Sunday, June 20, 2010

Same ol', same ol'

Blackwater/ Xe:
CBS News has learned in an exclusive report that the State Department has awarded a part of what was formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide a contract worth more than $120 million for providing security services in Afghanistan. Private security firm U.S. Training Center, a business unit of the Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater, now called Xe Services, was awarded the contract Friday, a State Department spokeswoman said Friday night.
Under the contract, U.S. Training Center will provide "protective security services" at the new U.S. consulates in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, the spokeswoman said. The firm can begin work "immediately" and has to start within two months. The contract lasts a year but can be extended twice for three months at a time to last a maximum of 18 months.
Iraq, the nation we 'liberated', suffers more bombings:
(Reuters) - Two suicide bombers detonated cars laden with explosives outside the Trade Bank of Iraq on Sunday, killing 26 people in the latest attack to raise concerns about the nation's stability after an inconclusive election.
Social Security:
A video of retired Sen. Alan Simpson's foulmouthed rant toward activist Alex Lawson is making the Internet rounds, as well it should: The sheer audacity and rudeness of the guy makes this clip "must-see TV." It's a political bloopers reel (it can be seen at the bottom of this post).
But, while Simpson's outrageousness makes the video entertaining, here's what makes it important: Alan Simpson is one of two chairs of a bipartisan commission created by President Obama to study the Federal deficit. His comments reveal a number of very important things about his biases, his tendency to distort and mislead, and his ideological extremism. These traits are likely to taint the Commission's work - work which has great implications for the future.
Your future.

And Russian pogroms:
Otunbayeva conceded that the death toll from almost a week of savage violence, in what was once central Asia's most democratically inclined country, was at least 2,000. Previously, her administration put the figure at 191, in an apparent attempt to deflect international condemnation and accusations of state involvement in ethnic cleansing.

In the past week, survivors have given the same account – that armoured personnel carriers and Kyrgyz men in military uniforms led the pogroms on Uzbek districts. It is hard to conceive how these attacks could have been carried out without the connivance of the Kyrgyz military, the police and local administration. The government, however, is turning its ire on the western media, which it accuses of one-sided reporting.


Kyrgyzstan is home to numerous nationalities – Kyrgyz and Uzbeks make up 15% of the 5.6 million population, but there are also Tajiks, Chechens, Turks, Tatars and even Volga Germans. But in its latest incarnation as a post-Soviet independent state, it has failed to build a multi-ethnic society. The army, police and government apparatus remain exclusively Kyrgyz – a source of resentment among potentially separatist-minded Uzbeks.

As well as local and historical animosities, Kyrgyzstan's unstable politics appears to have played a role. The government took over in April after street protests in the capital, Bishkek, ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The country's new leadership blames Bakiyev and his son Maxim – who was arrested in Britain last week – for financing the ethnic slaughter. He may indeed be behind it, but it could also be the work of shadowy nationalist forces determined to crush increasing demands for autonomy from the Uzbek minority.
Haven't we been here before?


Steve Bates said...

It's a political bloopers reel...

I'd have called it a political bleepers reel myself. Simpson is a cold, nasty old mofo, and I hope he suffers the fate he wishes on the elderly and the sick.

ellroon said...

Political bloopers bleeped because of blabbing boobs....