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Archive for May 10th, 2008

By- Suzie-Q @ 1:00 PM MST

Reid: On Six-Year Anniversary Of 9/11, Bush Again Declared, ‘Bring ‘Em On’»

On July 2, 2003, President Bush cavalierly dismissed violence in Iraq when he infamously proclaimed, “There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring ‘em on.

His comments were swiftly criticized. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called them “irresponsible and inciteful.” The UK Guardian dubbed the remarks a “gesture of presidential bravado.” Even Bush himself seemed to regret his comments, telling reporters in January 2005:

Sometimes, words have consequences you don’t intend them to mean. ‘Bring ‘em on’ is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. […]

I don’t know if you’d call it a regret, but it certainly is a lesson that a president must be mindful of, that the words that you sometimes say. … I don’t know if you’d call that a confession, a regret, something.

But as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reveals in his new book, Bush again used that infamous phrase as recently as 2007. Last night on MSNBC, Reid said that on the anniversary of 9/11 last year, he was “complaining” to Bush about the situation in Iraq. Bush replied, “Bring ‘em on. We’re killing them. We’re killing them.” Watch it:

At the time of Bush’s comments in September 2007, 78 percent of Iraqis were saying that “things are going badly for the country overall.” Iraqi civilian deaths had risen for both the two previous months, and monthly U.S. troop casualties were surpassing those in 2006.

As in 2003, the last thing that Iraqis and the U.S. military needed was to “bring ‘em on.”

Transcript:

OLBERMANN: We really passed that fifth anniversary on the first of this month, since the “Mission Accomplished” declaration on the aircraft carrier. In this book of yours, the new book, “The Good Fight: The Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington,” you describe a private meeting that you had with the President — on a different anniversary, which was Sept. 11, 2007 — about Iraq, and he made a statement that you wrote, left you somewhat incredulous.

What you wrote, to quote exactly: “To understand what he said is to understand something profound about the problem at the heart of this administration.”

What did the President say to you last 9/11 anniversary, and what does it tell us about his leadership?

REID: Well, I was complaining about what was going on and he basically said, “Bring ‘em on. We’re killing them. We’re killing them.”

OLBERMANN: Who?

REID: The terrorists.

OLBERMAN: Oh, dear.

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McCain And The Keating Five Scandal

By- Suzie-Q @ 10:40 AM MST

From: Carpetbagger Report

Is the Keating Five scandal off limits?

Last night, at an Obama town-hall event in Oregon, Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.) was rather candid in his criticism of John McCain, and broached a subject we generally hear very little about.

DeFazio, an Oregon superdelegate who endorsed Obama today and introduced him at the event, went on an extended critique of McCain, saying voters could not “underestimate the threat that John McCain poses in this election to our future.” DeFazio said McCain’s Straight Talk Express should be called the “trojan horse express.”

And then, DeFazio raised the Keating Five, a 1980s savings and loan scandal in which McCain was implicated. The Senate Ethics Committee later concluded that McCain used “poor judgment” in the matter.

“John McCain has already told us he doesn’t know much about economics,” DeFazio told the crowd of 3,000. “He says we need less regulation. Hello? Wall Street, mortgage meltdown, Bear Stears, taxpayer bailout, Enron. But I guess maybe for a guy who was up to his neck in the Keating Five, and savings and loan scandal, less regulation is better for his friends. No, that is not good for the American people.”

After the event, an Obama spokesperson indicated that that the senator’s campaign had no intention of pushing the Keating Five scandal.

“There is more than enough space between Barack Obama and John McCain on the issues, whether it is tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans or a timeline for bringing our troops home, and that is where we will focus our campaign,” Psaki said.

That sounds fine, but does the Keating Five controversy have to be off the table?

Yes, the scandal was a long time ago, and for those who were following politics closely in the mid-1980s, this probably appears to be well-tread ground.

But given McCain’s media-infused reputation as a reformer and champion of political propriety, his decisions in 1986 and 1987 seem to matter quite a bit today.

As William K. Black watches John McCain move toward the Republican presidential nomination, he thinks of a day 21 years ago that he considers one of the most troubling of his life.

Black, a senior federal savings and loan regulator at the time, attended a meeting at which he felt McCain and four other senators pressured federal regulators to back off from investigating the troubled Lincoln Savings and Loan.

“I remain very upset that what they did caused such damage,” said Black, now a professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, recalling how Lincoln’s bankruptcy cost the government $3 billion. Moreover, he said he believes McCain intervened partly because his wife had invested money with Lincoln chairman Charles Keating, a campaign contributor who let the McCains use his home in the Bahamas.

The story of how the “Keating Five” senators allegedly pressured regulators to lay off a failing Arizona S&L became a major scandal, and marked a turning point in McCain’s life – the near-death of his political career followed by his eventual rebirth as a crusader for campaign finance reform.

The events of 1987, when McCain met with regulators, and 1991, when the Senate Ethics Committee concluded that he used “poor judgment” in the matter, are only dimly remembered by many.

But McCain’s emergence as the likely GOP nominee, combined with the rising volume of anti- lobbying rhetoric in the presidential campaign, has brought renewed attention to the Keating Five case, prompting questions about what McCain learned from it, what he’s accepted was wrong, and whether he now is stepping back from some of his own scrutiny of his past errors.

McCain has assured Americans that while contributors try to buy access, “The question is … do they have excess or unwarranted influence? And certainly no one ever has, in my conduct of my public life and conduct of my legislative agenda.”

This controversy shows otherwise.

Black, however, maintains that the Keating case was a textbook example of politicians, McCain among them, serving a major donor. And Dennis DeConcini, a former Democratic senator from Arizona and another of the Keating Five who hosted the key meeting in his office, said in an interview that McCain has gotten a relatively “free ride” even though DeConcini insists that McCain was the “most culpable” of the senators because he had the closest relationship with Keating.

If you’ve forgotten the details or need a refresher, this piece is a pretty good primer. Obama wants to take the high ground and steer clear of this humiliating part of McCain’s past, but if the media were anxious to be even-handed in their scrutiny of the candidates’ past, one would like to think the Keating Five scandal could draw at least as much attention as, say, the Rezko story, which appears utterly irrelevant by comparison.

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Terrorism in Italy

anthony @ 17:07 BST

On August 4, 1974, while I was travelling around Italy on an Interrail ticket, a bomb exploded in car 5 of the Italicus Express running from Rome to Brennero on the Florence-Bologna line as it left the tunnel of San Benedetto Val di Sambro. Twelve passengers were killed and 44 were wounded. Mario Tuti, Pietro Malentacchi, and Luciano Franci of the Revolutionary National Front were accused of the attack, though when they came to trial years later they were aquitted for lack of evidence.

Days earlier I had travelled through the same tunnel on my way by train from Venice to Naples. A few days later, I would travel through the same tunnel on my way to Florence. Had my schedule been different, I may well have found myself a victim of the attack.

I became aware of the event through the lurid artist’s reconstructions on the covers of Italian news magazines outside newsagents on Rome’s Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

I was seventeen at the time.

On August 2, 1980, a bomb was planted in the waiting room of the Bologna railway station: 84 died and some 200 were injured. The act was ascribed to neo-Fascists.

Stragedibologna-2.jpg

A few weeks later, while travelling with a friend around Italy by train we passed through Bologna and noted the gap where the waiting room had been.

In March, 1982, I began to live and work in Italy. In the June of that year, the body of Italian banker, Roberto Calvi was found hanging from a noose under Blackfriars Bridge, London. In the next few years, the name of Banco Ambrosiano, the Propaganda Due (P2) Masonic Lodge, and Licio Gelli would become familiar.

In the winter of 1984/85, I was working in Pistoia, Tuscany, and I lived in a mansard directly under the rafters on the top floor of the medieval Casa del Capitano del Popolo (House of the Captain of the People). (See picture below.)

Shortly before Christmas, 1984, I travelled through the San Benedetto Val di Sambro tunnel where, ten years earlier, there had been a bomb explosion, on my way from Florence to Bologna and from Bologna to Padua to stay with the family of an Italian friend who lived in a house in the Veneto countryside, before flying from Treviso airport to London’s Gatwick airport.

In the January 7, 1985, edition of Time Magazine, the article, “Italy Tunnel of Death”, appeared. It began:

Stretching for 11 1/2 miles beneath central Italy’s rugged Apennine mountains, it is one of Europe’s longest railway tunnels and carries the nickname La Direttissima because it provides the most direct route between Florence and Bologna. Last week the Italian press renamed it the “Tunnel of Death.”

Two days before Christmas, Train 904, an express bound from Naples to Milan with 700 holiday passengers aboard, was roaring through La Direttissima at 90 m.p.h. when a time bomb exploded in a second-class carriage. The force of the blast blew in the double-paned windows in most of the train’s 14 cars. Antonio Algieri, 33, one of those wounded by the flying glass, described the scene as “a hurricane of slivers–and then so much terrible screaming in the dark.” The train came to a stop, and thick smoke billowed through the tunnel, initially frustrating rescue attempts as dazed passengers stumbled around in the blackness.

When rescue teams eventually reached the wreckage, they found that the ninth car of the train had been demolished by the blast; at least 15 people were found dead and 80 were seriously injured. It was Italy’s bloodiest terrorist act since the authorities began to gain the upper hand in the fight against political extremists two years ago.

Within hours, a number of outlawed groups of both the left and the right claimed responsibility for the blast. Official suspicion centered on neo- Fascist terrorists, since the Christmas attack took place in the same tunnel in which right-wing extremists bombed a train in 1974, killing twelve and wounding 48. In 1980 neo-Fascists planted a bomb in the waiting room of the Bologna railway station: 84 died and some 200 were injured.

I had travelled through this very tunnel only days before this second bomb attack.

After flying back to Italy, I returned by the same route to my mansard in Pistoia’s Casa del Capitano del Popolo.

As the couple above whose flat I lived were out and I couldn’t get in, a doctor who lived in a flat below theirs invited me in for a drink and a chat. Naturally, the conversation revolved around the recent bombing, and my own lucky escapes, both in 1974 and a few weeks earlier.

It was then that I became aware of the view, quite commonly held by all classes of people in Italy, including respectable middle class doctors, that the Italian government were somehow behind these attacks.

Over the next few years, the words Operazione Gladio (Operation Gladio), and strategia di tensione (strategy of tension), became increasingly familiar as these were increasingly talked about in the Italian press. These topics are too complicated to deal with in one article. But I leave the reader with a few links and the first of a three-part BBC programme on Operation Gladio.

And with one final thought. When, in 1990, Italian Prime Minister, Giulio Andreotti, revealed the existence of Gladio (though he denied that it had anything to do with the bombings described above), then president of Italy, Francesco Cossiga, who had been involved in setting Gladio up, felt honor-bound to resign.

More recently, Senator Cossiga, who clearly has deep roots in his country’s intelligence service, has stated, in an interview with leading Italian newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera: “It is common knowledge amongst global intelligence agencies that 9/11 was an inside job.”

Operation Gladio: NATO Terrorists pt 1 of 15

Read more…

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Principles of the Imperial New World Order

Sudhan @11:30 CET

By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson | Electric politics

We have to recognize that in the Imperial New World Order (INWO), with the Soviet Union gone, and an aggressive and highly militarized United States projecting its great power across the globe, destabilizing and devastating in all its major areas of operation in the alleged interest of liberation and stability, a revised set of principles should be discernible. Most of these are hardly new, but even more audaciously than in the past they translate power relationships into affirmations of rights or the denial of these very same rights, with the ensuing double standards applicable pretty much across the board. The real-world significance of these INWO principles thus depends on three factors: (a) whether Washington affirms them for itself (and directly or by implication for its close allies, clients and hangers-on); (b) whether Washington denies them to its enemies; and (c) whether Washington doesn’t care one way or the other.

As we show below, these power-based affirmations or denials of rights are accepted among the powerful, from the leaders of the Western states, political candidates, and top UN officials, to the establishment media and the intellectuals whose voices can be heard. They represent the institutionalization of a system of power in which justice is inoperative and its perversion hidden in clouds of rhetoric and obfuscation.

Continued . . .

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Thinking globally, acting locally

Sudhan @10:34 CET

With the Bush administration angling for war with Iran, the city of Chicago is considering going on record opposing it

Michael Lynn, The Guardian, May 9, 2008

More than 7,000 miles separate Chicago and Tehran. But on May 14, the city council of the American city will consider whether to take a stand on an event that would have far reaching consequences for residents of both: a US attack on Iran.

A resolution introduced into the council by one of its members, Alderman Joe Moore, would put the city on record as opposing a preemptive strike against Iran by the US. The resolution urges all congressional representatives whose districts include parts of the city to “clearly express the will of the people of Chicago in opposing any attack on Iran, and urging the Bush administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with that nation.”

The resolution is the result of an initiative launched by Chicago’s No War On Iran Coalition, a broad-based grouping of local anti-war, social justice and faith organisations. Ranging widely in viewpoints, the goal that unites us all is preventing the United States from launching another elective war that we believe would prove even more disastrous than the five-year-old one next door in Iraq.

Recent events have added urgency to the goal. In April, General David Petraeus, the commanding officer of American forces in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, US ambassador to that country, testified to several congressional committees. In their testimony, both struck a common theme: the role of Iran in promoting insurgent attacks in Iraq. Both men accused so-called “special groups” of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of being responsible for the deaths of American troops and rocket strikes on the Green Zone.

Continued . . .

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