Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Richard Clarke says Bush team refused to deal with Terrorism Threat

Richard Clarke, former White House advisor and former Counterterrorism Coordinator for the National Security Council has been very vocal about how strongly he had urged the Bush administration to pursue Al Qaeda, and how his warnings were ignored. Even after 9/11, he talked about how the Bush team tried to put the blame inexplicably (or not, if you understand the neocon goals) on Iraq. Watch Clarke testify at in his 3/24/04 appearance. Clarke opened with a strong statement:
I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened, and what we must do to prevent a reoccurrence.

I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television.

Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness.
The (predicatable) spin from the Bush team is that Clarke is yet another disgruntled employee talking out of school. But Clarke is not easily dismissed. He's been in government for 30 years. He's promised not to take any position with a Kerry administration. He is compelling as a speaker and he has documents that back up what he says. His new book, Against All Enemies, includes this telling segment of the bizarre atmosphere post 9/11:
Wolfowitz fidgeted and scowled. … “Well, I just don’t understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden.”

“We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States,” I answered. …

Wolfowitz turned to me. “You give bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don’t exist.”

I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was actually spouting the totally discredited Laurie Mylroie theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center, a theory that had been investigated for years and found to be totally untrue.
On Sixty Minutes last Sunday, Clarke explained to Leslie Stahl that
"I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back; they wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceding eight years."

Monday, March 22, 2004

Castro suppressed, but not in Canada

Oliver Stone made a documentary about Castro that HBO refused to air, although they will air a second, more negative documentary Stone made later. As this Globe and Mail article discusses, perhaps the powers that be were afraid Americans might take to Fidel, hence the blackout. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) though has more respect for its citizenry, and is letting Canadians see Stone's documentary Commandante on March 28th.

In other news, John Kerry issued a strong statement against Chavez in Venezuela,
Throughout his time in office, President Chavez has repeatedly undermined democratic institutions by using extra-legal means, including politically motivated incarcerations, to consolidate power. In fact, his close relationship with Fidel Castro has raised serious questions about his commitment to leading a truly democratic government.
Is Kerry playing politics? Does he really know the situation with Chavez? I don't know. This stance does not distinguish him from Bush on this issue.

Tuesday will be an interesting news day. NASA is expected to announce a major scientific finding at 2 p.m. today. As Florida Today reported,
Scientists previously announced the rover found the first hard evidence water once drenched its landing site.

"This is the major announcement of the two," spokesman Don Savage said Monday.

And re Bush... First it was Paul O'Neill revealing that the Bush administration was after Saddam from the day they took office. Now Richard Clarke is going on the record about the lack of interest in pursuing the genuine Al Qaeda threat and focusing instead on the Iraqi threat. In his Guardian interview Tuesday, Clarke says,
April was an initial discussion of terrorism policy writ large and at that meeting I said we had to talk about al-Qaida. And because it was terrorism policy writ large [Paul] Wolfowitz said we have to talk about Iraqi terrorism and I said that's interesting because there hasn't been any Iraqi terrorism against the United States. There hasn't been any for 8 years. And he said something derisive about how I shouldn't believe the CIA and FBI, that they've been wrong. And I said if you know more than I know tell me what it is, because I've been doing this for 8 years and I don't know about any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the US since 1993. When I said let's start talking about Bin Laden, he said Bin Laden couldn't possibly have attacked the World Trade Centre in '93. One little terrorist group like that couldn't possibly have staged that operation. It must have been Iraq.
So was it ignorance or willfulness that allowed us to be so vulnerable on 9/11? Clarke draws a distinct contract between the actions of the Clinton administration and those of the Bush administration, given similar information.
Contrast December '99 with June and July and August 2001. In December '99 we get similar kinds of evidence that al-Qaida was planning a similar kind of attack. President Clinton asks the national security advisor to hold daily meetings with attorney-general, the CIA, FBI. They go back to their departments from the White House and shake the departments out to the field offices to find out everything they can find. It becomes the number one priority of those agencies. When the head of the FBI and CIA have to go to the White House every day, things happen and by the way, we prevented the attack. Contrast that with June, July, August 2001 when the president is being briefed virtually every day in his morning intelligence briefing that something is about to happen, and he never chairs a meeting and he never asks Condi rice to chair a meeting about what we're doing about stopping the attacks. She didn't hold one meeting during all those three months. Now, it turns out that buried in the FBI and CIA, there was information about two of these al-Qaida terrorists who turned out to be hijackers [Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi]. We didn't know that. The leadership of the FBI didn't know that, but if the leadership had to report on a daily basis to the White House, he would have shaken the trees and he would have found out those two guys were there. We would have put their pictures on the front page of every newspaper and we probably would have caught them. Now would that have stopped 9/11? I don't know. It would have stopped those two guys, and knowing the FBI the way they can take a thread and pull on it, they would probably have found others.
Clarke says he specifically warned Condoleeza Rice of the upcoming threat:
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice refuses to testify under oath, insisting that presidential advisers need not answer to legislative bodies.

Rice's no-show will leave the floor to a former subordinate on Wednesday, ex-counterterror guru Richard Clarke, who lambastes the White House in a new told-you-so book for failing to take seriously his warnings about al-Qaida in early 2001.

"Well, there's a lot of blame to go around, and I probably deserve some blame, too," Clarke told 60 Minutes Sunday night. "But on January 24, 2001, I wrote a memo to Condoleezza Rice asking for, urgently - underlined urgently - a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with the impending al-Qaida attack. And that urgent memo wasn't acted on."
Lastly, speaking of 9/11, check out the 9/11 Timeline for the incredible but real tale of what was known, acted on, and not acted on before, during and after 9/11.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Millions around the world protest the Iraq War

According to this CNN report, 1-2 million people turned out in Rome to protest the war in Iraq. "We are against the war and terrorism, because one cannot answer terrorism by invading a country," said a protest organizer in Chile Here at home, in cities around the country, hundreds of thousands turned out to send a message to Bush. ""Something we have to realize is there might not be a good solution in Iraq. There might not be democracy with or without Americans," said Michael Berg, a teacher in South Carolina.

It seems the lies that brought the US to war are well known around the world. For Americans still in doubt, please see Iraq On the Record, a report prepared at the request of California Representative Henry Waxman, detailing lies the administration told about the Iraq war. What's stunning is that the group preparing the report "does not include statements that appear mistaken only in hindsight. If a statement was an accurate reflection of U.S. intelligence at the time it was made, the statement is excluded from the database even if it now appears erroneous." (Quote from the methodology page linked from the previous page.) In other words, at the point the statements in the report were made, the administration had all the facts and knowledge to know what they were saying was not true. This is a stunning document that deserves wide readership. Please spread it around.

In Tawain, conspiracy theories are growing. A round-up of stories at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer raise more questions than are answered. Why weren't the shooters caught? How many were there? How, if they got so close, did they fail to kill the President, re-elected by a Florida-thin margin. According to one of the stories, from Channel News Asia, "Local media have speculated that the shooting was carried out by assassins backed by mainland China, renegade political fanatics and even gangsters involved in lucrative betting scams over the result of the presidential race." God help us all if elections start being settled with bullets to satisfy bettors!

Friday, March 19, 2004

Taiwanese shooting - 3 of 3 (see early two posts)

From the BBC:
..."The bullet hit the vice-president in the knee first, then the president," Wang Hsin-nan, a lawmaker from Mr Chen's Democratic Progressive Party told TVBS television.

The Taiwan Election Commission says that Saturday's vote will go ahead.

"According to the election law, the election will proceed unless one presidential candidate dies," an official told the Reuters news agency.

The BBC's Chris Hogg in Taiwan says the president and vice-president were being driven in an open-top car through crowds of supporters when the shots were fired.

Local TV showed what appeared to be bullet hole in the windscreen and Mr Chen's spokesman said that a bullet had been removed from the president's stomach.

Reports said that no-one was arrested at the scene.
The story is changing already - either getting more accurate or less, but definitely changing. The VP was shot now in the knee, not the ankle. I'll be really curious to see how many bullets were used, and where they came from, and who is blamed for this (and who is ultimately responsible, which may or may not be the same thing.)

Early reports are saying the president is not really hurt, that people shouldn't worry, etc. Let's hope the story stays that way.

Taiwanese Presidential Shooting - continued

This last bit from a CNN story didn't sit well with me:
On Saturday, Taiwan holds presidential elections and a controversial referendum that China considers a harbinger for a vote on the island's independence.

The referendum will ask voters to considern if China should reduce its military threat against the island.

Chen has ignored warnings from Washington and Beijing not to take any steps that could fuel tensions with mainland China.
Does Washington not want a Taiwanese President that continues to press for independence?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Taiwanese President and Vice President Shot, wounded

Here's a strange tale:
Taiwan president shot in stomach

Taiwan's President, Chen Shui-bian, has been shot in the stomach during campaigning on the final day before the presidential election.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Wang Sing-nan says Mr Chen was bleeding from a deep wound to his stomach.

The lawmaker says the bullet hit the ankle of Vice President, Annette Lu, before hitting Mr Chen's stomach.

The president has been rushed to hospital in the southern city of Tainan, where TVBS television says his wounds are not believed to be life-threatening.
CNN is reporting that they were shot while campaigning. I wanted to capture this excerpt from the above URL because it seems very unlikey that a bullet would first hit an ankle and then angle upwards to hit a stomach unless the shooter was below the level of the ankle. Very bizarre. I'll be following this. Would it surprise you to know that the elections are scheduled for tomorrow? Footage on CNN International shows a motorcade route reminiscent of Dallas, with people lining the streets and waving. "Most people in Taiwan were shocked, and are very concerned about the security of their President," says James Huang, Taiwan Presidential Spokesman. He says the Taiwanese Security Council is holding an emergency meeting. Asked for his suspicions of who was behind this, his voice cut out. Coincidence, or conspiracy?

In other news, the Venezuelan Supreme Court said that hundreds of thousands of recall vote signatures are valid. But the Chavez government is looking into possible misdeeds and its possible the three judges who ruled this way could be fired on an ethics charge. This is a good example of how difficult it is to understand history while it's happening. The American press, subservient to the Oil company owners, would love to make the case that the people of Venezuela wants President Chavez out. And Chavez would have equal motivation for saying that this is all hogwash, that the CIA and other forces are working to undermine his government. It's likely there are elements of both points of view at work, but one is predominately more correct than the other. Given that Chavez was a popular leader, elected by the people, who already survived one CIA-sponsored coup attempt, and given that Bush is doing all he can on the planet to open up foreign oil reserves to American privatization, it sure makes sense to me that Chavez is perhaps closer to the truth here. Chavez warned that Venezuelan oil prices would go up if the US ousted him. But I doubt that warning carries much weight. If there is a plot afoot, it's already well underway and may yet succeed.

The Spanish Government has released an intelligence report trying to prove it didn't lie when it tried to link the bombing to a Basque separatist group. According to this news item,
The ruling party lost Sunday's general election amid allegations that it had provoked the bombings and made Spain a target for Al Qaeda by backing the U.S.-led Iraq war.
If only the American people would stand millions together as the Spanish people did when they felt their government was misleading them. Here in America, a just completed poll from the Annenburg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania shows more people now feel the Iraq war effort was 'not worth' going to war over. But Americans do not protest as they do in other countries. Perhaps that's a testament to the lasting effects of the COINTELPRO operations run by the FBI in the sixties. Or maybe people just don't care enough about what happens to others, thinking it isn't affecting them. But every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Spain gets it. America either doesn't get it or doesn't care. Either is depressing to contemplate.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

US caught red-handed funding opponents of Chavez

Through the NED - National Endowment for Democracy, the US has funded those who oppose Chavez in Venezuela. According to this piece in the UK,
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that, in 2002, America paid more than a million dollars to those political groups in what it claims is an ongoing effort to build democracy and "strengthen political parties". Mr Chavez has seized on the information, telling Washington to "get its hands off Venezuela".
The NED has long been accused of being a CIA front. Our arrogant, US-business-centric approach to the world has already brought us blowback in the form of 9/11. How long before we learn from our mistakes?

Now Spain is reeling from their own attacks, wondering how Spain, "with a population 90% opposed to war in Iraq prompted this scale of murder against them?" It's tragic to see innocent people attacked because their government doesn't follow their wishes and instead follows policies only a small minority approve. I wish terrorists would realize the consequences - their actions impoverish those who would be helping make the world a better place while providing 'reconstruction contracts' to those who caused the problems in the first place. What is the answer?

Friday, March 12, 2004

CIA coup plot for Equatorial Guinea foiled - precursor to Congo action?

According to this article by Angus Shaw in Harare, the Zimbabwe government is accusing the US, UK, and Spain of sponsoring mercenaries to participate in a coup to overthrow oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. CNN's story adds a bit more detail, including that the plane was hired in relation to an operation in the Congo:
The Harare plane's operator, based in Britain's Channel Islands, said the aircraft, sold by Kansas-based firm Dodson Aviation in the United States just a week ago, had been flying security men from South Africa to guard mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It declined to name the customers it was acting for.
As I've written about at length in the past, the CIA has long had interests in the mineral rich lands of the Congo. Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said, "Apparently this was not one mission ... after the diversion in Equatorial Guinea they were going to the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo)."

Once again, we see the ongoing thread of regime change as the core characteristic of our foreign policy under George Bush.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Chavez threatens a 100-year war; Kennedy rips Tenet and Bush over (mis)use of intelligence re Iraq; and more re Haiti

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez today threatened the USA with a "100-year war" if the US ever tried to invade Venezuela. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people marched in Caracas this weekend to protest the delay the referendum vote. Chavez is facing a mid-term recall vote, if he allows it to go through. His contention is that this is a US-inspired act to get him out of office. It's hard to know where the truth lies.

On another note, Ted Kennedy continued what has become a series of excellent speeches of late, giving this devasting critique Saturday of our actions en route to Iraq. He opened by talking about the need to let facts, not faith, guide our national policy, quoting the words of John Adams:
Over two centuries ago, John Adams spoke eloquently about the need to let facts and evidence guide actions and policies. He said, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Listen to those words again, and you can hear John Adams speaking to us now about Iraq. "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
Kennedy went after CIA director George Tenet for not addressing the misuse of the intelligence provided by the administration:
A month ago, in an address at Georgetown University, CIA Director George Tenet discussed the strengths and flaws in the intelligence on Iraq. Tenet testified to several Senate and House committees on these issues, and next Tuesday, he will come before our Senate Armed Services Committee. He will have an opportunity to explain why he waited until last month to publicly state the facts and evidence on these fundamental questions, and why he was so silent when it mattered most--in the days and months leading up to the war.

If he feels that the White House altered the facts, or misused the intelligence, or ignored it and relied on dubious sources in the Iraqi exile community, Tenet should say so, and say it plainly.
Kennedy mentions the Ron Suskind book in which Paul O'Neill made clear that Iraq was on the President's agenda from day one.

Kennedy says that Tenet has consistently and strongly, year after year, warned of the threat Al Quaeda presented and still presents to America. Tenet never used such strong language about Iraq:
Tenet never used that kind of strong language to describe the threat from Iraq. Yet despite all the clear and consistent warnings about Al Qaeda, by the summer of 2002, President Bush was ready for war with Iraq. The war in Afghanistan was no longer in the headlines or at the center of attention. Bin Laden was hard to find, the economy was in trouble, and so was the president's approval rating in the polls.

[White House political adviser] Karl Rove had tipped his hand earlier by stating that the war on terrorism could bring political benefits as well. The president's undeniable goal was to convince the American people that war was necessary--and necessary soon, because soon-to-be-acquired nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein could easily be handed off to terrorists.

This conclusion was not supported by the facts, but the intelligence could be retrofitted to support it. Greg Thielmann, former director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, put it bluntly last July. He said, "Some of the fault lies with the performance of the intelligence community, but most of it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were provided." He said, "They surveyed the data, and picked out what they liked. The whole thing was bizarre. The secretary of defense had this huge Defense Intelligence Agency, and he went around it." Thielmann also said, "This administration has had a faith-based intelligence attitude, its top-down use of intelligence: we know the answers; give us the intelligence to support those answers. ... Going down the list of administration deficiencies, or distortions, one has to talk about, first and foremost, the nuclear threat being hyped," he said.

Kennedy returns to Tenet's silence with his strongest rebuke yet:
Tenet needs to explain to Congress and the country why he waited until last month--nearly a year after the war started--to set the record straight. Intelligence analysts had long been frustrated about the way intelligence was being misused to justify war. In February 2003, an official described the feelings of some analysts in the intelligence agencies to The New York Times, saying, "I think there is also a sense of disappointment with the community's leadership that they are not standing up for them at a time when the intelligence is obviously being politicized."

Why wasn't CIA Director Tenet correcting the president and the vice president and the secretary of defense a year ago, when it could have made a difference, when it could have prevented a needless war, when it could have saved so many lives?

I don't want to give away the ending remarks - you really need to check this speech out for yourself. This is the strongest indictment I've yet heard from someone currently holding office. God bless Ted Kennedy.

The last reading of the day I'd highly recommend is Nick Coleman's article today in the Minnesota Star Tribune re Haiti, the US role, and his personal connection there. Very interesting, and moving.

Real Science History

While cold fusion has been pronounced dead over and over by the media, quietly, brave souls have continued the research and new methods of producing fusion without massive amounts of heat are under research. One of the most promising experiments was recently written up in the New York Times a few days ago:
Using ultrasonic vibrations to shake a jar of liquid solvent the size of a large drink cup, the scientists say, they squeezed tiny gas bubbles in the liquid so quickly and violently that temperatures reached millions of degrees and some of the hydrogen atoms in the solvent molecules fused, producing a flash of light and energy.
...When this team of researchers made the same claim in an article in the journal Science two years ago, many scientists reacted with skepticism, even ridicule. But new experiments, using better detectors, offer more convincing data that the phenomenon is real.
What will replace oil? Scientists around the globe are talking about peak oil, meaning we reaching a production peak, after which oil will get more expensive to produce and there will be less of it to go around, to the point where we will eventually have no more left. It makes sense that the top energy producers around the world would be hesitant to embrace new technology that would replace oil's dominance until they could be assured that they would control as powerful and lucrative a piece of the pie as the one they already have. So skepticism needs to be attached to any denials of the reality of cold fusion. If it proves real, it will not be in the business interests of those in power to let that secret out, not until they found a way to control supply. And the beauty of something like cold fusion is that it relies on chemical elements and molecules that are not in short supply. The battle for what is true in science depends not just on objective fact, but who benefits from the release of a fact. So much that is known is kept secret, or publicly discredited, while research continues behind carefully closed laboratory and media doors. More on this over time.

Friday, March 05, 2004

More Rumors and Denials of Bin Laden's capture

A story today at ABS-CBNNews today continues from the Reuter's story.
The Iranian correspondent responsible for the report told Reuters the radio had also reported bin Laden's capture a year ago. But said a new source had told him on Friday the al-Qaeda leader had been seized "a long time ago."

"It could be one month ago, it could be one year, but he has been arrested," he said.

While declining to reveal his source or how his source knew of the capture, he said: "My source said it and he knows it."
Someone who claims a personal acquaintance in Pakistan has been posting similar information:
My aunt is one of the top lawyers in Pakistan. Her name is Asma Jehanghir. I got a call from her about 10 minutes ago saying that she has reliable info that he has been caught. I didnt get into anymore detail, as it is 1:30 am over there....but as soon as I hear more, I will let you all in on it. I am not attention seeking, merely relaying what I have heard from a very very credible individual in Pakistan, someone "in the know".
A google search of Asma Jehanghir brings up this page. If this woman is killed suddenly it would only fuel this rumor.

When will Bush pick up Bin Laden?

Several sources in intelligence have said that US Forces have had Osama in their sights for months now. So bets are on as to when Bush will magically capture Bin Laden. It's a given it will happen before the next election. But now some people are warning Bush not to make it too obvious, or the people will be turned off.

Some months ago, Madeleine Albright told Morton Kondracke offstage of her belief that Bush's team had Bin Laden at the ready and would announce his capture when it was politically expedient. Albright later tried to pass her comment off as a joke, but Kondracke said ""She was not smiling when she said this."

She is not alone. A Reuter's article today contains this information:
The Sunday Express said last month U.S. and British special forces had bin Laden "boxed in" to a 10-square-mile area north of the Pakistani city of Quetta. Pakistani officials laughed off the report.

Later in February, Iranian radio said bin Laden was captured in a tribal area of Pakistan. A senior U.S. defence official described the report as "another piece of stray voltage".

Many Afghans are convinced bin Laden is already in U.S. custody, waiting to be wheeled out closer to November when George W. Bush runs for re-election.

The U.S. military in Afghanistan has made surprisingly confident predictions that he will be caught or killed by the end of the year.
If you don't know where he is, how can you predict he'll be caught by the end of the year? If you know you can get him later, why not get him now? The only answer that makes sense is the one that supports the speculation - save him for when it's most politically expedient.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Chavez, Shhh!

Talk about trying to provoke action. The Washington Post, if it can be believed, says that
Last weekend he [Chavez] called President Bush an "illegitimate" president, referred to him with a vulgar epithet and threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States.

With all that's going on in Haiti, Chavez should look to his own country and not provoke a fight at this time. Fortunately for him, our military is pretty well engaged around the globe at this time.
The story in the Post, coupled with the resignation of the UN Ambassador from Venezuela, paint the case that Chavez is trying to thwart a recall vote against him. Curiously, Chavez predicted this accusation over three months ago:The Venezuelan president said recent statements by U.S. officials urging him to submit to a constitutional referendum were "preparing the ground" for his possible violent ouster, either through a military coup or an assassin's bullet. He repeated his conviction that Venezuela's opposition had failed to gather enough pro-vote signatures to trigger a referendum in April or May. Electoral authorities are due to start checking the signatures next week to see if they fulfill the 2.4 million required.

"If in the end they don't have enough signatures, and the National Electoral Council declares this, then I can see them there in Washington saying I'm an enemy of democracy," Chavez said during his "Hello President" television and radio show.

"(They'll say) that Chavez sabotaged the referendum, and so we have to get rid of him, it's worth toppling him ... that the armed forces should take up arms against me, or that someone should shoot me," he added.

Was Haiti the first foothold in the battle to truly oust Chavez? Those who said the issue in Iraq wasn't oil said if it was oil, we'd be fighting in Venezuela, not Iraq.

Strong evidence reveals that the Bush regime was involved in the previous coup attempt on Chavez, one that failed within two days, causing great embarassment for the Bush regime which had moved quickly to support the ouster.

Chavez, pipe down. Bush doesn't take insults well and may just strike back, again.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Is Cuba Next?

Look at a map of the Caribbean. Look where Haiti is. It occupies the northwest third of a large island very near to Cuba, right opposite Guantanamo. If the US wanted to plan an invasion this is as close as they could possibly get without being on the island itself. Haiti is also due north of Venezuela, another Bush target. What is our real agenda with Haiti?

Was Aristide too vocal yesterday? According to this report, Aristide no longer enjoys phone access to the outside world. In other words, from here on out, we'll only get one side of this story.

There are some great must-reads on the history of the CIA, Drug trafficking and Haiti at the Centre for Research on Globalisation. Check out this article in particular. And the BBC today quotes Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the Earth Institute, as making these strong remarks:

"The crisis in Haiti is another case of brazen US manipulation of a small, impoverished country with the truth unexplored by journalists. President George Bush's foreign policy team came into office intent on toppling Mr Aristide, long reviled by powerful US conservatives such as former senator Jesse Helms who obsessively saw him as another Fidel Castro in the Caribbean.

"Such critics fulminated when President Bill Clinton restored Mr Aristide to power in 1994, and they succeeded in getting US troops withdrawn soon afterwards, well before the country could be stabilised. In terms of help to rebuild Haiti, the US Marines left behind about eight miles of paved roads and essentially nothing else...."
For those who don't remember, the CIA tried to oust Aristide in the 1990s, organizing and supplying rebels with weapons, and even published a "psychological profile" report indicating that Aristide was insane. Both President Clinton and Vice President Gore were outspoken in criticizing this report. They just didn't buy it. The report writers hadn't even talked to people close to Aristide. It was, like the threat of WMD, not based on any solid evidence, but on a political desire for a certain outcome.

So the question remains. Who is next? Not satisified to rebuild Afghanistan, Iraq, and Haiti, where will the Bush administration turn next? To Venezuela yet again, where they tried, unsuccessfully, to oust the popular, elected President Chavez? Or will they focus next on Cuba?

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

"I call it a Coup D'Etat"

In Aristides' own words, taken from this transcript at CNN: mind is in Haiti, where they are killing people, burning houses ... And that's why I call it a real coup d'etat, a modern way to have modern kidnapping.

...from Saturday -- from Saturday night, the 28th ... I was told that ... I better leave. And under a kind of diplomatic cover, they talked to me. And military talked to me. American agents talked to me. Haitian agents talked to me. And I finally realized it was true, we were going to have bloodshed. And when I asked how many people may get killed, and they said thousands may get killed. So using that kind of force to lead a coup d'etat, it was clear, as I said.

...the fact that we have military surrounding the airport, the palace, my house. In the streets, we had some military maybe from other countries, I don't know, but I know for sure there were a lot of the American militaries with Haitians, well-armed ... And they told me in a clear and blunt way that thousands of people will get killed once they start. So I had to do my best to avoid that bloodshed ... That's why I call it again and again a coup d'etat, a modern way to have modern kidnapping.

...Maybe if I add this point, people will understand ... I spent 20 hours in an American plane with military guys. And one ... baby, one year and a half old, whose father is an American agent, and the mother is Haitian. Not even this little baby has the right to get out ... when we had the first step -- the first stop. And when we have to go to the second one, they didn't want to tell me where they were going to meet with me. We didn't have one single phone call, no telephone was used, because they refused.

And this little baby spending 20 hours in an American plane, with American guys. Only 20 minutes before they landed here, they told me, finally, we were coming to land, on the French bases with military -- French military. And fortunately, we had five ministers from the government who greeted us in this very warm way. And we are grateful to them ...

This Guardian piece explains why Aristide was such a threat to the American and French governments. As author Peter Hallward explains,
What happened in Haiti is not that a leader who was once reasonable went mad with power; the truth is that a broadly consistent Aristide was never quite prepared to abandon all his principles.
History is often written by those who are.

Neocons Gone Wild?

The Progress Report at the fairly new Center for American Progress has a lot to say today about the Haitian debacle today. Here's a snippet from the Progress Report of today:
DENIALS FALLING ON CYNICAL EARS: While the Administration continues to deny its involvement in – and support for – the overthrow of Haiti's democratic government, each day new evidence fuels more speculation that the Bush Administration was complicit in the mayhem. As the BBC reports, there is international "unease over Aristide's fall" with the Caribbean regional group, Caricom, saying that the U.S. removal of Aristide could set "a dangerous precedent for democratically-elected governments everywhere." Aristide's claims that he was kidnapped – whether true or false - are also contributing to confusion.
For someone who made a campaign promise not to engage in nation building, this administration sure has a lot of toppled and almost toppled regimes under its belt. Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela - I'll post on the whole Venezuela situation, where Bush and the CIA tried to oust Chavez, at a later date. And strangely, the President of Macedonia recently went down in a plane crash just before a vote on whether his country would be allowed to join the European Union. What is going on? Is this the political version of spring break?

Monday, March 01, 2004

Welcome! Aristide (or was it Bush?) made me do it!

Welcome, Real History lovers! If you don't know me from the Real History Archives site, then a little introduction is in order. If you have seen the Matrix, you know what is coming.
You take the blue pill and the story ends.

You wake in your bed and you believe
whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill and you stay
in Wonderland, and I show you how
deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Did you choose the red pill? Brave soul, I am so happy you found this place. I'm just getting started, and we have much to discuss. I don't have time for lengthy essays, but if you want to know the Real History of today's events, stay tuned and check back often.

I used to have the time to publish essays at my Real History Archives site, but with events moving so quickly, I realized what I really needed was a blog to keep up with the (dis)information being spewed at us daily.

Today was a classic case in point. I had to get a blog up when I saw what was being done to the Aristide coup story. A typical headline told us that Aristide has stepped down from ruling Haiti to avoid bloodshed. But read a few more stories and you'll see that he said he was abducted, that this was a coup helped along by the US Government. Bush (I refuse to call an unelected man "President") stated that Aristide resigned. But around the world, other voices have reason to doubt. You would too, if you knew the Real History... stay tuned.