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Congess finds out the dangers faced by our solders

We have heard so often that the surge is working. Perhaps it is working far too well. Four arch-Conservative Congressional delegates flying out of Baghdad, came under fire just as their C130 lifted off from the Baghdad airport. Judging from the depth of the Pentagon’s reaction, it was a close call.

The C-130 cargo aircraft conducted evasive maneuvers after a nighttime takeoff from Baghdad, said Ken Lundberg, spokesman for Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was on the plane.

In addition to Martinez, the plane was carrying fellow Republican Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Alabama Rep. Robert “Bud” Cramer, a Democrat.

With the exception of Cramer the Blue Dog Democrat, all of the three republicans would be considered extremely conservative. Shelby, was the individual responsible for announcing that we had intercepted Osama bin Laden’s phone messages. Inhofe accused the Weather Channel of creating global warming. Martinez was in charge of Bush 2000’s Florida campaign, and we all know what happened there. In 2006, he helped craft the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 that would be referred to by much of his own party, as “amnesty”.

All three of these are extremely conservative; all three are potentially embarrassing to the future Republican party; all three have uttered controversial statements like this one…. by Inhofe:

“I am outraged by the ‘outrage’ over the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib”, suggesting that liberals being outraged over Rumsfeld’s abusive tactics, were more of a outrage to American values, than the actual torture practiced on Iraqis by American servicemen.

Each of these Republicans has become and will be a future embarrassment to their party in the upcoming elections. Each of these statements will be pounded over the airwaves with undulating precision.

But if you look beyond the glossed over press reports there seems to be something deeper going on behind this incident. Perhaps it was more than just a close call?

For one, why would the C 130 fired upon as it left Baghdad, just happen to carry three of the most conservative members of Congress? Of course one option, and the first considered, is that it occurred randomly. However two other possibilities that could occur, are 1) either the Iraqi insurgents have remarkable intelligence capabilities, capable of communicating the precise moment the plane lets go its brakes to a position miles away, or……2) it was an inside job.

Was it random? At roughly 150 of these planes flying in and out of Baghdad on a daily basis, the odds at firing on this one randomly selected over the last five years, would be: 1 chance out of 273,750. That would be a 2737.5% chance of not happening. But anything is possible, right?

So let’s examine the logistics behind the alternatives. To fire upon this one plane, the enemy would need to know which plane out of the twenty five lined up on the tarmac awaiting takeoff, contained the conservative legislators. That means the insurgents would have had access to Baghdad military airport, in the heart of the super safe Green Zone.

If the enemy was this intelligent, they should know that killing four congressional legislators would not end the war. It would escalate it further. (To end the war they would need to kill liberals.) They would also know that creating martyrs out of the four most conservative Congressional members, would embolden a 9/11 response across this country. It would rally international support behind the US, now waning worldwide, and create an international environment more hostile to Al Qaeda. The insurgents would be foolish to fire upon that plane.

So who stands to gain if these men were shot down? Obviously those republicans waiting in the wings in their safe red districts, would benefit. So would the RNC. There would be NO chance of a blue taking any of these seats. Obviously the Republican party would be better off by not having their own comment blaming “the Weather Channel for creating global warming”, receiving international airplay. (They are so losing this next election; I hope that Mondale lives long enough to see his dubious record broken.) Obviously the next big republican scandal that will come out of Florida (Martinez), would be nice to nip in the bud. Furthermore anyone having a vendetta against that one single person responsible for leaking that nugget that we were listening to Osama’s phone calls just after 9/11, causing his GPS location to be lost to us forever, would rub their hands with revenge.

These shots fired, based on a cross reference of the press reports description and the Pentagon’s map of Baghdad, originated from an area safe from insurgents, and entrusted to private corporate mercenary services. The location of these shots makes it even more unlikely that an insurgent pulled the trigger. The odds that an operative of Al Qaeda, infiltrated a private security service such as Blackwater, was in real time informed as to when this very plane was taking off, and knew exactly when to pull the trigger seconds before he even saw or heard the plane, all without any experience of ever having done so before at this location…….. are impossible to calculate…………….

If this was an inside job, perhaps instead of an assassination, it was a mere attempt at a scare. They missed on purpose. For by instilling fear in some of the most conservative members of the Congress, one could continue to count firmly on their future loyalty and support.  No doubt as they spoke before their respective branches of Congress, they could then be counted on to convey to others, that the threat was real.

For if on their return, had these four wavered and decided that all future expenditures were nothing but a massive waste of money, that the surge was not working, and that it was time to make a change in Iraq policy, then dreams of all neocons everywhere, would be nothing more than a wisp of gunsmoke……………

But such talk is just “hullabaloo” , really……… it was nothing more than a random event, a one in a 273,750 chance.
defensive actions by a C130 over Baghdad

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Those we should really fear

What a difference between Fox News, a stupid ass propaganda machine, and Fox TV. As a “24” buff, I am holding out hope that old adage of “the last is always the best”, holds true again…….. But whereas that television show always illustrates just how easily terrorists can invade our daily lives, the terrorists are always……and the key word is always, controlled by someone within the White House. The enemy turns out to be someone representing corporate America, …our friend……How prophetic…

So in my effort to write a sequel to “24” that mirrors real life, I decided to investigate a company that has shown up on our radar screens almost as frequently as Halliburton: Bechtel. The one good thing about Bechtel is that it is based in San Francisco. ( I did that for my friends on the right…..) Otherwise it seems like it could provide a conduit for a weapon of mass destruction as demonstrated in “24” that could sufficiently to do enough damage to cement martial law and provide Americans with their own version of Fidel Castro. Fortunately ours would talk less.

Perhaps if you knew what I just learned, it would sound a little less far-fetched……

Bechtel participated in the building of Hoover Dam in the 1930s. It has also had involvement in several other high profile construction engineering projects, including the Channel Tunnel, numerous power projects, refineries, and nuclear power plants, BART, Jubail Industrial City and Kingdom Centre and Tower in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong International Airport, the Big Dig, the rebuilding of the civil infrastructure of Iraq funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the hauling and installing of more than 35,000 trailers and mobile homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi.

The company, which guards its privacy religiously, and is closely allied to power, is often the target of accusations by journalists and politicians, in need of a corporation to pick on…..

As of 2001, a darker sinister side of Bechtel has arisen. Recently, the company has come under criticism for the alleged mismanagement of the Big Dig project, its financial links to the bin Laden family, and the manner in which it received Iraqi rebuilding contracts after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Politicians in the United States and in Europe have made accusations of cronyism between the George W. Bush administration and Bechtel. It seems that anywhere in the world one finds a oil, power, or water producing facility, Bechtel is there.

Just how moral and ethical is this corporation?

Recently in Bolivia Bechtel received the rights to provide water to the city Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest. Shortly thereafter, water rates in that city went up an average of about 200 percent, an action which resulted in the Cochabamba protests of 2000. Many had to withdraw their children from school and stop using doctors because of higher costs for water. Martial law was declared, and Bolivian police killed at least 6 people and injured over 170 protesters. Amidst Bolivia’s nationwide economic collapse and growing national unrest over the state of the economy, the Bolivian government withdrew the water contract. Bechtel sued the Bolivian government for breaking the contract…….

Back on the home front, in a contract that should have been broken but wasn’t, Bechtel received over 660 million to rebuild Iraq. Most of the Iraqi anger focused on the US today, is a direct result of work that was promised, but never done…..However, they took the money…..

In America at least 7 of its executives have sat in cabinet positions or on governmental blue ribbon panels. These include one secretary of defense and one secretary of state. The company is extremely close to the Saudi Arabian royal family and maintains very close ties to the Bin Laden family.

But the scariest scenario is one of which I was completely unaware until browsing around today. Bechtel is the controlling partner of the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons center in Bill Richardson’s home state of New Mexico.

It started with political dissatisfaction over the University of California’s opposition to the Iraq war, that led the Department of Energy to open its contract away from the University, to bids from other vendors in 2003. Although the university and the laboratory have had difficult relations many times since their first World War II contract, this was the first time that the university has ever had to compete for management of the laboratory. The University of California decided to create a private company with the Bechtel Corporation, Washington Group International, and the BWX Technologies to bid on the contract to operate the laboratory. The UC/Bechtel lead corporation – Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) – was pitted against a team formed by the University of Texas System partnered with Lockheed-Martin. In December 2005, the Department of Energy announced that LANS had won the next seven-year contract to manage and operate the laboratory.

So on June 1, 2006, the University of California ended its 60 years of direct involvement in operating Los Alamos National Laboratory, and management control of the laboratory was taken over by the Bechtel offshoot. Approximately 95% of the former 10,000 who were not democrats, plus UC employees at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory were rehired by the Bechtel offshoot, LANS to continue working at the laboratory. Other than the University of California appointing three members to the eleven member board of directors that oversees LANS, the university now has virtually no responsibility or direct control.

University of California policies and regulations that used to apply to UC campuses and its two national laboratories in California (Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore) no longer apply to LANL

Just how secure is Los Alamos? Apparently from the outside it is secure. But from the inside,  a different scenario emerges. Whether at the “Big Dig” site in Boston, or the plains of Iraq, this company is not well know for its strict oversight and reputation for safety. Now, a corporation that is awarded contracts, earning billions wherever massive destruction occurs, is itself in charge of controlling a large amount of America’s uranium inventory. Soon, if it hasn’t started already, trucks are to begin transporting this fissionable material to a different secure location hidden in an undisclosed Nevada desert; how much will you bet that not all of it will reach its destination? With a price over 2 billion dollars an ounce, you think it will all make the journey intact?

I wouldn’t bet on it…..

So it appears that this administration, which is so desperately seeking to hang on, not only to its power, but to its historical place in annuals of time, now, has through it’s close friends in Bechtel, access to very means needed to create its own Reichstag fire, and using that excuse to declare martial law and seize power: this time, unfortunately killing thousands upon thousands of American citizens.

Far fetched? Perhaps….but it is not as far fetched as one would like……..