Everyday you can see them, if you look close enough, if you’re willing to hunt for them.

It’s not hard to do. Little signs that help us interpret the underlying narrative that our media won’t talk about, either through inertia, incompetence or intimidation. Signs that point the close reader to reach conclusions about how the future will unfold, signals meant to get the attention of governments (even while the public is kept conveniently in the dark) and small details most people miss that, by painting between the lines, allow a true picture of our leaders to present itself.

Everyday these signals are being sent. Here are three of the ones I discovered today:

First up, a big smoke signal from China that trouble is on the horizon if Bush sends the cavalry in to attack Iran:

SHANGHAI, Feb. 17 — China is hastening to complete a deal worth as much as $100 billion that would allow a Chinese state-owned energy firm to take a leading role in developing a vast oil field in Iran, complicating the Bush administration’s efforts to isolate the Middle Eastern nation and roll back its nuclear development plans, according to published reports.

The completion of the agreement would advance China’s global quest for new stocks of energy. It could also undermine U.S. and European initiatives to halt Tehran’s nuclear plans, muddling Beijing’s relations with outside powers.

Caijing, a respected financial magazine based in Beijing, reported on its Web site Thursday that a Chinese delegation comprised of officials from the National Development and Reform Commission — a top economic policy body — intends to visit Iran as early as next month to conclude an agreement. The deal would clear China Petrochemical Corp., also known as Sinopec, to develop Iran’s Yadavaran oil field.

Beijing and Tehran are attempting to swiftly conclude a deal in the next few weeks, ahead of the possible imposition of international sanctions against Iran, according to a report published in Friday’s editions of the Wall Street Journal. The report relied upon unnamed Iranian government officials. Sanctions could entangle Chinese investments inside the country.

What does this tell us? Very simply, China will not comply with UN sanctions against Iran, even if they do not expressly veto any resolution presented in the Security Council calling for such sanctions. This is also a signal to the US, much like Russia’s warning yesterday, that China will not tolerate military action against Iran, by making it clear that China’s national interests are inextricably tied to further development of Iran’s oil fields.

Indeed, the close juxtaposition between the Russian announcement yesterday, and the public revelation of China’s deal with Iran today, also demonstrates that our two former Cold War antagonists have reached an accord on at least one issue: opposing further adventurism by the Bush administration in the Middle East. Will these not so subtle messages from Russia and China have any effect on the Bush administration’s war plans? Only time will tell.

Second, is this story, a sign that Bush’s poodle may have escaped the short leash our President has seemingly held him under:

Tony Blair today said the US detention camp at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba was an “anomaly” that would have to be “dealt with”.

In Berlin to meet the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the prime minister was asked whether he supported a call from his Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Hain, for the centre to be closed.

“I have always said it is an anomaly, and sooner or later has to be dealt with,” the prime minister told a news conference, repeating a comment he made to MPs last November.

Last night, Mr Hain told BBC1’s Question Time: “I would prefer that it [Guantánamo] was not there. I would prefer it was closed, yes.”

Asked whether it was government policy that Guantánamo should be shut down, he replied: “That’s what I think.”

Admittedly, it looks like Blair’s Irish Secretary forced his hand in making these comments, but that in itself is significant. After the last election, in which the ruling Labour Party suffered significant losses, Blair has to be painfully aware that many in his own party have serious doubts about his unquestioned support for President Bush’s policies in the Middle East after the Iraq fiasco. Hain’s remarks about Guantanamo were either a clear shot across the Prime Minister’s bow, telling him the dissenters in his own cabinet now feel emboldened to go off message when it comes to the US alliance, or they were part of a coordinated effort to give Blair cover as he seeks to gracefully disengage himself and his country from the Iraq disaster.

I tend to believe the former, but it matters little which is the real reason for Hain’s remarks. What is clear, is that Bush is close to losing the support of his only true ally internationally. Further evidence, if you need it, are Britain’s well publicized plans for the removal of its troops from Iraq beginning in May of this year. How will this effect Bush’s strategies for both Iraq and Iran in the coming months? Hopefully, it will temper any tendency to employ military might as the sole solution and force him to rely on diplomacy and negotiations. I suspect that Blair’s party has no stomach for any US attack on Iran, and Blair may have already directly informed Bush of this. One can only hope.

Finally, here’s a signal that shows just how thoroughly the Bush administration holds the American public in its deep contempt:

Whittington’s voice was a bit raspy, but strong, as he gave his brief statement, and he had what appeared to be a line of cuts on his upper right eyelid and scrapes on his neck.

The Austin attorney said the past weekend involved “a cloud of misfortune and sadness that is not easy to explain, especially with those who are not familiar with the great sport of quail hunting.”

He said he sent his love and respect to Cheney and his family.

“My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with,” he said. “We hope that he will continue to come to Texas and seek the relaxation that he deserves.”

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Department closed its investigation of the shooting on Thursday without filing any charges. The department released an incident report that supported accounts from the ranch owner and Cheney.

Remember, this is a man who Cheney described yesterday as an “acquaintance.” Does anyone believe that Whittington’s statement was not thoroughly vetted by Karl Rive and staffers in Cheney’s office before he was permitted to appear before the press? The very words he speaks are amzing to me. To paraphrase: “I’m sorry for any harm I, the victim of the Vice President’s negligence, caused him.” I don’t know about you, but if I were shot by someone else, accidently or otherwise, the first words out of my mouth in a public forum would not be an apology for the pain I caused the person who shot me. That Whittington allowed himself to be put on display for such a nauseating exercise in sycophancy is very revealing.

That the Bush administration expects us to swallow, willingly, this load of bull puckey, tells you everything you need to know about their true feelings toward the American public. They will continue to treat us a rubes and easy marks and peons as long as they retain control of the reins of power.

Cross posted at Daily Kos.