Sunday, August 08, 2004

Apparently I threatened somebody who subsequently was killed

Iraq restores the death penalty, supposedly only until stability is restored. Because capital cases are most likely to be fairly and dispassionately tried in trials held during a civil war. The ultimate penalty (unless you count having Lynndie England laugh and point at your genitals) will be applied for murder, kidnapping and drug-running. It is unclear if it applies to Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi government also issues arrest warrants for Ahmed Chalabi and his nephew Salem Chalabi, who is Saddam’s prosecutor, for money laundering (or counterfeiting, depending on what story you read) and murder, respectively. The murder is that of an official in the finance ministry, who had prepared a report on the Chalabis’ seizure of properties. The government’s level of seriousness about this can be seen by the fact that they announced this while both Chalabis were out of the country. Salem "Witchtrials" Chalabi told CNN that "apparently I threatened somebody who subsequently was killed." Apparently?

Newly released Nixon tapes suggest that he delayed the inevitable military withdrawal from Vietnam in order not to hurt him in the 1972 elections. Henry Kissinger talked on the tape (8/3/72) about finding "some formula that holds the whole thing together a year or two"; by January 1974, he said, "no one will give a damn." Comparisons with Iraq are obvious.

US officials are trying to shift the blame for leaking the name of the Pakistani undercover agent onto a Pakistani intelligence official.

Mexico has found 2 men on its Most Wanted list. They were in jail. One of them, according to a story which provides no further information, is known as "the bullet swallower."

Just listened to a political humor program (excuse me, humour programme), "The Now Show," on the BBC website, thanks to a mention of it in the comments at Rather good. Some of the references may be too British for Americans, but even if you decide not to listen to the whole 30 minutes (the current program will be online until the next one comes out Friday), don’t miss a song by Mitch Benn about 25 minutes in about the politics of fear. "Crap your pants for America, foul yourself for freedom..."
Update: the program has now been replaced. The lyrics are available online, but it's not the same thing. It wouldn't hurt to email the BBC about putting the song online permanently; there's certainly a demand for it, as I can testify from the number of people reaching this site through Google searches for it (I've become the go-to guy for Crap Your Pants for America; I'm so proud).

Update to the update: the lyrics are no longer online anywhere, so I'll append them here:

Crap your pants for America

We live in troubled times
Our enemies surround us
We must be vigilant
To the dangers all around us
There's evil little furr'ners
And perverts here as well
It's your patriotic duty
To be as scared as hell

So crap your pants for America
Foul yourself for freedom
Soil your shorts for the USA
Crap your pants for America
Only Dubya can save us
And we'll hide beneath our beds, and quake and pray

It could happen any minute
It could happen any place
So gaze with deep suspicion
In every stranger's face
Your government is struggling
They've run out of ideas
They've run out of excuses
All they've got left is fear

So crap your pants for America
Foul yourself for freedom
Soil your shorts for the USA
Crap your pants for America
The land of the paranoid
The panic-stricken, jittery, and free

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