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.”