Friday, August 31, 2007

David Sirota and Time on John Edwards...

From David Sirota:

Time Mag Slams Media For Edwards Coverage; Says Reporters Making "A
Dumb Argument"

By David Sirota
Working Assets/Denver Post's Politics West, 8/31/07

Two weeks ago, I asked a pretty simple question: What is real-life
hypocrisy, and what is faux hypocrisy manufactured by the political
Punditburo in lieu of actual reporting? I asked this question in the
wake of right-wing Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi screaming
from the ramparts about how John Edwards is supposedly a hypocrite
for having an ownership stake in an investment fund that has
ownership stakes in some subprime lenders. I asserted that just
because a candidate wants to change the laws that govern the land (in
this case, lending laws) doesn't mean they don't live in the current
world as it is, and certainly doesn't mean they are a hypocrite. It
doesn't mean they've made a smooth political move - but again it
doesn't even come close to meaning they are a hypocrite.

Shocker, my view hasn't really broken the Washington Punditburo's
fabricate-a-gotcha rituals - though finally, at least one of the big
traditional media outlets has actually taken the time to report the
Edwards situation accurately. None other than Time magazine sets the
record straight this week about Edwards, and indirectly indicts the
absurdly biased and irresponsible behavior by campaign reporters and
pundits alike.

For the full post, go to:

[Use link above to continue reading]


Thursday, August 30, 2007

What's new with San Diego writers...including Blackwater...

Notice from Michael Steven Gregory, Exec Director of the Southern California Writers Conferences in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles area:

The WriteWay
SEPTEMBER 1, 2007 No. 0001

To Subscribe, Click on:
To read eNewsletter online:
____________* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To read San Diego’s WriteWay eZine,
full of the latest information, articles, links, resources, etc.,
Click on:

This is our first issue. In the future, we will grow as we network and
develop more contacts in the community. Lets work together to make this
publication a real assist to the community. Please send us your news items
and the email addresses of anyone who would be interested in receiving this
free newsletter on a monthly basis to:
Sam Warren, editor

____________* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

September 1 -- Sisters in Crime will be holding a workshop for writers. For
information, please call 858-748-6842 or visit the group's website at

September 6, 13, and 27 -- San Diego Writers Ink: Thursday Writers meet
Thursdays from 5:10 to 6:00 pm at Lestat's, 3343 Adams Avenue (under the
Normal Heights sign) Normal Heights area of San Diego. A $5.00 donation is

September 6 -- Sisters in Crime's speaker is award-winning novelist, Don
Winslow the author of the The Winter Of Frankie Machine and The Death And
Life Of Bobby Z at at The Joyce Beers Community Center in the Uptown
District Shopping Center in Hillcrest, off University between 10th and
Vermont Street.

September 7 -- San Diego Writers Ink: Open Mic Prose Reading on the First
Friday of Every Month from 7 to 9 pm (a $5.00 donation is suggested) at The
Grove at Juniper (30th and Juniper, South Park) Bring 3 minutes of your own
work to read to a growing and enthusiastic audience.

September 9 -- Rebecca's Coffeehouse on the 2nd and 4th Sundays: The Off
Beat Open Mic ( Poetry, Fiction and Alternate Universes)

September 10 -- San Diego Writers Ink: Poetry Read & Critique on the Second
Monday, Sept. 10, 7-9pm at The Ink Spot.

September 16 -- On Sunday, September 16 at 3pm, Sunset Poets will feature
San Diego poet Harry Griswold, who will sign and read from his new book
“Camera Obscura.”

September 16 -- Sunday Brunch for all writers. Let's get out from behind our
computers and do a little socializing. Email me at and
if I get enough of a response, I'll email you back with the details.

September 17 -- The San Diego Writers/Editors Guild presents author and
educator Richard Lederer. Richard is a mile-a-minute presenter who always
provides a fun as well as informational evening. He has written more than a
dozen books on language and will discuss his first history book:
Presidential Trivia: the Feats, Fates, Families, Foibles, and Firsts of Our
American Presidents. The Guild meets on the third Monday of the month at the
Joyce Beers Center in the Uptown Shopping Center in Hillcrest starting at
6:30 networking and 7 pm program.

September 23 -- Rebecca's Coffeehouse on the 2nd and 4th Sundays: The Off
Beat Open Mic ( Poetry, Fiction and Alternate Universes)

September 28 -- The upcoming Southern California Writers' Conference L.A.
(in Irvine), taking place Sept. 28-28, 2007. For details click on: SCWC

September 29 -- Publishers and Writers: Behind the Printing Press: A Guided
Tour of CPS Printing with guest expert Doug Strickland

September 29 -- Metropolitan Writing Works is pleased to announce its
upcoming creativity class: "Awakening Your Muse: A Creativity Workshop for
Writers" at the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Public Library, Cardiff, from 12:30 to
4:30 pm. The fee is $65 before Labor Day or $75 after. Pre-registration is
required. For information and registration, visit or
call 760-208-1913.

October 6 -- A workshop entitled Who Wants To Be A Published Author (via
Publisher/Agent/Vantage Press/Self-Publishing/E-Publishing and Print On
Demand) will be presented by local author Sally Gary, from 1-4 pm at
Grossmont College. Fee: $29 + $5 for Writers Resources. Call (619) 660-4350
for more information.

October 15 -- The San Diego Writers/Editors Guild: Four Corners-experiential
talking and learning about four areas of writing.

October 27 -- Publishers and Writers: Book Design Do's and Don'ts with guest
expert Ellen Goodwin.

November 19 -- The San Diego Writers/Editors Guild: Judy Reeves from the
Writer's Inc, will be the guest speaker.

December 17 -- The San Diego Writers/Editors Guild: Holiday/ Christmas/
Navidad/ Hanukkah/ Kwanza/ etc. Party. Everyone in the writing community is
invited. Other groups will have a table to share their organization

January 25-27, 2008 -- Sharpen your pencils, grab your manuscripts, and head
to the SDSU Writers' Conference January 25-27, 2008. For additional
information, go to:

____________* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Read Chet Cunningham's latest book just out, SCREAM TERROR, a mystery set in
San Diego. He's a professor of English Literature at UC at San Diego by day,
but by night he's a pedophile killer. Check with at my Email address. See
his web page at

____________* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


____________* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We Can:
* Format and/or publish your book by
_____- eBook,
_____- Print on Demand, or
_____- Traditional, using your ISBN or ours.
* Original Oil Paintings for Your Covers or Wall
* Computer Repair and Servicing
Call (619) 674-3066

____________* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here is your first chance to register for the twenty-three all-new 2008
Jenkins Group / Combined Book Exhibit book display opportunities and your
last call for the remaining eight 2007 library shows! For additional
information, go to LIBRARY

____________* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Fall 2007 24-Hour Short Story Contest will be held in
September! It is limited to 500 entrants. Contests usually fill up, so don't
delay if you want to participate. The contest is tons of fun! You can see
the list of 85 prizes (first prize is $300, second is $250 and third is
$200 - plus 82 other prizes!), and sign up here:

Axiom Business Book Awards
Calling All Business Book Authors and Publishers - Entries now being
accepted into the 2007 Axiom Business Book Awards at The Axiom Business Book Awards are here to
celebrate the innovative, intelligent, and creative aspects of the books
that make us think, see, and work differently every day.
Letters to the Editor:
Hi Sam,
I really applaud you starting up this eZine. Very needed in the community,
esp. the community calendar. We've been trying to get our community calendar
up on our website for a long time and just haven't found the volunteer who
has the time or expertise. But it will happen. Meantime, we'd love to be
linked to the publication.
Writers are always asking me about how to find a writing group, so including
a listing for groups, esp. those that are open to new members, would be a
real gift to SD writers.
I love all your ideas for content, and, if you're looking for writers to
contribute to the articles on writing section, I'm sure some of the
instructors at SDW, Ink would contribute. I sure would.
Keep us posted! And let me know how SDW, Ink can support you.
With best regards and tons of best wishes for your project,
Judy Reeves

* * *

Sam –
I'm delighted to hear of your new publication! I hope you'll include news
about local writers' successes, entry info for awards competitions, and info
on local agents.
You may be interested to know that I'm also starting up an online
publication called It's a community magazine for East
County. At this point it's a collaborative voluntary effort, though I'm
hoping to have some money coming in once I begin selling advertising to
local merchants. Like you, I'm interested in developing some revenue
streams, so we should keep in touch and compare notes!
I am also looking for writers to contribute content. At this point, I don't
have a budget for payment. But many writers who believe in getting this
community magazine off the ground are donating their time. The magazine will
cover community news and politics (giving voice to people, groups and issues
not covered by the existing media out here, such as tribal issues, poverty,
social justice causes, working families' concerns, etc.). It also covers
features such as restaurant reviews, a calendar of events, and profiles of
people making a positive difference in the community, as well as columns and
a soapbox blog where readers can air their views.
We have Internet TV and lots of interactive features. Column topics include
media reform, socially responsible investing, “Left Hook” (covering poverty
and the middle class crunch), and Voter's Watchdog. We also have a “Take
Action” section where people can find out how their legislators and
Congressional representatives voted, contact info to reach their elected
officials, and eventually news of upcoming votes so people can weigh in with
their opinions. There will also be links to national/international news,
weather, and much more.
Currently I'm looking for someone to do book reviews of local East County
authors as well as a music reviewer or music columnist to cover local
musicians. I'd take free theater tickets to any playwright's plays in East
County, which we define broadly to include anything east of I-15. I also
welcome editorials and experienced writers willing to tackle serious
investigative reporting. In addition, I'm looking for students or interns to
assist with research, public records requests, and “starter” assignments for
those interested in getting their first bylines. Of course, we welcome news
tips and contributions for our regular features and columns, such as the
“They Said What?” column of outrageous or courageous statements made by
public officials representing East County.
The site is still under construction, but please take a look at and let me know what you think! You can also leave
comments in the “Soapbox Blog” section (which was just loaded by our
webmaster last night and needs some cleanup; paragraphs are run together).
Finally, I am also seeking donors, grants, investors and advertisers. Our
first issue, nearly completed, was done entirely on a volunteer basis, but
we need money to produce future issues. There should be a fair sum to be
made off advertising, however I urgently need seed money to produce
advertising rate sheets as well as flyers to pass out at community festivals
and to insert into other local newspapers to grow our free subscription
Miriam Raftery,
Editor. Our Back Fence (619)698-7617

NOTE: Raftery also writes investigative articles for Raw


In New Orleans...should be a hanging offense...

From Greg Palast:

“They wanted them poor niggers out of there.”
New Orleans two years after

by Greg Palast

[Thurs August 30] "They wanted them poor niggers out of there and they ain't had no intention to allow it to be reopened to no poor niggers, you know? And that's just the bottom line."

It wasn't a pretty statement. But I wasn't looking for pretty. I'd taken my investigative team to New Orleans to meet with Malik Rahim. Pretty isn't Malik's concern.

We needed an answer to a weird, puzzling and horrific discovery. Among the miles and miles of devastated houses, rubble still there today in New Orleans, we found dry, beautiful homes. But their residents were told by guys dressed like Ninjas wearing "Blackwater" badges: "Try to go into your home and we'll arrest you."

These aren't just any homes. They are the public housing projects of the city; the Lafitte Houses and others. But unlike the cinder block monsters in the Bronx, these public units are beautiful townhouses, with wrought-iron porches and gardens right next to the tony French Quarter.

Raised up on high ground, with floors and walls of concrete, they were some of the only houses left salvageable after the Katrina flood.

Yet, two years later, there's still bars on the windows, the doors are welded shut and the residents banned from returning. On the first anniversary of the flood, we were filming this odd scene when I saw a woman on the sidewalk, sobbing. Night was falling. What was wrong?

"They just messing all over us. Putting me out our own house. We come to go back to our own home and when we get there they got the police there putting us out. Oh, no, this is not right. I'm coming here from Texas seeing if I can get my house back. But they said they ain't letting nobody in. But where we gonna go at?"

Idiot me, I asked, "Where are you going to go tonight?"

"That's what I want to know, Mister. Where I'm going to go - me and my kids?"

With the help of Patricia Thomas, a Lafitte resident, we broke into an apartment. The place was gorgeous. The cereal boxes still dry. This was Patricia's home. But we decided to get out before we got busted.

I wasn't naïve. I had a good idea what this scam was all about: 89,000 poor and working class families stuck in Homeland Security's trailer park gulag while their good homes were guarded against their return by mercenaries. Two decades ago, I worked for the Housing Authority of New Orleans. Even then, the plan was to evict poor folk out of this very valuable real estate. But it took the cover of a hurricane to do it.

Malik's organization, Common Ground, wouldn't wait for permission from the federal and local commissars to help folks return. They organized takeovers of public housing by the residents. And, in the face of threats and official displeasure, restored 350 apartments in a destroyed private development on the high ground across the Mississippi in the ward called, "Algiers." The tenants rebuilt their own homes with their own sweat and their own scraps of cash based on a promise of the landlords to sell Common Ground the property in return for restoring it.

Why, I asked Malik, was there this strange lock-out from public housing?

Malik shook his dreds. "They didn't want to open it up. They wanted them closed. They wanted them poor niggers out of there."

For Malik, the emphasis is on "poor." The racial politics of the Deep South is as ugly as it is in Philadelphia, Pa. But the New Orleans city establishment has no problem with Black folk per se. After all, Mayor Ray Nagin's parents are African-American.

It's the Black survivors without the cash that are a problem. So where New Orleans once stood, Mayor Nagin, in connivance with a Bush regime more than happy to keep a quarter million poor folk (i.e. Democrats) out of this swing state, is creating a new city: a tourist town with a French Quarter, loose-spending drunks, hot-sheets hotels and a few Black people to perform the modern version of minstrel shows.

Malik explained, "It's two cities. You know? There's the city for the white and the rich. And there's another city for the poor and Blacks. You know, the city that's for the white and rich has recovered. They had a Jazz Fest. They had a Mardi Gras. They're going to have the Saints playing for those who have recovered. But for those who haven't recovered, there's nothing."

So where are they now? The sobbing woman and her kids are gone: back to Texas, or wherever. But they will not be allowed back into Lafitte. Ever.

And Patricia Thomas? The middle-aged woman, worked sweeping up the vomit and beer each morning at a French Quarter karioke joint. Not much pay, no health insurance, of course. She died since we filmed her - in a city bereft of health care. New Orleans has closed all its public hospitals but for one "charity" make-shift emergency ward in an abandoned department store.

And the one bright star, Malik's housing project? The tenants' work was done this past December. By Christmastime, they received their eviction notices - and all were carried out of their rebuilt homes by marshals right after the New Year, including a paraplegic resident who'd lived in the Algiers building for decades.

Hurricane recovery is class war by other means. And in this war of the powerful against the powerless, Mr. Bush can rightly land his fighter plane in Louisiana and declare that, unlike the war in Iraq, it is, indeed, "Mission Accomplished."


This report is based on Greg Palast’s film, Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans. You may purchase a copy of the DVD, watch an excerpt or read the new chapter on New Orleans in Palast’s New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans - Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More on San Diego KLSD...Air America....

From :

Saving the signal
Can a hundreds-strong rally protect San Diego’s lefty talk radio?
by Eric Wolff

By 7:45 Monday morning, the parking lot in front of the Clear Channel Building in Serra Mesa was chock-full of hundreds of hippies—bearded hippies, floppy-hat hippies, tie-dye hippies, rich hippies, poor hippies, thin hippies, fat hippies, pregnant hippies and, most of all, angry hippies.

Very angry hippies.

Angry because Clear Channel, owner of their beloved KLSD 1360-AM, is threatening to abandon the progressive talk-radio format. Declining ratings and a dearth of advertising dollars have sent top station execs scurrying for strategies to pull the station out of the red, including a change to all sports talk.

To appreciate the scene on Monday, understand that KLSD's audience, though not overly large, spends more time listening to the station than the audience of any other station in San Diego—some five, six hours a day. Altering their radio station is like kidnapping their child. And so they rallied to save their beloved. They organized a shuttle service from nearby parking lots. They came prepared with picket signs, dozens of them, to plead for the station's preservation. They mobilized into a loop of marchers, union-style, marching beneath the windows of Clear Channel executives, pointing their signs up at the executive suites and shaking clinched fists. They had KLSD T-shirts, bumper stickers and banners. They had a chant: "Save our station, save the nation!"

The slings and arrows of outrageous conspiracy theory flew through the crowd as the morning wore on. Some believed Clear Channel wants to get rid of the station to silence it before the upcoming presidential election. Former news anchor and current Air America host Bree Walker took the microphone to express her concern that the notoriously conservative Carlisle Group would be buying Clear Channel, and the prog-talk format was being killed in preparation.

The station whipped out a tent and set up a remote broadcasting center. By 8 a.m., morning show host Stacy Taylor had moved his base down to the tent so he could speak directly to and with the crowd. Producers walked through the crowd handing out bumper stickers.

"We need an alternate voice in this city," said Nadin Abbot, a marcher from Mission Valley. "Clear Channel has a right to make money, but it used to be there was a public duty to inform the public."

City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who spent a chunk of his morning on the picket line and on the air, agreed.

"It's not a private business; it's the public airwaves," he said. "The public has been taken over by private interests. We need an administration that will change communication policy back to the way it was under FDR."

Some came prepared to argue bottom line with KLSD's parent company. Signs declared loyalty to various KLSD advertisers, including one that read, "I bought my Prius from a KLSD sponsor" and another that said, "Libs buy $tuff." Lillian Ritt, wife of prominent gastroenterologist Donald Ritt, offered to write a check for $10,000 worth of airtime.

"I'll go find the advertisers to pay me back," she declared to the cheering crowd. The station later turned down her offer, suggesting instead she donate the money to a business and ask its owners to spend it on advertising.

At around 8:45, Clear Channel program director Cliff Albert, hailed by Taylor as the father of progressive radio, came down to answer questions from the audience, live on the air. He praised everyone who came out and told them their voices had been heard. He told them he'd received 847 e-mail messages from KLSD supporters in one week. He asked them to go out and demand that businesses start supporting KLSD.

Later, Albert would explain to CityBeat that he'd been forced to start considering changes in the spring, when KLSD had been put on the annual list of underperforming stations prepared at Clear Channel corporate headquarters. The station had taken an unexpected beating in the winter quarter ratings for morning drive time, down from 2.0 to 0.9, just 28th among radio stations in San Diego. The station had been growing steadily but slowly in listenership every year, but its audience of approximately 100,000 people represented a third of the 300,000 enjoyed by KLSD's conservative and profitable sister station, KOGO. And the lack of strong growth created problems.

"KLSD has an extremely loyal listenership—they hardly listen to anything else," Albert said. "But at some point they've bought their mattresses, or their car, and they don't need to go back to that advertiser. You always need to be adding new listeners so that you're always bringing new people into the store."

But some people blame station management for setting it up for failure.

"I think particularly it's the fault that Clear Channel has not marketed the station effectively," said Chris Carmichael, who runs, a blog that focuses on the local radio market. "There has to be a commitment from Clear Channel to the station."

Then there's the problem of low signal strength. KLSD listeners have been complaining for years that getting new listeners would be easier if the station upped its signal strength from the 2,500 watts it now emits during the day. Albert said it reaches 80 percent of San Diego residences. But San Diego's dramatic topography and the presence of many tall buildings mean drivers pass through numerous dead zones. But help is on the way. Albert hopes to have completed the years-long FCC application process for a 50,000-watt transmitter by year-end, and he said money has been set aside to purchase the equipment regardless of the station's format.

Randy Dotinga, radio columnist for the North County Times, believes KLSD may always have problems competing with KPBS, the local public-radio affiliate.

"I don't know that many liberals go to the AM dial," he said, "because it's full of right-wingers and sports. If you don't like right-wingers and sports, there's no reason to flip to AM."

Dotinga also points out that liberal talk radio doesn't have the built-in advertiser group—gun shops and ATV shops and the like—that the right-wingers get.

"Who's their natural base, tea shops?" he mused.

Albert concurred. In San Diego, he said, some advertisers don't want to be associated with progressive talk.

If it falls, KLSD will only be the latest Air America affiliate to give up. In the last year, stations in Cincinnati, Fresno, Sacramento, Columbus and Portland (Maine), as well as two in Boston, have abandoned prog-talk. All but the Boston stations went to sports talk (the Boston stations now do Spanish-language music).

One bright spot of hope glows in Madison, Wisc. A public outcry scuttled a deal between 92.1 "The Mic" and Fox Sports Radio. A University of Wisconsin grad student organized an online petition and gathered 5,000 names, and local advertisers rallied to the station to keep progressive talk alive.

At KLSD, everything is still up in the air, so to speak. The station's business side is working on financial projections for keeping the current format, going all sports talk or switching to other format possibilities. Albert said the station could still easily stay with the status quo.

"It's a voice that needs to be heard," he said. "If we change, I wouldn't be surprised to hear another company decided to pick it up."



Iran vs US...Bush/Cheney in their glory...making threats...

From Stratfor:

Move and Countermove: Ahmadinejad and Bush Duel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Aug. 28 that U.S. power in Iraq is rapidly being destroyed. Then he said that Iran, with the help of regional friends and the Iraqi nation, is ready to fill the vacuum. Ahmadinejad specifically reached out to Saudi Arabia, saying the Saudis and Iranians could collaborate in managing Iraq. Later in the day, U.S. President George W. Bush responded, saying, "I want our fellow citizens to consider what would happen if these forces of radicalism and extremism are allowed to drive us out of the Middle East. The region would be dramatically transformed in a way that could imperil the civilized world." He specifically mentioned Iran and its threat of nuclear weapons.

On Aug. 27, we argued that, given the United States' limited ability to secure Iraq, the strategic goal must now shift from controlling Iraq to defending the Arabian Peninsula against any potential Iranian ambitions in that direction. "Whatever mistakes might have been made in the past, the current reality is that any withdrawal from Iraq would create a vacuum, which would rapidly be filled by Iran," we wrote.

Ahmadinejad's statements, made at a two-hour press conference, had nothing to do with what we wrote, nor did Bush's response. What these statements do show, though, is how rapidly the thinking in Tehran is evolving in response to Iranian perceptions of a pending U.S. withdrawal and a power vacuum in Iraq -- and how the Bush administration is shifting its focus from the Sunni threat to both the Sunni and Shiite threats.

The most important thing Ahmadinejad discussed at his press conference was not the power vacuum, but Saudi Arabia. He reached out to the Saudis, saying Iran and Saudi Arabia together could fill the vacuum in Iraq and stabilize the country. The subtext was that not only does Iran not pose a threat to Saudi Arabia, it would be prepared to enhance Saudi power by giving it a substantial role in a post-U.S. Iraq.

Iran is saying that Saudi Arabia does not need to defend itself against Iran, and it certainly does not need the United States to redeploy its forces along the Saudi-Iraqi border in order to defend itself. While dangling the carrot of participation in a post-war Iraq, Iran also is wielding a subtle stick. One of the reasons for al Qaeda's formation was the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. Radical Islamists in Saudi Arabia regarded the U.S. presence as sacrilege and the willingness of the Saudi regime to permit American troops to be there as blasphemous. After 9/11, the Saudis asked the United States to withdraw its forces, and following the Iraq invasion they fought a fairly intense battle against al Qaeda inside the kingdom. Having U.S. troops defend Saudi Arabia once again -- even if they were stationed outside its borders -- would inflame passions inside the kingdom, and potentially destabilize the regime.

The Saudis are in a difficult position. Since the Iranian Revolution, the Saudi relationship with Iran has ranged from extremely hostile to uneasy. It is not simply a Sunni and Shiite matter. Iran is more than just a theocracy. It arose from a very broad popular uprising against the shah. It linked the idea of a republic to Islam, combining a Western revolutionary tradition with Shiite political philosophy. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is a monarchy that draws its authority from traditional clan and tribal structures and Wahhabi Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudis felt trapped between the pro-Soviet radicalism of the Iraqis and Syrians, and of the various factions of the Palestinian movement on the one side -- and the Islamic Republic in Iran on the other. Isolated, it had only the United States to depend on, and that dependency blew up in its face during the 1990-91 war in Kuwait.

But there also is a fundamental geopolitical problem. Saudi Arabia suffers from a usually fatal disease. It is extraordinarily rich and militarily weak. It has managed to survive and prosper by having foreign states such as the United Kingdom and the United States have a stake in its independence -- and guarantee that independence with their power. If it isn't going to rely on an outside power to protect it, and it has limited military resources of its own, then how will it protect itself against the Iranians? Iran, a country with a large military -- whose senior officers and noncoms were blooded in the Iran-Iraq war -- does not have a great military, merely a much larger and experienced one than the Saudis.

The Saudis have Iran's offer. The problem is that the offer cannot be guaranteed by Saudi power, but depends on Iran's willingness to honor it. Absent the United States, any collaboration with Iran would depend on Iran's will. And the Iranians are profoundly different from the Saudis and, more important, much poorer. Whatever their intentions might be today -- and who can tell what the Iranians intend? -- those intentions might change. If they did, it would leave Saudi Arabia at risk to Iranian power.

Saudi Arabia is caught between a rock and a hard place and it knows it. But there might be the beginnings of a solution in Turkey. Ahmadinejad's offer of collaboration was directed toward regional powers other than Iran. That includes Turkey. Turkey stayed clear of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, refusing to let U.S. troops invade Iraq from there. However, Turkey has some important interests in how the war in Iraq ends. First, it does not want to see any sort of Kurdish state, fearing Kurdish secessionism in Turkey as well. Second, it has an interest in oil in northern Iraq. Both interests could be served by a Turkish occupation of northern Iraq, under the guise of stabilizing Iraq along with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

When we say that Iran is now the dominant regional power, we also should say that is true unless we add Turkey to the mix. Turkey is certainly a military match for Iran, and more than an economic one. Turkey's economy is the 18th largest in the world -- larger than Saudi Arabia's -- and it is growing rapidly. In many ways, Iran needs a good relationship with Turkey, given its power and economy. If Turkey were to take an interest in Iraq, that could curb Iran's appetite. While Turkey could not defend Saudi Arabia, it certainly could threaten Iran's rear if it chose to move south. And with the threat of Turkish intervention, Iran would have to be very careful indeed.

But Turkey has been cautious in its regional involvements. It is not clear whether it will involve itself in Iraq beyond making certain that Kurdish independence does not go too far. Even if it were to move deeper into Iraq, it is not clear whether it would be prepared to fight Iran over Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Turkey does not want to deal with a powerful Iran -- and if the Iranians did take the Saudi oil fields, they would be more than a match for Turkey. Turkey's regime is very different from those in Saudi Arabia and Iran, but geopolitics make strange bedfellows. Iran could not resist a Turkish intervention in northern Iraq, nor could it be sure what Turkey would do if Iran turned south. That uncertainty might restrain Iran.

And that is the thin reed on which Saudi national security would rest if it rejected an American presence to its north. The United States could impose itself anyway, but being sandwiched between a hostile Iran and hostile Saudi Arabia would not be prudent, to say the least. Therefore, the Saudis could scuttle a U.S. blocking force if they wished. If the Saudis did this and joined the Iranian-led stabilization program in Iraq, they would then be forced to rely on a Turkish presence in northern Iraq to constrain any future Iranian designs on Arabia. That is not necessarily a safe bet as it assumes that the Turks would be interested in balancing Iran at a time when Russian power is returning to the Caucasus, Greek power is growing in the Balkans, and the Turkish economy is requiring ever more attention from Ankara. Put simply, Turkey has a lot of brands in the fire, and the Saudis betting on the Iranian brand having priority is a long shot.

The Iranian position is becoming more complex as Tehran tries to forge a post-war coalition to manage Iraq -- and to assure the coalition that Iran doesn't plan to swallow some of its members. The United States, in the meantime, appears to be trying to simplify its position, by once again focusing on the question of nuclear weapons.

Bush's speech followed this logic. First, according to Bush, the Iranians are now to be seen as a threat equal to the jihadists. In other words, the Iranian clerical regime and al Qaeda are equal threats. That is the reason the administration is signaling that the Iranian Republican Guards are to be named a terrorist group. A withdrawal from Iraq, therefore, would be turning Iraq over to Iran, and that, in turn, would transform the region. But rather than discussing the geopolitical questions we have been grappling with, Bush has focused on Iran's nuclear capability.

Iran is developing nuclear weapons, though we have consistently argued that Tehran does not expect to actually achieve a deliverable nuclear device. In the first place, that is because the process of building a device small enough and rugged enough to be useful is quite complex. There is quite a leap between testing a device and having a workable weapon. Also, and far more important, Iran fully expects the United States or Israel to destroy its nuclear facilities before a weapon is complete. The Iranians are using their nuclear program as a bargaining chip.

The problem is that the negotiations have ended. The prospect of Iran trading its nuclear program for U.S. concessions in Iraq has disappeared along with the negotiations. Bush, therefore, has emphasized that there is no reason for the United States to be restrained about the Iranian nuclear program. Iran might not be close to having a deliverable device, but the risk is too great to let it continue developing one. Therefore, the heart of Bush's speech was that withdrawing would vastly increase Iran's power, and an Iranian nuclear weapon would be catastrophic.

From this, one would think the United States is considering attacking Iran. Indeed, the French warning against such an attack indicates that Paris might have picked something up as well. Certainly, Washington is signaling that, given the situation in Iraq and Iran's assertion that it will be filling the vacuum, the United States is being forced to face the possibility of an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.

There are two problems here. The first is the technical question of whether a conventional strike could take out all of Iran's nuclear facilities. We don't know the answer, but we do know that Iran has been aware of the probability of such an attack and is likely to have taken precautions, from creating uncertainty as to the location of sites to hardening them. The second problem is the more serious one.

Assume that the United States attacked and destroyed Iran's nuclear facilities. The essential geopolitical problem would not change. The U.S. position in Iraq would remain extremely difficult, the three options we discussed Aug. 27 would remain in place, and in due course Iran would fill the vacuum left by the United States. The destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities would not address any of those problems.

Therefore, implicit in Bush's speech is the possibility of broader measures against Iran. These could include a broad air campaign against Iranian infrastructure -- military and economic -- and a blockade of its ports. The measures could not include ground troops because there are no substantial forces available and redeploying all the troops in Iraq to surge into Iran, logistical issues aside, would put 150,000 troops in a very large country.

The United States can certainly conduct an air campaign against Iran, but we are reminded of the oldest lesson of air power -- one learned by the Israeli air force against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006: Air power is enormously successful in concert with a combined arms operation, but has severe limitations when applied on its own. The idea that nations will capitulate because of the pain of an air campaign has little historical basis. It doesn't usually happen. Unlike Hezbollah, however, Iran is a real state with real infrastructure, economic interests, military assets and critical port facilities -- all with known locations that can be pummeled with air power. The United States might not be able to impose its will on the ground, but it can certainly impose a great deal of pain. Of course, an all-out air war would cripple Iran in a way that would send global oil prices through the roof -- since Iran remains the world's fourth-largest oil exporter.

A blockade, however, also would be problematic. It is easy to prevent Iranian ships from moving in and out of port -- and, unlike Iraq, Iran has no simple options to divert its maritime energy trade to land routes -- but what would the United States do if a Russian, Chinese or French vessel sailed in? Would it seize it? Sink it? Obviously either is possible. But just how broad an array of enemies does the United States want to deal with at one time? And remember that, with ports sealed, Iran's land neighbors would have to participate in blocking the movement of goods. We doubt they would be that cooperative.

Finally, and most important, Iran has the ability to counter any U.S. moves. It has assets in Iraq that could surge U.S. casualties dramatically if ordered to do so. Iran also has terrorism capabilities that are not trivial. We would say that Iran's capabilities are substantially greater than al Qaeda's. Under a sustained air campaign, they would use them.

Bush's threat to strike nuclear weapons makes sense only in the context of a broader air and naval campaign against Iran. Leaving aside the domestic political ramifications and the international diplomatic blowback, the fundamental problem is that Iran is a very large country where a lot of targets would have to be hit. That would take many months to achieve, and during that time Iran would likely strike back in Iraq and perhaps in the United States as well. An air campaign would not bring Iran to its knees quickly, unless it was nuclear -- and we simply do not think the United States will break the nuclear taboo first.

The United States is also in a tough place. While it makes sense to make threats in response to Iranian threats -- to keep Tehran off balance -- the real task for the United States is to convince Saudi Arabia to stick to its belief that collaboration with Iran is too dangerous, and convince Turkey to follow its instincts in northern Iraq without collaborating with the Iranians. The Turks are not fools and will not simply play the American game, but the more active Turkey is, the more cautious Iran must be.

The latest statement from Ahmadinejad convinces us that Iran sees its opening. However, the United States, even if it is not bluffing about an attack against Iran, would find such an attack less effective than it might hope. In the end, even after an extended air campaign, it will come down to that. In the end, no matter how many moves are made, the United States is going to have to define a post-Iraq strategy and that strategy must focus on preventing Iran from threatening the Arabian Peninsula. Even after an extended air campaign, it will come down to that. In case of war, the only "safe" location for a U.S. land force to hedge against an Iranian move against the Arabian Peninsula would be Kuwait, a country lacking the strategic depth to serve as an effective counter.

Ahmadinejad has made his rhetorical move. Bush has responded. Now the regional diplomacy intensifies as the report from the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, is prepared for presentation to Congress on Sept. 15.


Comey's co-worker going to testify....


Ally of James Comey to Testify on NSA Surveillance Program

Spencer Ackerman reports for TPMMuckraker: "Get ready for more revelations about the extent of the National Security Agency's post-9/11 warrantless surveillance program....the Senate Judiciary Committee is going to hear testimony from Jack Goldsmith, the former head of Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, a key ally in James Comey's efforts as acting attorney general to scale back what they considered an illegal program."

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Diplomacy, Oil, and Nanotechnology...

From Secrecy News:


Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that
have not been made readily available to the public include these.

"Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Transformational Diplomacy," August
23, 2007:

"U.S. Foreign Aid to East and South Asia: Selected Recipients," updated
August 22, 2007:

"The Role of National Oil Companies in the International Oil Market,"
August 21, 2007:

"The War Crimes Act: Current Issues," updated July 23, 2007:

"Manipulating Molecules: Federal Support for Nanotechnology Research,"
updated August 2, 2007:

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.

The Secrecy News Blog is at:

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Globalization: Now see the results. Happy?....

From :

Frederic Lemaitre
Countries Buying Up the Planet

For Le Monde, Frederic Lemaitre observes: "For two decades, globalization has rhymed with liberalization and privatization. That's over, or very nearly so. Tomorrow, by a strange reversal of the situation, globalization will rhyme more and more with nationalizations.

With one important new detail: companies will no longer be the property of the State in which they were created, but will belong to the planet's new bankers: notably China, Russia, Norway and the Gulf States."

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

CIA Analyst...War with Iran before Jan 2009...

From Information Clearing House:

Why the US and Israel Should Lose Middle East Wars

By Bill Christison - Former CIA Analyst

Let's say it bluntly. War with Iran is inevitable before January 2009 unless Bush and Cheney are both impeached first. New Israeli-U.S. hostilities in Lebanon are also likely. Either warfare or covert actions conducted by the U.S. and/or Israel to bring about regime change in Syria are also probable.

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WWII combat soldiers doc...FEC says NO CUSSING!

From :


Some PBS stations are planning to air an edited version of the Ken Burns WWII documentary The War, concerned over the possible reaction of the FCC to profanities uttered by soldiers in the footage, Broadcasting & Cable reported Monday. Their decision has encountered the anger of the American Civil Liberties Union, the trade publication indicated.

"To impede the First Amendment rights of those who fought and died for those very rights is reprehensible," said ACLU Washington legislative director Caroline Fredrickson in a statement. "Our public broadcasters should not be afraid to air fourteen hours of an educational and fact-based documentary because of a handful of profanities. Images of the brutality of war are far more disturbing than any four letter word."

The ACLU noted that the stations' decision points up the "chilling effect" that the FCC's recent rulings on indecent language have had on television writers and producers.



Dems catch hell....

From David Sirota:

America's Most Conservative Newspaper Teaches Dems A Lesson

By David Sirota
Working Assets/Denver Post's PoliticsWest, 8/28/07

The Colorado Springs Gazette is one of the two most conservative
papers in America (the other being the Waterbury
Republican-American). This is no secret to anyone who has either read
the paper, or who is in the journalism industry. But the political
continuum is a circle, not a line, meaning that on some issues,
ultraconservatives and progressives can make common cause. Today's
Gazette editorial on the bipartisan support for warrantless domestic
wiretapping and spying is a good example - and a good lesson for
Democratic "strategists" cloistered in Washington with their
weak-kneed and self-defeating pathologies.

Here's an excerpt:
"What do you do when critics call the legality of your secret spying
program into question? If you're the Bush administration, you defend
it, by becoming ever more secretive and by claiming to be above the
law. The legal basis for the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which
was launched soon after 9/11 to capture conversations of potential
terrorists, has always been shaky. The Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978 outlawed warrantless eavesdropping on
Americans, and in 2005 it was revealed that the Terrorist
Surveillance Program did just that. Though supposedly altered so as
to operate within the law, the surveillance program continues to be
defended on alarming and seemingly contradictory grounds - that its
legality depends on operational details too secret to be revealed,
and that legality isn't an issue, anyway, since President Bush's
powers as commander in chief cannot be so bound by law...We see the
justifications of executive privilege as little more than weak
excuses. Earlier this month, this same logic of secrecy, which plays
on people's fears, helped excuse a further weakening of the law as
Congress, in the Protect America Act, effectively gutted FISA
protections against warrantless surveillance...Now that Congress has
promised to revise this temporary measure, Bush and Cheney's
continued excuses are all the more intolerable, obstructing Congress'
ability to examine the genesis of the Terrorist Surveillance Program."

Pundits and Democratic "strategists" in Washington, D.C. clearly have
absolutely no concept that issues of privacy, civil liberties and
government intrusion do not fit conveniently on their preconceived -
and childishly ignorant - notions of "red" and "blue." They dismiss
the vast American heartland as just a Republican Party monolith that
supposedly supports all efforts to strip citizens of their freedom,
and they believe that in order to start winning in this heartland,
they just have to out-Republican the Republicans on these issues.

We know this not just because they capitulated last month by
rubber-stamping Bush's warrantless domestic spying program, but
because they all but run out and tell reporters just how totally out
of touch they really are when it comes to these issues. Remember how
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) claimed that his efforts to preserve the most
odious parts of the Patriot Act were designed to protect "our
Democrats in red states?" Remember how the insulated Washington media
fawned all over him when he said this, billing him as an amazing
political guru? And remember how, at the very same time, Montana's
Jon Tester was campaigning against the Patriot Act as a way to
attract support from libertarian-leaning voters? Yeah - in a race
that was decided by a tiny margin, had Schumer's drumbeat been any
louder, it may have lost Tester the Montana senate seat and Democrats
might not be in the majority today.

I learned the lesson inherent in the Gazette's spot-on editorial when
I watched my friend Bernie Sanders in the House. As Rolling Stone's
terrific profile showed, he worked closely with people like Rep. Ron
Paul (R-TX) and then-Rep. Butch Otter (R-ID) to forge left-right
coalitions that passed legislation reforming the Patriot Act over the
objections of Republican congressional leaders. Paul and Otter, you
may recall, are among the most conservative elected officials in
America. They know - sadly, more than many Democratic "strategists"
in Washington - that there is nothing "weak" or "politically
dangerous" about standing up for privacy and personal freedom and
against government power grabs.

In fact, its the other way around: Democrats are exuding weakness and
are walking into political peril by subscribing to the cartoonish
"red" vs. "blue" outlook of those Washington insiders who claim
expertise in a national political topography they clearly do not or
do not want to understand. The panoply of privacy and civil liberties
issues poses great opportunity for Democrats - but only if they show a
shred of foresight and reject the absurd Washington conventional
wisdom that says helping the most unpopular president in modern
history trample Americans' freedoms is somehow "good politics."


Iglesias for US Atty General...I wish....

From Greg Palast:

American Nightmare: Gonzales "wrong and illegal and unethical"

by Greg Palast
Tuesday, August 28.

"What I've experienced in the last six months is the ugly side of the American dream."

Last month, David Iglesias and I were looking out at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island where his dad had entered the US from Panama decades ago. It was a hard moment for the military lawyer who, immediately after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico, returned to active military duty as a Naval Reserve JAG.

Captain Iglesias, cool and circumspect, added something I didn't expect:

"They misjudged my character, I mean they really thought I was just going to roll over and give them what they wanted and when I didn't, that I'd go away quietly but I just couldn't do that. You know US Attorneys and the Justice Department have a history of not taking into consideration partisan politics. That should not be a factor. And what they tried to do is just wrong and illegal and unethical."

When a federal prosecutor says something is illegal, it's not just small talk. And the illegality wasn't small. It's called, "obstruction of justice," and it's a felony crime.

Specifically, Attorney General Gonzales, Iglesias told me, wanted him to bring what the prosecutor called "bogus voter fraud" cases. In effect, US Attorney Iglesias was under pressure from the boss to charge citizens with crimes they didn't commit. Saddam did that. Stalin did that. But Iglesias would NOT do that - even at the behest of the Attorney General. Today, Captain Iglesias, reached by phone, told me, "I'm not going to file any bogus prosecutions."

But it wasn't just Gonzales whose acts were "unethical, wrong and illegal."

It was Gonzales' boss.

Iglesias says, "The evidence shows right now, is that [Republican Senator Pete] Domenici complained directly to President Bush. And that Bush then called Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General, and complained about my alleged lack of vigorous enforcement of voter fraud laws."

In other words, it went to the top. The Decider had decided to punish a prosecutor who wouldn't prosecute innocents.

All day long I've heard Democrats dance with glee that they now have the scalp of Alberto Gonzales. They nailed the puppet. But what about the puppeteer?

The question that remains is the same that Watergate prosecutors asked of Richard Nixon, "What did the President know and when did he know it?"

Or, to update it for Dubya, "What did the President know and how many times did Karl Rove have to explain it to him?"

During the Watergate hearings, Nixon tried to obstruct the investigation into his obstruction of justice by offering up the heads of his Attorney General and other officials. Then, Congress refused to swallow the Nixon bait. The only resignation that counted was the one by the capo di capi of the criminal-political cabal: Nixon's. The President's.

But in this case, even the exit of the Decider-in-Chief would not be the end of it. Because this isn't about finagling with the power of prosecutors, it's about the 2008 election.

"This voter fraud thing is the bogey man," says Iglesias.

In New Mexico, the 2004 announcement of Iglesias' pending prosecution of voters (which he ultimately refused to do) put the chill on the turnout of Hispanic citizens already harassed by officialdom. The bogus "vote fraud" hysteria helped sell New Mexico's legislature on the Republican plan to require citizenship IDs to vote - all to stop "fraudulent" voters that simply don't exist.

The voter witch-hunt worked. "Wrong" or "insufficient" ID was used to knock out the civil rights of over a quarter million voters in 2004. In New Mexico, that was enough to swing the state George Bush by a mere 5,900 votes.

So what is most frightening is not the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, the Pinocchio of prosecutorial misconduct, but the resignation of Karl Rove. Because New Mexico 2004 was just the testing ground for the roll-out of the "ID" attack planned for 2008.

And Rove who three decades ago cut his political fangs as chief of the Nixon Youth, is ready to roll. To say Rove left his White House job under a cloud is nonsense. He just went into free-agent status, an electoral hitman ready to jump on the next GOP nominee's black-ops squad. The fact that Rove's venomous assistant, Tim Griffin, was set up to work for the campaign Fred Thompson, is a sign that the Lord Voldemort of vote suppression is preparing to practice his Dark Arts in '08.

It was Rove who convinced Bush to fire upright prosecutors and replace them with Rove-bots ready to strike out at fraudulent (i.e. Democratic) voters.

Iglesias, however, remains the optimist. "I'm hopeful that I'll get back to the American dream. And get out of the American nightmare."

Dreams. Nightmares. I have a better idea for America: Wake up.

Greg Palast is the author of Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans - Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild

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Iraq: Stating the obvious....

From Stratfor:

Endgame: American Options in Iraq

The latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) summarizing the U.S. intelligence community's view of Iraq contains two critical findings: First, the Iraqi government is not jelling into an effective entity. Iraq's leaders, according to the NIE, neither can nor want to create an effective coalition government. Second, U.S. military operations under the surge have improved security in some areas, but on the whole have failed to change the underlying strategic situation. Both Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias remain armed, motivated and operational.

Since the Iraq insurgency began in 2003, the United States has had a clear strategic goal: to create a pro-American coalition government in Baghdad. The means for achieving this was the creation of a degree of security through the use of U.S. troops. In this more secure environment, then, a government would form, create its own security and military forces, with the aid of the United States, and prosecute the war with diminishing American support. This government would complete the defeat of the insurgents and would then govern Iraq democratically.

What the NIE is saying is that, more than four years after the war began, the strategic goal has not been achieved -- and there is little evidence that it will be achieved. Security has not increased significantly in Iraq, despite some localized improvement. In other words, the NIE is saying that the United States has failed and there is no strong evidence that it will succeed in the future.

We must be careful with pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community, but in this case it appears to be stating the obvious. Moreover, given past accusations of skewed intelligence to suit the administration, it is hard to imagine many in the intelligence community risking their reputations and careers to distort findings in favor of an administration with 18 months to go. We think the NIE is reasonable. Therefore, the question is: What is to be done?

For a long time, we have seen U.S.-Iranian negotiations on Iraq as a viable and even likely endgame. We no longer believe that to be the case. For these negotiations to have been successful, each side needed to fear a certain outcome. The Americans had to fear that an ongoing war would drain U.S. resources indefinitely. The Iranians had to fear that the United States would be able to create a viable coalition government in Baghdad or impose a U.S.-backed regime dominated by their historical Sunni rivals.

Following the Republican defeat in Congress in November, U.S. President George W. Bush surprised Iran by increasing U.S. forces in Iraq rather than beginning withdrawals. This created a window of a few months during which Tehran, weighing the risks and rewards, was sufficiently uncertain that it might have opted for an agreement thrusting the Shiites behind a coalition government. That moment has passed. As the NIE points out, the probability of forming any viable government in Baghdad is extremely low. Iran no longer is facing its worst-case scenario. It has no motivation to bail the United States out.

What, then, is the United States to do? In general, three options are available. The first is to maintain the current strategy. This is the administration's point of view. The second is to start a phased withdrawal, beginning sometime in the next few months and concluding when circumstances allow. This is the consensus among most centrist Democrats and a growing number of Republicans. The third is a rapid withdrawal of forces, a position held by a fairly small group mostly but not exclusively on the left. All three conventional options, however, suffer from fatal defects.

Bush's plan to stay the course would appear to make relatively little sense. Having pursued a strategic goal with relatively fixed means for more than four years, it is unclear what would be achieved in years five or six. As the old saw goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different outcome. Unless Bush seriously disagrees with the NIE, it is difficult to make a case for continuing the current course.

Looking at it differently, however, there are these arguments to be made for maintaining the current strategy: Whatever mistakes might have been made in the past, the current reality is that any withdrawal from Iraq would create a vacuum, which would rapidly be filled by Iran. Alternatively, Iraq could become a jihadist haven, focusing attention not only on Iraq but also on targets outside Iraq. After all, a jihadist safe-haven with abundant resources in the heart of the Arab world outweighs the strategic locale of Afghanistan. Therefore, continuing the U.S. presence in Iraq, at the cost of 1,000-2,000 American lives a year, prevents both outcomes, even if Washington no longer has any hope of achieving the original goal.

In other words, the argument is that the operation should continue indefinitely in order to prevent a more dangerous outcome. The problem with this reasoning, as we have said, is that it consumes available ground forces, leaving the United States at risk in other parts of the world. The cost of this decision would be a massive increase of the U.S. Army and Marines, by several divisions at least. This would take several years to achieve and might not be attainable without a draft. In addition, it assumes the insurgents and militias will not themselves grow in size and sophistication, imposing greater and greater casualties on the Americans. The weakness of this argument is that it assumes the United States already is facing the worst its enemies can dish out. The cost could rapidly grow to more than a couple of thousand dead a year.

The second strategy is a phased withdrawal. That appears to be one of the most reasonable, moderate proposals. But consider this: If the mission remains the same -- fight the jihadists and militias in order to increase security -- then a phased withdrawal puts U.S. forces in the position of carrying out the same mission with fewer troops. If the withdrawal is phased over a year or more, as most proposals suggest, it creates a situation in which U.S. forces are fighting an undiminished enemy with a diminished force, without any hope of achieving the strategic goal.

The staged withdrawal would appear to be the worst of all worlds. It continues the war while reducing the already slim chance of success and subjects U.S. forces to increasingly unfavorable correlations of forces. Phased withdrawal would make sense in the context of increasingly effective Iraqi forces under a functional Iraqi government, but that assumes either of these things exists. It assumes the NIE is wrong.

The only context in which phased withdrawal makes sense is with a redefined strategic goal. If the United States begins withdrawing forces, it must accept that the goal of a pro-American government is not going to be reached. Therefore, the troops must have a mission. And the weakness of the phased withdrawal proposals is that they each extend the period of time of the withdrawal without clearly defining the mission of the remaining forces. Without a redefinition, troop levels are reduced over time, but the fighters who remain still are targets -- and still take casualties. The moderate case, then, is the least defensible.

The third option is an immediate withdrawal. Immediate withdrawal is a relative concept, of course, since it is impossible to withdraw 150,000 troops at once. Still, what this would consist of is an immediate cessation of offensive operations and the rapid withdrawal of personnel and equipment. Theoretically, it would be possible to pull out the troops but leave the equipment behind. In practical terms, the process would take about three to six months from the date the order was given.

If withdrawal is the plan, this scenario is more attractive than the phased process. It might increase the level of chaos in Iraq, but that is not certain, nor is it clear whether that is any longer an issue involving the U.S. national interest. Its virtue is that it leads to the same end as phased withdrawal without the continued loss of American lives.

The weakness of this strategy is that it opens the door for Iran to dominate Iraq. Unless the Turks wanted to fight the Iranians, there is no regional force that could stop Iran from moving in, whether covertly, through the infiltration of forces, or overtly. Remember that Iran and Iraq fought a long, vicious war -- in which Iran suffered about a million casualties. This, then, simply would be the culmination of that war in some ways. Certainly the Iranians would face bitter resistance from the Sunnis and Kurds, and even from some Shia. But the Iranians have much higher stakes in this game than the Americans, and they are far less casualty-averse, as the Iran-Iraq war demonstrated. Their pain threshold is set much higher than the Americans' and their willingness to brutally suppress their enemies also is greater.

The fate of Iraq would not be the most important issue. Rather, it would be the future of the Arabian Peninsula. If Iran were to dominate Iraq, its forces could deploy along the Saudi border. With the United States withdrawn from the region -- and only a residual U.S. force remaining in Kuwait -- the United States would have few ways to protect the Saudis, and a limited appetite for more war. Also, the Saudis themselves would not want to come under U.S. protection. Most important, all of the forces in the Arabian Peninsula could not match the Iranian force.

The Iranians would be facing an extraordinary opportunity. At the very least, they could dominate their historical enemy, Iraq. At the next level, they could force the Saudis into a political relationship in which the Saudis had to follow the Iranian lead -- in a way, become a junior partner to Iran. At the next level, the Iranians could seize the Saudi oil fields. And at the most extreme level, the Iranians could conquer Mecca and Medina for the Shia. If the United States has simply withdrawn from the region, these are not farfetched ideas. Who is to stop the Iranians if not the United States? Certainly no native power could do so. And if the United States were to intervene in Saudi Arabia, then what was the point of withdrawal in the first place?

All three conventional options, therefore, contain serious flaws. Continuing the current strategy pursues an unattainable goal. Staged withdrawal exposes fewer U.S. troops to more aggressive enemy action. Rapid withdrawal quickly opens the door for possible Iranian hegemony -- and lays a large part of the world's oil reserves at Iran's feet.

The solution is to be found in redefining the mission, the strategic goal. If the goal of creating a stable, pro-American Iraq no longer is possible, then what is the U.S. national interest? That national interest is to limit the expansion of Iranian power, particularly the Iranian threat to the Arabian Peninsula. This war was not about oil, as some have claimed, although a war in Saudi Arabia certainly would be about oil. At the extreme, the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula by Iran would give Iran control of a huge portion of global energy reserves. That would be a much more potent threat than Iranian nuclear weapons ever could be.

The new U.S. mission, therefore, must be to block Iran in the aftermath of the Iraq war. The United States cannot impose a government on Iraq; the fate of Iraq's heavily populated regions cannot be controlled by the United States. But the United States remains an outstanding military force, particularly against conventional forces. It is not very good at counterinsurgency and never has been. The threat to the Arabian Peninsula from Iran would be primarily a conventional threat -- supplemented possibly by instability among Shia on the peninsula.

The mission would be to position forces in such a way that Iran could not think of moving south into Saudi Arabia. There are a number of ways to achieve this. The United States could base a major force in Kuwait, threatening the flanks of any Iranian force moving south. Alternatively, it could create a series of bases in Iraq, in the largely uninhabited regions south and west of the Euphrates. With air power and cruise missiles, coupled with a force about the size of the U.S. force in South Korea, the United States could pose a devastating threat to any Iranian adventure to the south. Iran would be the dominant power in Baghdad, but the Arabian Peninsula would be protected.

This goal could be achieved through a phased withdrawal from Iraq, along with a rapid withdrawal from the populated areas and an immediate cessation of aggressive operations against jihadists and militia. It would concede what the NIE says is unattainable without conceding to Iran the role of regional hegemon. It would reduce forces in Iraq rapidly, while giving the remaining forces a mission they were designed to fight -- conventional war. And it would rapidly reduce the number of casualties. Most important, it would allow the United States to rebuild its reserves of strategic forces in the event of threats elsewhere in the world.

This is not meant as a policy prescription. Rather, we see it as the likely evolution of U.S. strategic thinking on Iraq. Since negotiation is unlikely, and the three conventional options are each defective in their own way, we see this redeployment as a reasonable alternative that meets the basic requirements. It ends the war in Iraq in terms of casualties, it reduces the force, it contains Iran and it frees most of the force for other missions. Whether Bush or his successor is the decision-maker, we think this is where it must wind up.


Sulferous Cheney...staying or going?

From Le Figaro via :

Philippe Gelie
Dick Cheney: Controversial Vice President

Philippe Gelie writes for Le Figaro: "Dick Cheney has become a ball and chain for George W. Bush. At a nadir in the polls, he is often designated as 'the worst Vice-President in US history'...

After the resignation of the president's main adviser, Karl Rove, pressure is growing in Washington against the Executive branch's powerful Number Two. A year before the presidential election, the sulfurous record of 66-year-old Richard Cheney embarrasses the Republicans and stimulates the Democrats.

Will the 46th Vice-President of the United States complete his term by George W. Bush's side?"

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Minneapolis, St Louis papers model after San Diego's online paper...

From ...Voice of San Diego's online newspaper:

Voice as a Model

A group of seasoned professional journalists, led by former Minneapolis StarTribune editor and publisher Joel Kramer, today formally announced the, a nonprofit daily modeled after

It is the second such publication to use as a model. A group of former St. Louis Post-Dispatch staffers, who will be launching the St. Louis Platform this fall, consulted extensively with as it constructed its plan.

The New York Times quoted our own Scott Lewis in an article about Kramer's announcement. That marks the second time our dear Lewis has been quoted in the Gray Lady in his short but illustrious career.

Monday, August 27 -- 4:06 pm


BushCo has spy satellites!!!

From Secrecy News:


The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee scolded Homeland
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff last week for failing to notify him
of plans to expand the use of intelligence satellites for homeland
security applications.

"Unfortunately, I have had to rely on media reports to gain information
about this endeavor because neither I nor my staff was briefed on the
decision to create this new office prior to the public disclosure of
this effort," wrote Rep. Bennie Thompson in an August 22 letter to
Secretary Chertoff (who has been mentioned as a possible nominee to
replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General).

"I need you to provide me with an immediate assurance that upon its
October 1st roll out, this program will be operating within the
confines of the Constitution and all applicable laws and regulations,"
Chairman Thompson wrote.

"Additionally, because I have not been informed of the existence of
this program for over a two year period, I am requesting that for the
next six weeks, you provide me with bi-weekly briefings on the progress
of the [National Applications Office] working groups."

The Thompson letter as well as the new homeland security initiative
were first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

A Washington Post editorial said that any use of spy satellites for
domestic monitoring "must be accompanied... by robust protections for
privacy and civil liberties." The failure to properly advise Congress
was "not a comforting start for a landmark change."

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FBI concentrates on intelligence?!!!

From Secrecy News:


The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has increasingly
supplemented its traditional law enforcement role with new intelligence
and counterterrorism functions, now says its paramount objective is to
"prevent, disrupt, and defeat terrorist operations before they occur."

New domestic intelligence collection activities that have been adopted
in pursuit of this goal are described in unusual detail in the Bureau's
2008 budget request.

Special attention is given to cultivating human intelligence sources.

"The FBI recruits new CHSs [confidential human sources] every day," the
budget request notes. But without increased budget support, the FBI
says it will not be possible to validate these sources and to determine
the credibility of the information they provide.

"With current resources, the FBI is unable to reach a point where all
CHSs are successfully subjected to the CHSV [confidential human source
validation] process."

The budget request refers in passing to "more than 15,000" confidential
human sources requiring validation (page 4-24).

The FBI also seeks new funds for intelligence collection training and

"Without this training, the FBI would lack the full capacity to provide
SAs [special agents] the comprehensive tradecraft, procedural, legal and
policy direction needed to execute the significant and constitutionally
sensitive domestic intelligence collection mission with confidence,"
the budget document states (page 4-27).

The FBI's budgetary focus on expanding its human intelligence
capability was first reported by Justin Rood of ABC News. See "FBI
Proposes Building Network of U.S. Informants," July 25:

The same FBI budget document provides significant new detail on other
FBI intelligence and counterterrorism activities, the FBI open source
program, the National Virtual Translation Center, and other

The Washington Post reported that there were nearly 20,000 positive
matches of individuals seeking to enter the United States who were
flagged by the Terrorist Screening Center, according to the FBI budget
request. Despite the surprisingly large figure, only a small number of
arrests resulted.

See "Terror Suspect List Yields Few Arrests" by Ellen Nakashima,
Washington Post, August 25:

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BushCo privatizes....intelligence....

From :

James Carroll
Outsourcing Intelligence

James Carroll, of the Boston Globe, writes: "The Ways in which the Bush war has degraded the structures and culture of Iraq are obvious.

Less so are its insidious effects on the United States, but President Bush is similarly destroying something essential to our own democracy. A signal of that was sounded last week when The Washington Post reported that the Defense Intelligence Agency is transferring 'core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection' to private contractors."

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Edwards and the "corporate Dems"....

From :

Joshua Holland
Edwards Goes After the "Corporate Democrats"

Joshua Holland writes for Alternet, "Last week, John Edwards fired a broadside against corporate America and, more significantly, 'corporate Democrats,' the likes of which hasn't been heard from a viable candidate with national appeal in decades."

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Want food from China or the USA?

From San Diego Union-Tribune:

A letter to the editor....

Either let workers in or outsource our food
Don't we get it? In our fervor to protect our borders, we are shooting ourselves in the foot – or kidney. The farmers in the United States need labor. Americans won't do stoop labor. If farmers don't have labor, they won't be able to produce food for us. Either we let workers in to do the work that serves us, or we outsource our food supply to countries such as China and lose complete control of quality. I hear that some hospitals are gearing up their dialysis units in expectation of a rising number of Americans who will suffer kidney damage from tainted food.

Just as our pets died from the tainted food from China, we will be hooked to dialysis machines and who knows what if we don't have quality control over our food supply. Quality can be controlled if the food is produced in this country. Only a small percentage of imported food is inspected. So let the workers in, America, or I'll see ya all in the dialysis unit, if there are enough machines.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Russian site is something else again!

From International Herald Tribune:

Now this is Russia as the Russians know it!

[Use link above to see the site]


From James Bond...

From Information Clearing House:

New US 'Allies' In Hostages Threat

By Ali Rifat and Sarah Baxter

Arranging an appointment with Ibrahim al-Shammari, a representative of the Islamic Army, a leading Sunni insurgent group, had been fraught with tension, even though the meeting was in an Arab capital far from Baghdad. What began as a proposed rendezvous at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant turned into a James Bond adventure.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Reveal fraud or corruption and you're in deep trouble..

From AP via :

Go to Original

Iraq Corruption Whistleblowers Face Penalties
The Associated Press

Friday 24 August 2007

Cases show fraud exposers have been vilified, fired, or detained for weeks.

One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.

He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.

The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.

"It was a Wal-Mart for guns," he says. "It was all illegal and everyone knew it."

So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn't know whom to trust in Iraq.

For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.

Also held was colleague Nathan Ertel, who helped Vance gather evidence documenting the sales, according to a federal lawsuit both have filed in Chicago, alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics "reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants."

No Noble Outcomes

Corruption has long plagued Iraq reconstruction. Hundreds of projects may never be finished, including repairs to the country's oil pipelines and electricity system. Congress gave more than $30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it has disappeared, according to a government reconstruction audit.

Despite this staggering mess, there are no noble outcomes for those who have blown the whistle, according to a review of such cases by The Associated Press.

"If you do it, you will be destroyed," said William Weaver, professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and senior advisor to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Foreign policy expert likes Obama for Prez...

From Bloomberg via Drudge Report:

Brzezinski Embraces Obama Over Clinton for President
Janine ZachariaFri Aug 24, 3:24 PM ET

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the most influential foreign-policy experts in the Democratic Party, threw his support behind Barack Obama's presidential candidacy, saying the Illinois senator has a better global grasp than his chief rival, Hillary Clinton.

Obama ``recognizes that the challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new definition of America's role in the world,'' Brzezinski said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt.''

``Obama is clearly more effective and has the upper hand,'' Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said. ``He has a sense of what is historically relevant, and what is needed from the United States in relationship to the world.''

Brzezinski, 79, dismissed the notion that Clinton, 59, a New York senator and the wife of former President Bill Clinton, is more seasoned than Obama, 46. ``Being a former first lady doesn't prepare you to be president,'' Brzezinski said.

Clinton's foreign-policy approach is ``very conventional,'' Brzezinski said. ``I don't think the country needs to go back to what we had eight years ago.''

``There is a need for a fundamental rethinking of how we conduct world affairs,'' he added. ``And Obama seems to me to have both the guts and the intelligence to address that issue and to change the nature of America's relationship with the world.''

Negotiating With Foes

Brzezinski also sided with Obama, who was criticized by Clinton as being ``irresponsible'' and ``naïve'' for saying he would meet in his first year as president with leaders of adversaries such as Iran and Syria. ``What's the hang-up about negotiating with the Syrians or with the Iranians?'' Brzezinksi said. ``What it in effect means'' is ``that you only talk to people who agree with you.''

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Clear Channel shutting down Air America in San Diego!

From Brad Blog :

BLOGGED BY Miriam Raftery ON 8/24/2007 10:53AM

Clear Channel Rumored to Shut Down San Diego's Only Progressive Talk Radio Show!

KLSD Air America programming could flip to sports format at any time, sources confirm
Community mobilizes to save Air America in 6th largest U.S. city
Guest Blogged by Miriam Raftery

San Diego --- KLSD (AM 1360) the only progressive talk radio station in America’s sixth largest city, may soon convert to a sports format, multiple sources have confirmed.

A banner notice at the top of KLSD’s website this morning confirms that “Yes, there are rumours flying about KLSD changing format. And while various options are under consideration, we also want the progressive voice to remain heard in San Diego. Stay tuned and we will keep you informed. Thanks for listening and supporting KLSD.”

The website has also posted a request for supporters to pledge listening time for KLSD, as local activists have announced an email campaign as well as scheduled demonstrations at the station for next Monday in an attempt to keep the city's only non-"conservative" commercial talk station on the air...

Judy Hess, leader of Progressive Democrats of America’s San Diego chapter, said she received an e-mail from the Vice President of programing for Air America nationally on Thursday, August 23rd. “What a shock…He said he wanted to work with me to coordinate efforts to save the station,” she revealed. "I later spoke by phone with him and the Chief Operating Officer," she confirmed. Hess later arranged a phone conference yesterday with Air America's Vice President of programming and leaders of various organizations to create a strategy for mounting a massive campaign to save Air America’s San Diego affiliate.

Planned actions include a large rally on Monday, August 27, at 7:30 a.m. outside the Clear Channel building at 9660 Granite Ridge Drive in San Diego. High-profile celebrities including prominent media personalities and elected officials have been invited to speak, including several members of Congress who are expected to be in the area during the Congressional recess.

In addition, on Saturday August 26th at 9 am, a planning session of community organizers followed by a brief 10 am rally with announcements will be held at the same location...

"KLSD is best described as Radio Free San Diego," international award-winning BBC journalist Greg Palast, author of ARMED MADHOUSE: From Baghdad to New Orleans --- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild, told BRADBLOG. "Despite what the rest of America thinks, it's not just a town of navy guys looking for a way to get to Tijuana. A huge new progressive community has made KLSD one of Air America's strongest outlets - which makes a format change suspect. Local voices like Stacey Taylor and John Elliott are crucial to remaking the California political landscape. I guess that's why they want to silence their microphones."

Unlike Los Angeles or San Francisco, San Diego has no Pacifica/Democracy Now outlet, Palast noted. KPBS, a local public broadcasting station, has drawn criticism locally in recent weeks for cancelling key programming and adopting what critics complain is a more corporate agenda.

Some have voiced fears that the move is motivated by desires to squelch progressive voices in San Diego, America’s sixth largest city. California has moved its presidential primary up from June to February 2008, placing California at the forefront of the Republican Party’s strategy for retaining control of the White House and gaining back power lost in Congress. ClearChannel, which owns both conservative and progressive talk radio stations as well as music formats across the country, has been a major donor to the Republican Party.

But local KLSD talk show host Stacy Taylor told listeners on his morning program today that he does not believe Clear Channel is considering a format change because the company wants to shut off the progressive voice. “They could have shut us off before the 2006 election,” he observed. Instead, he cited loss of advertising revenues as the most likely reason behind a format change. Taylor mentioned one advertiser who pulled ads over fears that advertising on a progressive station could hurt his business, but pointed out that KLSD listeners in fact earn more money than listeners of other Clear Channel stations locally.

"What's needed is a "buy-cott" to support Stacey's sponsors - and a promise to boycott those who would sponsor Air America's replacement," Palast told BRADBLOG.

After a caller suggested that KLSD supporters enlist help from advertisers to save the station’s progressive format, Taylor responded, “That’s a good idea,” then proceeded to read off names and phone number of KLSD advertisers on the air. He also pledged to post a list of advertisers on his webpage at

An August 1st article in the North County Times newspaper lends credence to Taylor’s theory. The article cited spring Abitron ratings indicating that hard-right talk show station KCBQ-AM has “risen from the bottom of the ratings charts and now appears to have more listeners than KLSD.” Describing KLSD as “struggling,” the article stated that the station “somehow lost half its listeners from the winter ratings period.”

Some fall-off in ratings given the station’s political nature, and the fact that 2007 is an off-election year, should not be surprising. Loss of national Air America host, comedian Al Franken, who resigned to run for Congress, may also have had an impact. Some local activists have also suggested that more original format may be needed to give the station a ratings boost. “The promos for KLSD pushed it as a hangout for old hippies instead of talk radio for the other half of the population,” Michael Thaller of Bonita observed in a letter sent to

On the flip side of that argument, local host Stacy Taylor has gained national attention recently after serving as guest host on several occasions for the Randi Rhodes show on Air America nationwide. Taylor formerly hosted a program on a conservative station before become disillusioned with the Bush administration and emerging as a leading local voice for progressive political views.

KLSD program director Cliff Albert also serves as program director for KOGO, a competing right-wing talk radio station that Clear Channel owns in San Diego. Albert was on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment.

Linda Armacost, vice president of political action for the La Mesa Democratic Club, sent an e-mail to club members advising that she spoke with a highly placed KLSD insider. According to Armacost, at least two highly placed executives at KLSD are “trying very hard to `pull a rabbit out of a hat’ to save the progressive format.’”

Taylor confirmed, “There is a tremendous support from within this building to keep this station format exactly the way that it is.” Supporters inside ClearChannel include some from “surprising sources,” the talk show host added.

A coalition to save KLSD’s progressive talk radio format urges supporters to send letters and e-mails to KLSD program director Cliff Albert,, as well as to Operations Manager Mary Ayala, In addition, the group advises that KLSD listeners contact advertisers to emphasize support and call in to local and national Air America programs to create a national dialogue.

“The information I received is that when a change comes, it will be fast,” Armitage advised. “There’s no time to wait—we must act now.”

For updates, visit,, and the Media Watch section at


BushCo/Fox media: Catapulting the lies....

From :

Bush League War Drums Beating Louder on Iran
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor

Friday 24 August 2007

It is as though I'm back as an analyst at the CIA, trying to estimate the chances of an attack on Iran. The putative attacker, though, happens to be our own president.

It is precisely the kind of work we analysts used to do. And, while it is still a bit jarring to be turning our analytical tools on the US leadership, it is by no means entirely new. For, of necessity, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been doing that for almost six years now - ever since 9/11, when "everything changed."

Of necessity? Yes, because, with very few exceptions, American journalists put their jobs at grave risk if they expose things like fraudulent wars.

The craft of CIA analysis was designed to be an all-source operation, meaning that we analysts were responsible - and held accountable - for assimilating information from all sources and coming to judgments on what it all meant. We used data of various kinds, from the most sophisticated technical collection platforms, to spies, to - not least - open media.

Here I must reveal a trade secret and risk puncturing the mystique of intelligence analysis. Generally speaking, 80 percent of the information one needs to form judgments on key intelligence targets or issues is available in open media. It helps to have been trained - as my contemporaries and I had the good fortune to be trained - by past masters of the discipline of media analysis, which began in a structured way in targeting Japanese and German media in the 1940s. But, truth be told, anyone with a high school education can do it. It is not rocket science.

Reporting From Informants

The above is in no way intended to minimize the value of intelligence collection by CIA case officers recruiting and running clandestine agents. For, though small in percentage of the whole nine yards available to be analyzed, information from such sources can often make a crucial contribution. Consider, for example, the daring recruitment in mid-2002 of Saddam Hussein's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, who was successfully "turned" into working for the CIA and quickly established his credibility. Sabri told us there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

My former colleagues, perhaps a bit naively, were quite sure this would come as a welcome relief to President George W. Bush and his advisers. Instead, they were told that the White House had no further interest in reporting from Sabri; rather, that the issue was not really WMD, it was "regime change." (Don't feel embarrassed if you did not know this; although it is publicly available, our corporate-owned, war-profiteering media have largely suppressed this key story.)

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