Friday, January 26, 2007

More Evidence of Rice's Competence *

(*-and the twisted Morality of the US Stand Towards Latin America and the World)

May 16 2005

By Greg Palast

By Greg PalastImage

[Quito] George Bush has someone new to hate. Only twenty-four hours after Ecuador's new president took his oath of office, he was hit by a diplomatic cruise missile fired all the way from Lithuania by Condeleeza Rice, and then wandering about Eastern Europe spreading "democracy." Condi called for? a constitutional process to get to elections? this came as a bit of a shock to the man who'd already been constitutionally elected, Alfredo Palacio.

What had Palacio done to get our Secretary of State's political knickers in a twist? It's the oil--and the bonds.

This nation of only 13 million souls at the world's belly button is rich, sitting on at least 4.4 billion barrels of oil in known reserves, and probably much more. Yet 60 percent of its citizens live in brutal poverty; a lucky minority earns the "minimum" wage of $153 a month.

The obvious solution--give the oil money to the Ecuadorians without money--runs smack up against paragraph III-1 the World Bank's 2003 Structural Adjustment Program Loan. The diktat is marked "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY," which "may not be disclosed" without World Bank has obtained a copy.

The secret loan terms require Ecuador to pay bondholders 70 percent of the revenue received from any spike in the price of oil. The result: Ecuador must give up the big bucks from the Iraq War oil price surge. Another twenty percent of the oil windfall is set aside for "contingencies" (i.e., later payments to bondholders). The document specifies that Ecuador may keep only 10 percent of new oil revenue for expenditures on social services.

I showed President Palacio the World Bank documents. He knew their terms well." If we pay that amount of debt," he told me, "we're dead. We have to survive." He argued, with logic, "If we die, who is going to pay them?"

We met two weeks ago in the Carondelet Palace where, on April 20, his predecessor had disappeared out the back door to seek asylum in Brazil. A crowd of 100,000 protesters had surrounded the building, seeking the arrest of fugitive president Lucio Gutierrez.

"Sucio Lucio" (Dirty Lucio, as the graffiti tags him) had won election in 2002 promising to break away from the supposedly voluntary austerity plan imposed by the World Bank. Then, within a month of taking office, Gutierrez flew to Washington. There he held hands with George Bush (a photo infamous in Quito) and US Treasury officials instructed him in the financial facts of life. Lucio returned to Quito, reneged on his campaign promises and tightened the austerity measures including raising the price of cooking gas. The public, after a dispirited delay, revolted.

Last month, once Lucio fled, the nation's congress recognized the vacancy in Ecuador's Oval Office and filled it with the elected vice president, in accordance with the Constitution.

Given the oil windfall, Palacio sees no need to follow Gutierrez' path to economic asphyxiation. "It is impossible that they condemn us not to have health, not to have education," he told me. He made it clear that handing over 90 percent of his nation's new oil wealth would not stand.

That's not what the Bush Administration wanted to hear.

Outside the presidential palace, indigenous women in bowler hats and pigtails chanted, "FUERA TODOS! FUERA TODOS!" Everyone out. As far as they are concerned, every one of the seven presidents who have entered office in the past nine years has sold them out to the bondholders, to the oil companies, to the World Bank and its austerity punishments. To them, Palacio is bound to be just another in a long line of disappointments.

I asked the president what he would do if the World Bank and the Bush Administration nix his request for Ecuador to keep an extra tiny percentage of its oil money. Mindful that no Ecuadorian president since 1996 has served out his term, Palacio told me simply: "There is no way. There is no other way. These people have to listen to us."

This article first appeared in The Nation Magazine and was republished with Mr. Palast's permission.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.'
Greg Palast is an investigative reporter for BBC Television and Harper's Magazine. Visit to view his readings and see his reports.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

HIstory: Italy after WW II
See link.
chapter on ITALY, the elections of 1947-8, from the
New WILLIAM BLUM book, " U.S. MILITARY AND CIA Interventions SINCE World War II"

Monday, January 15, 2007


pro-APPO art

MORE PICTURES from soviet afghanistan



Sunday, January 14, 2007

Here are some pictures from the time when Afghanistan was part of the old East Bloc
and from the Soviet occupation that ended in 1989.

In the parade picture you can see a loudspeaker mounted in the tree.
In the picture of the meeting, there are several unveiled women in the front row.

Russians in Afghanistan

वी टूक थिस फ्रॉम अ रुस्सियन लंगुअगे वेबसाइट ठाट कोन्सर्न्स सोविएत-वेतेरंस ऑफ़ थे अफ्घन वार.


Что же это за страна, где почти десять лет воевали и погибали наши земляки?What is a country, where almost 10 years fought and died fellows? Как начиналась война, как шли боевые действия, сколько мы потеряли в этой войне наших людей?As the war began, as were fighting, but we lost in this war of our people? Различные публикации трактуют эту информацию по разному и приводят разные цифры.Various publications interpret the information differently and have different figures.
Афганистан в современных границах расположен в восточной части Иранского нагорья.Afghanistan's borders located in the eastern part of the Iranian plateau. Четыре пятых афганской территории занимают горные системы Гиндукуша, Кохи-Баба, Паропамиза.Four fifths of the Afghan territory occupied by the mountain of the Hindu Kush Kohi-baba, Alay. Абсолютные высоты гор здесь колеблются от 3000 до 7750 м над уровнем моря.The absolute height of the mountains vary from 3,000 to 7,750 metres above sea level. Железные дороги отсутствуют, все передвижения по стране осуществляются по немногочисленным шоссе и горным тропам, а в последнее время и воздушным путем.Railways are not available, all movement in the country on the small highways and mountain paths, and more recently by air. На севере, на границе с государствами Средней Азии расположен хребет Гиндукуш.To the north, along the border with the Central Asian States is Hindu Kush range. На востоке Афганистана, вдоль границы с Пакистаном тянутся Сулеймановы горы.In the east of Afghanistan, along the border with Pakistan dragged Suleimanov mountains. Здесь преобладает безводная каменистая горно-пустынная и горно-степная местность.Here dominated anhydrous gorno-desertsnaya rocky and mountain areas.
Между Гиндукушем и Сулеймановыми горами расположено Газни-Кандагарское плоскогорье, которое занимает около 20% территории Афганистана.Between restricted and Suleimanovmi mountains located Gazni-kandagarske plateau, which occupies about 20% of the territory of Afghanistan.
На юге лежат практически мертвые районы без воды и растительности - песчаные пустыни Хаш, Дащти-Марго (пустыня смерти) и Регистан (страна песков).In the south is virtually dead areas without water and vegetation, sandy desert Ji, Dasti-margo (desert death) and Registan (country sands). С запада на восток они простираются на 540, а с севера на юг - на 580 км.From west to east, they go to 540, and north to south at 580 km. Общая территория страны составляет 655 тыс.кв.км.The total land area of 655 Население - 15500 тыс.The district's population is 15,500 thousand человек (по переписи на 1979 год).people (according to the census of 1979).
Решающую роль в создании независимого Афганского государства сыграли афганские (пуштунские) племена.decisive role in the establishment of an independent Afghan State played Afghan (Pashtun) tribes. В 1747 году на Лойя Джирге афганских племен шахом Афганистана был избран предводитель крупнейшего племени дуррани - Ахмад-шах Дуррани.In 1747 at the Loya Jirga Afghan tribes attacked Afghanistan was elected Leader of the largest tribe durrani - Ahmad-shah Durrani. Ему удалось создать самостоятельную державу - Дурранийскую империю со столицей в Кандагаре и подчинить своему влиянию обширную территорию.He succeeded in establishing a self-Power Durraniyskuu empire, with its capital in Kandahar and to assert their influence vast territory.
В 1773 году сын Ахмад-шаха Дуррани Тимур-шах перенес столицу Афганистана из Кандагара в Кабул.In the 1773 calendar son Durrani Timur-shah postponed the capital of Afghanistan, from Kandahar to Kabul. Дурранийская держава просуществовала до 1818 г., а затем в результате междоусобной борьбы распалась на ряд самостоятельных эмиратов.Durranian Power lasted until 1818, and then as a result of internecine fighting broke into a number of separate emirates.
В ХIX веке (1838-1842 гг. и 1879-1880 гг.) англичане дважды пытались подчинить Афганистан и присоединить его к своей колонии в Индии.In the 19th century (1838-1842 respectively. And 1879-1880 respectively.) British twice tried to subdue Afghanistan, and add it to its colony in India. Однако в этих двух войнах только действиями английских войск добиться поставленной цели не удалось.Yet, in both wars only by British troops to achieve this goal failed. Англия так и не смогла надолго закрепиться в этой стране.England was never able to establish long in the country.
В 1880 году новый эмир Кабула Абдуррахман-хан сумел добиться политического объединения страны и стабилизации ее внешних границ.In 1880 the new Emir of Kabul Abdurrahman-han has produced political unification of the country and stabilize its external borders. Снова образовалось централизованное Афганское государство...Re-creating the central Afghan state ...
Россия была первой державой, признавшей независимость государства Афганистан (27 марта 1919 г.) и установившей с ним дипломатические отношения.Russia was the first power to recognize the independence of the State of Afghanistan (March 27, 1919), and sets off diplomatic relations with it. Англия же, напротив, не признав независимости Афганского государства, сосредоточила вблизи его границ крупные ударные силы.England, on the contrary, not recognizing the independence of the Afghan State, concentrated near its borders large strike forces. В мае 1919 г. началась третья англо-афганская война.In May 1919 began the third anglo-afganskaya war. Но английское руководство пришло к выводу, что это не отвечает национальным интересам их государства, и вскоре было объявлено перемирие.But the word has come to the conclusion that that is not in the national interests of their nation, and soon it was announced truce. По Равалпиндинскому договору 8 августа 1919 года Великобритания признала независимость Афганистана.On Ravalpindinsky contract on August 8, 1919 Great Britain recognized the independence of Afghanistan.
28 ноября 1921 года был заключен советско-афганский договор о дружбе, а 31 августа 1926 года Афганистан и СССР заключили договор о нейтралитете и взаимном ненападении...November 28, 1921 was sovetsko-afganski treaty of friendship, and the Aug. 31, 1926, Afghanistan and the Soviet Union concluded a treaty of neutrality and mutual non-aggression ...
В дальнейшем отношения наших стран развивались относительно ровно, претерпевая то спад, характеризовавшийся враждебными происками западных разведок, то подъем, сопровождающийся значительной экономической и военной мощью СССР молодому афганскому государству.In the future relations of our countries have developed relatively smoothly, undergoing a recession characterized by hostile manoeuvres Western intelligence, the recovery accompanied by a large economic and military power of the USSR young Afghan State.
27 апреля 1978 года в стране произошла Апрельская революция, в ходе которой был свергнут режим короля М. Дауда, и к власти пришла ��ародно-демократическ ая партия Афганистана (НДПА).27 April 1978 in the country due April revolution, which overthrew the regime of King M. Daoud, , and brought to power a �ародно-демократическ ая Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA).
В октябре 1979 года глава государства Н. Тараки в результате переворота был убит и власть захватил премьер-министр X.In October 1979, the Head of State, N. Taraki, in a coup, was killed seized power Prime Minister X. Амин, который предпринял крайне репрессивные меры в отношении представителей оппозиции.Amin, who made a repressive measures against the opposition.
Ситуация в стране резко осложнилась.The situation in the country has deteriorated. Советское руководство стало получать сведения о том, что Х. Амин связан с американскими спецслужбами, и им готовится переориентация Афганистана на США с приглашением их войск для поддержки.The Soviet authorities began to receive reports that H. Amin linked to the United States government, and a reorientation of Afghanistan to the United States, inviting their troops to support.
Вместе с тем за период с марта до декабрь 1979 года афганское руководство в лице Тараки, а затем Амина около двадцати раз обращалось к Советскому Союзу с просьбой помочь их стране военными силами.However, during the period from March to December 1979 Afghan leadership of Taraki, and then Amin about twenty times, to the Soviet Union to help their country by military forces. С одной стороны оно теряло опору в массах и надежду на победу над оппозицией, с другой - силы оппозиции внутри правящей партии рассчитывали с помощью советских войск свергнуть режим Амина, спасти страну и революцию.On the one hand it has lost support in the community and hope for a victory over the opposition on the other hand, the forces of the opposition within the ruling party expected with the aid of Soviet troops to overthrow the regime of Amin, save the country and the revolution.

Н. ТаракиN. Taraki

Л. БрежневL. Brezhnev

X.X. АминAmin


Saturday, January 13, 2007

ALBERTO GONZALES will appear this coming thursday@senate judiciary commitee

I can't wait for this.
I was distressed earlier today when I read that this guy and Patrick Leahy are on speaking terms in real life, and even have lunch together.
Nonetheless, Alberto's appearance before the Judiciary Committee should at least be entertaining. (Or at least, it would be if the Gitmo situation and all the other events of the last year hadn't been so gruesome and tragic. In fact, I'll even admit to quite a bit of trepidation, or even guilt every time I snicker at something tragic in current or political/ world events).
I heard James Yee describing the scenario at Guantanamo, where the detainee is forced to prostrate himself, in a similiar fashion to the position Muslims pray in, on
a large crudely drawn Pentangle, while the interrogator screams at him that he is now worshiping Satan, and that he no longer prays to Allah. What exactly are we accomplishing with this crap anyway?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


article by John Prados: see below
January 02, 2007

John Prados is a senior analyst with the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C. His current book is Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (Ivan R. Dee Publisher). *********************************************************************
All Americans are united in sadness at the passing of former President Gerald R. Ford. But this American, at least, is watching with equal sadness as President Ford’s accomplishments are wildly exaggerated and the negative effects of some of his actions are either boldly minimized or completely unmentioned.

Too many Americans are taking as writ and received history the image the media have quickly seized upon of Ford as the Great Healer. This follows the former president’s own preference: Ford expended considerable energy trying to burnish that picture, even titling his memoir A Time to Heal. The nation is not well served by false images. Gerald Ford as president did not heal much, if anything at all.

One of President Richard Nixon’s more vivid expressions was to refer to a core issue as a “big enchilada,” and the enchilada for Ford, obviously, was his pardon of Nixon after he resigned to avoid impeachment, before he could be brought to trial for his crimes. Today’s conventional wisdom is that the pardon spared the nation the trauma America might have undergone during impeachment proceedings. But what, in fact, was saved here? Only the short-term good feelings of citizens who did not have to witness Nixon’s dirty deeds during Watergate aired before a court of the Congress. That certainly had some benefit, but must be balanced against the precedents that were not set for future presidential behavior. These would have helped protect the nation in later years. President Ford or any of his successors could still have pardoned Nixon during or after any criminal proceeding that followed.

There were five articles of impeachment brought against Nixon. The first was conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of the June 1972 Watergate break-in. A judgment here would have obliged subsequent White Houses to create procedures that could have prevented the obstruction of justice that took place in the Reagan White House during the Iran-Contra affair.

The second article concerned misuse of executive power in violating the constitutional rights of citizens, specifically including electronic surveillance. A ruling against Nixon here would have deterred the Reagan administration’s spying on citizens protesting its policies in Central America and, indeed, could have kept the current president, George W. Bush, from instituting the controversial National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapping of Americans.

Nixon’s refusal to supply Congress with materials and information duly requested by the legislature was the basis for the third article of impeachment. Failure to establish a precedent there left the door open for a wide variety of maneuvers to keep Congress and the American people ignorant of things the White House does not want them to know. President George W. Bush’s cavalier attitude toward secrecy would not be possible otherwise. Now we have Bush routinely flouting requirements to inform Congress—the NSA affair again springs to mind—even invoking a state secrets doctrine to prevent actions being examined before courts.

Two of the Nixon impeachment articles were not actually voted by the House Judiciary Committee, so failure to adjudicate these cannot properly be laid at Ford’s door, but rulings would have been useful to our democracy. One concerned improper use of public funds for the president’s personal benefit. The last article accused Nixon of ordering the concealment from Congress by false and misleading statements of U.S. bombing of Cambodia that began in 1969 and was ruled illegal by U.S. courts four years later. Again, a precedent would have precluded a wide array of misbehavior by subsequent presidents.

By prematurely pardoning Nixon, Ford vitiated a hugely valuable opportunity to put presidents on notice about what constitutes an impeachable offense. Ford undoubtedly believed that he was doing the decent thing, but saving Nixon’s skin is not the same as healing the nation. In fact, Ford’s pardon drew widespread public protests, and some observers viewed it as a major reason why he lost the 1976 presidential election to Jimmy Carter. In a study of the Nixon and Ford administrations, historian John Robert Greene concluded the pardon gave Ford a “30-day first term.” The contrast between Ford’s preclusive pardon of Nixon and the highly conditional clemency program he offered Vietnam War military deserters and draft evaders—who were responding to one of Nixon’s worst travesties—also did nothing to heal the nation.

Ford asserted he would be the president for “all” Americans, but one has to search hard to find a corresponding achievement. Ford had no environmental policy to speak of, proposed a bill to cut spending for education of Native Americans and the Right to Read program, vetoed the Emergency Housing Act of 1975 (approving a virtually identical “compromise” once it became apparent he could not sustain the rejection), and left wife Betty out on a limb in her advocacy of the Equal Rights Amendment. Civil rights and immigration policies similarly languished. Ford famously denied federal aid to the city of New York, which then stood at the brink of bankruptcy (again reversing himself in a move with clear political overtones). This president inaugurated a campaign against inflation with virtually no content, leaving Americans at the mercy of rising energy costs and the task of implementing alternatives to his successor.

During his 1976 presidential campaign Ford declared that “trust must be earned.” Yet, at the outset of that year, faced with a scandal over the revelation of CIA domestic spying—which soon mushroomed into every imaginable area from assassinations to (more) NSA domestic wiretapping, President Ford actively worked to head off congressional investigations by setting up a commission under his vice president, Nelson A. Rockefeller. When that didn’t work, Ford acted to limit and undermine the probes by restricting their access to information and attempting to suppress their reports. Richard Cheney, then Ford’s White House chief of staff, became one of Ford’s most active collaborators in this effort. Indeed Cheney’s determination to resuscitate the imperial presidency germinated at precisely this time. The Intelligence Oversight Board established as the major consequence of Ford’s answering “reforms” never conducted a single inquiry.

The elaborate bicentennial celebration President Ford presided over in July 1976 had its healing properties, but the bicentennial was neither a program nor an achievement with lasting impact. Moreover, anyone who had occupied the Oval Office at that moment would have walked away with plaudits. That does not qualify Gerald R. Ford for the accolade of the Great Healer.

(The author has a few books out.
One of them is 'Safe For Democracy')


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


(Note: this is just a proposal. The real Articles will
be written by the House Judiciary Committee.)
Articles of Impeachment for
President George W. Bush and
Vice President Richard B. Cheney
for high crimes and misdemeanors.
[Last updated November 8, 2006.]

Resolved, that President George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush and his team for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Article I
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has conspired to exceed his constitutional authority to wage war, in that:

On March 19, 2003, George W. Bush invaded the sovereign country of Iraq in direct defiance of the United Nations Security Council. This constitutes a violation of Chapter 1, Article 2 of the United Nations Charter and a violation of Principal VI of the Nuremberg Charter. According to Article VI of the United States Constitution "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;". George W. Bush has thus acted in violation of the supreme Law of the Land by the following acts:

1. Invading Iraq with United States military forces.
2. Sacrificing the lives of thousands of American troops.
3. Killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and conscripts.
4. Rejecting possibilities for peaceful resolution of the conflict by rejecting acts of compliance by Saddam Hussein with the United Nations Resolutions, and ignoring the findings by Hans Blix that inspections were working to disarm Iraq.
5. Violating the Geneva Convention by abducting and transporting human beings to prisons in foreign countries where they can be tortured and subjected to inhumane treatment.

Article II
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has subverted the principles of democracy, by the following acts:

1. Providing misinformation to the United Nations Security Council, Congress, and the American people overstating the offensive capabilities of Iraq, including weapons of mass destruction, as justification for military action against Iraq.
2. Repeatedly manipulating the sentiments of the American people by erroneously linking Iraq with the terrorist attacks of September 11th by Al-Qaeda.
3. Repeatedly claiming that satellite photos of sites in Iraq depicted factories for weapons of mass destruction in contradiction with the results of ground inspections by United Nations teams.
4. Stating that "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" in his State of the Union Address after being told by the CIA that this was untrue and that the supporting documents were forged.
5. Influencing, manipulating and distorting intelligence related to Iraq with the intention of using that intelligence to support his goal of invading Iraq.
6. Repeatedly ordering the NSA to place illegal wiretaps on American citizens without a court order from FISA.
7. Retaliating against whistle-blowers who try to point out errors in statements made by President Bush.
8. Directing millions of dollars in government funds to companies associated with White House officials in no-bid contracts that pose serious conflicts of interest. One example is Halliburton, of which Richard Cheney was once CEO.

Article III
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has threatened the security of the American people, by the following acts:

1. Diverting military resources from pursuing known terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden who have repeatedly attacked the United States of America.
2. Generating ill will among the peoples of the world with an offensive and aggressive foreign policy.
3. Weakening the effects of International Law by defying the United Nations thus encouraging other nations to violate International law by example.
4. Diverting the National Guard to foreign wars where they are unavailable to serve the needs of American citizens at home who, for example, are suffering from Hurricane Katrina.
5. Appointing unqualified personnel to critical government positions as political favors where their incompetence places American citizens at risk. An example being the appointment of Mike Brown as head of FEMA.
6. Proposing military strategies involving the first use of tactical or low yield nuclear weapons in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, which is an inherently destabilizing strategy that encourages participants in a conflict to strike before the other side can do so.

Wherefore, George Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

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