Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gimmee Sanctions, Hillary's Problems Down South, Blackwater Gear

Glenn Greenwald
Dana Milbank
Richard Wolffe

"Severe punishment is meted out to those who engage in the wrong kind of prejudice while those who spout the right kind do so with total impunity." - Glenn Greenwald
"When are you going to get out of Afghanistan? Why are we continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse? And don't give us this Bushism, 'If we don't go there, they'll all come here.'" - Helen Thomas
"Now that Helen is gone, there's more need than ever for others in the briefing room to share her opinion -- specifically, the opinion that anybody standing on that podium should be regarded with skepticism." - Dana Milbank
"We go in to kill and maim and send drones -- is that Christianity?" - Helen Thomas

All of the links above are about the Helen Thomas Saga, which fit better with yesterday's post, but with pundits, they are all about reflecting after the facts. Glenn Greenwald writes about the suck up factor in the White House press corps, Dana Milbank has a nice sketch about her, and Richard Wolffe writes about the aftermath, the fight for her front-row seat. Last night I raised my glass of sugar-free cranberry-grape drink and saluted Helen, the last of the journalistic curmudgeons. Then, I ended up falling asleep in my chair for twenty minutes... Of course, Helen would still be with us, until she breathes her last, bitter gasp, if the damned Israeli - Palestinian state had already been formed.

Tomorrow the UN Security Council will probably vote on new sanctions against Iran, with the no votes coming from Turkey, Brazil, and Lebanon. This will create a flurry of activity in the Gulf states, where many of the businesses belonging to the Revolutionary Guard are headquartered. They will attempt to create more shell corporations and move them around, hoping to create a confusing paper trail for investigators. Uncovering ponzi schemes is child's play next to these guys, who learned the accounting tricks to cover up their illegal shipping trade from groups like the Chinese Triads... And the International Atomic Energy Agency will be considering to investigate Israel's nuclear capacity, the polite phrase for they're hiding nuclear weapons. The subject is being pushed by an 18 member bloc of Muslim nations who want a nuclear weapons free Middle East, and is another point of pressure to get the Palestinian peace process rolling along. While traveling in South America, Hillary Clinton warned about expected Iranian hijinx: “I fully expect Iran to pull some stunt in the next couple of days because they know sanctions are on the way. I think we’ll see something coming up in the next 24 to 48 hours where Iran says, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute, look what we’re going to do now.’ ”

What Iran has done now, is holding a summit meeting in Istanbul also attended by Russia's Vladimir Putin, thereby making tomorrow's vote more uncertain. For his part, Ahmadinejad said: “If the U.S. and its allies think they could hold the stick of sanctions and then sit and negotiate with us, they are seriously mistaken. The Tehran declaration provided an opportunity for the United States government and its allies. We had hoped and we are still hopeful that they use the opportunity well, I must say opportunities like this will not be repeated again... We were thinking that the United States President Barack Obama would make certain changes in the United States policies. We don’t say that we are hopeless. We hope that he can actually get over the present conditions in the time that remains. We are ready for dialogue within the frame of justice and respect.”

The monkeywrench maybe old Vlad. He evidently doesn't like the thought of more sanctions, as it would hurt business between the two countries. Russia has not yet delivered on some missiles that Iran has already bought, and Russia tentatively would help build and run the 17 future nuclear reactors Iran is planning on building: "Mr. Putin, speaking at the conference, said sanctions should not be “excessive” but gave no details on whether Russia would change its mind on the vote. He called Iran’s nuclear program peaceful, a characterization with which Washington disagrees. “I hold the opinion that this resolution should not be unnecessary, should not put Iran’s leadership or the Iranian people into difficulty,” Mr. Putin said."

changed policy towards Honduras...
Hillary has been having a tough time of it in Peru, where she addressed the meeting of the OAS, which I thought had been disbanded for irrelevancy years ago. It's always difficult selling American foreign policy to our neighbors down South, because of our sordid history of meddling in each and every one one of their countries, compounded by our arrogance in assuming that they will do whatever we want them to do, like good second-class citizens, or potential illegal immigrants. Until lately, when some of them have shown some spine. At last year's OAS meeting, the major discussion was whether to accept Cuba back into the fold or not, just to watch the Americans squirm. This year, on the table was whether to accept Honduras back into the organization.: "Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua and other nations refuse to recognize the new Honduran leader, Porfirio Lobo, who was elected after lengthy wrangling between the United States and the coup leaders failed to restore President Manuel Zelaya to power. He had been bundled out of the country in his pajamas last June, and spent months trying to reclaim his job.

Addressing a meeting of the Organization of American States here, Mrs. Clinton noted that the United States had condemned Mr. Zelaya’s ouster. But she said, “We saw the free and fair election of President Lobo,” and she praised him for setting up a truth commission to investigate the coup. “Now it’s time for the hemisphere as a whole to move forward and welcome Honduras back into the inter-American community,” Mrs. Clinton said, after several foreign ministers inveighed against Mr. Lobo’s government, which they said had violated human rights."

Nothing has been resolved, and poor Hillary is getting another round of being dissed, when she tried to turn a press conference with Peru's President Alan Garcia into a propaganda piece for supporting sanctions against Iran. Then, as the NY Times reported without Helen Cooper: "Mrs. Clinton faced an awkward moment when Mr. GarcĂ­a praised her for her advocacy of women’s rights, then abruptly walked out of the room, leaving her alone in front of a pair of microphones with a bemused smile on her face. Mrs. Clinton explained that the president was running late for his next meeting, and then quickly beat her own retreat from his palace." Oh, man, Alan, you shouldn't have done that. Don't you know those stories about the Clinton's long memories and vindictive behavior is all true? You may have just made it onto our secret CIA assassination hit list, along with the bunch of students who were just taken out of their classrooms while learning Arabic in Yemen and arrested...

oh blackwater, keep on movin'...
It looks like those lucrative no-bid government contracts have been good to Blackwater, who evidently feels they have more recognition with the ominous name than the foreign and wimpy sounding Xie. Now they have an online web site where you buy branded items, everything from tactical gear to watches, all with the Blackwater logo. Here is a link to the Blackwater Pro Shop. Now your militia or family can outfit themselves in authentic mercenary gear, perfect for wearing the next time you get pulled over by the cops or infiltrated by a federal agent...

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