Showing posts from 2010

Mchrystal Retires as Four Star General

McChrystal has decided to retire after being relieved of his duties as commander in Afghanistan. However normally he would simply receive a pension as a three star general. The rules are that a general must serve two years at a given rank before retiring with a pension at that rank. McChrystal served only one year before he handed in his resignation. However Obama always generous with taxpayer money and anxious to please the military who often regard him with some uneasiness has seemingly waived the rules for McChrystal. McChrystal was after all Obama's choice. McChrystal will have to survive on a mere $12,475 per month. However, one can bet that McChrystal will not fade away and just enjoy his newfound leisure. He can busy himself writing memoirs, or become a military expert on one of the big TV chains or even buy out Xe (Blackwater) and resume a life at doing what he loves.

McChrystal informed the Army of his planned retirement on Monday.

Why did McChrystal want to be fired?

The only reasonable explanation of McChrystal and his staff's actions is that he wanted to be fired. McChrystal allowed Michael Hastings a reporter for the anti-war magazine Rolling Stone tag along with them for about a month. Hastings was able to record all sorts of intimate details of the goings on of McChrystal and his staff. He also recorded remarks that were insulting to many important U.S. politicians, including Joe Biden, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Holbrooke, and on and on. The McChrystal staff called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), I Suck At Fighting. This is the force that McChrystal commands. When Hastings subsequently penned a long article for Rolling Stone repeating remarks that obviously involved insubordination nevertheless McChrystal did not contest anything said in the article. He surely must have known that Obama would really have no choice but look like a complete wuss or have him fired or resign.
The question now becomes wh…

Wikileaks founder in hiding..

No doubt authorities would like to question him about his relationship to Bradley Manning who is alleged to have given Wikileaks numerous classified documents. Wikileaks is supposed to release another blockbuster video of an attack last year in Afghanistan but so far it has not appeared. This is from the Washington Post.

Wikileaks founder in hiding, fearful of arrest
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has gone into hiding, fearful of arrest by U.S. authorities, an Icelandic parliamentarian confirmed Friday.

“He’s just been following events in the U.S., and State Department press conferences and so forth, and they have been trying to get hold of him," Birgitta Jonsdottir, a close supporter of Assange in the Icelandic Parliament, said. “And obviously Julian Assange does not necessarily want to have a chapter written about any leaks.”

Authorities are interested in locating Assange following reports that an Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, recently transferred a huge volume…

UN Correspondents'Assoc. has flap with Israel over Flotilla presentation

If this is covered in the press at all it will just be to note Israel's objection to the presentation as being unfair. However as the exchange shows between the group and the Israeli mission, the Israelis were given an opportunity to present their film but only if they agreed to take questions a requirement of such presentations. The Israelis refused. This is from aljazeera.

Flotilla flap at the UN
By Kristen Saloomey in

Israel has engaged in a war of words with the United Nations Correspondents Association which hosted an event during which a passenger on board the Mavi Marmara was allowed to show a video that was shot as Israeli commandoes raided the aid ship.

The Israeli mission to the UN took aim at UNCA in a letter dated June 17. It says Israel was denied the opportunity to present its point of view to UN journalists and demands an apology.

"Offering UN media facilities to screen video produced by a one-sided activist while actively preventing a Member State of th…

Eric Prince puts Blackwater (Xe) up for sale.

Eric Prince has always been annoyed by the bad publicity that his firm has gained. He claims that performance does not count in Washington just politics. While Blackwater was for the most part successful in protecting its clients it did so in a way that could hardly be called a good performance. It was involved in killing innocent people and managed to make it and to some degree the U.S. an object of hatred in the areas it works. At the same time it often charged outrageous prices. As a result it is subject to lawsuits, criminal investigations and a tide of negative publicity. Some performance. In fact only Prince's Pentagon connections probably has saved the firm this long. So Prince is right that politics rather than performance counts. But finally the connections are being disconnected so Prince might as well sell before it gets worse. This is from the NYTimes.

Founder Puts Blackwater Security Firm Up for Sale

WASHINGTON — Burdened by lawsuits, criminal investi…

Noam Chomsky on Israel and the Gaza Flotilla Attack

Chomsky as usual is his usual truculent self when it comes to Israel. Although he himself he is Jewish he has been a consistent caustic critic of Israeli policy. He is so hated and feared it seems that he was not allowed in to Israel to give a speech.
Chomsky gives a bit of history noting that the boardings are not new but have been ongoing and tolerated by the U.S. and Europe. As to the issue of Hamas rockets and stopping them Chomsky points out that there was a truce and Hamas wanted to extend it but Israel would not agree. This is from CommonDreams.

Noam Chomsky on Israel and the Gaza Flotilla Attack: "Sheer Criminal Aggression, with no Credible Pretext"
CHICAGO, Illinois - June 2 - Professor Noam Chomsky, renowned foreign policy analyst and bestselling author of Hegemony and Survival and most recently of Hopes and Prospects (Haymarket Books) offered the following statement to Egypt's Al-Ahram regarding Israel's justification for it's attack on humanitarian ai…

Israel and the Tacitus Principle

This is a long detailed blow by blow critique of Israel's defense of its actions against the Freedom Flotilla. As the lead paragraph points out Israel depends upon audacity to defend itself once its crime has been exposed. This is from this site.

The Tacitus Principle: How Israel and its Apologists Defend the Indefensible

If there is one piece of ancient wisdom that has never lost even a bit of its validity over the centuries, it is Cornelius Tacitus' axiom that, “Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.” Indeed, this appears to be the underlying principle of the US-Israeli PR campaign that has been launched in the wake of the almost universally condemned Israeli commando raid on the unarmed Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which carried aid to the Gaza Strip in an effort to break the siege that has strangled the 1.5 million people there since 2007.

The facts of the attack are fairly uncontroversial. The Gaza Freedom Flotilla consists of several multinational, civilian ships …

German president quits over Afghan remarks

Political parties really should install mute buttons on some of their politicians. Some politicians just have to speak out no matter how stupid and unfortunate for the party what they say. This is from the BBC. The Afghan mission is very unpopular in Germany and the government is already down in the polls.
German President Koehler quits amid row over military

German President Horst Koehler says he is resigning immediately, following criticism of remarks he made about German military deployments abroad.

Mr Koehler, whose job is largely ceremonial, had linked missions such as the Afghanistan deployment with the defence of economic interests.

His remarks drew criticism from a number of German politicians.

Mr Koehler, 67, was re-elected last year to serve a second five-year term as president.

He made the controversial remarks in a radio interview after a brief visit to Afghanistan earlier this month.

He said that for an export-orientated country like Germany, it was sometimes necessary to d…

Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard top commander in Afghanistan ousted.

Canadian military brass are not exactly getting much good press these days. Colonel Russell Williams a former base commander is charged with murdering two women, sexual assaulting two others, and many break ins. Now our commander in Afghanistan is relieved of his duties and sent home.

The commander Gen. Daniel Menard certainly did nothing on the scale of Colonel Williams but he has done enough to lose his position. Menardh first got in hot water for accidentally firing his rifle. He was at the time with the head honcho of Canadian forces Walter Natynczyk. as they were boarding a helicopter. Fortunately no one was injured.

Menard faced a court martial and fined $3,500 dollars. Menard's new problems come from fraternizing with a female soldier said to be a member of his staff. This is strictly forbidden but no doubt often happens. When it is not hidden brass are often punished more harshly to set an example to the lower ranks. Perhaps Menard will set an example as a way for others w…

War on Terror is Assault on Civil Rights

This article shows the manifold ways in which civil rights are being sacrificed to the War on Terror. Of course Obama wants to use different and perhaps less threatening language. All the better to fool people no doubt. Obama is catching up with and surpassing Bush in use of drones and no doubt the research described in this article is ongoing under Obama. Perhaps it is funded as part of a great Stimulus Package!
America's "War On Terror" Morphs into a Diabolical Assault on Civil Rights
DARPA's "Deep Learning"

by Tom Burghardt

Global Research, May 28, 2010
Antifascist Calling... - 2010-05-23

As America's War On Terror morphs into an endless assault on civil and human rights, the technophilic fantasies of our masters, and the corporations whom they lovingly serve, even amidst the doom and gloom of capitalism's global economic collapse, have taken extraordinary steps to ensure that the "state of exception" spawned by the 9/11 provocation remain…

In Canada once more U.S. troops fleeing war.

Since there is no draft in the U.S. there is probably less support for American troops seeking refuge in Canada. The soldiers sign up voluntarily rather than being forced to serve. However, many believe that the Iraq war is unjustified and though willing to serve are not willing to serve there and so flee when they are ordered to go there. Former Vietnam refugees help some of them out. The Harper government is both conservative and a supporter of U.S. foreign policy on the whole. The Harper government has been completely unsympathetic to any claims of U.S. soldiers to refugee status. This is from USA Today.

In Canada once more, U.S. troops fleeing a war

By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
TORONTO — Patrick Hart came here in 2005, when he couldn't face a second deployment to Iraq. A U.S. Army sergeant with almost 10 years of active duty, he would rather stay in Canada forever than return to a war he thinks is wrong.
Hart, 36, knows that some people think he is a traitor, but he has no regret…

Robert Naiman: Obama Originally Supported Iran fuel swap brokeder by Turkey and Brazil.

This is an interesting article. I had thought that Brazil and Turkey were working on the deal just to show that the medium powers could do what the big powers could not do, broker a deal with Iran. However, this article shows that originally the deal was supported by the U.S. but later probably due to domestic political considerations the U.S. changed course completely. The U.S. media has been complicit in covering up this drastic change. This is from huffington post.
Robert NaimanPolicy Director of Just Foreign Policy

U.S. Media Censors U.S. Support of Iran Fuel Swap
Sao Paulo - If you get your information from major U.S. media, and you follow U.S. foreign policy, then you know that last week Iran, Brazil, and Turkey signed an agreement for Iran to ship about half of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in exchange for subsequent Western supply of higher-enriched uranium to fuel Iran's medical research reactor - fuel Iran needs in order to treat Iranian medical patien…

IMF and the Global Economic Outlook.

This is an article on the IMF and the global economic outlook by JulioHuato from his blog. He argues that wealth distribution may actually help the economic recovery. However the opposite seems to be happening. The IMF recipe is to promote austerity to save creditor banks. The onus will be mostly on the creditors. There is certainly no sign of the idea suggested here of repudiation of debt and spending that is in the interest of creditors. The Greek bailout is premised on cutting pensions, wages etc. It is all on the backs of the working class. For the workers to win the class struggle they would need to work towards appropriating the means of production distribution and exchange. As long as the means of production is owned by private capital and economic growth based upon profit and attempt to redistribute in favor of the working class will face barriers that are part of the capitalist system. For a time the developed countries were able to buy off their working people with a welfa…

SEIU leader Stern: Legacy not all bad!

This is a contrast to many of the accounts of Stern's Legacy. Many consider him a sellout and at the same time a leader who was autocratic and spent union money stifling dissent as much as organizing. This author thinks the health care bill was a great victory. Again many on the left consider it a big sellout and the right may very well be correct that it will be a big expense and involve cutting back of Medicare entitlements eventually. This is from newsweek.

Andy Stern's Legacy: Not All Bad
Jonathan Alter
Friday's Washington Post story about Andy Stern leaving the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with debts offers a revealing look at the internecine strife that has long plagued the labor movement. And give the Post credit for covering a labor story, which most of the rest of the press simply ignores. But on the occasion of Stern stepping down after 13 years as head of the second largest (after the Teamsters) and fastest growing union in the country, the asses…