WASHINGTON — When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would be self-financing and that rebuilding the nation would cost less than $2 billion.
Coming up on the fifth anniversary of the invasion, a Nobel laureate now estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing America more than $3 trillion.
That estimate from Noble Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz also serves as the title of his new book, “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” which hits store shelves Friday.
The book, co-authored with Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, builds on previous research that was published in January 2006. The two argued then and now that the cost to America of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is wildly underestimated.
When other factors are added — such as interest on debt, future borrowing for war expenses, the cost of a continued military presence in Iraq and lifetime health-care and counseling for veterans — they think that the wars’ costs range from $5 trillion to $7 trillion.
By Vince Little, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, February 19, 2008
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — U.S. Army Central is establishing a permanent platform for “full spectrum operations” in 27 countries around southwest Asia and the Middle East, its commander says.
Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace said the Army has diverse capabilities here now but plans to reach a complete level of operational effectiveness by July.
The restructuring, which offers more flexibility for offensive, defensive and stability operations, is a major piece of transformation worldwide, said Lovelace.
“It’s the first Army command to do this,” said Lovelace, who also heads the Coalition Forces Land Component. “Now, we’re not only operational but the Army has committed other assets.”
They include the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater), 335th Signal Command, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, 352nd Civil Affairs Group, and a Navy medical command.
So let me get this straight. US naval ships are roaming around the Persian golf in an obvious attempt to rile Iran and they fly their fighter jets on secretive missions, and when a few Iranians in speedboats issue a verbal threat to blow up these huge monstrosities it is warned not to do that again. The Americans felt so threatened they almost blew these speedboats out of the water.
I wonder how the Americans would feel if Iran had huge vessels roaming around in oh, say the golf of Mexico near a city (well, ex-city) like New Orleans.
I would call the American vessels reckless for being in Iranian waters.
The United States on Tuesday rejected Iran’s assertion that a tense naval standoff between Washington and Tehran’s navies in the Strait of Hormuz was routine, and warned “they should not do it again.”
“It was out of the ordinary, it was reckless,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, as US President George W. Bush prepared to depart on a week-long Middle East trip partly designed to seek a united front to face down Iran.
“It’s hard for us to tell what they were thinking, or what they were doing, or whether or not they plan to take any such actions in the future. What I can tell you is our position is they should not do it again,” she said.
Asked whether the incident bolstered Bush’s case against Iran, Perino replied: “I think it’s just another point of reference for people in the region who are concerned about the behavior of Iran.”
H. Res. 1695, 1955 & S.1959
By Nikki Alexander
01/04/08 “ICH” — – Perhaps a clear and simple law is needed that states: “Congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech. Speech includes ‘the broad and constant streams of information’ freely exchanged on the Internet.” Does the Internet need to be singled out? Or is this self-evident in the First Amendment to the Constitution? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Clearly, Jane Harman (D-CA) who sponsored H.Res.1955 does not respect the Constitution. Nor does her partner, Dave Reichert (R-WA), who authored the original bill, H.Res.1695. Both bills seriously violate the most precious amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are preparing to follow suit with a Senate companion bill, S.1959. Did any of the 404 members of the House of Representatives who voted for the passage of this bill understand that they violated our Constitutional rights, once again? The “immanent threat” charade seems to nullify their capacity for critical thinking and erase their memory of the Constitution, as well as their oath to defend it. How many Senators will succumb to terrorist fear tactics and betray the American people?
Among the Powers granted to the Federal Government by the People of the United States which one authorizes Congress to investigate the so-called “belief systems” of private citizens? Which Power granted by the People endows Congress with authority to investigate the motivations and clairvoyantly predict the intentions of private citizens? Which Power granted by the People authorizes Government surveillance and censorship of the Internet? Which Power granted by the People authorizes the Government to data mine the personal records of US citizens, subjectively filter the personal beliefs of Americans and categorize them for acceptability or to infiltrate local communities and eradicate ‘unacceptable’ beliefs? Which Power authorizes the Federal Government to gather intelligence on American citizens for use by Federal, State and local law enforcement? What is the Constitutional authority for Frau Harman’s storm troopers to terrorize the public through “vertical information sharing from the Intelligence Community to the local level and from local sources to State and Federal agencies”?
Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t
by F. William Engdahl
One thing Microsoft founder Bill Gates can’t be accused of is sloth. He was already programming at 14, founded Microsoft at age 20 while still a student at Harvard. By 1995 he had been listed by Forbes as the world’s richest man from being the largest shareholder in his Microsoft, a company which his relentless drive built into a de facto monopoly in software systems for personal computers.
In 2006 when most people in such a situation might think of retiring to a quiet Pacific island, Bill Gates decided to devote his energies to his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest ‘transparent’ private foundation as it says, with a whopping $34.6 billion endowment and a legal necessity to spend $1.5 billion a year on charitable projects around the world to maintain its tax free charitable status. A gift from friend and business associate, mega-investor Warren Buffett in 2006, of some $30 billion worth of shares in Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway put the Gates’ foundation into the league where it spends almost the amount of the entire annual budget of the United Nations’ World Health Organization.
So when Bill Gates decides through the Gates Foundation to invest some $30 million of their hard earned money in a project, it is worth looking at.
No project is more interesting at the moment than a curious project in one of the world’s most remote spots, Svalbard. Bill Gates is investing millions in a seed bank on the Barents Sea near the Arctic Ocean, some 1,100 kilometers from the North Pole. Svalbard is a barren piece of rock claimed by Norway and ceded in 1925 by international treaty (see map).
Israel and the United States have agreed to appoint two working committees in order to hone a joint strategy against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, public radio reported on Friday.
Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz headed discussions on the matter in the United States this week, it said.
One committee will deal with intelligence on Iran’s nuclear drive and the other with international sanctions, the chief weapon in an effort to convince Tehran to halt uranium enrichment.
The next formal discussions between Israeli and US officials on Iran will be in two months in Israel, the radio station reported.
The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street’s favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.
Mrs Clinton’s wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts.
Employees of the top five US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon – gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to the Republicans. “The contributions clearly suggest the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed,” said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia University in New York.
I would like an answer to that question too.
Nuke transportation story has explosive implications
By ROBERT STORMER
Special to the Star-Telegram
Last month, six W80-1 nuclear-armed AGM-129 advanced cruise missiles were flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and sat on the tarmac for 10 hours undetected.
Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important major issues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with.
Opinion columns and editorials appeared in America’s newspapers, some blasting the Air Force for flying nukes over the U.S. and some defending the Air Force procedure. None of the news reports focused on the real questions of our nuclear security.
Let me be very clear here: We are not talking about paintball cartridges or pellet gun ammo. We are talking nuclear weapons.
There is a strict chain of custody for all such weapons. Nuclear weapons handling is spelled out in great detail in Air Force regulations, to the credit of that service. Every person who orders the movement of these weapons, handles them, breaks seals or moves any nuclear weapon must sign off for tracking purposes.
BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that Blackwater should leave the country because of the mountain of evidence against the under-fire US security firm.
His comments came amid growing anger among Iraqis that “above-the-law” security contractors are continuing to operate in Iraq while Blackwater is being probed over a deadly shooting 17 days ago.
“I believe the abundance of evidence against it makes it unfit to stay in Iraq,” Maliki told a televised press conference in Baghdad.
A New York Times report on Wednesday citing witnesses, Iraqi investigators and a US official said that as many as 17 people were killed and 24 wounded when Blackwater employees opened fire in central Baghdad on September 16.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The State Department’s initial report of last month’s incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources.
In this September 24 photo, an Iraqi looks at a car that was destroyed during the September 16 incident.
A source involved in diplomatic security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said a Blackwater contractor, Darren Hanner, drafted the two-page “spot report” on the letterhead of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the embassy’s Tactical Operations Center.
That office — which tracks and monitors all incidents and movements involving diplomatic security missions — has outsourced positions to Blackwater and another private firm, the embassy source said.
A highly placed industry source said that Hanner, who was listed on the report as the TOC watch officer, was working for Blackwater at the time the report was written, just after the September 16 incident occurred. He was to rotate out of Iraq this past week, the source said.
merican diplomats have been ordered to compile a dossier detailing Iran’s violations of international law that some fear could be used to justify military strikes against the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.US trains Gulf air forces for war with Iran
Members of the US secretariat in the United Nations were asked earlier this month to begin “searching for things that Iran has done wrong”, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
Some US diplomats believe the exercise – reminiscent of attempts by vice-president Dick Cheney and the former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld to build the case against Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war – will boost calls for military action by neo-conservatives inside and outside the administration.
America’s hired guns in Iraq have been called ‘the coalition of the billing’, but Blackwater mercenaries are accused of more than just taking the money.
Investigations Editor Neil Mackay examines the links between the security firm and the US political elite
EVEN FOR Blackwater, it was an atrocity too far. If an Iraqi government report is to be believed, Blackwater, a US mercenary company which is unofficially the world’s largest “for hire” private army, indiscriminately and without provocation opened fire earlier this month on civilians in a Baghdad street, killing at least 20 people.
Iraq immediately revoked the firm’s licence to operate in the country and moved to expel its staff and prosecute those responsible for the shootings, but Blackwater’s activities have since resumed.
This coincides with the release of a US Embassy report on the September 16 shooting, obtained by the Washington Post and described by a State Department official as a “first blush” account. It details the events, as given by Blackwater guards, and has stirred controversy in Iraq and Washington and prompted an inquiry into the role of Blackwater and other private security firms in Iraq.
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s parliament on Saturday approved a nonbinding resolution labeling the CIA and the U.S. Army “terrorist organizations,” in apparent response to a Senate resolution seeking to give a similar designation to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The hard-line dominated parliament cited U.S. involvement in dropping nuclear bombs in Japan in World War II, using depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, supporting the killings of Palestinians by Israel, bombing and killing Iraqi civilians, and torturing terror suspects in prisons.”The aggressor U.S. Army and the Central Intelligence Agency are terrorists and also nurture terror,” said a statement by the 215 lawmakers who signed the resolution at an open session of the Iranian parliament. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio.
by Michel ChossudovskyIn late August, reported by the Military Times, a US Air Force B-52 bomber flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana with six AGM advanced cruise missiles, each of which was armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead. “… Missiles were mounted on the pylons under its wings. Each of the warheads carried a yield of up to 150 kilotons, more than ten times as powerful as the US bomb that leveled Hiroshima at the close of the Second World War.”
Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq, it was claimed last night.
Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).
The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President’s Texas ranch.
The White House refused to comment on the report last night.
by Prof Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, September 27, 2007
Huffington PostMy cousin Larry Russell, a travel writer, spent three weeks (May 11 through May 31 of 2007) in Jordan as a guest of the Jordanian Tourist Board. He was invited to dinner at the home of Karim Kawar, Jordan ‘s ex- ambassador to the United States (2002-06), in Amman. Dick Cheney and his daughter were Kawar’s guests two nights before Larry arrived. Kawar confided to Larry that “Cheney’s mission was to sound out the reaction to a forthcoming bombing of Iran ‘s nuclear sites (no ground invasion planned) by the U.S. from Jordan’s King Abdullah and President Mubarak of Egypt . They both rejected the idea.”
When Larry pointed out that Jordan and Egypt receive regular economic and military equipment assistance from the United States so any resistance to this plan on their parts would probably be of a token nature at best, Kawar just smiled.
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and President of the National Lawyers Guild. Her new book, Cowboy Republic : Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, was just published. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com
Be afraid, be very afraid, lol.
But than again maybe we should be, perhaps the false flag we’re all waiting for.
From CNN’s Jeanne Meserve
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Researchers who launched an experimental cyber attack caused a generator to self-destruct, alarming the federal government and electrical industry about what might happen if such an attack were carried out on a larger scale, CNN has learned.
Department of Homeland Security video shows a generator spewing smoke after a staged experiment.
Some experts fear bigger, coordinated attacks could cause widespread damage to electric infrastructure that could take months to fix.
CNN has honored a request from the Department of Homeland Security not to divulge certain details about the experiment, dubbed “Aurora,” and conducted in March at the Department of Energy’s Idaho lab
In a previously classified video of the test CNN obtained, the generator shakes and smokes, and then stops.
This would make it easier for the different factions to settle their differences?
No, it would make it easier to steal the oil. You just have to deal with the Kurds who already have made a deal with miljonair oil magnate Ray L. Hunt, who is a good friend and benefactor of, you guessed it, the Bush family.
Ching ,ching, game over.
Washington (dpa) – US lawmakers voted Wednesday to split Iraq into a loose federation of sectarian-based regions and urged President George W Bush to press Iraqi leaders to agree.
More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats to pass the non-binding measure in the Senate, 75-23, showing frustration in both parties about Bush’s war policy and lagging national reconciliation in Iraq.
Supporters of Iraqi partition believe it would let Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions settle their differences and make it easier for US troops eventually to return home.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US House of Representatives aimed a sharp jab at Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday, slapping new energy sanctions on Tehran, and branding its Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.A measure targeting the elite military corps and the lucrative Iranian energy sector sailed through the House by 397 votes to 16, hours before Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
The legislation is aimed at depriving Iran of proceeds from energy sales which could be diverted into funding its nuclear program, which the West says is intended to produce atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.