TGIF/Weekend edition - June 9-11, 2006
Specter Offers Compromise on NSA Surveillance
Washington Post, United States - 6-9-06
...Another part of the Specter bill would grant
blanket amnesty to anyone who authorized warrantless surveillance
under presidential authority, a provision that seems to ensure that no
one would be held criminally liable if the current program is found
illegal under present law...
Waas Uncovers More Details in Valerie Plame CIA Leak
Editor & Publisher - 6-9-06
NEW YORK Murray Waas, who has broken so many
Plame/CIA leak case stories in the past months, came up with another
today in a lengthy report for the National Journal.
stunning shock, Cheney sees the last throes, and Bush sees his summer vacation.
"Republican leaders say that after
illegal immigration and gay marriage, the next issue President Bush will tackle:
flag burning. ... So if you're an illegal immigrant who's crossing our border to
burn the flag at your gay wedding, we got your number." --Jay Leno
Iraq Body Count
Bombings kill at least 40 in Baghdad AP
Gunmen kidnap Iraq official in Baghdad
Australian security contractor killed in Iraq
ABC Online, Australia
Al-Zarqawi dead, but fight continues
Zarqawi was alive after bombing: US general
Al-Qaida No. 2 praises al-Zarqawi in tape
Troop Cuts in Iraq Won't Meet Goal This Year
New York Times
Iraq orders driving ban to prevent attacks
Soldiers quit army in protest after acquittal on boy's death
Guardian Unlimited, UK
Ex-subcontractor indicted in US for Iraq bribes
Tehran boosts hopes of end to nuclear standoff
Afghan, NATO Officials Confident of Alliance's Expanded Role
Voice of America
Al-Qaida likely to alter marketing efforts
Results: AP-Ipsos poll on Bush, Iraq
by Greg Palast
They got him -- the big, bad, beheading berserker in Iraq. But,
something's gone unreported in all the glee over getting Zarqawi … who
invited him into Iraq in the first place?
If you prefer your fairy tales unsoiled by facts, read no further. If you
want the uncomfortable truth, begin with this: A phone call to Baghdad to
Saddam's Palace on the night of April 21, 2003. It was Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a secure line from Washington to General Jay
The General had arrives in Baghdad just hours before to take charge of the
newly occupied nation. The message from Rumsfeld was not a heartwarming
welcome. Rummy told Garner, Don't unpack, Jack -- you're fired.
What had Garner done? The many-starred general had been sent by the
President himself to take charge of a deeply dangerous mission. Iraq was
tense but relatively peaceful. Garner's job was to keep the peace and
Unfortunately for the general, he took the President at his word. But the
general was wrong. "Peace" and "Democracy" were the slogans.
"My preference," Garner told me in his understated manner, "was to put the
Iraqis in charge as soon as we can and do it in some form of elections."
But elections were not in The Plan.
The Plan was a 101-page document to guide the long-term future of the land
we'd just conquered. There was nothing in it about democracy or elections
or safety. There was, rather, a detailed schedule for selling off "all
[Iraq's] state assets" -- and Iraq, that's just about everything --
"especially," said The Plan, "the oil and supporting industries."
Especially the oil.
There was more than oil to sell off. The Plan included the sale of Iraq's
banks, and weirdly, changing it's copyright laws and other odd items that
made the plan look less like a program for Iraq to get on its feet than a
program for corporate looting of the nation's assets. (And indeed, we
discovered at BBC, behind many of the odder elements -- copyright and tax
code changes -- was the hand of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's associate Grover
But Garner didn't think much of The Plan, he told me when we met a year
later in Washington. He had other things on his mind. "You prevent
epidemics, you start the food distribution program to prevent famine."
Seizing title and ownership of Iraq's oil fields was not on Garner's
must-do list. He let that be known to Washington. "I don't think [Iraqis]
need to go by the U.S. plan, I think that what we need to do is set an
Iraqi government that represents the freely elected will of the people."
He added, "It's their country … their oil."
Apparently, the Secretary of Defense disagreed. So did lobbyist Norquist.
And Garner incurred their fury by getting carried away with the
"democracy" idea: he called for quick elections -- within 90 days of the
taking of Baghdad.
But Garner's 90-days-to-elections commitment ran straight into the oil
sell-off program. Annex D of the plan indicated that would take at least
270 days -- at least 9 months.
Worse, Garner was brokering a truce between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. They
were about to begin what Garner called a "Big Tent" meeting to hammer out
the details and set the election date. He figured he had 90 days to get it
done before the factions started slitting each other's throats.
But a quick election would mean the end of the state-asset sell-off plan:
An Iraqi-controlled government would never go along with what would
certainly amount to foreign corporations swallowing their entire economy.
Especially the oil. Garner had spent years in Iraq, in charge of the
Northern Kurdish zone and knew Iraqis well. He was certain that an
asset-and-oil grab, "privatizations," would cause a sensitive population
to take up the gun. "That's just one fight you don't want to take on right
But that's just the fight the neo-cons at Defense wanted. And in
Rumsfeld's replacement for Garner, they had a man itching for the fight.
Paul Bremer III had no experience on the ground in Iraq, but he had one
unbeatable credential that Garner lacked: Bremer had served as Managing
Director of Kissinger and Associates.
In April 2003, Bremer instituted democracy Bush style: he canceled
elections and appointed the entire government himself. Two months later,
Bremer ordered a halt to all municipal elections including the crucial
vote to Shia seeking to select a mayor in the city of Najaf. The
front-runner, moderate Shia Asad Sultan Abu Gilal warned, "If they don't
give us freedom, what will we do? We have patience, but not for long."
Local Shias formed the "Mahdi Army," and within a year, provoked by
Bremer's shutting their paper, attacked and killed 21 U.S. soldiers.
The insurgency had begun. But Bremer's job was hardly over. There were
Sunnis to go after. He issued "Order Number One: De-Ba'athification." In
effect, this became "De-Sunni-fication."
Saddam's generals, mostly Sunnis, who had, we learned, secretly
collaborated with the US invasion and now expected their reward found
themselves hunted and arrested. Falah Aljibury, an Iraqi-born US resident
who helped with the pre-invasion brokering, told me, "U.S. forces
imprisoned all those we named as political leaders," who stopped Iraq's
army from firing on U.S. troops.
Aljibury's main concern was that busting Iraqi collaborators and Ba'athist
big shots was a gift "to the Wahabis," by which he meant the foreign
insurgents, who now gained experienced military commanders, Sunnis, who
now had no choice but to fight the US-installed regime or face arrest,
ruin or death. They would soon link up with the Sunni-defending Wahabi,
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was committed to destroying "Shia snakes."
And the oil fields? It was, Aljibury noted, when word got out about the
plans to sell off the oil fields (thanks to loose lips of the US-appointed
oil minister) that pipelines began to blow. Although he had been at the
center of planning for invasion, Aljibury now saw the greed-crazed grab
for the oil fields as the fuel for a civil war that would rip his country
"Insurgents," he said, "and those who wanted to destabilize a new Iraq
have used this as means of saying, 'Look, you're losing your country.
You’re losing your leadership. You're losing all of your resources to a
bunch of wealthy people. A bunch of billionaires in the world want to take
you over and make your life miserable.' And we saw an increase in the
bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, of course, built on -- built on the
premise that privatization [of oil] is coming."
General Garner, watching the insurgency unfold from the occupation
authority's provocations, told me, in his understated manner, "I'm a
believer that you don't want to end the day with more enemies than you
But you can't have a war president without a war. And you can't have a war
without enemies. "Bring 'em on," our Commander-in-Chief said. And Zarqawi
answered the call.
Greg Palast is the author of Armed
Madhouse out this week from Penguin Dutton, from which this is
"President Bush said he's
troubled by all the gay marriages. He said the only time two men should ever be
in bed together is if one is a lobbyist and one is a politician."-- Jay Leno
Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn
Musgrave's re-election campaign was already heated, and it just got smelly
as well: Her staff accused a Democratic activist Thursday of leaving an
envelope full of dog feces at Musgrave's Greeley office.
Musgrave spokesman Shaun Kenney said someone stuffed the envelope through
the mail slot in the door on May 31 and then sped away in a car. Kenney
said most of the preprinted return address was blacked out, but staffers
used the nine-digit ZIP code to trace it to Kathleen Ensz, a Weld County
Ensz told The Associated Press she left the envelope at Musgrave's office
but said it "wasn't in the office doors, it was in the foyer."
Asked what she meant by the act, she declined comment.
Excellent Animation by Walt Handlesman of Newsday!
Ann Coulter Calls Herself Mark Twain
"I think I am the right wing Mencken, the
right wing Mark Twain." --
transcript, interview by a gushing Lou
"It is better to keep your
mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and
remove all doubt." --
Rep. Tom DeLay took his final bow on the House floor
Thursday, offering a robust defense of two things for which he became well known
during more than two decades in Congress -- unyielding conservatism and
he had served "at all times honorably and honestly ... as God is my witness and
history is my judge."
Despite a string of ethics controversies leading to his political exit, DeLay,
who leaves office Friday,
"Here's what we know about Ann
Coulter. She's blonde, she's single, and well, maybe someone will set her up
with O.J." --David Letterman
"You know anything about this Ann
Coulter? She's some kind of commentator or political thing. She goes around
yacking and she got herself into a lot of trouble. She has made some crazy
statements about 9/11, and coincidentally Al Gore has produced a new documentary
all about Ann Coulter. I believe it's called an 'Inconvenient Bitch.'" --David
Cheney To Give Award to Journalist
Investigating Bush. That's Ballsy.
Vice President Cheney himself will give Daily
News Washington bureau chief Tom DeFrank the Gerald R. Ford Prize for
Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. I love the idea that Cheney, at
a June 19 National Press Club luncheon, will shake Tom's hand
such scoops as President Bush's fury at Karl Rove for talking to reporters
about Valerie Plame.
Vice President Dick Cheney gave the
commencement speech at his old high school in Casper, Wyoming last weekend. He
told the graduating seniors to aim high, because if they didn't, they might
shoot someone in the face.
-- Jay Leno
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carry a coffin shaped in the form of a fish over the main road in Teshie, a
suburb of the Ghanaian capital of Accra. Funerals are important social occasions
in this West African country and elaborate, brightly colored coffins have become
an art form. (Photo by Wolfgang Rattay)