Friday, June 29, 2007

Bush and Co. are a bunch of pathological liars...


WASHINGTON — Facing eroding support for his Iraq policy, even among Republicans, President Bush on Thursday called al Qaida "the main enemy" in Iraq, an assertion rejected by his administration's senior intelligence analysts.

The reference, in a major speech at the Naval War College that referred to al Qaida at least 27 times, seemed calculated to use lingering outrage over the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to bolster support for the current buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq, despite evidence that sending more troops hasn't reduced the violence or sped Iraqi government action on key issues.

Bush called al Qaida in Iraq the perpetrator of the worst violence racking that country and said it was the same group that had carried out the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

"Al Qaida is the main enemy for Shia, Sunni and Kurds alike," Bush asserted. "Al Qaida's responsible for the most sensational killings in Iraq. They're responsible for the sensational killings on U.S. soil."

U.S. military and intelligence officials, however, say that Iraqis with ties to al Qaida are only a small fraction of the threat to American troops. The group known as al Qaida in Iraq didn't exist before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, didn't pledge its loyalty to al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden until October 2004 and isn't controlled by bin Laden or his top aides.

Bush's references to al Qaida came just days after Republican Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and George Voinovich of Ohio broke with Bush over his Iraq strategy and joined calls to begin an American withdrawal.

"The only way they think they can rally people is by blaming al Qaida," said Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center who's critical of the administration's strategy...

U.S. intelligence agencies and military commanders say the Sunni-Shiite conflict is the greatest source of violence and insecurity in Iraq.

"Extremists — most notably the Sunni jihadist group al Qaida in Iraq and Shia oppositionist Jaysh al-Mahdi — continue to act as very effective accelerators for what has become a self-sustaining struggle between Shia and Sunnis," the National Intelligence Council wrote in the unclassified key judgments of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq published in January. Jaysh al Mahdi is Arabic for the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr.

The council comprises the top U.S. intelligence analysts, and a National Intelligence Estimate is the most comprehensive assessment it produces for the president and a small number of his senior aides. It reflects the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

I think the guy in the Whitehouse is about as lovable and charismatic as Charlie Manson.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Blackwater suing victims' families

You may not like what Kos said about mercenaries (and a lot of folks in the military likely share the same sentiments - mercenaries operate outside of military codes), but Blackwater's treatment of its mercenaries is nothing short of deplorable.

Raleigh, NC -- The families of four American security contractors who were burned, beaten, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and their decapitated bodies hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River on March 31, 2004, are reaching out to the American public to help protect themselves against the very company their loved ones were serving when killed, Blackwater Security Consulting. After Blackwater lost a series of appeals all the away to the U.S. Supreme Court, Blackwater has now changed its tactics and is suing the dead men's estates for $10 million to silence the families and keep them out of court.

Following these gruesome deaths which were broadcast on worldwide television, the surviving family members looked to Blackwater for answers as to how and why their loved ones died. Blackwater not only refused to give the grieving families any information, but also callously stated that they would need to sue Blackwater to get it. Left with no alternative, in January 2005, the families filed suit against Blackwater, which is owned by the wealthy and politically-connected Erik Prince.

Blackwater quickly adapted its battlefield tactics to the courtroom. It initially hired Fred F. Fielding, who is currently counsel to the President of the United States. It then hired Joseph E. Schmitz as its in-house counsel, who was formerly the Inspector General at the Pentagon. More recently, Blackwater employed Kenneth Starr, famed prosecutor in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, to oppose the families. To add additional muscle, Blackwater hired Cofer Black, who was the Director of the CIA Counter- Terrorist Center.

After filing its suit against the dead men's estates, Blackwater demanded that its claim and the families' existing lawsuit be handled in a private arbitration. By suing the families in arbitration, Blackwater has attempted to move the examination of their wrongful conduct outside of the eye of the public and away from a jury. This comes at the same time when Congress is investigating Blackwater.

Of course, being a "contractor" for Blackwater is not most people's idea of "right livelihood."

But on the scale of benefiting all sentient beings, a contractor at Blackwater's gotta be 4 orders of magnitude further up the scale than one of their managers.

Just came across this from Cho Bo Ji

From Genjo Marinello, at Seattle's Cho Bo Ji. The Case 29 bit is worth the time spent listening to it.

What is interesting to me is how this sort of thing goes backwards for me.

Genjo Osho takes the viewpoint that Case 29 indicates that the transiencey of All - the entire universe eventually - impels us to act well now, when we are deeply aware of this utter transiency.

However, the transiencey of All - in this 1/eon instant - impels us to act well now, when we are deeply aware of this utter transiency.

Dong sanzen with the monkey ...


How to respond?

If not distracted, then practicing.