The stadium mess; 24 & torture; BOMB MALTA for arms smuggling! Google Earth mortar targets

"If the war started between U.S. and Iran, on which side the Iraqi government will be?"

--Anonymous Iraqi journalist

Couple bits...

You should read this: includes all from the inside perspective, including military industrial Nutrasweet conspiracy, and Team B neocon intel spoofing, the memorable scene of Cheney and Rumsfeld killing the Great Society for Gerald Ford. Two parts:

TomDispatch - Tomgram: Roger Morris, Donald Rumsfeld's Long March 1

TomDispatch - Tomgram: Roger Morris, The Rumsfeld Legacy 2

Can we dream? Dark Clouds Over the White House- by Justin Raimondo

The Libby trial was a dress rehearsal for the main event: the trial of the vice president, and, perhaps, a number of others in his office. The other shoe, as they say, has yet to drop – but if and when it does it is going to demolish the main headquarters of the War Party – or, at least, that part of it that's in the government – and the sound of the crash is going to reverberate from one end of the planet to the other.

US TV - Anna Nicole tops Iraq on US cable news - Digital Spy

The death of Anna Nicole Smith topped news from Iraq on America's cable news channels last week.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism's news coverage index, a weekly look at what is at the top of America's news agenda, has revealed that of all programming on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel monitored by the project, 21% of it across the week was dedicated to Smith, pushing the Iraq war into second place with 15% of monitored minutes.

Across February 8 and 9, when the news broke, 50% of airtime on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel was occupied by Anna Nicole Smith's death.

Cable's turn to the tabloid was even grumbled at by some on-air personalities. CNN's Jack Cafferty, who provides commentary during the network's late-afternoon news block The Situation Room, noted on the channel's air: "Her death was tabloid gold and apparently, we just couldn’t help ourselves."

By contrast, news reports on broadcast TV placed Iraq policy, the war in Iraq, severe weather coverage, and a scandal involving a NASA astronaut ahead of Smith's death.

I swear to god the whole thing is fucking PSY OPS. It doesn't even matter anymore.

McClatchy: In Iraq, Kurdish militia has the run of oil-rich Kirkuk. See more reality-based journalism from McClatchy below. The Great Defense Budget Black Hole - by Doug Bandow

Google Earth, the survival tool of war-torn Iraq | Telegraph

Iraqis are using maps adapted from Google Earth satellite images to help navigate the sectarian neighbourhoods of Baghdad.

After The Daily Telegraph revealed that Shia terrorists in southern Iraq had been using the internet company's aerial photographs to pinpoint British bases, it has emerged that Google Earth images of the capital are being transferred from the internet to CDs and sold or passed among locals.

The information is also being annotated to identify trouble spots and the religious allegiance of districts with notes superimposed over the maps warning of such perils as a "battle area" or a mosque used by insurgents or militias prone to kill or kidnap.

A Shia militiaman said that the maps could be helpful in identifying how close a mortar-launching site needed to be in order to strike a Sunni community. But other residents said that they use them to plot routes around danger spots, choose variations on their usual journey to work or even target areas inhabited by members of rival sects.

The lack of paper maps, which were banned under Saddam Hussein for fear of foreign invasion, makes Google Earth all the more valuable to Iraqis today.

Hussein Ama, 22, plots his way from his home to Baghdad University each morning using Google Earth. The shifting threat of violence means he never travels the same road on three consecutive days.

"If there are reports of fighting, I consult Google Earth to try to find a new way," he said. "As I am a Shia I have to avoid roads with Sunni mosques. If there is a checkpoint outside, it is likely that I would be kidnapped and my throat cut." A taxi driver, Mohammad Sami, said he had other considerations when he consulted online maps. "I use the maps to find the connecting roads so that if I am stuck in a traffic jam and there is trouble I can get away," he said.

Google Earth is also emerging as the only way to see much of the city which is off- limits because of security threats to the Iraqi government and the American-led coalition. Many buildings and streets are hidden now behind high blast barriers. This benign voyeurism is twisted to more malevolent purposes by some residents.

Salim al-Saidi, 23, is a computer expert working for the firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Madhi army, a Shia sectarian force responsible for "cleansing" several Baghdad districts of Sunni families.

He claimed Google Earth showed him the Sunni village of al-Girthana was three miles from a mortar launching site. He said: "We couldn't figure it out by going there. We'd be killed in the village.

My friend sent me some links to the Twins stadium mess stuff. Greet Machine is the site to hit for the latest...

Robotic retina offers second chance for sight | Science | Guardian Unlimited

That fired Edwads blogger: People who claim to love Jesus write me at Pandagon

Glenn Greenwald - Salon: Extremist Bush supporter calls for murder of Iranian scientists

McClatchy in Baghdad: Inside Iraq:

"Inside Iraq" chronicles daily life in a war zone through the words of Iraqi journalists in McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau as they risk so much each day to survive. These are unedited first hand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names have been withheld for security reasons.

Inside Iraq: Running away from the Hell of the new freedom

Um Yass is one of my neighbors, a widow who has three young sons; she fought for them to ensure a decent life for them.

Unfortunately the wave of violence reached her because she is Sunni living in a typical Shiite area, and as all Sunni families who received threat she moved from the neighborhood.

Despite her efforts to protect her family, her two older sons got killed and dumped in one of the garbage fields, the poor lady has only one left and out of fear for the him, the decision came that he should be send him to Syria.

A media with no ethics - insane

Democracy..not possible in Iraq

Ask them …

I wonder if the U.S. government has ever asked the Iraqi government the following question:

If the war started between U.S. and Iran, on which side the Iraqi government will be?

Please notice that the prime minister and the majority of the current Iraqi government were exiles before the U.S. led invasion in 2003 and if it wasn’t the U.S. these guys will be outside the country.

What do you think their answer will be?

Please remember the Iraqi government is an Islamic government led by Islamist. Many of them were living in Iran for more than 25 years.

Many members of the current Iraqi government prefer to speak to you in Persian rather than Arabic

Now can you imagine on which side they will prefer to be.

After all the difference between Iran and Iraq is just the last letter, for them i suppose.

Rolling Stone : The Great California Weed Rush - insane story - printable (rollable?) version.

BOMB MALTA: Maltese involved in trafficking weapons to Iraq - Italian police

by Dorian Cassar, di-ve news

UMBRIA/Italy, Malta (di-ve news) -- February 12, 2007 -- 2050CET -- A group involved in trafficking thousands of weapons to rebellious groups in Iraq had close connections with Malta, the Italian police said on Monday. The Italian police arrested 16 persons in the Umbrian region in Italy, breaking up a ring of arms trafficking to militiamen in Iraq.

Some of the men who were arrested by the Italian police are wealthy entrepreneurs working within the export industry and coming from Russia, Libya, China and Malta. The Italian Ministry of Defence said that the men have close links with a Libyan diplomat.

Italian police said 500,000 AK 47 rifles and ten million pieces of ammunition were traced, but no weapons were confiscated.

Investigations are underway.

Think Progress » U.S. Military: Television Series ‘24’ Is Promoting Torture In The Ranks

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » Note to the right: 24 is just a TV show

Independent UK: US military tells Jack Bauer: Cut out the torture scenes ... or else!

But while 24 draws millions of viewers, it appears some people are becoming a little squeamish. The US military has appealed to the producers of 24 to tone down the torture scenes because of the impact they are having both on troops in the field and America's reputation abroad. Forget about Abu Ghraib, forget about Guantanamo Bay, forget even that the White House has authorised interrogation techniques that some classify as torture, that damned Jack Bauer is giving us a bad name.

The United States Military Academy at West Point yesterday confirmed that Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently travelled to California to meet producers of the show, broadcast on the Fox channel. He told them that promoting illegal behaviour in the series - apparently hugely popular among the US military - was having a damaging effect on young troops.

According to the New Yorker magazine, Gen Finnegan, who teaches a course on the laws of war, said of the producers: "I'd like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires... The kids see it and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about 24'?

"The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do."

The meeting in November was arranged by Human Rights First, a non-profit organisation that has launched a campaign against torture both in the real world and on television. It says that since the terror attacks of September 11, the incidence of torture in television shows has soared. In 2000 there were 42 scenes of torture on prime-time US television while in 2003 there were 228.

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