Opium fields spread across Iraq as farmers try to make ends meet

God = Gold, Oil, Drugs.  
Opium fields spread across Iraq as farmers try to make ends meet Click here for full-size version

The cultivation of opium poppies whose product is turned into heroin is spreading rapidly across Iraq as farmers find they can no longer make a living through growing traditional crops.

Afghan with experience in planting poppies have been helping farmers switch to producing opium in fertile parts of Diyala province, once famous for its oranges and pomegranates, north- east of Baghdad.

At a heavily guarded farm near the town of Buhriz, south of the provincial capital Baquba, poppies are grown between the orange trees in order to hide them, according to a local source.

The shift by Iraqi farmers to producing opium was first revealed by The Independent last May and is a very recent development. The first poppy fields, funded by drug smugglers who previously supplied Saudi Arabia and the Gulf with heroin from Afghanistan, were close to the city of Diwaniyah in southern Iraq. The growing of poppies has now spread to Diyala, which is one of the places in Iraq where al-Qa’ida is still resisting US and Iraqi government forces. It is also deeply divided between Sunni, Shia and Kurd and the extreme violence means that local security men have little time to deal with the drugs trade. The speed with which farmers are turning to poppies is confirmed by the Iraqi news agency al-Malaf Press, which says that opium is now being produced around the towns of Khalis, Sa’adiya, Dain’ya and south of Baladruz, pointing out that these are all areas where al-Qa’ida is strong.

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Defense stocks hit new highs

Sep. 26, 2007 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) –

WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense stocks on Wednesday hit new highs as Defense Secretary Robert Gates requested an extra $42 billion in funding from Congress to cover military costs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008.

The AMEX Defense Index, which tracks 14 major defense company stocks, rose 14.25 to a high of 1,686.72 in afternoon trading. Since last year, the index has risen roughly 47 percent, outperforming the broader S&P 500 index, which has climbed nearly 15 percent over the same period.

Although the anticipated request for more funding does not come as a surprise to Wall Street, the Pentagon’s message nevertheless reinforces the idea that defense spending will remain high in the near-term, said Myles Walton, a CIBC World Market Corp. analyst.

Gates and Peter Pace, the soon-to-retire chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in prepared testimony before the Senate’s appropriations committee that additional funding will include $11 billion to buy another 7,000 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles on top of the 8,000 vehicles already on order, and $9 billion to provide new equipment and technology.

Among the defense companies likely to benefit from additional wartime spending are: Force Protection Industries Inc., General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE:GD) , Ceradyne Inc. (NASDAQ:CRDN) and Oshkosh Truck Corp. (NYSE:OSK)

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Krugman: Bush backer banks on Iraq’s failure

A Texas oil company whose CEO is a longtime confidant of President Bush with access to the most closely held US intelligence has entered into an agreement to explore for oil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The agreement shows that Dallas-based Hunt Oil Co. and its chief executive Ray L. Hunt are “effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation,” argues New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Hunt raised about $100,000 for Bush during the president’s 2000 campaign, and he serves on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which gives him access to some of the most exclusive data collected by US spy agencies.

“What’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be,” Krugman observers. “By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Bush laid out in January — won’t get it’s act together.”

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Sibel Edmonds case: The real culprits of 911

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has made a number of disturbing claims about the 911 attacks, but perhaps the most disconcerting is her oft-repeated statement that the US authorities have covered up an entire organizational layer within al-Qaeda.In the documentary, Kill The Messenger, Sibel says:
“They haven’t mentioned anybody who actually is connected to Al Qaida, in mid or higher level.”
Similarly, Sibel often says:
“And I would like to give an analogy – if you take the War on Drugs, imagine if they only went after street dealers and they refused to investigate the mid-level dealers or the drug lords. This is very similar.”
As we approach another 911 anniversary, it’s time we learnt:
1) Who are these mid and high-level al-Qaida operatives?
2) What role did they play in planning 911?
3) What operational support did they provide?
4) Why they are still roaming free today?
5) Why did the US authorities continually exclude key participants from the official narrative?

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Cholera Epidemic Infects 7,000 People in Iraq

Yep, the surge is working, add genocide through sickness to the list of war crimes.

BAGHDAD, Sept. 11 — A cholera epidemic in northern Iraq has infected approximately 7,000 people and could reach Baghdad within weeks as the disease spreads through the country’s decrepit and unsanitary water system, Iraqi health officials said Tuesday.

The World Health Organization reported that the epidemic is concentrated in the northern regions of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniya and that 10 people are known to have died. But Dr. Said Hakki, president of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, a relief organization that has responded to the epidemic, said that new cases had turned up in the neighboring provinces, Erbil and Nineveh, indicating that the disease had spread.

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Most significant, Dr. Hakki said, were two cases in a village on the border between Kirkuk and Diyala Provinces, one involving a young girl. Baghdad is next to Diyala.

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Iraq to Privatize Electricity

Now we know why the Iraqi national power grid had to be destroyed, the population will give up anything just to have electricity again.

By Ben Lando, UPI. Posted September 10, 2007.

An Iraqi electricity law hasn’t been made public.
Two of Iraq’s many needs right now are more electricity and more investment. A law being drafted could satisfy both, paving the way for foreign and domestic private companies to build power plants, a step toward fully privatizing the electricity sector.

“It should be short coming,” a senior U.S. official working in Baghdad on Iraq’s electricity sector told United Press International on condition of anonymity on the sidelines of an Iraq energy conference.

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Envoy’s Letter Counters Bush on Iraq Army

Published: September 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.

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Bush can’t recall why Iraqi army disbanded

In biography excerpts, he says he initially wanted to maintain the forces: ‘Yeah, I can’t remember.’
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Los Angeles Times Staff WriterSeptember 3, 2007

WASHINGTON – One of the most heavily criticized actions in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was the decision, barely two months later, to disband the Iraqi army, alienating former soldiers and driving many straight into the ranks of anti-American militant groups.

But excerpts of a new biography of President Bush show him saying that he initially wanted to maintain the Iraqi army and, more surprising, that he cannot recall why his administration decided to disband it.

“The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen,” Bush told biographer Robert Draper in excerpts published in Sunday’s New York Times.

Draper pressed Bush to explain why, if he wanted to maintain the army, his chief administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, issued an order in May 2003 disbanding the 400,000-strong army without pay.

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The Bases are loaded

In case you haven’t seen this one.
It’s about the permanent US  bases in Iraq

Reichstag 911 I

Considering a war with Iran:A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East

There is considerable international discussion that the confrontation between Iran and
the international community over its nuclear programme may change in character into
a major war between Iran and either US or Israel or both in conjunction with allies
such as the United Kingdom. This study uses open source analysis to outline what the military option might involve
if it were picked up off the table and put into action. The study demonstrates that an
attack can be massive and launched with surprise rather than merely a contingency
plan needing months if not years of preparation.
The study considers the potential for US and allied war on Iran and the attitude of key
states. The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to
destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and
economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush
giving the order. The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to
deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option
of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping
Iran’s actions.
• Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground
invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many
retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little
force and leave the regime intact.
• US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets
in Iran in a few hours.
• US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan
can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.
• Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed
popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic
areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to
prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.
• Nuclear weapons are ready, but most unlikely, to be used by the US, the UK
and Israel. The human, political and environmental effects would be
devastating, while their military value is limited.
• Israel is determined to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons yet has the
conventional military capability only to wound Iran’s WMD programmes.
• The attitude of the UK is uncertain, with the Brown government and public
opinion opposed psychologically to more war, yet, were Brown to support an
attack he would probably carry a vote in Parliament. The UK is adamant that
Iran must not acquire the bomb.
• Short and long term human, political and economic consequences of any war
require innovative approaches to prevent the crisis becoming war.

Read this PDF (80 pages)

Or an excellent excerpt here

The darkest of all suspicions about Rumsfeld’s postwar strategy

Picphoto090107rumsfeld Why the Administration may have purposely encouraged looting after the fall of Baghdad.

Over the last four years, I have been personally conflicted over which was more outrageously horrible: the decision to go to war in the first place, or the manner in which postwar planning was executed?  Both were bad, no doubt there.  But there was something said about the latter last night on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher that jolted my emotions.  Let me say that as someone that follows politics on a daily basis, I am rarely shocked.  But what I heard last night personally disturbed me, and will get all of you grinding your teeth.

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