For the last few
weeks, the Twitter account @Homer_Marijuana
has been publishing a bizarre piece of long-form fan fiction about The Simpsons
, family, America's wars in the Middle East, and marijuana, vast amounts of all sorts of marijuana. Now, 5,015 tweets later, Marijuana Simpson has concluded
, and is available to read on an easier-to-follow Scribd document
The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, is an Iranian dissident group that has been formally designated for the last 15 years by the US State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization". When the Bush administration sought to justify its attack on Iraq in 2003 by accusing Saddam Hussein of being a sponsor of "international terrorism", one of its prime examples was Iraq's "sheltering" of the MEK. Its inclusion on the terrorist list has meant that it is a felony to provide any "material support" to that group.
Now, in the with the support of A-list American politicians who have been handsomely compensated for their efforts
, the MEK are being delisted
. [more inside]
Restoring the Paradise that Saddam Destroyed.
"Saddam Hussein drained the unique wetlands
of southern Iraq as a punishment to the region's Marsh Arabs
who had backed an uprising. Two decades later, one courageous US Iraqi is leading efforts to restore the marshes. Not even exploding bombs can deter him from his dream." [Via]
- Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator
George Piro pretty fascinating.
two teenagers. Their crime? Making love. Homosexuality is a crime under Sharia
law. Meanwhile, newly "liberated" Iraq moves closer to embedding traditional Islamic laws in its new constitution, reducing rights for women
. Will Iraqi gays
be the next to suffer the wrath of "Allah's law" after years of secular oppression under Saddam Hussein?
"I Punched Saddam in the Mouth"
• A man known only as "Samir" worked as an Arabic interpreter for United States Special Forces in late 2003 when Saddam Hussein was captured in Tikrit: "I was so angry. I began cussing at him, calling him a motherfucker, a son-of-a-bitch -- you name it. I told him I was Shiite from the south and was part of the revolution against him in 1991. I said he murdered my uncles and cousins. He imprisoned my father.
In Arabic, Saddam told Samir to shut up. And when Saddam called him a traitor, an enraged Samir silenced his prisoner with a flurry of quick jabs to the face. I punched Saddam in the mouth
Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction
A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.
Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.
"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.
Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling
Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq's neighbors.
The oil trade with countries such as Turkey and Jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the U.S. government and the United Nations for years.
Rumsfeld doubts Saddam Laden link
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cast doubt on whether there was ever a relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
As the verdict of Butler
into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, draws near in
Britain, a senior intelligence source reveals
took the "rare step" of withdrawing the intelligence
that underpinned the claim that Saddam had continued to produce WMD (an
admission that such information was fundamentally unreliable), however Blair did not
tell the public "that the
evidence of WMD was crumbling beneath him"
. [Watch the Panorama
programme in question here for 7 days from 11-7-2004
The Dossier that Lord Hutton declared was not sexed-up
senior BBC resignations), Dr Brian Jones (former head of the nuclear, chemical and
biological branch of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Intelligence Staff) says was
sexed-up, and details exactly how
Bush Insists on Iraq-Al Qaeda Links Despite Report
Not knowing when to give up and admit that he was wrong, Mr. Bush is digging in his heels and insisting, in spite of the 9/11 commision's findings to the contrary, that Saddam Hussein and Al-Queda are linked.
Said Mr. Bush, "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."
I guess that'll be good enough for just under half the population.
Saddam's daughter: I want to go to Iraq
"...My life is a series of collapses," Raghad Saddam Hussein said in an interview in Friday's edition of Sayidaty magazine. "If age is measured by anguish and sadness, I would have been 80 today."...
UNSCAM: The scandal surrounding the UN
and their oil-for-food program with Iraq hasn't received a whole lot of media attention and hasn't, surprisingly, even been brought up on MeFi. It boils down to Saddam Hussein taking the money from oil sales and using it to give kickbacks to France, Russia, and the UN itself, while Saddam built palaces and such, rather than buying food and medicine. It's complicated, but could be the biggest public financial scandal in history. It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that Russia is trying to block any investigation
into the matter.
Several newly declassified documents
have been added to the National Security Archive's Saddam Hussein Sourcebook
, including a State Department cable to special envoy Donald Rumsfeld
(PDF) for his second meeting with Saddam Hussein (months after the infamous handshake meeting
,) in which Rumsfeld conveyed the Reagan administration's undiminished support for Hussein despite their public condemnation of his use of chemical weapons. (It also mentions but seems unconcerned with Hussein's support for Abu Nidhal.) Another document describes Bechtel's intention to do business with Iraq
(PDF) through non-US sources in case of US sanctions. [More analysis at Juan Cole
Saddam's spiderhole photo was taken in August,
? The fruit on the date palm behind the soldier is yellow
. Date fruit grows from March-August (see 'Iraq' in table 23)
and is harvested in early fall. Dates are yellow (ie. just ripened) in August
, not December. I'm not invoking conspiracy - I'm just asking: what gives?
Saddam Reported Captured
- So what next? A trial at the International Criminal Court
(which the US does not recognise), a trip to Cuba
or a trial in Iraq? And is this finally the decapitation
of the resistance in Iraq?
“Various people would laugh at various times [during Powell’s speech]
because the information he was presenting was just, you know, didn't mean anything -- had no meaning,"
confirms denies confirms link between Iraq and terrorism! " The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction."
In other news, we're at war with Eastasia. We've always been at war with Eastasia... Food rations have jumped by 10%! Doubleplusgood!
"This is not what Saddam attributes to himself." This?
What is This
? According to the BBC and Al Jazeera
is the assassination of Iraqi Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, the source of far more mourning amongst the Shiite community than, say, the death of Uday and Qusay Hussein. Apparently, Saddam pointed out how quickly the West rushed to judgment against him, then denied he had anything to do with the bombing. CNN
and the Associated Press
concur with that assessment, though they do not use the above (translated) passage in their report. And that would be it, save for the BBC providing a full text translation of the primary source for the story
. A slightly larger excerpt:
[The invaders say without evidence that some of my supporters were responsible.]
Saddam Hussein is not the leader of the minority or a group, with whom he is affiliated or who are affiliated. He is the leader of all the great Iraqi people - Arabs and Kurds; Shias and Sunnis, Muslims and non-Muslims. Saddam Hussein does not attribute this saying to himself. This[emphasis added] is what was decided by the great Iraqi people themselves in free, public elections.
Contextual shift between translations has always been a contentious issue, but precisely how does the message "I am not just the ruler of a few shattered remnants of Iraqi society" get warped into "I did not order the death of this man"? The two messages are, after all, mutually exclusive. The only thing that's clear is that it's unlikely this was a militarily-sourced obfuscation; Heatley's comments on CNN
clearly address the obvious interpretation. Thoughts?
Beliefs about Saddam
-- some Iraqis find it difficult to believe that their former ruler can die. "How can we really be sure he's gone for good?"
asked Hassam Sahar, 45, an engineer. "We can't trust the U.S. and Britain. They left once before." Some believe that Saddam has links to the occult [audio file]
ranging from a djinn kept in a stone to magic practiced by his mother, which are based in folk islam
[google cache 1 2 3
] Western occultists, too, have something to say about Saddam.
Another senior Iraqi officer claims Saddam destroyed all his WMD in 1991.
"Iraqi scientists, including those currently held by the U.S. military, have maintained that no new unconventional weapons programs were started in recent years and that all the materials from previous programs were destroyed." Also see Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel's 1995 statements to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Real Hussein
John Dean's analysis of the administrations case for War.
"What I found, in critically examining Bush's evidence, is not pretty. The African uranium matter is merely indicative of larger problems, and troubling questions of potential and widespread criminality when taking the nation to war. It appears that not only the Niger uranium hoax, but most everything else that Bush said about Saddam Hussein's weapons was false, fabricated, exaggerated, or phony."
Dealing With Saddam
What's in the cards for the missing members of the Iraqi high command?
According to Reuters AlertNet
"The United States will soon deliver Iraq's deposed president Saddam Hussein and his inner circle into the hands of its own troops -- as a deck of playing cards...Brigadier General Vincent Brooks held up one of the first examples of the card packs at a Central Command briefing on Friday, explaining that each card depicted a character the United States wanted pursued, killed or captured."
Checking the deck
quite predictably we find that Saddam is portrayed as the Ace of Spades, and his strong-arm younger son Qusay
is tricked out as Ace of Clubs. Ironically, elder-psychopathic progeny Uday, who is said to favor the use of rape
as a weapon of torture
, is imaged as the Ace of Hearts.
An Adobe Acrobat PDF image of the full deck is available at Defense Link.
Is this the the new US military card game, Poke-Iman? "Hey, soldiers...gotta catch 'em all!"
Let's Just Send Suge Knight In To Do It Right!
A radio station thought to be backed by the CIA has been broadcasting a gangsta rap-style parody of Saddam Hussein to Iraq.
Iraqui currency hot on the 'bay
Start your bids, folks.Wired
is reporting a boost in auctions for Iraqui currency that contains images of its
Embedding? Rumsfeld et al Tried to Embed Bechtel and Themselves with Saddam as Iraq Gassed Iranians.
"Our examination [issued by the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network and the Institute for Policy Studies with recently released supporting documents
] shines a new spotlight on the revolving door between Bechtel and the Reagan Administration that drove U.S.-Iraq interactions between 1983 and 1985. The men who courted Saddam while he gassed Iranians are now waging war against him, ostensibly because he holds weapons of mass destruction. To a man, they now deny that oil has anything to do with the conflict. Yet during the Reagan Administration, and in the years leading up to the present conflict, these men shaped and implemented a strategy that has everything to do with securing Iraqi oil exports....[This paper] notes that the break in US-Iraq relations occurred not after Iraq used chemical weapons on the Iranians, nor after Iraq gassed its own Kurdish people, nor even after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but rather, followed Saddam's rejection of the Aqaba pipeline deal. Finally, this paper shows that the main actors in the 1980s drama are now back on center stage, this time justifying military action against Iraq in terms of national security....The Bush/Cheney administration now eyes Bechtel as a primary contractor for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure." (via Progressive Review.
The Iraq debate - from Red Pepper.
"...The writers of these articles are some of the many people who have struggled against Saddam Hussein, who have been driven into exile by his brutal regime, who keep their links with dissidents in Iraq, who do not believe that the US military can liberate them, and who are arguing for diplomatic and humanitarian support..."
Richard Perle in Guardian Shock!
Op-ed piece brought to us from the ever-balanced Guardian, bound to whip up a whirlwind of protest in the paper’s letters page tomorrow.
Perhaps you might care to pre-empt Saturday morning’s correspondence.
While I haven't checked out the videos (which is sans translation anyway), it's interesting to hear
that the Iraqi government has put up their version of the Saddam-Rather interview
from a few weeks back, on their almost blog-like gov't site
. I wish there was an english translation, to see how the other side lobs their spin of propaganda in this new media war.
If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical/biological weapons
in an Iraq conflict, how safe would soldiers in the field be? The Department of the Defense says "no problem"
, but some of the men on the ground seem to believe
otherwise. The gear the soldiers will use to protect themselves and their water supply appears to be old, prone to failure
while the training received in the usage of these tools looks inadequate. It could be the return of "Gulf War Syndrome"
Standing With Osama? "Some of the more bilious right-wing pundits... have taken to describing those who oppose the invasion as 'siding with Saddam.' But if such sleazy rhetoric is allowable, then maybe we should say that those like our President, who seem to have ignored Osama’s decrees, or like Powell, who are hawking a Saddam/Al Qaeda connection based on overblown evidence, are standing with Osama."
Is this accusation fair? If so, is it productive? I doubt it, but I'm not certain. Rohan Gunaratna, the author of "Inside Al Qaeda,"
warns that an invasion of Iraq would undermine the international campaign against Al Qaeda
and give terrorist groups a new lease on life. Oh well, at least it's funny
. [Via Cursor
.] [More inside.]
US Plans Post Iraq Liberation
Does this point to US Imperial ambitions, or is it what is needed if Saddam is ousted? How does this work with the Liberation of Iraq, and the Iraq Congress?
Is Fox News Giving "Aid & Comfort" to Saddam?
Contributing money to the regime they hate so much - without disclosing it - seems to go against the grain of the flag-waving network. I don't think Barbara Streisand ever contributed
any money to Baghdad... (via Electrolite
Iraq: How Saddam hides the smoke and the guns
This account is from an Italian paper and appears in an Israeli site that sums up materials pertaining to the Middle East. Of course I am not able to verify its authenticity, nor would anyone, given the "hidden" nature of the man being interviewed. But it does suggest what the Bush administration and many pundits have been saying or implying for some time now.
Rumsfeld helped Saddam during war with Iran,
while they had precise information about daily use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas, nerve gas, anthrax, and sarin. He met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and passed on the US willingness to help his regime and restore full diplomatic relations, in order to help Iraq win the war. [source: Guardian]
Iraqis welcome war to remove Saddam
A survey (.pdf)
taken inside(!) Iraq says Iraqis would favor a war to topple Saddam. The report itself is more interesting than the Independent piece.
The overall impression...was one of exasperation and even anger after twelve years of uncertainty and international isolation and even more years of warfare, combined with a growing sense that the current regime's days are numbered.
The report is most interesting in the details of Iraqis' expectations: that advanced US technology will somehow anesthetize Iraqi soldiers rather than hurt them, the US will rebuild their country for them, there will be no breakup of Iraq, nor postwar bloodbath, etc.
A fascinating and important portrait of a people at the end of their rope.
'Saddam's men torturted me'
A dossier of human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by the Iraqi regime, including torture and rape, has been released by the UK Government. The full report here
Amnesty International is criticizing the UK government for the timing of the report's release. What do you think? Moral outrage at the servile scum that run Iraq's prisons or calculated manipulation of UK/US public opinion prior to an inexorable war to keep our SUVs?
War With Iraq - As Predictable As Chess
There is still a good chance we can avoid war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein has never won a war, and his military forces surely foresee their own destruction. Numerous assassination attempts by them (some involving the Republican Guard) have failed. They are likely trying again, even now. Therein lies our best hope.
What if they fail again? Then invasion by the U.S. is inevitable.
saddam makes it tough for reporters to work
, but this two-person US team
gets uncut news out of iraq daily in audio, video, and print.
Saddam Hussein wins 100% of the vote
in a hilarious display of so called democracy
“President Bush’s case against Saddam Hussein ... relied on a slanted
and sometimes entirely false reading of the available US intelligence, government officials and analysts claimed yesterday.” Another article on the same subject says, “Rumsfeld’s recent remark that the United States has ‘bulletproof’ evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Hussein struck many in the intelligence community as an exaggerated
assessment of the available evidence.” One paper explains the differences this way, “The C.I.A. has to maintain its credibility
for objective estimates. The White House is mobilizing the public and preparing foreign nations for a potential American invasion of Iraq.”
Before we go to war based on whether or not Saddam (or the UN Security Council...) agrees to the Bush administration's proposed UN resolution, would anyone care to discuss what their proposed resolution actually says?
Apparently, the text of the resolution isn't in the public domain
... but things leak. According to this article
, the resolution allows the UN or its members (including the US) to station armed guards in Iraq, establish no-fly and no-drive zones, and create exclusive ground and air transit corridors. Robert Fisk, one of England's most respected reporters, believes the resolution is a poison pill
, designed to lead to "regime change", whether he accepts it or not. So, what else do we know about the proposed resolution, and why isn't anyone talking about it?