer and Walt's critique of U.S. policy, as distorted by neoconservative fealty to Israel, is more than borne out by the Iran nuke brouhaha.

Iranian missiles trained on Tel Aviv, or even London, do not a threat to the U.S. make.

It is doubtful they represent a plausible threat even to the targeted cities, as the threat of massive retaliation in kind would successfully deter such a heinous act, just as it deterred Stalin and his successors for half a century.

It is both alarming and baffling that we have any number of lobbies operating out of Washington on behalf of dozens of foreign countries: not only Israel, but all sorts of overseas potentates and unsavory dictators of one sort or another have their bought-and-paid-for Amen Corners in the form of at least one pricey public relations firm.

But I have yet to hear of a foreign policy lobby that operates on behalf of Americans – that looks out for exclusively American interests.

Why isn't there a countering force arrayed against all these foreign agents and their domestic allies who push for the narrow interests of the "homeland" – usually at Uncle Sam's expense?

Who will lobby Congress to start putting America first?
-Justin Raimondo

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 Friday, April 28, 2006

United States is NOT a Superpower, says Former US Asst. Secretary of Treasury


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting (Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice)

Paul Craig Roberts is the John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy, Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. A former editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service, he is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles and a columnist for Investor’s Business Daily. In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists.

He was Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute from 1993 to 1996. From 1982 through 1993, he held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. During 1981-82 he served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy. President Reagan and Treasury Secretary Regan credited him with a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he was awarded the Treasury Department’s Meritorious Service Award for "his outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy." From 1975 to 1978, Dr. Roberts served on the congressional staff where he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill and played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy.Read
here more on Paul Craig Roberts biography

Quote :
Is the United States a superpower?
I think not.
- Paul Craig Roberts

Here are the facts:

  1. The financial position of the US has declined dramatically.
    The US is heavily indebted, both government and consumers.

    The US trade deficit both in absolute size and as a percentage of GDP is unprecedented, reaching more than $800 billion in 2005 and accumulating to $4.5 trillion since 1990.

    With US job growth falling behind population growth and with no growth in consumer real incomes, the US economy is driven by expanding consumer debt. Saving rates are low or negative.

    The federal budget is deep in the red, adding to America’s dependency on debt.
    The US cannot even go to war unless foreigners are willing to finance it.

    Our biggest bankers are China and Japan, both of whom could cause the US serious financial problems if they wished.

    A country whose financial affairs are in the hands of foreigners is not a superpower.
  2. The US is heavily dependent on imports for manufactured goods, including advanced technology products.
    In 2005 US dependency (in dollar amounts) on imported manufactured goods was twice as large as US dependency on imported oil.

    In the 21st century the US has experienced a rapid increase in dependency on imports of advanced technology products.

    A country dependent on foreigners for manufactures and advanced technology products is not a superpower.
  3. Because of jobs offshoring and illegal immigration, US consumers create jobs for foreigners, not for Americans.
    Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs reports document the loss of manufacturing jobs and the inability of the US economy to create jobs in categories other than domestic “hands on” services.

    According to a March 2006 report from the Center for Immigration Studies, most of these jobs are going to immigrants: “Between March 2000 and March 2005 only 9 percent of the net increase in jobs for adults (18 to 64) went to natives.

    This is striking because natives accounted for 61 percent of the net increase in the overall size of the 18 to 64 year old population.”

    A country that cannot create jobs for its native born population is not a superpower.

    In an interview in the April 17 Manufacturing & Technology News, former TCI and Global Crossing CEO Leo Hindery said that the incentives of globalization have disconnected US corporations from US interests. “No economy,” Hindery said, “can survive the offshoring of both manufacturing and services concurrently.

    In fact, no society can even take excessive offshoring of manufacturing alone.”

    According to Hindery, offshoring serves the short-term interests of shareholders and executive pay at the long-term expense of US economic strength.

    Hindery notes that in 1981 the Business Roundtable defined its constituency as “employees, shareholders, community, customers, and the nation.”

    Today the constituency is quarterly earnings.

    A country whose business class has no sense of the nation is not a superpower.
  4. By launching a war of aggression on the basis of lies and fabricated “intelligence,” the Bush regime violated the Nuremburg standard established by the US and international law.
    Extensive civilian casualties and infrastructure destruction in Iraq, along with the torture of detainees in concentration camps and an ever-changing excuse for the war have destroyed the soft power and moral leadership that provided the diplomatic foundation for America’s superpower status.

    A country that is no longer respected or trusted and which promises yet more war isolates itself from cooperation from the rest of the world.

    An isolated country is not a superpower.

    A country that fears small, distant countries to such an extent that it utilizes military in place of diplomatic means is not a superpower.

    The entire world knows that the US is not a superpower when its entire available military force is tied down by a small lightly armed insurgency drawn from a population of a mere 5 million people.
  5. Neoconservatives think the US is a superpower because of its military weapons and nuclear missiles.
    However, as the Iraqi resistance has demonstrated, America’s superior military firepower is not enough to prevail in fourth generation warfare.

    The Bush regime has reached this conclusion itself, which is why it increasing speaks of attacking Iran with nuclear weapons.

    The US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons against an opponent. If six decades after nuking Japan the US again resorts to the use of nuclear weapons, it will establish itself as a pariah, war criminal state under the control of insane people.

    Any sympathy that might still exist for the US would immediately disappear, and the world would unite against America.

    A country against which the world is united is not a superpower.

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 Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bush's new Press Secretary, Tony Snow, said "Racism is NO Big Deal"

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Tony Snow,
President Bush's new Press Secretary

(formerly from Fox News)

Tony Snow, conservative pundit and incoming White House press secretary, told television viewers in 2003 that racism is no longer a "big deal," RAW STORY has learned.

Click here to listen the video of Tony Snow's comments on racism.

Ironically, the remarks were made in defense of Rush Limbaugh's assertion that quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated by a media showing preferential bias to "black quarterbacks."

Tony Snow said in October 2003 editionof Fox News Sunday:
"Here's the unmentionable secret, racism isn't that big a deal anymore... no sensible person supports racism... (and it is) quickly becoming an ugly memory".

Republicans have struggled to win greater support in the African American community, which overwhelmingly votes for Democratic candidates.

Allegations of racism after Hurricane Katrina pushed President Bush to his lowest point ever in polls of black voters, often rating the president with support of a single-digit.

Snow's comments on race have already been challenged as out of touch by Democrats in Congress.

Asked Democratic National Committee spokesperson Amaya Smith:

"How can Republicans claim to be mending fences with the African-American community after hiring Tony Snow, who just doesn't get it?"
The Democratic National Committee has gone so far as to post (click here) the video of Snow's comments on the DNC website.

The Memorable Comments of Tony Snow
The following is a short compilation of some of Snow’s greatest hits on George Bush and the White House as well as a collection of his more memorable quotes on a number of social issues, including a defense of David Duke and his claim that “racism isn't that big a deal anymore.”


2006: Snow Said Bush Looks “Guilty.”
In light of Bush’s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, the Dubai ports deal, and plummeting approval ratings, Snow said “…you ever seen those guilty guys in a court case, you know, the guilty guys are sitting passively? That's what the president looks like…” [Fox News, 3/4/06]

2005: Snow Said Bush Looks Impotent.
“No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives.” [Snow Column, 9/30/05]

2006: Snow Said Bush “Lost Control” of Budget.
In his syndicated column, Snow wrote, “A Republican president and a Republican Congress have lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc. George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion.” [Snow Column, 3/17/06]

2005: Snow Called Bush an “Embarrassment”
Following the Democratic electoral wins in 2005, Snow said that “…George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” [Snow Column, 11/11/05]

2006: Snow Criticized Bush’s Domestic Policy Commenting on Bush’s State of the Union Address
Snow called Bush’s domestic policy “listless.” [Snow Column, 2/3/06]

2000, 2003: Snow Found Fault with Bush’s Fiscal Policies.
Snow has sharp words for Bush on his lack of “spending restraint.” In 2003, Tony Snow said, “When it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can’t say no. In each of his three years at the helm, the president has warned Congress to restrain its spending appetites, but so far nobody has pushed away from the table mainly because the president doesn’t seem to mean what he says.” In 2000, Snow said Bush “will shovel money into programs that enjoy undeserved prestige, such as Head Start.” [The Detroit News, 12/28/03; Snow Column, 8/25/00 ]

2000: Snow Took Bush to Task On His Grammar.
In 2000, Snow said Bush got “his father’s syntax. At one point last week, he stunned a friendly audience by barking out absurd and inappropriate words, like a soul tortured with Tourette’s.” In the same column, Snow wrote that “The English Language has become a minefield for the man, whose malaprops make him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan, but Norm Crosby.” [Snow Column, 8/25/00]

2004: Snow Criticized Bush’s CIA.
Snow said, “We have now got a CIA that is largely incapable of putting human assets, spies on the ground, and seeing things. And furthermore, there's a huge deficit of people who can even speak languages, such as Arabic, to be able to blend in with the local culture.” [The O'Reilly Factor, 7/9/04]


2003: “Racism Isn’t That Big a Deal Anymore.”
In October 2003, Snow defended Rush Limbaugh’s controversial comments that Donovan McNabb was overrated and that reporters are disposed towards black quarterbacks. “The comment wasn't racist,” Snow said, “but that did not stop political opportunists from accusing Rush of bias.” Snow added, “Racism isn't that big a deal anymore.” [“Fox News Sunday,” 10/5/03, emphasis added]

1991: Snow Defended David Duke.
In 1991, then-White House speechwriter Tony Snow defended former KKK leader David Duke, saying, “Duke is talking about things people really care about: high taxes, crummy schools, crime-ridden streets, welfare dependency, equal opportunity. A lot of politicians aren't talking about these things.” [Chicago Tribune, 11/20/91]

2005: Snow Thinks Calling Racism Systemic Is “Making Excuses”
In June 2005, Snow said that calling racism and poverty systemic is “making excuses” for cultural problems in the U.S. rather than trying to understand the situation of the poor. “When you say systemic, it sounds like you're trying to make excuses…in other words, it sounds like you're giving people a copout.” [The O’Reilly Factor, 6/30/05]

1999: Snow Said Keyes “Cries Racism”
Too Often. In a discussion on the Republican presidential primary candidates, Snow accused Republican Alan Keyes of “crying racism” too often. Snow said, “He does have a penchant for crying racism … When he was at the State Department and he was the hot – the higher-ups there were not listening to him, he blew up and accused them of racism as well.” [Fox Special Report With Brit Hume; 12/3/99]

1998: Snow Loves The “Least Politically Correct” Holiday.
In 1998, Tony Snow commented that he loves Thanksgiving because it is “the least politically correct” holiday. Snow said, “I love Thanksgiving. It is the least politically correct of all our holidays. It celebrates the old-fashioned bourgeois family. It praises God, who's creator non grata in most of our public schools, and it bespeaks our national faith in higher truths and greater goods, as well as in our neighbors and ourselves.” [Fox News Sunday, 10/30/98]

2000: Snow Knows of No Examples of Wrongful Execution.
Snow said on Fox News that he has “never heard anybody come up with proof of anybody since 1976 who's been executed wrongly.” [Fox News: The Edge with Paula Zahn, 6/21/00]

1995: Snow Said Anti-Smoking Campaign “Federal Nannyism”
Tony Snow wrote in a 1995 USA Today column that the government’s anti-smoking effort was “federal nannyism.” [USA Today, 4/14/95]

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Commentary: A Lobby for Israel is an Israel Lobby, and It Exists in the US


Molly Ivins
(Molly Ivins is the former editor of the liberal monthly The Texas Observer. She is the bestselling author of several books including Who Let the Dogs In? )

Other Breaking News

  • IRAQ: A man believed to be al-Qaida's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, yesterday showed his face publicly for the first time since the insurgency began three years ago.In a video posted on the internet, he spoke directly to camera. Dressed in black and his chest covered with ammunition pouches, he made an appeal to Iraqi Sunnis to support his fight against the US-led coalition and its Iraqi supporters.He was shown striding through the desert with a group of men, all dressed in black and waving automatic rifles. He was also shown firing one of the weapons.Read here for more

  • SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's military unleashed air strikes and mortar attacks Wednesday at areas controlled by Tamil Tiger insurgents, who said that 15,000 people had fled the second day of violence sparked by a suspected rebel suicide bombing.European monitors said the violence – launched in response to a suicide bombing on Tuesday – violates a four-year-old ceasefire.The rebels said at least 12 people in its territory had been killed in attacks that the military launched Tuesday in the first major military assault since the ceasefire. Read here for more

  • EGYPT:Two suicide bombers blew themselves up on Wednesday near a base of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Al-Gurah in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the official MENA news agency reported. Initial reports said that the two suicide bombers were killed, said MENA. Governor of North Sinai governorate was quoted as saying that the incident occurred at 10: 30 a.m. (0830 GMT) near the camp. The pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV channel reported earlier that the bombing injured two peacekeeping soldiers. Al-Gurah is located about 30 km southeast of Al-Arish on the Mediterranean coast of the peninsula. The bombing came two days after deadly bombings in the popular Sinai resort of Dahab, which killed at least 23 people and injured dozens of others. This was the second such attack against the base in less than 10 months. Read here for more

  • IRAN: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that if the United States attacks Iran, U.S. interests around the world would be harmed, state-run Tehran television reported. Speaking to laborers on the occasion of the International Laborers Day, Khamenei said U.S. officials have been using threatening language against Iran for 27 years, but the Iranian nation and officials do not care about the threats. "The Iranian nation and its officials are peace-seekers and the Islamic republic would not invade anybody," the television quoted Khamenei as saying. But he added: "The Americans should know that if they invade Iran, their interests around the world would be harmed. Iran will respond twofold to any attack." Read here for more

  • Read here full article by Molly Ivins

    One of the consistent deformities in American policy debate has been challenged by a couple of professors, and the reaction proves their point so neatly it's almost funny.

    A working paper by John Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, called "The Israel Lobby" was printed in the London Review of Books earlier this month.

    And all hell broke loose in the more excitable reaches of journalism and academe.

    For having the sheer effrontery to point out the painfully obvious -- that there is an Israel lobby in the United States -- Mearsheimer and Walt have been accused of being anti-Semitic, nutty and guilty of "kooky academic work."

    Alan Dershowitz, who seems to be easily upset, went totally ballistic over the mild, academic, not to suggest pretty boring article by Mearsheimer and Walt, calling them "liars" and "bigots."

    Of course there is an Israeli lobby in America -- its leading working group is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

    It calls itself "America's Pro-Israel Lobby," and it attempts to influence U.S. legislation and policy.

    Several national Jewish organizations lobby from time to time. Big deal -- why is anyone pretending this non-news requires falling on the floor and howling?

    Because of this weird deformity of debate.

    In the United States, we do NOT have full-throated, full-throttle debate about Israel.

    In Israel, they have it as matter of course, but the truth is that the accusation of anti-Semitism is far too often raised in this country against anyone who criticizes the government of Israel.

    Being pro-Israel is no defense, as I long ago learned to my cost. Now I've gotten used to it.

    Jews who criticize Israel are charmingly labeled "self-hating Jews." As I have often pointed out, that must mean there are a lot of self-hating Israelis, because those folks raise hell over their own government's policies all the time.

    I don't know that I've ever felt intimidated by the knee-jerk "you're anti-Semitic" charge leveled at anyone who criticizes Israel, but I do know I have certainly heard it often enough to become tired of it.

    And I wonder if that doesn't produce the same result: giving up on the discussion.

    It's the sheer disproportion, the vehemence of the attacks on anyone perceived as criticizing Israel that makes them so odious. Mearsheimer and Walt are both widely respected political scientists -- comparing their writing to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is just silly.

    Several critics have pointed out some flaws in the Mearsheimer-Walt paper, including a too-broad use of the term "Israel lobby" -- those of us who are pro-Israel differ widely -- and having perhaps overemphasized the clout of the Israel lobby by ignoring the energy lobby.

    It seems to me the root of the difficulty has been Israel's inability first to admit the Palestinians have been treated unfairly and, second, to figure out what to do about it.

    Now here goes a big fat generalization, but I think many Jews are so accustomed (by reality) to thinking of themselves as victims, it is especially difficult for them to admit they have victimized others.

    But the Mearsheimer-Walt paper is not about the basic conflict, but its effect on American foreign policy, and it appears to me their arguments are unexceptional.

    Israel is the No. 1 recipient of American foreign aid, and it seems an easy case can be made that the United States has subjugated its own interests to those of Israel in the past.

    Whether you agree or not, it is a discussion well worth having and one that should NOT be shut down before it can start by unfair accusations of "anti-Semitism."

    In a very equal sense, none of this is academic.

    The Israel Lobby was overwhelmingly in favor of starting the war with Iraq and is now among the leading hawks on Iran.

    To the extent that our interests do differ from those of Israel, the matter needs to be discussed calmly and fairly.

    This is not about conspiracies or plots or fantasies or anti-Semitism -- it's about rational discussion of American interests. And, in my case, being pro-Israel.

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     Monday, April 24, 2006

    Text of Osama Bin Laden's Latest Audio-Tape Message aired on Al-Jazeera

      Read here full article on Reuters AlertNet

    Image hosting by Photobucket

    Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden urged his followers to prepare for a long war against Western would-be occupiers in Sudan's Darfur region, according to an audiotape attributed to him and aired on Sunday.

    The speaker, who sounded like bin Laden, also said on the tape broadcast on Al Jazeera television that the West's shunning of the Hamas Palestinian government showed it was waging a "Crusader-Zionist war" on Muslims.

    The following are excerpts from the recording broadcast by al-Jazeera Arab satellite TV on Sunday: (translation from BBC News)

    On the Palestinians

    " Their [the West's] opposition to Hamas has confirmed that it is a Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims.

    Meanwhile, I can say that war is a shared responsibility between the people and the government.

    The war is still raging, and people are renewing their allegiance to their rulers and politicians, sending their sons to join armies to fight us, and continuing to provide material and moral support.

    Our countries are burning, our homes are being shelled and our peoples are being killed and nobody cares about us.

    An example of the blatant attacks on our beliefs, our brothers and our countries is what your ally, Israel, did in terms of storming and demolishing Jericho Prison with the collusion of America and Britain. "

    On British and American involvement in Sudan

    " Britain... separated Sudan from Egypt. Then it returned once again to Sudan and sought to separate the south.

    It formed an army there from the people of the south and supported them with money, weapons, and expertise.

    It directed them to demand secession from Sudan. America then adopted this army through material and moral support and through its international tools, like the United Nations.

    It pressured the Khartoum government into signing an unfair agreement which allows the south to break away six years after signing the agreement.

    Let [Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad] al-Bashir and [US President George W.] Bush know that this agreement is not worth the ink with which it was written.

    It does not bind us in the least.

    Not satisfied with all these intrigues and crimes, America moved on to stir up more strife.

    One of the areas of gravest strife was western Sudan, where some differences among the tribesmen were used to trigger a ferocious war among them that consumes everything in its way, in preparation for sending Crusader forces to occupy the region and steal its oil under the cover of maintaining security there.

    It is a continuous Zionist-Crusader war against the Muslims.

    In this respect, I urge the mujahidin and their supporters in general, and in Sudan and the surrounding areas, including the Arabian Peninsula, in particular, to prepare all that which is necessary to fight a long-term war against the Crusader thieves in western Sudan.

    Our aim is clear: that is, defending Islam, its people, and land, and not defending the Khartoum government, although there could be common interests between us.

    Our differences with it are great.

    Suffice it to say that it failed to implement sharia law and relinquished the south.

    I urge the mujahidin to acquaint themselves with the territory and tribes of the province of Darfur and the areas surrounding it.

    It has been said that the people who know a certain territory can conquer it, and that those who do not know a certain territory are conquered by it. "

    On the West's policies

    " An example of ridiculing people and holding them in contempt is that your aircraft and tanks are destroying houses over the heads of our kinfolk and children in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Pakistan.

    Meanwhile, you smile in our faces, saying: We are not hostile to Islam; we are hostile to terrorists, and we advocate peaceful coexistence and dialogue rather than a clash of civilizations.

    The reality belies their pronouncements, for the Western diplomats only seek dialogue for the sake of dialogue.

    They aim to deceive and anaesthetise us in order to buy time.

    They only want us to observe a truce.

    They are determined to continue with their Crusader campaigns against our nation, to occupy our countries, to plunder our resources, and to enslave us.

    Do not be duped by their pronouncements, by the pronouncements of the hypocrites and apostates from among the ranks of fellow Arabs and Muslims, or by the pronouncements of the lecherous, those who discourage and frustrate others, or those spreading lies, who have lately been making their voices heard. "

    On Russian involvement in Chechnya and violence in Somalia

    " What is the meaning of the silence over the horrible Russian crimes in Chechnya, and the lynching of Muslims and the tearing apart of their bodies?

    Despite this, the so-called civilized world blesses all this. In fact, they support this secretly.

    It is a Crusader-Zionist war.

    What does the humiliation of Muslims in Somalia and the killing of 13,000 of our brother Muslims there mean?

    This shows how great their rancour is and how great their civilization is when they grill our brothers on a fire.

    There is no power and no strength save in God.

    It is a Crusader-Zionist war. "

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     Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Condoleezza Rice Leaked National Defense Information to a Pro-Israel Lobbyist


    Other Breaking News

  • Australia: Support for Australia's military presence in Iraq has fallen to an all-time low, even among Coalition voters.A Morgan Poll of 658 people taken this week found 59 per cent of Australians oppose having soldiers in Iraq - up 13 percentage points from the first poll on the issue in March 2004, and eight points since March 2005.Only 35 per cent believe Australia should have a military presence, and six per cent could not say.Droves of Coalition voters have deserted Prime Minister John Howard on the issue over the past year.Read here for more

  • NEPAL: King Gyanendra of Nepal made a desperate attempt to save his throne as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Kathmandu yesterday calling for his overthrow. On the streets too, the people vowed to continue their rallies. There were spontaneous demonstrations in reaction to the King's speech, with people chanting: "Democracy is coming! Gyanendra leave the country!" Read here for more

  • USA: A CIA official who had a top role during the run-up to the Iraqi war charges the White House with ignoring intelligence that said there were no weapons of mass destruction or an active nuclear program in Iraq. The former highest ranking CIA officer in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, also says that while the intelligence community did give the White House some bad intelligence, it also gave the White House good intelligence — which the administration chose to ignore. Drumheller talks to 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley in his first television interview this Sunday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Read here for more

  • Read here Associated Press's full article by Matthew Barakat

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was accused of leaking national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.

    Prosecutors disputed the claim.

    The allegations against Rice came as a federal judge granted a defense request to issue subpoenas sought by the defense for Rice and three other government officials in the trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman.

    The two are former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are charged with receiving and disclosing national defense information.

    Rosen's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said the testimony of Rice and others is needed to show that some of the top officials in U.S. government approved of disclosing sensitive information to the defendants and that the leaks may have been authorized.

    The issuance of subpoenas does not automatically require Rice or anybody else to testify or give a deposition. A recipient can seek to quash the subpoena.

    Calls to the State Department seeking comment Friday evening were not immediately returned.

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    Donald Rumsfeld Has Past His Use-By-Date as Defense Secretary

      Read here full Editorial of Times-Herald


    " Rumsfeld is not the man for the job, and it is past time the president end his stubborn support for failed leadership.

    This newspaper (Times-Herald) called for Rumsfeld's firing in May 2004, as a way to ease the damage to the country's global reputation following the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

    Replacing Rumsfeld would give the nation a collective sigh of relief.

    It would open the way to honest dialogue among military advisers and their civilian leaders for improved war strategy."
    -Times-Herald Editorial

    Seven retired generals have come forward in recent weeks to denounce Donald Rumsfeld's ability to manage the war in Iraq.

    While other retired generals, including Gen. Tommy Franks, former commander of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, are supporting Rumsfeld, the importance of this latest outcry against Rumsfeld's failed leadership cannot be overstated.

    It is unprecedented, and is bound to have serious effects on Rumsfeld's ability to lead the military.

    It is time the president heeded their collective wisdom.

    The generals say they are speaking on behalf of the active-duty military people who dare not voice opposition to Rumsfeld out of fear they will lose their jobs.

    That claim is substantiated.

    One Washington pundit, based on interviews with military officers, estimates 75 percent of the military leadership want Rumsfeld out.

    His policies have failed to bring about any of the president's objectives.

    A stable Iraq has not been achieved, military experts blame this on Rumsfeld's underestimating the insurgency and going into Iraq with too few troops despite their insistence they were undermanned.

    This has allowed a small insurgency to breed and grow to unmanageable levels.

  • Rumsfeld's arrogance has alienated his troops.

  • He is accused of ignoring seasoned military leaders' advice and warnings, resulting in a stifled atmosphere where there is no longer respect for Rumsfeld's views among the military.

  • Rumsfeld, meanwhile shows respect only for those military leaders who agree with him or don't rock the boat with critical questions.

  • Last week he shrugged off the seven retired military officers' views as so much sour grapes, contending they were not at key strategy meetings that involved much give-and-take.

  • We don't buy it.

    It is one thing to encourage questions; it is another to really want them.

    Rumsfeld has long been known to be condescending toward those who disagree with him, and in military settings such an approach will tend to lead to silence, or at least to grudging agreement where all options aren't fully explored.

    Such an approach is dangerous.

    It can lead to the type of disastrous micro-management Lyndon Johnson used during the Vietnam conflict. It can also lead to similar results in Iraq.

    Rumsfeld is not the man for the job, and it is past time the president end his stubborn support for failed leadership.

    This newspaper called for Rumsfeld's firing in May 2004, as a way to ease the damage to the country's global reputation following the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

    It was Rumsfeld's policies that courted disaster: Inadequate prison guards, overcrowded prisons, ignoring the International Red Cross's complaints of abuse.

    At the time, Rumsfeld admitted his policies caused the problem, that the buck stops with him, and he offered his resignation to the president.

    But President Bush prides himself on standing by his people, vowing loyalty first.

    This can be commendable, but in the face of stark reality - that his defense secretary is a severe liability to success - it is reckless.

    The type of decision-making that will help democracy in Iraq, and bring American troops home, rests with the president.

    This week has seen a slight shake-up in the president's staff - a way to begin a fresh start to his foundering presidency. Replacing Rumsfeld would give the nation a collective sigh of relief.

    It would open the way to honest dialogue among military advisers and their civilian leaders for improved war strategy.

    A new approach without the Rumsfeld obstacle could achieve what seems improbable under the current leadership - victory in Iraq.

    The president needs to get back to work and make a decision centered on U.S. and international interests, not on some misguided loyalty: Dump Rumsfeld.

    Bush should listen to the experts, not just administration hawks such as Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney.

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    America's Fear is NOT Iran: Pentagon's Military Buildup Against CHINA

      Read here Bill Gertz's article "More muscle, with eye on China" in The Washington Times

    The Pentagon is engaged in an extensive buildup of military forces in Asia as part of a covert strategy to strengthen and position U.S. and allied forces to deter -- or defeat -- China.

    This was revealed by senior Bush administration officials and in a three-month investigation by The Washington Times

    The buildup includes:

  • changes in deployments of aircraft-carrier battle groups,

  • the conversion of nuclear-missile submarines and

  • the regular dispatch of bombers to areas close to targets in China .

    Other less-visible activities that are part of a "hedge" strategy include

  • large-scale military maneuvers,

  • increased military alliances and training with Asian allies,

  • the transfer of special-operations commando forces to Asia and

  • new requirements for military personnel to learn Chinese.

  • President Bush approved elements of the first phase of the strategy within the past several months.

    The key architect is Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

    The State Department's point man on the strategy is Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, who has led three rounds of strategic talks with China in the past several months.

    Mr. Zoellick told The Times:

    "I'm partly saying to them, 'Look, if you, the Chinese, are not transparent as you grow and you become more influential, and you add to your military, you will recognize that others are going to respond to that.'

    And if you are not transparent, if you're not emphasizing cooperation with people, they're going to respond in ways that build their defenses, not only their own military defenses but how they work with others.

    I don't get a sense that they don't feel they can work with the United States.

    But I think they, of course, want to assess under what terms and whose rules China's questions really go more to stakeholder in an international system and who defines the system."

    He said Japan, Australia, India and nations in Southeast Asia also share U.S. worries about China.

    Mr. Zoellick said his talks with the Chinese have been helpful in trying to persuade China to become a responsible "stakeholder" in the current U.S.-led international system but that Beijing's doubts remain.

    The Chinese are wary of the current international system and recognize U.S. leadership of it but have not accepted the sole superpower role.

    Mr. Bush will express U.S. concerns about China's hidden military buildup during his meeting today with Chinese President Hu Jintao, but will not discuss the hedge strategy, administration officials said.

    The objective of the Asian buildup is to dissuade China from becoming a hostile power and to have the military capability to swiftly defeat the communist nation in a conflict using military forces that are forward-deployed in Asia or are available to be moved on short notice from Alaska, Hawaii, California and elsewhere.

    Most of the military moves are being carried out in ways designed to AVOID provoking Beijing.

    Masking the buildup is not strategic deception, they said, but is part of what is called strategic denial: playing down the focus on China and highlighting the global nature of overall U.S. military transformation.

    A senior defense official involved in Asia policy said the rapid force transformation that Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld approved will take place in three to five years.

    It will give U.S. forces in Asia and other parts of the world much more power and speedier response times to international crises, whether they involve China, North Korea or Iran.

    The island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean is a key element in the plan because strategic bombers deployed there can reach targets throughout Asia within three hours.

    The Naval Buildup

    A total of $5 billion is being spent to improve the U.S. territory for ships, submarines and bombers.

    Much of the force enhancement involves naval weaponry.

    For example, the Navy is reorganizing the operating methods of aircraft-carrier battle groups in ways that will double their ability to project power.

    Once transformed in two or three years, the Pentagon can dispatch four carrier battle groups at once in Asia.

    In the past, because of maintenance schedules and crew limitations, only two carriers were battle-ready on short notice.

    Other planned naval enhancements in Asia include the deployment to Guam of attack submarines and the addition of two strategic missile submarines, and perhaps as many as four.

    The converted boomers, as the missile submarines are called, each will be outfitted with up to 150 cruise missiles.

    The large missile submarines also will play a key role in moving special-operations forces covertly to conflict areas in Asia.

    The Pentagon is considering the deployment of the 1st Special Operations Group to Japan, officials said. Marine commandos also are being readied to be able to counter the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

    Adm. Michael Mullen, chief of naval operations, said concerns about China are "fairly significant, and I think it's fair to say that it's growing."

    Adm. Michael Mullen said during a recent breakfast with reporters:

    "Obviously, the outcome I seek is one of peace and security and stability.

    There are just a lot of questions about the significance of the Chinese investment in missiles, in submarines, in ships, in technology, in capabilities that make you wonder, 'Why so much so fast?'

    And clearly, putting ourselves in what I would call a strong deterrent position is very important."

    To meet the challenge, the Navy will add one more carrier battle group to its Pacific Fleet.

    Additionally, it is shifting 60 percent of submarine forces to the Pacific and Asia in the next few years.

    Air Power Buildup

    The buildup by the Air Force in Asia includes plans to upgrade Anderson Air Force Base in Guam so strategic bombers, including B-2 and B-1 bombers, can be based there for faster deployment.

    The bomber forces will be part of Air Expeditionary Forces that are moved there routinely on temporary but regular deployment.

    The defense official said the bomber forces, which are equipped with a large number of precision-guided bombs such as cruise missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munitions, are "creating a capability that is exponentially more powerful in a new location."

    "I don't think that is missed by people [in the region]," the official said, noting that North Korea already has protested bomber deployments in Guam.

    Additionally, the Pentagon plans to build a new long-range strategic bomber in the next 15 years that will have the capability to conduct deep strikes in Asia with a large number of precision-guided munitions.

    The Ground Force Buildup

    The U.S. ground forces' role in the Asia strategy will include repositioning forces in the Western United States, Japan and Guam.

    The Pentagon plans to dispatch the headquarters of the Army's I Corps, now based at Fort Lewis, Wash., to Japan in the coming years to be ready to fight in Asia.

    The Marines also are moving the headquarters element of the Marine force from Okinawa to Guam.

    The transfer is part of a force realignment in Japan, but a Marine general revealed last year that the deployment to Guam will have the added benefit of protecting the headquarters against a decapitating missile attack from China or North Korea.

    Missile Defenses

    Missile defenses also play a role in the strategy.

    The current system -- designed to stop long-range missiles from North Korea -- will be adapted in the coming years, both through U.S. enhancements and development of a Japanese missile defense system.

    The Low Key Approach to US Military Buildup Against China

    The force restructuring has been accompanied by public statements by high-ranking U.S. military and civilian defense officials who have tried to minimize the U.S. activities and emphasize that China, which itself is involved in an aggressive arms buildup, poses no immediate threat.

    The low-key approach is similar to China's strategy of building up its forces in ways designed to avoid provoking the "hegemon," what China has used as code for the United States in its internal military and Communist Party writings.

    Outwardly, China continues to insist that its military and economic growth pose no threat.

    According to Michael Pillsbury, a China affairs specialist who first identified China's covert anti-U.S. strategy for the Pentagon several years ago:

    "The Chinese, tragically, have brought this on themselves.

    Their history and culture make it impossible for China to accept American leadership and forces them to use secrecy and subterfuge in their buildup, while ignoring Secretary Rumsfeld's appeals for openness."

    The "Hedge" Strategy to Contain China

    Other elements of the hedge strategy include development of systems that will be capable of countering Chinese space weapons, which are viewed as a future threat.

    The Pentagon also has directed the military to develop Chinese-language skills and to have a cadre of Chinese speakers available if the military needs to "surge" its ability to communicate in the language.

    The requirement was couched in terms of learning several other languages as priorities, as well, including Farsi and Central Asian languages.

    Adm. William J. Fallon, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, declined to directly address the China elements of the hedge strategy.

    In an e-mail exchange, Adm. Fallon said the force "transformation actions presuppose neither a specific potential adversary nor discrete threat."

    Military Exercises in Asia

    Military exercises in Asia also will play a key role in the hedge strategy.

    The Navy this summer plans the largest aircraft-carrier exercises in the Pacific in decades.

    Naval maneuvers slated to begin in June in the western Pacific will include three carrier strike groups. Each group includes at least three warships, an attack submarine and a support ship.

    Two carrier groups then will participate in Pacific Rim exercises in July near Hawaii.

    Those will include forces from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Peru and other nations.

    An August naval exercise will include an Atlantic Fleet carrier.

    Additional military exercises are being held with U.S. friends and allies. For example, the Navy's 7th Fleet currently holds 100 exercises per year and will increase that number.

    It will include exercises with India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.

    One senior defense official said:

    "The Chinese or anybody else has to ask themselves: 'What is it the Americans are doing differently now with their carrier battle groups ... that allows them to do this now and will allow them to do it any time they want to? '

    The answer is different operating procedures, including a changed maintenance schedule and "crew swapping," in which crews on ships are replaced with fresh, land-based sailors to allow for longer deployments.

    You're creating a capability that you didn't have before just by the way that you're operating the same basket of assets you had before. So this is a big signal.

    Now is this a hedge?

    I guess it's a hedge that says we can't predict where we're going to have to fight, so we're going to have to be organized differently."

    All branches of the U.S. military also have been conducting secret war games that use China as an adversary.

    The war games have been kept secret to avoid alerting the Chinese.

    Officially, the branches are told to conduct exercises at higher rates than they did in the past and to consider a range of adversaries, including China.

    The true purpose, however, is to be prepared to respond to a Chinese military move against Taiwan, an attempt by China to seize oil-rich territory in Russia or Southeast Asia, or to control strategic sea lanes from the Middle East to Asia, defense officials said.

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     Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    State Department's Secret Memo Confirmed Bush Lied to American Public About the Reasons for the Iraq War

      Read here full article "State Department Memo: "16 Words" Were False" by Jason Leopold

    On January 28, 2003, in the State of the Union address President Bush said that the US learned from British intelligence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Africa - an explosive claim that helped pave the way to war.

    According to newly declassified State Department memo, sixteen days BEFORE the 2003 State of the Union Address , the State Department told the CIA that the intelligence the uranium claims were based upon were forgeries.
    The revelation of the warning from the closely guarded State Department memo is the first piece of hard evidence and the strongest to date that the Bush administration manipulated and ignored intelligence information in their zeal to win public support for invading Iraq.

    The memo, dated June 10, 2003, was drafted by Carl Ford Jr., the former head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, in response to questions posed in June 2003 by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, about a February 2002 fact-finding trip to Niger that former ambassador Joseph Wilson undertook to investigate the uranium claims on behalf of the CIA.

    The memo says:

    "On January 12, 2003," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) "expressed concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries."
    Moreover, the memo says that the State Department's doubts about the veracity of the uranium claims may have been expressed to the intelligence community even earlier.

    Those concerns, according to the memo, are the reason that former Secretary of State Colin Powell REFUSED to cite the uranium claims when he appeared before the United Nations in February 5, 2003 - one week after Bush's State of the Union address - to try to win support for a possible strike against Iraq.

    The memo further states:

    "After considerable back and forth between the CIA, the (State) Department, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and the British, Secretary Powell's briefing to the U.N. Security Council did NOT mention attempted Iraqi procurement of uranium due to CIA concerns raised during the coordination regarding the veracity of the information on the alleged Iraq-Niger agreement."
    Iraq's interest in the yellowcake caught the attention of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Association. ElBaradei read a copy of the National Intelligence Estimate and personally contacted the State Department and the National Security Council in hopes of obtaining evidence so his agency could look into it.

    ElBaradei sent a letter to the White House and the National Security Council (NSC) in December 2002, warning senior officials he thought the documents were forgeries and should not be cited by the administration as evidence that Iraq was actively trying to obtain WMDs.

    ElBaradei said he never received a written response to his letter, despite repeated follow-up calls he made to the White House, the NSC and the State Department.

    Vice President Dick Cheney, who made the rounds on the cable news shows that month, tried to discredit ElBaradei's conclusion that the documents were forged.

    Cheney said:

    "I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong. [The IAEA] has consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing.

    I don't have any reason to believe they're any more valid this time than they've been in the past."

    As it turns out, ElBaradei was correct, the declassified State Department memo now shows.

    Monday's declassified State Department memo was obtained over the weekend by the New York Sun under a Freedom of Information Act request the newspaper filed last July.

    The Sun's story Monday morning, however, did not say anything about the State Department's warnings more than a week before Bush's State of the Union address about the bogus Niger documents.

    The memo had originally been drafted in June in response to Libby's questions about Wilson. But after Wilson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times July 6, 2003, in which he disclosed that he had personally investigated the Niger uranium claims and found that they were false, Powell requested further information from his aides.

    Ford went back and retrieved the June memo, re-dated it July 7, 2003, and sent it to Powell's deputy, Richard Armitage.

    The Sun reported that the memo contained no direct reference to Plame Wilson's CIA status being marked as "secret" despite the fact that the word "secret" is clearly marked on every page of the INR memo.

    The memo does not say that the State Department alerted the White House on January 12, 2003, about the bogus uranium claims.

    But the memo's author, Carl Ford, said in a previous interview that he has no doubt the State Department's reservations about the Niger intelligence made their way to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

    One high-ranking State Department official said that when the department's analysts briefed Colin Powell about the Niger forgeries, Powell met with former Director of the CIA George Tenet and shared that information with him.

    Tenet then told Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and her former deputy, Stephen Hadley, that the uranium claims were "dubious," according to current and former State Department and CIA officials who have direct knowledge of what Tenet discussed with the White House at the time.

    The White House has long maintained that they were never briefed about the State Department's or the CIA's concerns related to the Niger uranium claims.

    A high-ranking State Department official said:

    "I refuse to believe that the findings of a four-star general and an envoy the CIA sent to Niger to personally investigate the accuracy of the intelligence, as well as our own research at the State Department, never got into the hands of President Bush or Vice President Cheney.

    I don't buy it.

    Saying that Iraq sought uranium from Niger was all it took, as far as I'm concerned, to convince the House to support the war.

    The American people too.

    I believe removing Saddam Hussein was right and just. But the intelligence that was used to state the case wasn't."

    A spokeswoman for Tenet said Monday that the former head of the CIA wouldn't comment on the newly declassified document but promised that Tenet would tell the "full story" about how the infamous 16 words wound up in Bush's State of the Union address, in Tenet's book, "At the Center of the Storm," expected to be published in late October.

    Many career State Department officials interviewed Monday said they were upset that the so-called "16 words" made their way into the State of the Union address and they are pleased that the INR memo has been declassified, thereby proving that their colleagues sounded early warnings about the dubious Niger intelligence.

    A State Department official who has direct knowledge of the now declassified INR memo said when the request came from Cheney's office for a report on Wilson's Niger trip it was an opportunity to put in writing a document that would remind the White House that it had been warned about the Niger claims early on.

    Many other State Department officials believed that the existence of a memo that would, in essence, disagree with the White House's own assessment on Niger would eventually hurt the administration.

    One retired State Department officialsaid:

    "This was the very first time there was written evidence - not notes, but a request for a report - from the State Department that documented why the Niger intel was bullshit.

    It was the only thing in writing, and it had a certain value because it didn't come from the IAEA. It came from State.

    It scared the heck out of a lot of people because it proved that this guy Wilson's story was credible.

    I don't think anybody wanted the media to know that the State Department disagreed with the intelligence used by the White House.

    That's why Wilson had to be shut down."

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