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Imperial Magic

by das monde Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:08:30 AM EST

"Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The first act is called The Pledge: the magician shows you something ordinary, but of course, it probably isn't. The second act is called The Turn. The magician makes his ordinary something do something extraordinary. Now, if you're looking for the secret... you won't find it. That's why there's a third act, called The Prestige. This is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you've never seen before."

The Pledge. Tony Blair is wondering why Iraqis are angry on American and British troops, after so much was done for them.

[Tell] me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a United Nations-supervised democratic process and the Muslims in both countries get the chance to vote, which incidentally they take in very large numbers. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims.

What's more, British troops are risking their lives trying to prevent the killing. Why should anyone feel angry about us? Why aren't they angry about the people doing the killing?

Indeed, why Iraqis are not grateful for all the opportunities the invasion and occupation has brought them?


The Turn. The last wonder of the world: the American Embassy in Baghdad.

The new US embassy in Baghdad is, despite its name, a base. It is set inside a 104-acre compound, making it "six times larger than the UN, as big as Vatican City, and costing $592 million to build." It will be defended by blast walls and ground-to-air missiles, and have its own apartment buildings, along with its own electricity, water supply, and sewage system. (In a dry aside, Johnson notes that "like the former American embassy in Saigon, the Baghdad embassy will have one or more helipads on the roofs.") Life will continue here as it already goes on in the US-enforced Green Zone, complete with its swimming pools, dry-cleaning outlets, and around-the-clock availability of pork in the mess canteen, as cosseted and disconnected from the surrounding reality as Happy Valley was from the rest of Kenya.

Visit the headquarters as designed by Missouri's BDY. As they have put it on their website, "We understand how to involve the client most effectively as we direct our resources to make our client's vision a reality."

The Prestige. Will George W leave the White House in 2009? Let us have a look at the National Security/Homeland Security Presidential Directive of May 9, 2007:

Purpose

(1) This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes "National Essential Functions," prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency.

Ughh... What continuations need to be continued that were not successfully continued under guidance of the Constitution for 200 years? Is it not surprising that "national essential functions" and "continuity requirements" are to be defined by a President? Is a national emergency being anticipated?

Definitions

(b) "Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;

Regardless of location... "or government functions"... Isn't this a damn broad formulation?

Implementation Actions

(4) [...] As a result of the asymmetric threat environment, adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received. [...] Risk management principles shall be applied to ensure that appropriate operational readiness decisions are based on the probability of an attack or other incident and its consequences.

(6) The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA) [...] The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff [...]

Will the President be allowed to act preemtively? Where do those Continuity committees come from?

If George W wants do it and can do it, wouldn't he do it?

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only if god told him to...

you know, the guy with the horns and tail...

are they really that stupid. that they think they could pull that off?

it would be like breaking america's back, just to suck out the marrow-

iraq proved they're certifiably insane, but do they really think they can lock down an entire country?

who would have something to say about that, like, the rest of the world maybe?

i guess it is the ligical endgame for therm, locked up in presidential bunkers, surrounded by the ravening hordes, counting on their 'security' thugs not to betray them...another ambien anyone?

mmm, nice worldvision... quite apt, perhaps, if you believe in the law of return.

it seems like absolute power not only corrupts absolutely, it blinds absolutely as well...

trapped in a tightening circle of diminishing returns, options narrow!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 06:00:37 AM EST
Overstretch is the only limit for them. I am concerned.

When they talk about lack of "adequate warning" they might be projecting themselves. They know Yeltsin's scenario; they can control the military and the media; they would have corporate and fundamentalist support. The CIA has fitting experience. The American public is lazy, and actually purely educated. A large comformist or ignorant mass would setttle for anything "orderly". Even Dems would not effectively object. The whole US politics is already a circus.

International community already gave up all resistence on anything. What would they wish to do against? What would they be able to do? The political elites might even already know what is coming - and assume their poodle roles. That would not be too inconveninet to them.

by das monde on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 09:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you know what gives me a shred of hope here?

that evil authoritarians rarely agree for long, and waste energy attacking each other in the end.

the tricky part is participating in life, but staying out of the 'collateral damage' zone.

i wish us luck...

i agree that the american public is lazy and ignorant, but i would also compare it to a sleeping giant, wake it up and you have a lot of unforeseeable consequences...

in their washington neocon bubble, they have no real way of calculating how much repression the public will swallow.

drip by drip incrementation has sorta kept the lid on so far, a la grenouille au vapeur, but while many will sheepishly become little winston smiths, many also won't.

it would be a calculated bet made by the same gang o' maroons that brought us the 'great millennial iraq heist', remember....

perhaps they expect the rednecks to welcome their new overlords with flowers and candy...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 12:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen a few diaries like this, on kos and elsewhere and, whilst superficially attractive, I find the thesis untenable.

Without a conveniently-timed and substantial "terrorist" attack that makes 911 look like a fire-cracker, I don't see the American people being taken in by any "emergency". Not again. Not now. Especially when their most distinctive characteristic is their staggering, monumental incompetence. The idea that they could pull off such a heist and make it stick, not for a day or a month, but until the end of time is more than this bear can wear.

And who would enforce it ? The army is overseas. As is the national guard. The police would have to be bought by more than just extra overtime, their children are in Iraq too.

If Bush tried to say in office one minute into 2009, there would be another American Revolution.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 04:30:00 PM EST
If Bush tried to say in office one minute into 2009, there would be another American Revolution.

Maybe the 2008 october surprise will be the assassination of Bush (or his body double) and it will be Darth Cheney that will become Emperor.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 04:40:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Darth Cheney doesn't actually have an army of clones.

People actually ignore the fact that the military CAN actually think, and don't necessarily follow the orders from the Bunker......

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 05:19:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Military and the National Guard are broken, and there's always Blackwater and their ilk.

One can look at the various policies instigated by Cheney over the past 6 years as little proofs of concept for various very nasty things.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 05:23:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Continuity of Government plans have been in place at least since WWII. This includes the cluster of "undisclosed locations" where Cheney was in the aftermath of 9/11.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 04:38:59 PM EST
Here is a view on one of the existing bases, Camp Anaconda, near Balad:

Occupying 15 square miles of Iraq, the base boasts two swimming pools (not the plastic inflatable type), a gym, mini-golf course and first-run movie theater.

The 20,000 soldiers who live at the Balad Air Base, less than 1,000 of whom ever leave the base, can inspect new iPod accessories in one of the two base exchanges, which have piles of the latest electronics and racks of CDs to choose from. One of the PX managers recently boasted that every day he was selling 15 televisions to soldiers.

At Camp Anaconda, located in Saluhuddin province where resistance is fierce, the occupation forces live in air-conditioned units where plans are being drawn up to run internet, cable television and overseas telephone access to them.

That promises some continuity.

by das monde on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 03:17:02 AM EST
And meanwhile all the "reconstruction" money has been squandered.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 03:20:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Baghdad embassy plans turn up online

Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared online Thursday in a breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project.

Computer-generated projections of the soon-to-be completed, heavily fortified compound were posted on the Web site of the Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital.

The images were removed by Berger Devine Yaeger Inc. shortly after the company was contacted by the State Department.

[The] 10 images included a scheme of the overall layout of the compound, plus depictions of individual buildings including the embassy itself, office annexes, the Marine Corps security post, swimming pool, recreation center and the ambassador's and deputy ambassador's residences.

U.S. officials said the posted plans conformed at least roughly to conceptual drawings for the new embassy, which is being built on the banks of the Tigris River behind huge fences due to concerns about insurgents' attacks.

Dan Sreebny, a spokesman for the embassy in Baghdad, declined to discuss the accuracy of the posted images.

"In terms of commenting whether they're accurate, obviously we wouldn't be commenting on that because we don't want people to know whether they're accurate or not for security reasons," he said.

For a moment, I thought they are at least competent in building fortified bases in the volatile Iraq...

by das monde on Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 12:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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