Must Read Essays

On the war in Georgia and the response of the US and other NATO countries, such as mine, see this

And for a great analysis (as always) of the FBI’s disintegrating case against supposed anthrax conspirator Bruce Ivins, who lost his life to the allegations, see this and Tom Englehardt

UPDATE:  And on Russia, Georgia and the US, see Jim Kunstler.  Here’s a bit:

The feeble American response to Russia’s assertion of power in the Caucasus of Central Asia was appropriate, since our claims of influence in that part of the world are laughable. The US had taken advantage of temporary confusion in Russia, during the ten-year-long post-Soviet-collapse interval, and set up a client government in Georgia, complete with military advisors, sales of weapons, and even the promise of club membership in the western alliance known as NATO. These blandishments were all in the service of the Baku-to-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which was designed specifically to drain the oil region around the Caspian Basin with an outlet on the Mediterranean, avoiding unfriendly nations all along the way.

UPDATE II:  I’m into passing you off to other writers tonight.  Check out this piece on the US administrations struggle to muzzle al-Jazeera:

After more than six years as a prisoner of the United States, former TV cameraman Sami al-Hajj is back at work with Al-Jazeera, the largest broadcaster in the Arab world, a thorn in the side of most Arab governments – and, by most indications, a target of deep hostility from the Bush administration.

Al-Hajj, 39, was the longest-held journalist in U.S. custody at the time of his release in May, and the only one ever held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Military authorities repeatedly accused him of being a terrorist in league with al Qaeda, then released him without charges.

His case is emblematic of the poisoned relationship between the U.S. government and a television network with 40 million viewers in the Middle East.

Since 2001, Bush administration officials have regularly denounced Al-Jazeera as an anti-American propaganda organ and a mouthpiece for terrorists, and have periodically urged its chief patron, the emir of Qatar, to rein it in.

The United States even founded a rival Arab-language network, Al Hurra, in 2004, but commentators on the region generally agree it hasn’t made a dent in Al-Jazeera’s popularity.

Al-Jazeera has also been hit twice by U.S. artillery fire. One shelling destroyed its Kabul bureau in November 2001. The second struck a Baghdad office in April 2003, killing correspondent Tareq Ayoub. The U.S. military concluded both shellings were accidents.

According to the Defense Department, al-Hajj was just another suspected terrorist among the 780 who have been held as enemy combatants since January 2002 at Guantanamo. But his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, says al-Hajj’s imprisonment was all about Al-Jazeera.

When I read things like this, about people held for years at Guantanamo without charge and then being released without any charges ever having been laid, I often think I’m living in a whole different world than the one I’ve been used to.  Perhaps that’s because administrations like that of George W. Bush are able to  carry off these anti-democratic, anti-rule of law acts right out in the open with apparently little fear of being held to account.  Ever.  And rightly so it seems.  I mean “rightly” with respect to accountability of course.

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