Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December 6th, 2011

Speculation: a coup in Pakistan? Also: An update on Egypt/Update on Pakistan

Posted by Charles II on December 6, 2011

Update, 12/8: It looks like Zardari will return. All in all, it sounds like Zardari is just a very strange man.
Via Rachel, Josh Rogin of the Cable:

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament on the Memogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.

On Dec. 4, Zardari announced that he would address Pakistan’s parliament about the Memogate issue, in which his former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to take power away from Pakistan’s senior military and intelligence leadership and asking for U.S. help in preventing a military coup. Haqqani has denied that he wrote the memo at the heart of the scheme, which also asked for U.S. support for the Zardari government and promised to realign Pakistani foreign policy to match U.S. interests.

A former U.S. government official told The Cable today that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari over the weekend regarding NATO’s killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers, Zardari was “incoherent.”

The former U.S. official said that parts of the U.S. government were informed that Zardari had a “minor heart attack” on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance today. He may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of “ill health.”

Zardari lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai from 2004 through 2007 after being released from prison, where he had been held for eight years on corruption charges.

The military may be force behind pressuring Zardari. They tried to detain him from leaving.

Juan Cole points out that Pakistan is forcing the US military to leave Pakistan, but since the US is the primary destination for Pakistani exports (not to mention its major source of military funding), is unlikely to sever the relationship.

So, the question arises: did the military invite Zardari to leave at US instigation? The nature of the relationship between the US and the Pakistani military is extremely interesting, since US intelligence got its hooks into Pakistan in the 1980s by funding the mujahedeen, which turned into Al Qaeda in the 1990s. So, is the Pakistani military calling the tune, or is US intelligence?
Speaking of Juan Cole, he says that fears of a theocratic takeover of Egypt are overblown. He says that these are the freest and fairest elections in Egypt’s history, a bar so low that it touches the ground. But, yeah.

As’ad Abu Khalil says that turnout was low, representing a deliberate boycott of an election that is meaningless as long as the military has the final say. reminiscent of Honduras, NYT has revised estimates of turnout down from 70% to 52%.

Posted in Arab Spring, Pakistan | 4 Comments »

You’re being too kind

Posted by Charles II on December 6, 2011

Chris Britt

(image from

Via Scott Horton, Der Spiegel’s Mark Pitzke:

Africa is a country. In Libya, the Taliban reigns. Muslims are terrorists; most immigrants are criminal; all Occupy protesters are dirty. And women who feel sexually harassed — well, they shouldn’t make such a big deal about it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the US Republicans. Or rather, to the twisted world of what they call their presidential campaigns.

They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They’ve shown such stark lack of knowledge — political, economic, geographic, historical — that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe.

And so the farce continues. The more mind-boggling its incarnations, the happier the US media are to cheer first one clown and then the next,

Then there’s Newt Gingrich…the US media now reflexively hails him as a “Man of Ideas” (The Washington Post) — even though most of these ideas are lousy if not downright offensive, such as firing unionized school janitors, so poor children could do their jobs.

Pompous and blustering, Gingrich gets away with this humdinger as well as with selling himself as a Washington outsider — despite having made millions of dollars as a lobbyist in Washington. At least the man’s got chutzpah.
Americans have a short memory. They forget, too, that Gingrich was driven out of Congress in disgrace, the first speaker of the house to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing.

Rick Perry’s blunders are legendary.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann … [is] still tolerated as if she’s a serious contender. Ron Paul’s fan club gets the more excited, the more puzzling his comments get. Jon Huntsman, the only one who occasionally makes some sort of sense, has been relegated to the poll doldrums ever since he showed sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

Which leaves Mitt Romney, the eternal flip-flopper and runner-up…

What a nice club that is. A club of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses.

Pitzke misses the point. These are the sorts of personal characteristics that Republicans admire, at least as long as the person in question has lots of money. How can the party who impeached Bill Clinton for adultery a little over 10 years ago have as its frontrunner a man who was engaging in adultery at the same time that he was impeaching Bill Clinton? It only makes sense if Bill Clinton’s sins were not big enough to gain him a place in the Republican pantheon.

I predict that what will happen in the end is a deadlocked convention, and an exciting, new candidate will materialize. Someone relatively unknown. Someone whose secrets are well enough hidden that they won’t emerge before the election. Probably a military man.

And someone worse than all of the rest of the liars club that is the Republican primary.

Posted in 2012, hypocrites, liars, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | 7 Comments »

If you’re not lying, you wouldn’t need so many words: our State Department in action

Posted by Charles II on December 6, 2011

In which Robin Toner inadvertently tells the world why they shouldn’t trust us:

QUESTION: Mark, yesterday —

MR. TONER: Yeah.

QUESTION: — you were asked a question about Mexico and money laundering.


QUESTION: Your answer was less than satisfactory. But I understand that today you might actually have a more satisfactory answer. Is that correct? I don’t want to the answer. I just want to know if that’s correct. (Laughter.)

MR. TONER: Indeed, Matt, I do have a more full response for you. I can say that in response – you’re talking about the – I think it was a couple days ago the story that appeared, I think, on Sunday that talked about money laundering allegations. And I would just say that we’ve been working collaboratively with the Mexican Government to fight money laundering for years. As part of that collaboration, the Drug Enforcement Agency – Administration, rather – works with Mexican authorities to gather and use information about these criminal organizations to counter threats that they pose to both our countries. These operations are fully coordinated with Mexico, and the DEA has well-established mechanisms for coordinating and approving these activities associated with the fight against money laundering. And indeed, as our partners in Mexico have stated, these joint investigations to detect and dismantle money laundering networks have led to important advances and detentions within each country. So —

QUESTION: Which – well, the question was about – the story was about the U.S. agents laundering money. Is that happening?

MR. TONER: Again, these are – these types of operations are aimed at disrupting these money laundering networks, and they’re fully vetted and fully coordinated with Mexican authorities.

QUESTION: Well, okay. So —

MR. TONER: But I would —

QUESTION: In other words, the answer is yes.

MR. TONER: But you’re getting into a level of detail, I think, that is probably better addressed by the DEA and the Department of Justice.


MR. TONER: What I’m trying to say is that —

QUESTION: Well, I understand that, but what I think that if a question is posed, are U.S. agents engaged in money laundering, if the answer was going to be a flat-out no, you wouldn’t have a long, extended explanation for it, for what it is (inaudible).

MR. TONER: Well, again, I think what I – what I’m trying to say is that there are operations aimed at disrupting these kinds of money laundering networks.

QUESTION: Do those operations include U.S. agents laundering money?

MR. TONER: Again, that’s something for the Drug Enforcement Administration to answer.

Posted in Mexico, State Department, War On Some Drugs | Comments Off on If you’re not lying, you wouldn’t need so many words: our State Department in action

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