Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Friday, 21 September 2007
Neocons - Think Tanks - and the White House
Now Playing: The NeoCons and their think tanking hands in the White House
Thinkers target White HouseBy Edward Lucein Washington,By Edward Luce in Washington
When two Democratic analysts at a centrist think-tank voiced positive thoughts recently about the effects "on the ground" of General David Petraeus's Iraq troop surge, they unleashed a storm in a very Washington-ian teacup.
The pair in question – Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon at the Brookings Institution – were accused of aiding the George W. Bush propaganda machine and, sure enough, the White House lost no time e-mailing their views far and wide.
But their real crime might have been to damage their own prospects of securing coveted postings in the next Democratic-controlled White House. Most other Democratic analysts in Washington are working assiduously in the opposite direction.
Each administration has about 3,000 political appointments in its gift.
All of the Democratic 2008 campaigns, including that of Hillary Clinton, have branded the surge a failure and want an immediate drawdown of US troops. Equally, all are calling for higher taxes on private equity groups and all now question the merits of 1990s-style free trade agreements.
There are few contradictory voices from the centrist or left-leaning think-tanks.
"If you are an ambitious Democrat at a think-tank, now is not the time to say things that will be displeasing to the campaigns," said Steve Clemons, a foreign policy analyst at the non-partisan New America Foundation.
Nor does the self-censorship necessarily have a left-leaning bias. The Democratic campaigns, including that of Barack Obama, are maintaining a studious silenceon the Israel-Palestine dispute, in spite of the Bush administration's question-able record.
"If you want a White House job in January 2009 and you have entrepreneurial views on solving the Israel-Palestine question, then the best advice is to keep your mouth shut," said Mr Clemons.
Washington's constantly expanding plethora of think-tanks occupy a unique category. Unlike universities, they include many people who lack strict scholarly credentials. But, in contrast to think-tanks in other western democracies, they are choc-a-bloc with former and future government officials.
Some describe Washington's think-tanks as holding-pens – or incubators – for future administrations. Given the widespread expectations of a Democratic victory next year, many see the liberal Center for American Progress, which is headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to the Clinton administration, in that light.
But think-tanks can also resemble retirement homes. Many believe that the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute's best days are behind it after it was seen as a virtual proxy for the White House.
The AEI's long list of fellows include Paul Wolfowitz, the former president of the World Bank and architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq; John Bolton, the former ambassador to the United Nations; and Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.
But after generating so many of the ideas and people that have driven the Bush administration, the AEI – and other conservative think-tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute – are no longer perceived to be writing the political narrative of the future.
"If you look at all the campaigns, the most glaring contrast is that none of the Republican candidates is coming out with detailed or original policy proposals," said Norm Ornstein, a non-partisan fellow at the AEI."
As a result, perhaps unfairly because AEI continues to generate a lot of ideas, the liberal think-tanks are in the ascendant. They are now seen as the relevant ideas factories for the first time in a generation."
Nor does the AEI see eye-to-eye any longer with the Bush administration. "There is some deep disgruntlement among neo-conservatives who believe that the Bush administration has betrayed them," said Kurt Campbell, head of the Center for a New American Security, a new, centrist think-tank that was launched in June. "However, the neo-cons remain remarkably engaged and on the offensive in Washington's ongoing battle of ideas."
Meanwhile, Washington is playing its customary parlour game of guessing which figures would populate a future administration. Should Hillary Clinton become president, many see Richard Holbrooke, the former UN ambassador, or Strobe Talbott, head of Brookings and former deputy secretary of state, as the next secretary of state.
Susan Rice, who is a former Clinton administration official, now at Brookings and a senior adviser to Mr Obama, and Kurt Campbell are tipped for senior national security positions.
Gene Sperling, Mr Clinton's former economic adviser who is now at the Center for American Progress – also advising Mrs Clinton's campaign – is tipped to take a senior economic position.
As a long-running Clinton loyalist, Mr Podesta could "write his own ticket", said one Democrat.However, the fact is that a Republican could still win in 2008 – or another Democrat."
There are a lot of people assuming that 2008 is a done deal," said John Bolton at the AEI. "People are counting their chickens before they are hatched."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:47 PM PDT
Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007 4:54 PM PDT
Thursday, 20 September 2007
Read Chairman Silvestre Reyes' opening statement at FISA Hearing
Now Playing: This "hearing" is opening up the WORM CAN - I am holding my breath for justice
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
Reyes' Opening Statement at FISA Hearing
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held an open hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) with witnesses Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for the National SecurityDivision, U.S. Department of Justice.
Here are Chairman Silvestre Reyes'
Today the Committee will receive testimony from the Director of National Intelligence -- Michael McConnell -- and the Assistant Attorney General for National Security -- Kenneth Wainstein -- concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the recently enacted legislation that expanded the Administration’s surveillance powers, the Protect America Act, or the PAA.
We are here today to discuss this legislation and deal with one of the critical issues of our time – the need to balance measures intended to protect the homeland with preserving civil liberties. Getting this right is fundamental to the proper functioning of this great democracy, and I believe that Congress must do everything it can to give the Intelligence Community what it needs to protect America, while ensuring that we do not abandon the fundamental principles of liberty that underpin the Constitution.
For more than 200 years we have managed to have both liberty and security, and I intend to do my part to ensure that we continue to maintain this careful balance for years to come.
This brings me to the recent modifications to FISA Congress passed on the eve of our August recess – legislation that I believe alters the precious balance between liberty and security in an unnecessary and dangerous way.
I want to begin by setting the record straight about the concerns that have been raised over the expansive scope of the new law. There has been a lot of rhetoric from the Administration and some in Congress suggesting that critics of the new Act are placing the rights of foreigners and terrorists abroad before the need to protect America.
Our position shouldn’t be characterized as seeking to protect the rights of foreigners. Our concerns are about protecting the rights of Americans, not foreigners abroad. Thus we are concerned for the privacy rights of Americans who may happen to be communicating with someone abroad.
To be clear, when a doctor living in Los Angeles calls a relative living abroad, I am concerned about her rights.
When a soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan emails home to let his family know that he made it back from his latest mission, I am concerned about his rights and the rights of his family.
But, under the new law, we have allowed the government to intercept these calls and these emails without a warrant and without any real supervision from the judicial branch. In doing so, we have unnecessarily put liberty in jeopardy by handing unchecked power to the Executive Branch.
I say unnecessarily, because there was no need to do it this way. There was an alternative, but the Administration torpedoed it.
Let me explain:
In late July, the Director of National Intelligence came to us and identified a specific gap – he described it publicly as a “backlog” – with respect to the FISA process that he claimed had placed the country in a heightened state of danger.
At first, he said he needed two things – (1) a way to conduct surveillance of foreign targets in a block, without individual determinations of probable cause; and (2) a way to compel communications carriers to cooperate. We gave him both.
After we shared our draft legislation with him, he came back to Congress and said that he wanted three more things. We again agreed and tailored our bill to provide each of these three things.
That bill – HR 3356 – was the result of substantial and, I believed at the time, good faith negotiations with Director McConnell. It gave Director McConnell everything he said he needed to protect America. But it also did something else – it protected the Constitution.
Yet, at the final hour and without explanation, after having repeatedly assured me and other Members of Congress that the negotiations had been in good faith, the Administration rejected this proposal. Director McConnell not only rejected it, he issued a statement urging Congress to vote it down, claiming that it would not allow him to carry out his responsibility to protect the nation.
Director McConnell, in your testimony here today, I want to hear your side of this story. I want to hear why it is that--even though we tailored legislation to meet your requirements--you still rejected it.
I want to hear why you believe that HR 3356 would not have allowed you to do your job and why you issued a statement to that effect on the eve of the House vote.
I want to know what, specifically, you believed was lacking in HR 3356.
Most importantly, I want to know what it is about the inclusion of proper checks-and-balances and oversight in our bill that you found so unacceptable.
These are important questions, because Congress intends to enact new legislation as soon as possible as a replacement to the Administration’s bill. In early October, at the Speaker’s request, this Committee will mark-up FISA legislation to address the needs of the Intelligence Community.
The new legislation will deal with the deep flaws in the Administration’s bill – the vague and confusing language that allows for warrantless physical searches of Americans’ homes, offices, and computers; the conversion of the FISA Court into a “rubber stamp;” and the insufficient protections for Americans who are having their phone calls listened to and emails read under this new authority as I speak here today.
Before closing, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate a critically important request for documentation regarding the NSA surveillance program that remains outstanding.
To date, the Administration refuses to share critical information about this program with Congress. More than three months ago, Ranking Member Hoekstra and I sent a letter to the Attorney General and the DNI requesting copies of the President’s Authorizations and the DOJ legal opinions. We have yet to receive this information.
Mr. Wainstein has advised this Committee that DOJ is, in fact, in possession of the material that this Committee is seeking and I would like a clear understanding today of why it has not been provided to this Committee.
Congress cannot and should not be expected to legislate on such important matters in the dark.
I look forward to this hearing, and I now recognize the Ranking Member for any statement he may have
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 3:39 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 20 September 2007 3:42 PM PDT
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Dont Ask Kerry about Skull And Bones - you might get Tasered
Now Playing: 7 second of being taser used on college kid in Florida
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
On a Florida College Student
Who was asking Senator Kerry
about "election fraud" in 2004 and
Kerry's involvemnet in the
Skull & Bones Fraternity
More INFO On
TASER USED ON UNARMED STUDENTBy KIM WILMATH, Alligator Writer
A UF student was shot with a Taser gun, arrested and charged with a felony Monday because police said he started a riot during Sen. John Kerry's on-campus speech.
Andrew Meyer, a telecommunication senior and former Alligator columnist, was charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence, according to a University Police Department report.
A third-degree felony could mean up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, according to a UF Web site.
Meyer attempted to ask Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, about his involvement in Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University, at the end of the speech's question-and-answer session.
But when his microphone was cut off, Meyer began to scream in protest. Members of Accent, Student Government's speakers bureau, cut off the microphone because Meyer used profanity, said Steven Blank, Accent chairman. Accent sponsored the forum, which was held at the University Auditorium.
Several officers attempted to remove Meyer from the microphone when he began "acting in a violent manner" and "pushing the officers," according to the report.
Police said Meyer was told to comply with the officers, but he continued to resist.
"Don't Tase me, bro!" Meyer screamed as officers attempted to drag him outside the University Auditorium. "I didn't do anything."
Steve Orlando, UF's spokesman, said police then shot Meyer with a Taser gun.
Meyer was booked into the Alachua County Jail just after 2 p.m., where he remained until at least 9 p.m. Monday, according to jail records. He could not be reached for comment.
Matthew Howland, a UF history senior who also attended the speech and videotaped the incident on his cell phone, said police held the Taser gun on Meyer for about seven seconds.
Howland said he thought Meyer was behaving inappropriately, but the officers' actions left most of the audience members stunned.
"How can you say a student created a riot when it was clearly the officers who elevated the situation to a level it did not need to go?" Howland said.
He said Meyer's frantic reaction seemed understandable. "How are you supposed to react if you have six officers hopping on you and yelling at you?" he asked.
"I don't want to say it was police brutality because that term should be saved for more obvious events, but it was damn close," he added.
Jeff Holcomb, UPD spokesman, could not be reached for comment.
While Meyer wrestled with officers at the back of the auditorium, Howland said Kerry remained on stage, trying to keep the rest of the crowd calm and answering more questions.
A spokesman for Kerry would not comment.
Asia Johnson, a UF advertising senior who was also at the speech, said Kerry was trying to answer Meyer's question as police started grabbing him.
Johnson said as police pinned Meyer to the ground, she heard him yell, "Just get off of me and I'll walk out of here."
She created a Facebook group later that day about the incident called "John Kerry conference at UF! A fiasco!!! Needs to be known!" and outlined her account of the event.
"If the police are considered to be the 'good' side of this world, I did not see that today," Johnson wrote. "Today I saw fear, confusion and ignorance."
Johnson said she planned to write a letter to UPD administrators, urging them to reprimand the officers at the speech and issue a formal apology to Meyer.
Johnson struggled to catch her breath during a telephone interview that night, explaining that she was still shaken up about the incident.
"His cries of help were absolutely horrifying," she said. "It's going to stick with me for a long time. It's going to stick with him even longer."
A group of UF students will stage a march today from noon to 1 p.m. on the Plaza of the Americas, said Tina Steiger, an international relations junior who helped organize the march.
Steiger said students would demand that UPD drop all charges against Meyer, immediately suspend the officers involved in his arrest and remove all Taser guns from campus.Alligator Staff Writer Andrew Tan contributed to this report.
HERE BELOW IS THE USA TODAY REVIEW OF THIS TASER INCIDENT IN FLORIDA
Sparks flew during a townhall meeting that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., held yesterday at the University of Florida. Journalism student Andrew Meyer interrupted the speech, prompting police to drag him away from the microphone and shoot him with a Taser gun.
"He apparently asked several questions — he went on for quite awhile — then he was asked to stop," university spokesman Steve Orlando tells the Associated Press. "He had used his allotted time. His microphone was cut off, then he became upset."
WTVJ-TV sums up its video in one sentence: "Andrew Meyer, a UF student from Weston, is tasered and taken away by police after asking John Kerry a question during a speech."
There's a video on YouTube, too. The best quality footage is from The Gainesville Sun.
AP says Meyer was charged with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. He is being held at the local jail.
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET: Thanks to bopdieuropa85 for pointing out in the comments section that the event was in the afternoon, not the evening.
The Independent Florida Alligator identifies Meyer as a senior who is majoring in telecommunication and says he used to work as one of the student newspaper's columnists. (A selection of his writings for the paper. Some more material.)
Here's an excerpt from the paper's editorial about the incident: "UPD's actions are inexcusable and out of line. It owes an apology not just to Andrew Meyer, but also to all of UF. We must be able to trust those who are supposed to protect us. We should not have to fear them."
Meyer's fellow students have created a Facebook group devoted to this incident. It's called "John Kerry conference at UF! A fiasco!!! Needs to be known!" They plan to stage a protest later today.
Here's more footage of the arrest:
On Deadline has requested comment from Kerry, the University of Florida Police Department and the student group that hosted the forum. We'll update this posting if they get back to us before the end of the day.
Update at 11:36 a.m. ET: A university spokesman is on CNN right now. "We're well aware about the concerns that the community has about this. You know we have our own concerns about it," Steve Orlando, head of the school's news bureau, says.
Orlando says "a couple of the officers were actually injured in the incident." The police chief asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to review how her officers handled the arrest, he says.
Update at 12:06 p.m. ET: John Kerry's office just sent us this statement from the senator: In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but again I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of answering him when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.
Update at 12:17 p.m. ET: Court records show that Meyer was booked on a felony charge of resisting an officer and a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace. That's not what the officers told Meyer after he was shocked and taken into custody. "You're under arrest for inciting a riot," a female police officer said at the time.
Update at 2:06 p.m. ET: Bernie Machen, the president of the University of Florida, issued a statement earlier this afternoon. Now he's addressing reporters in Gainesville.
"We're absolutely committed to having a safe environment for our faculty and our students so that the free exchange of ideas can occur. ... The incident that occurred yesterday is regretful for us because civil discourse and dialogue did not occur," he says.
Machen wouldn't comment on the appropriateness of the arrest or the manner in which it was executed, but he said that two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a review.
He says the school has asked prosecutors to "act expeditiously" in deciding whether to go forward with charges against the student.
• UCLA officers 'Taser' student, video spreads & questions follow
• Cop shocks naked, greased student
• Texas man dies of burns after dousing himself with gas, being shot with Taser
this Follow up Comment on YouTube
* * * * * * * *
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:36 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007 11:45 AM PDT
Monday, 17 September 2007
Sept 15 2007 - Hugh "DIE-IN" on Capital steps/lawn in DC
Now Playing: 160 arrested in Wash DC on 9-15 -07 PROTESTING THIS WAR!
in D.C. War Protest
By Matthew Barakat
WASHINGTON (AP) — Several thousand anti-war demonstrators marched through downtown Washington on Saturday, clashing with police at the foot of the Capitol steps where at least 160 protesters were arrested.
The group marched from the White House to the Capitol to demand an end to the Iraq war. Their numbers stretched for blocks along Pennsylvania Avenue, and they held banners and signs and chanted, "What do we want? Troops out. When do we want it? Now."
Army veteran Justin Cliburn, 25, of Lawton, Okla., was among a contingent of Iraq veterans in attendance.
"We're occupying a people who do not want us there," Cliburn said of Iraq. "We're here to show that it isn't just a bunch of old hippies from the 60s who are against this war."
Counter protesters lined the sidewalks behind metal barricades. There were some heated shouting matches between the two sides.
The arrests came after protesters lay down on the Capitol lawn in what they called a "die in" — with signs on top of their bodies to represent soldiers killed in Iraq. When police took no action, some of the protesters started climbing over a barricade at the foot of the Capitol steps.
Many were arrested without a struggle after they jumped over the waist-high barrier. But some grew angry as police with shields and riot gear attempted to push them back. At least two people were showered with chemical spray. Protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting: "Shame on you."
The number of arrests by Capitol Police on Saturday was much higher than previous anti-war rallies in Washington this year. Five people were arrested at a protest outside the Pentagon in March when they walked onto a bridge that had been closed off to accommodate the demonstration, then refused to leave. And at a rally in January, about 50 demonstrators blocked a street near the Capitol, but they were dispersed without arrests.
The protesters gathered earlier Saturday near the White House in Lafayette Park with signs saying "End the war now" and calling for President Bush's impeachment. The rally was organized by the ANSWER Coalition and other groups.
Organizers estimated that more than 100,000 people attended the rally and march. That number could not be confirmed; police did not give their own estimate. But there appeared to be tens of thousands of people in attendance.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan told the crowd is was time to be assertive.
"It's time to lay our bodies on the line and say we've had enough," she said. "It's time to shut this city down."
About 13 blocks away, nearly 1,000 counterprotesters gathered near the Washington Monument, frequently erupting in chants of "U-S-A" and waving American flags.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson, speaking from a stage to crowds clad in camouflage, American flag bandanas and Harley Davidson jackets, said he wanted to send three messages.
"Congress, quit playing games with our troops. Terrorists, we will find you and kill you," he said. "And to our troops, we're here for you, and we support you."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:35 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007 2:38 PM PDT
Thursday, 13 September 2007
SIT-IN @ Convention Center (IMPEACHMENT)
Now Playing: 5 citizens protested Nancy & Earl, who disregard their oaths
When told only the "Corporate Press" was allowed in (sic)
When told "oh we did let KBOO come in"
When told "you were a protester at another action one time, therefore you cant come in"
The 5 dedicated citizens sat in the entrance way to the meeting room, and refused to move
It was inside the convention center
The police were there but stood way off to the side, and up the escalators 50 yards away
The cat n mouse "block the camera" game was played by one officer, as the group was exiting
It is actually hilarious watching him try to block numerous cameras from filming him, (which was caught on camera)
But I digress
The group sat there and read aloud the "constitution" (remember when the Constitution meant something?)
There were suit and ties, security, and some Corporate press" all watching at the entrance the "peace group" groups action
They read statements and spoke up as to why their is no Impeachment dialog from Pelosi "on the table?"
A rep from Earls office ("Willie".... I think is his name?) came out and sat on the floor to engage in some kind of dialog
Informing the group that a Town Hall Meeting was coming on Sept 23 (Sunday)to a North Portland location?
That was news to the group
Earls office rep, tried to patronize the group and tried to seem sincere, but trying and seeming are not good enough for the serious issues that that these Democrats are sidestepping. People are dieing every day that they (Congress) allow this all to continue
All the sincere "we are allowing you to protest" is fine, and I must say "much" politer than Smiths office and is fine n dandy. But now the group and especially the five sitting, all are demand that the office do .....
"as they swore to do and uphold the constitution!"
Their must a been a decision made to "not arrest veterans and grandmothers" for ......"No arrests were made"
The group numerous time said "we refuse to move, we are willing to be arrested"
There were some scuttling and some firm "positioning" by the security at the entrance, even a slight "Get your hands off me" type of jocking by the protest group for positions (once or twice)
One of the "Seriously Pissed Off Grannies" stepped past the line and a slight scuttle ensured as she was briskly stopped and not allowed to go any further
The Impeachment Peace Group gave up after 45 mins of protesting at the meeting room entrance
They were seen by a lot of the people leaving the conference
That said there was no Democrat Leaders that I seen walk past the group.... they were safely away from the free speech zone I guess
The Five Protesters were clear and precise in their demands and questions!
The Lone Vet spoke eloquently about the Iraq war and all the people dying from it
It numerous times asked the guards and staff "how many must die before you care enough to stop this"
Most of the Security staff/group stood and stared at him .... silent and motionless
The Lone Vet ..... was hitting the nail on the head repeatedly
I got all this on film - with any expediency it will be up on Indy Media and on joe-anybody.com by Friday morning at the latest
Hopefully it will be viewable within 24 hours
Thanks to all the five that were sitting there, the ones who stood outside with flags and banners, and thanks to those taking pictures and "just-being-there" in Solidarity with the brave 5 who risked their freedom to make their message heard to Congress
I Joe Anybody heard you loud and clear - Thank you - this city needs more concerned citizens who are not afraid to demand an honest government and a "just and moral one" - The Impeachment group will be back on Thursday at Earls office at high noon ......
.........isn't it about time the Front Lines get some support?
..pictures = outside on sidewalk
..video = inside sit-in action
This was posted on Indy Media at this link here:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:11 PM PDT
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Mother Jones Article On "War Profits"
Now Playing: IRAQ for SALE - a review of Robert Greewald's movie
The War's for Sale, and There are Plenty of Buyers
Arts: Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers profiles individuals and families affected by private companies that have acquired huge military contracts in Iraq.
August 15, 2007
Halliburton, Blackwater, no-bid contracts—the privatization of the war in Iraq is hardly news anymore. But Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers, a new documentary on the financial and ethical excesses of private military contractors, still hits home. The film argues that a handful of contractors—Blackwater USA, CACI International , Halliburton, Titan, Parsons, Dyncorp International, and Transatlantic Traders—are over-charging the government for shoddy work, and that they've endangered the lives of American soldiers and private citizens in their pursuit of profit. The documentary also discusses how ex-military and ex-government workers head up these companies and use their connections with key players in the Senate and the House to win contracts without going through the standard bidding process.
The film is the latest release from Robert Greenwald, who previously directed or produced films such as Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, and Uncovered: The War on Iraq.
As with his previous films, Greenwald has continued his grassroots, activist approach to promoting his work. Approximately 3,000 people donated $25 or $50 to help pay for the production of the film through Greenwald's website. Fans are encouraged to take action by writing their representatives, and Greenwald claims that fans have taken the initiative to organize 5,000 screenings of the film in homes and meeting halls worldwide.
The exorbitant amount of private companies operating in Iraq—and the cash our government is spending to hire them—is astonishing. As one interviewee explains, "There are over 100,000 contractors working in Iraq, Kuwait, and the surrounding area." Many of Greenwald’s interview subjects echo this point. "The war in Iraq has been privatized more than any other war in history," a woman says off-camera. Another off-camera interviewee claims, "Forty cents out of every dollar Congress controls now goes to private contractors."
Most stories on contractor corruption have focused on big-ticket items like oil shipments and construction projects. But Iraq for Sale reminds us that many of the military's most mundane functions have been assumed—and mishandled—by private companies. Take, for example, water. Ben Carter, a former water purification specialist for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), unsuccessfully fights back tears as he admits that the vast majority of KBR’s water treatment plants in Iraq may have produced unchlorinated or contaminated water. Soldiers who drank or bathed in the water "might not come home with a bullet wound, but a lot of them will come home with pathogens in their blood because of Halliburton."
Even food and laundry services are cause for suspicion, according to former soldiers interviewed in the film. For example, the outspoken former U.S. Army National Guardsman Sergeant Millard says that KBR, which operated Army mess halls in Iraq during his service there, refused to implement a 24-hour serving schedule, even though it might have deterred mealtime attacks by insurgents. He also criticizes KBR’s handling of soldiers' laundry. "[The contractors] get $99 a bag, for a bag of laundry that I could wash at home for three dollars. And everything still feels grimy," he says, adding, "If you don't know KBR, you've never been to Iraq."
The film illustrates the blatant wastefulness of contractors with testimonies about Halliburton executives ordering any faulty materials—including brand-new trucks and SUVs—to be thrown into a "burn pit" to be destroyed instead of being fixed. And the kicker, according to the film, is that stock for Halliburton has quadrupled in value since the war started. For the record, Halliburton says the film includes "yet another rehash of inaccurate, recycled information."
Greenwald dedicates substantial screen time to Abu Ghraib, by interviewing detainees and former interrogators—both civilian and military—about operations at the prison. CorpWatch executive director Pratap Chatterjee says that at the time of the abuse scandals, up to half of the interrogators at the prison were private contractors. Two former detainees, a small businessman and an electrical engineer, report that they were beaten, urinated upon, and sexually abused by men in civilian clothes. Yet to date, no contractors have been accused of abusing prisoners.
One of the most crucial moments in the film is when a reporter confronts president Bush at a press conference by asking, "In regards to private military contractors, if the code of military justice does not apply to these companies in Iraq, and I asked your secretary of defense this also, what law does govern their actions?" Bush is unable to answer the question, and in true form, he laughs it off and says he'll have to check with his people.
What really drives Greenwald's message are testimonies from parents like Donna Zovko, who talks about how angry she is that her son, Jerry, died in Fallujah during an insurgent attack while driving trucks owned by Blackwater that allegedly were not armored. But as Greenwald's interviewees point out early on in the film, the U.S. Army had no sufficient infrastructure to handle basic troop needs like food, laundry, and housing from the get-go, not to mention things like helicopter and tank maintenance.
So that brings up many questions: How could we have fought this war without private contracts? How can this government afford to pay contractors the padded bills we're currently paying them? When we do finally exit Iraq, how many years will it take to pay off our debt, and will that debt be for sale, too?
Starz Cinema aired the film July 14, and the film is now available on DVD. For additional information about interviewees, a full source list, and a montage of clips showing Greenwald unsuccessfully requesting interviews with company higher-ups, visit Greenwald's website.
Gary Moskowitz is an online editorial fellow at Mother Jones.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:48 PM PDT
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Alex Jones Arrested - Geraldo Rivera flips off 911 truth activists
Now Playing: 911 activist rachet it up in New York City
Topic: 911 TRUTH
Sept 9 2007 NY City
Media activist and 9/11 truther Alex Jones was arrested after he and and a large group of citizens showed up on Fox News' doorstep and disrupted Geraldo Rivera and his "cookie cooking" news analysis with signs and chants that "9/11 was an inside job!"
Presstitute Geraldo Rivera, ruffled and indignant, went into macho mode with "I wish I could..." shaking his fist in the air, implying that he would love to just whack one of the protesters. He also starts calling them everything under the book from "anarchists," "misfits," "nutjobs," "rabble," and the "least attractive group of demonstrators I have ever seen." Ouch! Now that really hurts! (I guess we can't compete with Kyla and the Fox News staff with their little white mini skirts and hooter tops).
Here Geraldo calls the demonstrators everything except what they really are -- citizens who want to get their censored message out.
He even says in one clip that the demonstrators are a "activist radical communist group. I don't know who they are." Geraldo, if you are a real journalist wouldn't it be incumbent for you to bring the microphone out in the crowd and ask them who they are?
Later, after the police come to arrest Alex, Geraldo ask Hooters' waitress Kyla Ebbert (who was escorted off of a Southwest plane for her "provocative" outfit) how she likes New York.
Kyla, "I think I will come back when things calm down in in a few years."
Geraldo "I am not sure of that."
That's right Geraldo, that is the one thing you got right that night. We won't be calm or quiet.
Watch Geraldo flip off the 9-11 Activists in this YouTube video:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:37 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007 6:59 PM PDT
THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT 911
Now Playing: 9-11 was and INSIDE job
Topic: 911 TRUTH
TODAY IS SEPTEMBER 11 2007
Six years ago - The Bush Administration began their Terrorism hype
Bush was warned
Cheney took control of NORAD
911 was an
(quote from Forbes website today)
First, this war will be won not by military force, or even by financial muscle but only by a deep understanding of the enemy. As the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, says in its report on America's response to the World Trade Center attacks, "the most important failure was the failure of imagination."
USE YOU IMAGINATION
- WAKE UP AMERICA -
More on 911 Truth - here on my website
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 9:15 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007 5:52 PM PDT
Friday, 7 September 2007
Barbara Olson Phone Call To Ted Olson on Sept 11 2001
Now Playing: Is this the Same Ted Olson that might replace Gonzales
Topic: 911 TRUTH
"ZGram - Where Truth is Destiny"
March 29, 2002
Good Morning from the Zundelsite:
Joe Vialls, one of the widely read investigators of what really
happened on 9/11, has published another intriguing question mark
about something we have been told was factual: Barbara Olson's
alleged phone call from Flight 77 to her husband, US Solicitor
General Ted Olson.
Here you have Viall's "Mother of All Lies about 9/11."
This is a story about a little white lie that bred dozens of other
little white lies, then hundreds of bigger white lies and so on, to
the point where the first little white lie must be credited as the
"Mother of All Lies" about events on 11 September 2001. For this was
the little white lie that first activated the American psyche,
generated mass loathing, and enabled media manipulation of the global
Without this little white lie there would have been no Arab
Hijackers, no Osama Bin Laden directing operations from afar, and no
"War on Terror" in Afghanistan and occupied Palestine. Clearly the
lie was so clever and diabolical in nature, it must have been
generated by the "Power Elite" in one of its more earthly
manifestations. Perhaps it was the work of the Council on Foreign
Relations, or the Trilateral Commission?
No, it was not. Though at the time the little white lie was
flagged with a powerful political name, there was and remains no
evidence to support the connection. Just like the corrupt and
premature Lee Harvey Oswald story in 1963, there are verifiable fatal
errors which ultimately prove the little white lie was solely the
work of members of the media. Only they had access, and only they had
the methods and means.
The little white lie was about Barbara Olson, a
conservative commentator for CNN and wife of US Solicitor General Ted
Olson. Now deceased, Mrs Olson is alleged to have twice called her
husband from an American Airlines Flight 77 seat-telephone, before
the aircraft slammed into the Pentagon. This unsubstantiated claim,
reported by CNN remarkably quickly at 2.06 am EDT [0606 GMT] on
September 12, was the solitary foundation on which the spurious
"Hijacker" story was built.
Without the "eminent" Barbara Olson and her alleged
emotional telephone calls, there would never be any proof that humans
played a role in the hijack and destruction of the four aircraft that
day. Lookalike claims surfaced several days later on September 16
about passenger Todd Beamer and others, but it is critically
important to remember here that the Barbara Olson story was the only
one on September 11 and. 12. It was beyond question the artificial
"seed" that started the media snowball rolling down the hill.
And once the snowball started rolling down the hill, it
artfully picked up Osama Bin Laden and a host of other "terrorists"
on the way. By noon on September 12, every paid glassy-eyed media
commentator in America was either spilling his guts about those
"Terrible Muslim hijackers", or liberating hitherto classified
information about Osama Bin Laden. "Oh sure, it was Bin Laden," they
said blithely, oblivious to anything apart from their television
The deliberate little white lie was essential. Ask
yourself: What would most Americans have been thinking about on
September 12, if CNN had not provided this timely fiction? Would
anyone anywhere have really believed the insane government story
about failed Cessna pilots with box cutters taking over heavy jets,
then hurling them expertly around the sky like polished Top Guns from
the film of the same name? Of course not! As previously stated there
would have been no Osama Bin Laden, and no "War on Terror" in
Afghanistan and occupied Palestine.
This report is designed to examine the sequence of the
Olson events and lay them bare for public examination. Dates and
times are of crucial importance here, so if this report seems tedious
try to bear with me. Before moving on to discuss the impossibility of
the alleged calls, we first need to examine how CNN managed to "find
out" about them, reported here in the September 12 CNN story at 2.06
"Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator and attorney,
alerted her husband, Solicitor General Ted Olson, that the plane she
was on was being hijacked Tuesday morning, Ted Olson told CNN.
Shortly afterwards Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon" Š "Ted Olson
told CNN that his wife said all passengers and flight personnel,
including the pilots, were herded to the back of the plane by armed
hijackers. The only weapons she mentioned were knives and cardboard
cutters. She felt nobody was in charge and asked her husband to tell
the pilot what to do."
At no point in the above report does CNN quote Ted Olson
directly. If the report was authentic and 100% attributable, it
would have been phrased quite differently. Instead of "Ted Olson
told CNN that his wife said all passengers and flight personnelŠ",
the passage would read approximately:- Mr Olson told CNN, "My wife
said all passengers and flight personnelŠ" Whoever wrote this story
was certainly not in direct contact with US Solicitor General Ted
Think about it, people! If you knew or suspected your
spouse's aircraft had just fireballed inside the Pentagon building,
how would you spend the rest of the day? Initially you would
certainly be in deep shock and unwilling to believe the reports. Then
you would start to gather your wits together, a slow process in
itself. After that and depending on individual personality, you
might drive over to the Pentagon on the off chance your spouse
survived the horrific crash, or you might go home and wait for
emergency services to bring you the inevitable bad news. As a matter
of record, Ted Olson did not return to work until six days later.
About the last thing on your mind [especially if you
happened to be the US Solicitor General], would be to pick up a
telephone and call the CNN Atlanta news desk in order to give them a
"scoop". As a seasoned politician you would already know that all
matters involving national security must first be vetted by the
National Security Council. Under the extraordinary circumstances and
security overkill existing on September 11, this vetting process
would have taken a minimum of two days, and more likely three.
The timing of the CNN news release about Barbara Olson, is
therefore as impossible as the New Zealand press release back in 1963
about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As reported
independently by Colonel Fletcher Prouty USAF (Retired), whoever set
Kennedy up, accidentally launched a full international newswire
biography on obscure "killer" Lee Harvey Oswald, without first taking
the trouble to check his world clock.
It was still "yesterday" in New Zealand on the other side
of the International Date Line when the biography was wired from New
York, enabling the Christchurch Star newspaper was able to print a
story about Oswald as the prime suspect in its morning edition,
several hours before he was first accused of the crime by Dallas
If the CNN story about Ted Olson had been correct, and he
really had called them about Barbara on September 11, then he would
most surely have followed the telephone call up a few days later with
a tasteful "one-on-one" television interview, telling the hushed and
respectful interviewer about how badly he missed his wife, and about
the sheer horror of it all.
There is no record of any such interview in the CNN or
other archives. Indeed, if you key "Barbara Olson" into the CNN
search engine, it returns only two related articles. The first is the
creative invention on September 12 at 2.06 am EDT [0606 GMT], and the
second is on December 12, about President Bush, who led a White
House memorial that began at 8:46 a.m. EST, the moment the first
hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center three months before. CNN
includes this comment about Ted Olson:
"In a poignant remembrance at the Justice Department, U.S.
Solicitor General Theodore Olson referred to "the sufferings we have
all experienced." He made no direct reference to the death of his
wife, Barbara Olson, who was a passenger aboard the American Airlines
flight that crashed into the PentagonŠ"
Regarding the same event, Fox News reports that,
extraordinarily, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson then said
Barbara Olson's call, made "in the midst of terrible danger and
turmoil swirling around her," was a "clarion call that awakened our
nation's leaders to the true nature of the events of Sept. 11."
So Ted Olson avoided making any direct personal reference
to the death of his wife. Clearly this was not good enough for
someone somewhere. By the sixth month anniversary of the attack, Ted
Olson was allegedly interviewed by London Telegraph reporter Toby
Harnden, with his exclusive story "She Asked Me How To Stop The
Plane" appearing in that London newspaper on March 5, thereafter
renamed and syndicated around dozens of western countries as "Revenge
Of The Spitfire", finally appearing in the West Australian newspaper
on Saturday March 23, 2002.
I have diligently tried to find a copy of this story in an
American newspaper but have so far failed. The reasons for this
rather perverse "external" publication of Ted Olson's story are not
yet clear, but it seems fair to observe that if he is ever challenged
by a Senate Select Committee about the veracity of his claims, the
story could not be used against him because it was published outside
American sovereign territory.
Regardless of the real reason or reasons for its
publication, the story seems to have matured a lot since the first
decoy news release by CNN early on September 12, 2001. Here we have
considerably more detail, some of which is frankly impossible. In the
alleged words of US Solicitor General Theodore Olson:
"She [Barbara] had trouble getting through, because she
wasn't using her cell phone - she was using the phone in the
passengers' seats," said Mr Olson. "I guess she didn't have her
purse, because she was calling collect, and she was trying to get
through to the Department of Justice, which is never very easy." Š
"She wanted to know 'What can I tell the pilot? What can I do? How
can I stop this?' "
"What Can I tell the pilot?" Yes indeed! The forged Barbara
Olson telephone call claims that the flight deck crew were with her
at the back of the aircraft, presumably politely ushered down there
by the box cutter-wielding Muslim maniacs, who for some bizarre
reason decided not to cut their throats on the flight deck. Have you
ever heard anything quite so ridiculous?
But it is at this juncture that we finally have the
terminal error. Though the American Airlines Boeing 757 is fitted
with individual telephones at each seat position, they are not of the
variety where you can simply pick up the handset and ask for an
operator. On many aircraft you can talk from one seat to another in
the aircraft free of charge, but if you wish to access the outside
world you must first swipe your credit card through the telephone. By
Ted Olson's own admission, Barbara did not have a credit card with
It gets worse. On American Airlines there is a telephone
"setup" charge of US$2.50 which can only be paid by credit card, then
a US$2.50 (sometimes US$5.00) charge per minute of speech thereafter.
The setup charge is the crucial element. Without paying it in advance
by swiping your credit card you cannot access the external telephone
network. Under these circumstances the passengers' seat phone on a
Boeing 757 is a much use as a plastic toy.
Perhaps Ted Olson made a mistake and Barbara managed to
borrow a credit card from a fellow passenger? Not a chance. If
Barbara had done so, once swiped through the phone, the credit card
would have enabled her to call whoever she wanted to for as long as
she liked, negating any requirement to call collect.
Sadly perhaps, the Olson telephone call claim is proved
untrue. Any American official wishing to challenge this has only to
subpoena the telephone company and Justice Department records. There
will be no charge originating from American Airlines 77 to the US
Even without this hard proof, the chances of meaningfully
using a seat-telephone on Flight 77 were nil. We know from the
intermittent glimpses of the aircraft the air traffic controllers had
on the radar scopes, that Flight 77 was travelling at extreme speed
at very low level, pulling high "G' turns in the process.
Under these circumstances it would be difficult even
reaching a phone, much less using it. Finally, the phones on the
Boeing 757 rely on either ground cell phone towers or satellite
bounce in order to maintain a stable connection. At very low altitude
and extreme speed, the violent changes in aircraft attitude would
render the normal telephone links completely unusable.
Exactly the same applies with United Airlines Flight 93
that crashed before reaching any targets. The aircraft was all over
the place at extreme speed on radar, but as with Flight 77 we are
asked to believe that the "hijackers" allowed a passenger called Todd
Beamer to place a thirteen minute telephone call. Very considerate of
them. The Pittsburg Channel put it this way in a story first posted
at 1.38 pm EDT on September 16, 2001:
"Todd Beamer placed a call on one of the Boeing 757's
on-board telephones and spoke for 13 minutes with GTE operator Lisa
D. Jefferson, Beamer's wife said. He provided detailed information
about the hijacking and -- after the operator told him about the
morning's World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks - said he and
others on the plane were planning to act against the terrorists
aboard." Note here that Mrs Lisa Beamer did not receive a telephone
call from Todd personally, but was later "told" by an operator that
her husband had allegedly called. Just another unfortunate media con
job for the trash can.
As previously stated it is the Barbara Olson story that
really counts, a view reinforced by the recent antics of the London
print media. The photo at the top of this page is a copy of that
printed in the West Australian newspaper. You only have to study it
closely for a second to realize its full subliminal potential.
Here is a studious and obviously very honest man. The US
Solicitor General sits in front of a wall lined with leather-bound
volumes of Supreme Court Arguments, with a photo of his dead wife
displayed prominently in front of him. Does anyone out there
seriously believe that this man, a bastion of US law, would tell even
a minor lie on a matter as grave as national security?
Theodore Olson's own words indicate that he would be
prepared to do rather more than that On March 21, 2002 on its page
A35, the Washington Post newspaper printed an article titled "The
Limits of Lying" by Jim Hoagland, who writes that a statement by
Solicitor General Theodore Olson in the Supreme Court has the ring of
Addressing the Supreme Court of the United States of
America, US Solicitor General Theodore Olson said it is "easy to
imagine an infinite number of situations . . . where government
officials might quite legitimately have reasons to give false
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 1:52 PM PDT
Thursday, 6 September 2007
Joe Anybody Video List
Now Playing: My - Google Video 'report' - Not including YouTube
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 10:30 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007 10:34 PM PDT
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