HAMMERNEWS- Michael Hammerschlag

Current Political Commentary by journalist Michael Hammerschlag; Thoughts on foreign policy, Republican outrages, liberal strategies, science by 8 year correspondent in Russia/Ukraine over 22 years and longtime commentator; Website: http://HAMMERNEWS.com

Friday, October 28, 2005


See my new article on the central blunder of the Iraq War (besides starting it): the failure to stop the looting, which has put centuries of ordnance in the insurgents hands, subject our troops to endless IED deaths, destroyed the infrastructure, and lost the support of the Iraqi people. Nobody has really made these essential points, and I think it's going to be the next big scandal, when some parent of dead soldier figures out why. A Military Intelligence agent details the absolutely willful refusal by leaders to deal with the issue, even when it was right next to the biggest American base there- the top MI commander, Pappas, was too busy torturing people at Abu Ghraib. http://www.hammernews.com/prevention2.htm

"The Pentagon admits a breathtaking 250,000 tons of heavy ordnance (out of 650,000 tons total): aircraft bombs, artillery and tank shells, mines, rockets were allowed to be looted by our undermanned army in the 4-30 weeks after invasion through gross negligence at the top- equivalent to 1 million 500 lb bombs. At ten 500 lb. roadside mines or market closeouts a day, that's enough for 274 years of attacks. " - An Ounce of Prevention- Looted Hopes.


It's almost impossible to believe that Karl Rove, smug in his absolute power, didn't lie in his testimony. This smear-master has had over 2 years to investigate Fitzgerald, his family, friends, finances; and Fitzgerald's monastic lifestyle could possibly involve unconventional relationships. Anyone is pressurable and no one has ever been a more accomplished character assassin than Karl Rove- I really fear Fitz just didn't want the hassle of wrestling with such a powerful snake.

A last minute "meeting" with a prosecutor about to indict you is unprecedented- Rove's lawyer supposedly "convinced" Fitz that there were other explanations for Rove's actions. After a 2 year investigation?? It looks like the big fish, the big criminal puppetmaster in this administration will slip free. It's a tragedy for America- this could have caused the whole foul edifice to collapse. (non) Skater Libby does, however, know details of the Iraq war plot, that may be coerced out of him for leniency, although a pardon seems semi-guaranteed somewhere down the line. Rove's indictment could have caused all the people he had bullied and brutalized to turn on him, and crippled the entire White House's bullying political operation.

Nov 17 New Grand Jury- maybe this is wrong: Fitzgerald could have been Edward R Murrow, finally putting a stop to an unparalleled reign of terror and corruption that threaten the very soul of this nation. But he will be remembered as just a medium level prosecutor who had one really big case that embarrassed an administration. Rove is, perhaps, untouchable. Bob Woodward has permanantly tarnished his overblown reputation, achieved by accidentally sitting next to Mark Felt in a doctors' office and kissing up to him, by withholding his direct role in the case for 2 1/2 years as he badmouthed the prosecutor.

Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney have descended into Twilight Zone territory, with Bush proclaiming "We don't torture.", although he's threatened to veto the anti-torture rider attached to the spending bill that 90% of the Senate approved, as Cheney is simultaneously skulking though the Senate, advocating and promoting the need for torture, like a malignant medieval salesman. Cheney, unless Repubs do maintain dictatorial control, is sure to spend some time in the slammer: history hasn't seen a more corrupt executive, and his crimes are right out in the open: bid rigging, billions of dollars of no-bid contract payoffs, retaining his stake in Halliburton, years and years of blatant lies to Congress and the American people. Lies that started a war. Killed tens of thousands. Trashed US security, creating a huge terrorist haven. Decimated the military.

A CBS web commentary flays Bush: "The 'demoralizing our boys and comforting the enemy' line is a last ditch, McCarthy-lite gambit that doesn't work in this country. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used it to fill their credibility gaps, without success. It was cheap and cowardly then and it still is now. "

Think former hawk Big Murtha's categorical renunciation of the War is part of master plan by Pelosi/Dean to hammer the Repubs with their crimes every day or two. The Dems may finally have their strategic act together, and the crumbling edifice of sham, lies, and pretense of this Administration affords endless opportunities. Heedless to shifting popular opinion, Bushco fell back on it's tried and true weapon- slander and attack, smearing the 37 year Marine and Bronze Star Vietnam vet as a brother of Michael Moore. I think this will backfire; finally, one time too many to the well of fear and hate. Bush is close to reaping the rebellious bitterness of many Repubs, who're finally realizing the deep hole Bush has sunk them in. Similarly, the liberation of the moderates, who've been run over by the extremist Delay/Lott/Frist machine too many times. Still the greedy pigs barely forced through a $50 billion cut in benefits to the poor- only appearances prevented them from immediately giving it back to the rich in inheritance tax cuts.

As Charlie Rangel said to me, Repubs have to maintain every vote and keep them open for hours to win, and discipline is collapsing- as evidenced by the vote to force Iraq progress reports.

In the worst example of hack crony icompetence; American Prospect has the horrifying story of how Porter Dross is destroying the CIA, forcing and insulting dozens of top managers and experts into resigning in only 2 months. With his hack Svengali neonut aide, Goss has permanently hobbled America's intelligence service; purging something like 250 man-years of expertise, including all the best Middle Eastern hands. Dross signaled his willingness to be Bush's butt boy by blasting John Kerry as a coward before the election- a shocking intrusion into politics to CIA hands. He has waded in like an avenging angel to punish the disloyalty of those who questioned Bush's Wanton War- the wise men who realized the reckless folly of his fraudulent folly in the sands of Arabia. If Bin Laden had picked Dross himself, he couldn't have been as destructive of our security. Compared to this, Brownie was superb. Now when the next attack comes, we will have no idea.


A chilling demonstration of the dark side of the (non) Patriot Act under this abusive administration was the exposure by WashPost of nightmarish secret monitoring of 30,000 people a year with no-oversight FBI national security letters- up from only 300 before. There's no way there are even 3000 legitimate "terrorism" suspects a year- what this is is a Bush enemies' list, including anyone who "opposes the government", in the FBI's own phrase. This is deeply evil and corrupt behavior that threatens our very foundation, and should have provoked a firestorm, especially as the Patriot Act is up for permanant renewal. The Senate first had removed some of the most egregious provisions, but the House has restored them, and Sen. Feingold is threatening a filibuster.

Illustrative is the nightmare story of former Cong. press secretary, midwife of the Internet, editor of Capital Hill Blues, and early Web pioneer: Doug Thompson who wrote the chilling story how he was arbitrarily sentenced to a life of constant intimate snooping. http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7624.shtml

An Enemy of The State By DOUG THOMPSON Nov 7, 2005, 08:14
According to a printout from a computer controlled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice, I am an enemy of the state.
---The printout, shown to me recently by a friend who works for Justice, identifies me by a long, multi-digit number, lists my date of birth, place of birth, social security number and contains more than 100 pages documenting what the Bureau and the Bush Administration consider to be my threats to the security of the United States of America.

ON POINT NPR radio program National Security Letters: Use or Misuse? Aired: Thursday, November 10, 2005 10-11AM ET
But exactly how far should the US government go in domestic surveillance for counter- terrorism? The fact appears to be it's already gone mighty far with so-called "national security letters" from the FBI which amount to 30,000 a year now. They are issued, secretly, under the Patriot Act with no judicial oversight. They require Americans to cough up loads of information on colleagues and clients - maybe you -- and to never breathe a word to anyone of what they've done.

Coupled with the newly revealed secret CIA Torture Prisons in ex-Warsaw Pact Eastern Europe, it is official: we have become the Soviets.

GRAHAM CRACKER: Speaking of prisons, what is one to make of SC Sen. Lindsey Graham, who seemed to be redeeming his shameful persecution of Clinton as an Impeachment "Manager" by vocally condemning our widespread prisoner torture. But, in a return to his fascist cracker roots, Graham has come out against habeas corpus, the foundation of the US legal system, specifically the right of detainees to ever see a lawyer. This is so contemptible, that he should be nationally excoriated by everyone. This means peasant Ahmed, rounded up in Afghanistan because a neighbor had some personal beef (or wanted the reward, or his goats), hooded, shackled, tortured, shipped to Guantanamo, or some hellhole prison in Afghanistan.... has no recourse but to kill himself. Graham would deny him even the opportunity to ever officially protest his innocence!! These people are un-American and dangerous.

KILLING the MESSENGER: After another massive multiple bomb attack against journalists at the Hummer Hotel complex, it is apparent Zarqawi terrorists are trying to maximize the impact of their horrors by killing reporters. Stupidly, they would remove the delivered message that is provoking a withdrawal. Had the second van got through then, or a previous attack that had three bomb vehicles in a row (photo at top), the catastrophic loss of reporters' lives would have provoked a massive press withdrawal. Big story about killer/school dropout al Zarqawi (from Jordanian town of Zarqa) in Foreign Policy, who went to Afghanistan but disdained joining Al Qaida. 58 reporters have been killed in Iraq, 34 by insurgents, but 13 by US troops, who have blasted reporters with impunity (thought camera was grenade launcher). We also have interminably "detained" 5 without charges for the crime of taking pictures we don't like. 38 of the dead were Iraqi, at special risk from trigger happy US troops, as well as insurgents. This is almost as bad as the entire press toll in Vietnam (66) or WW2 (68), sure to be exceeded soon.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Fri. 9am HURRICANE WILMA, the third hurricane (Stan, Emily) to bash the Yucatan this year, is poised to devastate Cancun with the northeast quadrant of a 150 mph killer, and to listen to moron newscasters- the good news is that it's about to stall over a city of 2 million people... which will give Florida a little more time. It is just hammering Cozumel Is. (the single best scuba place in world) as we speak, but the artificial tourist city of Cancun, thrown up in a generation from a little fishing village, is loaded with bright gleaming substandard hotel skyscrapers, and loads of flimsy worker tenements on the fringes, that could be flattened by a major blow. This is good news to Amerocentric newscasters, who eagerly would prefer 20 times more Mexicans to die- Cancun is barely mentioned.

Called scuba + hotel people, and friends in Playa, Cozumel, and Cancun (where I was cave diving for 3 mo. last year); and should have some news tomorrow. Most of tourists in hotels in the 10x20 mile rectangular barrier island/lagoon hotel zone have been evacuated to the central city (which many tourists never see), according to the Hyatt Regency, at the northeast tip of the rectangle: Punta Cancun. I snorkled in very rough rocky shallow seas there and followed a V shaped flight of yard wide spotted rays that exhibited the greatest intelligence I've ever seen in the ocean- you could almost hear the leader's squawked commands to the other members of his squad.

This is a strange hurricane: no eye, two eyes, off center rotation, semi-transparent to radar pics, slow and jerky- I think it's going to surprise people, although the weather service is so good at predicting exact tracks, I suspect they've made a deal with the devil. Speak of which, there is something demonic about a tropical storm growing in one day to the strongest hurricane EVER. Wouldn't it be a terrible twist if it veers NW and slams NOLA again; they might just give up and abandon the whole below sea level city for good.

Half of the West and South coasts of Fla. are evacuating in panic, but they should wait- there's plenty of time to see where this thing is going- like in Rita, some may flee into the path of the wanton Wilma.

DELAY CAMPAIGN BOOKING PHOTO: I'm thinking that the grinning radiant Tom Delay Houston police booking photo without numbers looks like a campaign photo because.... it is a campaign photo. Somehow the weasel persuaded the politzei to accept a proffered photo to spare the exterminating poll further embarrassment. It is Texas, and roachmaster Tommy has a plethora of pull.

Liberals are in a tizzy about upcoming Plamegate indictments, but don't expect such wishful nonsense as exposing the faked Niger uranium pics- some of the semi-treason that got us into this disastrous war. Unless Fitz is totally co-opted, the wheels are coming off the foul slush wagon that Repubs have used to plunder, disgrace, and deceive the republic. Like that Philly protest organizer psycho who murdered his girlfriend and then packed her into a trunk in his closet for a year, the body (of massive Admin crimes) now can be smelled from the street, and if these honchos are taken down, there are legions of disgusted patriotic middle and lower level government people who will turn on the Bushistas in a flash. In a 1999 speech to the CIA, George Bush 1 said he had "nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.” (Watch him say it.) Some say BushCo is rife with feuds, with Rove and Card at each other's throats and our AWOL Haliburton Veep disgusted with bailing out GB2's screwups. Has any VEEP disappeared for longer than the Dick Cheney, except for a cameo to suck the marrow out of Katrina victims?

The ancient disintegrating 173 year old wooden dam has been leaking from numerous places as the little pond-river system of the closed Whittenton Mill, swollen to record heights, threatens to release a 6-7 ft wall of water straight into the semi-evacuated downtown. 20 mi. to the east of Providence, it is more RI suburb than Mass. First, how can a wooden dam last 2 centuries, even made with water resistant tropical woods, it's amazing. My Yankee ancestors (oh yeah, I'm a Kraut) built things to last: the huge brick mill complex where I once concocted agar-agar batches for biological medium that just burned down in yet another massive arson inferno, was ten years older, made when the frontier was Ohio! They've been pumping water out of the Pond, but 3 more days of rain (after 2 weeks + 11" of straight rain till last weekend- 8.3" in 2 days) are projected over weekend. Notice that lately, the whole world has been concerned with wild water. Could it be, oh, global warming?

For those of you jonesing on missing your daily dose of pure Bush hatred, the NYT columnists can still be found free of the greedy fools $8/month fee at http://www.johntabin.com/neverpayretail/ (many from Truthout.org). They are doing what the record industry did for 30 years- perversely overpricing their product out of reach ($18 for a $1 CD). Let's see- I buy the paper about twice a week, so if I was regularly buying the whole NYT, I'd spend about $8 a month for it. They want to charge that for online viewing of the lousy columnists alone, convinced that the addiction is strong enough to bring in big bucks. This is abuse of addicts, and brutal towards the billion or 2 second and third worlders who have as much ability to pay that as they do to telephone America at $2/minute from their crummy state monopoly phone co.

China just orbited it's second astronaut in space, and there is something distinctly creepy in the besuited spacyman leading people in a miked Maoist patriotic cheer before hopping his chariot to the stars. Read the stunning CHINA INC., which details how China is on track to kick our ass in everything- cars, computers, chips (well we'll still have food) in only 10 years, while we waste energy and passion on (non) Intelligent Design, a battle won a century ago. God, am I sick of hearing what the religious nuts will insist on. Liberals need to get together and drive these retards from school boards with pitchforks, if necessary.

Here's a prediction you should write down: to display their arrival to the world in the 2008 Olympics, China will land a man on the moon. Impossible, you say? Not really- many of their buildings, freeways, factories use top flight technology that would stun us, the Lunar flight pattern was laid out 40 years ago, they could buy the boosters and much else from Russia, and if it all goes wrong (50%), the 30 cent/hour average space workers (OK, maybe they get more) might have a glorious one-way trip. They could probably clamp down and fake a successful return.
Chinese Man on the Moon Far off
2005-12-30 8:07:13 CRIENGLISH.com
A one-year lunar fly-by mission may start in April 2007 in China, but a manned flight to the Earth's neighbour may be a long way away, a chief lunar exploration scientist said Thursday. "Sending a man to the Moon? It would be a one-way ticket if we do it now, given the thrust of our rockets at present is not strong enough," Luan Enjie, commander-in-chief of the country's lunar exploration programme, said jokingly.

Speak of which, after Yahoo China helped indentify a Chinese journalist's NYC website gossip posting about some Chinese official, he was sentenced to ten years in prison. We badly need a federal law to prevent US corporations from collaborating with this kind of brutal repression. A new book, Mao: The Unknown Story exposes the "worst ever" crimes and butchery of Mao and the Chicoms, who dismissed the 30 million dead in the Great Leap Forward ('58-61) as a incidental cost.