Friday, August 25, 2006

US Investigates Alleged Israeli Use of Cluster Bombs in Lebanon

The U.S. State Department said Friday it is investigating whether Israel may have used cluster munitions in Lebanon in violation of agreements with the United States restricting their use. A United Nations agency said earlier this week it has found abundant evidence that Israel used the bombs against Hezbollah guerrillas, some in populated areas of southern Lebanon.

The Bush administration defended Israel's overall military campaign against Hezbollah as an act of national self defense. But officials here acknowledge that an inquiry is under way as to whether the Israelis used U.S.-supplied cluster munitions in civilian areas in violation of unpublished agreements with Washington.


The newspaper said agreements governing Israel's use of U.S. cluster bombs date back to the 1970's when they were first supplied, and are understood to require that they be used only against organized armies in conventional war situations.

I'm sure the U.S. will find that Israel did nothing wrong:

During its air war in Afghanistan, the United States dropped nearly a quarter-million cluster bomblets that killed or injured scores of civilians, especially children, both during and after strikes, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.


Human Rights Watch found that the United States did not take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties, as required by international humanitarian law, when it used cluster bombs in or near populated areas. U.S. cluster bombs also left an estimated 12,400 explosive duds—de facto antipersonnel landmines—that continue to take civilian lives to this day.

What I find interesting is that they focus on how the use of cluster bombs violated agreements with Washington, as if their use in civilian areas wasn't already prohibited by international law.

But the news isn't all bad:

Annan: Europe will provide over half of peacekeeping force

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that Europe had agreed to provide more than half of an expanded peacekeeping force for Lebanon, with nearly 7,000 troops, and he hoped the “strong, credible and robust” force would be able to deploy in days, not weeks.

“Europe is providing the backbone of the force,” Annan said after an emergency meeting with EU foreign ministers in Brussels. “We can now begin to put together a credible force,” he said.

He said he asked France – which dramatically increased its pledged contribution to 2,000 troops late yesterday – to lead the force until February 2007.

I'm glad to hear that the U.S. won't be heading this up. We're doing such a bang-up job in Iraq that I'd hate to see anything detract from that. It seems inevitable that something will, though. Whether we want it to or not:

Nearly five years later, it is Mr. Bush’s turn to send a message to Mr. Bashir, by way of the top American diplomat for Africa, who is to meet with Mr. Bashir on Saturday and press him to accept a United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur to salvage the dying peace agreement that the United States worked hard to arrange.

The message will be blunt, Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, said in a briefing in Washington today before leaving for Khartoum. Despite Sudanese objections to the peacekeeping force, she said, she expected the Security Council to adopt a resolution authorizing it, and the dispatch of at least some troops, by October 1.

But Ms. Frazer will arrive in a very different Khartoum than the cowed one that sent the message in 2001. The Sudanese capital today is defiant and transformed, a boomtown built on oil money and investments from the Persian Gulf, China and Malaysia, buoyed by a changing geopolitical landscape in which it seems convinced it has little to fear from thumbing its nose at the world’s only superpower.

“They seem to be playing on Washington’s weakness and their relative strength,” said J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, whose writings helped shape the Bush administration’s Sudan policy.

The U.S. is completely pinned down with Iraq and Lebanon and related issues; there is a surge of investment capital coming into Khartoum,” Mr. Morrison said. “It looks to me like they are calculating that time is on their side, and they don’t have to compromise. Immediately after 9/11, they came under a serious, credible threat from U.S., but now I think the equation has changed to where the threats are not there and not credible.”

Somewhere that we're actually needed... and all we can do is send emissaries. The reason is right in front of our noses. As long as Bush is President, we won't be leaving Iraq, and as long as we're in Iraq, we won't have the leverage to be a broker for peace in the rest of the world. Our "big stick" doesn't do us much good if we throw it in a fire pit.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sy Hersh: White House helped plan Israel's war. Are we surprised?

Big, big news coming from the single most influential investigative journalist in America.

The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preĆ«mptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.

“The big question for our Air Force was how to hit a series of hard targets in Iran successfully,” the former senior intelligence official said. “Who is the closest ally of the U.S. Air Force in its planning? It’s not Congo—it’s Israel. Everybody knows that Iranian engineers have been advising Hezbollah on tunnels and underground gun emplacements. And so the Air Force went to the Israelis with some new tactics and said to them, ‘Let’s concentrate on the bombing and share what we have on Iran and what you have on Lebanon.’ ” The discussions reached the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he said.

“The Israelis told us it would be a cheap war with many benefits,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. “Why oppose it? We’ll be able to hunt down and bomb missiles, tunnels, and bunkers from the air. It would be a demo for Iran.”

If, knowing what we know now, they still decide to go ahead with a military option against Iran, they’ll be courting disaster. This particular conflict isn’t the U.S. vs. Iran, at least not directly. It’s not even Israel vs. Lebanon. It’s Israel vs. Hezbollah. From a strategic standpoint, Israel’s goal of shutting down Hezbollah’s rockets has been an utter failure. Washington has to recognize this. And, at least, some of them do:

According to Richard Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State in Bush’s first term—and who, in 2002, said that Hezbollah “may be the A team of terrorists”—Israel’s campaign in Lebanon, which has faced unexpected difficulties and widespread criticism, may, in the end, serve as a warning to the White House about Iran. “If the most dominant military force in the region—the Israel Defense Forces—can’t pacify a country like Lebanon, with a population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million,” Armitage said. “The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite the population against the Israelis.”

So it’s not just random blogger CarbonDate seeing these things, it’s their own people who recognize this. If I know these creeps at all, they didn’t have a Plan B for Iran, either. They planned on this strategy working. But it’s not.

The consultant added, “Israel began with Cheney. It wanted to be sure that it had his support and the support of his office and the Middle East desk of the National Security Council.” After that, “persuading Bush was never a problem, and Condi Rice was on board,” the consultant said.

Makes sense. Go to the man in charge.

There’s much, much more at the link. I suggest you click on it and read the whole thing. It’s a real eye-opener.

The White House is denying it, of course:,1,3102351.story?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=1&cset=true

WASHINGTON — The White House on Sunday vigorously denied a report in the New Yorker magazine that the Bush administration had worked with Israel to plot military action against Hezbollah as part of a long-term plan to target Iran, a longtime supporter of the Shiite Muslim militant group.

"The piece abounds in fictions," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said in an e-mailed response to a request for comment. He also assailed reporter Seymour M. Hersh's use of unnamed sources, saying it was "hard to imagine that the story would meet any major news organization's standards for sourcing and verification."

Ha, ha; what, like FOX News, your old employer Tony? Look, if you want to dispute the accuracy of the piece, that’s fine and expected. But seeing Tony Snow assailing the journalistic integrity and professionalism of the guy who broke the story of the Mai Lai massacre and Abu Ghraib is a bit much to stomach.

National security advisor Stephen J. Hadley said in an e-mailed response: "The suggestion that the U.S. and Israel planned and coordinated an attack on Hezbollah — and did so as a prelude to an attack on Iran — is just flat wrong."

“And coordinated.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe the claim was ever made that the U.S. was involved with coordinating the attacks, only planning them. Of course, Hadley knows that. This sort of straw-man denial is SOP for these guys.

Sooner or later they’ll be backed into a corner where they can’t deny that this happened. Then they’ll go from denying it to justifying it, much like they did with the Valerie Plame outing.

More later.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


The Department of Homeland Security has raised the level threat level to severe for the aviation sector. The severe or red level is the highest level on the terror threat warning system.

Everybody panic! Assume crash position! The terrorists are plotting....
British police on Thursday said they foiled a plot to blow up several aircraft flying between Britain and the United States in what Washington said might have been an attempted al-Qaeda strike.

Oh, um, hunh.

So the British foil a terrorist plot and the Americans raise the terror alert. Boy howdy, our guys are paying attention now! Glad we're so on top of things.

I'd have to imagine that if Bush had played football instead of being a cheerleader, he'd have grabbed the ball after one of his team-mates scored a touchdown and spiked it. Yeah! Go me!

Seriously, we're always raising the terror alert after the fact, never before-hand. Or else at politically convenient times.

But there are more important things going on.

A suicide bomber has killed at least 35 people and injured 122 near a highly revered Shi'ite shrine in southern Iraq.

The bomber blew himself up while being patted down by police near the Imam Ali mosque in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, said Dr Munthir al Ithari, the head of Najaf's health directorate.

Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, a Shi'ite, denounced the bombing as a "barbaric massacre" by extremists seeking to inflame sectarian passions.

A suicide bombing in Iraq, and once again, they're not directing their attacks toward us: they're directing them toward each other. Gen. John Abizaid, USCENTCOM/CC, said, “The sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it, in Baghdad in particular. ... If not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.” Again, stating the possibility of an already existing condition. Like the terror plots. Like everything else, they're a day late and a dollar short.

But does that really matter, anymore? We cannot avert a civil war that is already in force. We can either pick sides or sit in the middle of the cross-fire. Or else we can leave and let them hash it out among themselves. None of these is a good option. We've unleashed hell in Iraq and we're incapable of fixing it. But let's examine the possibilities:

  1. Pick sides. This is the only course to true "victory"; choose a side that we feel will be friendly toward our interests and run a hard military campaign to ensure that this side wins. The upside is that it has the best chance of ending the conflict and moving forward to the future. The downside is that our military will likely have to kill millions of people, mostly civilians, in order to accomplish this task. We'd "win", but we'd become monsters of epic proportions. We'd go down in history with the worst of the worst, like Hitler and Pol Pot. While I think Bush or Cheney might go for this option, I don't think that any decent American wants to have our troops going around slaughtering people. At least I hope not.
  2. Sit in the cross-fire. This is the stupidest option. It accomplishes nothing, except giving the Iraqis targets to shoot at other than each other. It might help stave off some of the destruction that would ensue in a civil war, but it doesn't really accomplish anything.
  3. Get da fuck out. In an ideal world, this would cool off the tensions and allow Iraqis to peacefully forge their own future. I don't see that happening at this point, however. Maybe once upon a time. Maybe. I don't think leaving will make things worse like Bush claims, but I dont think it's going to make things better, either.
  4. Forge an alliance of bordering Muslim nations (Syria, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) to help Iraq come together and build a government for themselves, then get da fuck out. If the goal is to establish a western-style democracy, this would basically be conceding defeat. Check that: under any circumstances, this is conceding defeat. But this is where we're at, right now. We've lost. The best we can hope for is that the Iraqis will trust their neighbors more than they trust the U.S. or Britain. We can provide financial support to this alliance, and form it with the understanding that the goal is to give these border nations a peaceful neighbor, not to slice up the pie for themselves. I don't know if this is realistic or even possible, but I would hope that our leadership would give it a shot. It's the only option I can see for avoiding a major catastrophe in that region.

But hey: Joe Lieberman lost. And the Brits foiled a terror plot. So the news is not all bad.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Big, big news.

Sen. Joe Lieberman lost the primary battle with Ned Lamont for the Democratic nomination to retain his seat. As such, he's filed as an independent to run in the general election in November. If he'd have fought this hard in 2000, he'd be Vice President and not have to worry about losing his Senate seat.

A number of people have had their take on what this means. People are sorting through the tea leaves and trying to figure out what this portends for the November elections. The fact that a former Vice Presidential nominee is now considered not good enough to even run for his old seat by his own party in his own state is not what's significant here. What's significant is that the grassroots movement that started making noise in 2003 when Howard Dean went from being a protest candidate to the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, the one the Democratic party establishment thought they killed when they pushed John Kerry on us instead (and got George W. Bush re-elected), the one they thought they could just use for fundraising while still maintaining their positions of power, is alive and very potent. We pushed Howard Dean as the Democratic Party chairman and we won. We pushed to get Joe Lieberman effectively kicked out of the party and we did it. There is a potent democratic movement in the Democratic party, and we're seeing it at work here. No matter what the pundits tell you, Ned Lamont won the primary because the Democratic voters of Connecticut wanted him to win the primary. They didn't want Joe Lieberman embarassing them in the Senate, making kissy faces with President Bush while lecturing the anti-war movement as though we should be honored to listen to his vast wisdom. Joe Lieberman forgot who he worked for, and that's why he now has to file to run as an independent. Even in his non-concession speech, he lectured his constituents about polarizing partisanship, showing contempt for the people who voted against him. Contempt is all he's ever had for the people, and the people have made it clear that they have nothing but contempt for him.

"Having a few good partisans who will take shots makes politics and government better," Emanuel added. "The nomenclature of Washington is that we should all just sing `Kumbaya.' But there was no oversight of this war, and everybody sang `Kumbaya,' and everyone's paying dearly for that.",0,3908108.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Emanuel gets it, sort of. He misses out on Lieberman's contempt for democracy, but I suppose he can't very well air that sort of sentiment in a national forum.

You see, despite what Joe Lieberman believes, invading Iraq and diverting our attention away from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden is not being strong on national security. Blind allegiance to George W. Bush and his failed "stay the course" strategy is not being strong on national security. And no, Senator Lieberman, no matter how you demonize your opponents, there is no "antisecurity wing" of the Democratic Party.


As a Democrat, I respect the will of the Connecticut Democratic voters and their decision to make Ned Lamont their nominee. Even before the election results came in on Tuesday, Ned Lamont showed his respect for the voters by committing to abide by the Democratic primary result and support whoever won.

Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, began collecting petition signatures to run as an Independent several weeks ago while concurrently running in the Democratic primary. In short, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too.

Ha, ha. General Clark always gets it.

Sen. Lieberman is on his way out the door. The only way Lieberman retains his Senate seat is if the Republicans abandon their hapless candidate and throw their support behind Joementum.

Karl Rove, a close advisor to the President, has expressed interest in assisting Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman in retaining his seat, despite a loss in the Democratic Primary last night, ABC News has reported.

You're known by the company you keep, Joe.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Rounding out the election news

Nothing really new on the Israeli-Lebanon front.  Russia has offered its own proposal, but that’s not what’s important; what’s important and heart-breaking is that while the politicians wrangle, people are continuing to die needlessly.  Why can’t people stop killing each other until somebody in authority forces them to?  That’s something I’ll never understand.


Anyway, here’s the election news I promised:


One of the Democrats' most prominent figures is fighting for his political life as the Iraq war has an impact on mid-term primaries in Connecticut.

Senator Joe Lieberman, who stood for vice-president in 2000, faces a stiff challenge for the Senate nomination from anti-war newcomer Ned Lamont.

Mr Lieberman, a senator for 18 years, has been harshly criticised in his home state for his support for the Iraq war.

Sen. Liebermann indicates that he’s going to run as an independent if he loses the primary.  Brings back memories of “Sore Loserman” in Florida, 2000.  In this case, the shoe would actually fit.


He hasn't been caught in the Abramoff dragnet--yet--but Rep. Bob Ney has joined former Rep. Tom DeLay in succumbing to its political costs, deciding to withdraw his re-election bid.

The six-term Ohio congressman, who has been at the heart of the influence-peddling probe involving convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, decided Monday not to seek re-election this fall in what had become an increasingly close race against Democrat Zack Space. Ney maintains his innocence but says he could not continue his bid for family reasons. "I must think of them first," he said in a statement, "and I can no longer put them through this ordeal." (As for Delay, his name will remain on the ballot after the U.S. Supreme Court this week rebuffed Texas Republicans' attempts to replace him. Democrats had sued to keep Delay on the ballot as a symbol of GOP corruption).

Oh, speaking of Tom Delay….


US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia [OYEZ profile] denied a request [JURIST report] Monday from Texas Republican Party chair Tina Benkiser seeking to stay a federal appeals court ruling [text, PDF] that former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [JURIST news archive] must remain on the Texas ballot for the November election against Democratic candidate Nick Lampson.


More material tomorrow.  I promise.

Monday, August 07, 2006


I don't have to explain this one to you, I'm sure.

Grim testimony at troops' hearing.

The preliminary hearing will establish if there is sufficient evidence to court martial four American soldiers.

The men are accused of raping and killing an Iraqi girl and murdering three of her family members in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad.

It is one of a series of atrocities being blamed on US forces in Iraq.

Sergeant Paul Cortez, Specialist James Barker, Private Jesse Spielman and Private Bryan Howard are charged with conspiring to rape the girl in the attack on 12 March after shooting dead her parents and five-year-old sister.

This always happens when imperial forces occupy a hostile nation long term. The people under their rule eventually become dehumanized by the forces lording over them.

Don't ever ask why they hate us again. Arabs aren't like Americans; we have the attention span of a goldfish. Arabs have memories like elephants; they will remember this shit forever.

A fucking five year-old girl shot dead by these dirtbags.

But that's not all:

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator from a report to be posted today on its Web site, "That's a problem."

You bet it is. As Bush's world domination policy becomes increasingly unpopular among the American people, recruiters are going to have a hard time finding a few good men to enlist. More and more, the military is going to have to reach beyond people who want to defend our country and reach out to people who just want to shoot Arabs. These two articles are absolutely related; we're training a new generation of hate groups, militias, and gang-bangers.


The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq.

Armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls all have served as canvasses for their spray-painted gang art. At Camp Cedar II, about 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, a guard shack was recently defaced with "GDN" for Gangster Disciple Nation, along with the gang's six-pointed star and the word "Chitown," a soldier who photographed it said.


In civilian life, Stoleson is a correctional officer and co-founder of the gang interdiction team at a Wisconsin maximum-security prison. Now he is a truck commander for security escorts in Iraq. He said he watched two fellow soldiers in the Wisconsin Army National Guard 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, die Sept. 26 when a roadside bomb exploded. Five of Stoleson's friends have been wounded.

Because of the extreme danger of his mission in Iraq, Stoleson said he does not relish the idea of working alongside gang members, whom he does not trust. Stoleson said he once reported to a supervisor that he suspected a company of soldiers in Iraq was rife with gang members.

"My E-8 [supervising sergeant] told me not to ruffle their feathers because they were doing a good job," he said.

That's a whole lot of chickens just waiting to come home and roost. What we're creating are thousands of domestic terrorists trained by the most powerful Army on earth to wreak massive chaos in one of the most dangerous places on earth. Potentially, they could come home and do what they're doing in Baghdad over in Chicago. Think our law enforcement is ready to deal with that?

The official organization of mayors of the United States held a press conference July 26 to issue a chilling report documenting that America's cities are not prepared to survive upcoming disasters, be they natural or man-made. The mayors' conclusions, presented by a bipartisan panel, were released under the title: "Five Years Post 9/11, One Year, Post Katrina: The State of America's Readiness. A 183-City Survey."


Eighty percent of the cities report that they have not received sufficient Federal funds to achieve full communications interoperability. When asked how far away they are from achieving full communications interoperability, cities reported the following: 40% said "four years" and 60% either were unable to respond or said "unknown." Therefore, not one city is even within reach of achieving this most basic parameter of disaster preparedness.

Didn't think so.

Still thinking about sitting the next mid-term election out? Don't. We're headed toward a major disaster. Use your head this November.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

U.S., France draft cease-fire resolution,0,6281503.story?coll=la-home-headlines

UNITED NATIONS — The United States and France reached agreement Saturday on a draft resolution that calls for an end to the fighting in Lebanon and the eventual deployment of a U.N.-mandated peacekeeping force. But in the battle zone, the conflict intensified as Hezbollah unleashed a rocket barrage at northern Israel, killing three people, and heavy skirmishes erupted in the border region.

The draft U.N. resolution seeks "a full cessation of hostilities," calling on Hezbollah to immediately stop all attacks and for Israel to cease "all offensive military operations." The wording suggests that Israel would retain the right to act defensively, a term that could be interpreted broadly.

Lebanon is balking, however:

Lebanon has rejected a draft UN resolution proposed by the US and France that calls for a "full cessation of hostilities," while Israel said it would keep attacking Hezbollah until an international force arrives to take over in southern Lebanon.

Nouhad Mahmoud, a Lebanese foreign ministry official, said on Sunday that the government "would have liked to see our concerns more reflected in the text" of the draft resolution.

"Unfortunately, it lacked, for instance, a call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces which are now in Lebanon. That is a recipe for more confrontation."


He added that Beirut remained committed to the seven-point plan adopted last month by its cabinet, which includes Hezbollah ministers.

The plan calls for an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, the return of Lebanese people driven from their homes by the fighting and the deployment of UN and Lebanese forces in the south, along with the disarmament of Hezbollah.

So Lebanon isn't going to be satisfied with any resolution that doesn't involve the withdrawl of Israeli troops from their land. Israel, in the mean time, seems intent to continue asserting itself:

JERUSALEM - Israel’s military on Saturday warned all residents in Sidon, south Lebanon’s biggest city, to evacuate ahead of planned air strikes on Hezbollah rocket launching sites and offices, the army said.

Several Israeli army officials said leaflets dropped on the coastal city had warned all residents to leave. They gave no timeframe for the expected strikes.

So a couple of key points:

  1. The U.S. is bowing to pressure from the Saudis to bring about a cease fire in Lebanon, but they're also trying to please their fundamentalist Christian base, who have serious Zionist tendencies. So they call for a cease fire that asks nothing of the Israelis in terms of concessions.
  2. Several people have contended that the goal of the Israelis is to re-establish their occupation of southern Lebanon. Their stated intention of shelling the most populous city in southern Lebanon (a city that is mostly Sunni, when their stated target, Hezbollah, is Shi'ite) along with the U.S.-backed resolution which allows Israeli troops to stay put bears that contention out.
  3. Lebanon is not going to back this resolution. Israel is not going to go along with Lebanon's Hezbollah-backed seven-point plan, which basically tells Israel to fuck off and go home. So what we're going to see is a lot more death from Hezbollah rockets and Israeli shells.
  4. The U.S. and France are gesticulating like they want the killing to stop, but a real solution would involve the U.S. and Iran putting their heads together in order to pull the plug on both Israel and Hezbollah. As Greg Palast suggests, the reason this avenue isn't being pursued is because there's a lot of money to be made amidst all the carnage.

It's not so much that they want to see the Middle East embroiled in death and destruction, as a protracted conflict would bring about, but they're not in a real big hurry to stop the bleeding, either. Malignant neglect is the name of the game when we're dealing with this administration. We saw it on 9/11, we saw it with the Iraq War, we saw it during Hurricane Katrina, and we're seeing it now with Lebanon. Let a few thousand people die, then do something. Line your pockets in the mean time. SOP.