Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Bush Made Plans to Invade the Netherlands

The Bush administration had planned to commit war crimes from the outset of the administration. Long before 911, Bush prepared legislation that would exempt US troops from war crimes prosecution at the Hague, specifically, violations of the Geneva Conventions later violated in fact at Abu Ghraib. The measure positioned Bush in advance to exploit the crime of 911, though it had not yet happened. To this end, Bush sought Congressional authorization to go to war with the Netherlands should US troops find themselves on trial for war crimes at the Hague!

The Bush administration moved forward with plans to attack Afghanistan months before 911 as negotiations with the Taliban broke down. Bush would soon have his first chance to exploit what the Project for the New American Century [See: PDF: Rebuilding America's Defenses] would call a 'catalyzing event' like Pearl Harbor.

The wider objective was to oust the Taliban

By the BBC's George Arney

A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban even before last week's attacks. Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.

Mr Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin. Mr Naik told the BBC that at the meeting the US representatives told him that unless Bin Laden was handed over swiftly America would take military action to kill or capture both Bin Laden and the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.

The wider objective, according to Mr Naik, would be to topple the Taliban regime and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place - possibly under the leadership of the former Afghan King Zahir Shah. Mr Naik was told that Washington would launch its operation from bases in Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place.

He was told that Uzbekistan would also participate in the operation and that 17,000 Russian troops were on standby. Mr Naik was told that if the military action went ahead it would take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.

He said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings this pre-existing US plan had been built upon and would be implemented within two or three weeks. And he said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban.

--BBC: US 'planned attack on Taliban' [See also:The Afghanistan War was Planned Months Before the 9/11 Attacks]

At a time when the US media dropped the ball, award-winning French journalists covered an important missing piece of the puzzle.
until August, the US government saw the Taliban regime "as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia" from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. Until now, says the book, "the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that."

But, confronted with Taliban's refusal to accept US conditions, "this rationale of energy security changed into a military one", the authors claim.

"At one moment during the negotiations, the US representatives told the Taliban, 'either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs,'" Brisard said in an interview in Paris.

--Asia Times, US policy on Taliban influenced by oil, Julio Godoy

The measure exempting US troops from 'war crimes' was introduced by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) as an amendment to H.R. 1646, The Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2001, on May 8, 2001. It passed the House 282-137 on May 10 and introduced as S. 857 in the Senate on May 9 by Senators Jesse Helms (R-NC), Zell Miller (D-GA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Warner (R-VA), Trent Lott (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Frank Murkowski (R-AK).

The bill authorized Bush " use all means (including the provision of legal assistance) necessary to bring about the release of covered US persons and covered allied persons held captive by or on behalf of the Court [International Criminal Court, ICC, in the Hague]. Some highlights:

The President is authorized to invade The Hague. Specifically, the bill empowers Bush to use all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release from captivity of US or Allied personnel detained or imprisoned against their will by or on behalf of the Court. Dutch cartoonists have depicted US paratroopers dropping down on the international court; US assault forces hitting Netherlands beaches like D-Day!

Bush, however, was deadly serious! It is significant that this measure was introduced before 911 in obvious anticipation of a 'War on Terrorism' and the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. Certainly no one but Bush, Dick Cheney, Tom Delay, the Project for the New American Century and members of the Bush administration might have anticipated the improbable series of events leading to the American quagmire in Iraq. Certainly, no one but Bush would have foreseen that US atrocities at Abu Ghraib, GITMO and a gulag archipelago of US torture centers throughout eastern Europe would have necessitated measures in advance to put US soldiers above the law! This measure is nothing less than a criminal administration positioning itself to exploit the crime of 911.

No US governmental entity --including State or local governments and court of any US jurisdiction --may cooperate with the ICC in arrests, extraditions, searches and seizures, taking of evidence, seizure of assets, or similar matters.

No ICC agent may conduct any investigation in the US.

No classified national security information can be transferred directly or indirectly to the ICC or to countries Party to the Rome Statute.

These provisions are in addition to existing US law (the 2000-2001 Foreign Relations Authorization Act) which prohibits any US funds going to the ICC once it has been established unless the Senate has given its advice and consent to the Rome Treaty.
Memories of this act were all but erased by the events of 911, a war against Afghanistan (not yet won) , and, most tragic of all, the never-ending war crime against the people of Iraq. Bush was almost unopposed though it is clear now that Bush had laid the groundwork for war months before 911, perhaps from the day he took office, or, earlier, a stolen election in Florida in which the Democrat Al Gore got more votes.
I am especially troubled by these shifting justifications because I and most Americans strongly support the President on the use of force in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001. I voted for Senate Joint Resolution 23, the use of force resolution, to go after al Qaeda and the Taliban and those associated with the tragedies of September 11. And I strongly support military actions pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 23.

But the relentless attempt to link 9-11 and the issue of Iraq has been disappointing to me for months, culminating in the President's singularly unpersuasive attempt in Cincinnati to interweave 9-11 and Iraq, to make the American people believe that there are no important differences between the perpetrators of 9-11 and Iraq.

--Sen Russ Feingold, Why I Oppose Bush's Iraq War Resolution, October 11, 2002

The comments of Sen. Russ Feingold, who opposed the Iraq war resolution, are especially poignant in retrsopect. US envoy Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper sent a letter to then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stating that the Bush administration considered itself “no longer bound in any way to its purpose and objective” [Geneva Convention]. Though it was an unprecedented rift between the United States, its NATO allies and the United Nations, it was barely noticed if at all by the mainstream media. After 911, of course, it was forgotten. Europe was and remains better informed than are Americans relying upon the likes of FOX and CNN. Europe saw Bush as beginning a foreign policy of unilateralism and militarism. Europe has been proven right and the US is bogged down in evil of Bush's creation, a war planned even before 911, a tragedy of tragic --not 'funny' --convenience. [See Rove's comments re: 'funny' at the close of this article].

But Bush is not the only culprit. There is more blame than one has time to assign. A major player in this sorry saga is Representative Henry Hyde who reverted to form and Republican campaign handbooks, when he attached the measure as an amendment to the FY2002 Department of Defense Appropriations ActThe court [ICC], Hyde said, is a threat to the sovereignty of the US.
For those of us who are committed to protecting our Constitution, and we have heard many such voices during our debate on the terrorism bill just a few weeks ago, the first place to begin is with the International Criminal Court. Terrorists, like the suicide bombers who attacked our Nation on September 11, will not be deterred by the threat that if caught and successfully prosecuted they may be sentenced to life imprisonment, because that is the highest penalty the international court can impose. But US military personnel and their civilian and military commanders will have to worry a great deal about the threat of criminal prosecution by the court. --Rep.
Henry Hyde (R-IL)[emphasis added]

Had Hyde forgotten that the measure was prepared long before 911? Bush's plans were known to be criminal at the outset. Bush was then and most certainly continues to be involved in the commission of war crimes for which this venal administration had planned months before 911! The GOP leadership was certainly complicit with Bush at the outset.

Despite the GOP's complicity, the US public supports the International Criminal Court. A Roper Poll of October 1999, found that 66% of Americans supported the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court. Only 29% opposed it. Unfortunately, public support did not translate into US national policy, nor could it have under Bush, whose disregard of the public will is matched only by the utter contempt with which he holds the US Constitution.

A summary is in order. Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force literally carved up the oil fields of the Middle East if not the world, specifically, Iraq and Iran. Afghanistan was seen as an obstacle to the UNOCAL pipeline. When US State Department Negotiations with the Taliban broke down, US State Department negotiators threatened the Taliban with carpet bombs --before 911 could have provided them a pretext!

Certainly --Bushco anticipated problems with international laws and sought to place US troops amd himself beyond prosecution or justice. Iraq, of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with 911 and Saddam Hussein, like Manuel Noreiga, had been a CIA puppet. While Saddam never had WMD, his independent will was, in Bush's opinion, a cause to invade, begin the construction of permanent bases, and the permanent theft of Iraqi resources.

At Abu Ghraib, Bush would find a test of his ability to place the US above international laws designed to prevent, or, at least, punish the those who perpetrate atrocities.

Is the Bush administration a failed presidency? No! Bush will leave office having having enriched his base by trashing the Constitution. That's all he ever cared about. He will leave office hated by the American people whose lives he ruined and by the people of Iraq whose lives he snuffed with a smirk.

But, unless he is impeached, he leaves office even as permanent US bases are under construction in Iraq. There are no plans to leave. Like Bush, Dick Cheney will retire unpunished for the crime of mass murder. He will have made millions for himself and more still for Halliburton. Life in the bunker will be sweet until the ticker stops. He will die alone and hated, remembered as the cyborg who shot his 'friend' in the face. Bush will simply rot in Texas, a prisoner of his own lousy company. Crawford will be ringed and armed. Nothing will get in but neither will Bush be safe without! Bush will die as he lived his life --stupid. without a clue!

Until Bush Jr came along, Henry Lee Lucas was surely the Lone Star State's most famous serial killer. He had a 'need' to confess. As we have pointed out, Don Rumsfeld dropped two important 'hints' with regard to 911, referring twice to 'missiles' that struck the Pentagon and another that shot down Flight 93. Rummie gave the game away. More recently, Karl Rove drops a shoe, referring to how 'funny' it was that '911 came along' and helped out the Bush agenda as only a 'catalyzing event like Pear Harbor' could have done.
Former White House adviser Karl Rove received an ignominious superlative Thursday night after a speech this week in which he mused that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were delivered by history.

He was given the familiar distinction as "Worst Person in the World" on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show.

"Defending the Iraq war as an opportunity to prove the U.S. would not hesitate to defend itself against Islamic extremist, even the wrong ones, [Rove said] quote, 'History has a funny way of deciding things. ... Sometimes history sends you things and 9/11 came our way,'" Olbermann said on Thursday night's episode of Countdown. "History has a funny way of deciding things -- 9/11. Real funny, Karl. Karl Rove, today‘s 'Worst Person in the World.'"

Rove spoke to a crowd of 1,200 at the University of Pennsylvania Wednesday evening. University officials would not reveal how much he was paid for the speech.

The former adviser to President Bush defended the Iraq war and proffered quotes from Democrats who believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion.

The country goes to war "not for the purpose of conquest but for the purpose of freedom," he said, according to the student newspaper, which did not report his 9/11 comment.

Those comments were noted by The Bulletin, another Philadelphia paper. It reported the exchange as follows.
    [...]. On Iraq especially, the political strategist found it behooved him to underscore the unique circumstances under which the decision to go to war was made.

    "History has a funny way of deciding things," he said. "Sometimes history sends you things, and 9/11 came our way."

    Americans should not forget, he counseled, that every act of war sends a poignant political message and that any statement the U.S. could send by reluctance to fight Islamic extremists abroad will be taken as a sign of diminished will.[]...

--Olbermann not amused by Rove's quip about 9/11
Yep, Karl, mass murder is a real knee slapper for goppers. Perhaps Rove will just 'fess up and give himself up. In fact, 911 was only funny for Rove, the dancing Israelis and Bush who joked that he had hit the 'trifecta!"


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

US Cops Go Out of Control; US Citizens No Longer Safe

I grew up believing 'police officers' were sworn to 'protect and serve'. Since the GOP believes it has installed a dictator, the US has become 'Thug Nation', defending and practicing torture abroad while, at home, cops run wild and out of control. They apparently believe that martial law is a 'done deal' though Bush's prediction --a terrorist attack that will make 911 'pale by comparison' --hasn't yet come to pass!

So many crimes, so little time to report them. In the following example, a cowardly 'cop' turns off the video camera before beating hell out of a woman denied her right to make a telephone call. She was beaten senseless, lucky to have escaped with her life. Click her pic for the "Raw Story".

US Cops Are Out of Control, Perhaps 'Inspired' by Abu Ghraib!
Quite how Angela Garbarino received two black eyes, a broken nose, broken teeth and blood pouring from her head after a "slip and fall" is not quite explained by officials or ABC News, who ran with the headline Police Brutality or Slip and Fall?

The police are refusing to press criminal charges against the officer because "no one knows for sure what occurred." That's probably because this cowardly thug, Officer Wiley Willis, made sure his brutal assault wasn't recorded on camera.
If police arrived at a house where a handcuffed woman was lying unconscious in a pool of her own blood with two black eyes, a broken nose and broken teeth with a man standing nearby, who would the prime suspect be? Would the police refuse to arrest the man because no videotape of the incident took place or would they go with what every single piece of circumstantial evidence was screaming out had happened?
The only way a person can end up looking like that after a "fall" is if that fall was off a cliff!"
--Thug Cop Beats Up Defenseless Handcuffed Woman
Caliban is unleashed; the evil genie is uncorked. Unless this stops, America is finished. Warning to US citizens. Cops are no longer your protector. Just as GOP policies have consistently made terrorism worse [2], crime in Texas worsened over the back to back regimes of George W. Bush and his successor, Rick Perry, called Governor Goodhair by the late columnist, Molly Ivins.
In 2006, an estimated 1,417,000 violent crimes were committed, a sharp increase from the 1,360,000 reported in 2004 and approaching the estimated 1,425,000 in 2002.
--New York Times, Violent Crime Reported Up 2% in 2006
Had the rest of the nation paid attention to what had happened in Texas during Bush's failed governance of that state, this horrible and seemingly never-ending nightmare might have been avoided. The sorry state of "criminal justice" in Texas was the unheeded warning, the predictor of nightmare years that are here and now!

Much of the Texas prison system is outsourced to private firms. It is but a small step to contracting Blackwater to patrol US urban centers, as the combined forces of Blackwater, DynCorp, and Wackenhut were deployed in New Orleans. The result was disastrous.

In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security moved forward toward the planned construction of "emergency detention facilities" --concentration camps in locations throughout the US, letting no-bid contracts totalling some 385 million dollars to Dick Cheney's Halliburton and KBR. As to be expected, the camps will be "activated" in the event of a terrorist attack or a declared "national emergency", perhaps the kind of attack recently predicted by Bush.

Just last week, Bush who supports draconian violatons of the right of citizens to be safe and secure inside their own homes, warned that terrorists are planning another attack that will make 911 "pale by comparison." [See:Bush Warns of Attacks While Backing Bill] I want to know what Bush is planning!

Will a 'terrorist attack' necessitate postponing or cancelling the electcions? Will a declaration of a national emergency lead to martial law and big fat juicy contracts to Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, DynCorp and the other usual Dick Cheney cronies?

Is America finished? Is this how the great experiment ends? Bush wants you to be afraid! Indeed, you should be. The US government --under Bush the world's biggest terrorist organization --has the means, the method and the motive to make George Bush's nightmarish vision come true.

Monday, February 18, 2008

An Epidemic of Police Thuggery First Seen in US Occupied New Orleans

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The Bush administration did not rebuild New Orleans. It occupied it. When normal folk looked at New Orleans they saw a picturesque, beautiful, culturally unique city. When the GOP looked at New Orleans, it saw Disneyland and Las Vegas! Certainly, the brutal Blackwater occupation of New Orleans was but a foretaste of an epidemic of police thuggery and brutality that now sweeps the US.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown --better known as 'Brownie'--did a 'helluva job' for George W. Bush and the party/syndicate bosses. Just one year after the Gulf Coast region, New Orleans most dramatically, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina it was clear that nothing had been done to rebuild the city. 'Brownie' wasn't fired, just 'removed from his job', hid from public scrutiny.
It is hard not to believe that this corrupt GOP administration deliberately punished New Orleans for its liberal, free-thinking, free-wheeling, Democratic history. The Bush administration did not rebuild New Orleans. It occupied it.
"It is impossible to over-emphasize the extent to which this area is under government occupation, and portions of it under government-enforced lockdown. Police cars rule the streets. They (along with Humvees, ambulances, fire apparatus, FEMA trucks and all official-looking SUVs) are generally not stopped at checkpoints and roadblocks. All other vehicles are subject to long lines and snap judgments and must PROVE they have vital business inside the vast roped-off regions here.

If we did not have the services of an off-duty law enforcement officer, we could not do our jobs in the course of a work day and get back in time to put together the broadcast and get on the air." Brian Williams, for MSNBC, 18 Sept. 2005 "This vigilantism demonstrates the utter breakdown of the government," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. [1]
The occupation was cruel and unnecessary. People were forced to leave pets and property. Charities were deliberately turned away by the Bush occupation forces. Some who were merely trying to scavenge something to eat were treated like dangerous criminals.
The forces of US occupation in New Orleans disrupted private transportation; flights in and out of New Orleans were burdened with absurd police state measures put into effect after 9/11. Private property was confiscated. Families were broken up. Citizens were simply rounded up like cattle, herded into buses and buildings, deprived of adequate ventilation, water or plumbing.
“Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.”
Meanwhile, back at GOP Occupied America Headquarters:
CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: “Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’”
The imposition of martial law in New Orleans was deliberate. The hired killers of Blackwater were dispatched to the city of Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain and the Marsalis family.
The Bush government did every thing it could to prevent Katrina survivors from surviving the US military occupation of New Orleans. Governor Kathleen Blanco described National Guard troops sent to New Orleans to impose order. She said that they were "fresh back from Iraq ...locked and loaded ...ready to "shoot to kill." And they did!

The GOP never does anything unless there is something in it for the party. The party bosses were most certainly prepared to sacrifice New Orleans for the ambitions of filthy rich white guys and various land re-development schemes. Katrina, after all, had done the dirty work of displacing most of the city's 'poor' population. The GOP '...don't like po folk' or as Kanye West told his audience: “George Bush doesn't care about black people.” [BBC, 9/3/05]. Bush and his crooked party would have preferred not to get its hands dirty. How propitious Katrina! The GOP didn't even have to come up with an absurd cover story --incompetent Arab pilots, impossibly hot fires, or parallel dimensions capable of swallowing up airliners. The Bush administration was, perhaps, inspired by 'progress' that was already evident.
The land has always been a part of the folklore. For years the leaders of New Orleans have been approving plans to tear down the city's housing projects, which are mostly occupied by black people, and replace them with expensive condominiums. Uptown, the St. Thomas was the first to go. The Desire, in the Ninth Ward, soon followed. Now, on the Westbank, most of the Fisher has been demolished. And the other four seemed on their way out before Katrina even came. The result of all this is that a large part of the black community is being split up and shipped off to other areas. And as with the cases of the St. Thomas and Desire, when black people see white people moving in and taking over their part of town, conspiracy theories inevitably arise.
--Kenneth Cooper, 'They' Destroyed New Orleans
What was mistakenly called 'incompetence' was really just GOP strategy.
  • Demoralize the Democratic base with phony press releases and whisper campaigns.
  • Attack opponents' strength with character assassination.
  • Suppress the vote in every possible way.
  • Buy some people off with tax cuts.
  • Scare the rest into voting against their own interests.
  • --Republican Dirty Tricks
Even now, the city is little changed but for the symbolic photo ops and other staged media events. New Orleans is not rebuilt and when it is, Bush will have had nothing to do with it. If New Orleans is lucky, it will escape the evil schemes that the right wing has in store for a city utterly beyond its comprehension.

Various schemes to rebuild New Orleans range from nothing at all to GOP visions of golf courses, Potemkin villages, and glitzy casinos owned by crooks and other heavy contributors to the GOP crime syndicate. Much of those proceeds, you can be sure, will wind up in party coffers. Most unsettling is the reasonable suspicion that in New Orleans, we glimpsed the horrible future that awaits us all, a future in which a fascist central government patrols our streets and dominates our lives with corporate armies like Blackwater, killer vigilantes, armored, blacksuited thugs, Nazis cum Robocop!
In the duplicitous “War on Terror,” mercenary armies like DynCorp, Blackwater USA, KBR, Custer Battles, and Aegis plunder Iraq and other victims of Pax Americana, operating with no rules of engagement and near-total legal immunity, usually earning at least four times the salaries of enlisted U.S. soldiers.

A Sept. 21 London Independent investigation labeled the $120 billion sector “arguably the fastest-growing industry in the global economy,” with operations in 50 countries, adding, “None of the estimated 48,000 private military operatives in Iraq have been convicted of a crime and no one knows how many Iraqis have been killed by private military forces, because the U.S. does not keep records.”
--Private contractors threaten U.S. democracy, Rice Thresher
More than 1,800 people died in the Katrina disaster --less than died on 911. The GOP got off cheap. 911 cost the government some hardware. It is only the people who lose their lives whenever the GOP dreams of a 'permanent GOP majority'. Dictatorship!

For news straight from the Crescent city, check out the New Orleans News Ladder
for essential resources.