Tariq Ali– The Army is in favour of him going quietly, but is against impeachment. Washington is prepared for him to go, but quietly. And last Friday the chief of Saudi intelligence agency, Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz, had secretly arrived in Pakistan and held talks with coalition leaders and President Musharraf. He wants a ‘safe exit’ for the president. Sanctuaries in Manhattan, Texas and the Turkish island of Büyükada (Prinkipo) are being actively considered. The General would prefer a large estate in Pakistan, preferably near a golf course, but security considerations alone would make that infeasible.

Update: And more from Ali here.

Posted in Militarism. Tags: . 4 Comments »

Burying the Lede- What Do We Do With A Problem Like Somalia?

Does not compute, this NYT article is interesting but it starts like this-

Does the international community have it all wrong on Somalia? After 17 years, 14 transitional governments and more than $8 billion in foreign aid, the country is as violent, lawless – and, many say, as hopeless – as ever.

Oh noes, what can we do? Yes it is a genuine conundrum, but this is the odd thing, the article does tell the truth about what led to the latest catastrophe, except it’s buried in the second half-

By the early 2000s, several of those local courts began to gain strength, and in 2006 they united under an Islamist banner to fight warlords being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency. The Islamic courts won and disarmed and pacified much of south-central Somalia, following their own version of the building block approach. But the United States and Ethiopia considered the Islamic courts a terrorist threat, so the United States helped Ethiopia invade Somalia.

Now I don’t know about you, but surely this context -that so many people have no awareness of (and Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia is a client leader so let’s not pretend America and Ethiopia *considering* is like two completely independent conclusions)- is sort of relevant in like… the first few lines when discussing the situation in Somalia, especially when people are looking for solutions. One of course presents itself- whatever else you do, stop the US Empire from rampaging around the place, it’s not helping! Thankfully for Team USA the NYT editors protects it’s cursory readers from such conclusions. Like a treasure hunt that works only for the dedicated sifter of copy.

Free Gaza Gets Ministry Reply

In it Noam Katz- Director, Public Relations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes clear the position Israel is taking, although recognising the Free Gaza boats are on a humanitarian mission (good news) they are saying any aid not routed through Israeli authorities is de facto support for terrorists [full text of letters here]-

Your letter to Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni as published on your website has been brought to our attention. We assume that your intentions are good but, in fact, the result of your action is that you are supporting the regime of a terrorist organization in Gaza,…

…We would like to point out that the area to which you are planning to sail is the subject of an advisory notice that has been published by the Israeli Navy, which warns all foreign vessels to remain clear of the designated maritime zone off the coast of Gaza in light of the current security situation.

We have received information that you are planning to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. We would like to bring to your attention that the transfer of humanitarian aid to Israel is effected, at present, through agreed-upon channels, and the Israeli authorities will ensure that the shipment reaches its destination via the land crossing points. We will be happy to assist you in this endeavor.

If your intentions are good, please choose this way; if you do not intend to deliver the humanitarian aid via Israel , this proves that your goal is political and constitutes the legitimization of a terrorist organization.

Also see yesterday’s threats.

Lugo’s Inauguration

Hugh O’Shaughnessy– Most of the Western media don’t do symbolism – or rather, can’t do symbolism. This was demonstrated by their reporting of the hugely symbolic assumption of the presidency of Paraguay last Friday by Fernando Lugo, former bishop of the poor diocese of San Pedro. Coverage was generally limp, grudging and dismissive of a ceremony of hemispheric significance, which should have presented any editor up to his job with a thrilling challenge. There were few or no such editors on duty on Friday. They are seldom on duty at all. On Friday Lugo brought to an end the longest period of one-party rule anywhere in the world. The record was that of the Colorado Party, which on Friday morning had been governing for no less than 61 years, rather longer than the Chinese Communist Party.

The party gave its country the 35-year dictatorship of that pestilential apostle of corruption, General Alfredo Stroessner, and always knew that it could count on its friends in Western governments not to rejoice when it fell. After all, Paraguay under Stroessner and the Colorados had been a friend of these governments for a very long time. Hadn’t he sent Paraguayan troops to back the US invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 – when patriotic Dominican officers looked as though they had a chance of success in overthrowing a military junta – and restoring the constitutionally elected president? Lyndon Johnson told the world that the patriots were commies. The Organisation of American States concurred. The OAS always concurs with a US president, that has been its job for past hundred years, and that is why it has a tasteless but sleepy headquarters in Washington. 42,000 US Marines, including a handful of Alfredo’s Finest, attacked and won – and the Dominicans relapsed into despair and torpor which is still visible in the hungry faces of their young people. A lot of people whose fathers and grandfathers flourished under Stroessner and his tyrannical friends, from Pinochet in Chile to Bordaberry in Uruguay, would have been sad to see the passing of the Colorados, the last dictatorial contingent in a long and dishonourable line.

They were certainly sad to see President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, the last Colorado boss, being edged out by a man in sandals and an open-necked shirt, accompanied by a few friends with similarly symbolic dress sense. The sandals were the sort that St Francis of Assisi wore, we are told, and the open-necked shirt was in fact the ao po’i, the garment that the indigenous Guaranis wear. Lugo was demonstrating in his dress what he said in his first presidential address; that he was going to take some notice at last of the poorest in society, and that his special attention would be given to the Guaranis themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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Threat. War. Procurement. Profit.

Chris Floyd joins the dots-

Just as the rash and bloody deed of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili – who assaulted South Ossetia in a ferocious sneak attack — gave the Kremlin war machine the excuse it needed to flex its muscles, so the Russian response has been a godsend for the Pentagon. Now you see why we need all them big new weapons we’ve been hankering for, say the boys from Hell’s Bottom: we got to keep them Russkies down. And of course, in keeping with the noble tradition of our bipartisan foreign policy establishment, a top Democrat (an erstwhile hero of the “anti-war” movement, no less), is in the forefront of the Pentagon’s fear-mongering gobble at the pork barrel. From the Journal:

Russia’s attack on Georgia has become an unexpected source of support for big U.S. weapons programs, including flashy fighter jets and high-tech destroyers, that have had to battle for funding this year because they appear obsolete for today’s conflicts with insurgent opponents.

“The threat always drives procurement. It doesn’t matter what party is in office.”

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Cheesus Is Here!

Something to brighten (at least where I am) this damp drizzly Monday, the snack food Messiah is here! Via the splendidly named Lesbian Pirate Queen blog (nevermind a blog, that’s a movie waiting to happen!)-

A Missouri woman is claiming she recently discovered a depiction of the crucifixion in her Cheetos. “I think I found Jesus on a Cheeto, as funny as that sounds,” said Kelly Ramey of High Ridge.

Ramey’s pastor, David Bennett, was not as enthusiastic about the Cheeto’s theological significance, but he thinks some good may come of it. “If people can find Jesus, somehow, in each of us like she’s found in this object, that would be a wonderful thing.” Her husband has a special name for it. “He calls him Cheesus.”

Ramey plans to keep her divine snack food in a safe deposit box.

Pakistani Democracy Healthier Than American

It’s called -impeachment- people and they are doing it right in Pakistan, to coincidentally a close ally of George Bush-

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is facing impeachment by parliament, says he will resign. The charges against the president include violation of the constitution and gross misconduct.

And as bad as Pervy is (let’s remember he was a military dictator) he didn’t actually lie his country into invading another nation thousands of miles away on another continent and killing over a million of its people and making refugees of another 5 million. No, only Empires bastions of freedom and democracy do that apparently. So really Democratic leadership your refusal to impeach looks not like politics anymore but what it really is- an imperial bipartisan conspiracy of the guilty. Pelosi!