7.12.06

Le Groupe d'étude sur l'Irak

Si vous croyez qu'il y a du neuf, s.v.p. détrompez-vous. Bernhard de MOA en décortique les morceaux. Je suis paresseux, alors voilà:

ISG Report - Flowers And Sweets

Some random thoughts while reading through the Iraq Study Group Report (pdf) (all following page numbers refer to the PDF pagecount). I'll probably try to come up with some less random thoughts later, but don't want to miss to communicate the first impressions.

The situations is a terrible mess in all dimensions. At this blog we have in the past picked together pieces of the picture from various press accounts and blogs. But the public has had no overview of the situation and a comprehensive listing like available in the report will help to open some eyes.

As an example of how underreported the situation really is the report notes on page 13:

The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases. A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn’t hurt U.S. personnel doesn’t count. For example, on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence.

The report does call for more unity in the government and blames a lot on Maliki and sectarian forces within the government (p19).

Iraqi people have a democratically elected government that is broadly representative of Iraq’s population, yet the government is not adequately advancing national reconciliation, providing basic security, or delivering essential services.

There is this note that obviously is in conflict with recent press reports (p25):

There are roughly 5,000 civilian contractors in the country.

The Washington Post reported yesterday: Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq. So what is it???

How not to spend money effectivly (p26):

Congress has been generous in funding requests for U.S. troops, but it has resisted fully funding Iraqi forces. The entire appropriation for Iraqi defense forces for FY 2006 ($3 billion) is less than the United States currently spends in Iraq every two weeks.

As for outsite medling in Iraq, the Iranian influence, according to the report clearly runs through al-Hakim's Badr corps, while the Sadr-movement is described as nationalistic. Also noteable (p47):

Funding for the Sunni insurgency comes from private individuals within Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, even as those governments help facilitate U.S. military operations in Iraq by providing basing and overflight rights and by cooperating on intelligence issues.

While the report notes the total number of Iraqis that have fled the country (1.8 million plus 1.6 internally displaced) and talks about the burdon this has put on Jordan (700,000 refugees), when talking about Syria, neither the numbers of refugees there nor any burden is mentioned.

Sovereign Iraq shall only have command over its own forces if it behaves as the U.S. tells it behave (p78).

The transfer of command and control over Iraqi security forces units from the United States to Iraq should be influenced by Iraq’s performance on milestones.

The report calls for much more embedded U.S. troops within Iraqi forces (p89)

Such a mission could involve 10,000 to 20,000 American troops instead of the 3,000 to 4,000 now in this role.

At the same time it notes the problem that I have pointed out a few days ago. (p110)

All of our efforts in Iraq, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans’ lack of language and cultural understanding. Our embassy of 1,000 has 33 Arabic speakers, just six of whom are at the level of fluency. In a conflict that demands effective and efficient communication with Iraqis, we are often at a disadvantage. There are still far too few Arab language– proficient military and civilian officers in Iraq, to the detriment of the U.S. mission.

There simply are not enough translators to embed so many U.S. troops into Iraqi forces. How can you expect them to teach each other and/or fight together if they simply can not talk to each other?

One also wonders what 1,000 embassy personal are doing all day when they only have six reliable interfaces with Iraqis. But maybe the number is wrong here (see "missing" contractors above).

The report names some conditions that would have to be met for including Iran and Syria into talks. The attitude is roughly the same than Bush/Cheney have shown all along (p70).

Our limited contacts with Iran’s government lead us to believe that its leaders are likely to say they will not participate in diplomatic efforts to support stability in Iraq. They attribute this reluctance to their belief that the United States seeks regime change in Iran.
Nevertheless, as one of Iraq’s neighbors Iran should be asked to assume its responsibility to participate in the Support Group. An Iranian refusal to do so would demonstrate to Iraq and the rest of the world Iran’s rejectionist attitude and approach, which could lead to its isolation. Further, Iran’s refusal to cooperate on this matter would diminish its prospects of engaging with the United States in the broader dialogue it seeks.

There is no word of taking back "regime change", but the Iranians are "rejectionists"?

On Syria there are mostly threats but also the recommendation of negotiation over the the Golan heights and of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. But each time the Palestinians are named as negotiating partner the wording includes a caveat (p72):

This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel’s right to exist), and particularly Syria

This caveat obviously exludes the elected Palestinian government and will be used to sabotage any negotiation attempt even before it starts.

The most important recommendation is on page 104:

RECOMMENDATION 63:
• The United States should encourage investment in Iraq’s oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies.
• The United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise, in order to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability.
• To combat corruption, the U.S. government should urge the Iraqi government to post all oil contracts, volumes, and prices on the Web so that Iraqis and outside observers can track exports and export revenues.
• The United States should support the World Bank’s efforts to ensure that best practices are used in contracting. This support involves providing Iraqi officials with contracting templates and training them in contracting, auditing, and reviewing audits.

"The Study Group has been assured that the Iraqi government and population will great the help of Mr. Wolfowitz in managing their oil contracts with flowers and sweets."

6.12.06

Temps mort...

Je suis en blitz de fin de rédaction de thèse. Je serai plus fidèle dès janvier, promis.

3.12.06

La fin du PLC?

Probablement pas. Mais mon étonnement est grand de constater à quel point la vieille garde du PLC est complètement déconnectée des réalités du terrain politique sur lequel les prochaines élections vont se jouer. Le pire des candidats a été choisi. Le PLC va disparaître du Québec, ou, du moins, va avoir d'énormes difficultés à garder le contrôle de ses 13 sièges. Pour le fédéraliste québécois moyen, le choix devra se faire entre les politiques d'extrême-droite de Harper et l'inanité condescendante de Dion. En fait, clairement, c'est comme si Duceppe et Harper avaient choisi leur candidat de rêve. Que dire du fait que tout ça a été motivé par les bonnes vieilles positions anti-Québec du PLC? Le PLC n'a jamais réalisé que cette position l'a complètement sorti du Québec, et que cette chute a été amorcée dès le lendemain du rapatriement de la constitution. Le PLC n'a jamais réalisé que les élections successives de Chrétien étaient entièrement tributaires de la division de la droite. Le PLC, dont l'avant-dernier chef se targuait d'être un grand pragmatique s'est complètement empêtré dans l'idéologie du "let's stare down the separatists". Un long séjour dans l'opposition les fera peut-être réfléchir. Pas que je regrette ce qui leur arrive. Mais, un gouvernement majoritaire conservateur, ça, ça fait peur. On leur souhaite du malheur, mais pas trop.

27.11.06

Mission Unaccomplished



Via Atrios.

C'est arrivé près de chez vous

HPD may add video cameras to its ranks: Officer shortage leads city to look at surveillance of streets, malls — even some homes
Houston Chronicle (02.22.2006)
Alexis Grant

Facing a shortage of police officers, Police Chief Harold Hurtt called Wednesday for a new type of patrol: surveillance cameras on downtown streets, apartment complexes and shopping malls — and in extreme situations, private homes.

"If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" Hurtt told reporters.

21.11.06

Wash, rince, repeat

BEIRUT, Nov. 21 -- Prominent Lebanese politician Pierre Gemayel, a cabinet member and hard-line advocate for the country's Maronite Christian population, was assassinated in Beirut today, intensifying an already volatile situation and pushing the country's government a step closer to collapse.

"Today one of our own main believers in a free, democratic Lebanon has been killed and we believe the hands of Syria are all over the place," Saad Hariri, son of the slain prime minister and leader of the largest Sunni Muslim party, said in an interview with CNN.


Comme l'assassinat de Rafiq al-Hariri, celui-ci ne procure absolument aucun avantage aux Syriens, tout le contraire. Bien sûr, les méchants esprits penseront tout de suite que le fait que les Syriens ont déclaré publiquement pas plus tard qu'hier que le prix à payer par les Américains pour leur aide en Irak était le plateau du Golan, qu'on s'apprêtait (peut-être) à reconnaître publiquement le fait que les Syriens n'avaient rien à voir avec Hariri en premier lieu, a quelque chose à voir avec tout ça.

Cyniques!


MÀJ: Bien sûr, pas besoin d'investigation du meurtre pour savoir qui est le coupable. On le sait, automatiquement.

20.11.06

Coup de chapeau à David Lynch

David Lynch fait présentement campagne à Hollywood pour qu'on prenne acte de Laura Dern, une des stars de son nouveau film, Inland Empire, pour les divers prix qui vont être décernés bientôt. Or, les moyens utilisés sont, euh, différents.


Back in Hollywood last week, the reason for the "For Your Consideration" banner touting Laura Dern for best actress made sense given the importance of awards season in the business, but the cow? When asked by passersby about the animal, Lynch simply responded that milk comes from cows and while making "Inland Empire" he ate a lot of cheese.


Via IndieWire et Carpetbagger.

Des pensées pour Mario "Jean-Marie" Dumont

People may have an intrinsic and irrational fear of diversity, but they do not want to appear as racists or xenophobes, so they look around for some more "acceptable" reason to oppose immigration, such as fears about the illegal entry, illiberal practices or economic burdens of certain migrants. If necessary, people invent or exaggerate these risks, even when there is little or no evidence for them, in order to hide the true nature of their opposition to immigrants.

--Will Kymlicka

Beta Blogger Grrrr # 2

Les éléments de mon blogue étaient enfin en français, pour passer de manière inexpliquable (et seulement que partiellement) en anglais. N'importe quoi.

19.11.06

When Seymour speaks..

..we listen.



Via C&L.

Transcription:

Blitzer: based on your reporting—is Iran to actually building a …having a nuclear weapon?

Hersh: Far away

BLITZER: When you say far away, be precise.

HERSH: There's a new report that's the CIA, new assessment. And the CIA, by the way, has really become, under Mr. Hayden, it's getting much more vital. They've done a very good analysis of the Israeli war in Lebanon that hasn't been made public yet. They've done a new analysis that may be part of a national intelligence estimate soon.

BLITZER: You're talking about General Michael Hayden, the new CIA director.

HERSH: Yeah. Well, the stuff coming out of there, from what I gather, is really much more to the point.

BLITZER: So what's the conclusion as far as how much time the world has before Iran actually has a bomb? HERSH: The new study didn't say that. What it said is that we do a lot of very good things. We have tremendous people in the field, tremendous capability. We can do things that I don't write about and nobody should write about. We do very good technical things, and we can't find, the new assessment says we could not find, the CIA says there's no evidence that Iran is doing anything that puts them close to a bomb. There's no secret program of significant bomb making.

BLITZER: The Israelis have a different assessment.

HERSH: Absolutely.

BLITZER: They think the Iranians may be within a year of getting to the threshold of having a point of no return, if you will, from having a bomb. When I was there in July, I had briefings. That's what they suggested.

HERSH: They've been saying that, as you know, for five or ten years, one year. The fact is, the Israelis have come up with new human intelligence. I write about this in the article. Sort of the counter-CIA assessment. They've come up with an agent inside Iran. They have more than one.

And this agent is, who's been reliable, so the Israelis claim in the past, who now says the Iranians are secretly working on making an actual trigger for a bomb. Even though they may not have any specific — we don't have any specific evidence of a facility where they're doing this work, the Israelis say, yes, they are. They're getting ready to start detonating a weapon.

And once they get the fissile material, the enriched material. Now, that information is being handled pretty much by the White House and various offices in the Pentagon. And the CIA isn't getting a good look at the Israeli intelligence. It's the old word, stovepiping. It's the president and the vice president. It's pretty much being kept in the White House.

BLITZER: They'd like to get more access to this Israeli agent, is that what you're saying?

HERSH: Well, of course the people in the CIA want to know who he is. They want to know, obviously. But they certainly want to know what other evidence does he have of actual making a warhead. This is the internecine war, fight that's going on, the same fight, by the way, we had before Iraq.


L'article de Hersh au New Yorker.

16.11.06

Every time [insert witty remark], the terrorists win!

Fox News s'est fait prendre en flagrant biais "objectif" dans un mémo interne, demandant à ses employés d'activement chercher chez les "insurgés" irakiens des déclarations de joie débordante à la constatation des succès démocrates aux dernières élections. Fin du troisième paragraphe (faut faire un clic dessus):


Je me demande pourquoi on ne se trouve tout simplement pas un irakien, fictif ou acheté, qui se réjouisse activement du congrès démocrate. Amateurs!

Via HuffingtonPost.

13.11.06

L'humiliation

Yevgeni Primakov

Si vous avez un poste à combler, il est important de le confier à quelqu'un aux talents reconnus. Imaginez maintenant que vous cherchez à combler un poste au DHS; qui serait en mesure de vous aider?

Via Information Clearing House.

(March 17) You will be happy to learn that the former head of the KGB (the secret police of the former Soviet Union), General Yevgeni Primakov, has been hired as a consultant by the US Department of Homeland Security. Do you think he will share his expertise in "security" to prepare US citizens for domestic internal passports under the pretense of fighting the never-ending "War on Terrorism"?

CAPPS II is the name of the new program which is technically under the auspices of the US Department of Transporation, but that's only technical and the only reaosn they did that was to use the Transportation Department's budget to buy the computer hardware and software they need.

The way it works is you give them your credit card and they slide it thorough like you would in a store and then they hit a button and the monitor reads: CAPPS II, SS CTF. The SS CTF evidently stands for State Security Citizen Threat File. But it has nothing to do with the Department of Transportation. It goes directly to a division, which has been established between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA and several other federal agencies. This is a new division, referred to as the Office of Internal Security, which is coordinating the effort to establish citizen threat files on every US citizen. It will be a huge database including credit files, medical files, political and religious affiliation, military history, attendance at anti-government rallies,etc.

The newsclip didn't point out what information is being accessed.

The only thing they'll tell you is they're going to access your credit history, but like the guy giving the interview said they will be accessing a whole lot more. They just don't tell you what it is. When the Department of Homeland Security was asked about it, they wouldn't say but replied that it would defeat the purpose if we told you what it was we were looking for.

No announcement will be made to the public about what information exactly is being accessed or exactly how much information or what type of information is going to be included in each citizen's security threat file.

What I liked about this segment is that they interviewed General Yevgeni Primakov, who is now a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security along with General Alexander Karpov.

Primakov was laughing about it because he's getting paid a big fee to do it. He doesn't care, of course. Primakov speaks beautiful English, as you would expect a former head of the KGB to do. When he was asked what is this CAPPS II program really about, because obviously even "terrorists" could have credit ratings.

Primakov said that this is one of the steps now being employed along with NICA and new identity upgrade features which are coming to your driver's license. It is being used to get the people used to new types of documentation and carrying new types of identity cards pursuant to the United States instituting a formal policy of internal passports.And he actually used the words "internal passports."

It's like he said and he was pretty knowledgeable. When the NICA (National Identity Card Act) gets passed, the Posse Comitatus Act gets overturned, a few other pieces of legislation yet to be proffered get passed, the White House will have more control over the American people than the Kremlin had over the Russian people when Stalin was alive. He said that and then he laughed.

What Primakov finds funny are what he calls these "right wing flag wavers" that were so anti-communist and now they're supporting a state policy of internal passports.

The irony is deafening.

12.11.06

Grr. Beta Blogger.

Mes liens sont disparus, mon beau magasin aussi, ma source intarissable de revenus. Maintenant, je comprend.

2006 Election...A Comedic Roundup



Via C&L.

Le désespoir des néo-conservateurs

J'ai signalé cette semaine que le retour des "réalistes" à la Maison-Blanche, James Baker et Robert Gates en tête, allait initier un certain dégel face à la fois à l'Iran et les Talibans (ainsi qu'un plan de "sortie" d'Irak). Toutefois, Wayne Madsen avance que le dégel s'étendra aussi à la Syrie et au Hezbollah, et que l'assassinat de Hariri, qu'on a cherché à placer sur le dos des Syriens à la seconde où la chose s'est produite, sera plutôt blâmé sur Victor Bout, un trafficant d'arme russe aux connections israéliennes extensives, qui a rendu plusieurs bons services ces dernières années. Si vous trouvez que le blâme tombe un peu trop près d'Israël, vous n'êtes sans doute pas seul. Les réalistes américains sont ceux qui ont le plus résisté aux sirènes israéliennes à Washington ces dernières années, menaçant même Barak de couper les vivres au régime s'il ne cessait pas la colonisation des territoires occupés.

Ceci dit, est-ce que le changement de garde provoquera un dernier effort afin de frapper l'Iran ou la Syrie? Dans la mesure où les USA sont out of the picture, les espoirs sont maintenant tournés vers Israël.

The Last Outpost dit (et vous en faites ce que vous en voulez):

Washington, D.C.,: “ My brother-in-law is a professional military officer, stationed in the Washington area and from him I learned over lunch today that Israel has finally determined to launch what they consider to be a preemptive military strike against Iran’s capacity to manufacture and, most especially, to deliver an atomic weapon against Israel.

I was told that Israel is desolated by the neutering of Bush’s ability to support this attack.

Congress is now seen as a block to Bush’s militant plans and so the decision is being formulated not only in Tel Aviv but also in Washington to “materially assist” an Israeli attack with satellite intelligence, very sophisticated weaponry and high level intelligence sharing.

American troops are not to be involved but Bush and Cheney are planning to do everything possible to “actively support” this action.

This sort of story has been circulating around the corridors of power here for years but now, I am firmly assured, it appears to be reality. Israel attacked once before on this sort of provocation and is now going to do it again. We have agreed to supply certain tactical nuclear rocketry capable of being launched from aircraft that have a miniature atomic warhead, capable of extensive localized damage.

Since Israel is in no position to launch a ground invasion, the aim is to so disrupt both the government in Tehran and the suspected areas where any possible missiles could be launched against Tel Aviv in the possibility of an Iranian attack against Israel when a fanatic supporter of Israeli ambitions like Bush is not in office.

In spite of his loss of Congressional power, Bush can still back such a move and nothing Congress can do could stop him.


Je vous invite aussi à lire l'article de la BBC annonçant un documentaire sur le sujet.

Merci à MOA pour l'inspiration.

10.11.06

Des pensées pour Israël

«Il est remarquable que le racisme fasse partie de tous les colonialismes, sous toutes les latitudes. Ce n’est pas une coïncidence : le racisme résume et symbolise la relation fondamentale qui unit colonialiste et colonisé. Il consiste d’abord en une série de négations. Le colonisé n’est pas ceci, n’est pas cela. Jamais il n’est considéré positivement ; ou s’il l’est, la qualité concédée relève d’un manque psychologique ou éthique… Que peut-il lui rester, au terme de cet effort obstiné de dénaturation ? Il n’est sûrement plus qu’un alter ego du colonisateur. C’est à peine encore un être humain. Il tend rapidement vers l’objet... Ce qu’est véritablement le colonisé importe peu au colonisateur… Une mitraillade dans une foule colonisée lui fait hausser les épaules. D’ailleurs, une mère indigène pleurant la mort de son fils, une femme indigène pleurant son mari, ne lui rappellent que vaguement la douleur d’une mère ou d’une épouse. Ces cris désordonnés, ces gestes insolites, suffiraient à refroidir sa compassion, si elle venait à naître. Porteur des valeurs de la civilisation et de l’histoire, il accomplit une mission : il a l’immense mérite d’éclairer les ténèbres infamantes du colonisé ».
-Albert Memmi

Via le blogue de Vastel.

9.11.06

D'autres révélations sur Bob Gates

J'ai déjà mentionné que Bob était indirectement lié au scandale de l'Iran-Contra. Il y a plus.

Via DailyKos:

The Formation of al-Qaeda As early as June 1979, and perhaps earlier, the United States had already commenced a series of covert operations in Afghanistan designed to exploit the potential for social conflict. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser under the Carter Administration, US involvement had begun long before the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979. (1) Brzezinski's revelations have been corroborated by former CIA Director Robert Gates in his memoirs From the Shadows, where he writes that US intelligence began sponsoring an Afghan rebellion in Afghanistan six months before Soviet intervention. (2)

According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the ISI operatives in contact with al-Qaeda had received assistance from "American Green Beret commandos and Navy SEALS in various US training establishments." Over 10,000 mujahideen were "trained in guerilla warfare and armed with sophisticated weapons." By 1988, Jane's reports that "with US knowledge, Bin Laden created Al Qaeda (The Base): a conglomerate of quasi-independent Islamic terrorist cells in countries spread across at least 26 countries." But in the meantime, "Washington turned a blind eye to Al-Qaeda." (3)

Ce passage est cité du rapport 9/11 Commission, One Year Later.

Doit-on s'attendre aussi à un dégel avec les Talibans? Peut-être bien. Toutefois, pour favoriser le rapprochement, il faudra bien se trouver un nouvel ennemi commun. Le Pacte de Shangaï? Le mariage gai? La famille Dion? Place your bets..

Pretty in pink



Non causa, pro causa?

Le nouveau secrétaire de la défense aux USA

En tant qu'ex-directeur de la CIA, Gates en a certainement vu des pas mûres et des vertes. On sait aussi qu'il a joué un certain rôle dans l'Iran-Contra-Gate (mais non, l'affaire n'est pas ainsi nommée en son honneur). Sa nomination traduit un certain nombre de constats:

1. Papa est fâché de ce que fiston a fait avec la présidence.

2. Le "back-channel" avec les Iraniens est officiellement réouvert: les stratégistes militaires en herbe peuvent donc serrer leurs répliques de Mig-29 et de SS-N-22 Sunburn. Il n'y aura pas de guerre contre l'Iran.

3. On se prépare pour janvier, alors que les démocrates voudront certainement poser quelques questions à propos de la guerre. Dixit le Iran-Contra Report:

Independent Counsel found insufficient evidence to warrant charging Robert Gates with a crime for his role in the Iran/contra affair. Like those of many other Iran/contra figures, the statements of Gates often seemed scripted and less than candid. Nevertheless, given the complex nature of the activities and Gates's apparent lack of direct participation, a jury could find the evidence left a reasonable doubt that Gates either obstructed official inquiries or that his two demonstrably incorrect statements were deliberate lies.

GWB. Maintenant à saveur de menthe fraîche

Billmon:

1. The words of the decider, son of George, king in Washington:

2. To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

3. A time to lie and a time to tell half truths, a time to stonewall and a time to cut losses,

4. A time to air 30-second attack ads and a time to reach out in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation,

5. A time to stand behind an incompetent cabinet secretary and a time to offer a sacrificial head to thine enemies in order to dominate the news cycle.

Politics of politics, sayeth the decider. All is politics. Amen.

The Book of Republican Sound Bites

Hommage à Donald Rumsfeld



Merci C&L.

6.11.06

Weapons of Mass Hypocrisy

On les cherche où ils ne sont pas, et on les cache là où on les trouve.

U.S. Silence Impeding Swiss in Nuclear Case
Expert Says Calls Have Been Ignored

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 26, 2006; A16

Two years after the United States helped disrupt a notorious nuclear smuggling ring, the Bush administration has hobbled a Swiss effort to prosecute three of the alleged leaders by failing to share critical information, an American nuclear expert and Swiss law enforcement officials said yesterday.

Switzerland's federal prosecutor made at least four separate appeals for U.S. help over the past year, asking for access to documents and other evidence linked to the nuclear black market run by the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. In that time, the Swiss have received no assistance, or even a reply, a spokesman for the prosecutor said.

"Swiss authorities are asking for additional assistance from U.S. authorities, but we haven't gotten an answer so far," Mark Wiedmer, press secretary for the Swiss attorney general's office, said in response to a reporter's inquiry. "We are confident the American authorities will provide the information we need."

The appeals were directed to the Justice Department, which has a bilateral agreement with Switzerland on sharing information in international criminal cases, and to the State Department's undersecretary for arms control and international security, according to officials knowledgeable about the requests. Calls to both agencies yesterday were not returned.

The problem was brought to light yesterday by a U.S. weapons expert who is advising Swiss prosecutors on the technical aspects of the Khan case. In testimony before a subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, David Albright said the U.S. government had "ignored multiple requests for cooperation" in prosecuting members of the Khan network.

L'ultime victoire de Jean Charest


À la suite de quoi, il sera sans doute canonisé. On s'attendait peut-être à ce que le leadership en matière de francophonie, il vienne du Yukon? La Paresse, on en est là.

1.11.06

Lectures diverses

Plein de belles choses ce matin. Merci encore à MOA pour l'inspiration.

Bill Lind, à propos d'une guerre US/Iran:

What I fear no one forsees is a substantial danger that we could lose the army now deployed in Iraq. I have mentioned this in previous columns, but I want to go into it here in more detail because the scenario may soon go live.

Well before the second Iraq war started, I warned in a piece in The American Conservative that the structure of our position in Iraq could lead to that greatest of military disasters, encirclement. That is precisely the danger if we go to war with Iran.

The danger arises because almost all of the vast quantities of supplies American armies need come into Iraq from one direction, up from Kuwait and other Gulf ports in the south. If that supply line is cut, our forces may not have enough stuff, especially fuel, to get out of Iraq. American armies are incredibly fuel-thirsty, and though Iraq has vast oil reserves, it is short of refined oil products. Unlike Guderian’s Panzer army on its way to the Channel coast in 1940, we could not just fuel up at local gas stations.

There are two ways our supply lines from the south could be cut if we attack Iran. The first is by Shiite militias including the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades, possibly supported by a general Shiite uprising and, of course, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (the same guys who trained Hezbollah so well).

The second danger is that regular Iranian Army divisions will roll into Iraq, cut our supply lines and attempt to pocket us in and around Baghdad. Washington relies on American air power to prevent this, but bad weather can shut most of that air power down.

Unfortunately, no one in Washington and few people in the U.S. military will even consider this possibility. Why? Because we have fallen victim to our own propaganda. Over and over the U.S. military tells itself, “We’re the greatest! We’re number one! No one can defeat us. No one can even fight us. We’re the greatest military in all of history!”

It’s bull. The U.S. armed forces are technically well-trained, lavishly resourced Second Generation militaries. They are being fought and defeated by Fourth Generation opponents in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They can also be defeated by Third Generation enemies who can observe, orient, decide and act more quickly than can America’s vast, process-ridden, Powerpoint-enslaved military headquarters. They can be defeated by strategy, by stratagem, by surprise and by preemption. Unbeatable militaries are like unsinkable ships. They are unsinkable until someone or something sinks them.

If the U.S. were to lose the army it has in Iraq, to Iraqi militias, Iranian regular forces, or a combination of both (the most likely event), the world would change. It would be our Adrianople, our Rocroi, our Stalingrad. American power and prestige would never recover.

------------

Les préparations en vue d'une victoire démocrate vont bon train. Wonkette:

Spotted on 10/19, by an eagle-eyed Wonkette reader: The Mid-Atlantic Shredding Services truck making its way up to the Cheney compound at the Naval Observatory.

Fun fact: Mid-Atlantic Shredding Services has been contracted by the Secret Service for our Executive Branch’s record-not-keeping needs.

The present contractor providing Pickup & Destruction of Sensitive Waste Material services is Mid Atlantic Shredding Services and the current rate is $0.095 cents per lbs.

You better get crackin’, Dick — that evidence won’t destroy itself!

------------

Corrente:

It would be irresponsible not to speculate. Buried in the B section of today’s WaPo, here’s an interesting little tidbit:

A Fort Meade building that houses Army counterintelligence activities was heavily damaged yesterday in a stubborn and spectacular [accelerants?] six-alarm fire that burned for hours, generating thick clouds of smoke that streamed and billowed in a brisk wind.

The blaze broke out on the Army post in Anne Arundel County and 3:05 p.m. ….

On a late Friday afternoon. A 5:00 Horror? Hmmm…

And what burned, we may ask?

… and continued to burn well after 10 p.m. The fire damaged upper portions of the sprawling three-story building, which is headquarters to the 902nd Military Intelligence Group and houses several contractors, officials said.

The 902nd monitors domestic dissent—you know, people like the Quakers. Translation: If Bush, newly empowered by the so-called MCA, decides to disappear American citizens into the camps, the 902nd would be the go-to organization.

Makes you wonder what the contractors were doing, too…. Presumably something that the Army wasn’t allowed to do, at least until the so-called MCA was passed.

The cause of the blaze, which apparently began on the peaked roof of the red-brick building, was not immediately known and was under investigation.

Hmmm…. “Not known,” eh?

Another official said most of the documents in the damaged section are locked in fire-resistant containers and backed up elsewhere. Nothing lost at the building would adversely affect national security, said Donald Shiles, director of the Technical Counterintelligence School at Fort Meade.

Hmmm… “Most,” eh?

Peterson said the fire was largely contained to the building’s attic, which is used as office space by the intelligence group.

Hmmm…. So, it’s looking like the data that was not part of the locked-away “most” would have been whatever they had out and were working on in their office space, yes? Translation: Current operations?

Yes, indeed. Hmmm….

------------

Le nouveau membre de la coalition Olmert:

Israel Radio said new cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman recommended the army adopt what the radio called the "Russian model in Chechnya", conjuring up images of massive destruction during Russian operations in the volatile Russian region.
------------

Ne le dites pas à Céline Galipeau:

Tony Blair's most trusted military commander yesterday branded as 'cuckoo' the way Britain's overstretched army was sent into Afghanistan.

The remarkable rebuke by General the Lord Guthrie came in an Observer interview, his first since quitting as Chief of the Defence Staff five years ago, in which he made an impassioned plea for more troops, new equipment and more funds for a 'very, very' over-committed army.

The decision by Guthrie, an experienced Whitehall insider and Blair confidant, to go public is likely to alarm Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence more than the recent public criticism by the current army chief Sir Richard Dannatt. 'Anyone who thought this was going to be a picnic in Afghanistan - anyone who had read any history, anyone who knew the Afghans, or had seen the terrain, anyone who had thought about the Taliban resurgence, anyone who understood what was going on across the border in Baluchistan and Waziristan [should have known] - to launch the British army in with the numbers there are, while we're still going on in Iraq is cuckoo,' Guthrie said.

------------


Comment créer des marchés émergents:

A major Kurdish diaspora group is calling for the head of a former American general recently dispatched to Turkey. The general, Joseph Ralston, has been accused of using his new role as ‘special envoy’ to the Turkish government to ensure that American defense giant Lockheed Martin – of which Ralston is a board member – will get to continue supplying the Turkish military with fighter planes.

On 26 October, the Kurdish National Congress of North America issued a press release demanding “the immediate resignation” of the former USAF General Ralston as the Bush administration’s point man on the Turkish campaign against Kurdish guerrillas in the country’s southeast.

Two months earlier, with little fanfare, the State Department had announced Ralston’s appointment to a position that does indeed seem curiously unique- “Special Envoy for Countering the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).” Although there are scores of simmering conflicts in countries around the globe, there are not so many to which Washington sends an official military advisor to oversee the fighting.

Indeed, as the Kurdish group discloses, “Ralston’s appointment came at a time when Turkey was finalizing the sale of 30 new Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft (approx. $3 billion) and as Turkey was due to make a decision on the $10 billion purchase of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF aircraft. The sale for the F-16’s was approved by Congress in mid-October and Turkey’s decision in favor of the F-35 JSF was announced on October 25, shortly after Ralston’s recent stay in Ankara, ostensibly to counter the PKK.”

Ralston’s affiliations with American companies and Turkish-American lobby groups that stand to gain financially from his current activities were exposed in the press release:

“General Ralston is a vice-chairman of The Cohen Group, a private lobby firm with close ties to the American Turkish Council (ATC) and Lockheed Martin. According to an article in the Washington Post in May of this year, Lockheed Martin acknowledged it was a client of The Cohen Group, and paid some $500,000 to The Cohen Group for services rendered in 2005. General Ralston is also a member of the 2006 Advisory Board of the ATC, as well as a current member of the Board of Directors of Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is also a member of the ATC.”

The American-Turkish Council, it should be remembered, is the high-powered lobbying interest in Washington which has been fingered as an intermediary and incubator for espionage within the FBI from Turkish employees. It “wasn’t the sort of group just anyone could belong to,” pointed out former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who was fired in spring 2002 after complaining about infiltration of the FBI and blocking of criminal investigations into related individuals.

A corrupted Air Force man and former military procurement officer to Turkey and the Central Asian states, Douglas Dickerson, and his Turkish-born wife Can Dickerson, tried unsuccessfully to recruit Edmonds into their espionage ring and promised membership in the hallowed ATC as one of the rewards for cooperation. According to Edmonds, Dickerson implied this to her husband, averring that “…all you have to do is tell the [ATC] where your wife works and what she does, and they will let you in like that.” All the translator had to do was keep the FBI off the trail of suspects under investigation for espionage regarding defense-related issues. When she refused, the Dickerson’s became hostile and threatening.

Kurdish supporters are not angry just because Ralston and his corporate cronies might make money from yet another international arms deal. They further charge that even though the Kurdish rebel group has extended an olive branch to the Turkish government, the US and Turkey have no interest in making peace, as peace would in the long-term lessen the justifications for Turkey to maintain such a large military arsenal- and thus be bad for ‘business.’ The Kurds suspect that, in order for American defense companies to keep bringing home the bacon, the conflict should sizzle for as long as possible- regardless of how many Kurdish civilians and Turkish servicemen die.

Indeed, while a unilateral PKK ceasefire went into effect on October 1, Ralston assured the Turks that there would be no compromises, no negotiations, and even no communications with the Kurdish rebels- in other words, business as usual. Speaking before the Eurasian Strategic Research Center (ASAM) in Istanbul, Ralston said:

“I want to be clear on this point: The U.S. will not negotiate with the PKK. We will not ask Turkey to negotiate with the PKK. And I pledge to you that I will never meet with the PKK.”

30.10.06

Letter from Irak

"Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record-setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best.

Worst Case of Deja Vu — I thought I was familiar with the feeling of deja vu until I arrived back here in Fallujah in February. The moment I stepped off of the helicopter, just as dawn broke, and saw the camp just as I had left it ten months before — that was deja vu. Kind of unnerving. It was as if I had never left. Same work area, same busted desk, same chair, same computer, same room, same creaky rack, same... everything. Same everything for the next year. It was like entering a parallel universe. Home wasn't 10,000 miles away, it was a different lifetime.

Most Surreal Moment — Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. We had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels."


Via MOA.

26.10.06

Comment voler une élection

Maintenant que l'on sait, au Québec, comment le vote électronique est d'une fiabilité plus que douteuse, il est amusant de regarder comment, chez nos voisins du sud, ça n'a pas empêché quiconque de forcer la note et d'en imposer l'implantation at large. Il semble que dans le pays phare de la démocratie (tm), lorsque le président de la compagnie promet d'élire un candidat à l'avance(GWB, who else), c'est pas si grave que ça. Aujourd'hui, sur Ars Technica, on en remet, en publiant un guide sur "Comment voler le vote électronique en piratant les machines Diebold". Le guide est très simple. Le plus drôle, c'est qu'en conclusion, l'auteur illustre ses propos en montrant comment on avait véritablement volé le vote au Tennessee dans une élection cet été.

Un extrait:
The picture that I've painted here about the state of the American electoral system is bleak and depressing. Even more depressing is the fact that absolutely nothing can be done to address these vulnerabilities in any substantial way before the November midterm elections. Really, the only thing that citizens can do for the midterms is get involved by volunteering at their local precinct and keeping their eyes and ears open. Watch everything, and record everything where possible.

Right now, the only thing standing in the way of the kind of wholesale undetectable election theft that this article has outlined is the possibility that DREs were forced onto the public too rapidly for election thieves to really learn to exploit them in this cycle. There's always a gap between when a security vulnerability is exposed and when it's exploited, so let's all hope and pray that November 7 falls within that time window.

In the medium- and long-term, it is just as much of a certainty that many of these vulnerabilities will be exploited as it is that, say, major new Windows security vulnerabilities will be exploited. Indeed, the stakes in stealing an election are much, much higher than they are in the kind of petty hacking that produces today's thriving ecosystem of PC viruses and trojans. I've outlined the way (already widely known) in this article, and I don't doubt that someone, somewhere, has the will to match that way. Unless security practices and electoral procedures are upgraded and standardized across the country, and unless meaningful auditability is mandated (preferably a voter-verified paper trail) nationwide, then the probability of a large-scale election theft taking place approaches certainty the longer we remain vulnerable.

In conclusion, let me summarize what I hope you'll take home with you after reading this article and thinking about its contents:

* Bits and bytes are made to be manipulated; by turning votes into bits and bytes, we've made them orders of magnitude easier to manipulate during and after an election.
* By rushing to merge our nation's election infrastructure with our computing infrastructure, we have prematurely brought the fairly old and well-understood field of election security under the rubric of the new, rapidly evolving field of information security.
* In order to have confidence in the results of a paperless DRE-based election, you must first have confidence in the personnel and security practices at these institutions: the board of elections, the DRE vendor, and third-party software vendor whose product is used on the DRE.
* In the absence of the ability to conduct a meaningful audit, there is no discernable difference between DRE malfunction and deliberate tampering (either for the purpose of disenfranchisement or altering the vote record).

Finally, it's worth reiterating that optical scan machines are vulnerable to many of the same exploits as the DREs on which this article focuses. Optical scan machines do leave a paper audit trail, but that trail is worthless in a state (like Florida) where manual audits of optical scan ballots are not undertaken to clear up questions about the unexpected returns from certain precincts. I've been told that such audits are now prohibited in Florida by law in the wake of the 2000 voting scandal.

25.10.06

Prêts pour le petit moustachu avec l'uniforme brun

Selon Gallup:




Comme le souligne Billmon, 14% de la population américaine considère que les républicains sont trop à gauche.

14% de 300 000 000 = 42 000 000. Pas mal. On voit d'ici ce à quoi ils pourraient ressembler si on les plaçait ensemble.

L'Avenue du Parc: la pétition

Ici.

Au delà d'une discussion sur la contribution de Robert Bourassa au Québec, y'a tout ces noms de "saints" dont on pourrait enfin se débarasser.

Stay the course (or not)



Via Atrios.


"Le sujet idéal du règne totalitaire n'est ni le nazi convaincu, ni le communiste convaincu, mais l'homme pour qui la distinction entre fait et fiction (i.e. la réalité de l'expérience) et la distinction entre vrai et faux (i.e. les normes de la pensée) n'existent plus".

-Hannah Arendt, Le système totalitaire.

Fuck Habeas Corpus

De ChicagoDyke.

I’m at the Center for American Progress, listening to Sid Blumenthal and Glenn Greenwald talk about the Imperial Presidency, and one thing is important enough for me to want to live blog. Sid says that Wilkerson, Powell’s old chief of staff, believes that the correct number of victims in secret Bush prisons is 35,000, only %5 of which “may” have to do with terrorism. More than twice what I thought, and hardly any to do with the “war on terror.”



Moins de 5%. Doit-on se réjouir que le nombre diffère de zéro? Et que dire de nos pasteurs endimanchés qui tiennent absolument à participer à ça?

Comment parler avec un républicain (en se fatiguant un peu)

Barney Frank à Real Time.



Via C&L.

The only thing to fear...



Via C&L.

24.10.06

To hell in a Ford

On apprend aujourd'hui qu'une division de Boeing, Jeppesen International Trip Planning a pour cliente la CIA et ses beaux vols nolisés pour les gens présentant malencontreusement certains traits particuliers (comme celui de marcher sous la pluie, *pendant 20 minutes!*). Un bravo à Boeing pour avoir rapidement "capturé" un marché en pleine expansion. Maintenant, si Ford a décidé d'employer un ex de Boeing afin de redresser ses finances, la compagnie de voiture pourra-t-elle se vanter de produire le véhicule officiel de la torture?

Quoi?
Ah.
On trouvera bien autre chose.

Et pendant ce temps...

Settlements grow on Arab land, despite promises made to U.S.
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

A secret, two year investigation by the defense establishment shows that there has been rampant illegal construction in dozens of settlements and in many cases involving privately owned Palestinian properties.

The information in the study was presented to two defense ministers, Amir Peretz and his predecessor Shaul Mofaz, but was not released in public and a number of people participating in the investigations were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

According to security sources familiar with the study, the material is "political and diplomatic dynamite."


In conversations with Haaretz, the sources maintained that the report is not being made public in order to avoid a crisis with the U.S. government.


Pourquoi s'inquiéter, alors que les démocrates ont déclaré leur amour inconditionnel pour Israël?

18.10.06

Saddam's mushroom clouds

Une nouvelle dont on entend bizarrement peu parler aujourd'hui: des insurgés irakiens ont attaqué un dépôt de munitions américain à Baghdad. Remarquez la force de certaines de ces explosions (à 3:55).



On storait quoi au juste là-bas? Voici ce qu'en disent les pas gentils:

The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the arsenal, located in the as-Saqr Base in the south of Baghdad is the main supplier of equipment to the US forces. It came under Resistance rocket attack late on Tuesday night. At the time of reporting, mountains of American arms and ammunition were continuing to explode in the sky in a huge fire unprecedented in Baghdad’s history.

In response, US aircraft hysterically rocketed and bombed various parts of the city, the correspondent reported, trying to knock out the launch sites of the rockets that blasted into the American arsenal.

A source in the Iraqi puppet regime told Mafkarat al-Islam that the Resistance blasted the American arsenal, known as Camp Falcon, with Grad and Katyusha rockets.

The source admitted that dozens of Americans had been killed or wounded in the blasts that were still ripping the American arsenal apart. The source said that the US forces were unable to do anything to stop the massive inferno of flame and explosions that was lighting up the Baghdad sky like fireworks.

Reuters reported the puppet regime’s "Iraqiyah" television network as showing pictures of a huge fire lighting up the night sky. Reuters reporters in central Baghdad heard more than 30 explosions, which began at about 11pm local time Tuesday night.

The puppet "Iraqi Interior Ministry" said the explosions had rocked three neighborhoods close to Forward Operating Base Falcon in the southern Baghdad suburb of ad-Durah.


Les mêmes événements filmés par les défenseurs de la démocratie, ici. J'imagine qu'on va s'empresser de dire que c'est tout à fait inoffensif, ce qui ce dégage de ça.

Via Piglipstick.

16.10.06

Les lectures du lundi

La victoire du Hezbollah en trois parties:

The victory of Hezbollah in its recent conflict with Israel is far more significant than many analysts in the United States and Europe realize. The Hezbollah victory reverses the tide of 1967 - a shattering defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan that shifted the region's political plates, putting in place regimes that were bent on recasting their own foreign policy to reflect Israeli and US power. That power now has been sullied and reversed, and a new leadership is emerging in the region.

The singular lesson of the conflict may well be lost on the upper echelons of Washington's and London's pro-Israel, pro-values, we-are-fighting-for-civilization political elites, but it is not lost in the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah, Baghdad, Damascus or Tehran. It should not be lost among the Israeli political leadership in Jerusalem. The Arab armies of 1967 fought for six days and were defeated. The Hezbollah militia in Lebanon fought for 34 days and won. We saw this with our own eyes when we looked into the cafes of Cairo and Amman, where simple shopkeepers, farmers and workers gazed at television reports, sipped their tea, and silently mouthed the numbers to themselves: "seven", "eight", "nine" ...

12.10.06

And now, to you, Charles

Chalmers Johnson (author and academic): "Part of empire is the way it's penetrated our society, the way we've become dependent on it ... The military budget is starting to bankrupt the country. It's got so much in it that's well beyond any rational military purpose. It equals just less than half of total global military spending. And yet here we are, stymied by two of the smallest, poorest countries on Earth. Iraq before we invaded had a GDP the size of the state of Louisiana, and Afghanistan was certainly one of the poorest places on the planet. And yet these two places have stopped us."

And now, to you, Bill

Why We Still Fight

By William S. Lind


At least 32 American troops have been killed in Iraq this month. Approximately 300 have been wounded. The “battle for Baghdad” is going nowhere. A Marine friend just back from Ramadi said to me, “It didn’t get any better while I was there, and it’s not going to get better.” Virtually everyone in Washington, except the people in the White House, knows that is true for all of Iraq.

Actually, I think the White House knows it too. Why then does it insist on “staying the course” at a casualty rate of more than one thousand Americans per month? The answer is breathtaking in its cynicism: so the retreat from Iraq happens on the next President’s watch. That is why we still fight.

Yep, it’s now all about George. Anyone who thinks that is too low, too mean, too despicable even for this bunch does not understand the meaning of the adjective “Rovian.” Would they let thousands more young Americans get killed or wounded just so George W. does not have to face the consequences of his own folly? In a heartbeat.

Not that it’s going to help. When history finally lifts it leg on the Bush administration, it will wash all such tricks away, leaving only the hubris and the incompetence. Jeffrey Hart, who with Russell Kirk gone is probably the top intellectual in the conservative movement, has already written that George W. Bush is the worst President America ever had. I think the honor still belongs to the sainted Woodrow, but if Bush attacks Iran, he may yet earn the prize. That third and final act in the Bush tragicomedy is waiting in the wings.

A post-election Democratic House, Senate or both might in theory say no to another war. But if the Bush administration’s cynicism is boundless, the Democrats’ intellectual vacuity and moral cowardice are equally so. You can’t beat something with nothing, but Democrats have put forward nothing in the way of an alternative to Bush’s defense and foreign policies. On Iran, the question is whether they will be more scared of the Republicans or of the Israeli lobby. Either way, they will hide under the bed, just as they have hidden under the bed on the war in Iraq. It appears at the moment that a Congressional demand for withdrawal from Iraq is more likely if the Republicans keep the Senate and Senator John Warner of Virginia remains Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee than if the Democrats take over.

There is a great deal of material available to the Democrats to offer an alternative, much of it the product of the Military Reform Movement of the 1970s and 80s. Gary Hart can tell them all about it. There is even a somewhat graceful way out of Iraq, if the Dems will ask themselves my favorite foreign policy question, WWBD – What Would Bismarck Do? He would transfer sufficient Swiss francs to interested parties so that the current government of Iraq asks us to leave. They, not we, would then hold the world’s ugliest baby, even though it was America’s indiscretion that gave the bastard birth.

But donkeys will think when pigs fly. A Democratic Congress will be as stupid, cowardly and corrupt as its Republican predecessor; in reality, both parties are one party, the party of successful career politicians. The White House will continue a lost war in Iraq, solely to dump the mess in the next President’s lap. America or Israel will attack Iran, pulling what’s left of the temple down on our heads. Congress will do nothing to stop either war.

By 2008, I may not be the only monarchist in America.

William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation

8.10.06

Le placard

Vous êtes-vous déjà demandé pourquoi diable existe-t-il des gens qui soit d'une homophobie si virulente? Pourquoi ils en viennent à entreprendre des carrières politiques traversées d'un bout à l'autre de cette mission pour le moins étrange? Un texte trouvé sur le site de PBS en donne une explication:

(Henry E. Adams et al)

Although the causes of homophobia are unclear, several psychoanalytic explanations have emerged from the idea of homophobia as an anxiety-based phenomenon. One psychoanalytic explanation is that anxiety about the possibility of being or becoming a homosexual may be a major factor in homophobia. For example, de Kuyper (1993) has asserted that homophobia is the result of the remnants of homosexuality in the heterosexual resolution of the Oedipal conflict. Whereas these notions are vague, psychoanalytic theories usually postulate that homophobia is a result of repressed homosexual urges or a form of latent homosexuality. Latent homosexuality can be defined as homosexual arousal which the individual is either unaware of or dent. Psychoanalysts use the concept of repressed or latent homosexuality to explain the emotional malaise and irrational attitudes displayed by some individuals who feel guilty about their erotic interests and struggle to deny and repress homosexual impulses. In fact, West stated, 'when placed in a situation that threatens to excite their own unwanted homosexual thoughts, they overreact with panic or anger." Slaby ( 1994 ) contended that anxiety about homosexuality typically does not occur in individuals who are same-sex oriented, but it usually involves individuals who are ostensibly heterosexual and have difficulty integrating their homosexual feelings or activity. The relationship between homophobia and latent homosexuality has not been empirically investigated and is one of the purposes of the present study.

Specifically, the present study was designed to investigate whether homophobic men show more sexual arousal to homosexual cues than nonhomophobic men as suggested by psychoanalytic theory. . . .

The results of this study indicate that individuals who score in the homophobic range and admit negative affect toward homosexuality demonstrate significant sexual arousal to male homosexual erotic stimuli. These individuals were selected on the basis of their report of having only heterosexual arousal and experiences. Furthermore, their ratings of erection and arousal to homosexual stimuli were low and not significantly different from nonhomophobic men who demonstrated no significant increase in penile response to homosexual stimuli. These data are consistent with response discordance where verbal judgments are not consistent with physiological reactivity, as in the case of homophobic individuals viewing homosexual stimuli. Lang (1994 ) has noted that the most dramatic response discordance occurs with reports of feeling and physiologic responses. Another possible explanation is found in various psychoanalytic theories, which have generally explained homophobia as a threat to an individual's own homosexual impulses causing repression, denial, or reaction formation (or all three; West, 1977 ). Generally, these varied explanations conceive of homophobia as one type of latent homosexuality where persons either are unaware of or deny their homosexual urges. These data are consistent with these notions.

Another explanation of these data is found in Barlow, Sakheim, and Beck's ( 1983) theory of the role of anxiety and attention in sexual responding. It is possible that viewing homosexual stimuli causes negative emotions such as anxiety in homophobic men but not in nonhomophobic men. Because anxiety has been shown to enhance arousal and erection, this theory would predict increases in erection in homophobic men. Furthermore, it would indicate that a response to homosexual stimuli is a function of the threat condition rather than sexual arousal per se. Whereas difficulties of objectively evaluating psychoanalytic hypotheses are well-documented, these approaches would predict that sexual arousal is an intrinsic response to homosexual stimuli, whereas Barlow's (1986 ) theory would predict that sexual arousal to homosexual stimuli by homophobic individuals is a function of anxiety. These competing potions can and should be evaluated by future research.

The hypothesis that homophobic men are merely aggressive is not supported by the present data. There were no differences in aggression scores between groups as measured by the Aggression Questionnaire.

7.10.06

Le 11 septembre de la psychose


























Ou lorsque que la juxtaposition des titres produit des effets révélateurs.

6.10.06

L'histoire de ma vie.



Via Boingboing.

Les 120 jours du GOP

It's weird seeing jokes that I first heard when I came to Washington in 1983 repeated -- word for word, except for the names -- 23 years later.
Back then, Hustler magazine came up with a marketing slogan: "At least our pages are of legal ages."


Billmon

3.10.06

The Unending Torture of Omar Khadr

Vous savez qu'on torture des citoyens canadiens à Guantanamo Bay? Je suis sûr que vous en avez parlé à votre député.

Un extrait de l'article de Rolling Stone:

The design of Omar Khadr's life at Guantanamo Bay apparently began as a theory in the minds of Air Force researchers. After the Korean War, the Air Force created a program called SERE -- Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape -- to help captured pilots resist interrogation. SERE's founders wanted to know what kind of torture was most destructive to the human psyche so that they could train pilots to withstand it. In experiments, they held subjects in dummy POW camps and had them starved, stripped naked and partially drowned. Administrators carefully noted the subjects' reactions, often measuring the levels of stress hormones in their blood.

The most effective form of torture turned out to have two components. The first is pain and harm delivered in unpredictable, sometimes illusory environments -- an absolute denial of physical comfort and spatial-temporal orientation. The second is a removal of the inner comfort of identity -- achieved by artfully humiliating people and coercing them to commit offenses against their own religion, dignity and morality, until they become unrecognizable to and ashamed of themselves.

SERE scientists came up with a variety of stress-torture techniques: sleep deprivation, sexual mortification, religious desecration, hooding, waterboarding. In SERE theory, the techniques are be used in concert and continuously -- coercive interrogation should become a life experience. This is Guantanamo Bay: To be held there is, per se, to be tortured. Behavioral scientists reportedly manage every aspect of detainees' lives. In one case, a psychologist told guards to limit a detainee to seven squares of toilet paper a day.

While he was at Guantanamo, Omar was beaten in the head, nearly suffocated, threatened with having his clothes taken indefinitely and, as at Bagram, lunged at by attack dogs while wearing a bag over his head. "Your life is in my hands," an intelligence officer told him during an interrogation in the spring of 2003. During the questioning, Omar gave an answer the interrogator did not like. He spat in Omar's face, tore out some of his hair and threatened to send him to Israel, Egypt, Jordan or Syria -- places where they tortured people without constraints: very slowly, analytically removing body parts. The Egyptians, the interrogator told Omar, would hand him to Askri raqm tisa -- Soldier Number Nine. Soldier Number Nine, the interrogator explained, was a guard who specialized in raping prisoners.

Omar's chair was removed. Because his hands and ankles were shackled, he fell to the floor. His interrogator told him to get up. Standing up was hard, because he could not use his hands. When he did, his interrogator told him to sit down again. When he sat, the interrogator told him to stand again. He refused. The interrogator called two guards into the room, who grabbed Omar by the neck and arms, lifted him into the air and dropped him onto the floor. The interrogator told them to do it again -- and again and again and again. Then he said he was locking Omar's case file in a safe: Omar would spend the rest of his life in a cell at Guantanamo Bay.

Several weeks later, a man who claimed to be Afghan interrogated Omar. He wore an American flag on his uniform pants. He said his name was Izmarai -- "lion" -- and he spoke in Farsi and occasionally in Pashto and English. Izmarai said a new prison was under construction in Afghanistan for uncooperative Guantanamo detainees. "In Afghanistan," Izmarai said, "they like small boys." He pulled out a photograph of Omar and wrote on it, in Pashto, "This detainee must be transferred to Bagram."

Omar was taken from his chair and short-shackled to an eye bolt in the floor, his hands behind his knees. He was left that way for six hours. On March 31st, 2003, Omar's security level was downgraded to "Level Four, with isolation." Everything in his cell was taken, and he spent a month without human contact in a windowless box kept at the approximate temperature of a refrigerator.

When he was not being tortured or held in isolation, Omar spent virtually every waking minute of his captivity at Guantanamo alone in his cell, first in a facility called Camp Delta and then in one called Camp V. His left eye, the one injured at Ab Khail, had gone blind and was immobile. Except for a Koran, there was nothing in Omar's cells to occupy his mind. During his first year and a half at Guantanamo, he was permitted to exercise only twice a week for fifteen minutes, in a cage slightly larger than his own. Conversation between cells was possible, but prisoners had become so unstable and fearful of one another that they tended not to say much; there were no friendships. Omar tried to talk to his guards, about anything, but they were unresponsive. They often covered their nameplates with tape before entering detention facilities.

As Guantanamo was imposing heavy stagnation on Omar, it was also instilling in him an abiding sense of vulnerability and disequilibrium. The call to prayer was usually played five times a day, but sometimes it changed, or stopped. Exercise could come at any time of the day or night. If the guards woke you at 3:30 a.m. and you didn't present yourself quickly enough to please them, you didn't get to exercise. The timing and character of interrogations followed no pattern. Sometimes prisoners were woken up and moved from cell to cell for half the night for no apparent reason. This tactic was so common it became known among guards as "the frequent-flier program."

Meal portions were usually small enough to keep the prisoners in a state of low-grade hunger. Several times Omar found powder or partially dissolved tablets in the plastic glass he got with his food. The drugs produced dizziness, sleepiness or hyperalertness. Tasteless and invisible, they were not detectable beforehand. Omar was never told what they were or why he had been drugged.

2.10.06

La pape, cet infaillible personnage

Aujourd'hui sur le site de la BBC est exposée au grand jour la politique officielle du Vatican sur les cas de pédophilie mettant en vedette des prêtres de l'église catholique. En gros, si vous aimez les petits garçons - si vous les aimez un petit peu trop - il ne vous arrivera rien. Si vous êtes la victime, bien, on vous menace d'excommunication si vous parlez.

C'est peut-être pas bien grave si vous êtes infaillible et que vous défendez cette politique: vous avez sans doute raison.

Une interprétation:

Crimen solicitationis is indicative of a worldwide policy of absolute secrecy and control of all cases of sexual abuse by the clergy.

But what you really have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen.

You've got a written policy that says that the Vatican will control these situations and you also have I think clear written evidence of the fact that all they are concerned about is containing and controlling the problem.

Nowhere in any of these documents does it say anything about helping the victims.

The only thing it does is say that they can impose fear on the victims and punish the victims for discussing or disclosing what happened to them.

It's all controlled by the Vatican and at the top of the Vatican is the Pope so Joseph Ratzinger was in the middle of this for most of the years that Crimens was enforced he created the successor to Crimen and now he is the Pope this all says that the policy and systematic approach has not changed.

Cardinal Ratzinger, now as Pope, could tomorrow get up and say: 'Here's the policy: full disclosure to the civil authorities, absolute isolation and dismissal of any accused and proven and convicted clerics, complete openness and transparency, complete openness of all financial situations, stop all barriers to the legal process and completely co-operate with the civil authorities everywhere.'

He could do that.

1.10.06

Pervez Musharraf

Décidémment, l'affable dictateur du Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, a la langue déliée ces temps-ci. Pourquoi? Sans doute parce qu'il sent le vent tourner contre lui à Washington, et qu'il veut mettre certaines cartes sur la table. Aujourd'hui, on en apprend une assez bonne: le meutrier de Daniel Pearl, dont l'assassinat fut filmé et retransmis afin d'attiser les passions des ménagères dans toutes les banlieues à travers le monde, serait en fait un agent du MI6 britannique.

President dubs alleged Pearl killer MI6 spy
Published: Friday, 29 September, 2006, 01:06 PM Doha Time

LONDON: Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has disclosed that Omar Sheikh, who kidnapped and murdered American journalist Daniel Pearl and is now facing death penalty, was actually the British secret Agency MI6’s agent and had executed certain missions on their behest before coming to Pakistan and visiting Afghanistan to meet Osama and Mullah Omar.

General Musharraf’s book has also given a new twist to the whole drama of kidnapping and murder of American journalist as many believe here British national Omar Sheikh might use Musharraf’s memoir to plea his innocence after, quite surprisingly, Musharraf tried to give a clean chit to Omar despite his role in kidnapping which is punishable with death in Pakistan.

It has been reported that General Musharraf has written in his book that while Omar Sheikh was at the London School of Economics (LSE), he was recruited by the British intelligence agency MI6, which persuaded him to take an active part in demonstrations against Serbian aggression in Bosnia and even sent him to Kosovo to join the jihad.

At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent.


Pervez, gros coquin! Via MOA.

Les objectifs de la torture

On est dimanche et il pleut. Peut-être avez vous un certain vague à l'âme, je sais pas. Non? Vous pouvez toujours lire ceci. C'est un article en quatre parties écrit par une victime du programme MKULTRA (dont une partie des expériences se déroula à McGill), qui livre ses pensées face aux victimes actuelles de torture au nom de la guerre perpétuelle. Froid, dans le dos.

Via MOA.

Le vol des élections de 2004

Vous aviez peut-être déjà lu l'article de Robert Kennedy jr. dans Rolling Stone, qui, après un examen des événements dans l'état de l'Ohio, avait conclu, tout à fait raisonnablement, que ces élections avaient été volées. Il vient d'en remettre, relatant ici de la complicité ouverte de la compagnie Diebold avec le parti républicain dans la fabrication des résultats de vote.

Bilan, donc: vol d'élections, emprisonnements sans habeas corpus, contrôle des médias, guerre perpétuelle, surveillance des citoyens, torture.

Ça me rappelle vaguement quelque chose:

The most influential scholars of totalitarianism, such as Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Carl Friedrich, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Juan Linz have each described totalitarianism in a slightly different way. Common to all definitions is the attempt to mobilize entire populations in support of the state and a political or religious ideology, and the intolerance of activities which are not directed towards the goals of the state, such as involvement with labour unions, non-sanctioned churches or opposition political parties. Totalitarian regimes maintain themselves in political power by means of single-party state, secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, personality cult, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics (political purges and persecution of specific groups of people).

30.9.06

Des pensées pour nos aventures colonialistes

WILLARD
"What's up, Chief."

CHIEF
"A jugboat, captain. We'll gonna take a routine check."

WILLARD
"Let's forget it now... Let it go."

CHIEF
"These boats are running supplies on the delta, captain.
I'm gonna take a look."

WILLARD
"Chief, my mission got priority here. Hell, you wouldn't
be on this part of the river if it wasn't for me."

CHIEF
"Until we reach your destination you're just
along for the ride."

CHEF
"Throw the rope asshole."

CHIEF
"Let's bring it over ...
Look at that bow, bring the people over here."

CHEF
"Come on, hurry up motherfucker, move it !
Go gook."

CHIEF
"Keep your eyes open Clean."

CLEAN
"I got you Chief."

CHEF
"OK, they're OK."

CHIEF
"Board it and search it."

CHEF
"Baskets and ducks... fucking bananas... ain't
nothin on it."

CHIEF
"What's wrong with you ? Board it and search it."

CHEF
"There's the goat... some fish..."

CHIEF
"Chef, get on that boat !"

CHEF
"There's nothing on it."

CHIEF
"Get on it !"

CHEF
"All right ! Move it asshole.. mangoes..."

CHIEF
"Check on the rice bags."

CHEF
"Fish, coconuts... rice... here's rice."

CHIEF
"What's in that vegetable basket ? Chef, check
that vegetable basket."

CHEF
"All right... ain't nothing in here."

CHIEF
"What's in the boxes ? Look in that tin can,
that rusty can..."

CHEF
"Just fucking rice, that's all."

CHIEF
"Check the yellow can, she was sitting on it."

Suddenly the Vietnamese girl makes a move towards the basket.
The boat crew starts firing wildly :

CHEF
"Let's kill 'em all !"

CHIEF
"Hold it ! Hold it !"

CHEF
"Let's kill them all... why not ?"

CHIEF
"Clean ?"

CLEAN
"I'm good."

CHIEF
"You OK Lance ?"

CHEF
"Look what she was hiding. See what she was running for.
A fucking puppy."

LANCE
"Give me that dog !"

CHEF
"Fucking mango too, you want that ?"

CHIEF
"Chef, she's moving behind you. She's alive.
Check her out, she's moving behind you.
Check her out."

CHEF
"Goddamn... Clean give me a hand."

CHIEF
"Take it easy. Slow down and take it easy. Is
she breathing Chef ?"

CHEF
"She's hurt, she's bleeding."

CHIEF
"Bring her onboard."

WILLARD
"What are you talking about ?"

CHIEF
"We're taking here to some frendlies, captain.
She's wounded, she's not dead."

WILLARD
"Get off there Chef."

Willard shoots the wounded girl :

CHEF
"Fuck it."

WILLARD
"I told you not to stop. Now let's go."

WILLARD (v.o.)
" It was the way we had over here of living with ourselves.
We'd cut them in half with a machine gun and give them a
bandaid. It was a lie, and the more I saw of them, the more
I hated lies."

29.9.06

Des pensées pour Michaëlle Jean


You will be driven from Afghanistan just as we were, Russian generals warn
By Helen Womack in Moscow The Telegraph (UK) September 24, 2006

British troops will be forced to flee Afghanistan, say former Soviet commanders who oversaw Moscow's disastrous campaign against the mujahedeen in the 1980s.
In a withering assessment of the "hopeless" campaign being waged there, they have told The Sunday Telegraph that mounting casualties will drive out Britain and its Nato allies. Chillingly, Gen Ruslan Aushev, who was injured during fighting with mujahedeen rebels, predicted: "You will flee from there."

He added: "Many have fought in Afghanistan; first and foremost, the British fought there in the 19th century. The astonishing thing today is that Nato and the coalition seem to have learnt nothing, neither from their own experience nor from our experience."


The bleak analysis comes only days after Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, admitted that "the Taliban's tenacity has been a surprise", an acknowledgement of recent disclosures in this newspaper that troops are on the point of "exhaustion" because of the lack of numbers and equipment.

It will add to mounting concern over the deployment of 3,600 - British troops to Afghanistan' s troubled southern provinces this summer, which has led to the deaths of 15 servicemen at the hands of a rejuvenated Taliban.

Yesterday, Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, the chief of the General Staff, was forced to deny claims by a senior officer that the RAF's performance in Afghanistan had been "utterly, utterly useless".

Responding to emails written by Major James Loden of 3 Para, he said: "This is difficult and dangerous work but we are doing it successfully because we are doing it as a team."

Numbers of wounded are far higher than has been made public, according to a major in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers last week, a concern first revealed in The Sunday Telegraph. Gen Dannatt denied there was any deliberate cover-up.

It is a far cry from John Reid's declaration on a visit to Afghanistan as defence secretary in April that he would "be perfectly happy to leave in three years and without firing one shot".

Veterans of the former Soviet forces know all too well the risks and dangers facing British troops and their Nato counterparts.

Having invaded to support Kabul's pro-communist government in 1979, they soon found themselves fighting American-backed tribal mujahedeen at a cost of 15,000 Russian lives, despite brutal efforts to suppress the uprising.

The Soviet Union pulled out its 100,000-strong force a decade later, a demoralising defeat that was a factor in the eventual collapse of the communist regime.

Gen Boris Gromov, overall commander of Soviet forces in Afghanistan who supervised their withdrawal in 1989, said in written correspondence with The Sunday Telegraph that Britain, America and their Nato allies appeared to be suffering the same backlash.

Whatever their disagreements with Taliban militants or warlords in their midst, said Gen Gromov, Afghans tended to unite against outsiders when they deemed them no longer welcome. He said there had been a "large number of victims" on both sides, a possible reference to American airstrikes against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in which civilians are also reported to have died.

"The Afghan resistance is, in my opinion, growing," he wrote. "Such behaviour on the part of the intractable Afghans is to my mind understandable. It is conditioned by centuries of tradition… geography, climate and religion.

"We saw over a period of many years how the country was torn apart by civil war… But in the face of outside aggression, Afghans have always put aside their differences and united. Evidently, the coalition forces have also been seen as a threat to the nation."

The former Soviet commanders point out that they had enjoyed the advantages of a functioning and politically sympathetic domestic government in Kabul, and a 100,000 strong Afghan army on their side. Its equivalent today is a quarter of the size and still being trained by coalition forces.

"It was a 100,000 strong army with aviation, armoured vehicles and artillery," said Gen Aushev. "Their officers were trained in Moscow and they were more or less battle-ready. Now I just don't see the Afghan army."

Opium was a local crop, instead of the export industry that it has become. "Now opium is a major business and no one is going to get rid of that," added Col Oleg Kulakov, who served as a military translator during the Afghan war and is now Professor of Geopolitics at the Moscow Defence University. "Each warlord has his own stake in it; sometime his power is completely based on drugs."

He added: "The only thing in the West's favour is that you have allies, while we were isolated."

Gen Aushev believed that the Americans, who have 18,000 troops in Afghanistan, were attempting to pave the way for a quiet exit by asking for more soldiers from allies such as Britain and Poland.

"The Americans can't have another Vietnam, so they are saving face. They will say, 'We did not withdraw; it was the Australians, the British who withdrew'."