BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Vacation...All I Ever Wanted

Plan ahead, people:

Iraq plans hotel and theme parks for a tourism boom

Boom as in "an increase in business."

Not a "massive explosion in the Green Zone."
A £48m, five-star, 23-storey hotel rising in the city centre; an opulent palace complex being turned into a THEME PARK --
Six Flags Over Fallouja?
Cheap flights to the picturesque "Venice of the east" - all the trappings of a country gearing up for a tourist boom.

Except the country in question is IRAQ. With a new constitution and elections in the offing, officials insist there is a new beginning. The tourist board has 2,400 staff and 14 offices.

There has been a rise in the volume of TRAVELLERS, with Iraqis either leaving or expatriates returning for visits.

That's a nice way of saying "foreign born mercs looking for work."
And there is also the continuous and steady number of foreigners, mainly CONTRACTORS, coming in for the huge wages they can now command for working in such a risky environment.

The planned HOTEL is very much at an embryonic stage.

The land - in the heavily guarded GREEN ZONE - has been donated by the Iraqi government, and the finance is being provided by an Iraqi businessman.

Thair Feeley, of the Iraqi Commission for Investment, insists everything is in place.

"It is not true that it will be a five-star hotel," he says with a flourish, "but a seven and half stars one".
A seven and a half stars hotel?!

Don't think Vegas has a "seven and a half stars" hotel.

"Sam's Town."


"The Silverton."


"Palace Station."

I got it.

Hey, if you don't wanna vacation in Iraq...

There's always "Havasu!"


"Shot time!"

"Take it off!"

"What school do you go to?!"


The building will have to be built to withstand mortar and rocket attack, just as the one major existing hotel in the Green Zone, Al Rashid, was built to do.

Despite the carnage outside and its shabby appearance, the Rashid can still charge $150 (£86) a night.


BASRA in the south has already officially declared itself OPEN FOR TOURISM. But, says an official: "Tourists should dress like locals and maybe dye their hair. AND THEY SHOULD HAVE ARMED GUARDS and they should be always vigilant."
One more time:
"Tourists should dress like locals and maybe dye their hair. AND THEY SHOULD HAVE ARMED GUARDS and they should be always vigilant."
Need I say more?

Moving on...

Blair's litany of failures on Iraq - ambassador's damning verdict

It's a very simple Guardian article on Blair's inability to stop the Bushies from going to war.

Tony Blair repeatedly passed up opportunities to put a brake on the rush to war in Iraq, a failure that may have contributed to the country's present anarchy, according to Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's ambassador to Washington at the time, in his book DC Confidential, serialised in the Guardian from today.

Sir Christopher, highly critical of Mr Blair's performance in the run-up to the war, argues the prime minister and his team were "seduced" by the proximity and glamour of US power and reluctant to negotiate conditions with George Bush for Britain's support for the war.
Straightforward stuff in the article...and mention of specific conversations between Our Kid and his buddy "Landslide."

My favorite?
Sir Christopher recounts how Mr Bush told the inner circle at a US-British summit at Camp David in 2002 that the prime minister had "COJONES" (balls).

"Did you hear that? My man 'Landslide' here...he's 'in.' Understands the big picture. That...we gotta take the fight to the evil-doers. Landslide, you've got cojones."

"Thank you, sir."
The former ambassador says Britain should have taken advantage of such PRAISE, making its participation in the war dependent on a fully worked-out plan for postwar Iraq, which he describes as "defective" and "rudimentary".

"You've got cojones?!" That's praise?!

"You know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate. Go and do likewise, gents. The money's out there, you pick it up, it's yours. You don't -- I have no sympathy for you."

Back to the article:
(Sir Christopher) reveals that KARL ROVE, the political adviser to the president, told him there would have been NO PROBLEM for Mr Bush in waiting until the END OF 2003 or even EARLY 2004 and this would not have risked entanglement in the US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.

We went in March of 2003.

Because "Saddam had weapons of mass destruction...capable of being deployed within 45 minutes."

But now we know that we "could have waited" until the end of 2003...or even early 2004.

Depending on...what?

"Well, that was up to Karl."

My god.

Finally, Josh Marshall has the latest on those forged Italian documents that ultimately helped to build the case for war.

For some reason, the powers that be are dragging their heals and refusing to find out WHO really forged the Nigerian documents:
The FBI ended a two-and-a-half-year probe into the Niger uranium documents without resolving a key mystery: who forged papers used to bolster President Bush's case for war in Iraq?

The bureau announced that the documents, purportedly showing attempts by Saddam Hussein's government to purchase yellowcake uranium, were concocted for financial gain rather than to influence U.S. foreign policy...

But a senior bureau official, requesting anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity, told NEWSWEEK the FBI never interviewed Rocco Martino, the Italian businessman who provided the documents to SISMI.

Because there was no apparent violation of U.S. law, the bureau couldn't compel him to talk—even though he twice visited the United States last year to be interviewed by CBS's "60 Minutes."
Check it out.

More later...


  • Brendan,

    Good stuff as always. Thanks.

    By the way, is there any particular reason why I'm not on the blogroll?



    By Blogger doomsy, at 11:11 AM  

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