Friday, April 14, 2006

Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?

Three Days of the CondodrIt’s been a lot of fun watching Rumsfeld lately taking a beating from The Generals. But when you think about it, it’s too little, too late. And they should actually be finking on Bush, seeing as he’s the Kommander in Chief, as he keeps telling us.

At any rate, Greg Palast, one of our favorite journalists (his news show is BBC television’s Newsnight). He has had the inside line on Bush and his buddies for some time, and has apparently gotten his hands on the minutes of the discussions of Cheney’s energy policy group

Greg’s story:


Let me tell you a story about the Secretary of Defense you didn't read in the New York Times, related to me by General Jay Garner, the man our president placed in Baghdad as the US' first post-invasion viceroy.

Garner arrived in Kuwait City in March 2003 working under the mistaken notion that when George Bush called for democracy in Iraq, the President meant the Iraqis could choose their own government. Misunderstanding the President's true mission, General Garner called for Iraqis to hold elections within 90 days and for the U.S. to quickly pull troops out of the cities to a desert base. "It's their country," the General told me of the Iraqis. "And," he added, most ominously, "their oil."

Let's not forget: it's all about the oil. I showed Garner a 101-page plan for Iraq's economy drafted secretly by neo-cons at the State Department, Treasury and the Pentagon, calling for privatization" (i.e. the sale) of "all state assets ... especially in the oil and oil-supporting industries."

The General knew of the plans and he intended to shove it where the Iraqi sun don't shine. Garner planned what he called a "Big Tent" meeting of Iraqi tribal leaders to plan elections. By helping Iraqis establish their own multi-ethnic government -- and this was back when Sunnis, Shias and Kurds were on talking terms -- knew he could get the nation on its feet peacefully before a welcomed "liberation" turned into a hated "occupation."

But, Garner knew, a freely chosen coalition government would mean the death-knell for the neo-con oil-and-assets privatization grab. On April 21, 2003, three years ago this month, the very night General Garner arrived in Baghdad, he got a call from Washington. It was Rumsfeld on the line. He told Garner, in so many words, "Don't unpack, Jack, you're fired."

Rummy replaced Garner, a man with years of on-the-ground experience in Iraq, with green-boots Paul Bremer, the Managing Director of Kissinger Associates. Bremer cancelled the Big Tent meeting of Iraqis and postponed elections for a year; then he issued 100 orders, like some tin-pot pasha, selling off Iraq's economy to U.S. and foreign operators, just as Rumsfeld's neo-con clique had desired.

[end quote]

Palast did an interview with Gen. Garner a year after the start of the war for Newsnight. Here is a link for that interview.

Back in 1975, James Grady wrote a book, Six Days of the Condor, which was made into the movie, Three Days of the Condor, starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunnaway, and Cliff Robertson. As a novelist, Richard’s stye is a little stiff, but he had a hell of a premise: a secret cabal within the intelligence community planning for the inevitable oil shortages.

Even when I saw the movie version for the first time, I was really struck by the closing scene between Redford’s character Turner (a researcher for the CIA) and Robertson as Higgins, his boss, a slick but cynical old hand in the intel biz:

Turner: Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?

Higgins: Are you crazy?

Turner: Am I?

Higgins: Look, Turner…

Turner: Do we have plans?

Higgins: No. Absolutely not. We have games. That's all. We play games. What if? How many men? What would it take? Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime? That's what we're paid to do.

Higgins: Fact is, there was nothing wrong with the plan. Oh, the plan was alright, the plan would've worked.

Turner: Boy, what is it with you people? You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?

Higgins: No. It's simple economics. Today it's oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. And maybe even sooner.

Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?

Turner: Ask Them.

Higgins: Not now — then! Ask 'em when they're running out. Ask 'em when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask 'em when their engines stop. Ask 'em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!

Turner: Boy, have you found a home.


[Turner and Higgins stop in front of The New York Times.]

Turner: I told 'em a story. You play games; I told 'em a story.

Higgins: Oh, you… you poor, dumb son of a bitch. You've done more damage than you know.

Turner: I hope so.

Higgins: Hey Turner! How do you know they'll print it? You can take a walk… but how far if they don't print it?

Turner: They'll print it.

Higgins: How do you know?

- Three Days of the Condor, Screenplay by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., and David Rayfiel


Well, I think we all know the answer to that one, finally: "They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Re-classifying the unclassified

While you were worrying about the Goat Boy declassifying the National Intelligence Estimate, the Air Force and the CIA have been busy classifying documents that had been on the open shelves of the National Archives for decades.

From the National Security Archive (a private watchdog group):

"Washington, D.C., 11 April 2006 - The National Archives and Records Administration secretly agreed to a covert effort, led by the Air Force, the CIA, and other still-hidden intelligence entities, to remove open-shelf archival records and reclassify them while disguising the results so that researchers would not complain, according to a previously secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The secret agreement, made between the Air Force and the National Archives, was declassified pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive and posted on the NARA website yesterday.


"The National Security Archive first learned of the existence of the agreement, classified SECRET/[codeword deleted], earlier this year, when Archive staff accompanied historian Matthew Aid to a meeting at NARA to complain about absurd reclassifications such as 50-year-old documents that had been widely published. On February 1, Archive analyst William Burr filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the document. NARA and Defense Department officials acknowledged the existence of the MOU at the March 14, 2006 hearing of a House Government Reform subcommittee chaired by Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Ct), but refused to discuss the substance of the MOU in public session.


"The reclassification activities at NARA began at the end of the Clinton administration. So far, more than 55,000 pages of declassified documents, dating back to the World War II era, have been removed from the open files. During the March 14 hearing, Congressman Shays noted that the reclassification program was not in the national interest. "This absurd effort to put the toothpaste back into the tube persists despite the growing consensus - supported by testimony before this Subcommittee - that from fifty to ninety percent of the material currently withheld should not be classified at all," Shays stated in his opening statement."

Thanks to reader Dave C. Phillips for the tip.

Give me an illegal every time

One hundred thousand people, or five hundred thousand marching in the streets – the actual number doesn’t really matter –the principle that is being ignored here is that the people marching are not legally entitled to be here in the United States, so we’re told, regardless of what they may have been bamboozeled into believing by by feel-good politically correct uptopians. Any way you cut it, they are in effect an organized mob of criminals, with no rights in any way shape or form.

Having said that, the reality is that what you do have here is a population of lawn-mower riders, tree cutters, dishwashers, bus boys, short-order cooks, construction stoop laborers and freeway onramp fruit sellers. I’m told these people have no skills other than slicing guavas on street corners or driving taco trucks to industrial sites. And they can’t even count your change in English. Not to mention the fact that the nearest lettuce field from Los Angeles is over one hundred and twenty miles away.

Are these really the kind of people that we want as our fellow citizens?

Well, consider this: where I live in LA, I am on the fringe of the middle class black city of Inglewood (85% Afro-American) and an upper middle class white suburb of LA (Westchester). This border area is pretty much integrated equally between Hispanics and blacks, mostly the blue collar, laboring kind of folks. The neighborhoods of all of this area (white, black, and Hispanic) are uniformly immaculate. There is no trash on the streets or sidewalks, no junk cars, the lawns are mowed within an inch of their lives, and there is relatively little street crime. Everybody seems to have a job. The cars are older (with a surprising number of brand-new -) Mercedes, Jaguars and Lexuses in the black neighborhoods, with your mandatory Chevys as well as ten-year-old Japanese Toyotas, Nissans and the like in the Hispanic parts. All the cars are washed regularly, and you almost never see a junker.

In the Hispanic parts, everybody is polite, even if they are pushy when getting onto the bus, but that’s probably a cultural thing they learned from waiting for hours on a dirt roadside in Guatemala for a bus already overflowing with people and chickens. In the small downtown section of Inglewood, as I am white, I am generally ignored by old and young alike, but the overall effect is reasonably innocuous, as the gangbangers usually stay over by Compton, which, by the way, is a war zone, and has one of the highest crime rates (read assaults and murders) on the planet outside of a sub-Sahara refugee camp.

I used to live in the Ozarks, where my neighbors were uniformly ignorant, drunken redneck hillbillies. With abandoned cars, bathtubs, refrigerators, raggedy-ass furniture and naked screaming children in their front yards. And they literally do eat possum roadkill. Guess where I prefer to live.

Illegal aliens?
So what.