10/22/2006

Loose Change 2nd Edition Viewer Guide

As expected, the Loose Change video was a "hit piece" on serious 9/11 research. Their claims are so idiotic and outlandish that their stupidity will be famous. And paint all questions about the unexplained events at 9/11 with the broad brush of "moonbat" stuff. -- law

13:42
First, let's meet Hani Hanjour. Hanjour came to Freeway Airport in Bowie, Maryland, one month earlier seeking to rent a small plane. However, when Hanjour went on three test runs in the second week of August he had trouble controlling and landing a single engine Cessna 172.

Who says this? It's not in the video. Hanjour did have a commercial instrument-rated pilot license. Had he flown a 172 before? How about a little research, guys? Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if takeoffs and landings were what he practiced the least on the ol' flight simulator.

14:02
"Hello, my name is Marcel Bernard and I'm the chief flight instructor here at Freeway. Hani Hanjour, well basically what happened with him is... he showed at the airport and wanted to get checked out in the aircraft you see, he was already certified, he didn't come to us for flight training. Yeah, he already had a pilot's license. He already earned a - it was private, instrument, commercial at a school in Arizona - I don't remember the name of the school. He already had certificates in hand and we sometimes occasionally have pilots who come to us that don't want flight training, but just want to rent our aircraft."

"Which is the case of Hani Hanjour?"

"This was the case of Hani, he wanted to get "checked-out" as we call it to rent our aircraft. And our insurance requires that he flies with one of our instructors to be found competent to rent. And that was the process that he was going through. And consensus was, he was very quiet, average, or below average piloting skills, English was very poor, so, that's about the best description I can get, give you for his demeanor. At that time very uneventful from my perspective.
A minute and 8 seconds to hear that Hanjour was a nice guy who was instrument-rated but who wasn't a great Cessna pilot? How about at least telling us that Hanjour wasn't able to rent the Cessna? From the Greenbelt (Maryland) Gazette:
The standard evaluation consists of one-to-one-and-a-half-hour flights east over the Chesapeake Bay area. Hanjour paid $400 cash and provided a valid pilot's license from Arizona, Bernard said. He failed because he showed problems landing the airplane and the flight instructor had to help him, Bernard said. But Hanjour's problems were nothing unusual, Bernard said. "There's no doubt in my mind that once (Flight 77) got going, he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it."
Well, that's also an oversimplification.



15:16
Regardless, air traffic controllers at Dulles International Airport that were tracking Flight 77. All thought that it was a military plane.
15:15 The on-screen quote from Danielle O'Brien, Dulles ATC, is not complete. Here's the whole quote:

"The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane," O'Brien said. "you don't fly a 757 in that manner. It's unsafe." Source



Second. The light poles. On November 22nd, 2004, a private jet en route to Houston to pick up George Bush Senior clipped a single light pole and crashed a minute away from landing at Houston's Hobby Airport.
If you really mean a minute, that's a long way away from the runway: sounds like the plane had other problems if it hit a light pole 2 miles away.

The wing ripped off upon impact, scattering debris over 100 yards.

Impact with what, the light pole or the ground? What kind of pole was it? Where was it hit? Was the wing hit near the wingtip or root? Did anyone see the wing being torn off by the light pole? How big was the jet: probably a lot smaller than a 757 if it was private. I assume it was traveling at landing speed, not at 530 mph, correct? You need to know all this in order to make your point.


Loose Change 2nd Edition Viewer Guide

Loose Change 2nd Edition Recut - Google Video

9/11 was planned by Bush& Co ? Nahh... -- law



Loose Change 2nd Edition Recut - Google Video

10/21/2006

Is George Bush too stupid to be the devil? (SATIRE)

Talking about an age where ignorance reigns.... GW seems a good approximation, if not personification, of ignorance. -- law

[A friend said] But Bush is too STUPID to be the anti-christ' and I realized the Dante stuff. Today (5/1/03) I realized how Dante meshed with Nostradamus & started this page.

* The way he comes into power must be illegitimate (as all evil does is illegitimate)
* He must be put in power by the Christians (after all, this isn't the 'anti-buddha' or the 'anti-mohammed')
* He must have the blood of an innocent on his hands, preferably his illegitimate 'only-begotten son'
* He must personify evil as characterized in Dante's Inferno (i.e., one of the three detributes, hate, ignorance, and impotence)
* He must match with Nostradamus' prophecy of the third antichrist

it seems that Hister (Hitler) would be a good 'personification of hate' while Napaulon Roy (Napoleon) would certainly match up with impotence (his shriveled member was destroyed by syphillis). Of course, this isn't to say that the other qualities are lacking, but that one predominates.

That leaves one left, ignorance.

GW seems a good approximation, if not personification, of ignorance.

Since the image of this third anti-christ is that of a 'sinister idiot'"...

lawnorder: Is George Bush the devil? (SATIRE)

Kali Yuga - The Age of Kali

Most interpretations of Hindu scriptures believe that earth is currently in Kali Yuga, though others believe that earth is now at the beginning of Dwapara Yuga. Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually throughout the Kali Yuga: it is mostly referred to as the Dark Age, mainly because people are the furthest possible from God. The description of Kali Yuga given below is an indication of its interpretive relevance in our current worldly existence.

Hindus generally consider morality to be comparable to a bull. In Satya Yuga, the first stage of development, the bull had four legs, and in each age morality is reduced by a quarter. By the age of Kali, morality will be reduced to only a quarter of that of the golden age. Thus, the bull will only have one leg: morality will wait on men.

Kali Yuga - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Time, Epochs & Millennia (Part 3)

We live in the Kali Yug — in a world infested with impurities and vices. People possessing genial virtues are diminishing day by day. Floods and famine, war and crime, deceit and duplicity characterize this age. But, say the scriptures, final emancipation is possible only in this age.

The Signs of Kali Yug!
Kali Yug has two phases: In the first, humans - having lost the knowledge of the two higher selves - had knowledge of the 'breath body' apart from the physical self. During the second phase even this knowledge has deserted mankind, leaving us only with the awareness of the gross physical body. This explains why we are now more preoccupied with our physical self than anything else.

Due to our preoccupation with our physical bodies and our lower selves, and because of our emphasis on the pursuit of gross materialism, this age has been termed the 'Age of Darkness' - an age when we have lost touch with our inner selves, an age of profound ignorance!

What the Epics Say
Both the two great epics - The Ramayana & Mahabharata - have spoken about the Kali Yug. In the Tulasi Ramayana, we find Kakbhushundi foretelling: "In the Kali Yug, the hot-bed of sin, men and women are all steeped in unrighteousness and act contrary to the Vedas…every virtue had been engulfed by the sins of Kali Yug; all good books had disappeared; impostors had promulgated a number of creeds, which they had invented out of their own wit. The people had all fallen prey to delusion and all pious acts had been swallowed by greed."

In the Mahabharata (Santi Parva) Yudhishthir says: "…The ordinances of the Vedas disappear gradually in every successive age…the duties in the Kali age are entirely of another kind. It seems, therefore, that duties have been laid down for the respective age according to the powers of human beings in the respective ages." The sage Vyasa later on clarifies: "In the Kali Yug, the duties of the respective order disappear and men become afflicted by inequity."

What Happens Next?
It is predicted that at the end of the Kali Yug, Lord Shiva shall destroy the universe and all the physical body would undergo a great transformation. After such dissolution, Lord Brahma would recreate the universe and mankind will become the 'Beings of Truth' once again

Time, Epochs & Millennia (Part 3)

10/18/2006

Daily Kos: The News is Hardly Even Covering This!

Upwards of 500,000 Iraqis have fled Baghdad...Bush has signed legislation allowing the US to dominate Space as a combat environment, even reducing NASA's R&D dollars and changing it's mission...Bush is trying to get the Justice Department to dismiss detainees lawsuits...Bush has bought property in Paraguay. Well the last dictators to buy land in South America new they would have to hide eventually...James Baker said Iraq was "a helluva mess"....

The News is Hardly Even Covering This! Hotlist
by Maccabee [Subscribe]
Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 03:19:04 PM CDT

Upwards of 500,000 Iraqis have fled Baghdad...Bush has signed legislation allowing the US to dominate Space as a combat environment, even reducing NASA's R&D dollars and changing it's mission...Bush is trying to get the Justice Department to dismiss detainees lawsuits...Bush has bought property in Paraguay. Well the last dictators to buy land in South America new they would have to hide eventually...James Baker said Iraq was "a helluva mess"....

Every Kossack here knows how useless the MSM is. Here are a half dozen stories that are astonishing when you think about them and what they mean for the US government and this country. It is even more astonishing that these items take a backseat to John Karr or a ten year old murder mystery, or the ever present openly conservative but secretly Gay Republican. If these stories alone were well vetted, we wouldn't have to worry about Diebold.


Daily Kos: The News is Hardly Even Covering This!

China NDRC official confirms strategic oil fill - China Institute - University of Alberta

China NDRC official confirms strategic oil fill
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October 16, 2006
Reuters News


BEIJING, Oct 17 (Reuters) - A senior official from China's top economic planner on Tuesday confirmed that Beijing had begun pumping crude into newly built strategic oil reserve tanks, but did not say how much had been filled or when the stockbuild would be completed.

"We are currently in the process (of filling), it is very hard to say how much has already gone in," Jiang Weixin, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told reporters.

He declined to go into detail about the source of the supplies or the timing for filling the tanks in Zhenhai.

Official media and port sources said last week that China had pumped Russian crude into its first emergency reserve facility in August, the first hard evidence that the stockbuild was underway. As much as 3 million barrels of seaborne crude has been delivered, sources said, filling about a tenth of its capacity.

The strategic reserves are a cornerstone of China's plan to address its growing vulnerability to supply disruptions and volatile world markets. A net exporter less than 15 years ago, China now imports nearly half its crude oil needs.


China NDRC official confirms strategic oil fill - China Institute - University of Alberta

Daily Kos: China begins filling Oil vault, with US dollars

China today starting filling its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which should reach 100 million barrels.


China begins filling SPR, with US dollars Hotlist
by agent double o soul [Subscribe]
Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 12:27:24 PM CDT

China today starting filling its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which should reach 100 million barrels. The U.S. SPR is about 700 million barrels and with enterprise storage is double that amount. Beyond the symbolism of this move, there are some hard facts.
* ) China plans to pay for this additional oil with their U.S. dollar reserves. Think about 100 million barrels, times $50 a barrel, sold out of the U.S. Treasury Bond market. China currently holds 1 trillion in foreign reserves.
* ) The global drive to create storage could raise the fill rate to a million barrels a day, about the same amount the Saudi's want to take out of production. Interesting numbers.
* ) The October surprise, lower fuel prices, may have been a move to accomodate the Chinese central bankers, and not the American voters, although selling out the interests of America should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows this administration. The last time we had an American President this vicious and paranoid, relations with China flourished.

Daily Kos: China begins filling SPR, with US dollars

BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Guantanamo abuse boasts' probed

The Pentagon has ordered an inquiry into alleged abuses at Guantanamo Bay after reports that camp guards boasted of beating and mistreating detainees.

A marine sergeant who visited the camp has said she understood "striking detainees was a common practice".

The sergeant's sworn statement said she had overheard a guard describe slamming a detainee's head into a cell door.

The US has meanwhile rejected a call by British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett to close Guantanamo Bay.

BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Guantanamo abuse boasts' probed

BBC: Facing death in Sri Lanka and Thailand

We are five minutes away from closing a mega Bollywood song-and-dance revue at the local cricket stadium.

There are kinetic stars on the stage, with 10,000 happy people in the stands enjoying the carnival atmosphere.

Dancers disappear

Bollywood hero Shah Rukh Khan is doing his gig with dancers.

I am waiting in the left wing for my finale. The music is pulsing through the audience, and the pyrotechnics are lighting up the inky black night.


Colombo blast scene in December
They say there are some moments in our lives which change us forever

Readers' views on this column


Suddenly I see a man in the front row flying to his left. Then I see Shah Rukh looking to his right and left. Then I see the dancers disappear.

What is happening?

I stepped on the stage and leaned over. I saw a pool of blood in the front rows. The security men grab us from behind and ask us to leave.

A bomb has exploded in the front rows - two people are dead, more than a dozen injured. The concert has come to a bloody end.

The next few minutes are surreal.

As I am coming down the backstage stairway, all hell is breaking lose.

I see a woman with her arm blown off, bleeding and screaming "Someone, help me please". I see panicky people running in from all sides, and in the middle of this confusion, someone gropes me.

I am running for my life now in my red sequined cat suit with a silver belt saying 'disco' and glitter on my face. I am running for the car which will take us straight to the airport, where the flight to Mumbai (Bombay) has been held up for us.

'Vulnerable and fragile'

I reach Mumbai late at night, rattled and numbed. I am thinking how even as I was creating showbiz fantasy for the thousands of fans, somebody blew up a bomb in the stands and brought us back to cruel real life.

I do not know who let off the bomb or why they did it. All I knew it just made me feel very vulnerable and fragile. From the airport, I drove to a friend's place - still with glitter on my face - and talked into the morning about what a close shave it had been.

I thought the performers were very lucky to have escaped unhurt that night.

Site of blast in Colombo
The blast in December ripped through VIP seats

But within two weeks, my busy life kicked off again.

This was the second moment - and the setting is the pretty Thai resort of Phuket.

I arrive in Thailand's largest island nestling in the Indian Ocean on 25 December. I have planned it as a perfect Christmas break, and am determined to make the most of it.

I decide to give myself all the sleep and rest I need after a frenetic year of films, commercials and shows - I have travelled to 50 cities around the world in the past year on work.

So I rented a lovely villa on stilts on the Bang Thao beach.

'Loud banging'

It is an apt setting for a quiet holiday: a crescent shaped bay, white sand, casuarina trees and a lovely breeze blowing into the bay.

On Christmas evening, I meet some friends, have dinner. I return to my villa at two in the morning, switch off my hand-phone and crash out.

I remember hearing a din in my sleep sometime later. I toss and turn in my bed, covering my ears and cursing whoever was making all that noise outside.

Then suddenly, there is someone banging on the door. Loudly.

Preity Zinta
Preity - 'I contacted my hysterical mother and told her I was safe'

I open the door sleepily to see my friend panting outside. "There's been a tidal wave. We must run!", he shouts.

I pick up my handbag and run along with him. I step outside the villa and there's water all around.

What is happening?

I have slept through the tsunami that has killed nearly 6,000 people on Thailand's coast, mostly in Phuket.

I have slept as two killer waves forced the hotel to evacuate guests from the island.

On the road to my friend's place, I see the havoc wreaked by the killer waves.

Phuket resembles a war zone. The road is full of debris. There are bodies lying everywhere.

People in surgical masks are looking for bodies. At a flooded supermarket I search for some candles to light up my friend's home - the electricity has gone off.

After the devastation, it is a beautiful quiet full moon night in Phuket.

But it is the peace of the graveyard: all the parties are off, and the dead are being counted.

'Dreaded water'

I made contact with my hysterical mother and told her I was safe. I said that as soon as I get a seat on a flight, I will be back home.

I decided to stay on.

I ended up spending eight more days on the devastated island, and saw survivors picking up the pieces.

I saw rescue work picking up speed. I find a German kick boxer in the neighbourhood, and I begin taking lessons.

Phuket
The beauty of the sea restored Preity's zest for life

Then I do the unthinkable - for me, at least.

I go out into the deep sea off the Thai coast and spend four nights in a yacht near Similan island close to Burma.

All my life I have dreaded water.

I almost drowned twice when I was younger. I tried to take swimming lessons, but I barely swim now.

The tsunami should have made me stay away from the water forever. But I have I decided to try and overcome this fear.

The voyage is a reaffirmation of life.

I dived into the ocean with my life vest and swam. The sea is calm and blue. I am humbler, smaller and feel as vulnerable after two near escapes from death.

It feels good to be alive.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Facing death in Sri Lanka and Thailand

BBC: Are there too many warnings in life?

Chilling instruction

If you read the warning labels on products you will know what I mean. My printer ink cartridge, for instance, has a warning that I should not drink it. I do not know whether I should thank the company that produced it for its touching concern for my health or send a letter to the product manager asking him what he thinks my IQ is. ...

you reach into your pocket for one of those refreshment strips,, "Cool Mint Listerine Pocket Packs", for instance, you will notice a word of caution in bold: WARNING: THE CARRYING CASE MAY CAUSE A CHOKING HAZARD.

In case you were tempted to eat not just the candies but the carrying case, I suppose that is a useful warning.

Weighed down by these thoughts, last evening I tried to put all the dangers surrounding me out of my mind, and relax with a book and a glass of soda.

And what better than ginger ale, caffeine free, Canada Dry, to soothe the nerves?

But no sooner had I sunk into the sofa and picked up the bottle, my eyes fell on a warning on the side of it: "Contents under pressure. Cap may blow off causing eye or other serious injury. Point away from face or people."

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Are there too many warnings in life?

BBC: Rebel killing raises stakes in Pakistan

Guest journalist Ahmed Rashid assesses what the killing of a rebel tribal leader in Balochistan province means for the Baloch rebel movement and for the Pakistani government.

In his death and the manner in which it was carried out, Sardar Akbar Bugti is likely to become a martyred hero for Baloch nationalism and nationalists elsewhere in Pakistan - rather than the anti-government renegade and reactionary tribesman Islamabad would like to portray him as.

Bugti, the Sardar or chief of more than 200,000 Bugti tribesmen, was killed along with more than 35 of his followers when the Pakistan Air Force bombed his hideout in the Bambore mountain range in the Marri tribal area.

Pakistani officials say that at least 16 soldiers including four officers were killed after they went in to mop up the remnants of the Baloch guerrilla group. A fierce battle ensued which led to their deaths.

Bugti, a 79-year-old invalid who could not walk due to arthritis, is reported to be buried in the rubble of the cave where he was hiding.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Rebel killing raises stakes in Pakistan

BBC: Eyewitness: 'We saw boats explode'

Tamil Tiger rebels have carried out a suicide attack on a naval base in the southern Sri Lankan tourist city of Galle. Eyewitnesses to the attack and the chaotic aftermath describe what they saw..

When we heard the first blast, we didn't know what it was. We immediately ran to get a view of the harbour.

We saw a few boats come into the harbour and explode. The boats we saw were high-speed boats and their explosions were sudden, unexpected and terrifying. There was a massive noise and window panes and other glass shattered.

Everyone ran into buildings close by and watched the harbour from there. There was a thick cloud of black smoke which rose up and covered everything.

There was a navy checkpoint in the water. Many big ships are parked there, there are also fishing boats. The checkpoint checked every boat morning and evening. That was where the first boat exploded. And once that went up, was when the others came racing in.

I think the navy thought this might happen. Earlier this year, I hear they came to people's houses here and asked for our help and told us to be alert.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Eyewitness: 'We saw boats explode'

BBC NEWS | Americas | Profile: Guantanamo Bay

The US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay has come under intense scrutiny since it began to receive foreign detainees in early 2002.

By November 2002, the camp held more than 750 detainees. Since then, hundreds have been either freed or handed over to their national governments.

Three detainees committed suicide in June 2006 - the first to succeed in doing so, though there had been earlier suicide attempts at the camp.

The camp currently houses about 460 detainees from about 40 countries, and is said to include terrorist suspects picked up in Eastern Europe and Africa.

In March 2006, the US defence department released the names and nationalities of the inmates for the first time.

It came as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Associated Press news agency.

Abuse investigation

Allegations of mistreatment emerged from the start.

The International Red Cross is the only organisation that has been granted full access to detainees.

Guantanamo detention camp
The US says that it has no plans to close the camp
However, the UN says it has evidence that torture has taken place at the prison.

Its allegations include the force-feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes and the simultaneous use of interrogation techniques such as prolonged solitary confinement and exposure to extreme temperatures, noise and light.

The UN also says many of the inmates have had mental breakdowns.

Detainee representatives have repeatedly complained that inmates have been denied access to a lawyer.

In a report in May 2005, the human rights group Amnesty International called the camp "the gulag of our times" and also called for it to be shut down.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Profile: Guantanamo Bay

BBC : Regret and resentment at Guantanamo

As President Bush signs a new law allowing Guantanamo detainees to be tried in military tribunals using evidence obtained through coercion, the BBC's Omar Razek reflects on a recent visit to the notorious prison complex.

I could hear the midday call to prayer coming from different camps.

I could also see the sweating face of a young man on a small carriage, his hands and legs shackled, driven by two military guards under the burning sun.

He was Abdel-Razzaq, a Saudi detainee caught in Afghanistan after the fall of Taleban and he was going before an Administrative Review Board (ARB).

In these annual hearings, military officers review the status of each detainee, deciding if they are still an "enemy combatant" or not.

Abdel-Razzaq was one of more than 450 people - most with Arab and Muslim names - held by the US authorities in five (soon to be six) camps in the notorious Guantanamo detention complex.

Before his ARB, he expressed his regret for being in Afghanistan.

"I was 17-years-old and full of enthusiasm for jihad, but now after five years in Guantanamo I have changed. I need to go back to my country, lead a simple life care for my old parents and have a wife and kids."

He says two of his brothers were killed in jihad, one in Chechnya and one in Afghanistan. He was arrested with a third brother fleeing Afghanistan after the war, and transferred later to Guantanamo.the main plea Abdel-Razzaq made to the board through his interpreter was a solemn one: "What I want really know is simple: Will you release me or not?"

The ARB don't have an answer for that question. They merely raise their recommendation to the deputy secretary of defence, who decides about release or transfer.

The board has reviewed 91 cases so far this year. None of the prisoners was released, 33 were transferred and 58 are still in detention.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Regret and resentment at Guantanamo

CorpWatch : Baghdad Express

John Owen didn’t realize how different his job would be from his last 27 years in construction until he signed on with First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting in November 2005. Working as general foreman, he would be overseeing an army of workers building the largest, most expensive and heavily fortified US embassy in the world. Scheduled to open in 2007, the sprawling complex near the Tigris River will equal Vatican City in size.

Then seven months into the job, he quit.

Not one of the five different US embassy sites he had worked on around the world compared to the mess he describes. Armenia, Bulgaria, Angola, Cameroon and Cambodia all had their share of dictators, violence and economic disruption, but the companies building the embassies were always fair and professional, he says. The Kuwait-based company building the $592-million Baghdad project is the exception. Brutal and inhumane, he says “I’ve never seen a project more fucked up. Every US labor law was broken.”

In the resignation letter last June, Owen told First Kuwaiti and US State Department officials that his managers beat their construction workers, demonstrated little regard for worker safety, and routinely breeched security.

CorpWatch : Baghdad Express

Slave Labor Building US Iraq Embassy

seven months into the job, he quit... Not one of the five different US embassy sites he had worked on around the world compared to the mess... Brutal and inhumane “I’ve never seen a project more fucked up. Every US labor law was broken.”

The Kuwait contractor building the US embassy in Baghdad stands accused by workers of labor trafficking and smuggling low-paid South Asians into Iraq. Still, the US State Department casts a blind eye on the complaints as it rushes to complete its most ambitious embassy project ever.

"The possibility that a company under a US State Department contract is trafficking and smuggling workers into a war zone is an insult the values that most Americans support and die for. The fact that the accused contractor, First Kuwaiti Trading and Contracting, is building the $592-million US embassy – perhaps the most high-profile symbol of US presence in Iraq – is doubly astounding" says journalist David Phinney.

Based on interviews with sources that range from more than a half dozen former First Kuwaiti employees to numerous competing contractors, this latest CorpWatch investigation reveals complaints about the deceptive trafficking operation and the horrid working conditions faced by the people on-the-ground in Iraq.

ALLEGATIONS:
· Witnesses say First Kuwaiti has smuggled low-paid Asian workers on planes to Baghdad after taking away their passports and issuing airplane boarding passes for Dubai. Taking passports is a violation of US trafficking laws and contracting.
· First Kuwaiti has coerced low-paid workers to take jobs in Iraq against their wishes after recrutiers lured them to Kuwait for different jobs. (Interviews with Filipino workers who escaped Iraq available.)
· Although no journalist is allowed on embassy site, prostitutes are smuggled in by First Kuwaiti managers, according to former employees. Prostitutes are a "breech of security," says one former manager for the company.
· An American medic recommended that health clinics serving thousands of embassy construction workers be shut down for unsanitary conditions and then was fired. He also requested the investigation of two workers who may have died from mistreatment. Prescription pain killers were handed out like "candy" and workers were sent back to work on project, he says.
· There have been numerous beatings of workers by First Kuwaiti managers and labor strikes, say former employees. This reflects complaints of others who witnessed mistreatment on other projects.

Daily Kos: Trafficking in Humans

10/17/2006

My Left Wing :: Permission to waterboard the witness, Your Honor...

Instead of crying over the "Military Commissions Act of 2006" why not turn it against it's authors ?

I mean, surely there is a new way to avoid the 6th perjury from Libby and countless others from Rove. Waterboard them!

What, you say we can't ? Why not ? Isn't the crime one of National Security ? Aren't the witnesses well known for lying and being unreliable ? Isn't waterboarding a "harmless way to extract information" from exactly those kind of people ?

Oh, they are not terrorists you say ? How do you know ? Giving up the name of WMD specialists sounds suspicious to me. There is also the Iran code break, and the mess in Iraq... Waterboard them first and sort them out later I say. Isn't that what they did and do in Gitmo ?
lawnorder :: Permission to waterboard the witness, Your Honor...
Rove and Libby are American Citizens, you say ? That didn't protect many of the Gitmo detainees. Nor will it protect you and me if a loony on the military decides to "extraordinary rendition" us. So please tell me, why are Rove and Libby immune ?

I know they pose as "holier than thou" and act like the laws don't apply to them. But the laws still do apply to them as much as they apply to me or to the poor sap in Gitmo.

So let's waterboard them and get those SOBs to confess while we still can!

PS: IANAL, but it seems to me that nothing will better drive home the point of how horrible this new law really is: A prosecutor requesting to waterboard a witness, in court. THAT oughta make even the most in denial Bushbot quake in his boots. Because, as we all know, Bushbots are COWARDS.

Slightly tongue in cheek
Just slightly... ;-)

My Left Wing :: Permission to waterboard the witness, Your Honor...

Naval War College Review, Summer 2003: Plutonium comes from Bush

In 1993, the Central Intelligence Agency first concluded that in the late 1980s “North Korea . . . ha[d] produced enough plutonium for at least one, and possibly two, nuclear weapons.” This judgment was reaffirmed in all unclassified intelligence assessments throughout the latter half of the 1990s, up to intelligence reporting in mid-2001.1 Though the CIA assessment was widely interpreted as evidence that North Korea had one or two nuclear weapons in its possession, neither the intelligence community nor any senior U.S. official offered a definitive statement to this effect during the remainder of the 1990s. However, the intelligence community assessment shifted noticeably in December 2001, when an unclassified version of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) asserted that “[t]he Intelligence Community judged in the mid-1990s that North Korea had produced one, possibly two, nuclear weapons.”2 Subsequent intelligence reporting further altered earlier estimates. In an unclassified assessment provided to the Congress on 19 November 2002, the CIA stated: “The U.S. . . . has assessed since the early 1990s that the North has one or possibly two [nuclear] weapons using plutonium it produced prior to 1992.”3

Pollack

USA: Military Commissions Act of 2006 - Turning bad policy into bad law - Amnesty International

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Military Commissions Act of 2006 – Turning bad policy into bad law

In recent days, human rights violations perpetrated by the USA throughout the "war on terror" have in effect been given the congressional stamp of approval. With the passing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 by the US House of Representatives on 27 September and the Senate on 28 September, Congress has turned bad executive policy into bad law. This document looks back on the evolution of the executive’s "war on terror" detention policies, in order to illustrate the sort of violations in which Congress, through inaction and now legislation, has become complicit. Amnesty International will continue to campaign for the USA’s "war on terror" detention policies and practices to be brought into full compliance with international law, and for repeal of any law that fails to meet this test.

On 21 September 2001, Amnesty International faxed a letter to President George W. Bush. The organization urged the President to put respect for human rights and the rule of law at the heart of his country’s response to the crime against humanity that was perpetrated on 11 September 2001. "In the wake of a crime of such magnitude", the letter said, "principled leadership becomes crucial… We urge you to lead your government to take every necessary human rights precaution in the pursuit of justice."

Amnesty International deeply regrets that its appeal fell on deaf ears. The past five years have seen the USA engage in systematic violations of international law, with a distressing impact on thousands of detainees and their families. Human rights violations have included:

o Secret detention
o Enforced disappearance
o Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
o Outrages upon personal dignity, including humiliating treatment
o Denial and restriction of habeas corpus
o Indefinite detention without charge or trial
o Prolonged incommunicado detention
o Arbitrary detention
o Unfair trial procedures

Yet at the same time, US officials have continued to characterize the USA as a "nation of laws" and one that in the "war on terror" is committed to what it calls the "non-negotiable demands of human dignity", including the "rule of law".

USA: Military Commissions Act of 2006 - Turning bad policy into bad law - Amnesty International

Scientists and Engineers for America

Bill of Rights for Scientists and Engineers

Effective government depends on accurate, honest and timely advice from scientists and engineers. Science demands an open, transparent process of review and access to the best scholars from around the nation and the world. Mistakes dangerous to the nation’s welfare and security have been made when governments prevent scientists from presenting the best evidence and analysis. Americans should demand that all candidates support the following Bill of Rights:

1. Federal policy shall be made using the best available science and analysis both from within the government and from the rest of society.
2. The federal government shall never intentionally publish false or misleading scientific information nor post such material on federal websites.
3. Scientists conducting research or analysis with federal funding shall be free to discuss and publish the results of unclassified research after a reasonable period of review without fear of intimidation or adverse personnel action.
4. Federal employees reporting what they believe to be manipulation of federal research and analysis for political or ideological reasons should be free to bring this information to the attention of the public and shall be protected from intimidation, retribution or adverse personnel action by effective enforcement of Whistle Blower laws.
5. No scientists should fear reprisals or intimidation because of the results of their research.
6. Appointments to federal scientific advisory committees shall be based on the candidate’s scientific qualifications, not political affiliation or ideology.
7. The federal government shall not support any science education program that includes instruction in concepts that are derived from ideology and not science.
8. While scientists may elect to withhold methods or studies that might be misused there shall be no federal prohibition on publication of basic research results. Decisions made about blocking the release of information about specific applied research and technologies for reasons of national security shall be the result of a transparent process. Classification decisions shall be made by trained professionals using a clear set of published criteria and there shall be a clear process for challenging decisions and a process for remedying mistakes and abuses of the classification system.


Scientists and Engineers for America

North Korean Fuel Identified as Plutonium - New York Times

North Korean Fuel Identified as Plutonium - New York Times: "WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 — American intelligence agencies have concluded that North Korea’s test explosion last week was powered by plutonium that North Korea harvested from its small nuclear reactor, according to officials who have reviewed the results of atmospheric sampling since the blast."

AMERICAblog:North Korea test was plutonium: produced under Bush I or Bush II, not Clinton

The short version of the news? North Korea has a nuclear bomb because . . . President Bush was more worried about Iraq than competent foreign policy.

Err... Sorry for copying the whole post, but it is brilliant, what else can I say ? -- law


he official word on North Korea's nuclear test is that the detonation was a nuclear event with a sub-kilo explosion, which matches what you've been reading on this site since the day after the test. Atmospheric sampling detected radiological emissions, confirming that the test was not an elaborate fake, but rather a semi-failed nuclear explosion.

The tests also showed that the bomb was made with plutonium and not uranium. For everybody unfamiliar with the arcane details of nuclear weapons, this is another nail in the coffin of the "Clinton's fault!" meme.

The New York Times explains:

The intelligence agencies' finding that the weapon was based on plutonium strongly suggested that the country's second path to a nuclear bomb — one using uranium — was not yet ready. [...] As president, Mr. Clinton negotiated a deal that froze the production and weaponization of North Korea's plutonium, but intelligence agencies later determined that North Korea began its secret uranium program under his watch. The plutonium that North Korea exploded was produced, according to intelligence estimates, either during the administration of the first President Bush or after 2003, when the North Koreans threw out international inspectors and began reprocessing spent nuclear fuel the inspectors had kept under seal.

I'm shocked -- shocked! -- that the bomb's nuclear fuel was created not under Clinton, as hyperventilating conservatives alleged, but either before or, more likely, after his term.

Also keep in mind that in 1994 the Clinton administration threatened to destroy North Korea's fuel and nuclear reprocessing facilities if it tried to make weapons with any plutonium it might have had. President Bush took no such stand, and three years after the administration's inept diplomacy caused North Korea to resume work with plutonium, we have another nuclear-armed state. This is oversimplifying things, but basically, back in 2003, the administration so insisted on Being Tough, and was ostensibly so concerned about a uranium bomb, that . . . it allowed North Korea to restart work with plutonium, work that had ceased under the Agreed Framework negotiated under Clinton/Carter/Albright.

From Fred Kaplan:

On Jan. 10, 2003, they [North Korea] withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, they also said they would reverse their actions and retract their declarations if the United States resumed its obligations under the Agreed Framework and signed a non-aggression pledge.

The Bush administration refused to negotiate, then made a bunch of empty threats, and then failed to respond when North Korea called the bluff. Why such atrocious foreign policy? Wait for it . . .

What explains Bush's inaction before North Korea crossed the red line--and its weak response afterward? Historians will surely debate that question for decades. Part of the answer probably lies in the administration's all-consuming focus on Iraq. [...] In January, a senior administration official told The New York Times, "President Bush does not want to distract international attention from Iraq."

The short version of the news? North Korea has a nuclear bomb because . . . President Bush was more worried about Iraq than competent foreign policy. Perhaps we need to add another very, very big strategic debacle to the list of harmful Iraq effects.

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth

10/15/2006

Rep. Curt Weldon - of Able Danger fame - faces FBI investigation - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - The
FBI is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., used his influence to secure lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, two people familiar with the inquiry said Saturday.

The inquiry focuses on lobbying contracts worth $1 million that Weldon's daughter, Karen Weldon, obtained from foreign clients and whether they were assisted by the congressman, they said.

Rep. Curt Weldon faces FBI investigation - Yahoo! News

10/14/2006

ArmsControlWonk: DPRK Test Radionuclide Data = 0

NHK and Yonhap have both reported on what Japan and South Korea have found in the atmosphere after the DPRK’s Monday test: bagel.

According to NHK:

Japan’s 47 prefectures say no radioactive substances have been detected at any measuring points in a survey conducted one day after North Korea’s claimed nuclear test.

ArmsControlWonk: DPRK Test: What About that Radionuclide Data?

Think Progress » GOP North Korea Nuclear Failures

North Korea’s bombs are built with plutonium. They produce their plutonium in a reactor they built during the Reagan presidency, starting around 1984. They separated enough plutonium for perhaps two bombs during the first Bush presidency.

When they tried to make more plutonium under President Bill Clinton, he said he would go to war to stop them. He had plans prepared for the attack. The North Koreans backed down.

Bill Clinton froze the program in its tracks. North Korea did not separate a gram of plutonium while Bill Clinton was in office. He also stopped their missile tests.

George Bush walked away from the deal in his first months in office. In March 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell said he wanted “to continue the process begun under Clinton.” Bush cut him down.

U.S. intelligence had detected signs near the end of the Clinton years that the North Koreans were trying to evade the freeze by beginning a uranium program. When confronted with the evidence in 2002, the North Koreans admitted it and offered to put that program on the table as part of a comprehensive deal. Bush used it as an excuse to walk away from negotiations. He thought he did not need to talk to the North Koreans. He thought he could overthrow the regime.

He failed. He issued threats and drew lines in the sand. The North Koreans walked right past them. They threw out the IAEA inspectors in December 2002, while Bush was preparing to invade Iraq. The month after the invasion, they withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 2005, they reprocessed plutonium from the fuel rods Clinton had made them keep in pools under IAEA inspection. They took another load of fuel out of the reactor and processed more plutonium. They reloaded the reactor to make even more plutonium. They tested missiles, they made bombs, now they have tested a bomb.

Bush did nothing.

This is Bush’s Bomb. All the plutonium made for these bombs was made either during his presidency or his father’s. To blame his failure on Bill Clinton should not be allowed to stand. Senator McCain should be ashamed.

Think Progress » McCain Covers Up For Bush’s Nuclear Failures

A box of twinkies made me do it (2)

Now that I understand "twinkie" is the slang for the male teenager coveted by homosexual sexual predators like Mark Foley, I finally found out why my previous post on twinkies has been so popular lately.

Sure enough, Foley blames alchohol and prior sexual abuse as escape goats for his acts... Like all the other perverts before him, he is incapable of admitting he is to blame. UGH!!!!

Party of personal responsibility my arse!

-- law

lawnorder: A box of twinkies made me do it

(RED) = Stop Aids

Thankfully the RED fund is not a Republican scam to get cash!

The Global Fund

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established in 2002, with the support of the world's leaders and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need by supporting locally-driven strategies. To date, the Global Fund has committed US$5.2 billion to more than 363 programs in 131 countries.

The Global Fund is an innovative partnership of governments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector, working together to rid the world of AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Its sole purpose is to raise funds and make grants to countries, organizations and communities that urgently need financial help to allow them to respond to these epidemics. The Global Fund continues to fund grants dependent upon proven results and targets achieved.

Measu(RED)
Many thanks to you for purchasing (RED) products: In May, $1.25 million of the first (RED) money received by the Global Fund flowed to Rwanda. This has gone towards the Rwandan Ministry of Health's comprehensive HIV/AIDS programs, mainly to provide anti-retroviral treatment for children and adults in a third of the country.

During the week of September 11, 2006, $4 million of (RED) money flowed to Swaziland. Derek von Wissell, director of National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS, described where the money will go: "First, a large portion of the money will be directed to orphans - feeding them, keeping them in school, protecting them and offering them a future. Second, some of the money will help support the treatment of people on anti-retroviral therapy. (RED) is saving lives. (RED) is helping orphans survive and giving them a better future. (RED) will make a difference."

On September 19, a further $5 million of (RED) money was disbursed to Rwanda, in response to their latest request. This funding will go towards further supporting the Ministry of Health's national treatment and prevention program.

Additional disbursements of funds will be made to these programs as they continue their lifesaving work and achieve tangible, measurable results. Also, due diligence is now being conducted to select the third (and potentially fourth) grant for the (RED) portfolio, which we expect to add towards the end of 2006/beginning of 2007.


(RED)

10/12/2006

Daily Kos: It's Not Defeat, Dammit!

The reason that terms like "victory" and "defeat" in Iraq are meaningless is because you can't "win" an OCCUPATION. Wars you can win or lose; occupations can only end in withdrawal or annexation.

We can no more "win" or "lose" in Iraq that the British could have "won" or "lost" in India, or the French could have "won" or "lost" in Algeria.

Allow me to quote from my earlier diary on this subject called How Can You Surrender If There Was Never a War?:

The biggest and by far the most important bullshit assumption being made by all sides is that there is a WAR in Iraq.

THERE IS NO WAR IN IRAQ. There is an OCCUPATION. And there is a resistance to said occupation. This resistance takes many forms: criminal thuggery, despicable terrorism, sectarian violence, and guerrilla warfare.

Allow me to repeat this again...

The "War" in Iraq is NOT A WAR. It is an OCCUPATION.

And this is absolutely critical. It's critical because there is a HUGE difference between wars and occupations: Occupations can end only in WITHDRAWAL or in ANNEXATION; Wars can end only in DEFEAT or VICTORY.

America is NOT ready to annex Iraq--even if such a thing were possible. Cheney and Bush would like to, through the process of permanent bases--but the American public won't stand for it. America IS ready to accept withdrawal from Iraq--But ONLY if it understands that what is happening in Iraq is an OCCUPATION and not a war.

Let me be very clear about this: America WINS by withdrawing from Iraq. We win because we're not spending $2 billion/week. We win because we're not losing more troops to targeted homegrown resistance. We win because we're not killing 600,000 more civilians and inflaming world anger. America wins by allowing Iraq to pursue its own destiny and stand up for itself. America wins by decreasing its foreign policy emphasis on oil. Most importantly, we win because we were never fighting an identifiable "enemy" once Saddam was toppled and imprisoned.

Daily Kos: It's Not Defeat, Dammit!

10/11/2006

654,000 deaths tied to Iraq war - baltimoresun.com


"To put these numbers in context, deaths are occurring in Iraq now at a rate more than three times that from before the invasion of March 2003,"


Originally published October 11, 2006
In an update of a two-year-old survey that sparked wide disagreement, Johns Hopkins researchers now estimate that more than a half-million Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S.-led invasion and its bloody aftermath.

Reporting this week in the online edition of The Lancet, a leading British medical journal, the researchers estimated that 654,000 more Iraqis died of various causes after the invasion than would have died in a comparable period before.

The scientists attributed 600,000 of those deaths to acts of violence.

Gunshots emerged as the leading cause of death, accounting for 56 percent of the total. Airstrikes, car bombs and other explosions each accounted for 13 percent to 14 percent. Almost 60 percent of the deaths were among males 15 to 44.

"In this conflict, like all other recent conflicts, it's the population that bears the consequences," said Dr. Gilbert Burnham, lead author and co-director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"To put these numbers in context, deaths are occurring in Iraq now at a rate more than three times that from before the invasion of March 2003," he said.

654,000 deaths tied to Iraq war - baltimoresun.com

GOPpie: Let's quit while we are behind - Christopher Buckley

Papap Bush's speech writer says all : With heavy heart, as a once-proud—indeed, staunch— Republican, I here admit, behind enemy lines, to the guilty hope that my party loses; on both occasions.

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000. In 2004, I could not bring myself to pull the same lever again. Neither could I bring myself to vote for John Kerry, who, for all his strengths, credentials, and talent, seems very much less than the sum of his parts. So, I wrote in a vote for George Herbert Walker Bush, for whom I worked as a speechwriter from 1981 to ’83...



“The trouble with our times,” Paul Valéry said, “is that the future is not what it used to be.”

This glum aperçu has been much with me as we move into the home stretch of the 2006 mid-term elections and shimmy into the starting gates of the 2008 presidential campaign. With heavy heart, as a once-proud—indeed, staunch— Republican, I here admit, behind enemy lines, to the guilty hope that my party loses; on both occasions.

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000. In 2004, I could not bring myself to pull the same lever again. Neither could I bring myself to vote for John Kerry, who, for all his strengths, credentials, and talent, seems very much less than the sum of his parts. So, I wrote in a vote for George Herbert Walker Bush, for whom I worked as a speechwriter from 1981 to ’83. I wish he’d won.

Bob Woodward asked Bush 43 if he had consulted his father before invading Iraq. The son replied that he had consulted “a higher father.” That frisson you feel going up your spine is the realization that he meant it. And apparently the higher father said, “Go for it!” There are those of us who wish he had consulted his terrestrial one; or, if he couldn’t get him on the line, Brent Scowcroft. Or Jim Baker. Or Henry Kissinger. Or, for that matter, anyone who has read a book about the British experience in Iraq. (18,000 dead.)

There were some of us who scratched our heads in 2000 when we first heard the phrase “compassionate conservative.” It had a cobbled-together, tautological, dare I say, Rovian aroma to it. But OK, we thought, let’s give it a chance. It sounded more fun than Gore’s “Prosperity for America’s Families.” (Bo-ring.)

Six years later, the White House uses the phrase about as much as it does “Mission Accomplished.” Six years of record deficits and profligate expansion of entitlement programs. Incompetent expansion, at that: The actual cost of the President’s Medicare drug benefit turned out, within months of being enacted, to be roughly one-third more than the stated price. Weren’t Republicans supposed to be the ones who were good at accounting? All those years on Wall Street calculating CEO compensation....

Who knew, in 2000, that “compassionate conservatism” meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief? Who knew, in 2000, that the only bill the president would veto, six years later, would be one on funding stem-cell research?

A more accurate term for Mr. Bush’s political philosophy might be incontinent conservatism.

On Capitol Hill, a Republican Senate and House are now distinguished by—or perhaps even synonymous with—earmarks, the K Street Project, Randy Cunningham (bandit, 12 o’clock high!), Sen. Ted Stevens’s $250-million Bridge to Nowhere, Jack Abramoff (Who? Never heard of him), and a Senate Majority Leader who declared, after conducting his own medical evaluation via videotape, that he knew every bit as much about the medical condition of Terri Schiavo as her own doctors and husband. Who knew that conservatism means barging into someone’s hospital room like Dr. Frankenstein with defibrillator paddles? In what chapter of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom or Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind is that principle enunciated?

..George Tenet’s WMD “slam-dunk,” Vice President Cheney’s “we will be greeted as liberators,” Don Rumsfeld’s avidity to promulgate a minimalist military doctrine, together with the tidy theories of a group who call themselves “neo-conservative” (not one of whom, to my knowledge, has ever worn a military uniform), have thus far: de-stabilized the Middle East; alienated the world community from the United States; empowered North Korea, Iran, and Syria; unleashed sectarian carnage in Iraq among tribes who have been cutting each others’ throats for over a thousand years; cost the lives of 2,600 Americans, and the limbs, eyes, organs, spinal cords of another 15,000—with no end in sight. But not to worry: Democracy is on the march in the Middle East. Just ask Hamas. And the neocons—bright people, all—are now clamoring, “On to Tehran!”

What have they done to my party? Where does one go to get it back?
One place comes to mind: the back benches. It’s time for a time-out. Time to hand over this sorry enchilada to Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and Charlie Rangel and Harry Reid. Or, with any luck, to Mark Warner or, what the heck, Al Gore. I’m not much into polar bears, but this heat wave has me thinking the man might be on to something.

My fellow Republicans, it is time, as Madison said in Federalist 76, to “Hand over the tiller of governance, that others may fuck things up for a change.”


Let's quit while we are behind - Christopher Buckley

AP - Success, failure or bluff? Scientists pore over data

Success, failure or bluff? Scientists pore over data
(AFP)

9 October 2006


PARIS - Scientists took a dour wait-and-see attitude after North Korea claimed to have successfully conducted a nuclear test on Monday.

Only careful analysis of data returned by seismic or atmospheric sensors will say whether the blast was a success or a damp squib, they said.

Nor could they rule out the possibility of a scam, in which North Korea blew up a huge stock of conventional explosives to bolster its claim to have joined the nuclear club.

James Acton of Vertic, an independent non-governmental organisation (NGO) in London that specialises in verification research, noted enormous discrepancies in the estimated size of the blast.

The Korea Earthquake Research Centre in South Korea said there was a 3.58-magnitude tremor from North Korea’s North Hamgyong province that translated into the equivalent of 800 tonnes (0.8 of a kilotonne) of TNT.

But Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency, said the strength was five to 15 kilotonnes. By comparison, “Little Boy,” the US atomic bomb, which destroyed Hiroshima during World War II released the equivalent of around 12,500 tonnes of TNT.

“I’ve heard from three different sources that it (the North Korean blast) was less than one kilotonne,” said Acton, a nuclear physicist by training.

“This (the Russian figure) is not a difference of 10 or 20 percent (in the yield). It’s huge. We should wait to see if that Russian statement is confirmed,” he said.

Acton said that going for a 15-kilotonne yield was “the natural size” for a country trying to test a nuclear weapon. Paradoxically, it is easier to make and test a Hiroshima-sized arm of this size rather than to make a smaller one, which requires mastery of important miniaturisation techniques.

“If it turns out to be less than a kilotonne, it could look very much like a fizzle,” a bomb that failed to detonate properly and achieve a full chain reaction, Acton told AFP.

Possibilities

Another theoretical possibility is that North Korea stashed lots of TNT underground and blew it up.

“It is possible to tell the difference between a conventional explosion and a nuclear test,” said Acton. “The differences are very fine and subtle, and you need time to analyse the signatures.”

Bruno Seignier, in charge of the analysis and monitoring department at France’s Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), said a nuclear explosion “has a more instant shockwave than a chemical one.”

He said that “in a small (seismic) event”, picking out such differences would take time.

“The analysis is complicated because the energy that radiates out is weak compared with the subterranean background noise picked up by detectors. You really have to make a very detailed analysis when you look into such an event.”

As for the scenario of a hoax, Acton cautioned that to detonate a huge quantity of TNT to simulate a nuclear blast was in itself quite difficult, as it entails digging a large cavity underground—which would be visible to spy satellites—and requires detonators to be triggered all at the same time.

In addition to seismic sensors run by national governments, the UN’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CBTO) in Vienna also has a network of 189 seismic and hydroacoustic monitoring stations designed to detect nuclear tests.

The body is not qualified to make public statements on the nature of the incidents registered by its monitoring systems, and therefore did not confirm whether or not a nuclear explosion had taken place as claimed by North Korea.

However, the raw data has been passed on to the organisation’s 176 member states and to 770 institutions around the world.

Radioactive particles and gases that can vent from an underground nuclear blast are also a telltale, providing clues as to the type of material (uranium or plutonium) that was used and to the size of the weapon.

Sniffer planes and ground sensors can be used to monitor this airborne evidence. In the case of a totally sealed site, nothing may emerge, though.

A third monitoring technique is to use satellites with ground-scanning radars, which record the topography of a test site before and after an event. Movement or subsidence of the soil is the sign of a big blast

Khaleej Times Online - Success, failure or bluff? Scientists pore over data

ArmsControlWonk: So, like, why didn't it work?

...the United States has built a missile defense that does not work, to defend against a North Korean missile that does not work, that would carry a nuclear warhead that does not work.

This is all very postmodern.

(Hehe, love his sense of humor -- law)


ArmsControlWonk: So, like, why didn't it work?

Daily Kos: Was N. Korea Counter-Nuke Program Spoiled?

It appears that Bush may have undone a Clinton-era covert program that successfully (conned) North Korea.. into an extremely expensive nuke effort that apparently never produced much weapons grade material. The weapon Pyongyang actually ended up with was a dud.

Was N. Korea Counter-Nuke Program Spoiled? Hotlist
by leveymg
Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:29:32 AM CDT

In 2002, the Bush Administration ruptured a nuclear moratorium deal that President Clinton had made with North Korea. As a result, Pyongyang repossessed plutonium stockpiles sealed by international inspectors,and proceeded to build bombs. One of these nuclear devices was apparently detonated a few days ago, producing such a low yield that most analysts have concluded the device was defective.

There's a back-story behind this. It appears that Bush may have undone a Clinton-era covert program that successfully delayed and diffused North Korea's plutonium bomb building program, diverting resources into an extremely expensive nuke effort that apparently never produced much weapons grade material. The weapon Pyongyang actually ended up with was a dud.

Daily Kos: Was N. Korea Counter-Nuke Program Spoiled?

N Korea sanctions a 'declaration of war' | News | The Australian

N Korea sanctions a 'declaration of war'
Reuters, AFP
October 11, 2006
A NORTH Korean official said today that any full-scale sanctions imposed to punish Pyongyang for its nuclear test would be a "declaration of war".

"If any full-scale sanctions are imposed, we will regard them as a declaration of war," the unidentified official in Beijing told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

He said such full-scale sanctions would include a sea blockade.

"The harder the pressure will be, the stronger will be the level of our response," the official was quoted as saying.

Earlier, the US Geological Survey said it had detected a 5.8 magnitude earthquake off the coast off northern Japan and a US official said the tremor appeared to be the source of speculation that North Korea had tested another nuclear device.

The USGS said the quake at 9.58am Japan time (0958 AEST), was about 320km northeast of Tokyo, off the northeast coast of Japan's main island of Honshu, at a depth of 30km.

The earthquake appears to have triggered speculation that North Korea held a second nuclear test, which neither Japan nor the US could confirm.

A senior Bush administration official, responding to a reporter's query about a possible second nuclear weapons test in North Korea, said it was a false report.

"I've just been told it was a false alarm, an earthquake," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

North Korea announced it had conducted an underground nuclear test on Monday triggering global condemnation. The possibility of a second North Korean nuclear test was first aired by Japanese national broadcaster NHK.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said earlier this morning that the federal Government had grave concerns North Korea would conduct another nuclear test.

N Korea sanctions a 'declaration of war' | News | The Australian

655,000 more people have died in Iraq than they would w/o US

The Washington Post focuses on a study conducted by a team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists, which suggests that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.

'Of the total 655,000 estimated 'excess deaths,' 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study.'

"Highlights from the world's press - CNN.com

CNN.com - Dud or deception? Experts examine N. Korea claims - Oct 10, 2006

PARIS, France (AP) -- Was North Korea's nuclear device a partial dud?

That is one of several theories that Western experts say might explain the apparent low explosive force of the communist nation's first declared nuclear test.

Other suppositions are that North Korea deliberately chose a small device to save its limited stocks of bomb-making plutonium or that it somehow muffled the shockwaves from the underground blast to make it appear smaller than it was.

Even if North Korea got helpful pointers from nuclear-capable Pakistan, as many experts suspect, the technology of efficiently splitting atoms to make a controlled explosion is still tricky for novices to master. For North Korean scientists, working largely in isolation, that could be especially true.

"The devil is in the details," said French nuclear proliferation expert Bruno Tertrais. "It's like cooking. The fact that you have the recipe does not make you a chef."

One explanation could that the device -- if nuclear -- fizzled rather than truly banged, with the plutonium only partially detonating, he said. Or, the device's timing may have been slightly off, creating a weaker chain reaction with less explosive force than planned.

But because of the intense secrecy that shrouds North Korea, it may never be known exactly how large an explosion it was hoping for and, therefore, whether the test was successful, as it claimed.

"I think they got a partial result," said Philip Coyle, a U.S. former assistant secretary of defense and now a senior adviser to the Center for Defense Information, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

"For them it was enough for them to say that it was a success. It helps them to claim that they are a nuclear power, and that the world should take them seriously, which is what they want. But I wouldn't be surprised if after several months they don't try again."

He said North Korea may have muffled shockwaves from the device by detonating it in a very large underground cavity.

A lack of knowledge about the test site's geology -- a factor that can affect the spread of shockwaves -- could also complicate the efforts of scientists overseas who are poring over seismic data and other readings to try to pinpoint the exact nature of the blast.

According to Hankyoreh, a South Korean newspaper that has good ties with the communist North, a North Korean diplomat at its embassy in China acknowledged Tuesday that the nuclear test caused a smaller blast than expected, but he also claimed that Pyongyang had the ability to detonate a more powerful device.

"The success in a small-scale (test) means a large-scale (test) is also possible," the unidentified diplomat said in comments posted on the newspaper's Web site.

Figuring out in advance how powerful a bomb will be is a problem that has confronted scientists since the dawn of the atomic age. The United States tested the first bomb on July 16, 1945, partly because its scientists weren't sure that it would work. Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the U.S. weapons program, on that historic day lost his $10 bet that the bomb -- nicknamed "the Gadget" -- would not detonate.

That device, and the first weapons that Russia and other nuclear powers tested were about 20 times more powerful than North Korea's appeared at first glance to be.

France, South Korea and others estimated that the device had an explosive force equivalent to 500-1,000 tons of TNT. The French defense minister commented "that there could have been a failure."

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity about the sensitive situation with North Korea, said Tuesday that Washington's working assumption also continues to be that "more likely than not" Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test that was not particularly successful.

CNN.com - Dud or deception? Experts examine N. Korea claims - Oct 10, 2006

North Korean test 'went wrong,' U.S. official says - CNN.com

10/10 - The United States cannot say for sure the underground detonation was a nuclear blast; the working assumption is that it was, but not very successful...

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States believes North Korea attempted to detonate a nuclear device but that "something went wrong," and the blast was relatively small, a U.S. government official said Tuesday.

The official confirmed North Korea informed the Chinese government before the test that it would involve a four-kiloton nuclear device, a small explosion compared with the 15-kiloton nuclear tests that India and Pakistan conducted in 1998.

Also, an unnamed North Korean diplomat admitted the test was smaller than expected, the South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported Tuesday.

The United States cannot say for sure the underground detonation was a nuclear blast; the working assumption is that it was, but not very successful, said the official who spoke to CNN. (Dud or deception? Read the full story)

Another U.S. official said it is possible North Korea may attempt a second test but cautioned there's no evidence of any preparations at another site.

"I would not say we expect it, but it would not be a total surprise," the official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.

Russia's defense minister said Tuesday that his agency has estimated the power of the explosion at between five and 15 kilotons.

North Korean test 'went wrong,' U.S. official says - CNN.com

Daily Kos: North Korean Nuke: Fake or Failure?

There are only two real possibilities for what happened in North Korea. Either this was not a nuclear device at all, but a blast generated through conventional explosives, or it was a nuclear test gone wrong -- "a fizzle."

It was a fake, or a failure.

How could it have failed?

If the device was a fake -- just a lump of TNT or C4 playing a role -- we should know when we get the results of planes "sniffing" the air for released isotopes. But if it was a failure... well, there are several consequences.

If they failed to take extreme care in compressing the plutonium, the bomb could have become uneven, blowing some of the material off to the side before it could all be driven to criticality. Or the initiator could have been poorly designed, causing a slower start to the explosion and leading the device to fall apart physically before getting the full effect.

In either case, the result is called a "fizzle." In that case, you can get a lot of radioactive isotopes, a good deal of heat, and a much smaller explosion than the design would suggest. In essence, only a tiny part of the material is converted into energy. Even in a well-design nuclear bomb, the amount of matter converted into energy is about the size of a stick of gum. In a fizzle, it can be microscopic.

My initial inclination is to go with the idea that this was faked. After all, North Korea has made similar threats of tests before, and coming only a short time after the US had (foolishly) moved to cut off their access to banks, this was clearly intended as an effort to gain the isolated North Koreans some means of leverage. They have incentive to make us believe they can do this.

However, most experts believe that North Korea has enough plutonium on hand to create half a dozen or so devices, so a failure is just as likely. If that's true, we'll know soon even if the data from the sniffer planes is never made public. If this was a real test and it failed, North Korea will be keen to do it again. Soon.

Fake, or failure, we've little choice but to treat North Korea as if they've joined the "nuclear club."

Daily Kos: North Korean Nuke: Fake or Failure?

10/09/2006

The Blog | Martin Lewis: Bush photographed praising Foley as child-sex S.W.A.T. team leader!!! | The Huffington Post

: "July 27, 2006 - George W. Bush - with his hand on a page (of a bill he's signing) looks in the direction of Rep. Mark Foley (grey suit, blue tie, bulge in his pocket - his Blackberry)"

The Blog | Martin Lewis: Bush photographed praising Foley as child-sex S.W.A.T. team leader!!! | The Huffington Post

ArmsControlWonk: NORK DATA: It was a DUD

HA HA HA HA.

I love the US Geological Survey.

They’ve published lat/long (41.294°N, 129.134°E) and Mb estimates (4.2) for the North Korean test.

There is lots of data floating around: The CTBTO called it 4.0; The South Koreans report 3.58-3.7.

You’re thinking, 3.6, 4.2, in that neighborhood. Seismic scales, like the Richter, are logarithmic, so that neighborhood can be pretty big.

But even at 4.2, the test was probablya dud.

Estimating the yield is tricky business, because it depends on the geology of the test site. The South Koreans called the yield half a kiloton (550 tons), which is more or less—a factor of two—consistent with the relationship for tests in that yield range at the Soviet Shagan test site:

Mb = 4.262 + .973LogW

Where Mb is the magnitude of the body wave, and W is the yield.

3.58-3.7 gives you a couple hundred tons (not kilotons), which is pretty close in this business unless you’re really math positive. The same equation, given the US estimate of 4.2, yields (pun intended) around a kiloton.

A plutonium device should produce a yield in the range of the 20 kilotons, like the one we dropped on Nagasaki. No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device. North Korean nuclear scientists are now officially the worst ever.

Of course, I want to see what the US IC says. If/when the test vents, we could have some radionuclide data—maybe in the next 72 hours or so.

ArmsControlWonk: NORK DATA: It was a DUD

10/08/2006

TIME.com Print Page: TIME Magazine -- The End of a Revolution

Don't I wish!!! Unfortunately, as you saw on previous posts, the GOP voters have ALSO been corrupted. To the 35% still with Bush, even feeding their own underage children to a - gasp - gay predator is an acceptable price to pay to avoid us Liberal democrats from having any say on where the country is going. -- Law

Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006
The End of a Revolution
Sex, lies and power games are just the latest symptoms of a Republican Party that has strayed from its ideals
By KAREN TUMULTY

Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. The epitaph for the movement that started when Newt Gingrich and his forces rose from the back bench of the House chamber in 1994 may well have been written last week in the same medium that incubated it: talk radio. On conservative commentator Laura Ingraham's show, the longest-serving Republican House Speaker in history explained why he would not resign despite a sex scandal that has produced a hail of questions about his leadership and the failure to stop one of his members from cyberstalking teenage congressional pages. "If I fold up my tent and leave," Dennis Hastert told her, "then where does that leave us? If the Democrats sweep, then we'd have no ability to fight back and get our message out."

That quiet admission may have been the most damning one yet in the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley: holding on to power has become not just the means but also the end for the onetime reformers who in 1994 unseated a calcified and corrupted Democratic majority. Washington scandals, it seems, have been following a Moore's law of their own, coming at a faster clip every time there is a shift in control. It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.

If you think politicians clinging to power isn't big news, then you may have forgotten the pure zeal of Gingrich's original revolutionaries. They swept into Washington on the single promise that they would change Capitol Hill. And for a time, they did. Vowing to finish what Ronald Reagan had started, they stood firm on the three principles that defined conservatism: fiscal responsibility, national security and moral values. Reagan, who had a few scandals in his day, didn't always follow his own rules. But his doctrine turned out to be a good set of talking points for winning elections in a closely divided country, and the takeover was completed with the inauguration of George W. Bush as President.

But after controlling both houses of Congress and the White House for most of Bush's six years in office, the party has a governing record that has come unmoored from those Grand Old Party ideals. The exquisite political machinery that aces the elections has begun to betray the platform. To win votes back home, lawmakers have been spending taxpayer money like sailors on leave, producing the biggest budget deficits in U.S. history. And the party's approach to national security has taken the country into a war that most Americans now believe was a mistake and that the government's own intelligence experts say has shaped "a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives."

One of the problems is that after the Republicans got into power, the system began to change them, not just the other way around. Among the first promises the G.O.P. majority broke was the setting of term limits. Their longtime frustrations in the minority didn't necessarily make them any better at reaching across the aisle either. Compromise, that most central of congressional checks and balances, has been largely replaced by a kind of calculated cussedness that has left the G.O.P. isolated and exposed in times of crisis.

The current crisis arrived with a sex scandal that has muddied one of the G.O.P.'s few remaining patches of moral high ground: its defense of family values and personal accountability. Although Hastert and other Republican leaders say they heard last fall about the "overfriendly" approaches of a not-so-secretly-gay Congressman to a 16-year-old former page--both majority leader John Boehner and campaign chairman Tom Reynolds say they brought it up with Hastert last spring--they insist they never imagined anything like the more graphic instant messages that subsequently came to light. Boehner spokesman Kevin Madden said his boss was told only that there had been "contact" between Foley and a page, and that his knowledge of even that much came from a fleeting conversation on the House floor. But shouldn't someone have got chills at learning that a 52-year-old man had sent a teenager a creepy e-mail asking for a "pic of you"? Certainly the page understood what the e-mail meant, which is why he forwarded it in August 2005 to the office of Louisiana Congressman Rodney Alexander, who had sponsored him for the page program and who was alarmed enough to take his concern to Boehner. "This freaked me out," the teenager wrote. "Sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick."

The House response was political from the start. Last November, Jeff Trandahl, then clerk of the House, told John Shimkus, the Republican head of the board that oversees the page program, about the less incriminating e-mails. But nobody bothered to inform the board's lone Democrat. Shimkus and Trandahl appear to have done nothing more than give Foley a private warning. When Alexander expanded the circle of those aware of the e-mails the following spring, one of the two people he chose to loop in was Reynolds, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, whose job is managing the election. Foley wasn't even stripped of his co-chairmanship of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Even after a batch of truly sleazy instant messages was discovered by ABC News, Reynolds' chief of staff Kirk Fordham, who was also a former aide to Foley, tried to solve the political problem by attempting to talk the network out of publishing the worst of the messages. Fordham resigned last week, but he didn't go quietly, the way House leaders had hoped. On his way out, he threw fuel on the political fire by announcing that he had warned Hastert's staff of Foley's "inappropriate behavior" at least three years ago--a charge that Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, denied.

All this suggests that the Republican leaders were motivated much more by fear of electoral fallout than concern for the young pages in their care. And if they were worried that the revelation would hurt their chances of holding on to the House, they turned out to be right. Before the scandal broke, they were beginning to believe that the clouds were finally clearing for them. Their fabled get-out-the-vote and fund-raising operations were nearing full stride just as gas prices were dropping and the national debate was refocusing on their home-court issue of terrorism.

It seems likely that the party will instead need to reckon with sex and scandal throughout the final weeks of the election. As conservative George F. Will, writing in the Washington Post last week, put it, the Foley affair is "a maraschino cherry atop the Democrats' delectable sundae of Republican miseries." In the latest TIME poll, conducted the week after the news broke, nearly 80% of respondents said they were aware of the scandal, and two-thirds of them were convinced that Republican leaders had tried to cover it up. Among the registered voters who were polled, 54% said they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress, compared with 39% who favored the Republican--nearly a perfect reversal of the 51%-40% advantage the G.O.P. enjoyed as recently as August. There was even worse news in a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center that showed a precipitous drop in Republican support among frequent churchgoers, one of the most important and loyal elements of the G.O.P. base. There's no indication that they are clamoring to be Democrats, but the risk is that they will simply stay home on Election Day.

TIME.com Print Page: TIME Magazine -- The End of a Revolution

Daily Kos: 'It's a number.' says GOP of the 2,500 kia

'It's a number.' Saying the Names of the 2500 Hotlist
by Meteor Blades [Unsubscribe]
Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 06:56:21 PM CDT

(From the diaries -- kos)

In 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson set the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Not coincidentally, it was the same weekend that twenty of us chose to read aloud the list of the American dead in Vietnam from the steps of the state capitol building in Denver. There were, at the time, 5000 dead from that murderous, useless war, dating from December 1961 by Army count. Nine Father's Days later, there would be nearly a dozen times as many. On that cusp-of-summer weekend, forty years ago, one name I read out was of my close high school friend: Manny Miller, aged 19, killed in action October 19, 1965.

Today, as Kos and Georgia10 have noted, we reached another milestone in Iraq. Twenty-five hundred American military personnel have died or been killed, every one of them thanks to the avarice, cold-blooded ruthlessness and corrupt ineptitude of the Bush Regime. Of the 2500 dead, White House press secretary Tony Snow said today: It's a number."

Proving what a perfect spokesman he is for the chickenhawks who concocted this war and murdered the 2500 as surely as if they made them kneel with their thumbs tied behind their backs and personally beheaded them. The Bush Regime would surely prefer these 2500 to be just "a number." Nameless statistics. Known only to their friends and kin, not the wider community of America whose future and freedom they were supposedly sent off to kill and die for.

Speaking the names of these dead men and women will not end the war in Iraq, nor American involvement in it, anymore than did our read-out of names in 1966. More than symbolic activism is required. But some things are worth doing regardless. So, on this Father's Day, I and five friends will publicly pronounce the 2500 names of the American dead from this list below. Plus however many more are dead by then.

Daily Kos: 'It's a number.' Saying the Names of the 2500

TIME.com: The Secret Letter From Iraq -- Page 1

Our briefs and commentary seem to have no effect on their (visiting VIPs) preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.


A Marine's letter home, with its frank description of life in 'Dante's inferno,' has been circulating through generals' in-boxes. We publish it here with the author's approval - Time staff

All: I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's worth reading. Worse, this place just consumes you. I work 18-20-hour days, every day. The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends. Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions. Every challenge demands a response. It's like this every day. Before I know it, I can't see straight, because it's 0400 and I've been at work for 20 hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process. And once again I haven't written to anyone. It starts all over again four hours later. It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno.

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

Most Profound Man in Iraq — an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."

Worst City in al-Anbar Province — Ramadi, hands down. The provincial capital of 400,000 people. Lots and lots of insurgents killed in there since we arrived in February. Every day is a nasty gun battle. They blast us with giant bombs in the road, snipers, mortars and small arms. We blast them with tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, our snipers (much better than theirs), and every weapon that an infantryman can carry. Every day. Incredibly, I rarely see Ramadi in the news. We have as many attacks out here in the west as Baghdad. Yet, Baghdad has 7 million people, we have just 1.2 million. Per capita, al-Anbar province is the most violent place in Iraq by several orders of magnitude. I suppose it was no accident that the Marines were assigned this area in 2003.

Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province — Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who's just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator? Every day. Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys. Talk about courage and commitment.

Second Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province — It's a 20,000-way tie among all these Marines and Soldiers who venture out on the highways and through the towns of al-Anbar every day, not knowing if it will be their last — and for a couple of them, it will be.

Biggest Mystery — How some people can gain weight out here. I'm down to 165 lbs. Who has time to eat?

Second Biggest Mystery — if there's no atheists in foxholes, then why aren't there more people at Mass every Sunday?

Favorite Iraqi TV Show — Oprah. I have no idea. They all have satellite TV.

Coolest Insurgent Act — Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.

Most Memorable Scene — In the middle of the night, on a dusty airfield, watching the better part of a battalion of Marines packed up and ready to go home after over six months in al-Anbar, the relief etched in their young faces even in the moonlight. Then watching these same Marines exchange glances with a similar number of grunts loaded down with gear file past — their replacements. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said.

Most Surprising Thing I Don't Miss — Beer. Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.

Worst Smell — Porta-johns in 120-degree heat — and that's 120 degrees outside of the porta-john.

Highest Temperature — I don't know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns. Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.

Biggest Hassle — High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and "battlefield" tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no effect on their preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.

TIME.com: The Secret Letter From Iraq -- Page 1

Bush mass for shut ins is on the air!

First Church of Bush hs been doing this spoof for 4 years at Soars and other Yhoo boards. Hillarious! -- law

LIVE FROM THE ST GEORGE THE BLESSED CATHERDRAL IN CRAWFORD TEXAS ITS BUSH MASS FOR SHUT INS!

Good morning Bush worshippers, those who are ill and those who it's just best not to mix with society. May Lord God Bush bless you all for coming. For it is he who brought us life and everything else. He is a thousand points of light! He makes the sun rise in the morning, puts the frost on our flakes and puts the fruit on the trees. All praise the glory of Lord God Bush. Today we celebrate Majority Rule.

Majority rule is a good holy thing when holy republicans are in the majority. It allows them to overrule the evil socialistic democrats. Without their evil interference, the holy republicans can enact legislation that is holy and is meant to keep things in a holy manner.

SING PRAISE TO LORD GOD BUSH
by: church_of_bush_choir (123/Everywhere) 10/08/06 09:07 am
Msg: 1414451 of 1414497
7 recommendations

bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
god money i'll do anything for you
god money just tell me what you want me to
god money nail me up against the wall
god money don't want everything he wants it all
no, you can't take it no, you can't take it no, you can't take that away from me
no, you can't take it no, you can't take it no, you can't take that away from me
head like a hole black as your soul
i'd rather die than give you control
head like a hole black as your soul
i'd rather die than give you control
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
god money's not looking for the cure
god money's not concerned about the sick among the pure
god money let's go dancing on the backs of the bruised
god money's not one to choose
no, you can't take it no, you can't take it no, you can't take that away from me
head like a hole black as your soul
i'd rather die than give you control
head like a hole black as your soul
i'd rather die than give you control
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
head like a hole black as your soul
i'd rather die than give you control
head like a hole black as your soul
i'd rather die than give you control
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve
bow down before the one you serve
you're going to get what you deserve

A READING FROM THE BOOK OF CHENEY
by: first_church_of_bush (100/all of earth) 10/08/06 09:08 am
Msg: 1414452 of 1414498
8 recommendations

Then Lord God Bush looked down upon the people and spoke `The fillibuster rule is evil. Those who are for this hate America.If you love America, help my holy minions do away with this evil thing.`

What is the Profiit Cheney trying to say to us? It is that we must be for ending the fillibuster or we hate America. This is the word of George.

Bush mass is over
by: first_church_of_bush (100/all of earth) 10/08/06 09:09 am
Msg: 1414454 of 1414498
7 recommendations

Your attendance has been recorded and will be sent to the proper authorities. Go in arrogance, may the Lord God George W Bush be with you.

Yahoo! News Message Boards Politics News: "Bush mass for shut ins is on the air!"