TGIF/Weekend edition - June 30 - July 2, 2006
NOTICE: Come spend the third & fourth of July with All Hat No Cattle! I'll be here with new issues.
Bush, Japan's Koizumi to Tour Graceland
Work continues on new Guantanamo prison facility
Europeans Cheer Ruling on Guantanamo Trials
Graceland? Maybe if Bush acted as though he was "at war", people would take him seriously.
“Military commanders in Iraq say the day is fast approaching when we will start withdrawing our troops. I believe that day is called ‘Election Day.’”-- Jay Leno
The Radical Fringe
US: Marine and a Soldier Died in Iraq Houston Chronicle
Bomber Strikes Funeral in Iraq; 4 Killed Sarasota Herald-Tribune
US soldiers face rape, murder allegations Rocky Mountain News, CO
Romania considers Iraq troop pull-out Financial Times, UK
More Japanese forces leave Iraq base Reuters
Flow of oil is a welcome change in northern Iraq Detroit Free Press
Palestinian parliament vents fury at Israel Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
al-Qaida in Iraq Role in Bombing Denied
Bin Laden wants al-Zarqawi body released AP
"Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction." --George W. Bush, Cincinnati, Ohio, October, 2002
A President, A Prime Minister and The King
Koizumi was thisclose to jumping onstage
himself, but it was bedtime for Bush. The president thanked the musicians, then
said cheerily, "Ready to go to bed?" He added, "Off to Graceland."
When Bush and Koizumi board Air Force One tomorrow on their way to Elvis's shrine, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will come along.
"Memphis . . .," Frist said wistfully. "There's no city in the world that will have a president of the United States, a prime minister from another country and a king."
Bush Team Helps Ruling Party "Floridize" Mexican Presidential Election
By Greg Palast
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War."
Friday, June 30, 2006 -- GEORGE Bush's operatives have plans to jigger with the upcoming elections. I'm not talking about the November '06 vote in the USA (though they have plans for that, too). I'm talking about the election this Sunday in Mexico for their Presidency.
It begins with an FBI document marked, "Counterterrorism" and "Foreign Intelligence Collection" and "Secret." Date: "9/17/2001," six days after the attack on the World Trade towers. It's nice to know the feds got right on the ball, if a little late.
What does this have to do with jiggering Mexico's election? Hold that thought.
This document is what's called a "guidance" memo for using a private contractor to provide databases on dangerous foreigners. Good idea. We know the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf Emirates. So you'd think the "Intelligence Collection" would be aimed at getting info on the guys in the Gulf.
No so. When we received the document, we obtained as well its classified appendix. The target nations for "foreign counterterrorism investigation" were nowhere near the Persian Gulf. Every one was in Latin America -- Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico and a handful of others. See one of the documents yourself.
Latin America?! Was there a terror cell about to cross into San Diego with exploding enchiladas?
All the target nations had one thing in common besides a lack of terrorists: each had a left-leaning presidential candidate or a left-leaning president in office. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez, bete noir of the Bush Administration, was facing a recall vote. In Mexico, the anti-Bush Mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was (and is) leading the race for the Presidency.
Most provocative is the contractor to whom this no-bid contract was handed: ChoicePoint Inc. of Alpharetta, Georgia. ChoicePoint is the database company that created a list for Governor Jeb Bush of Florida of voters to scrub from voter rolls before the 2000 election. ChoicePoint's list (94,000 names in all) contained few felons. Most of those on the list were guilty of no crime except Voting While Black. The disenfranchisement of these voters cost Al Gore the presidency.
Having chosen our President for us, our President's men chose ChoicePoint for this sweet War on Terror database gathering. The use of the Venezuela's and Mexico's voter registry files to fight terror is not visible -- but the use of the lists to manipulate elections is as obvious as the make-up on Katherine Harris' cheeks.
In Venezuela, leading up to the August 2004 vote on whether to re-call President Chavez, I saw his opposition pouring over the voter rolls in laptops, claiming the right to challenge voters as Jeb's crew did to voters in Florida. It turns out this operation was partly funded by the International Republican Institute of Washington, an arm of the GOP. Where did they get the voter info?
In that case, access to Venezuela's voter rolls didn't help the Republican-assisted drive against Chavez, who won by a crushing plurality.
In Mexico this Sunday, we can expect to see the same: challenges of Obrador voters in a race, the polls say, is too close to call. Not that Mexico's rulers need lessons from the Bush Administration on how to mess with elections.
In 1988, the candidate for Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR), who opinion polls showed as a certain winner, somehow came up short against the incumbent party of the ruling elite. Some of the electoral tricks were far from subtle. In the state of Guerrero, the PDR was leading on official tally sheets by 359,369. Oddly, the official final count was 309,202 for the ruling party, only182,874 for the PDR. Challenging the vote would have been dangerous. Two top officials of Obrador's party were assassinated during the campaign.
Crucial to the surprise victory of the ruling party was the introduction of computer voting machines and the centralization of voter databases. Observer Andrew Reding of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs reported that ruling party operatives had special access codes denied the opposition.
Whether the US "War on Terror" lists will find a use in Sunday's election, we cannot know. But the use of American government resources to interfere in south-of-the-border campaigns is an open secret. The GOP's International Republican Institute has run training sessions for the PAN youth wing, funded by US taxpayers through the "National Endowment for Democracy."
Foreign -- that is, American -- interference in political campaigns is a crime. That didn't stop Team Bush. However, when the theft of its citizen files was discovered, Argentina threatened to arrest ChoicePoint contractors until the company returned the tapes -- and Mexico's attorney general did in fact arrest the ChoicePoint data thieves to avoid his party's looking too much the stooge of its Washington patron. Whether George Bush gave back his copy, no one will say.
Wholesale theft is expected on Sunday in forms both subtle and brutal. How the US' purloined "counterterrorism" lists will be used, we don't know. We are certain however, that the Administration did not siphon off these Latin voter files to fight a War on Terror. It appears, rather, part of the Bush Administration's and GOP's hemispheric War on Democracy -- along a battle line which runs from Florida to Ohio to Juarez.
For as-it-happens reporting on the Mexican election, check www.GregPalast.com for dispatches from our team investigator Special Correspondent Matt Pascarella with video journalist Rick Rowley in Mexico City.
“You hate to see something like this happen, but Rush Limbaugh is flying someplace and he lands and they're going through his luggage, and they found he had illegal Viagra. So chalk up another one for Homeland Security, ladies and gentlemen. Yes!”-- David Letterman
Aide Is Subpoenaed in Influence-Peddling Inquiry
Gov. Bush Meets on Drilling, Dike, Everglades in Washington First Coast News, FL
“President Bush is criticizing the New
York Times for revealing how we track terrorists' money. Yeah, he's also
criticized the Times for not having a funnies pages.”--
Shooting the Messengers
The House on Thursday approved a Republican-crafted
resolution condemning news organizations for revealing a covert government
program to track terrorist financing, saying the disclosure had "placed the
lives of Americans in danger."
The resolution, passed 227-183 on a largely party-line vote, did not specifically name the news organizations, but it was aimed at the New York Times and other news media...In a separate effort, Arizona Republican Rep. J.D. Hayworth has gathered 70 signatures on a letter
From Amsterdam to US Right Wing Think Tank
The Dutch prime minister said his government would resign Friday after his coalition split over the citizenship case of a Somali-born lawmaker, Hirsi Ali...Ali, meanwhile, has accepted a job in Washington with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a think tank.
Oil prices settle above $73 a barrel BusinessWeek
India among world’s top 12 in gas reserves Financial Express, India
Turkmenistan to cut off gas shipments to Russia
Gay, lesbian workers gradually gain benefits San Francisco Chronicle
Is that a V-Phone in your pocket?
Seoul to launch first mobile Internet service Asia Times Online
“This week, Washington, DC, received a foot of rain and part of the IRS building was flooded. The bad news, part of the IRS building was not flooded.” -- Conan O’Brien
A "Little" Motorized Bicycle? Gotta Love That Japanese Humor
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi knew immediately what he wanted to hear first on the jukebox he received from US President George W. Bush: Elvis Presley....Koizumi, in turn, gave Bush "a little motorized bicycle," silver in color, as well as a giant portrait of baseball great Babe Ruth in Japan "a long time ago"and a modern ink drawing of the Yankee slugger.
After ruling, uncertainty looms at Guantánamo International Herald Tribune, France
MSNBC Axes Rita Cosby - Gives Us Tucker Carlson Twice in 3 Hours!
MSNBC personality Rita Cosby yesterday went
from the floodwaters of Pennsylvania into the fire of 30 Rock.
After a grueling nine-hour meeting involving Cosby, her agent and top NBC News and MSNBC execs, the third-rated cable news network announced that her weeknight show, "Rita Cosby: Live & Direct," will be canceled in early July...
“More news coming out about those seven men in Miami that the FBI arrested. They said they were planning to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. Seems they pledged their allegiance to al Qaeda. And they were after virgins in the afterlife because they couldn't find any in Miami.” --Jay Leno
Cheney expresses support for gas line Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, AK
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In a photo provided by the San Diego Zoo, one of nine Caribbean flamingo chicks is looked after by an adult, Tuesday, June 27, 2006, in San Diego. The recently-hatched chicks may soon have company. With several more eggs on the conical nests, zookeepers are hoping more of the downy gray chicks will soon join the flock. Both male and female flamingos sit on the nests and raise and feed the young birds. (Photo/The San Diego Zoo, Ken Bohn)