Monday, February 26, 2007

IRAN: "American officials" sticking to their story

The neocons are determined to go to war with Iran by hook or by crook. Mostly by crook. They must realize now that the "threat" of Iranian nukes is too similar a plot line to the way they sold the Iraq war and that it's well-documented by our own intelligence agencies that Iran is a long way off from having a nuclear weapon.

So they seem to have decided that since they can't pin a high-tech crime on Iran, they'll keep trying to pin a low-tech one on them--which in this case is that ONLY Iranians can machine copper discs and wire infrared sensors. This despite the fact that a Major Weber admits in this New York Times story that the infrared sensors are readily available at electronics stores:

Every P.I.R. in Iraq has been RadioShack, Digigard or Everspring,” Major Weber said. “But in southern Lebanon I never saw them use RadioShack.”

And John Pike of puts the lie to the idea that the copper discs can be produced nowhere but in Iran:

Mr. Pike said he was not swayed by arguments that the copper discs could only be made by equipment in Iran. All that is required are machine tools, he said. “You can buy them,” he said. “I mean, look at all those cylinders people use for L.P.G. cooking gas. Do you think they are all imported from Iran? Probably not. I bet there are guys all over Iraq who make those things for a living.”

Major Weber also tips his hand as to the provenance of these EFPs:

Could copper discs be manufactured with the required precision in Iraq? “You can never be certain,” Major Weber said. But he said that “having studied all these groups, I’ve only seen E.F.P.’s used in two areas of the world: The Levant and here,” meaning in Hezbollah areas of Lebanon and in Iraq. Hezbollah is thought to be armed and trained by Iran.

Hmmm...he's seen EFPs in Lebanon, where our ally Israel recently fought. Any chance that some (if not all) of these supposed Iranian weapons were found by Israel in Lebanon instead of Iraq and then either planted in Iraq or just claimed to be found in Iraq? This is what Neo at Entropic Memes has suggested, and it seems quite plausible to me. Quite...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


So the Republics (yes, that is intentional as long as the President and the other Republics in Congress insist on referring to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat party") and their various media mouthpieces (i.e. Drudge) are touting a new poll from Public Opinion Strategies as proof that "Americans Want To Win In Iraq."

However, there are findings in the poll that would seem to be at odds with such happy talk. Here is a post I put up at the forum of my local paper:

Public Opinion Strategies is, by its own admission, a Republican polling firm.

The same poll found that 67% feel the country is headed in the wrong direction, and that 60% of people disapprove of the job Bush is doing (with 47% strongly disapproving).

It also found that, of four statements regarding Iraq, this was the one most preferred: "Whether Iraq is stable or not, the U.S. should set and hold to a strict timetable for withdrawing troops."

Why didn't the New York Post or Drudge trumpet that finding?

Furthermore, 60% of respondents said that the U.S. should "hold talks" with Iran.

Interestingly, most of the respondents were 65 years old or older and had not graduated from college. And 49% of the respondents voted for Bush in 2004.

And 81% were white.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I did not see this earlier today, but apparently it is possible to make EFPs somewhere besides Iran (how stupid must they think we are?):

US troops reportedly raided a Baghdad machine shop back in November, uncovering a cache of 5-inch diameter copper disks--EFPs--obviously being produced as part of an ongoing operation. If true, this makes another pretty big hit against Sunday's presentation of evidence that Iran's Qods Force is providing "EFP kits" to insurgents.
Well, well. The plot doth thicken.

Preface to a twenty volume suicide note

I loved this poem when I was in high school, and I was thinking about it today for some reason--I always wanted to name a band "The Holes They Leave," a line from the Baraka poem below. I just did a search and discovered some of his poems online, so here it is:

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note

Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus...

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars.
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there...
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands

Well, not that it matters because the non-binding resolution passed today, but one of the two Democratic nays was my Congressman, Gene Taylor. So here's the email I sent him today:

Mr. Taylor, I am very disappointed with your vote against the non-binding resolution concerning President Bush's surge in Iraq. I have always voted for you and have been pleased with your recent efforts to rein in the insurance industry.

But the war in Iraq is both immoral and illegal. We had no business invading that country in the first place, and it is certainly well past time we completely withdrew our troops (including those meant to stay in the giant embassy compound we're building). Like it or not, the war in Iraq was sold to us on a pack of lies--there were no WMD and no connections to al Qaeda or 9/11.

And now the administration is attempting to railroad us into some sort of military confrontation with Iran, which I vehemently oppose. I can only hope that you voted against the non-binding resolution because it didn't go far enough, but I know that's not how you felt about it.

Please reconsider your position on Iraq when any future votes come up about cutting off funds or troop withdrawals or even ending the war altogether. The so-called war on terror is really a war on our freedoms and the Iraq war only gives Bush an excuse to continue breaking laws and bringing this country that much closer to ruin.

I wouldn't vote for the guy at all, but he is a Democrat even if it's in name only. And frankly, there aren't gonna be many--if any--true progressives elected from South Mississippi any time soon. So I look at voting for him as a way to at least get one person closer to a Democratic majority if nothing else.

Now that I think about it

But now that I think about it, why in the hell didn't he just vote in favor of the resolution? It doesn't do anything but draw a line in the sand, and everyone knew it was gonna pass anyway. So for him to vote against a resolution that has only symbolic effect that was assured of passage, he's basically telling the warmongers that he's their boy. And he's telling the antiwar peeps to fuck off--basically, he's saying "I spit on the idea of even symbolically supporting my party or of acknowledging the feelings of the majority of the country."

I mean, this resolution isn't gonna end the war--it's only against escalation of it...and it doesn't even stop the escalation. The resolution is completely meaningless except as a gesture, as an acknowledgment that, hey this Iraq shit is fucked up and let's at least try to sorta say so, y' maybe, I don't know, it's not such a great idea to send more people over there, but oh no, we're not gonna actually stop it from happening...

I--I don't even know how adequately to express my frustration at the...stubbornness of the attitude in this district that the Iraq war is a good thing and that we have to "win" and that Muslims are bad and that Bush is a good man, and on and on. And I'm sure that's the kind of crap that Taylor's hearing from most of his constituents and he may even feel that way himself.

But whatever. I'm glad the resolution passed, even if it is only symbolic. It's something. It's a start.

Hopefully it's the beginning of the end of this nightmare in Iraq...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


The above is unfortunately a very accurate quote from Ahmadinejad. He could be referring to, I don't know, the Maine incident. Or maybe the Gulf of Tonkin incident. He might very well be referring to Operation Ajax, which replaced the democratically-elected (for Iran, anyway) Mossadegh with the repressive Shah. He could be referring to 9/11. Or he could be referring to Iraq's non-existent WMD. Or any number of other such incidents.

And now, we've proven him right again, with the release of this Iran-in-Iraq dossier, with its fake evidence that provides the basis for fake claims intended to get us into a very real war. The dossier falls right in line with all of the above-mentioned ploys.

The good news is that neither the public nor the media seem to be falling for it--at least not as much as they fell for the claptrap about Iraq. Many are speculating that this newfound skepticism will force the hand of the neocons to manufacture some sort of "terrorist incident" along the lines of 9/11 or the Bush plan of painting a US plane in UN colors and tempting Iraq with it. This seems plausible to me--maybe even probable.

Prosecute the dossier fabricators?

But I'm curious about something else--does this fake dossier evidence violate any laws? Is there any way to prosecute anyone (from the president on down) involved in this scheme to deceive the public? If not, how can we keep this kind of thing from happening over and over again?

I'm afraid it isn't possible to prosecute anyone for such acts, simply because of the difficulty of proving evidence fabrication beyond a reasonable doubt when "national security is at stake." I would imagine that every time a prosecutor would request some piece of evidence from the government, they'd claim that providing it would be a breach of national security and stonewall, stonewall, stonewall.

Bullshit infrared sensors

So maybe the best offense is a good defense. All of us need to keep our bullshit detectors--or, active bullshit infrared sensors, if you like-- on high alert 24 hours a day and expose junk like this as soon as possible, and as accurately as possible, forever--or until the fabricators catch on that pulling a fast one on the public is gonna be more work than just telling the truth.

Nemo over at Entropic Memes has yet another brilliant post on the fake dossier put out a couple days ago by the U.S. government.

Nemo left a comment on my last post about the ubiquity of passive infrared sensors, which were fingered by the unnamed U.S. briefers as being one of the devices that supposedly proves that these EFPs are being manufactured by Iran (and only by Iran). A Newsweek story on the briefing puts it thusly:

The Iranian fingerprint, these officials claimed, was in the pieces used to manufacture the EFPs, as well as the usage of the infrared triggers. "Some components are solely found in Iran," the senior defense official said.

Now I originally read this as the senior defense official saying that the infrared sensors were the component of EFPs that are "solely found in Iran." That's not what exactly what he said, obviously, but in the dossier, the claim is made that "Passive Infrared Trigger (PIR) tied to Iran" (on page 9).

Nemo correctly points out that PIRs are widely available, and don't just come from Iran (see comment in last post below). Now perhaps the senior defense official meant to convey that the use of PIRs in roadside bombs is what is uniquely Iranian. But he didn't say that either, that I'm aware of.

Here, for example is a website of an American company that is marketing PIRs for use in Automatic Pedestrian Doors. Here is some of the text on their website:

Passive Infrared Sensors

Passive Infrared Sensors are used for the activation of Automatic Pedestrian Doors. This technology has been successful where other types of sensors have been troublesome. These sensors are not vulnerable to wind blown debris, extraneous radio signals or adverse weather conditions.

Passive Infrared Sensors detect persons or objects, which have a surface temperature difference of at least +/- 2°C compared to that of the scanned zone and which are moving at a rate of at least 10cm per second. Both movement and temperature difference are required for detection.

Passive Infrared SensorBircher-Reglomat remains on the cutting edge of IR Technology providing the Automatic Door Industry with safe, reliable sensors that come in the most compact housings available in today's market, making Bircher-Reglomat products the best solution for automatic door applications.

Kudos to Nemo, who is doing yeoman's work on this fake evidence that's being used to try to railroad us into a war with Iran.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Looks like the media are being less credulous this time when the government is trying to drag us into a war. That's great!

I think the blogosphere has determined that where the Iran-in-Iraq briefing is concerned, these are the most relevant points:

1. The weapons probably were made in Iran.
2. That doesn't mean that Ahmadinejad or the Supreme Leader authorized giving them to Iraqi insurgents--this is what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said.
3. The weapons very likely were sold or given to Hezbollah to fight Israel in Lebanon. Israel may have recovered some and shared them with us--just in case we wanted to start a war with Iran or something like that.
4. The weapons could have other origins.

These conclusions deal mostly with the mortar rounds picture in the dossier. I haven't read much about the infrared triggering devices--I would guess that it's highly unlikely that those are made only in Iran. But again, I don't know that for a fact.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Great piece by Roberts. I'm not sure that the average American is hip to this--I say that because I wasn't until recently. But he makes great points, in this piece called "How The World Can Stop Bush: Dump The Dollar!:

The US is totally dependent upon foreigners to finance its budget and trade deficits. By financing these deficits, foreign governments are complicit in the Bush Regime's military aggressions and war crimes. The Bush Regime's two largest lenders are China and Japan. It is ironic that Japan, the only nation to experience nuclear attack by the US, is banker to the Bush Regime as it prepares a possible nuclear attack on Iran.

If the rest of the world would simply stop purchasing US Treasuries, and instead dump their surplus dollars into the foreign exchange market, the Bush Regime would be overwhelmed with economic crisis and unable to wage war. The arrogant hubris associated with the "sole superpower" myth would burst like the bubble it is.

The collapse of the dollar would also end the US government's ability to subvert other countries by purchasing their leaders to do America's will.

The demise of the US dollar is only a question of time. It would save the world from war and devastation if the dollar is brought to its demise before the Bush Regime launches its planned attack on Iran.

And the first part of the piece is really informative as well...
EVERYONE IS POINTING OUT... this whole Iran dossier reeks to high heaven. Like Newshog and his merry band o'commenters.

And now General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is not toeing the line on this supposed evidence:

"We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se [specifically], knows about this," he said. "It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."

That's basically what Bill Scher said today on the Sam Seder show and at Liberal Oasis:

1. Just because a weapon is made in Iran, doesn't mean the Iranian leadership sent the weapons in.

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Jack Reed, who sits on the Armed Services Cmte, was asked "how solid is the evidence":

"I think the evidence is confused ... The question is: is this a deliberate policy of the Iranian government at the highest levels. Is it rogue elements within the government?
And then the other question is: to what extent are there countervailing signals that the Iranians actually are trying to ... not ... further raise the stakes in Iraq.

So it's a very complicated situation

Reporters at yesterday's briefing backed up Reed's skepticism.

NYT's James Glanz was at the briefing. And he noted that hard evidence was lacking:

The officials also gave fresh details on recent American raids ... in which they said members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, or the Qods Force, were picked up and accused of working with extremist groups to plan attacks on American and Iraqi forces.
Because the elite Qods Force is involved, a senior military analyst said, the American intelligence community believes that the weapons shipments have been approved at "the highest levels of the Iranian government

Still, no direct evidence was presented of how the intelligence community has made that link.

From the blog "Entropic Memes," which I was thankfully alerted to in the comments. The writer makes a very good observation--on page 11 of the Iran dossier, there is a picture of a mortar casing that was supposedly made in September 2006 and seized in Iraq on September 9, 2006.

While that scenario is not out of the realm of possibility, it certainly seems unlikely.

The writer also links to a site that shows artillery cartridges from various countries. Some Iranian cartridges do in fact have Farsi rather than English markings (on p. 57, for example).

From "Entropic Memes":

"I’m extremely skeptical about the printing on the mortar tubes; if the date codes follow the widely-used standard of mm-yyyy, then the rounds on the left on this page, which were supposedly seized in central Iraq on September 9th, 2006, are a week old or less. Come on, do those look brand new to you?"

Another excellent point the writer makes:

"That brings me to a second point: If you discount the “9-2006″ mortar tubes, the other weapons with date codes in the report, even if “found” in January 2007, were made between March and May, 2006. In other words, they were made before the July-August 2006 conflict in Lebanon. If you were intent on waging war with Iran, the Iranian-made weapons seized by Israel from Hezbollah could be used (and abused) as “evidence” of Iranian involvement in the insurgency. If not, there’s nothing to prove they didn’t come from Hezbollah themselves, who certainly have an interest in furthering the civil war in Iraq."

Very nice work--you should check out the post. Thanks to the commenter who pointed this out!

Here is a picture of a Zelzal missile:

This is what the missile says, according to Wikipedia:

"The Farsi text on the missile literally says "Zelzal", which means "Earthquake" in English."

And there's Ahmadinejad in the picture, so this is very recent. Are we to believe that weapons manufactured in Iran use English markings and American dating systems as the U.S. dossier on Iranian arms would have us believe?

I don't know--I'm asking...

Can be found here. A little over more than halfway down the page, there is this picture:

The caption reads "Persian markings of a Brno made rifle." It goes on to say that:

One typical such inscription read "tofang-e nemoone 1309 karkhane-ye aslahe sazi berno" ("Rifle model 1309 Made at Brno Arms factory." The number 1309 refers to the Persian year 1309 which is the year 1930 in the Western calendar).

So in 1930 at least, "Persian" was used as well as the Persian calendar. Do they not do that anymore? I don't know--I'm asking. Also, Farsi has its own characters for the familiar Arabic numbers that we use.

Wait, here's another picture from the same website:

More Farsi markings.

My point is, if the weapons in the pictures the U.S. is disseminating were in fact made in Iran, why are their markings in English?

The 16-page dossier presented by the 3 unnamed officials can be found here:

p. 5-refers to U.S. raid on Iranian consulate in Irbil. Report says the consulate was not a consulate. The IRGC-QF logo is supposedly on at least one ID card--could that have been Photoshopped into the picture of the ID?

p. 8-why should we believe that these weapons were found where this report says they were found? How do we know they weren't planted? How do we know any of this for sure?

p. 9-Headline says "Passive Infrared Trigger (PIR) Tied To Iran" but never gives evidence for this claim.

p. 10-headline says "TNT from Iran"--how do they know this? They don't explain how Iranian TNT differs at all from the TNT produced by any other country. There is a picture of a label on something--what that something is they don't say--that is purported to be written in Farsi. However, there is soot or something on the label that almost completely obscures what the label says and what language it's written in. This could also be Photoshopped. Why is the soot not cleaned off?

p. 11-81mm mortar round shipping containers: Why are weapons manufactured in Iran labelled in English? The previous page attempted to get us to see Farsi on a supposedly Iranian weapon. How is "Fuze: A111-A2" assessed to be "of Iranian production?" It's not in Farsi.

There are two sets of mortar containers pictured, but they each have slightly different markings. Of course, one is supposedly from 2001 while the other is from 2006. Why the discrepancy in markings? Could these labels also have been Photoshopped? After all, it would be hard to convince the American public of all this supposed Iranian treachery if all the labels were written in Farsi. It's very convenient that these particular weapons have English markings.

p. 12-same questions

p. 13-same questions--Photoshopping likely or at least possible. And now that I think about it, Iran uses the Persian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. So to them, this year isn't 2007 and last year wasn't 2006, and so forth. Is Iran in the habit of using a calendar other than their own in industrial production?

What is "New Baghdad?"

p. 14-I'm not convinced--a picture of what looks like a silver-colored metal cylinder with some numbers stamped on it is supposedly a "man portable air defense system missile?"

p. 15-how are these anti-tank rounds uniquely Iranian? Again, are Iranians in the habit of using English and the Gregorian calendar, as in "Lot: 5-31-2006?" Do they always use the American date ordering system of month/day/year? Because of their English influence, would they not use the European system of day/month/year?

p. 16-I wondered when the "intelligence" extracted by torture was going to come up.

They're not showing any restraint in their drive to attack Iran, so why should we show any restraint in our drive to get these people the hell out of office?

So Markos and others in the left blogosphere who want to be seen as "reasonable" came out after the Democrats won the House and Senate and said (paraphrasing)--we shouldn't impeach because that will be the only focus of the media and we should instead show the public what government under Democrats will look like.

I argued against that nonsense here.

What I didn't count on in that post was this drive to attack, invade, bomb, or whatever we're about to do to Iran. Now THAT'S what's going to keep the news off the Democrats' agenda for the foreseeable future. Had we begun impeachment proceedings already, Bush would've been on notice that he better not manufacture more evidence for even more wars.

But no, Pelosi said impeachment's off the table, and blah blah blah. The Democrats have power now and they're not even attempting to use it. We need to start impeachment proceedings TODAY--THIS WEEK. And get it over with post-haste. If we don't, Bush will still have pardon power and will pardon Libby, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, etc.--the whole lot of them. This guy must be stripped of power, and quick fast in a hurry...

Condoleezza Rice says this a month ago (in response to Matt Lauer question):

Is the President saying that military action inside Iran and Syria is a possibility?

SECRETARY RICE: The President is saying that we are going to make certain that we disrupt activities that are endangering and killing our troops and that are destabilizing Iraq.

If we were gonna do that, we'd pull our troops out of Iraq! We would've never invaded in the first damn place. The nerve of these people, the chutzpah, is beyond belief. She talks as though it's someone else "destabillizing Iraq"--as though our bloody 4 year occupation with no end in sight is creating a safe haven for the Iraqi people.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I find this story very, very curious. Here's the headline:

"U.S.-led forces show evidence of Iranian arms in Iraq"

What I find curious about the story is not so much the content, but the way it's written, the way it's constructed. For example, the headline has now planted in millions of people's minds that not only is Iran helping kill our boys in Iraq, but that there is now "evidence" to back it up. And that's what the Bushies want people to think: Iran helping Iraq, end of story, we got proof, let the bombs fall.

So we read the story, and what do we learn this "evidence" consists of? We get one paragraph:

"Officials showed journalists fragments of what they said were Iranian-manufactured weapons, including one part of an EFP -- which is strong enough to penetrate the armour of an Abrams tank -- and tail fins from 81 mm and 60 mm mortar bombs."

Fragments? Fragments? How big are these fragments? Could we see pictures? Could we see pictures of the fragments alongside pictures of the unexploded weapons they supposedly came from?

To their credit, Reuters does sort of try to inject a little skepticism into the story, saying that they were shown fragments of "what they said" were Iranian weapons--they kinda try to make it seem like they don't totally buy it. Except of course for in the headline, which is all a lot of people will ever read.

And then the paragraph after that is just a quote, in which the still unnamed "senior defense official" claims that "Iran is the only country in the region that produces these weapons."

Hmmm...isn't that convenient in several ways. I mean, not only have they determined that fragments of something are in fact "EFP"s (another acronym!) instead of just pieces of say, an Iraqi car that has been crushed by an American tank, but they've also determined that such things ONLY COME FROM IRAN. I mean, look at that--you keep saying you're not planning a war with Iran but then come to find out, 170 of our boys have been killed by these horrible devices that are only available in Iran.

How fishy is this?

Here's how fishy--according to this Newsweek story, journalists were called to this presentation given by three officals who journalists were told they wouldn't be allowed to name in their stories. Not only that:

"No TV cameras or tapes were allowed in, and journalists’ cell phones were taken away before they entered the briefing room."

Isn't that something? We're supposed to take these three guys at their word but they won't tell us their names and they won't let us see pictures of what they're talking about.

Carriers in the Gulf

Well, hell, what are we gonna do? We can't let this go on, can we? What can we...wait a second! Don't we just happen to have a couple of carrier groups in the Persian Gulf? What a coincidence! We happen to have aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf at just the same time we reveal to America that Iran is killing our soldiers with weapons only they can produce! That is so lucky--it's almost as if it were not a lucky accident or twist of fate at all, but were completely planned and thought out!

This is too much...I have to go to bed. I want to sort this out, but I am tired from rocking and rolling all day in the Nereids Mardi Gras parade in Waveland. But now I'll have to go to the online forums of my local newspaper this week and try to debunk this crap. It's exhausting...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

IRAN: WHO TO BELIEVE? WHAT HAPPENED TO "evidence of official Tehran involvement is 'ambiguous'?"

Why does Robert Gates now want to convince us that Iran is involved in helping Iraqi insurgents when the NIE that just came out said that evidence of such is "ambiguous" at best?

This story from yesterday has an "yellowcake/Zarqawi in Baghdad" type of feel to it:

"I think there's some serial numbers, there may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found" that point to Iran, he said.

Gates' remarks left unclear how the U.S. knows the serial numbers are traceable to Iran and whether such weapons would have been sent to Iraq by the Iranian government or by private arms dealers.

I thought "we weren't planning to attack" and "not planning a war with" Iran. I mean, this is ludicrous. The headline for the story quoted above is:

"Gates:Bombs Tie Iran to Iraq extremists"

So you read the story thinking it'll be some explosive (pun intended) revelation. Instead, it's just Gates going "I think" and "we may." The article also says that:

National security officials in Washington and Iraq have been working for weeks on a presentation intended to provide evidence for Bush administration claims of what they say are Iran's meddlesome and deadly activities.

Didn't we just find out yesterday that Feith's office manipulated intel on Iraq in just this exact matter? That intel on Iraq had many caveats that made the info ambiguous, just like this about Iran:

" But three U.S. officials familiar with unpublished intel (unnamed when discussing sensitive info) said evidence of official Tehran involvement is "ambiguous," in the words of one of the officials."

Are we gonna fall for this again? Are we really?

Thursday, February 08, 2007


The most important part of this video starts at 54 seconds in (partial transcript below):


If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a "defensive" U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

He's talking about something like the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Operation Northwoods, or even 9/11--flimsy pretexts at best and false-flag operations at worst--but this time we "do" Iran. And Republicans and even a lot of Democrats will come out to tell us exactly what happened even though it won't be quite clear just what went down. The official story/conventional wisdom about evil, aggressive Iran attacking the poor, well-meaning United States will harden into stone and be pumped 24 hours a day through every possible medium, making anyone questioning what happened seem disloyal, unpatriotic, treasonous, insane, or all of those.

However, it will then come out in 20 or 30 years, just like in the Gulf of Tonkin incident, that, well, what do you know--they played the public for suckers and got a lot of people killed and it turns out that the pretext the whole thing was based on didn't even happen or didn't happen at all like they said it did. When will we learn?

Rice says "We're not planning to attack Iran." That can mean one (or all) of five things:

1. "We" are planning to attack Iran. Remember the Bush administration's tendency toward "oppositism."
2. We are have already planned to attack Iran, but not currently doing so at the time of this response of hers
3. We are provoking Iran, just not planning to attack them.
4. We are planning on going to full-scale war with them, not simply "attack" them.
5. We are orchestrating a false-flag attack that we can use an excuse to go to war with Iran.

With this statement of Rice's and the "we're not planning a war with Iran" statement a few days ago of Robert Gates, the Bushies are protesting too much, methinks. But the question Rice responded to fulfills one of my wishes from a while back. I just wish this question had been asked way back then...

She denies seeing the 2003 fax from the Iranians about wanting to open a dialogue with the US about everything from their nuclear program to recognition of Israel. Of course, she also couldn't imagine that anyone would use planes as weapons, even though that had been raised by the government over and over again as a distinct possibility.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


So the Watada trial ends in mistrial, sending this brave hero back to the brig for another month? For Pete's sake, this is crazy. Watada's defense has been that since the war is illegal, he's in the right by refusing an illegal order, i.e., to fight in Iraq:

"At the center of the dispute between the judge and the defense is Watada’s intent when he did not deploy with his unit to Iraq. The defense has consistently tried to call into question the legality of the war, because Watada said the war is illegal and a command to fight in Iraq is also illegal. But the judge has said the argument over the legality of the war is not a matter that can be settled in military court."

If the legality of the war can't be settled in military court and the new Republican minority won't let it be debated, where in the hell can the legality of the war be settled?

Monday, February 05, 2007


So we recently bought a lot of secondhand action figures for my 3-year-old son. They were very cheap and there were a lot of them. Among them was this badass Hawkman figure pictured below:

Hawkman and Wonder Woman

Well, anyway, I always liked Hawkman even though I didn't read that many Hawkman comics as a kid. But with my recent interest in Hawkwind and the fact that this action figure was so awesome, I wanted to know more.

So we found ourselves at the public library this past weekend and to my great joy, I discovered that on the very last row of the kid's section, they have tons of comics--Spiderman, Batman, X-Men, anime, etc. Among them was an encyclopedia of DC Comics characters, and I picked that out for me and Zander to look at because he loves Batman and Superman.

So we read about Batman and Superman but he lost interest when we started getting into characters he was less familiar with and started playing with another 3-year-old who had come in by that time. Anyway, I read about Hawkman and then Wonder Woman caught my eye (wonder why?). Come to find out, according to this encyclopedia, Wonder Woman is an "ambassador of peace," which I don't remember reading or seeing on the TV show.

Retcon and 1337

Anyway, long story short, I wanted to read more about Hawkman and Wonder Woman today, so I went to Wikipedia and checked out some of the links they had. In one of those Wiki entries, there was mention of the term "retcon" that was highlighted as a link, so I clicked it. Turns out that retcon is, well, here's how the 'pedia puts it:

"Retroactive continuity or retcon is the adding of new information to "historical" material, or deliberately changing previously established facts in a work of serial fiction. The change itself is referred to as a "retcon", and the act of writing and publishing a retcon is called "retconning". Retconning can be done either on-purpose, or accidentally, wherein a break in continuity is not noticed until later and is then 'blessed' by later writers or editors."

I was familiar with the concept of retcon (i.e., the movie "Batman Begins") but I just didn't realize that there was a word for it.

So then I'm reading about ATHF for my entries below about that situation and run across a Wiki link to "Leet" or "Leetspeak," again, something I'd seen before but wasn't really that familiar with and didn't realize that it was so codified and colorful. For example:

Example: 7|-|3 [,]|_|1(|< |3|20\/\/|\| |=0>< ]|_|/\/\|?5 0\/3|2 7|-|3 |_42`/ [)09.

Translation: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

Example: 1 ]|_|57 |_34|2/\/3|) \/\/|-|47 1337 /\/\34/\/5.

Translation: I just learned what leet means

More common example: 7 |-| 4 7 |\/| 0 \/ 3 \|/ 4 5 1337!!!

Translation: That move was elite!!!

A more basic form: 7h15 15 4 v3ry b451c f0rm 0f 31i73, 0nly 1nv0lv1ng numb3r 5ub5717u710n.

Translation: This is a very basic form of elite, only involving number substitution

Example: | - | 1 C@ | \ | Y0 | _| Sp#@| { | _ 3 3 1?


Hi can you speak leet?

Anyway, I'm sure it's very uncool for me to admit that I just learned about all this, but whatever. I'm cool with being uncool...

So Turner and Interference (bloody appropriate name for a marketing firm in this position, eh?) are going to pay $2 million dollars to the city of Boston because people freaked out about a marketing campaign.

Well, I guess that was cheaper than taking it to court.

But I want to know what's going to happen to the only two guys that were charged with anything, Berdovsky and Stevens. They were charged with "placing a hoax device to incite panic" and disorderly conduct. By the way, I'm getting this info from Wikipedia's entry on this subject, the "2007 Boston Mooninite Scare"--my favorite part of the entry is this:

"Between 2 and 3 p.m., a police analyst identified the image on the devices as an ATHF cartoon character..."

I wonder if that police analyst still has his or her job--for the analyst to identify the device as a Mooninite, he or she would then basically admit to watching subversive, terror-inducing programs, right? I mean, there's a reason ATHF doesn't air in prime time, see. The show's time slot is obviously geared toward the terrorist crowd, who are up late at night, plotting and scheming and attaching exposed battery packs to circuit boards for--advertising campaigns.

There oughta be a law--and there is!

The charge of "placing a hoax device to incite panic" sounds to me like it was made up on the spot. Does Boston or any city really have a law against that, in those words? Maybe they do, but it sounds a little improvised to me. Wait, they do have such a law:

"From Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 102A 1/2:

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "hoax device" shall mean any device that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such device is an infernal machine. For the purposes of this section, the term "infernal machine" shall mean any device for endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both, by fire or explosion, whether or not contrived to ignite or explode automatically. For the purposes of this section, the words "hoax substance" shall mean any substance that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such substance is a harmful chemical or biological agent, a poison, a harmful radioactive substance or any other substance for causing serious bodily injury, endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both."

What was the next step in the marketing plan?

I wonder what the payoff for this marketing plan was supposed to be. Would TV commercials have begun to appear with the images that would then supposedly make people think--"That's kinda like that shiny thing I saw on the bridge today--it made me freak the fuck out and call 911"? As it turns out, all the marketing people would've had to do was make an anonymous phone call to the police and report a "suspicious-looking device" on a bridge and bingo-bango, millions of dollars worth of publicity!

Oh well, as long as they drop the charges against Berdovsky and Stevens, all's well as far as I'm concerned. Those two will now probably have their pick of jobs at any ad agency in the country. Thanks, Ignignokt and Err!

...let's all remember this article, which points out that the "intelligence" regarding Iran is "ambiguous" at best:

" But three U.S. officials familiar with unpublished intel (unnamed when discussing sensitive info) said evidence of official Tehran involvement is "ambiguous," in the words of one of the officials."

The Bush administration wants to take us into some sort of conflict with Iran by suggesting that Iran is helping kill American soliders in Iraq--and let's not forget that we are in Iraq illegally and for no reason other than to destabilize the Middle East and generate profits for the defense and oil industries.

But there is little or no evidence that Iran is doing this, and any evidence that may be said to exist is ambiguous, meaning of course that the evidence is "open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations." So those who will profit (financially or politically) from war will want to interpret it as indicating that Iran is helping to kill Americans, and those who will suffer from the war (soldiers, their families, and the public) will want to interpret the "evidence" as indicating that Iran is not in fact doing that.

Hmmm...wonder whose motives in that scenario are purer?

This article is precisely the kind of thing that we should point to when the Iran war starts going badly and the neocons say, as they have with Iraq, that "no one could have known that Iran wasn't actually helping Iraqi insurgents." YES, they do know that and they're trying to warn us now, before the conflict starts. Will we listen and make our leaders listen?

Friday, February 02, 2007


From June 24, 2005 (in which I assume a confrontation with Iran this coming spring):


Geez Louise...

Looking back over some old posts, I came across this one from June 30, 2005:

My prediction about the new president of Iran supposedly being one of the Iranian hijackers in 1979: this is one of those stories that we'll look back on as one of the ways in which the Republicans swept Congress in the 2006 election. We've already been told that "Al Qaida [is] hiding in Iran" and now we're told that the new president of that country is a "terrorist" as Tucker Carlson just did. And not just any terrorist, but one involved with the one of our most ignominious encounters with Middle East culture prior to Sept. 11.

I will bet dollars to doughnuts that Ahmadinejad was in fact not actually one of the captors, and he and others have already protested to the contrary. However, let's remember that in these times, facts, truth, and reality have no bearing on anything our leaders do. What matters is that today Bush said that if Ahmadinejad was one of the captors, that raises "serious questions" or some such rubbish. The Bush smear jihad never ends: McCain, Gore, Paul O'Neill, Max Cleland, Kerry, Durbin, and now Ahmadinejad.

Remember that one, that Ahmadinejad was one of the hostage takers in 1979? But man, they've been trying to make this case for war with Iran for a long time!! I had kinda forgotten about all that.

Oh, that's a relief. Whew! I could've sworn we were going to somehow attack Iran, but nope, apparently that's not what's happening:

At his news conference, Gates also said that the decision announced in January to send a second U.S. aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region does not mean the United States is planning for a war with Iran. He said the purpose was to underscore to U.S. allies as well as potential adversaries that the Gulf is a vital interest to the United States.

"Nobody is planning, we are not planning for a war with Iran," Gates said.

Gates said the United States' main aim with regard to Iranian influence inside Iraq is to counter what he called networks providing explosives used to make roadside bombs that are powerful enough to destroy a U.S. tank.

I wonder how they'll explain away that quote later this year or next. Gates says "nobody is planning, we are not planning for a war with Iran." Well, listening to what the words don't say, I hear at least two things:

1). "We are not planning for a war with Iran" means Israel is planning for a war with Iran. That really means we are going to war, but Israel's drawing up (or already has drawn up) the plans.

2) Maybe the Iran war has already been planned, and it is therefore technically accurate to say today that "we are not planning for a war with Iran."

3) Maybe we're already at war with Iran, having raided one of their consulates and been "conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer [of 2004]".

4) We're simply going to bomb Iran, not "go to war" with them, silly!

5) He didn't say there wouldn't be a war, he just said they're not planning a war. In other words, there will be a war, it'll be a total improv piece, a freeform war, a "jazz odyssey" type of conflict, just like Iraq, and look how great that's worked out.


OK, I was wrong

I had been writing last year that the way the Iran War would be sold to the public was by painting Iran as irrational and unreasonable for not taking the "offer" to stop enriching uranium. Well, apparently we're way past worrying about any of that at this stage. But here's where I wrote about it:



Now it seems clear that the way that the Bush adminstration wants to widen the war is to convince us that Iran is helping kill our soldiers in Iraq. Which is a shame, to be sure, but then again, we should've never gone to Iraq in the first place.

But wait! Just to be fair to myself, I did also begin to catch on a couple days later:

"And this, along with Iran's certain eventual refusal of "the offer," will be the talking point: Iran helps the violent terrorists in Iraq, so we have to invade (or bomb, or do regime change, or whatever).

But what evidence is there for this charge except Casey's say-so? Would a Bush military man help convince the public of something that Bush wanted him to even if there was scant, conflicting evidence with many caveats to support that general's claim? Perish the thought.

We're doomed..."


I know everyone says this, but it really seems to be true--there is no one else in the corporate media who submits Bush administration claims to scrutiny and openly challenges the administration's motives and veracity...

Thursday, February 01, 2007


They know the cops have nothing on them. If anything, they've got a great case against the city for arresting them. I still haven't heard exactly what laws they've broken. They rightfully made a mockery of this whole thing.

Boston police commissioner Davis had this to say:

"“People can be smug and say all you have to do is look at this and know this is not an explosive device, but the truth of the matter is that you can’t tell what it is until it’s disrupted,” Davis said."

Are we to believe that some kind of post-modern terrorists with a sense of humor are going to encase their bombs in some sort of blinking Lite-Brite tribute? And put them all over the city in some haphazard fashion? I thought terrorist attacks had to be clandestine so no one ever knows what's happening until it's too late--you don't want to draw people's attention to blinking lights that might say "Hey, look over here! Check me out to see if I'm a bomb!"

A post-Gulf-of-Tonkin-incident world. And a post-Operation-Ajax world and a post-Operation-Northwoods world. It's a post-"Iraq has WMD"-world

This whole "post-9/11 world" meme drives me up a wall. It's used to condemn everything after the fact--i.e., "you can't be allowed to do x, y, or z--after all, this is a 'post-9/11 world.'"

It's just like the "we're at war" excuse the neocons like to drag out--"you can't criticize/protest/have freedom because we're at war and we can't allow anyone to 'embolden the enemy.'"

It's all very convenient for the authorities, isn't it? And yet people go right along with it. In a post-9/11 world, apparently, any act someone in power doesn't approve of (whether it's legal or not) can be condemned just because it's being done after a particular date on a calendar.

Well, you know what? It's also a post-Gulf-of-Tonkin-incident world. And a post-Operation-Ajax world and a post-Operation-Northwoods world. It's a post-"Iraq has WMD"-world.

In other words, we know that our government has, does, and will try to pull the wool over our eyes and fool us and abuse our trust, and not for our own good. In fact, it's pretty much always to our detriment. Why would we then enable the taking of our freedom to, I don't know, put up promotions for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, just because we've been told that over and over again that Osama bin Laden got the better of us? The FBI doesn't seem to think so.

So the Aqua Teen saga continues. This is just too much:

"I cannot state strongly enough the seriousness of this offense," District Attorney Daniel Conley said in the Boston Herald.

What's the offense? Advertising? Good marketing?

Thankfully the judge seems to have a good head on his shoulders:

The artists' biggest ally might be their judge, who "seemed skeptical of the state's case," in the words of the Boston Globe, and reminded prosecutors that they'd have to prove Berdovsky and Stevens intended to cause a panic.

Yeah, it's going to be really hard to prove that, since these ads were in 8 other cities and didn't cause a panic and these guys were working for a legitimate ad agency. I mean, 9/11 shouldn't be allowed to change the laws of common sense. I mean, changing the Constitution, I understand, but this is ridiculous--KIDDING!

And by the way, I hope the ad agency these guys were working for doesn't try to hang them out to dry--I'd be surprised if they what they did is actually illegal. And Turner Broadcasting needs to step up too and pay for these guys' defense. After all, TBS is still getting quite a lot of publicity bang for their buck.