Sunday 21st of July 2024


all dressed-up with no-where to go .....

The Center for American
Progress reports …..  

‘In the first three months of
2006, the Bush administration has failed to achieve substantial progress on the
security and reconstruction of Iraq, even though there have been some
achievements in forming a democratic government. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and
diplomats continue to serve their country bravely but they remain tied to the
stay-the-course policies of President Bush and his top policy and political
leadership. Judging the administration’s Iraq policy as a whole, the Center for
American Progress gives the Bush administration a “D” for its performance in
the first quarter of 2006. 

the great scam .....

Exxon posted a 2005 profit of US$36.1 billion.
This result was US$11.8 billion more than the entire US
Oil Industry's average annual profit of US$24.3 billion over the period
2000-2004 (in 2005 dollars), with profits for the entire US Oil Industry soaring
to US$96 billion in 2005.



Boomerang Bribes and the Faces of Felicity

Has the AWB Inquiry asked the Iraqis for an itemised list of who Saddam paid
bribes to. It would be interesting to know if any portion of the
kickbacks might have "boomeranged"

{extract from New Zealand Herald, 1/5/2004]

Iraqi official said today there was a list of cash bribes made by
Saddam Hussein's government to journalists, politicians and groups in
connection with the US$67 billion ($108.92 billion) UN-run oil-for-food

Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi
Governing Council, said Iraqi officials combing Saddam's files had not
decided whether to release the list as part of a burgeoning scandal
over the defunct programme.

"We have a list of cash paid to
journalists, personalities, groups and parties," Talabani told a news
conference after conferring with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over
an Iraqi interim government.

Ms Felicity Johnston, the UN
customs officer who confesseed that if she had read AWB contracts
lodged with the UN prior to her taking of the job, has been strongly
assertive of Australia's accountabilty. Her opinion will now be recorded as testimony
to the Cole Inquiry. Could it be that Mr Agius sees in Ms Johston a
voice that will be credible to the Australian public in explaining the
Howard cabinet's negligence?

Ms Johnston also has the appropriate credentials to explain the ethical dilemma of AWB's situation:

Holmes:So really it’s quite clear that what AWB should have done right
from the beginning is reported these negotiations to the United Nations
and asked them for guidance?

Johnston:J: Yes that’s correct. What they should have done as soon as a
company was picked out for them for transportation by the government
(of Iraq), as soon as the prices were suggested by the government, it
was pretty clear that Alia was a government-sponsored institution and
they should have sought advice. Now perhaps people might have got
confused, perhaps people might unintentionally have been in breach of
the sanctions but as soon as the questions started to come from the UN,
“Is there anything that you’re doing,” however the question was
couched, “is there anything that you’re doing which might involved a
payment to the government of Iraq?” I think that was the time to deal
with it candidly, because no one would have prosecuted them if they had
done something inadvertently - but did they do it inadvertently? – I
don’t believe so.

"aussie tony" on the value of peerages .....

‘Tony Blair will return from his Easter
break this week to face a police investigation into the most damaging political
scandal of his premiership.

Senior government figures are expected to be
interviewed by police officers this week over the "cash for honours"
crisis and insiders said last night the Prime Minister was being briefed by
lawyers who believe he may have to make a statement in the ongoing

Good Friday- Halliburton Sacrifices For Financial Resurrection

Like the spin-off of "Laverne and Shirley" from Happy Days, Halliburton is about to float KBR on the stock exchange.

Putting in their application on Friday, Halliburton hope to sell of one-fifth of their war and government section.

The UK's Times On Sunday, pre-announcing the sale as it did the float of Carlyle's privatisation of the UK's defence research, tells us that the UK Ministry of defence is the second largest customer of KBR"s departments Government and Infrastructure, the latter of which was formerly run globaly from Adelaide.

In what capacities might Halliburton involved in the Carlyle/Qinetiq UK float?  If the advice was given so that Cheney had a "warm-up" act to prepare potential customers for his "main event' there may be some grumbling in Whitehall.

democracy's palace .....

‘The fortress-like compound
rising beside the Tigris River here will be the largest of its kind in the
world, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own
defense force, self-contained power & water, & a precarious perch at
the heart of Iraq’s
turbulent future. 

the poor man's airforce .....

‘On a warm September day in 1920,
a few months after the arrest of his comrades Sacco and Vanzetti, a vengeful
Italian anarchist named Mario Buda parked his horse-drawn wagon near the corner
of Wall and Broad Streets, directly across from J. P. Morgan Company. He
nonchalantly climbed down and disappeared, unnoticed, into the lunchtime crowd. 

A few blocks away, a startled
postal worker found strange leaflets warning: "Free the Political
Prisoners or it will be Sure Death for All of You!" They were signed:
"American Anarchist Fighters." 

amen .....


From the ABC …..

Easter prayers focus on peace, justice

Religious leaders are calling on
Australians to embrace the values of peace and justice this Easter. 

Catholic and Anglican archbishops
say international differences can be overcome. 

wild speculation .....

a buzzflash editorial …..

What we have going on amidst the
generals, present and former, is a mutiny. It's not an armed one, not yet.

When most Americans think of a
mutiny, they think of armed crew members seizing the captain and taking over
command of a ship, as in the famed "Mutiny on the Bounty."

But, what we are seeing in the United States is a public rebuke of the
commander-in-chief, his vice president and his secretary of defense, Donald
Rumsfeld, without an active military revolt as of yet - although that can't be
ruled out. 

time to refresh .....

‘As stockholders filed into the room in April 2005, news
hadn't been good for Coke, which has steadily lost market share to rivals.
Investors were eager for reassurance from CEO Neville Isdell, a patrician
Irishman who had recently assumed the top job. Few in the room, however, were
prepared for what happened next. As Isdell stood at the podium, two long lines
formed at the microphones. When he opened the floor, the first to speak was Ray
Rogers, a veteran union organizer and head of the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke.
"I want to know what [Coke is] going to do to regain the trust and
credibility in order to stop the growing movement worldwide...banning Coke
products," boomed the 62-year-old. 

reselling our rissoles .....


From the SMH ….. 

Mike Carlton 

sharemarket has been going gangbusters lately, although not for us mugs who
were conned into buying Telstra shares, which have tanked. 

the citizen made terrorist .....

‘My most reliable sources for articles are government
officials who do or say things that, inadvertently, reveal the vicious nature
of political systems. It is not so much that these people are too stupid to
realize the implications of their words or deeds but, rather, that they are so
convinced of the propriety of what they are doing that they see no problem in
openly expressing themselves. 

Thanks to Wendy
we now have access to the State of Virginia’s directive, to state
employees, on how to identify and deal with threats of “terrorism.” The
governor signed off on this document, declaring the state’s purpose of
“safeguarding the people of Virginia.” A close reading, however, discloses a
different purpose, namely, to protect the state from “the people of

grand hypocrisy .....


‘This week's most terrifying remark came from the foreign
secretary, Jack Straw. He declared that a nuclear attack on Iran would be
"completely nuts" and an assault of any sort
"inconceivable". In Straw-speak, "nuts" means he's just
heard it is going to happen and "inconceivable" means certain. 

A measure of the plight of
British foreign policy is that such words from the foreign secretary are
anything but reassuring. Straw says of Iran that "there is no smoking gun,
there is no casus belli". There was no smoking gun in Iraq, only weapons
conjured from the fevered imagination of Downing Street and the intelligence

a message to the real easter bunnies .....


‘Average Americans are struggling to keep up with persistently high gas
prices, now
approaching US$3 a gallon

Testifying before Congress last November, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond blamed the
problem on “global supply and demand” and assured the public that: "we're all in this

failed state .....

‘The definition of "failed states" is hardly
scientific. But they share some primary characteristics. 

They are unable or unwilling to
protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction. They regard
themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, hence free to
carry out aggression and violence. And if they have democratic forms, they
suffer from a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their formal
democratic institutions of real substance. 

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