|MCCAIN: NO CONFIDENCE IN RUMSFELD
Senator John McCain says he has no confidence in Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the war in Iraq
While U.S. GIs in Iraq have complained about lack of body armor and basic armor for their vehicles, Donald Rumsfeld has insisted on deploying an unevenly tested missile system that over the long haul could end up costing tax payers upwards of a trillion dollars. Today, the system again failed a critical test. Cost to tax payers: $85 million. (David Stout reports in the New York Times, December 15, 2004)
McCAIN CHALLENGES RUMSFELD ON IRAQ
The Republican senator from Arizona differs from the Pentagon mostly on the number of troops that it will take to effectively handle the situation in Iraq. In an hour-long interview with the Associated Press, Monday, McCain repeated his assessment that it will take another 80,000 Army troops and 20,000 to 30,000 Marines to get the job done. (BBC, December 14, 2004)
-The Political Cow notes that McCain is not alone in criticizing the Pentagon's overstretched position in Iraq.
ALLEGED RUSSIAN ARMS DEALER TIED TO IRAQ CONTRACTOR DEALS
Air cargo companies allegedly tied to reputed Russian arms trafficker Victor Bout have received millions of dollars in federal funds from U.S. contractors in Iraq, even though the Bush administration has worked for three years to rein in his enterprises. Planes linked to Bout's shadowy network continued to fly into Iraq, according to government records and interviews with officials, despite the Treasury Department freezing his assets in July and placing him on a blacklist for allegedly violating international arms sanctions.( Stephen Braun, Judy Pasternak and T. Christian Miller, LOS ANGELES TIMES, December 14, 2004)
INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED SPYING BY AIPAC
Juan Cole provides a comprehensive series of links to the progressing FBI investigation of AIPAC. Ori Nor, writing in The Forward notes that top AIPAC (America-Israel Political Action Campaign) officials are expecting indictments for espionage, and that could spell the eventual demise of the lobbying group. The case developed after the FBI discovered several Israeli spy rings operating on the East Coast. The FBI to put Naor Gilon, the chief of political affairs at the Israeli embassy in Washington, under videotape surveillance. They were "floored" when Larry Franklin walked in and sat down and began offering Gilon a confidential document. Franklin was one of two Iran desk officers for the Near East and South Asia bureau at the Pentagon. Franklin reported to Bill Luti, who in turn reported to Douglas Feith, the number three man at the Department of Defense. Feith is a long-time activist in the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs, which mobilized throughout the 1990s to destroy the Oslo peace process and ensure continued Israeli land grabs in the West Bank. Karen Kwiatkowski reported that a phalanx of Israeli generals marched into Feith's office before the Iraq war, without signing in as regulations required. Feith organized the "Office of Special Plans," also staffed largely with JINSA and other rightwing Zionist activists, which cherry-picked intelligence so as to make a (false) case for the Iraq war. (Juan Cole, Informed Comment, December 12, 2004)
-Ori Nir: Indictments expected (in the Forward, December 10, 2004) (requires free on-line registration)
-Laura Rozen (War & Piece)on coverage in the Forward
-Richard Sale on investigation (UPI, December 9, 2004)
CHINA STARTS TO ELBOW ITS NEIGHBORS
Beijing's claims over Taiwan remain the focus of world attention, but China is embroiled in unresolved territorial maritime and land issues with no less than thirteen of its neighbors. Given that China's military capability is growing apace with its economy, the potential for military conflict over the disputed regions is similarly on the rise. (John Daly, Jamestown foundation, December 7, 2004)
-China's Africa strategy
NEW CIA DOCUMENTS INDICATE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WAS KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT COUP ATTEMPT IN VENEZUELA
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is usually blamed for the sour relations with the U.S. His frequent denunciations of U.S. "intervention" in Venezuela are taken as indications that he is hostile to America. But the evidence is mounting that Washington is the party responsible for friction with our third-largest oil supplier. On Dec. 3, the New York Times reported on newly released CIA documents showing that our government had advance knowledge of the military coup that briefly overthrew Venezuela's democratic government on April 11 to 13 of 2002. The Bush administration not only failed to warn Venezuela of the coup, but actually pretended that it wasn't a coup at all.(Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research, December 9, 2004)
MENTALLY UNPREPARED FOR IRAQ
A growing number of U.S. soldiers appear to be going out of control as they confront urban guerrilla warfare in Iraq. While the individuals are being tried for abuses, command leadership shares in the responsibility. (Karl Vick, The Washington Post, December 13, 2004)
NEW DEATHS IN AFGHANISTAN
A growing list of suspects and random detainees allegedly tortured to death by U.S. forces in Afghanistan has led Human Rights Watch to ask for clarification from Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon. (HRW, December 12, 2004)
THE TORTURERS AMONG US
Craig Pyes writes in the Crimes of War Project: "On March 1, 2003, U.S. Special Forces arrested eight Afghan soldiers at a checkpoint on a remote mountain pass in South-Eastern Afghanistan. The men were members of the Afghan army, supposedly allies of the United States in the fight against al-Qaeda and the remnants of the Taliban forces. Nevertheless they were taken for interrogation at a U.S. firebase near the town of Gardez. Seventeen days later, seven of the men were transferred to custody of the local Afghan police. Many were suffering from serious injuries - the result of what they later described as torture at the hands of American interrogators. The other detainee was dead. An unreleased report based on an investigation by Afghan military investigators concluded that he had most likely died as a result of his treatment by U.S. forces, and that there was a 'strong possibility' that his death qualified as murder."(Craig Pyes, Crimes of War Project, September 20, 2004)
RETHINKING HOMELAND SECURITY
More is wrong with Homeland Security than the political goof over Kerik's selection. The Heritage Foundation's David Heyman and James Carafano recommend a restructuring to eliminate duplication and confusion, and more important, reliable oversight by the House and Senate. The study is available via The Center for Strategic and International Studies. (CSIS, December 13, 2004)
-CSIS white paper on need for streamlining Congressional oversight (Dec. 10, 2004)
-CSIS Panel discussion
SUICIDE RECALLS CONTROVERSY OVER CHARGES THAT THE CIA ALLEGEDLY SOLD CRACK COCAINE TO FINANCE CONTRAS
Gary Webb's expose on alleged CIA use of drug deals to finance its Contra operations may be famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, and the series did have flaws, but it also raised important questions. David Corn comments in the Nation, (December 13, 2004).
Blogger Bill Doskoch provides a list of comprehensive links to stories relating to Gary Webb's suicide, including Romanesko. Webb's story had raised protests from a number of sources including the CIA but also a spirited defense from Esquire Magazine. (Bill Doskoch, December 13, 2004)
AFTER IRAQ, BOLTON NOW PUSHES FOR WAR WITH IRAN
Bob Dreyfuss, writing in Tom Paine.com, notes that we are not quite there yet, but neocons are already salivating at the possibility of getting the U.S. involved in a confrontation with Iran. John Bolton--infamous for his bull-in China-shop approach to international crises-- is one of the leaders of the pack. (Bob Dreyfuss, TomPaine.com, December 14, 2004)
Soni Efron in the Los Angeles Times on beating the war drums over Iran (December 13, 2004)
CONTAINING IRAN'S NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENT
The split between the U.S. and Europe over Iraq has provided an opening for Iran to move ahead with its nuclear program. Robert Einhorn suggests in the current issue of the Washington Quarterly that it is time to develop a coherent strategy. (September 20, 2004)
-ANTHONY CORDESMAN:IRAN'S MILITARY CAPABILITIES (CSIS, December 8, 2004-127 pages, pdf)
DID THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION EXAGERRATE NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR DANGER?
Selig Harrison, writing in the winter issue of Foreign Affairs, notes: it is now widely recognized that the Bush administration misrepresented and distorted the intelligence data it used to justify the invasion of Iraq, most observers have accepted at face value the assessments the administration has used to reverse the previously established U.S. policy toward North Korea.
But what if those assessments were exaggerated and blurred the important distinction between weapons-grade uranium enrichment (which would clearly violate the 1994 Agreed Framework) and lower levels of enrichment (which were technically forbidden by the 1994 accord but are permitted by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT] and do not produce uranium suitable for nuclear weapons)?
A review of the available evidence suggests that this is just what happened. (Foreign Affairs, Winter Issue, 2005)
Penguins in Antarctica have been cut off from traditional breeding grounds by unusual ice flows
CLIMATE CHANGE ANYONE?
Think that Global Warming is a problem for the distant future? Think again.
2003 was the hottest summer in British history, and a new study by a British climate research group suggests that a few decades from now, the sweltering heatwave, that killed 15,000 people, could seem relatively chilly compared to the temperatures that we are likely to be experiencing by then. The report notes: "While climate is expected to change gradually over the course of the century, there are some components of the climate system which could change abruptly. There are also concerns that some processes may have a trigger point which, once exceeded, will make the changes inevitable, no matter how much we reduce the emissions subsequently." (Alex Kirby, BBC Environmental Correspondent, December 14, 2004)
EUROPE STARTS TO SET ITS OWN STANDARDS, AND EXPECTS THE U.S. TO COMPLY
While U.S. industrialists may be counting on the Republican administration to relax safety standards for toxicity in drinking water, clean air and other environmental issues, the European Union has been steadily creating its own set of standards that are often more rigorous than Washington's. As the E.U. begins to surpass the U.S. in size of population and buying power, the U.S. will find itself forced to comply or be forced out of one of its most profitable markets. Mark Schapiro analyzes the changing environment in the Nation (December 27, 2004).
BUENOS AIRES CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING LEAVES THE U.S. AS THE ODD MAN OUT
While several thousand delegates are attending the annual 2-week U.N. conference on climate change in Buenos Aires this week, the Bush administration continues to argue that global warming is not a serious danger , at least not quite yet. Scientists do not agree. (Associated Press, December 14, 2004)
THE WEBSITE FOR THE 10TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF PARTIES TO THE FRAME WORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, AKA COP-10.
Want to subscribe
to the Global Beat?
Send an e-mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org
with the word "subscribe" in the subject line.
To unsubscribe, send an e-mail with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.
Any problems, comments or mail, click here: