The War Begins
Ah yes, the war began with Verizon today. Our bill arrived with the Federal Excise Tax (unpaid from last month in protest of the war) carried forward onto the new bill.
Verizon did not acknowledge our letter explaining that we would not pay the Federal Excise War Tax and that we wished the non-payment information to be forwarded to the IRS.
So, a shouting match today with Verizon. We, the good people of Lisablog, are very reasonable, and we must say that it's hard to get us to shout. But after talking to a customer service agent and a supervisor who both told us that there was no such thing as a Federal Excise Tax Protest and that there was NO ONE further at Verizon who we could write to our talk to, we, the good people of Lisablog, were very very angry.
Next step, a letter to Verizon's tax office in Florida. Next step after that, we're pulling the plug on Verizon, killing our land line, and going with a Working Assets Cell Phone Plan.
Peace People, and fight the power. You don't have to comply with this war.
Up and Running
Greetings Earth Bipeds. We're sorry for the delay in programming. We, the good cats of Lisablog, have staged a coup in the Lisablog Offices. You will send us mice. We demand mice from each and every one of you.
It's Your Year to Shine!
Lisablog correspondent Arcturus sent along some excellent links. Thanks Arcturus. This photo is from Dr. James Benjamin's Blog.
Also, from The Independent: a piece called "He takes his secrets to the grave. Our complicity dies with him: How the West armed Saddam, fed him intelligence on his 'enemies', equipped him for atrocities - and then made sure he wouldn't squeal by Robert Fisk. This is a must read!
And, for the New Year,
Ten Things You Can (and Must) Do About Global Warming. As we say down at the Dojo, No Excuses!
A Dark Day, with a Few Notes on War Crimes
I was planning to keep the blog dark today to mark the execution of Saddam Hussein, but anger has gotten the better of me, especially as I find that The New York Times today has failed to mention the collaborative efforts of the United States and Iraq throughout the 1980s to make Iraq a weapons-friendly Kurd-gassing place. If you don't know this history, there is an excellent timeline provided by The Iraq Analysis Group based in the UK. It includes pages of detailed history. For example, what was happening in 1983 in Iraq?
Analysts recognized that "civilian" helicopters can be weaponized in a matter of hours and selling a civilian kit can be a way of giving military aid under the guise of civilian assistance. Shortly after removing Iraq from the terrorism sponsorship list, the Reagan administration approved the sale of 60 Hughes helicopters. Later, and despite some objections from the National Security Council (NSC), the Secretaries of Commerce and State (George Baldridge and George Shultz) lobbied the NSC advisor into agreeing to the sale to Iraq of 10 Bell helicopters, officially for crop spraying. See "1988" for note on Iraq using U.S. Helicopters to spray Kurds with chemical weapons.
Want to know more about Donald Rumsfeld's friendly meetings with Saddam in 1983 and 1984? Check out this link: Common Dreams. Here's a clip:
Five years before Saddam Hussein’s now infamous 1988 gassing of the Kurds, a key meeting took place in Baghdad that would play a significant role in forging close ties between Saddam Hussein and Washington. It happened at a time when Saddam was first alleged to have used chemical weapons. The meeting in late December 1983 paved the way for an official restoration of relations between Iraq and the US, which had been severed since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
With the Iran-Iraq war escalating, President Ronald Reagan dispatched his Middle East envoy, a former secretary of defense, to Baghdad with a hand-written letter to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and a message that Washington was willing at any moment to resume diplomatic relations.
That envoy was Donald Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld’s December 19-20, 1983 visit to Baghdad made him the highest-ranking US official to visit Iraq in 6 years. He met Saddam and the two discussed “topics of mutual interest,” according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. “[Saddam] made it clear that Iraq was not interested in making mischief in the world,” Rumsfeld later told The New York Times. “It struck us as useful to have a relationship, given that we were interested in solving the Mideast problems.”
Just 12 days after the meeting, on January 1, 1984, The Washington Post reported that the United States “in a shift in policy, has informed friendly Persian Gulf nations that the defeat of Iraq in the 3-year-old war with Iran would be ‘contrary to U.S. interests’ and has made several moves to prevent that result.”
In March of 1984, with the Iran-Iraq war growing more brutal by the day, Rumsfeld was back in Baghdad for meetings with then-Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. On the day of his visit, March 24th, UPI reported from the United Nations: “Mustard gas laced with a nerve agent has been used on Iranian soldiers in the 43-month Persian Gulf War between Iran and Iraq, a team of U.N. experts has concluded... Meanwhile, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, U.S. presidential envoy Donald Rumsfeld held talks with Foreign Minister Tarek Aziz (sic) on the Gulf war before leaving for an unspecified destination.”
The day before, the Iranian news agency alleged that Iraq launched another chemical weapons assault on the southern battlefront, injuring 600 Iranian soldiers. “Chemical weapons in the form of aerial bombs have been used in the areas inspected in Iran by the specialists,” the U.N. report said. “The types of chemical agents used were bis-(2-chlorethyl)-sulfide, also known as mustard gas, and ethyl N, N-dimethylphosphoroamidocyanidate, a nerve agent known as Tabun.”
Prior to the release of the UN report, the US State Department on March 5th had issued a statement saying “available evidence indicates that Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons.”
Speaking of war crimes, you already know that
On 12 October 2006, a study of mortality developments in Iraq was published in British medical journal The Lancet. This found that between 393,000 and 943,000 excess deaths have occured in the 2003 invasion and its aftermath, with 655 thousand the most likely estimate.
It's not a democracy, it's a hypocrisy! Fight the power people!
American Democro-Fascism is a Threat to the Free World!
Hello People. Just trying to get your attention. Lisablog will be dark tomorrow .
Accomplices* in Crimes Against Humanity:
[*Provided helicopters to gas the kurds, encouraged Iraq's weapons programs between 1982 and 1990, used political power to reject scrutiny of Iraq on the part of congress and the UN.]