August 12th, 2008


Can an Ex KGB General Save America From Itself?

12 08 2008

By Peter Chamberlin

Here is an interesting take on the positions I have taken as editor of There Are No Sunglasses:

“This is quite a unique site - American-based, but looking at things from a Russian point of view, even to the extent of echoing Russia’s traditional anti-Jewish (”anti-Zionist” rhetoric of the Cold War years. Socialist (”anti-capitalist”), to boot.

I’m so accustomed to looking at things from the traditional, nationalist point of view of military and economic advantage that I’m nonplussed when I encounter an editor who’s rooting for “the other side”.

Of course, the editor probably doesn’t look at it that way. He believes himself to be working together with all repressed peoples in the U.S. for the goal of a political and social revolution. The revolution would put new faces in charge that would adjust U.S. domestic and foreign policies to be more to the liking of Moscow and Beijing.



Russian president halts military action in Georgia

1 hour, 31 minutes ago

By Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press

MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to military action in Georgia on Tuesday, after five days of air and land attacks that took Russian forces deep into the small western-allied country.

Medvedev said on national television that the military had punished Georgia enough for its attack on South Ossetia. Georgia launched an offensive late Thursday to regain control over the separatist Georgian province, which has close ties to Russia.

"The security of our peacekeepers and civilians has been restored," Medvedev said. "The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. Its military has been disorganized."



Most U.S. companies avoid paying federal income taxes

UBS posts Q2 losses, writedowns of $5.1B

, Associated Press WriterTue Aug 12, 6:31 AM ET

Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.

The study by the Government Accountability Office, expected to be released Tuesday, said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period.

Collectively, the companies reported trillions of dollars in sales, according to GAO's estimate.


America's Israeli-Occupied Media

August 12, 2008

Philip Giraldi

There should be little doubt that the Israeli government is making every effort to jump-start a war against Iran sooner rather than later. Many Israelis not surprisingly believe it is in their interest to convince the United States to attack Iran so that Israel will not have to do it, and they are hell-bent on bringing that about. Unfortunately, their efforts are being aided and abetted by a U.S. mainstream media that is unwilling to ask any hard questions or challenge the assumptions of the Israeli government.

Israeli intellectuals such as Benny Morris have been provided a platform to argue implausibly that a little war is necessary right now to prevent a larger nuclear conflict. The repeated visits to Washington by Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to pressure Washington to commit to a military option are generally unreported in the U.S. media, and no one is asking why the United States should be involved in what is clearly a "wag the dog" scenario.

For once, however, some officials in Washington appear to have developed a backbone and are pushing back. A flurry of visits to Israel by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, and intelligence chiefs Mike McConnell and Michael Hayden have made clear that there is considerable opposition at the Pentagon and in intelligence circles to starting a third war at this time. Israel says that Iran is about to obtain a nuclear weapon while the Pentagon and American intelligence services are providing a more cautious assessment, putting forward the U.S. view that Iran is still far removed from having nuclear capability. Mullen went so far as to tell the Israelis flatly that Washington does not want another war. He even brought up the subject of the USS Liberty, a not-so subtle hint that Washington knows that Israel might try to engineer a Gulf of Tonkin-type surprise to force American involvement. Mullen may have been implying that any incident in the Persian Gulf that might lead to armed conflict will be scrutinized carefully to determine if it is a false flag operation initiated by Tel Aviv.


Ron Paul's Wife In Hospital in Serious Condition

14 hours ago

HOUSTON (AP) — The wife of Republican Rep. Ron Paul was in serious but stable condition Monday at a Houston hospital, a spokesman for the congressman said.

Carol Paul was in the critical care unit at an unidentified hospital, spokesman Jesse Benton said in a statement.

Benton would not disclose why Carol Paul was admitted to the hospital Monday, only saying "she has had several abdominal surgeries."

Paul "appreciates the outpouring of concern and good wishes during this difficult time," Benton said.


U.S. troops still in Georgia

By John Vandiver, Stars and Stripes

Mideast edition, Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Spc. Joseph Noble of the Georgia Army National Guard takes part in field training alongside Republic of Georgia soldiers during Immediate Response 08 at Vaziani Military Base, Georgia, in July. The training wrapped up Thursday.

U.S. personnel responsible for training members of the Georgian military remain stationed inside the volatile country, where fighting erupted Friday between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

The U.S. European Command said on Monday that there were no plans at this time to withdraw the U.S. military trainers from the country. There are still 127 U.S. trainers in Georgia, where the American forces had been preparing the Georgian army for operations in Iraq.

Meanwhile, U.S. civilians started to make their way out of the country over the weekend, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi.


McCain's broken marriage and fractured Reagan friendship

From the Los Angeles Times

The nature and timing of his divorce from Carol Shepp alienated key friends -- and his version doesn't always match that in court documents.

By Richard A. Serrano and Ralph Vartabedian

Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

July 11, 2008

Outside her Bel-Air home, Nancy Reagan stood arm in arm with John McCain and offered a significant -- but less than exuberant -- endorsement.

"Ronnie and I always waited until everything was decided, and then we endorsed," the Republican matriarch said in March. "Well, obviously this is the nominee of the party." They were the only words she would speak during the five-minute photo op.

In a written statement, she described McCain as "a good friend for over 30 years." But that friendship was strained in the late 1970s by McCain's decision to divorce his first wife, Carol, who was particularly close to the Reagans, and within weeks marry Cindy Hensley, the young heiress to a lucrative Arizona beer distributorship.


NYPD Plans To Track Every Vehicle Entering Manhattan

Last Edited: Tuesday, 12 Aug 2008, 7:43 AM EDT
Created: Tuesday, 12 Aug 2008, 7:13 AM EDT

Kathy Carvajal Producer

Improved terror security in New York City could involve photographing the license plate of every vehicle entering Manhattan and scanning the information.

The NYPD is considering the plan called Operation Sentinel.

The license plate information would reportedly be stored for at least one month in a lower Manhattan facility.


House Panel To Probe Book's Forged Iraq Intel Allegations

Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration’s Forged Iraq Intelligence

Congressman John Conyers

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2008
Contact: Jonathan Godfrey (Conyers)
Lillian German (Conyers)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism." 

"Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq," said Conyers.  "I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration.  The administration’s attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind’s reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author’s interview recordings and transcripts.  I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind’s allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."

A number of issues raised in Mr. Suskind’s book to be reviewed include:

  • The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush’s 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
  • The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
  • The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
  • Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq’s chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
  • The payment of $5 million to Iraq’s chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
  • The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind’s research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan.  Jackson’s notes were also confiscated.




Tel Aviv to Tbilisi: Israel's role in the Russia-Georgia war

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 12 August 2008

Israelis wave both Georgian and Israeli flags as they chant anti-Russian slogans during a demonstration outside the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv, 11 August. (Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images)

From the moment Georgia launched a surprise attack on the tiny breakaway region of South Ossetia last week, prompting a fierce Russian counterattack, Israel has been trying to distance itself from the conflict. This is understandable: with Georgian forces on the retreat, large numbers of civilians killed and injured, and Russia's fury unabated, Israel's deep involvement is severely embarrassing.

The collapse of the Georgian offensive represents not only a disaster for that country and its US-backed leaders, but another blow to the myth of Israel's military prestige and prowess. Worse, Israel fears that Russia could retaliate by stepping up its military assistance to Israel's adversaries including Iran.

"Israel is following with great concern the developments in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and hopes the violence will end," its foreign ministry said, adding with uncharacteristic doveishness, "Israel recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia and calls for a peaceful solution."


CNN Airs Misleading Footage of Russia-Georgia War

CNN use footage of Tskhinvali ruins to cover Georgian report

Added: August 12, 2008

In one of its news bulletins CNN has shown Russian tanks and ruined buildings which they claimed are in the Georgian town of Gori. Russian cameraman of the Russian TV channel, who did the footage in reality in South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali says CNN aired footage of Tskhinvali district close to former Russian peacekeepers headquarters, nearly all of them were killed by Georgians after the footage was made.


Georgian troops fire at refugees

Georgian troops fire at refugees

A South Ossetian woman cries during a funeral (AFP Photo / Dmitry Kostyukov)
August 12, 2008, 7:25

Authorities in South Ossetia say Georgian troops have shelled the road being used for evacuating people from the conflict zone, according to Russian Interfax news agency. Attacks are continuing in the South Ossetian region, despite claims from Georgia that it was imposing a ceasefire.

There have been several explosions in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, after it came under a renewed shelling attack. Several Russian troops have been wounded.

A convoy of aid from Russia was attacked as it made its way to the ruined city of Tskhinvali.

Despite this, humanitarian supplies are arriving in the war-torn capital.


‘Where Are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?’


Posted on Aug 11, 2008

By Scott Ritter

In the past two decades I have had the opportunity to participate in certain experiences pertaining to my work that fall into the category of “no one will ever believe this.” I usually file these away, calling on them only when events transpire that breathe new life into these extraordinary memories. Ron Suskind, a noted and accomplished journalist, has written a new book, “The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,” in which he claims that the “White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush [Tahir Jalil Habbush, the director of the Mukhabarat], to Saddam [Hussein], backdated to July 1, 2001.” According to Suskind, the letter said that “9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq—thus showing, finally, that there was an operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda, something the Vice President’s Office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade Iraq.”

This is an extraordinary charge, which both the White House and the CIA vehemently deny. Suskind outlines a scenario which dates to the summer and fall of 2003, troubled times for the Bush administration as its case for invading Iraq was unraveling. I cannot independently confirm Suskind’s findings, but I, too, heard a similar story, from a source I trust implicitly. In my former line of work, intelligence, it was understood that establishing patterns of behavior was important. Past patterns of behavior tend to repeat themselves, and are thus of interest when assessing a set of seemingly separate circumstances around the same source. Of course, given the nature of the story line, it is better if I introduce this information within its proper context.

In the summer of 2003 I was approached by Harper’s Magazine to do a story on the work of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), a CIA-sponsored operation investigating Saddam’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs in the aftermath of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. David Kay, a former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector who served briefly in Iraq in 1991 and 1992, was at that time the head of the ISG. By October 2003 the group had prepared a so-called interim report, which claimed to have eyewitness evidence of Iraqi WMD-related activities prior to the invasion in March. The key to the ISG’s interim report was the testimony of “cooperative sources,” Iraqis of unstated pedigree purportedly providing the ISG with unverifiable information. With one exception—an Iraqi nuclear scientist who had been killed by coalition forces—David Kay failed to provide the name or WMD association of any of the sources he used for his report, making any effort to verify their assertions impossible. Many of the senior Iraqis who had openly contradicted Kay’s report were, and still are to this day, muzzled behind the walls of an American prison in Baghdad. But there was another group of Iraqis, the former scientists and technicians involved in Iraq’s WMD programs who were known to have been interviewed by the ISG, and who were released back into Iraqi society. These scientists held the key to deciphering the vague pronouncements of the ISG interim report, and could help to distinguish between fact and fiction.



Neocons Now Love International Law

By Robert Parry

August 12, 2008

It’s touching how American neoconservatives who have no regard for international law when they want to invade some troublesome country have developed a sudden reverence for national sovereignty.

Apparently, context is everything. So, the United States attacking Grenada or Nicaragua or Panama or Iraq or Serbia is justified even if the reasons sometimes don’t hold water or don’t hold up before the United Nations, The Hague or other institutions of international law.

However, when Russia attacks Georgia in a border dispute over Georgia’s determination to throttle secession movements in two semi-autonomous regions, everyone must agree that Georgia’s sovereignty is sacrosanct and Russia must be condemned.

U.S. newspapers, such as the New York Times, see nothing risible about publishing a statement from President George W. Bush declaring that “Georgia is a sovereign nation and its territorial integrity must be respected.”


A line in the sand

Georgia's disastrous attack on South Ossetia has given Russia a perfect excuse to roll back US control of Azerbaijan's oil supply

Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline

End of the line: the final portion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline at the Ceyhan crude oil terminal in Turkey (taken on July 13 2006).

By using force to bring back the breakaway region of South Ossetia under central control, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has inadvertently gifted the Kremlin a chance to retrieve the influence it had lost in the Caucasus to the United States.

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has watched with growing alarm how the successive US administrations have violated the promise made by President George HW Bush to respect the status quo existing at the time of the end of the cold war in 1990. The eastward expansion of Nato, which started during the Bill Clinton presidency, has covered not only the Baltic states, but also all of the east European members of the now-defunct Moscow-led Warsaw Pact. As if this were not enough, plans are being made to expand Nato to admit Ukraine, a former European constituent of the Soviet Union, and Georgia, a former Caucasian constituent of the Soviet Union.

Already, the Pentagon had established its presence in Georgia and Azerbaijan. It posted its officers to these Caucasian republics to train Georgian and Azeri forces to guard the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline – connecting Baku, the source of oil, with the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, in Turkey. Moreover, under guise of waging "war on terror", the Azeri government allowed the Pentagon to upgrade the Nasosnaya military airfield north of Baku. As I have discussed in my book Blood of the Earth, that gave the US greater flexibility in transporting troops and deploying its air power in the region.


London's Jewish radio station closes after Galloway sues

Best news I've had all day...

By Michael Savage

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

London's only Jewish community radio station has been forced to cease broadcasting after losing a High Court libel case brought against it by the Respect MP George Galloway.

Jcom, a non-profit station which broadcast online and to a small area in north-west London, was wound up after it was told to pay the MP damages of £15,000.

Mr Galloway sued the station after one of its presenters played a spoof character based on the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and implied he was anti-Semitic. It was also ordered to pay Mr Galloway's court costs, thought to be £5,000. Mr Galloway said that the judgment had "categorically crushed the slur of anti-Semitism".


Mukasey: No prosecutions in Justice Dept. hiring scandal

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer 22 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday said former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers.

Mukasey used his sharpest words yet to criticize the senior leaders who took part in or failed to stop illegal hiring practices during the tenure of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales.

But, he told delegates to the American Bar Association annual meeting, "not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws."


Rice refuses to ‘interrupt her holidays’ to deal with Georgian conflict

US left with little influence in Georgia crisis

19 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Washington has little room for maneuver in the Caucasus conflict amid perceptions that it helped fuel the crisis by over-inflating Georgia's hopes of US support for its young democracy, analysts say.


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also been noticeably absent on the diplomatic scene, having failed to interrupt her holidays to fly to Tbilisi in support of the Georgian government.


One Third of New Owners Owe More Than House Is Worth


By Bob Ivry

Enlarge Image/Details

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Almost one-third of U.S. homeowners who bought in the last five years now owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, according to, an Internet provider of home valuations.

Second-quarter home prices fell 9.9 percent from a year earlier, giving 29 percent of owners negative equity, said Zillow, the Seattle-based service that offers values for more than 80 million homes. For those who bought at the 2006 peak of the housing market, 45 percent are now underwater, Zillow said.

Negative equity and declining prices are making it difficult for homeowners to sell property for a profit. Almost one-quarter of U.S. homes sold in the past year were for a loss, Zillow said. That contributes to the foreclosure rate because some homeowners can't absorb the loss and end up surrendering their homes to the bank that holds the mortgage, said Stan Humphries, Zillow's vice president of data and analytics.

``For homeowners who need to sell, this is a gravely serious situation,'' Humphries said in an interview. ``It can also be harmful to communities where the number of unsold homes adds more to inventory and puts downward pressure on prices.''




Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Preferred Stock Cut by S&P
Crybaby capitalists whine for more

Ellen Brown, August 8th, 2008

Last week, Congress passed a housing bill that gave the Treasury Department a blank check to inject billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, snatching them from insolvency. To accommodate this blank check, Congress obligingly raised its debt ceiling by $800 billion. Ouch! That’s nearly a trillion dollars. Why was it necessary to incur this potentially crippling public debt to bail out two completely private, for-profit behemoths, which have run themselves into bankruptcy with their own risky investment schemes? Policymakers said it was essential to maintain the country’s creditworthiness with foreign lenders, which today hold about one-fifth of Fannie and Freddie securities. According to a July 21 report by Heather Timmons in The New York Times:

One out of 10 American mortgages is, in effect, in the hands of institutions and governments outside the United States.1

Ten percent of American mortgages are now owned by foreigners? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation)? They were supposedly set up to fund “the American dream” – home ownership by Americans. Today, American homes are owned by anonymous pools of private investors, many of whom are foreign governments and foreign central banks. How did we manage to give away the farm? And why are we bowing to the interests of foreign investors to the point of driving our own government into bankruptcy? The federal debt is already nearly ten trillion dollars, more than the government can ever possibly repay with taxes.

According to analysts, the bailout of the two mortgage giants is necessary “because America’s relations with a host of countries are intricately tied to Fannie and Freddie,” and because we need to assure “Americans’ future ability to gain access to credit. If foreign companies and governments abandon United States investments, home, auto and credit card loans will be much more difficult to come by.”


US Military Instructors Command Thousands of Mercenaries in Georgia

Aug. 11, 2008
Print  |  
Thousands of mercenaries are fighting for Georgia in this burning conflict with South Ossetia. They are commanded by the U.S. military instructors, RIA Novosti reported with reference to a high-ranked officer of Russia’s military intelligence.

“From 2,500 to 3,000 mercenaries fight against Russia’s peacekeepers on behalf of Georgia,” the unnamed source said. Amid them are the natives of Ukraine, some Baltic states and the Caucasus regions.

The U.S. military instructors directly command and coordinate actions of mercenaries without being involved in actual fighting, the source specified. According to intelligence data, there are roughly 1,000 military instructors of the United States in Georgia.


McCain on Russia-Georgia: Let's Compound the Blunder!

State Dept. advises all Americans to leave Georgia

August 11, 2008

We live in a season of risible "3 AM moments", where the breathless commentariat in this country overhear a strange overseas country's name--perhaps with tales of some military action underway--and rush off towards dim-witted debates about what candidate would better handle that resultant red-phone ringing in the middle of the night (this I guess most immediately derivative of Mark Penn's desperately lame "positive ad"). This infantile fare passes for serious debate on generally well-regarded sites like, or among the beard-stroking class chiming in from a Situation Room near you. There is really nothing we can do about it, this is the sad echo-chamber we dwell in, and it's not going to change anytime soon--so I won't belabor the point here.

This being said, if the horrors inflicted on varied Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians this past week (by both sides) must be seen from these provincial, grossly self-interested shores merely through the lens of the U.S. Presidential election, let me chime in very briefly within these contours. Regarding the 3 AM sweepstakes, Obama has taken it by a mile (if his Pavlovian movements to 'sound tougher' after his initial statement were a bit underwhelming, if sadly predictable). Witness this incredibly poor reasoning by McCain, jaw-dropping even by the standards of the mammoth policy ineptitude we've become accustomed to during the reign of Bush 43 and his motley crew of national security miscreants. Here is McCain:

Mr. McCain urged NATO to begin discussions on “the deployment of an international peacekeeping force to South Ossetia,’’ called on the United Nations to condemn “Russian aggression,’’ and said that the secretary of state should travel to Europe “to establish a common Euro-Atlantic position aimed at ending the war and supporting the independence of Georgia.’’

And he said the NATO should reconsider its previous decision and set Georgia – which he called “one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion’’ — on the path to becoming a member. “NATO’s decision to withhold a membership action plan for Georgia might have been viewed as a green light by Russia for its attacks on Georgia, and I urge the NATO allies to revisit the decision,’’ he said. [my emphasis]


More questions about McCain's key adviser

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More questions about a lobbyist who supports McCain

By Lesley Clark | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — A key advisor to John McCain lobbied on behalf of a French liquor giant that partners with the Cuban government to sell rum — and which has been embroiled in a costly and controversial trademark dispute with Miami-based Bacardi.

Lobbyist disclosure forms suggest John Green since 2001 also lobbied on behalf of several bills that seek to relax the economic embargo against Cuba — a stance contrary to McCain's support of the embargo.

Campaigning in Miami in May, the Republican presidential contender told a crowd that before he'd entertain lifting the embargo he'd press the Cuban government to release political prisoners, legalize political parties and schedule elections.


China Training Armies Of Fans To Cheer Olympics

Lip-synch controversy: Olympics used girl's voice, not face

The New York Times

August 13, 2008

Well-Trained Fans Are at the Ready, if Seats Need to Be Filled


BEIJING — There were entire sections of empty seats behind both goals at the team handball stadium on Monday. Next to them were sections packed with fans dressed in identical shirts, pounding inflated bats and being led in rehearsed cheers.

That emptiness and eagerness in a single frame provided two early mysteries to these supposedly sold-out Olympics.

For an Olympics running with predictable, well-mannered efficiency and few logistical snags, the most sensitive issue facing the organizing committee has emerged quickly: Why all the empty seats?


The whole country needs to wake up

Taking Back The Campaign Nominee

Andrew Sullivan

11 Aug 2008 06:31 pm

What the Obama campaign has lost sight of, I think, and what it needs to regain control of, is the essential message of his candidacy. After the last eight years, we simply cannot risk a continuation of the same reckless, belligerent, argument-losing, ideological and deceptive foreign policy of the current crew. The damage that neoconservatism has done to America, to the Middle East, to democratic norms, to Israel's security, to civilized values and fiscal sanity is immense and deep. From his knee-jerk Cold War posture over Georgia to his Rovian campaign tactics, McCain is simply too close to this disastrous record to contemplate. McCain's trigger-happy temperament, shallow understanding of the complexities and passion for military force as the answer to everything is the bigger risk. He is a recipe for more, wider and far more destructive warfare:

Permalink :


Iran warns against 'surprise attack'

Largest Naval Deployment Since 1991 Heads For Persian Gulf Ignored By Media: Three major US naval strike forces due this week in Persian Gulf

Iran warns against 'surprise attack'

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 14:36:12 GMT

Iran's Defense Minister Mohammad-Najjar has warned that its response to a surprise enemy attack would be a greater surprise for the aggressor.

He said Iran has developed an extensive defense force to repel any possible attack, adding the Islamic Republic is currently a major defensive power.

Najjar said the armed forces have mass-produced a range of advanced defensive equipment including a radar-evading warship and an unmanned mid-jet submarine as well as a high-tech naval weapons system capable of targeting any warship within a range of 300 kilometers from its shores.


Treasure trove of internal Clinton campaign memos here

August 11, 2008

A complete index to the internal communications referenced in "The Front-Runner's Fall"

by Joshua Green

The Hillary Clinton Memos

“The Plan,” October 2006
Clinton had forbidden her advisers from openly discussing her presidential ambitions until after she’d won reelection to the Senate. But behind the scenes, planning was already underway. In this October 2006 strategy memo, Mark Penn sketched out the campaign’s strategic principles (“HRC is the power candidate”) and assessed potential opponents. He worried that Al Gore was “waiting to swoop in later.”

Penn’s “Launch Strategy” Ideas, December 21, 2006
Shortly after Clinton’s reelection, Penn tried out some themes in this flattering memo to his boss. He suggested former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a role model: “We are more Thatcher than anyone else.” Penn believed that voters view their president as the “father” of the country. “They do not want someone who would be the first mama,” he counseled. “But there is a yearning for a kind of tough single parent.” (He did not propose divorce.) Penn thought voters were “open to the first father being a woman.” But he warned again about the perils of being seen as too soft. “A word about being human,” he wrote. “Bill Gates once asked me, ‘Could you make me more human?’ I said, ‘Being human is overrated.’”

Penn Strategy Memo, March 19, 2007
More than anything else, this memo captures the full essence of Mark Penn’s campaign strategy—its brilliance and its breathtaking attacks. Penn identified with impressive specificity the very coalition of women and blue-collar workers that Clinton ended up winning a year later. But he also called Obama “unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun,” and wrote, “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.” Penn proposed targeting Obama’s “lack of American roots.”



Roots of the conflict between Georgia, South Ossetia and Russia

From The Times

August 11, 2008

Anatol Lieven

Many factors are involved in the present conflict but the central one is straightforward: the majority of the Ossetes living south of the main Caucasus range in Georgia wish to unite with the Ossetes living to the north, in an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation; and the Georgians, regarding South Ossetia as both a legal and an historic part of their national territory, refuse to accept this.

Twice in the past century, when the empire to the north weakened and Georgia declared its independence, the southern Ossetes revolted against Georgian rule. It happened in 1918-20, between the collapse of the Russian empire and the Soviet Union’s conquest of Georgia in 1921; and it happened again in our own time with the fall of the Soviet Union.

In 1918-20, between 5,000 and 15,000 people died, depending on whose figures you believe. For the conflicts since 1990, the figure is about 4,000 and rising.


The end of the post-Cold War era

Russia has ceased bombing and attacking Georgia, yet Georgia insists the fighting continues (per US instructions). The US was surprised by the swiftness of Russia's counterattack, but is not about to end the hostilties. The State Dept has called for all US citizens to leave Georgia. Round two coming up....

The United States is carefully cultivating an opinion in Western capitals that Russia is "bullying" Georgia. This will strengthen Washington's case for inducting Georgia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which will in turn facilitate the deployment of the US missile defense system onto Russia's border. If Moscow remains passive, the Caucasus could become its "bleeding wound".

Aug 13, 2008

The end of the post-Cold War era

By M K Bhadrakumar
Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service.

On a day that China showed its firepower and set new frontiers for global razzmatazz, with about 80 world leaders watching and cheering, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games should have been Friday's lead news story. But events in the Caucasus dictated otherwise.


... the Bush administration cannot afford to fail in this Caucasian venture. It will be seen as needlessly having blood on its hands unless US diplomacy successfully turns the tide in its favor and takes matters to their cold, logical conclusion - induction of Georgia into NATO.


Videotape shows man beaten by Denver Police

posted by: Jeffrey Wolf written and reported by: Deborah Sherman and: Nicole Vap Date last updated: 8/12/2008 8:55:34 AM

DENVER - The Denver District Attorney's office has dropped its case against a man who was facing three years in prison for assault, after 9Wants to Know obtained and showed prosecutors a videotape of the man's arrest.

The Denver Police Department has also started an internal investigation.

On the video, which was shot outside Coors Field on the home opener of the Colorado Rockies game on April 4, undercover Denver Police detectives hit, kick and choke John Heaney.


Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent

By Ellen Nakashima

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 12, 2008; D01

Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.

The revelations came in response to a bipartisan inquiry of how more than 30 Internet companies might have gathered data to target customers. Some privacy advocates and lawmakers said the disclosures help build a case for an overarching online-privacy law.


The U.S. Government and News Media Are Lying, Again

by Pavel Yakovlev / August 12th, 2008

I lost all faith in the American democratic system and its media when President Bush initiated a false war against Iraq and got away with it. This time, the U.S. media and Bush Administration are lying about a different war — the one between Georgia and Russia. To understand the complex nature of this conflict, a brief review of history is necessary.

Throughout its long history, Georgia, the country, has had difficult relations with Russia and its other neighbors, including the ethnically different Ossetians. Georgians and Ossetians did not always get along. In one instance, Georgian leaders asked the Russian tsar for permission to enslave the Ossetians. The answer was no. During the Russian Revolution, Georgia seceded from the Russian Empire and sided with Mensheviks (tsarists), thereby starting a conflict with the Ossetians and killing about 5,000 of them until Bolsheviks intervened and forcefully returned Georgia under Russia’s control. During Stalin’s rule, Georgia (Stalin’s homeland) was assigned some of the Ossetian and Abkhazian territory together with their historic inhabitants. As the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the early 1990s, Georgia declared its independence without any resistance from Russia. However, when South Ossetia and Abkhazia tried to declare their independence from Georgia, they were greeted by a brutal military campaign aimed at keeping these tiny regions under Georgian control. Unfortunately for Georgia, it had to live with their de-facto independence due to strong resistance from these breakaway regions and Russia’s intervention. Long story short, Russia became the only third party peacekeeper, albeit a biased one, in this conflict until now.

In 2008, the United States and Europe recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia despite Russian and Serbian opposition. Russia warned the United States that this is a dangerous precedent that could ignite the old conflict between Georgians and Ossetians, who might seek independence according to the Kosovo’s scenario. Meanwhile, Georgia being lead by charismatic, pro-Western president Mr. Saakashvilli sought to join NATO and the EU. However, Georgia’s unresolved territorial disputes with South Ossetia and Abkhazia formally precluded its membership in NATO. Mr. Saakashvilli could resolve this conflict in two ways: (a) officially recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s de-facto independence from Georgia or (b) drive out or physically exterminate all Ossetians and Abkhazians because they would never again want to live peacefully under Georgia’s control.


'If I Were a Betting Man, I'd Wager that Cheney Was Behind the Anthrax Attacks'

Prime Suspect: Dick Cheney and the Domestic Anthrax Terrorist Attacks, Part II

Tue, 08/12/2008 -

Mark Karlin

Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and John McCain keep speaking of "victory" in Iraq without defining what that elusive goal might be. That’s because "victory" for them is reduced to the bragging rights of boasting, "I won, you lost."

But since the War on Iraq allegedly began as part of the amorphous "war on terror," it would be hard put to understand under what circumstances the "victory culture" crowd that believes war is a football game might, indeed, claim victory.

After all, who are they claiming "victory" over? After nearly seven years, Osama bin Laden is still allegedly at large and the anthrax terrorist case has been closed abruptly by the FBI, but still by most accounts –- including the corporate mainstream press –- it is not resolved.


Wise Up and Rise Up - or Kiss It All Goodbye


Mon Aug 11, 2008

I find myself, on some level, torn between my highly strained faith in American democracy and a perception that it no longer exists. I applaud and encourage political activism and cherish the activists that I know, but for all their heroism, commitment and hard work, I see us sliding steadily backwards. This has been my observation for the past 40 years. We progressives have faced unremitting defeat at the hands of the ultra-conservative 'system', which clearly serves our super-wealthy overlords - not us.


Only over the past 8 years has it become so shockingly obvious just how blatant is the case against the existence of American democracy. It came to a head, in my view, with "Impeachment is off the table." That betrayal was the ultimate selling out of the American people - and this at the hands of the democratic leadership. That has to shake one's faith.


Pelosi has made it clear, the American people and the values they hold (such as justice and government of, by and for the people) no longer matter.


It is a mistake to underestimate the damage that has been done over the past 8 years.  I've heard many people state that our long national nightmare is approaching an end.  I believe it unwise to think so.  The Bush years have left us in a weakened condition and facing a monstrous confluence of catastrophes that will not go away when Bush does.  Chief among these is an intractable and corrupted government intent on the repression and exploitation of American citizens - which does not lend itself to real solutions to our very real problems.  We are headed in exactly the wrong direction.




Monday, August 11, 2008


"You simply don't develop a new hyper-weaponized strain of anthrax powder for military defense, and then commission the top U.S. anthrax expert to report on this new weapon's capability and lethality from mailed delivery, unless that's how you foresee it being used." - Ingri Cassel, director, National Vaccination Liberation Association

By Alex Constantine

The corporatists in the post-911 war profiteering loop derive a childlike thrill from their weaponized anthrax stockpiles.

A "new and highly lethal strain" was produced in advance of 911, a nameless Pentagon general told the New York Times in September 2001.

He mentioned something called Operation Jefferson.


Obama Calls for NATO Membership for Georgia

August 11, 2008

Obama: NATO Membership for Georgia


 Obama is out with another statement on Georgia:

Going forward, the United States and Europe must support the people of Georgia. Beyond immediate humanitarian assistance, we must provide economic assistance, and help rebuild what has been destroyed. I have consistently called for deepening relations between Georgia and transatlantic institutions, including a Membership Action Plan for NATO, and we must continue to press for that deeper relationship. The relationship between Russia and the West is long and complicated. There have been many turning points, for good and ill. This is another turning point. Let me be clear: we seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government, and friendship with the Russian people. We want Russia to play its rightful role as a great nation - but with that role comes the responsibility to act as a force for progress in this new century, not regression to the conflicts of the past. That is why the United States and the international community must speak out strongly against this aggression, and for peace and security.

Read the rest.


The Loopy Dynamics of Feedback

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

(The idea of "authority" is a lie to justify oppression.)

by NonEntity

Exclusive to STR

August 12, 2008

For every action (force) in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction; this is Newton 's Third Law of Motion. We have let the feedback loop in society get seriously out of whack.

As humans, each of us is an individual actor. The actions we take cause reactions. We must deal with them. It's the nature of reality. One learns early in life that poking a hornet's nest with a stick is not a good idea. This is not a difficult concept, it would seem. But then, what seems is often far from what is.

Take, for instance, the idea that it is perfectly legal for you to be shot for not buying a tag for your dog. Sounds extreme, doesn't it? But it is the standard practice almost anywhere in the United States where dog licensure is mandated. (What kind of word is that: "mandated"? What kind of people would create and use and accept such a word?)


Schwarzenegger sues controller to force pay cuts


Matthew Yi, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. File photo. Controller Chiang Gov. Schwarzenegger

(08-12) 04:00 PDT Sacramento --

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sued state Controller John Chiang on Monday after he refused to follow the governor's order to slash pay for thousands of state workers to federal minimum wage as a cash-saving measure during the budget impasse.

The governor's suit asks a judge to force the controller to impose the pay cuts until a budget is enacted, because Schwarzenegger's administration cannot wait for Chiang to comply with the governor's recent order, Lynelle Jolley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Personnel Administration, said.

But Chiang on Monday criticized Schwarzenegger's lawsuit as a misguided attempt to make the controller do something that is not feasible in such a short amount of time.



Bush Drunk At The Olympics?


No one's saying teetotaling President Bush would actually try and sneak some shots of alcohol while enjoying himself at the Beijing Olympics as his apocalyptically bad presidency recedes into history. That's the sort of thing you'd read in, say, the National Enquirer, which as everyone knows is full of trashy tabloid lies. Besides, the president doesn't have to consume actual alcohol to act like a bumbling fraternity president. Still, it's worth noting that Bush has been doing a funny/terrifying impersonation of a drunk president for all the press photographers at the Olympics. He's even got the red face thing down! After the jump, enjoy a photo gallery of the president looking his most wasted, from that beach volleyball embarrassment to daughter Barbara looking embarrassed next to Bush at a swimming match, plus some of the other ones Wonkette found on Four Winds 10 last night and some other ones thrown in for fun.


 The AP caption reads, "U.S. President George W. Bush stumbles as he and his wife Laura, front, arrive to watch the swimming competitions." So it's not that he's having trouble standing, as some have suggested. It's sitting that's the problem. Totally different.



Police officer who beat suspect on tape quits

Cop: " I punched him again because I thought he was going to spit blood on me due to me kicking him in the face when he was handcuffed on the ground."

Posted on Tue, Aug. 12, 2008

Police officer who beat suspect on tape quits

One city police officer resigned and two more were placed on administrative leave after a dashboard camera captured images of them punching and kicking a handcuffed man in the face.

On May 26, Officer Louis Schwartz had pulled a car over outside a CVS pharmacy at 6800 South Dixie Highway when a pharmacy clerk told him a man in a black ski mask looked like he was about to rob the store.

As Schwartz walked in, the man, later identified as Pablo Gilberto Valenzuela, 42, of West Palm Beach, ran out through an emergency exit, turning to spray Schwartz with pepper spray as the officer gave chase, according to police reports.


Trapped – collective punishment in Gaza

A Palestinian boy dumps garbage in a residential street in Gaza City, 17 April 2008

A Palestinian boy dumps garbage in a residential street in Gaza City, 17 April 2008

© AP/PA Photos/Copyright Kevin Frayer

A Palestinian pharmacist serves a customer during a routine power outage in Gaza City, 26 October 2007

A Palestinian pharmacist serves a customer during a routine power outage in Gaza City, 26 October 2007

© AP/PA Photo/Hatem Moussa

12 August 2008

"The Israeli siege has turned Gaza into a big prison.  We cannot leave, not even for medical care or to study abroad, and most of what we need is not available in Gaza.  We are not living really; we are barely surviving and the outlook for the future is bleak." – Fathi, a Gaza resident

The blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip over a year ago has left the entire population of 1.5 million Palestinians trapped with dwindling resources and an economy in ruins. Some 80 per cent of the population now depend on the trickle of international aid that the Israeli army allows in. This humanitarian crisis is man-made and entirely avoidable.

Even patients in dire need of medical treatment not available in Gaza are often prevented from leaving and scores of them have died. Students who have scholarships in universities abroad are likewise trapped in Gaza, denied the opportunity to build a future.

The Israeli authorities argue that the blockade on Gaza is in response to Palestinian attacks, especially the indiscriminate rockets fired from Gaza at the nearby Israeli town of Sderot.  These and other Palestinian attacks killed 25 Israelis in the first half of this year; in the same period Israeli forces killed 400 Palestinians.


Georgia's "Rose Revolution", “Immediate Response 2008" Exercises, Georgia Attacks, Cheney's Threat

Georgia's "Rose Revolution", “Immediate Response 2008" Exercises,Georgia Attacks, Cheney's Threat: Who, Why, How?

Posted August 12th, 2008 by liz burbank

Facing defeat and decline, U.S. direct war moves against its two major rivals, against Russia under the shadow of the Olympics and against China, are desperate escalations in its world war for global supremacy, bringing the world closer to all-out nuclear war. For the U.S. to dare to castigate Russia for 'violating its integrity by invading and occupying Georgia', is so far beyond nazi big lies as to almost defy belief, even from modern history's #1 state terrorist empire.

The strategically weak tyrant must try repackaging itself with in 'kinder, gentler' image in hopes of salvaging its hegemonic global goal: you'll find some of this new-branding propaganda below. Current U.S. military maneuvers across the world may tend to dull its effects on its intended audiences in the 'homeland' and other western imperialist 'international community' ... the only places they have captive audiences.
U.S. tactics against Russia & China demonstrate how such intensified chaos and destruction worldwide is the product of the marriage of 'hard' and 'soft power' tactics, together indispensable weapons in its geostrategic arsenal, capable of unprecedented destruction, incapable of eliminating the rivals and resistance that proves, as Mao said, U.S. imperialism is ultimately a paper tiger ... when we say enough.
Cheney issues warning to Russia

11 Aug 2008 U.S. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney said Russia faces serious consequences with the United States and its allies if it continues attacks against Georgia. A Cheney spokeswoman said the vice president told Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili that Russia's actions "must not go unanswered," CNN reported Monday.

New World Order Playground. Georgia 2005
US approved "democracy" in the wake of U.S. sponsored " Rose Revolution"

Shortly after the “Rose Revolution,” in early December 2003, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had made an unprecedented appearance in Georgia for a press conference—flanked by Saakashvili and Zhvania—to call on Russia to remove its military bases from Georgia. Russia has two bases in Georgia proper—in Alkhalkalaki near the Armenian border, and in Batumi, near the Turkish border. But the main concentrations of Russian military power are in the de facto independent republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which seceded by force more than ten years ago. Rumsfeld talked about NATO and Georgia’s future in the West [ “Rumsfeld vows to support Georgia,” (Dec. 5, 2005)] .....



Fellow Prisoner: 'McCain POW Story a Lie'

Monday, August 11, 2008

POW mate calls McCain 'liar' over 'turncoat' charge

Retired Marine colonel angered by candidate's statements that he helped enemy while 2 were in Vietnamese prison camp.


The Orange County Register

Former Orange County Supervisor Edison Miller is lashing out at John McCain, saying the presidential candidate falsely fingered him as a turncoat who was "actively aiding the enemy" while the two were imprisoned during the Vietnam War.

"He lied about me," said the Irvine resident, who retired as a Marine Corps colonel shortly after the war. "The attacks on my character and integrity are totally without merit or justification. I did stand up and say the war was wrong. I would speak against the war, but I never spoke against my country. And I gave up no secrets."

In McCain's book, "Faith of My Fathers," the Republican presidential candidate writes about two "camp rats" who "had lost their faith completely."


The DNC's "Guaranteed Healthcare" Reality Check

"Healthcare NOT Warfare"

By Donna Smith, American SiCKO, national co-chair PDA's Healthcare Not Warfare campaign
August 11, 2008, Pittsburgh, PA

Donna Smith and Rep. John Conyers
Donna Smith and Rep. John Conyers
So, healthcare voting friends, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) platform committee added the language "guaranteed healthcare for every man, woman and child in America" to its party platform yesterday in Pittsburgh. Was it simply to placate Hillary Clinton delegates? Was the DNC squelching activists' voices for single-payer reform? Or was something else at work here? Perhaps an actual democratic process that played out with a wide variety of motivations but also a wider variety of potential outcomes and wide open possibility?

Because I was there--and I mean there as one of the people who negotiated the changes in language with Rep. John Conyers and DNC platform committee member Bob Remer of Chicago--I can tell you that there probably was a little nodding to the Clinton camp and some hope to quiet the single-payer rumblings. It is significant --that language shift from universal health "coverage" to guaranteed health "care"-- and we who are in this for the long haul must grab this moment and this victory and make it our own.

And, believe it or not, I actually witnessed some truly noble behavior by our party. Was it a hearkening back to our roots? Was it an effort to quiet a seemingly meaningless rebellion and move a united front to Denver? Or, was it reaching boldly toward the future?  Maybe a little of "all of the above...."


Cracking the Pentagon Propaganda Code

Cracking the Pentagon Pundit Code

Submitted by Diane Farsetta on Mon, 08/11/2008 - 15:01.

Topics: | | | |

As reporters and researchers know all too well, releasing information isn't necessarily the same thing as releasing useful information.

Pentagon pundit Ken AllardCase in point: the Pentagon's military analyst program. In early 2002, the Defense Department began cultivating "key influentials" -- retired military officers who are frequent media commentators -- to help the Bush administration make the case for invading Iraq. The program expanded over the years, briefing more participants on a wider range of Bush administration talking points, occasionally taking them overseas on the government's dime.

In April 2006, the group was used to counter criticism of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The apparent coordination between the Pentagon and the pundits piqued the interest of New York Times reporters. Two years later -- after wresting some 8,000 pages of internal documents from the Defense Department -- the Times exposed the Pentagon's covert attempts to shape public opinion through its so-called "message force multipliers." A few weeks later, the Defense Department posted the same documents publicly.

It wasn't the high-octane data dump it first appeared to be. Sure, paging through the emails, slides and briefing papers is interesting, and occasionally you come across something noteworthy. But the documents are formatted in such a way that systematically exploring them via keyword searches is impossible. A cynic (or realist) might think the Pentagon was doing damage control by putting the documents out in the open, while making it near-impossible to find crucial needles in a very large, chaotically-compiled haystack.



Gulf blockade 'a matter of time'

Published Date: August 12, 2008

By Ahmad Al-Khaled, Staff writer

KUWAIT: The rhetoric between Iran, Gulf states and the international community has heated-up, as August temperatures swell. This is pushing Kuwait and its GCC(Gulf Cooperation Council) counterparts to set in place emergency plans to counteract the effects of a possible regional conflict. Kuwait political analyst Hajaj Bu Khathor stated, "The issue with Iran is not about uranium enrichment, it wants to control the region." He noted that Iran is pushing the nuclear issue as a tool in the process toward attai
ning their greater objective. Bu Khathor explained the issue is not only the responsibility of the GCC but of the international community which would suffer severe global economic downturns if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz.

Bu Khathor says that the blockade of the Strait of Hormuz will be a reality which we should deal prior to its occurrence, according to a proactive well-planned out strategy. However, he noted that the government has under-publicized preparations for such a crisis. "The reason for this is that they do not want people to panic.

Khathor compared the lack of open discussions on the state's current emergency planning to its lack of preparation and a downsizing of the problems it had with Iraq prior to the Gulf War. "We do not want to repeat what happened before." he said, referring to the Iraqi invasion when citizens were totally unprepared for the crisis.


Nato stops here

For years Russia's leaders have argued: push the line of confrontation eastwards and we'll push back. Last week, they did

It is hard to determine who has behaved worse. The Georgians for tearing up a peace agreement and flattening the centre of an Ossetian town, or the Russians for visiting, and revisiting, similar horrors on the Georgian inhabitants of Gali in Abkhazia and Gori, in the north.

In spite of what Georgia says, the most likely outcome of strike and counterstrike will be a return to the borders of both breakaway states, with some changes of the boundary lines. Georgia will have lost its claim over these disputed territories for good and a heavy Russian military presence will seal this territorial settlement for the foreseeable future.

But the consequences of a short war in the Caucasus do not stop there. Successive Russian leaders, men lauded as reformers and democrats, as well as today's generation of autocrats, have warned the west about the dangers of Nato's eastward expansion. Whether it was Gorbachev with Thatcher, Yeltsin with Clinton or Putin with Bush, the message was essentially the same: push the line of confrontation eastwards and eventually Russia will push back. This is now what has happened. A sleepy and eminently vulnerable town nestling in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains has been made an object lesson of the limits of western political and military expansion.



The future of 'the long war'

Want to know what western elites are thinking about global terrorism? Head to the Kennedy School of Government

A course about al-Qaida and the rise of international terrorism was one of the most popular last term at Harvard's elite Kennedy School of Government. The international students crowding into the school's largest auditorium for the twice-weekly classes were a cross-section of Americans, Europeans and Middle Easterners, including current members of the US army and intelligence community on sabbatical leave. Simply attending it gave me a sense of where tomorrow's western and westernised elites stand vis-a-vis "the long war".

The instructor for the course was Peter Bergen, the journalist who bagged Osama bin Laden's first face-to-face interview on CNN. In the 1990s, long before Islamist activism dominated the thinking of western intelligence organisations, Peter Bergen interviewed several jihadist in the Middle East and Europe about their views. His book, The Osama Bin Laden I Know, made him sought-after in the aftermath of September 11, as his international relations colleagues scrambled to shed backgrounds in Soviet studies and switch to the geopolitics of the Middle East. Bergen became a transnational terrorism analyst who challenged the tendency to lump all terrorists into one group. Instead, he classified them by generation, regional provenance and the conflict that shaped their intellectual outlook.

Bergen does not speak Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, Pashtu, Urdu or any of central Asia's Turkic dialects – all crucial languages in the war on terror. He compensates by relying on English-language translations of jihadist material and his contacts in the Pentagon and western intelligence. One such specialist was forensic psychiatrist and former CIA agent Marc Sageman, who ran operations in Pakistan. Standing in front of the class as a guest lecturer, he expounded the theory from his book, Leaderless Jihad, that al-Qaida is in decline and the next generation of threats comes from "self-created wannabes". Isolated and disillusioned, these radical youths live in the Middle East and the west alike and are equally dangerous in both contexts.



Playing with Fire

by Doug Bandow


As war rages between Georgia and Russia, some NATO advocates argue that peace would reign had the Western alliance offered Georgia a Membership Action Plan last spring. Actually, Georgian and Russian perceptions of potential NATO support for Georgia almost certainly radicalized both sides, making war all but certain. In practice, alliances can be destabilizing as well as stabilizing.

When the cold war ended, many people understandably expected a radical rethinking of America’s global security commitments. Without the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, there seemed little need for NATO, at least an American led and dominated NATO. Without a Soviet Union and Maoist China to back North Korea, there seemed little reason for America’s promise to defend South Korea. With no red navy, from either the USSR or China, circling the Pacific, there seemed little cause for American forces on station to defend Japan.

However, instead of dismantling or even shrinking its cold-war alliance structure, the United States has expanded its defense commitments. Former Warsaw Pact and even Soviet republics have now been inducted into the “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization. The bilateral security guarantees to Japan and the Republic of Korea remain in place. Early in his term President George W. Bush made explicit—until reined in by his aides—America’s promise to defend Taiwan. Iraq has joined Israel as a Middle Eastern country on the Pentagon’s “to defend” list. The number of such nations is more likely to increase than contract under either President John McCain or President Barack Obama.


Freddie to Stop Buying Subprime Loans in N.Y. State


By Dawn Kopecki

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Freddie Mac, the second-largest U.S. mortgage finance company, will stop buying subprime loans issued in New York state as a new law takes effect that holds investors accountable for mortgage fraud.

Freddie won't buy loans dated on or after Sept. 1 that meet the state's subprime definition, the McLean, Virginia-based company said today in a lender bulletin on its Web site. New York Governor David Paterson last week signed new foreclosure and lending laws that tighten legal protections for borrowers.

The legislation holds mortgage buyers like Freddie liable in ways that ``we have no way of monitoring and preventing,'' company spokesman Brad German said in a telephone interview.



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08:11 am: Can an Ex KGB General Save America From Itself?
08:14 am: Russian president halts military action in Georgia
08:15 am: Most U.S. companies avoid paying federal income taxes
08:18 am: America's Israeli-Occupied Media
08:26 am: Ron Paul's Wife In Hospital in Serious Condition
08:30 am: U.S. troops still in Georgia
08:33 am: McCain's broken marriage and fractured Reagan friendship
08:35 am: NYPD Plans To Track Every Vehicle Entering Manhattan
08:37 am: House Panel To Probe Book's Forged Iraq Intel Allegations
08:44 am: Olbermann: Anthrax Attacks Not The Work Of One Lone Scientist
08:48 am: Tel Aviv to Tbilisi: Israel's role in the Russia-Georgia war
08:55 am: CNN Airs Misleading Footage of Russia-Georgia War
09:04 am: Georgian troops fire at refugees
09:05 am: ‘Where Are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?’
09:07 am: Bush Has Succeeded in Setting Up His "New World Order"
09:11 am: Neocons Now Love International Law
09:13 am: A line in the sand
09:17 am: London's Jewish radio station closes after Galloway sues - 4 comments
09:45 am: Mukasey: No prosecutions in Justice Dept. hiring scandal
09:46 am: Rice refuses to ‘interrupt her holidays’ to deal with Georgian conflict
09:53 am: One Third of New Owners Owe More Than House Is Worh

10:00 am:
Setting A Date For Withdrawal Will Help Preserve Security Gains In Iraq
10:02 am: Contractors Far Outnumber Troops In Iraq
10:07 am: US Military Instructors Command Thousands of Mercenaries in Georgia
10:12 am: McCain on Russia-Georgia: Let's Compound the Blunder! - 1 comment
10:17 am: More questions about McCain's key adviser
10:23 am: China Training Armies Of Fans To Cheer Olympics
10:26 am: John McCain Revealed
10:34 am: The whole country needs to wake up
10:38 am: Iran warns against 'surprise attack'
10:52 am: Treasure trove of internal Clinton campaign memos here
10:53 am: Top US law official: 'Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime'
11:12 am: Roots of the conflict between Georgia, South Ossetia and Russia
11:20 am: Suskind: White House ordered forged letter to solve 'political dilemma'
11:34 am: The end of the post-Cold War era
11:47 am: Videotape shows man beaten by Denver Police
12:00 pm: Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent
12:02 pm: The U.S. Government and News Media Are Lying, Again
12:06 pm: 'If I Were a Betting Man, I'd Wager that Cheney Was Behind the Anthrax Attacks'
12:23 pm: Wise Up and Rise Up - or Kiss It All Goodbye
12:42 pm: Obama Calls for NATO Membership for Georgia
12:48 pm: The Loopy Dynamics of Feedback
01:07 pm: Schwarzenegger sues controller to force pay cuts
01:13 pm: Bush Drunk At The Olympics?
01:42 pm: Police officer who beat suspect on tape quits
01:44 pm: Trapped – collective punishment in Gaza
01:52 pm: Georgia's "Rose Revolution", “Immediate Response 2008" Exercises, Georgia Attacks, Cheney's Threat
02:03 pm: Fellow Prisoner: 'McCain POW Story a Lie'
02:14 pm: The DNC's "Guaranteed Healthcare" Reality Check
02:23 pm: Cracking the Pentagon Propaganda Code
02:41 pm: Gulf blockade 'a matter of time'
03:03 pm: Nato stops here
03:04 pm: The future of 'the long war'
03:11 pm: Playing with Fire
03:14 pm:
Freddie to Stop Buying Subprime Loans in N.Y. State