Scandal breakfast: Speeding up the war; Duke scandal reaches into CIA; Diebold revelations; GOP war-dialing in New Hampshire; Mo

I have plenty of scandals for you today. But I'll try to keep it concise.

Texas gerrymandering: Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal.

DIEBOLD insider speaks out on Vote Spoofing: One of my reliable spies sent this in. Diebold insider alleges company plagued by technical woes, Diebold defends 'sterling' record. This talks a lot about how Diebold may have manipulated the Georgia 2002 Senate race, among other things. Basically it indicates that Diebold should not be trusted at all. And they are diabolical.

New probes in the prewar intel, but Those Italians mighta done the forgery! Spicy Meat-aball! So yah, Lewis Libby attacked Wilson because he called out the yellowcake uranium thing, which turned out to be a forgery. The hot rumor -- supported in the Italian media -- is that Michael Ledeen and some other neo-cons channeled the stuff into Washington. And now it seems like they might finally get nailed for it. Congress Opens New Front In Iraq-War Probe. Treasongate: The Niger Forgeries v. the CIA Intel Reports - Preliminary Conclusion: An Italian Job. Consult Raimondo for more. FBI Is Taking Another Look at Forged Prewar Intelligence. Marshall's take on that, check it out.

Marshall adds that Scooter Libby's legal defense fund is being run by Mel Sembler, the US Ambassador to Italy "when all the secret meetings took place and when the forged uranium papers showed up at the US Embassy in October 2002." However he sees no evidence Sembler was involved.

New Hampshire scandal: via Marshall, blogger Betsy Devine is covering the court case of NH Republicans phone hacking -- more like phreaking -- no, wardialing. Yeah, wardialing on election day is illegal.

Bomb Jazeera-Gate: Clemons promises news from London on the Bush Bombing Al Jazeera memo, so check that later.

SAVE XMAS: Oh great, another holiday video from the White House. And holiday cards. Where is our Jesus??! Conservatives are really disappointed that Bush surrendered Christmas -- really!

SAVE BORAT FROM KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakhstan shows the world tyranny is not dead. And not only that, they threatened to sue Sasha Cohen for his fine Borat portrayal on MTV. Borat, for his part, "fully support my government's decision to sue this Jew" immediately, in a response video on his site.

SAVE NIXON: 'I Didn't Like Nixon Until Watergate': The Conservative Movement Now. Interesting reflections on a weird philosophy.

Meth for Iraqi insurgents: When you need to conduct a war, it is a good idea to get your forces sped up with pharmaceuticals, as we learned from the Stim Packs in Starcraft. The UK Mirror reports that methamphetamine has been found in pills around Basra -- and claims that Mahdi Army irregulars have used it fearlessly. However, it is also official US government policy to give speed to pilots sometimes -- which was blamed as a cause for the deaths of several Canadians in Afghanistan. Meth or dextro -- which is the ethical War Stimulant??

IRAQ: Why no army & how to get out: What? Dems dont know a strategy? James Fallows' recent bit on Why Iraq Has No Army from the Atlantic. Interesting column from E&P about White Phosphorus and the media spin that followed. Armando on the Kos suggests that we need to stick with criticizing Bush, since theoretical Democratic plans (a fuzzy mess nowadays) don't really do as much as discrediting Dear Leader (which is something that Lieberman attempted to attack this week. Fuck you, Lieberman!! Why articulate when obscenities express it better?)

"Donald Rumsfeld Is Mad As a Hatter" Funny how that victory strategy was written by some shady professor. US Rep. Adam Smith (D) on the ground in Iraq.

Shrewd people are thinking about getting out. Via the solid Steve Clemons, some good strategies. Politicians square off against each other. Republicans try a bizarre two-handed trick, claiming that the Dems are treasonous for demanding it more quickly, while still claiming that withdrawal is going to happen, sooner rather than later.

The Hard Nosed Realists are worth consulting. Lt. Gen. William Odom is one of these. He was merely director of the National Security Agency and was the Army's senior intelligence officer for a time. I am hardly such a damn fool as to not appreciate the kind of wisdom that only one of these old, battle-tested characters could give you. Odom: Want stability in the Middle East? Get out of Iraq!

On the flip side, journalist Nir Rosen has kicked around Iraq a lot, so he's got a pretty solid view of why the hell we need to get out.

The Insurgencies Are Winning by Dreyfuss, always good. Ten ways to argue about the war. Well at least Sunnis and Shiites are praying together a bit. "Profusion of Rebel Groups Helps Them Survive in Iraq".

Wes Clark, still Big Pimpin with war plans
here. Clark-Mentum. Drum is confused. There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for Clark in the Democratic netroots, but I feel ambivalent.

Death squads instead! Billmon sighs about the execution squads now deemed to be Iraq's Last, Best Hope, characterized as Salvadoran Option, Pt. II. And his bit about the Lincoln Group and its organized efforts to propagandize for the military in Iraq was interesting. More below...

Marketing the Dogs of War: Mercenaries are always interesting. So here is a pile o links. Private Security Guards in Iraq Operate With Little Supervision. American Security Firm Implicated in Iraq Killings. Triple Canopy investigation. This PDF is interesting because it indicates that they kill Iraqis and lie about it. Booman Tribune on the Aegis Security Corporation and Tim Spicer. Also more about Triple Canopy.

A NY Times story about these forces, with some random Nazi thing attached to it.

PERU: Veteran Soldiers, Police Recruited for Iraq by U.S. Contractors.

Mercenaries Guard Baghdad Green Zone. Green zone security switch increases risk.

Sandline mercenaries: from Sierra Leone to Iraq.

CPI: Marketing the Dogs of War: Making a Killing.

As earlier reported, "Trophy Video" of Civilian Shootings By Contractors Emerges and guess what folks, here is the actual video. Creepy. Crooks and Liars has more on Spicer.

I wrote a big paper for Wendy Weber about these private military firms and their role in geopolitical developments. Actually my view is not 100% negative, but I mostly worry that they are used to A) cover up covert foreign policy, like DynCorp spraying herbicide in Colombia, and B) destroy the chain of command -- and in turn our adherence to international treaties, etc. More later.

Pentagon Propaganda Matrix. For some conspiracy stuff, see the PropagandaMatrix. For a real Matrix of Propaganda, look at Iraq these days. In the so-called Serious Media:

Williams: Bush administration has "right" to buy media coverage

Appearing on the December 4 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams told host Howard Kurtz that the Bush administration has "the right" to pay a columnist to tout its views in his column. Williams also condoned the "politiciz[ation]" of programming on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

Bastard. Let me just put in these DAMN links.

WaPo: Pentagon Funds Diplomacy Efforts / Military Says It Paid Iraq Papers for News

NYT: U.S. Is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers

SourceWatch: Burson-Marseller's BKSH Gets Piece of Pentagon Psy-ops Pie Military Explains News Propaganda in Iraq

Freepaz: U.S. propaganda effort described

KR Washington Bureau: U.S. military pays Iraqis for positive news stories on war

LA Times: Secret Program May Have Erred, Pentagon Says What's Lincoln Group?

LA Times: U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press

Military Says It Paid Iraq Papers for News


Bribery scandal has many tentacles! Rep. Harris to donate contributions linked to Cunningham. Florida schemes? Of course! The Cunningham bribery scandal extends into the area of Pentagon defense spending -- and shadowy contributions leading to classified spending contracts (MZM gives cash to Duke, Duke hooks up open-ended contracts). Josh Marshall recently insinuated that people 'looked the other way' at what Cunningham was doing, while their own machinations around Defense sailed forth. Money quote:

The Pentagon's classified budget for buying goods and services has increased by nearly 48% since 9/11 — from $18.2 billion in fiscal 2002 to $26.9 billion this year — according to figures compiled by the non-partisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

......Harold Relyea, who studies government secrecy at the Congressional Research Service, says even if lawmakers had the time to study classified programs, most are not inclined to question the pet projects of their colleagues. And within the defense industry, "there is a coziness that sometimes builds up. You are familiar with the company and their people, it's easy to go back to them" for more work. "It's a new phase of what we used to call the military-industrial complex."

Neither Congress nor the executive branch regularly produces reports on oversight of classified spending. ... "We don't have the manpower or time to look into this, so we take it on faith that all of the companies working the black world are basically honest."

One of Porter Goss' boys at the CIA is apparently implicated in the Cunningham scandal, and other guys at the CIA are talking to the media about it. (Goss brought in a bunch of nasty national security punks to push people around at the Agency, and perhaps it will backfire since they were somewhat corrupt. Office politics from hell!) Jason Vest reports on this for about the details, including CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who ought to go down on this.

Josh Marshall's on it too, as well as Laura Rozen. Marshall adds that legislative spending 'earmarks' have been used to provide patronage / funding for favored companies, maintaining the Power Structure.

: China: Boom or Boomerang?

CFR: Council of Frickin' IDIOTS:
Bush speaks at the CFR yesterday, and they were weak about it. Atrios mocks.

Psychological & economic damage of war: Coping with Combat. "Has 'War' become a leading brand for United States? How Bush's imperial policies are being linked to economic woes and CEO angst in America".

Wiki bad! To spoof Wikipedia's latest problems, consider Uncyclopedia and its fine CNN, Nostradamus and German grammar entries.

Misc file: Dems still polling damn well. Haaretz says, OK Sharon, what about the damn West Bank outposts!? Guess I finally found the vast right wing conspiracy. Pointers from Hunter on how to write massively for the DailyKos. Ah, good stuff. Hunter is always pretty cool.

Spin Charting for Fun! Part of the new liberal institutions' priorities are to track the subtle points of spin. For example, ThinkProgress got Bush Knew 10 Marines Had Died Prior To Rose Garden Remarks, Didn’t Mention It because he wanted to keep the happy spin going.

Alito in trouble. Don't really care.

Torture vs the media: Project Censored presents Hard Evidence of US Torturing Prisoners to Death Ignored by Corporate Media. Even the WaPo says Rice offers a weak defense of torture.

Skyscrapers and carbon sequestration schemes may cause earthquakes. The world's tallest tower in Taipei may have cracked open a fault line. Ouch.

Microsmish: IE flaw lets intruders into Google Desktop. Xbox 360 is lacking in some good features. SO much damn hype.

Persian Atom Smash: Iran Plans to Build Two More Reactors. Look to Khuzestan for the potential "FIRST FRONT IN THE WAR ON IRAN."

Now we've got some mothafuckin' scandals. Have fun kids.

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Tags for Scandal breakfast: Speeding up the war; Duke scandal reaches into CIA; Diebold revelations; GOP war-dialing in New Hampshire; Mo