There is a new animation by Mark Fiore on the Internet.
It is here.
It is called Fireside chat.
It is about US Vice President Dick Cheney‘s propaganda on the Iraq war; on the trial of his aide ‘Scooter’ Libby on the Valerie Plame-false accusation of uranium to Iraq scandal, etc.
WHAT ! ? – Troops going to Iraq may face shortage of supplies
Posted by: “Corey” email@example.com cpmondello
Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:08 am (PST)
How can the prez and anyone else say those who want to stop funding this iraq invasion are embolding the enemy when they are the ones that are allowing, and have allowed troops to go into this invasion with inadequate armor and supplies?
WTF ? !
Troops going to Iraq may face shortage of supplies
Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said.
The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world, increasing the risk of U.S. casualties, according to Army and Marine Corps leaders.
“The response would be slower than we might like, we would not have all of the equipment sets that ordinarily would be the case, and there is certainly risk associated with that,” the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Conway, told the House Armed Services Committee last week.
President Bush’s plan to send five additional U.S. combat brigades into Iraq has left the Army and Marines scrambling to ensure the troops could be supported with the necessary armored vehicles, jamming devices, radios and other gear, as well as lodging and other logistics.
Trucks are in particularly short supply. For example, the Army would need 1,500 specially outfitted – known as “up-armored” – 2 1/2-ton and five-ton trucks in Iraq for the incoming units, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for force development.
“We don’t have the (armor) kits and we don’t have the trucks,” Speakes said in an interview. He said it will take the Army months, probably until summer, to supply and outfit the additional trucks.
As a result, he said, combat units flowing into Iraq will have to share the trucks assigned to units now there, leading to increased use and maintenance.
Speakes said that although another type of vehicle, the up-armored Humvee, continues to be in short supply Army-wide, there would be “adequate” numbers for incoming forces, and each brigade would receive 400 fully outfitted Humvees. But he said that to meet the need, the Army would have to draw down pre-positioned stocks that would then not be available for other contingencies.
Still, U.S. commanders privately expressed doubts that Iraq-bound units would receive a full complement of Humvees. “It’s inevitable that that has to happen, unless five brigades of up-armored Humvees fall out of the sky,” one senior Army official said of the feared shortfall.
He anticipated that some units would have to rely more heavily on Bradley Fighting Vehicles and tanks that, although highly protective, are intimidating and therefore less effective for many counterinsurgency missions.
Adding to the crunch, the U.S. government has agreed to sell 600 up-armored Humvees to Iraq this year for its security forces. Such sales “better not be at the expense of the American soldier or Marine,” Speakes told defense reporters recently, saying that U.S. military needs must take priority.
Living facilities in Iraq are another concern for the additional troops, who would be concentrated in Baghdad, Army officials said. The U.S. military has closed or handed over to Iraqi forces about half of the 110 bases established there after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Decisions are being made on where to base incoming units in Baghdad, but it is likely that, at least in the short term, they would be placed in existing facilities, officials said.
Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, the new top U.S. commander in Iraq, has requested that additional combat brigades move into Iraq as quickly as possible. But accelerated deployments would mean less time for units to train and fill out their ranks.
Brigades are required to have an aggregate number of soldiers before deploying but may still face shortages of specific ranks and job skills.
Meanwhile, the demand for thousands more U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan is worsening the readiness of units in the United States, depleting their equipment and time to train, Army officials said.
The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe
Posted by: “Jack” miscStonecutter@earthlink.net bongo_fury2004
Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:12 pm (PST)
The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe
Their zealous advocacy of the invasion of Iraq may have been a disaster, but now they want to do it all over again – in Iran
Wednesday January 31, 2007
The United States today spends approximately as much as the rest of the world combined on its military establishment. So it is worth pondering why it is that, after nearly four years of effort, the loss of thousands of American lives, and an outlay of perhaps half-a-trillion dollars, the US has not succeeded in pacifying a small country of some 24 million people, much less in leading it to anything that looks remotely like a successful democracy.
One answer is that the nature of global politics in the first decade of the 21st century has changed in important ways. Today’s world, at least in that band of instability that runs from north Africa and through the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and central Asia, is characterised by numerous weak and sometimes failed states, and by transnational actors who are able to move fluidly across international borders, abetted by the same technological capabilities that produced globalisation. States such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Palestine and a host of others are not able to exercise sovereign control over their territory, ceding power and influence to terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, political parties-cum-militias such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, or various ethnic and sectarian factions elsewhere.
American military doctrine has emphasised the use of overwhelming force, applied suddenly and decisively, to defeat the enemy. But in a world where insurgents and militias deploy invisibly among civilian populations, overwhelming force is almost always counterproductive: it alienates precisely those people who have to make a break with the hardcore fighters and deny them the ability to operate freely. The kind of counterinsurgency campaign needed to defeat transnational militias and terrorists puts political goals ahead of military ones, and emphasises hearts and minds over shock and awe.
A second lesson that should have been drawn from the past five years is that preventive war cannot be the basis of a long-term US nonproliferation strategy. The Bush doctrine sought to use preventive war against Iraq as a means of raising the perceived cost to would-be proliferators of approaching the nuclear threshold. Unfortunately, the cost to the US itself was so high that it taught exactly the opposite lesson: the deterrent effect of American conventional power is low, and the likelihood of preventive war actually decreases if a country manages to cross that threshold.
A final lesson that should have been drawn from the Iraq war is that the current US government has demonstrated great incompetence in its day-to-day management of policy. One of the striking things about the performance of the Bush administration is how poorly it has followed through in accomplishing the ambitious objectives it set for itself. In Iraq, the administration has acted like a patient with attention-deficit disorder. The US succeeded in organising efficiently for key events such as the handover of sovereignty on June 30 2004, or the elections of January 30 2005. But it failed to train Iraqi forces, failed to appoint ambassadors, failed to perform due diligence on contractors and, above all, failed to hold accountable those officials most responsible for these and other multiple failures.
This lack of operational competence could in theory be fixed over time, but it has important short-term consequences for American grand strategy. Neoconservative theorists saw America exercising a benevolent hegemony over the world, using its enormous power wisely and decisively to fix problems such as terrorism, proliferation, rogue states, and human-rights abuses. But even if friends and allies were inclined to trust America’s good intentions, it would be hard for them not to be dismayed at the actual execution of policy and the amount of broken china this particular bull left behind.
The failure to absorb Iraq’s lessons has been evident in the neoconservative discussion of how to deal with Iran’s growing regional power, and its nuclear programme. Iran today constitutes a huge challenge for the US, as well as for America’s friends in the Middle East. Unlike al-Qaida, Iran is a state, deeply rooted historically (unlike Iraq) and flush with resources as a result of energy price rises. It is ruled by a radical Islamist regime that – particularly since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election in June 2005 – has turned in a disturbingly intolerant and aggressive direction.
The US unintentionally abetted Iran’s regional rise by invading Iraq, eliminating the Ba’athist regime as a counterweight, and empowering Shia parties close to Tehran. It seems reasonably clear that Iran wants nuclear weapons, despite protestations that its nuclear programme is only for civilian purposes; nuclear energy makes little sense for a country sitting on some of the world’s largest oil reserves, but it makes sense as the basis for a weapons programme. It is completely rational for the Iranians to conclude that they will be safer with a bomb than without one.
It is easy to outline the obstacles to a negotiated end to the Iranian programme, but much harder to come up with an alternative strategy. Use of force looks very unappealing. The US is hardly in a position to invade and occupy yet another country, especially one three times larger than Iraq. An attack would have to be conducted from the air, and it would not result in regime change, which is the only long-term means of stopping the WMD programme. It is hard to have much confidence that US intelligence on Iranian facilities is any better than it was in the case of Iraq. An air campaign is much more likely to build support for the regime than to topple it, and will stimulate terrorism and attacks on American facilities and friends around the globe. The US would be even more isolated in such a war than during the Iraqi campaign, with only Israel as a certain ally.
None of these considerations, nor the debacle in Iraq, has prevented certain neoconservatives from advocating military action against Iran. Some insist that Iran poses an even greater threat than Iraq, avoiding the fact that their zealous advocacy of the Iraq invasion is what has destroyed America’s credibility and undercut its ability to take strong measures against Iran.
All of this could well be correct. Ahmadinejad may be the new Hitler; the current negotiations could be our Munich accords; Iran could be in the grip of undeterrable religious fanatics; and the west might be facing a “civilisational” danger. I believe that there are reasons for being less alarmist. Iran is, after all, a state, with equities to defend – it should be deterrable by other states possessing nuclear weapons; it is a regional and not a global power; it has in the past announced extreme ideological goals but has seldom acted on them when important national interests were at stake; and its decision-making process appears neither unified nor under the control of the most radical forces.
What I find remarkable about the neoconservative line of argument on Iran, however, is how little changed it is in its basic assumptions and tonalities from that taken on Iraq in 2002, despite the momentous events of the past five years and the manifest failure of policies that neoconservatives themselves advocated. What may change is the American public’s willingness to listen to them.
· This is an edited extract from After the Neocons by Francis Fukuyama, published in paperback by Profile books at £7.99
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007
These two articles about Sunday’s battle near Najaf disagree on the cause of the fighting. The Independent article suspects it was an accidental battle. Sources quoted by Inter Press Service claim it was a deliberate attack. But both articles conclude that a massacre took place, and moreover that the official news account that the major media has repeated is a completely fabricated cover-up.
From: The Independent, 31 January 2007
US ‘victory’ against cult leader was ‘massacre’
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Published: 31 January 2007
There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the battle
outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi security forces
supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a
fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated
A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia tribe on a
pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led the US to
intervene with devastating effect. The involvement of Ahmed al-Hassani (also
known as Abu Kamar), who believed himself to be the coming Mahdi, or
Messiah, appears to have been accidental.
The story emerging on independent Iraqi websites and in Arabic newspapers is
entirely different from the government’s account of the battle with the
so-called “Soldiers of Heaven”, planning a raid on Najaf to kill Shia
The cult denied it was involved in the fighting, saying it was a peaceful
movement. The incident reportedly began when a procession of 200 pilgrims
was on its way, on foot, to celebrate Ashura in Najaf. They came from the
Hawatim tribe, which lives between Najaf and Diwaniyah to the south, and
arrived in the Zarga area, one mile from Najaf at about 6am on Sunday.
Heading the procession was the chief of the tribe, Hajj Sa’ad Sa’ad Nayif
al-Hatemi, and his wife driving in their 1982 Super Toyota sedan because
they could not walk. When they reached an Iraqi army checkpoint it opened
fire, killing Mr Hatemi, his wife and his driver, Jabar Ridha al-Hatemi. The
tribe, fully armed because they were travelling at night, then assaulted the
checkpoint to avenge their fallen chief.
Members of another tribe called Khaza’il living in Zarga tried to stop the
fighting but they themselves came under fire. Meanwhile, the soldiers and
police at the checkpoint called up their commanders saying they were under
attack from al-Qai’da with advanced weapons. Reinforcements poured into the
area and surrounded the Hawatim tribe in the nearby orchards. The tribesmen
tried – in vain – to get their attackers to cease fire.
American helicopters then arrived and dropped leaflets saying: “To the
terrorists, surrender before we bomb the area.” The tribesmen went on firing
and a US helicopter was hit and crashed killing two crewmen. The tribesmen
say they do not know if they hit it or if it was brought down by friendly
fire. The US aircraft launched an intense aerial bombardment in which 120
tribesmen and local residents were killed by 4am on Monday.
The messianic group led by Ahmad al-Hassani, which was already at odds with
the Iraqi authorities in Najaf, was drawn into the fighting because it was
based in Zarga and its presence provided a convenient excuse for what was in
effect a massacre. The Hawatim and Khaza’il tribes are opposed to the
Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Dawa Party,
who both control Najaf and make up the core of the Baghdad government.
This account cannot be substantiated and is drawn from the Healing Iraq
website and the authoritative Baghdad daily Azzaman. But it would explain
the disparity between the government casualties – less than 25 by one
account – and the great number of their opponents killed and wounded. The
Iraqi authorities have sealed the site and are not letting reporters talk to
Sectarian killings across Iraq also marred the celebration of the Shia
ritual of Ashura. A suicide bomber killed 23 worshippers and wounded 57
others in a Shia mosque in Balad Ruz. Not far away in Khanaqin, in Diyala, a
bomb killed 13 people, including three women, and wounded 29 others. In east
Baghdad mortar bombs killed 17 people.
Official Lies over Najaf Battle Exposed
*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily
Read story from website
*NAJAF, Iraq, Jan 31 (IPS) – Iraqi government lies over the killing of
hundreds of Shias in an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent
investigations carried out by IPS in Iraq.*
Conflicting reports had arisen earlier on how and why a huge battle
broke out around the small village Zarqa, located just a few kilometres
northeast of the Shia holy city Najaf, which is 90 km south of Baghdad.
One thing certain is that when the smoke cleared, more than 200 people
lay dead after more than half a day of fighting Sunday Jan. 28. A U.S.
helicopter was shot down, killing two soldiers. Twenty-five members of
the Iraqi security force were also killed.
“We were going to conduct the usual ceremonies that we conduct every
year when we were attacked by Iraqi soldiers,” Jabbar al-Hatami, a
leader of the al-Hatami Shia Arab tribe told IPS.
“We thought it was one of the usual mistakes of the Iraqi army killing
civilians, so we advanced to explain to the soldiers that they killed
five of us for no reason. But we were surprised by more gunfire from the
The confrontation took place on the Shia holiday of Ashura which
commemorates Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad and the most
revered of Shia saints. Emotions run high at this time, and
self-flagellation in public is the norm.
Many southern Shia Arabs do not follow Iranian-born cleric Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani. They believe the religious leadership should be kept in the
hands of Arab clerics. Al-Hatami and al-Khazaali are two major tribes
that do not follow Sistani.
Tribal members from both believe the attack was launched by the central
government of Baghdad to stifle growing Shia-Sunni unity in the area.
“Our convoy was close to the al-Hatami convoy on the way to Najaf when
we heard the massive shooting, and so we ran to help them because our
tribe and theirs are bound with a strong alliance,” a 45-year-old man
who asked to be referred to as Ahmed told IPS.
Ahmed, a member of the al-Khazali tribe said “our two tribes have a
strong belief that Iranians are provoking sectarian war in Iraq which is
against the belief of all Muslims, and so we announced an alliance with
Sunni brothers against any sectarian violence in the country. That did
not make our Iranian dominated government happy.”
The fighting took place on the Diwaniya-Najaf road and spread into
nearby date-palm plantations after pilgrims sought refuge there.
“American helicopters participated in the slaughter,” Jassim Abbas, a
farmer from the area told IPS. “They were soon there to kill those
pilgrims without hesitation, but they were never there for helping
Iraqis in anything they need. We just watched them getting killed group
by group while trapped in those plantations.”
Much of the killing was done by U.S. and British warplanes, eyewitnesses
Local authorities including the office of Najaf Governor Asaad Abu
Khalil who is a member of the pro-Iranian Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) had claimed before the killings that a group
of primarily foreign Sunni fighters with links to al-Qaeda had planned
to disrupt the Ashura festival by attacking Shia pilgrims and senior
ayatollahs in Najaf. The city is the principal seat of religious
learning for Shias in Iraq.
Officials claimed that Iraqi security forces had obtained intelligence
information from two detained men that had led the Iraqi Scorpion
commando squad to prepare for an attack. The intelligence claimed
obviously had little impact on how events unfolded.
Minister of Interior Jawad al-Bolani announced to reporters at 9 am
Sunday morning that Najaf was being attacked by al-Qaeda. Immediately
following this announcement the Ministry of National Security (MNS)
announced that the dead were members of the Shia splinter extremist
group Jund al-Sama (Army of Heaven) who were out to kill senior
ayatollahs in Najaf, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
Iraq’s national security advisor Muaffaq al-Rubaii said just 15 minutes
after the MNS announcement that hundreds of Arab fighters had been
killed, and that many had been arrested. Rubaii claimed there were
Saudis, Yemenis, Egyptians and Afghans.
But Governor Khalil’s office backed away from its initial claims after
the dead turned out to be local Shia Iraqis. Iraqi security officials
continue to contradict their own statements. Most officials now say that
the dead were Shia extremists supported by foreign powers.
The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has a pattern of
announcing it is fighting terrorists, like its backers in Washington.
Many Iraqis in the south now accuse Baghdad of calling them terrorists
simply because they refuse to collaborate with the Iranian dominated
(Ali al-Fadhily is our Baghdad correspondent. Dahr Jamail is our
specialist writer who has spent eight months reporting from inside Iraq
and has been covering the Middle East for several years.)
(c)2007 Dahr Jamail.
In his review of William Clark’s book Petrodollar Warfare (GLW #697), Zane Alcorn seems to buy into the claim made by Clark, among others, that if the oil exporting countries switched from transacting their oil exports in US dollars to euros this would have “dire consequences” for the greenback’s exchange rate.
Some simple arithmetic quickly demonstrates the fallacy of this claim. Currently, world oil consumption is about 85 million barrels a day. About half of this amount is traded across international borders.
Let’s assume that the bills for this internationally traded oil are all paid on the same day of the month everywhere in the world (which, of course, they aren’t). This would mean that if all payments were made in US dollars, oil importing countries would need to come up with $81 billion (45 million barrels X $60 per barrel X 30 days) once a month to pay for their oil imports.
World-wide holdings of US dollars currently exceed $2200 billion (with the “oil exporter” countries holding a little less than $100 billion). This means that in the above extreme scenario, a switch in all payments of international oil transactions from US dollars to euros would reduce the global demand for dollars by about 4%.
The fact is, the transaction demand for US dollars associated with the international oil trade (half of which has for many years now not been transacted in US dollars) is far too small to have much direct impact on the dollar’s exchange rate.
There is also no evidence to support the claim that the November 2000 decision by the UN sanctions committee to allow Iraq to receive payment for its oil exports in euros was the motivation behind the US invasion. There is, however, considerable evidence that it was motivated by the goal of installing a pro-US regime that would sell off Iraq’s oil industry to the big US (and British) corporations that owned it before it was nationalised in 1972.
Summer Hill, NSW