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To: bentway who wrote (212014)1/8/2007 1:41:33 AM
From: geode00
   of 281214
 
If those hearings go halfway decently, the country will be chomping at the bit for impeachment and conviction.

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From: AmericanVoter1/8/2007 1:53:15 AM
1 Recommendation   of 281214
 
Robert Fisk: He takes his secrets to the grave. Our complicity dies with him

How the West armed Saddam, fed him intelligence on his 'enemies', equipped him for atrocities - and then made sure he wouldn't squeal
Published: 31 December 2006

We've shut him up. The moment Saddam's hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington's secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States - and Britain - gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support - given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War - is dead.

Gone is the man who personally received the CIA's help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union's influence in Iraq. Saddam's mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment - extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib.

There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 - both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border - and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq's military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad - at America's request.

"Mr Fisk... at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon," he said. "There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments - thousands of them - all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!"

I was with Saddam's forward commandos at the time, under Iranian shellfire, noting how the Iraqi forces aligned their artillery positions far back from the battle front with detailed maps of the Iranian lines. Their shelling against Iran outside Basra allowed the first Iraqi tanks to cross the Karun within a week. The commander of that tank unit cheerfully refused to tell me how he had managed to choose the one river crossing undefended by Iranian armour. Two years ago, we met again, in Amman and his junior officers called him "General" - the rank awarded him by Saddam after that tank attack east of Basra, courtesy of Washington's intelligence information.

Iran's official history of the eight-year war with Iraq states that Saddam first used chemical weapons against it on 13 January 1981. AP's correspondent in Baghdad, Mohamed Salaam, was taken to see the scene of an Iraqi military victory east of Basra. "We started counting - we walked miles and miles in this fucking desert, just counting," he said. "We got to 700 and got muddled and had to start counting again ... The Iraqis had used, for the first time, a combination - the nerve gas would paralyse their bodies ... the mustard gas would drown them in their own lungs. That's why they spat blood."

At the time, the Iranians claimed that this terrible cocktail had been given to Saddam by the US. Washington denied this. But the Iranians were right. The lengthy negotiations which led to America's complicity in this atrocity remain secret - Donald Rumsfeld was one of President Ronald Reagan's point-men at this period - although Saddam undoubtedly knew every detail. But a largely unreported document, "United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War", stated that prior to 1985 and afterwards, US companies had sent government-approved shipments of biological agents to Iraq. These included Bacillus anthracis, which produces anthrax, andEscherichia coli (E. coli). That Senate report concluded that: "The United States provided the Government of Iraq with 'dual use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-systems programs, including ... chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment."

Nor was the Pentagon unaware of the extent of Iraqi use of chemical weapons. In 1988, for example, Saddam gave his personal permission for Lt-Col Rick Francona, a US defence intelligence officer - one of 60 American officers who were secretly providing members of the Iraqi general staff with detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning and bomb damage assessments - to visit the Fao peninsula after Iraqi forces had recaptured the town from the Iranians. He reported back to Washington that the Iraqis had used chemical weapons to achieve their victory. The senior defence intelligence officer at the time, Col Walter Lang, later said that the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis "was not a matter of deep strategic concern".

I saw the results, however. On a long military hospital train back to Tehran from the battle front, I found hundreds of Iranian soldiers coughing blood and mucus from their lungs - the very carriages stank so much of gas that I had to open the windows - and their arms and faces were covered with boils. Later, new bubbles of skin appeared on top of their original boils. Many were fearfully burnt. These same gases were later used on the Kurds of Halabja. No wonder that Saddam was primarily tried in Baghdad for the slaughter of Shia villagers, not for his war crimes against Iran.

We still don't know - and with Saddam's execution we will probably never know - the extent of US credits to Iraq, which began in 1982. The initial tranche, the sum of which was spent on the purchase of American weapons from Jordan and Kuwait, came to $300m. By 1987, Saddam was being promised $1bn in credit. By 1990, just before Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, annual trade between Iraq and the US had grown to $3.5bn a year. Pressed by Saddam's foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, to continue US credits, James Baker then Secretary of State, but the same James Baker who has just produced a report intended to drag George Bush from the catastrophe of present- day Iraq - pushed for new guarantees worth $1bn from the US.

In 1989, Britain, which had been giving its own covert military assistance to Saddam guaranteed £250m to Iraq shortly after the arrest of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad. Bazoft, who had been investigating an explosion at a factory at Hilla which was using the very chemical components sent by the US, was later hanged. Within a month of Bazoft's arrest William Waldegrave, then a Foreign Office minister, said: "I doubt if there is any future market of such a scale anywhere where the UK is potentially so well-placed if we play our diplomatic hand correctly... A few more Bazofts or another bout of internal oppression would make it more difficult."

Even more repulsive were the remarks of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Howe, on relaxing controls on British arms sales to Iraq. He kept this secret, he wrote, because "it would look very cynical if, so soon after expressing outrage about the treatment of the Kurds, we adopt a more flexible approach to arms sales".

Saddam knew, too, the secrets of the attack on the USS Stark when, on 17 May 1987, an Iraqi jet launched a missile attack on the American frigate, killing more than a sixth of the crew and almost sinking the vessel. The US accepted Saddam's excuse that the ship was mistaken for an Iranian vessel and allowed Saddam to refuse their request to interview the Iraqi pilot.

The whole truth died with Saddam Hussein in the Baghdad execution chamber yesterday. Many in Washington and London must have sighed with relief that the old man had been silenced for ever.

'The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East' by Robert Fisk is now available in paperback

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To: kumar rangan who wrote (212041)1/8/2007 1:53:28 AM
From: Elroy
   of 281214
 
When HWP bought Appollo it was a cash deal.

Only when HWP became HPQ, did debt become part of the picture.


HPQ had debt prior to the acquisition of Compaq (that's when it changed from HWP to HPQ). I'm looking at their fiscal '95 balance sheet and it shows $3.2b in short term debt at $660m in long term debt.

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To: kumar rangan who wrote (212039)1/8/2007 1:55:16 AM
From: mistermj
   of 281214
 
EDIT: like another poster noted : Govt is not in the biz of expansion to deliver profits to shareholders. Thats a big diff in approach.

Economies that aren't growing...are dying.

So yes, governments are in the business of expansion.


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To: kumar rangan who wrote (212042)1/8/2007 2:03:25 AM
From: mistermj
1 Recommendation   of 281214
 
It is your responsibility to cite your sources or it is assumed you just made it up.

Its not my job to do your work.

It doesn't even make sense. How could I know what stats you based your opinion on?

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From: AmericanVoter1/8/2007 2:11:27 AM
   of 281214
 

US 'licence to snoop' on British air travellers

By David Millward, Transport Correspondent

Air passengers face having credit card transactions and email messages inspected by the American authorities


Britons flying to America could have their credit card and email accounts inspected by the United States authorities following a deal struck by Brussels and Washington.

By using a credit card to book a flight, passengers face having other transactions on the card inspected by the American authorities. Providing an email address to an airline could also lead to scrutiny of other messages sent or received on that account.

The extent of the demands were disclosed in "undertakings" given by the US Department of Homeland Security to the European Union and published by the Department for Transport after a Freedom of Information request.

About four million Britons travel to America each year and the released document shows that the US has demanded access to far more data than previously realised.

Not only will such material be available when combating terrorism but the Americans have asserted the right to the same information when dealing with other serious crimes.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the human rights group Liberty, expressed horror at the extent of the information made available. "It is a complete handover of the rights of people travelling to the United States," she said.

As the Americans tightened security after the September 11 attacks, they demanded that airlines provide comprehensive information about passengers before allowing them to land.

But this triggered a dispute that came to a head last year in a Catch 22 situation. On one hand they were told they must provide the information, on the other they were threatened with heavy fines by EU governments for breaching European data protection legislation.

In October, Brussels agreed to sweep away the "bureaucratic hurdles" preventing airlines handing over this material after European carriers were threatened with exclusion from the US. The newly-released document sets out the rules underpinning that deal.

As a result the Americans are entitled to 34 separate pieces of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data — all of which must be provided by airlines from their computers.

Much of it is routine but some elements will prove more contentious, such as a passenger's email address, whether they have a previous history of not turning up for flights and any religious dietary requirements.

While insisting that "additional information" would only be sought from lawful channels, the US made clear that it would use PNR data as a trigger for further inquiries.

Anyone seeking such material would normally have to apply for a court order or subpoena, although this would depend on what information was wanted. Doubts were raised last night about the effectiveness of the safeguards.

"There is no guarantee that a bank or internet provider would tell an individual that material about them was being subpoenaed," an American lawyer said.

"Then there are problems, such as where the case would take place and whether an individual has time to hire a lawyer, even if they wanted to challenge it."

Initially, such material could be inspected for seven days but a reduced number of US officials could view it for three and a half years. Should any record be inspected during this period, the file could remain open for eight years.

Material compiled by the border authorities can be shared with domestic agencies. It can also be on a "case by case" basis with foreign governments.

Washington promised to "encourage" US airlines to make similar information available to EU governments — rather than compel them to do so.

"It is pretty horrendous, particularly when you couple it with our one-sided extradition arrangements with the US," said Miss Chakrabarti.

"It is making the act of buying a ticket a gateway to a host of personal email and financial information. While there are safeguards, it appears you would have to go to a US court to assert your rights."

Chris Grayling, the shadow transport secretary, said: "Our government and the EU have handed over very substantial powers to gain access to private information belonging to British citizens."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Every airline is obliged to conform with these rules if they wish to continue flying As part of the terms of carriage, it is made clear to passengers what these requirements are.

The US government has given undertakings on how this data will be used and who will see it."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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To: geode00 who wrote (212044)1/8/2007 2:18:59 AM
From: stockman_scott
2 Recommendations   of 281214
 
The $2 Trillion Dollar War
_____________________________________________________________

A leading economist says the true cost of Iraq is far higher than President Bush claims -- and America will pay the price for decades to come.

BY CHARLES M. YOUNG

rollingstone.com

When America invaded Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would turn a profit, paying for itself with increased oil revenues. So far, though, Congress has spent more than $350 billion on the conflict, including the $50 billion appropriated for 2007.

But according to one of the world's leading economists, that is just a fraction of what Iraq will actually wind up costing American taxpayers. Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, estimates the true cost of the war at$2.267 trillion. That includes the government's past and future spending for the war itself ($725 billion), health care and disability benefits for veterans ($127 billion), and hidden increases in defense spending ($160 billion). It also includes losses the economy will suffer from injured vets ($355 billion) and higher oil prices ($450 billion).

Stiglitz, a professor of economics at Columbia University, is just the guy to size up the war's financial consequences. He served as chief economist at the World Bank and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Clinton, and his book Globalization and Its Discontents has sold more than a million copies. Stiglitz sat down with Rolling Stone in New York to discuss the costs of Bush's misadventure in Iraq.

What's wrong with dropping a lot of money on the Iraq War? Didn't World War II pull America out of the Great Depression?
War is a lousy form of economic stimulus. The bang you get for the buck is very low. If we hadn't had to fight during the Depression, we would have become a much richer country by investing the money we spent on the war. Think of the Nepalese contractors doing work in Iraq. They spend their money in Iraq or Nepal -- not in America.

Because the war drove up oil prices, we are also giving more money to Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. It follows that we are not investing that money. And instead of spending the money we have left on things that will make us wealthier, we are spending it in ways that have just the opposite effect. I don't want to reduce this to cold, hard economics, but when you educate young people for twelve to eighteen years, you're investing a lot of money in them. If you then have them killed, maimed and debilitated, you destroy capital.

How did you arrive at the $2 trillion figure?
There were three parts to the calculations that I made with Linda Bilmes, a professor of public finance at Harvard. The first part is based on actual expenditures -- the impact on the federal budget. But the budget doesn't include a lot of expenditures we will be making in the future as a result of the war today, like paying for the health care and disability benefits of all the people who have been injured. These are lifetime expenditures, but they aren't included in the $600 million a year the Defense Department expects to spend on Iraq. They're just talking about the hardware of war.

The second part of our calculations estimates future expenditures to replace what we lose in the war. The budget includes spending for new ammunition, but not the wear and tear on weapons systems. Eventually the weapons must be replaced, but the administration doesn't count that as part of the projected cost of the war.

A third important category is a little more hidden. The defense budget has gone way up, beyond the money earmarked for Iraq. You have to ask why. It's not like the Cold War has broken out again. We infer that they are hiding a lot of the Iraq expenditures in the defense budget. We only attribute a small fraction of the increase to Iraq, but it would be hard to explain them any other way than the war.

You also examine the cost beyond the impact on the federal budget.
Yes. We look at where the budget underestimates the social cost of the war. Take disability pay. If you're wounded, the government pays you only twenty percent of what you would have earned if you could work. The disability payment is a budget cost, but the economy misses the salary you would have been making now that you're not able to do anything.

At least they saved taxpayers money on body armor.
Not really. Rumsfeld made the defense budget a little lower in the short term by not providing the troops with adequate body armor. But the government now has to pay for the care of vets with disabling brain and spine injuries -- and society loses what their contribution would have been had they been gainfully employed. It's a good illustration of how looking at the short-run number leads you to think the war isn't costing all that much. It's costing the government more, our society more and our veterans enormously more.

Another example of Rumsfeld's budgeting is the huge bonuses we're paying to get soldiers to re-enlist. He wanted to lessen the impact of the war on the military, so he used private contractors, who are more expensive. What he didn't realize was that he was setting up a competition that has driven up the price of a soldier. If someone who has served his enlistment has a choice of working as a contractor for $100,000 or in the military for $25,000, what's he going to do? Wages and bonuses had to go up. Maybe that's a good thing -- the regular military was being cheated, in a way. But it's another cost of the war that isn't figured into the budget.

So Bush's budget for the war is as out of touch with reality as his justifications for invading Iraq in the first place.
The administration is trying to sell the notion that they have repealed the laws of economics. They want us to believe that we don't have to choose between guns and butter -- that we can have them both. The reality is, the money spent on the war could have been spent on other things.

Such as?
One quarter of the war budget would have fixed Social Security for the next seventy-five years. George Bush says that Social Security is a major economic problem. If you believe him -- although there are many reasons not to believe him -- the war is four times worse as an economic problem.

With $2 trillion, we could have funded the entire world's commitment to foreign aid to poor countries for the next twenty years. Or just think what we could have done to stop global warming if we had spent that two trillion developing cheaper photovoltaic cells to convert solar energy into electricity. With our technological advantages, we could have had some real breakthroughs. We have the resources -- we just need to redirect them from destroying another country.

Will average Americans notice any economic fallout from the war?
We'll have a lower living standard than we otherwise would have achieved. The median American income is going down. Most of us are worse off than we were five or six years ago. Why are we getting poorer? This big pot of money we spent on the war obviously has something to do with it. Americans have a hard time seeing it when the numbers come out in dribs and drabs. But when it's $2 trillion? Did we really want to spend it like this? It's hard to think how we could have spent it worse.

Has Bush responded to your calculations?
To my knowledge, nobody in the administration has challenged our numbers. All they've said is that we didn't include the benefits of the war, which is true. There is no way to assess the benefits. There are some little savings we subtracted out, such as the no-fly zone over Iraq: We don't have to pay to patrol it any more, because there is nothing to enforce with Saddam out of power. But the administration can't exactly claim that they have brought peace, stability and democracy to the Middle East.

They also argue that they didn't go to war on the basis of green-eyeshade calculations. That's true, but they did do a calculation of the cost. They were just off. Like every other aspect of their analysis of this war, they were either deliberately misleading or incompetent.

Paul Wolfowitz actually claimed that the war would pay for itself with oil revenue.

You have to wonder: What reward should he receive for such acumen? Bush made him president of the World Bank.

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From: AmericanVoter1/8/2007 2:19:45 AM
   of 281214
 

Wolf Blitzer interviews David Duke

youtube.com

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To: stockman_scott who wrote (210434)1/8/2007 2:24:48 AM
From: tejek
   of 281214
 
Gore: I haven't completely ruled out presidential bid

Do you think he will run? I don't.

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To: Elroy who wrote (212046)1/8/2007 2:27:46 AM
From: kumar rangan
   of 281214
 
u are mistaken.

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