Sunday, May 30, 2004

Scamed again...

Not only have American taxpayers been forced to endure the "GWB Era", but now it seems as though we're all being forced to support his re-election campaign...WTF.
It seems as though the rules are not only being bent but also twisted into whatever the current administration feels it can justify, hide or in the very least confuse and doublespeak their way out of.
Please read the full Associated Press Article by SCOTT LINDLAW.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

A Call To All Shuterbugs....

I just received an email today from Mohammed at "Rafah Today". I have learned that his camera isn't working properly and he has had to resort to renting one from a friend. If anybody out there has a digital camera laying around collecting dust and you support what he is doing, please send it to him. I'm going to talk to a few people and see if I can't get him a new one as well.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Where's My MTv? ...

While surfing info on the web, I came across a video that has been getting quit a bit of attention in the Arab and European World. Go to this page at TIDES World Press Reports and scroll down until you get to the "Dirty Kuffar" music video.
--- --- ---
Note - I am in NO WAY endorsing it's extremist message or any "call to action". But, British Rapper Sheikh Terra has laid down some very extreme beats that have apparently become very popular with younger Muslims. It is the first real instance where I see Western influences and music-media styles used to deliver a message that until now has really only been done in the Eastern World through more traditional venues.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Ooops...Our bad...I guess we'll just have to keep it.

This just in from the New York Times...(Click here for full article)

"U.S. Announces It Intends to Move Tons of Uranium From Baghdad
Published: May 22, 2004
VIENNA, May 21 — The United States has informed an international agency that oversees nuclear materials that it intends to move hundreds of tons of uranium from a sealed repository south of Baghdad to a more secure place outside Iraq, Western diplomats close to the agency say. But the organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has taken the position that the uranium is Iraqi property and that the agency cannot give permission to remove it, a diplomat said. The diplomat said that the United States was unlikely to be deterred by that position and that American officials had contacted the agency on the matter this year, before the Iraq insurgency flared last month..."
"...The repository was an object of widespread looting by villagers after the American-led invasion last year. The villagers were for the most part apparently interested in using the barrels that hold the uranium for activities like cooking and storing water. They simply dumped out the uranium sludge and took the barrels. Although most of the barrels and all but a small amount of the uranium were recovered, the episode was an embarrassment to the United States and left traces of radioactive contamination throughout the village."
--- --- ---
Please read the full article here.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

What happened to the Oil...

It seems that even many of the people in the CPA and the Program Review Board ("PRB") aren't really sure either. They also don't seem very eager to find any answers or put in place a system of accountability. At least that's the impression I get after reading the minuets of their APRIL 28, 2004 proceedings... "NEW PROPOSALS - #682—IAMB Crude Oil Metering--$5,000,000. Ministry of Oil (MoO)/COL Emmett DuBose. MoO proposes to provide metering at appropriate points in the Iraqi oil infrastructure to assess the input and output at key nodes in the system, assess performance of the infrastructure, and provide positive controls over the distribution and sales of crude and refined products. Metering for crude oil extraction and sales is presently nonexistent in Iraq. A critical step in restoring the Iraqi oil infrastructure is to provide a system to control accountability of crude oil and its products. This situation was highlighted at a meeting of the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) in Kuwait City on March 17-18, 2004. The IAMB monitors the financial reporting and internal control systems established by the CPA and advises on the adequacy of such systems. Their specific recommendation was "the expeditious installation of metering equipment in accordance with standard oil industry practices."
The proposal was tabled to allow until MoO coordinates with the Iraqi Ministry of Finance.
--- --- ---
Well it looks like they're going to have to get back to this one, so it may take a bureaucratic minute, which is what mathematicians would probably call an unknown variable, before anybody really knows what has happened or even what is happening with Iraq’s Oil. But hey, it's only been a year now, right. As of the writing of this post, there have been no updates to the minutes.
--- --- ---
There were other "New Proposals" as well. There was "#681—Improve Crude Oil Flow to Daura--$34,500,000. Ministry of Oil(MoO)/COL Emmett DuBose. MoO proposes to make improvements to pipelines and power station #3 (PS3) to increase production at the Daura oil refinery..." and "#683—Umm Qasr Port Renovation--$15,280,000. Ministry of Trade (MoT)/Peter Babb. MoT proposes to repair and upgrade grain offloading facilities at Iraq's port of Umm Qasr. The renovation of the facilities is necessary to ensure the sustainable flow of the basic staple food needs of the Iraqi people..." Unfortunately these were Tabled for discussion as well.
--- --- ---
The only thing that seemed to be a pressing issue was "#685—Emerging Security Requirements--$500,000,000. CJTF-7/Lt Col James Reitzel. Recent developments throughout Iraq indicated the urgent need for increased security in as Iraqi sovereignty approaches. The requirement is for security related reconstruction and military needs arising, in large part, to the recent upswing in violence. To meet these needs, this proposal requests an additional $500 million from the DFI. We anticipate that some of these funds will be used to address security needs that are only now being identified, as the security situation is still evolving and the needs are being assessed on an ongoing basis. While specific project lines items are not defined, there is a well-defined process for executing these funds. The Commanders’ Emergency Response Program (CERP), Rapid Regional Response Program (R3P), and other established CPA contracting mechanisms will be leveraged to expedite project implementation under this program...".
--- --- ---
Put 500 Million Dollars on the line and everybody wants to get involved. In the end, this was the only item not Tabled for later discussion, and the vote was..."The representative of CPA Operations and Infrastructure made a motion to approve the proposal as amended; the representative of CPA Governance seconded. The board unanimously approved the proposal. APPROVED AS AMENDED: DFI -- $500,000,000." Everything between the first paragraph and the last paragraph of this item seemed to be about who's going to hand out and track the money, and how they're all going to get their cut.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Uhhh....he did it.

Referring to the recent U.S. backed Iraqi police raids of the home and offices of Iraqi Governing Council Member, Ahmad Chalabi. -"I certainly was not aware there was going to be a raid on a home, if in fact there was," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said. "My understanding is that the Iraqis are involved in this, and you'd best ask them."
--- --- ---
When I read things like this, I just don't get that warm fuzzy feeling. As a matter of fact, it kinda scares the crap out of me. Am I to believe that after all this time, we're really not sure what the Iraqis are up to. So they're just kinda doing their own thing now. Who's accountable for anything over there...Anyone....Anyone?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Oh, so that's where the money goes...

Browsing through the recent contracts awarded by the CPA, I finally started to see where all the money has been going. For example, there's a "Harvest HT4 cordless Phone" that was purchased for only $5,315. The same base phone sells on the internet for under $500, even with all the accessories it still comes in under a $1,000. Worse yet, they bought the same phone previously for only $1,968.30.
--- --- ---
Another $150,000 went for "IP HANDCUFFS-KARBALA". That's a lot of handcuffs for the Karbala Police. With the additional $300,000 for "IP CLOTHING", $30,000 for "IP NIGHTSTICKS(KARBALA)", and $6,000 for "IP WHISTLES-KARBALA", I can only imagine how good those boys are going to look walking down the street. There was an award of $236,000 for what was just listed as "AK-47" and again in the document there's another contract listed as "AK-47's" only this time the amount is $418,487.30. I'd like to find out what those contracts were all about because I can hardly believe that they're running short on AK-47's over there, although it might explain why they've also spent over $22,000,000 on 9-Apr-04 for "BODY ARMOR" and another $15,560,000 for "Body Armor" on 11-Apr-04. I do have to give a KUDOS though to the CPA. Even though they only spent $400 on "Tikrit Trash Removal" they spent a generous $24,650 to "Build Playground in Tikrit".
--- --- ---
I'd sure like to take some pictures of all the wonderful work taking place in Iraq. I can only imagine how great and grand the reconstruction projects must be....that is given how much they're costing. Talk about corporate spending run amok.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

It's a long road ahead....

It looks as if U.S. Troops will be in Iraq for a considerable amount of time. Additional troops are being sent from bases in South Korea to re-enforce those in Iraq. I wonder just how North Korea is going to take advantage of this move? Or better yet, just what will this do to the U.S. War on Terrorism. Weren't we just calling them part of the "Axis of Evil". It's like we're tempting them to take the sucker punch, then we'll have an excuse to go after them as well. Again I've heard conflicting reports regarding the number of troops being sent. Some sources are saying anywhere from 36,000 - 40,000 while other reports have been as low as 3,600. It seams that few reporters bother to check the facts anymore, or maybe just mistakes have become common place. Anyhow, it doesn't look good. I predict we'll see a "Draft" in this country within the next couple years.
--- --- ---
I have been sending out e-mails looking for support and hope to be able to generate the resources needed to make my first trip to the "Front Lines".
I would like to be able to leave no later than 4 months from now, but would prefer to go a little sooner. I would plan to stay in Iraq for at least 4-6 weeks, during which time I would continuously gather and send information, video, picts, etc., through my dispatches. My goal is to experience and document not only what life and survival is like for Iraqi Citizens, but also that of the U.S. Soldiers on the ground, who's story has also been side-lined by our Mainstream Media.
--- --- ---
Although money is the surest way I'll be able to get the equipment and transportation required, I am open to donations of all kinds. Any unused or older video cameras laying around would be much appreciated. The same goes for older or outdated laptops. I'm a Communications Mercenary and you'd be surprised what can be accomplished with a little ingenuity and a couple hardware hacks. Oh yeah, any body armor or a PASGT helmet would be a much added bonus.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Vanishing Video...

This Post Edited 5/21/04 - Don't let popular opinion be based solely on sensationalized news reports and a 3 sec video clip. The full video can be seen at
--- --- ---
After posing some questions in a chat room, I came to the conclusion that this was way to hot to handle and I'd just end up getting burned and flamed by the masses. I have also chosen to remove all previous posts regarding the story.
Again I encourage readers to find as many pieces of the puzzle that they can. You don't need all the pieces of the puzzle in place to see the big picture.

No Oscar Winners Here....

I have finally found the complete Nick Berg video and have had a chance to review it several times. I have posted a link to the video on the right hand side of the Blog.
until now I had only seen a cut version through Yahoo News. The actual video is much longer and even more obviously staged than the clips are media has been showing. With all the money being spent on the "War Effort", you would think they could at least have hired a professional production and editing crew. I don't see an "Oscar" going to this amateur hack job video.
--- --- ---
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to matter much to the American public. I have talked to several people regarding the video. So far, all have had an opinion on the video and are horrified by what had happened but few have actually seen the video. I guess it doesn't really take much to convince us something is true. Just tell us what you want and we'll gladly accept it as truth, until you tell us different. I can only hope that somewhere in our society there are a few black sheep not willing to follow the rest of the herd to the slaughter house.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Bloggers seek truth....

There is a great piece posted on the Aljazeera website about Bloggers who have raised many more questions regarding the video of the beheading of American Nick Berg.
I also find myself asking more questions. We know his body was found in Baghdad, but there is no mention of whether there was a head accompanying the body. Also after again reviewing the video, I noticed that the posture and the way the men held their weapons seemed a little to professional. I encourage readers to watch the video and pay attention to the man on the far right. Notice his posture and the way he positions his hand on his weapon. Now I'm not saying that this was all staged and didn't really happen. I'm sure that this guy was really murdered, the real question is by who and when? This whole thing's starting to seem more and more like a "Black Ops" mission to create support for the U.S. interest in Iraq.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Here come the conflicting reports....

Watching the news this evening, it's reported that the FBI offered to help Nick Berg leave Iraq, but he refused their offer.
It was also reported that he was held by Iraqi Police in Northern Iraq because of questions regarding his identity papers.
Now in earlier reports, it's stated that he was already trying to leave Iraq and that he had informed his family that he would try to find safe passage, probably through Turkey or Jordan, both of which are North of Baghdad. Given everything we've been told so far, I now have more questions than I have answers.

1: If he was trying to get out of the Iraq safely, why would he refuse the opportunity to do so under the protection of his government. Taking into account earlier reports, we know that he was headed North from Baghdad and was detained in the Northern part of the country. It only stands to reason that he was indeed heading North to leave the country. What happened to change his mind?

2: Where did the Orange jumpsuit come from? This is the first time anybody held by "Insurgents" has appeared in a prison uniform that up until this point has only been used by the U.S.?
Had he been released like the reports say?

3: Why is the media now also focusing on the fact that he was Jewish?

In this country there's a term called "Playing the Race Card". Something doesn't add up here and it's as if somebody's putting a spin on anti-Semitism in order to draw attention away from the U.S. atrocities that have taken place. Sarcastically speaking, I wonder who would do such a thing?

I'm sure that as we get more information, I'll not only have less answers but more questions.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Is Everybody Going To Get Burned???

Maybe I'm just a simpleton, but it seams to me that when you fight fire with fire, everybody's' going to get burned in the end.
I just read a recent news post about Nick Berg, an independent American contractor who's body was found in Baghdad. Accompanying the story was a video clip showing a group of Radical Islamic Militants (I'm not sure if that's the correct term, but it doesn't really matter) reading a statement regarding the mis-treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison and how he was being executed as revenge for what had happened there. The commentator translating then noted that the American Contractor was offered in a prisoner exchange, which was declined by the U.S. Interests (again, I'm not sure if that's the correct term, but it doesn't really matter). It is at this point that the man reading the statement pulls a long knife and the tape ends. We are told that Nicks' head is then pulled to the side and he beheaded in front of the camera.
--- --- ---
O.K., first off let me state that what happened to this poor guy was really, really, really messed up. It is an atrocity as well as a stupid and ignorant way of making a statement. It's equal to the brutality that has happened to Iraqis at the hands of high ranking military officials and private contractors (i.e. Americas Corporate Interests). Tragically I think that is why it was done, as a last effort to make a statement. The message was that if you're going to commit such atrocities to our people, our Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters, and then refuse to take responsibility for your actions while pointing fingers and blaming others and refuse to negotiate an equitable exchange of human life and dignity,...then we will have no choice but to do the same to you and yours.
--- --- ---
Before going any further, I'd like to address the timeline of events and how they have been portrayed. If this poor guy was first offered in exchange for Iraqi prisoners, then I fail to see "Revenge" as being the primary motivation for his abduction and execution. If anything, in their eyes it may have been the only available option left. Also, it should be noted that he was an independent American contractor and not a part of the "Big Business" interests, such as Haliburton, Blackwater Security, etc., who are hiring and sending people to the region. Now I could be wrong, but the impression I got was that he was a sub-contractor who went to Iraq in the hopes of securing employment, probably cause there wasn't really much work in his home town and running the risk of being killed at any moment was a better choice than slowly sinking into poverty, misery and despair while struggling to make ends meet in our sinking economy. It's "Big Business" that holds the contracts and they make the "Big Bucks", but the crumbs they're offering American workers in Iraq are a lot bigger than the crumbs they're offering the same workers back in the States. He had to be there for a reason, and i'm sure it had to be a pretty good one to risk his life over.
--- --- ---
Getting back to what has happened and the way it was carried out.....Unfortunately, it's those types of horrendous actions that cause the message to be obscured by the messenger. Americans can't get past what they see and actions of atrocity against us only strengthen our resolve to fight. It gives Americans an excuse to downplay or even excuse their own misguided actions (we're not a people who tend to take things in context) which will just further infuriate the Arab World. Why are so many people so eager to throw more fuel on this fire? It will only grow and consume the souls of those that get in its' path, regardless of guilt or innocence, right or wrong. It will burn in the minds of people and cause what's left of ones humanity to evaporate. I can only hope that somewhere in this world there will be left an Oasis unpoluted by the dark ashes of war.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

USA -not US Inc.

It's not Anti-American to believe in the principals this country was founded upon, while at the same time disagreeing with what it has become. Somewhere this Nation was hi-jacked and tragically it ended up being crashed into downtown Baghdad...the fires are is still raging and we've yet to begin to see the aftermath of what has happened. This is not said to underscore 9/11 in any way, but to emphasize the magnitude of the situation this country now finds its' self irreversibly involved in.
--- --- ---
It leaves you wondering how we as a Nation of People are going to resolve the crisis our leaders have created in the Middle East, when the whole thing seems to have been started by them as a solution for our own troubled economy. Unfortunately the only economic woes being addressed were those of ...Big Money Interests... and their need to offset the losses created by their destruction of the U.S. economy and overthrow of the U.S. government. What better way than through its' own lucrative government contracts worth Billions of dollars?
For "American Big Business" this translated into...Free Oil and all the money they could print. We're all familiar with the term "nothing's free" and although it may seem that way for a select few sitting comfortably in leather executive chairs located in quite parts of the world, it is in fact being paid for by the blood of many.
All those that are fighting, all those that are dying, all those that are unwillingly caught in the middle are paying the price. Sadly nobody will really know what toll will be extracted from humanity, until the deal is done.
--- --- ---
There's no walking away from this one.....Even the Mainstream Media is being forced to report more truthful accounts about events regarding the "War in Iraq". Slowly as a country we're starting to wake up to the fact that this is real, and not a made for TV mini-series. Slowly bits and pieces of the reality of war are slipping through the filters. There's a rule in American journalism called "K.I.S.S." (keep it simple and stupid). Undoubtedly it's because media companies are more focused on making a $profit$ by selling easy-to-swallow bits of news to an informatively malnourished society, rather than on providing the substance needed to feed and nourish the minds of a people and nation.
--- --- ---
For many Americans...war is a distant thing, more often experienced through a video game or movie. No matter how horrific and brutal the images and sounds are.....we feel safe in the knowledge that it'll all be over with soon, and in the end.....the lights will come up. Most of us don't even stick around for the credits. For the average American, the cost of war is about $7 - $9 dollars up to $50 for the latest in gaming technology, and for a couple bucks you can always just rent it and experience it at your leisure. I fear we're becoming a country that has overindulged in decadence, one that would wage war merely for its' entertainment and marketing value. Are we becoming the "New Roman Empire", and if so, then what will be our fate?
--- --- ---
The following words were taken from the Blog "". I have chosen to quote it, because I do not think that I can do a better job in describing the current American Media situation in Iraq, or the solution to the problem.......
........"I think western news networks are far too tame. They show the Hollywood version of war- strong troops in uniform, hostile Iraqis being captured and made to face "justice" and the White House turkey posing with the Thanksgiving turkey... which is just fine. But what about the destruction that comes with war and occupation? What about the death? I don't mean just the images of dead Iraqis scattered all over, but dead Americans too. People should *have* to see those images. Why is it not ok to show dead Iraqis and American troops in Iraq, but it's fine to show the catastrophe of September 11 over and over again? I wish every person who emails me supporting the war, safe behind their computer, secure in their narrow mind and fixed views, could actually come and experience the war live. I wish they could spend just 24 hours in Baghdad today and hear Mark Kimmett talk about the death of 700 "insurgents" like it was a proud day for Americans everywhere..........The American and European news stations don't show the dying Iraqis; they don't show the women and children bandaged and bleeding- the mother looking for some sign of her son in the middle of a puddle of blood and dismembered arms and legs; they don't show you the hospitals overflowing with the dead and dying because they don't want to hurt American feelings; but people *should* see it. You should see the price of your war and occupation- it's unfair that the Americans are fighting a war thousands of kilometers from home. They get their dead in neat, tidy caskets draped with a flag and we have to gather and scrape our dead off of the floors and hope the American shrapnel and bullets left enough to make a definite identification."
--- --- ---
It's time to give Lady Liberty a kick in the ass and send her on a --Road Trip. The mainstream media isn't and won't do anything in respect to ...getting-the-story-out, but who needs them anyhow. We as Ameicans don't need more news, what we need is more information. Fortunately there's a high speed highway between every city and town in this country and the cities and people of Iraq....
--- --- ---
The "Information Highway" is wide open, and with some decent equipment and a little drivers education, the voice of the Iraqi people will be heard. If Iraq is "Liberated", then we should give the people the tools needed to make use these new freedoms. Untill the people who are effected by these events can tell their story to the world, then the truth will remain just another victim. What can be done, what has to change before these wrongs committed in the name of all that is good, can be brought before the eyes of our once proud nation?
--- --- ---
I'm not sure, but I've started Bravo411---Operation Information Freedom in the hopes of making a difference to the people who are truelly suffering from our "War on Terrorism". Communication technology is a great thing if used properly. The Internet is a great thing if used properly. Tragically these tools have been misused by our government-media and withheld from the very people we are suppose to be helping. There now exists a trickle of real information getting through the pipelines and finding its' way into the homes of America. Well if the pipelines already been put in place, why just sit around hoping that there will be enough to actually consider it substantial? Why not just crank the valve wide open. America is a society that needs to see things. We are a visual, albeit sometimes confused society. Each new generation seems to have a harder time comprehending the world around them without the full "Media Experience". Unless we start getting photos, video w/audio, in addition to written reports, we're going to be forced to get our news through the mainstream American media channels. Where are the live web video feeds coming from the now "Liberated" people and homes of Iraq? If we can put them up in bathrooms and under desks, why not actually put them where they'll do some good? A couple car batteries and a 12v/120(?) converter and you've got enough backup power to run a small handheld system for several hours. Why not piggyback some wireless routers off of an internet access point? There's tons of online storage space out there and I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to get donated server space for depositing and distributing media. There is no one person solution to this situation. It's going to take the collective effort of people in the technology and internet communities to accomplish such an endeavor. The purpose of this mission is to not only get the tools in the hands of the people, but to set up the physical pathways to make it possible. This means somebody with the skills and experience needed will also need to actually go to Iraq and I'm willing to be the first one out of the trenches. I'm willing to put my life on the line to get it started. I'm willing to be the first to go into harms way to turn the valve, but I'll need some help.
--- --- ---
Why take on such an endeavor? Well to answer that I'll have to tell you a bit about myself. I live in Silicon Valley (San Jose, Ca.). I am also one of the many unemployed technology professionals in the area. Contrary to what people may think, we are in an economic crisis. There is very little work compared to the amount of people looking for employment. Since the Tech Industry went bust a few years back, I have managed to survive on the occasional temp-job, side-job, and whatever-else-I-was-capable-of-doing-job.
I went from making a decent living to scrounging for whatever I could get. We have huge social and economic problems in this country and I can no longer sit around while our "Leaders", and I use the term loosely, create even worse conditions around the world. Nobody seems to hear the cries of the poor and downtrodden people just because they can't afford to buy advertising space. Over the past nine years I have been a web designer, graphic artist, network administrator and telecommunications technician. Prior to that I spent two years in college as a communications major focusing in investigative reporting. I have all the skills to get something like this off the ground, but I lack the resources to make it possible.

Will you help?