Aymanal-Zawahiri may very well be the brains behind the recent terrorism, with the photogenic bin Laden more of a figurehead (not to mention financier). If al-Zawahiri is the brains, maybe we should be thinking in terms of the terrorist group Al-Jihad al-Islami, an Egyptian group, rather than focussing on al-Qaeda (al-Qaeda is more appealing as an American target than is a group based in Egypt). Despite the fact that the Americans are after al-Zawahiri, he may have recently had a U. S. green card!
Could you make the argument that anti-semitism is so necessary to Israeli nationalist interests that its existence has to be exaggerated at every possible opportunity? When you think about it, if it wasn't for anti-semitism, why do we need a state of Israel at all? If any criticism of what Israel does is anti-semitism, the term ceases to have any meaning.
The rather pathetic attempts to focus on the fact that bin Laden looks 'haggard' in his latest video only emphasizes the utter failure of all the goals of the U. S. and Britain in Afghanistan (with the exception of the unstated goals relating to heroin and oil).
Thank God for the liberation of Afghanistan! A senior judge has said that executions and amputations will continue, but with fairness and mercy! Publicly hanged bodies will come down after 15 minutes, not the excessive 4 days under the hated Taliban! Adulterers will be stoned to death with smaller stones! The deaths of all the innocent civilians under the American bombs has surely been worth it!
A very interesting analysis has been done of the recently discovered al-Qaeda training manual. Some points raised by the analysis are: 1) the manual assumes that the main focus of al-Qaeda is the apostate Islamic states, and not the United States (and I might go further to draw the conclusion that the 9-11 attacks were meant to draw the United States into a vengeful war, thus putting the apostate Islamic states 'in play'); 2) the manual questions whether Ostrovsky's book is disinformation by the Mossad; 3) the distinction made between negative and positive control of cells, and the fact that the cells are organized on principles drawn from organizations involved in the sale of illegal drugs; 4) the al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan have trained many people who may have disappeared into the mobile labour pools of countries like Saudi Arabia, presumably to be 'sleeper' agents; and 5) it was very odd for the terrorists to go to Las Vegas, unless Las Vegas was seen as a possible ideal place from which to spread biological agents.
One of the most interesting aspects of post-war U. S. history is the complex relationship between the CIA and Big Business, and the way that the CIA has been used to ensure that no other interests are represented in U. S. politics other than those of Big Business.
There are still many reasons to wonder whether the United States government had something to do with the 9-11 terrorism. My guess was that they knew that something was going to happen, but not the extent of it. It is also possible that some parts of the government knew more than others.
Tony Blair has conveniently provided us with a list of the most profound journalism on the war in Afghanistan, but for some reason it is entitled '10 media views which have proved to be wrong' (must be a typo).
Eventually the Palestinians are going to get their own state with proper dignity and autonomy. In the meantime, Israel continues to act in such a way that it ensures the constant insecurity of Israeli citizens, as well as committing unspeakable atrocities on the Palestinians. Does this make any sense? This is another good article by Said.
Why is there a war in Afghanistan? Could it have something to do with 'an emergent totalitarian pattern of instituting world corporate rule'? I particularly like the fact that the author points out that the corporate totalitarians are using a campaign of fear to achieve their goals, and operate like an adolescent male gang, thereby resembling nothing less than terrorists themselves. Compare this to Gray's relative optimism.
If the U. S. government was so careful about taking its time to get the translation of the 'smoking gun' bin Laden tape just right, why did they leave out parts of the translation? Why does the guy who plays bin Laden look not a bit like him? I'm wondering if this tape wasn't some form of Taliban humour, where they made a funny home video with some guy playing bin Laden, and left it behind for the gullible Americans to find. If it was a joke, it will be interesting to hear bin Laden's take on it when he releases his next 'official' video.
If you are going to try to attack Chomsky, you have to be on top of your game. It remains to be seen how many people are going to die as a result of the U. S. war, but trying to base your attack on Chomsky on the fact that the U. S. hasn't been doing terrible things all over the world, and in particular, on the justice of the U. S. war on Nicaragua, isn't going to cut it with anyone who is paying attention. Right wingers are usually too smart to attack Chomsky - the official approach seems to be to pretend he doesn't exist. Sloppy attacks on him may just provoke someone to read his many other writings, raising doubts about the Empire.
Do you think that Bush and his junta will pay any political price for his connections with the white-collar criminals at Enron? Remember when Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) went under and heroic efforts were made to bail it out for the stated reason that the insolvency of LTCM would lead to a ripple effect on the entire U. S. economy due to the fact that LTCM was a party to so many derivative contracts (the disappearance of LTCM supposedly would have led to the insolvency of many of the counter-parties to its derivative contracts)? Enron's main business was just a huge form of derivatives, and Enron's size makes LTCM look completely insignificant. Why aren't we seeing anything in the press about the huge danger to the U. S. economy that will be precipitated by the disappearance of Enron?
This is a long and detailed analysis of the Bush administration's debts to the various interest groups which got it (sort of) elected, and how it repays these groups. American politics now represents the apotheosis of corporatism, where all political power rests in the hands of interest groups, and no political power rests in the hands of voters.
Ted Rall points out the fact that the Afghanistan war has been a disaster (and is roundly attacked for having the temerity to do so - notice that the attacker doesn't address any of the substantive points made by Rall, but seems really miffed that Rall is insufficiently deferential to the majesty of American capitalism).
With all the build-up, I had expected a little better effort from Langley and Hollywood than the rather pathetic 'proof' of the guilt of bin Laden tendered by the Bush administration. Even leaving aside good questions as to our ability to trust anything produced by the U. S. government, the video only shows that bin Laden had some awareness of the terrorist plot, not that he planned it, ordered it, masterminded it, or directed it. In fact, the way that bin Laden seems to have heard about the attack, by waiting for news on the radio, seems to prove he had very little to do with it (which is no great surprise since he was living in a cave in the wilds of Afghanistan). The most unpleasant part of the video is the happiness expressed at the outcome, but that is hardly reason to bomb the hell out of Afghanistan. This transcript of the video from Cryptome rather cleverly contrasts the reaction of bin Laden and his chums with the reaction of CIA agents to their overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953. My general question on the release of the video concerns the timing. Why now? Could it be that the Bush administration is feeling a little uncomfortable given that it has spent billions of dollars, killed thousands of innocent civilians, will be responsible for the deaths of thousands more, but has done absolutely nothing to stop al-Qaida, has not caught bin Laden, and has stirred up enough hostility to ensure years more of terrorist attacks on the U. S. A.?
The problems in the Middle East started with the joint American and British operation in 1953 to replace the Iranian nationalist government of Mohammed Musaddiq, which wanted to nationalise the oil operations owned by the British, with the Shah of Iran, who was agreeable to the sharing of Iranian oil between the Americans and the British. And so it continues . . .
Mysteries of anthrax include the death on November 21 of Vladimir Pasechnik, former director of the Institute of Ultra Pure Biochemical Preparations, a component of the Soviet biowarfare establishment, and the disappearance on November 16 in Memphis of Harvard Professor Don C.Wiley.
Americans continue to gloat over the great 'victory' in Afghanistan. What kind of victory is it? Thousands of people, most of whom have never even heard of bin Laden, are dead, the victims of American bombs. Thousands more are going to starve to death because of the disruption caused by the war. Afghanistan is now run by a motley group of thugs, a group so bad that they will soon make the Taliban look good. War crimes have been committed by these thugs, in the name of the United States and sometimes with the aid of the United States. The horrors of the war will no doubt inspire more terrorism against the United States, and the disruption of civil society will lead to more deaths in Afghanistan. We know that opium poppy production, suppressed by the Taliban, is starting again. It appears that the real goal of the war, to obtain cheap rights to build oil pipelines through Afghanistan, may be complicated for the American companies by the fact that Russians are now more in control of the territory of Afghanistan than are Americans. If this is a victory, I'd hate to see a defeat.
Suharto, President of Indonesia, wanted to invade East Timor. In December 1975, he did, and hundreds of thousands of East Timorese have since died as a result. Henry Kissinger, who was U. S. Secretary of State at the time, has expressly denied that he ever had substantive discussions with Suharto concerning East Timor. Now it appears that not only did Kissinger discuss the East Timor invasion with Suharto, he went so far as to give Suharto the green light to proceed and discussed the 'optics' of how to go about it. This is information that would be evidence in Kissinger's war crime hearing, should such an unlikely thing ever occur.
The idea that the war in Afghanistan has to do with oil and pipelines is starting to get enough currency that it was apparently thought necessary to attempt to refute it. Unfortunately, the attempt is rather pathetic, resting on a supposed contradiction between the idea that the Taliban was supported to get a pipeline pre-9-11 and attacked to get a pipeline post-9-11. There is no contradiction as that appears to be exactly what happened. U. S. oil interests were negotiating with both the Taliban and the 'Northern Alliance' in the first half of 2001. When the Taliban failed to be sufficiently malleable for the purposes of the oil interests, they decided to set Plan B in motion-bomb the Taliban to hell and negotiate with the 'Northern Alliance'. The big lie in the article is in the second-last sentence: "Terrorists headquartered in Afghanistan . . ." The fact that as yet no proof of this has been tendered, together with the fact that war in Afghanistan appears to have been planned pre-9-11, the fact that the Taliban were meeting with U. S. oil interests pre-9-11, the fact that we know that the Taliban were receiving U. S. government support in the spring of 2001, the fact that the Bush family and the bin Laden family do business together and that Bush called the FBI off of an investigation of members of the bin Laden family, and the fact that we know that U. S. oil interests have long had an interest in an Afghan oil pipeline, all prove that the oil thesis is the only one that makes sense.
Greg Palast speaks about the intentional and systematic disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida, the ordering by Bush (father and son) that various Saudis, including the bin Laden family, not be investigated by the FBI, and other issues relating to democracy and journalism.
There have been connections between far-right racist groups and certain Islamic fundamentalist groups since at least the time of the Nazi's, presumably because of a shared anti-semitism. Do similar connections exist today?
This is a fine and funny reading by Gore Vidal of the New York Times' pathetic and tortured attempt to report on the recent investigation of the Florida election snafu without admitting that Al Gore actually won.
This is a very interesting article tying together the recent terror and the current rush to globalization. John Gray, the author, believes that the world can function quite well in a de-globalized state. The counter-argument is that modern capitalism needs globalization in order to survive for it amounts to a sort of giant Ponzi scheme. Unless capitalism keeps growing ever faster it will collapse, and globalization is the only thing that will allow this rate of growth.
Enron is goingdown. Its almost impossible to conceive of a corporation that has been so consistently evil. If it were run by the worst organized criminals in the world it could not have been any worse. Besides the accounting 'irregularities', the conflict of interest problems of management, and the screwing-over of Californians on energy prices, Enron was a humanrightsabuser in India. It is also tied in more than any other company with the current ruling U. S. junta, and was one of the world's greatest abusers of deregulation and globalization.
I have to admit I got a good laugh at the sorry excuses being given for the massacre in the prison at Mazar-i-Sharif. Somehow the Northern Alliance managed to take a lot of prisoners of war into custody without checking to see if they had any weapons. Then supposedly some of the still-armed Taliban soldiers attacked their captors, resulting in the Northern Alliance (with the help of Americans and British) regretfully having to kill the whole lot of them. Some were so dangerous they posed a mortal threat with their arms tied behind their backs. Like the Black Knight the restrained Taliban soldiers probably threatened to bite the legs of their captors off. Some of these prisoners of war are very inconvenient for the Americans, coming as they do from countries who are supposed to be allies. For many reasons, these prisoners are much better off dead. Amnesty International would like an investigation, but I not holding my breath.
There are manythoughts on the WTC collapse, some quite conspiratorial. The simple answer seems to me to be the best - the WTC was built by Mafia-owned contractors using workers in mobbed-up unions, and inspected by corrupt building inspectors. Does no one want to admit this because they are afraid that the shoddy construction of the WTC is the norm for buildings in NYC rather than the exception?
It appears that the Taliban may have gotten squeezed between the United States, with its overwhelming desire to get at central Asian oil but a bungling approach to Afghan politics, and Al-Qaida, who just wanted to create a holy war.
There's a 'Canada loves New York' promotion coming up where Canadians are supposed to spend a weekend as tourists in N. Y. C. Leaving aside the toxic air and the risk of terrorist attacks, as I understand it anyone who is not an American citizen is now subject to arrest and indeterminate detention at the discretion of any jack-booted thug official of the U. S. government. Your detention will be a secret, and you probably won't get a lawyer, but if you do John Ashcroft gets to hear all you have to say to him. At the end of your detention they can take you into a military hearing with no legal or human rights whatsoever, and summarily and secretly execute you. This sounds like a great holiday, literally the adventure of a lifetime. Do you think there are, say, German and Japanese tourists at this moment deciding to spend their holiday dollars elsewhere than in the United States?
I thought it was funny that, while Putin was enjoying Bush's Texas hospitality, the Russian's pals in the Northern Alliance were taking over way too much of Afghanistan, thus completely messing up the U. S. oiligarchs plans to create a new Afghanistan with power divided between so many factions that the rights to build an oil pipeline would come cheap. Thus the great 'victory' which has been the subject of much gloating is just going to lead to more trouble. Some of that trouble is sure to show up in Pakistan, which has bet on two wrong horses, first, the Taliban, and now, the United States.
There is much evidence that the U. S. junta used the terrorist attacks as an excuse to start a war in Afghanistan that was already planned and ready to go. It appears that they were setting up the war planning with the Northern Alliance at the same time as they were negotiating the oil pipeline question with the Taliban. They were therefore in position to take what they wanted by force if the Taliban didn't give them the terms that they wanted. They could also use credible threats of war as part of their negotiating techniques (talk about bargaining in bad faith!). It is therefore possible that the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon were regarded by the 'terrorists' as acts of self-defense in the war that the United States promised to Afghanistan. In other words, the 'terrorists' may not have seen their actions as acts of traditional terrorism, but rather as an attempt to show the Americans that an American war on Afghanistan would have consequences in America.
What is the difference between the architect of the WTC and the architecture student who took it down? Are architects terrorists? If we let French philosophers loose on these problems we can only blame ourselves when our brains start to hurt.
Bush's oil buddies invited the Taliban to the U. S., treated them like kings, tried to negotiate a pipeline contract, and made them 'an offer they couldn't refuse'. The Taliban, unused to dealing with psychopathic mafia-type murderers, refused it, and found out that the penalty for stubbornness is war. The story of how Bush arranged all this, including calling off the FBI investigation of the bin Laden family, is starting to come out. Wild conspiracy theories are starting to hit the mainstream press.
Reading the American press about the recent and suspiciously postponed release of the study of the car crash that was the last U. S. election you'd be hard pressed to find anything other than that Bush would have indeed won Florida and thus the whole election. There is only one apparently odd situation in which Gore would have won - if all the ballots were counted with a view to determining who the voters actually intended to vote for. Apparently there's a good chance that the judge in charge of supervising the counting might have tried to find this out (what a radical!). Thanks to the U. S. 'Supreme' Court, he was never given the chance. It would have been nice but perhaps too much to ask if the press had managed to honestly report on this issue.
The deepest of conspiracy theories are sometimes hard to accept. There are, however, so manyproblemswith the official story of the WTC terrorism that it is impossible to believe that there isn't something nefarious going on at the highest levels.
The natural American approach to international affairs is to regard the United States, the 'city on the hill', as the source of the unalloyed goodness of God's blessings, and the enemies of the United States as being pure evil. It is easy to make fun of this approach as actual American diplomacy is completely Machiavellian, and the status of countries shifts between enemies and friends with the greatest of ease.
Big banks make an astonishing amount of money through laundering money. As the banks have a huge amount of political clout, we won't see any real efforts to stop or regulate money laundering. We also won't see any end to the war on drugs (which creates the need to launder large amounts of illegally-obtained cash), any control on the systematic looting of the treasuries of poor countries (of the sort that is still going on in Russia), or any real attempt to stop the funding of international terrorism (it's sort of a joke to see the U. S. shut down the hawala 'banking' system which, while it may be a tiny part of the problem, is just a scapegoat to protect the big banks which do the bulk of terrorist money moving).
The bogus clash of civilizations thesis is being used to justify a new kind of colonialism. The supposed 'clash' is so powerful and so deadly (in the form of terrorism) to the West that certain out-of-control rogue governments must be replaced by 'temporary' proxy states of the West. It is of course also very convenient that these proxy states will be able to negotiate the sale of their natural resources to the oligarchs of the West on convenient terms. This wonderful new system could be called 'The New Imperialism'.
The official story on bin Laden is that he broke away from his family and the Saudi ruling families and turned into an enemy of the West and particularly the United States. On the other hand he may have met with a CIA representative as recently as this summer and Bush seems to have told the FBI to stop investigating his family. The facts surrounding bin Laden and his possible relationship with U. S. intelligence agencies certainly raise suspicions that there is more going on here than is convenient for the U. S. to admit.
Could the United States have made a fatal error in repressing Arab nationalism (Nasserism) and siding with traditional Islam? The theory was that traditional Islamic regimes would provide better security of oil production and would provide a cordon of religious belief around the atheistic Soviet Union. The downside has proven to be the relative absence of modern ideas in these Islamic states, an absence which is now causing problems.
Al-Qaida hasn't got much going for it in a conventional military sense and certainly can't take on the United States in a fair fight. However, it wants to kick the United States and the client regimes it supports out of the Middle East and possibly destroy the sinful empire of the United States completely. What is it to do? It could kill two birds with one stone if it managed to trick the United States to use its powers of empire against itself. What if the point of the terrorism was to entice the United States into attacking some part of the Islamic world, both to drum up hatred of the United States and its client states and to tie up the United States in an endless morass in an ungovernable country like Afghanistan. The hatred could be transformed into revolution, replacing the corrupt regimes in place in the oil-producing states and destroying enough of the oil production to permanently destroy the U. S. economy and the American empire. Just something to think about . . .
This is an outstanding article on the relationship between the totalitarian state currently being created in the United States and the hidden totalitarian state run by the CIA and the military-industrial complex in the last 50 years. The reason that they can create totalitarianism so quickly and so completely is that they've had plenty of practice, both in other countries and in the United States. Of course, the ultimate 'blowback' will be the establishment of counter-terrorism techniques and psychological warfare developed to deal with other countries being used on the domestic population of the United States.
More on what may be the strangest aspect of the oil war-the relationship between the United States and bin Laden-associated 'freedom fighters' in Kosovo. How can bin Laden be simultaneously the great enemy of the United States in Afghanistan and an ally of the United States in Kosovo?
The total number of terrorist victims, while horrible, appears to be much less than originally feared, say around 3000. Of that, it appears only about 40% were Americans-so we're down to 1200. To put this in perspective the annual number of murders in New York City is something like 600, having drastically fallen off over the last few years (there were over 2200 murders in New York City in 1992). There are over 3600 people on death row in the United States. New York State has about 1400 traffic fatalities each year. For these 1200 American victims the United States will kill thousands if not tens of thousands of innocent Afghanis, will spend billions of dollars in doing so, will probably upset the whole Islamic world and possibly destabilize the world oil supply, will plunge the United States economy into a very long depression caused by the costs of the war(s), will give the oligarchs an excuse to loot even more money from the U. S. treasury in their orgy of war profiteering, and will completely waste over 200 years of wars and battles fought to obtain civil liberties which will now be almost completely lost. Anyone looking at this from the outside just has to shake his head and say 'Are you people crazy?'
Amazon has saved millions of dollars by using Linux. In the ultra-litigious American marketplace, why aren't the shareholders of publicly-traded companies suing the pants off the arguably negligent boards of directors of companies that aren't using Linux?
Now we're told that the anthrax, which a few days ago was certainly from Iraq, is of U. S. domestic origin. I think I can translate this: the Iraq story was a set-up for war on Iraq, for which the junta needs an excuse. When the trial balloon went up it was promptly shot down by the Arab states, who have a stomach for the killing of non-Arabs in Afghanistan but aren't keen on the killing of Arabs in Iraq, and by the Europeans, who aren't much keen on the killing of anybody. As the junta needs to keep the coalition together until it gets a client state in place in Afghanistan, the Iraq-anthrax connection has temporarily disappeared. When (if?) the Taliban is ousted in Afghanistan, we'll be told that the anthrax was in fact from Saddam, and things will really get interesting. Given the recent articles in the U. S. press about how awful the Saudi rulers are, replacement of that regime may also be on the agenda.
Was Flight 93 shot down because it was going to crash into a nuclear reactor and is the U. S. junta being coy about it because danger to nuclear reactors is inconsistent with their plans to make lots and lots of money building new nuclear reactors?
This is an excellent analysis of how the current oil war relates to the peculiar relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. It is not over-simplifying things to see all these actions - the Gulf War, the U. S. support of Israel and Egypt, the current oil war - as means to the end of propping up the U. S. client regime that rules Saudi Arabia. The irony will come in if it turns out that parts of this client regime turned on their protector and instigated the terror attacks.
Since there is a media black-out on news from Afghanistan, two questions come to mind: 1) just how many innocent civilians have the Americans murdered thus far in Oil War II?; and 2) just how well (or poorly) are the American troops doing in Afghanistan?
I don't know what to make of this thesis that the attempted Russian coup of ten years ago was prompted by KGB embarrassment connected with its assassination of a Bulgarian writer. For one thing, even if the KGB involvement were revealed, why should the KGB be embarrassed? They've been accused of far worse, and would probably take pride in their handiwork. The alleged KGB-M16 connection is wierd, and also does not explain why the KGB would be forced to precipitate a coup in Russia. The oddest thing about the coup is that almost all the coup plotters have been entirely forgiven, and are now well regarded in Russia.
Some of the anti-globalist protest leaders are concerned that the recent terrorist attacks have so changed the political climate that protest will no longer be possible or effective. This doesn't strike me as much of a problem, for it seems that globalism itself is dead or dying. The current oil war (it should be called 'Oil War II') is going to last for years and years, and will throw all Islamic countries, and many others, into tumult. In most of the third world, multinational corporations will no longer be able to guarantee the safety of either their plants or employees, will not be able to obtain insurance, and will be forced to move their manufacturing back to first world countries. Any businesses associated with America (the 'Great Satan') will be forced to close down (the end of many fast food chains in much of the world). Meetings of bureaucrats and politicians to discuss 'free' trade will be impossible due to terrorist threats. People will become instinctively protectionist as they try to shelter behind national borders. The anti-globalists needn't worry as there will be nothing left to protest.
The United States is dropping bombs on civilians in Afghanistan because it asserts that one man, bin Laden, is responsible for the terrorist bombings and is 'harbored' by the Taliban who rule Afghanistan. The U. S. has produced no proof that bin Laden had anything to do with the terrorism, and neglects to mention that it helped to install him and the Taliban in Afghanistan and that it is currently allied with bin Laden's associates in Kosovo/Macedonia. The war appears to be intended to replace the Taliban with a new regime friendly to U. S. oil interests, to provide an excuse for massive increases in defence and intelligence spending with a concurrent increase in the deficit which will be fixed by reducing social spending, and to provide a massive fear of terror which will enable massive restrictions on civil liberties for American citizens. The goals of the war are intentionally vague (to 'root out' terrorism) to allow for permanent war (and permanent increases in defence spending and restrictions on civil liberties) and war wherever U. S. geopolitical interests lie (the open-endedness effectively exempts the U. S. from all international laws and understandings concerning warfare). The long-term result of all this is that certain people in the United States and elsewhere will become even more obscenely rich, at the cost of the end of domestic peace and prosperity in the U. S. Tens of thousands of Americans will be killed, along with millions of the swarthy types (and bin Laden will spend the rest of his life in a compound in Saudi Arabia, and will die at the age of 96). The American dollar will finally be replaced as the world reserve currency by the Euro, and the financial centre of the world will shift to London and/or Frankfurt. The end of the American dollar as de facto reserve currency will mean that years of U. S. trade deficits will finally be felt in the American economy. Terrorists will start to attack and disable the main middle eastern oil fields, particularly in Saudi Arabia, and extreme fundamentalist regimes will take over in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, and elsewhere. The collapse of the U. S. economy coupled with continual terrorist attacks will lead to domestic unrest among the U. S. poor which will be repressed by even more restrictions on civil liberties. In order to stimulate the economy and provide a 'trickle-down effect' , taxes on the hugely rich will be reduced to zero, and what government spending that doesn't go to the military will be used to build huge prisons to house those involved in domestic unrest. The next election will probably have to be 'postponed' for national security reasons and to save the Supreme Court any futher embarassment (elections will be unnecessary anyway as Fox will report polls showing Bush's popularity at 100%). Is all this too pessimistic?
Mike Harris is resigning as Premier of Ontario. In his time as Premier he has destroyed the health-care system and the school system, done all he could to wreck the environment and punish poor people, weakened the government so much that it is unable to properly monitor public health, and, just for kicks, may have even killed an Indian. Is it any wonder that peoplelovehimsomuch?
Seymour Hersh, who appears to be often used as a disseminator of propaganda for the American oligarchs, is presenting embarassing details about the corruption and general perfidity of the current Saudi regime. This is rather silly, as the Saudi leaders have always been corrupt and the oil companies have used this corruption to continue their monopoly hold on the oil industry. I have to assume that the Saudi sheikhs have gotten greedy, and are threatening the interests of the multinational oil companies. This article is either a warning to them to lay off, or is the beginning of a propanda campaign to lead to the American replacement of the current Saudi regime with one more agreeable to oligarch interests.
Commentators are already complaining about the peace protesters, just as their fathers complained about the Vietnam war protesters and their grandfathers complained about the civil rights movement. Is there a gene which makes you a toady for the establishment?
It would be hilarious to get Osmana bin Laden in a court room and have him testify as to his relationships with 1) the CIA, 2) the Pakistani military and government, 3) the Saudi government, and 4) the Bush family. This is why he won't be captured alive.
More questions: 1) how is it that they found the paper passports of the terrorists in the New York rubble, but not the metal black boxes?; 2) what happened to reports of other errant planes on September 11 (particularly one over Colorado)?; 3) did they or did they not shoot down the plane in Pennsylvania?; 4) how did they get this war started so quickly (remember that the Gulf War took months to start)?; 5) is there any truth to the rather implausible stories of all the phone calls made from the hijacked planes?
This article by Stan Goff is written in deepest conspiracy mode, but raises so many questions about the actions and motives of the current American junta that you just have to wonder . . . 1) just what was going on when Bush got the news whispered in his ear in Florida, made one of his most simian faces, and carried on pretending to be able to read to schoolchildren as if nothing had happened?; 2) how are we supposed to believe that the pilots of these planes crashed the planes perfectly in each case, having learned to fly on a combination of Cessna training and video games?; 3) how was it that nothing was done to stop the planes headed for New York and Washington given that there seemed to be lots of time to intercept them?; 4) why would you start a war in Afghanistan almost guaranteed to set off conflagrations you won't be able to stop in Saudi Arabia (which supplies a huge proportion of American oil) and Pakistan (where crazed fanatics could end up controlling a government that has nuclear bombs)?
Is the fall of the Roman empire a guide to understanding the fall of the American empire? One of the problems of being the sole empire is that you don't have the option to take a reasonable, cautious approach to attack. Since you are expected to immediately counter-attack and win, failure to act precipitously is regarded as a weakness and in fact may encourage further attacks. On the other hand, fighting back in a foolish way starts an empire down the long road to destruction. I have felt that much of the sadness about the terrorism is a reflection of the knowledge that the empire is starting to come apart. For all the evil things that empires do they also represent the high points of human civilization, and we all feel a sadness and a personal loss to see them go. I wonder if we will see a burst of creativity as was seen in the Mannerist movement at the end of the Italian renaissance when artists like Michaelangelo expressed their personal feelings about the end of empire in their art.
Some members of Bush's cabinet flew on commercial flights to prove to the American people how safe they felt flying to be. Unfortunately, the head of security for the Federal Aviation Administration was ordered to place air marshalls on these flights, air marshalls which he felt should have been assigned to flights where he felt the risk of terrorist attack was greater. He has therefore decided to quit. Of course, what Bush's brave cabinet members have managed to demonstrate is that they are convinced that it is absolutely not safe to fly on U. S. commercial flights.
Saudi Arabia is led by one of the most corrupt oligarchies in the world. It is supposed to be a great ally of the United States. However, it appears that at least part of the Saudi royal family strongly supports the most fundamentalist of the Islamic terrorist groups. Is this a method to partially direct the wrath of these groups away from Saudi Arabia? Is the royal family itself so sprawling and diverse that some of them don't care if the regime is violently toppled? Is the stated position of some of the fundamentalists, that they want to oust the current regime, a lie meant for Western consumption? No one seems to know.
I don't understand why El-Al is immune from terrorism. Even air marshalls and proper inspection of baggage would not stop a group of determined suicide-terrorists. Could it be that El-Al is immune from terrorism due to an 'understanding' between the terrorist cells and the Mossad that the Mossad won't pursue and destroy the terrorist cells provided that the cells avoid actions involving El-Al?
One of the lies Americans seem to believe is that these wars are required to allow Americans unlimited access to cheap oil. The price of oil is determined by the market. The purpose of these wars is not to keep the price of oil down (in fact, a good argument can be made that they are intended to keep the price of oil up). The purpose of these wars is to ensure that a select group of companies maintain a monopoly hold on the oil business. It makes no difference to the price of oil if the profits from it go to Unocal or to a company owned by the people of Afghanistan.
See how quickly the United States finds itself happy to support a Palestinian state when it finds it needs the support of Arab countries. No wonder Sharon is angry. U. S. support for Israel is no stronger than the extent to which the existence of Israel supports U. S. oil interests.
The United States has a long and sordid history of trying to manipulate politics in the Islamic world to achieve U. S. goals, only to lose control of the situation (a handy list of some of this manipulation is provided in this article). This article provides a good overview of recent and continuing (in Macedonia) CIA use and abuse of Islamic fundamentalism in the Balkans. Now the U. S. is attacking Islamic fundamentalism because the terror used by the CIA in other places in the world goes awry and hits the U. S. It is nothing short of bizarre that the United States is fighting a war against Afghanistan on the basis of the thesis that the rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban, harbour the terrorist mastermind, bin Ladan, when bin Laden was effectively put in his position by the CIA and the CIA at this very moment is using people associated with bin Laden to achieve U. S. geopolitical goals in the Balkans. The argument that this war is a clash of civilizations, the liberal West versus the medieval Islamic fundamentalists, loses all of its force when you realize that much of the fundamentalism exists because it has been used over the past 50 years as a tool of American foreign policy.
The Americans are dropping humanitarian aid onto minefields. Desperate, starving Afghanis will be killed or maimed trying to reach the food. You have to give the American war planners credit: they get to bask in the glory of their love of the citizens of Afghanistan while accomplishing as much human suffering as if they planted the mines themselves.
The CIA has traditionally picked stupid young men seeking adventure to do its dirty work. These 'agents' can be discarded when they become an embarassment. Such a one is Osama. He played a role for them, both a physical role in fighting Russia and a thespian role in representing wild-eyed Islamic fundamentalism. The CIA has created his legend and he now believes it. He is proud to be thought of as the boss of terrorism, the mastermind. He's full of bravado but not quite smart enough to realize that he is being used. Conveniently, he is located in Afghanistan, and therefore rooting him out allows the U. S. to achieve its geopolitical (i. e., oil) goals. The Pakistani army, the Saudi ruling family, the Egyptian army and members in the ruling elites in various Arab states are all deeply involved in supporting terror, but for various reasons it is not convenient to attack these groups, so the Afghanis get to pay the price for living in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Northern Alliance (or, as they prefer to be called, 'United Front') warns us to watch out for 'Paki knavery'. While the source is somewhat suspect, the nefarious roles in the recent terrorism of old ally Saudi Arabia and new ally Pakistan makes the whole ideological basis for the war very suspect. If the United States were really interested in dealing with terrorism, it would be going after those people in the Saudi government and in the Pakistani military who are really behind terrorism, not some people living in caves in Afghanistan.
The 'humanitarian aid' being dropped on Afganistan is so ridiculouslyinsufficient that it is clearly intended as part of the domestic propaganda war in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is meant to prove that the war is in aid of the Afghan people, rather than in aid of the oil companies. The most interesting issue in the early stages of the attack is why Britain is taking such a prominent role. I have to assume that the people who instruct Tony Blair on what to do have, or have been promised, a juicy piece of the action in any oil business to be done in the newly 'liberated' Afghanistan (and of course the British arms industry will also do very well).
If any good comes out of the terrorism, perhaps it would be an education for some Americans as to the psychopathic nature of U. S. foreign affairs from the unnecessary atomic bombing of Japan in 1945 up to the present day. Some people are now saying that it is unfair to mention these things at this time. If not now, at a time when there is at least a limited audience, when? People like Chomsky have been talking about these issues for years, and are absolutely, completely and totally ignored. The enormity of the terror might be just enough to force some Americans to ask themselves just what the hell is going on. (Unfortunately, the oil jones of the multinational corporations means there is no chance that the American oligarchs will do the right thing.)
The other argument is that the fundamentalists are violent, freedom-hating, democracy-hating, woman-hating nuts, and nothing the U. S. could do (e. g., stop bombing Iraq, stop supporting repression of Palestinians, withdraw troops from Islamic holy lands, etc.) would make any difference. This argument resembles much wartime propaganda in that it depicts a sub-human, crazy enemy. The fact is that a small number of people in each society are fundamentalist religious psychos. These people plot and plan and fulminate, but require a certain political culture in order to have enough power to do real harm. If the culture is put under great stress (stress could be caused by being bombed every day or living in refugee camps or in poverty in a country with huge riches that only a few selected by the American oligarchs share in) the psychos start to obtain money and political support and to attract acolytes (some of these acolytes come from parts of the population that aren't necessarily subject to the worst conditions - interestingly, you can see the same pattern in the biographies of many early Christian martyrs). Most people, however, aren't crazy, violent, or fundamentalist. The 'clash of civilizations' argument is just a CIA fantasy, created to provide a replacement for the cold war (though I must admit that I am sometimes attracted to a Quigley-type argument that environmental stress can tend some cultures to take on ideas of militarism or patriarchy). In the current Hitchens versus the-rest-of-the-left debate, Hitchens seems to have opted for the general wartime propaganda clash-of-civilizations side, rather than the more nuanced view that the fundamentalists obtain some power to act due to stress imposed on their culture, at least some of which stress has been caused by the U. S. (it's particularly rich when American commentators make the point that the only Islamic state that is a democracy is Turkey, when achieving such a slate of dictators friendly to U. S. oil interests has been one of the tenets of post-war U. S. foreign relations). The more nuanced view would mean that you don't make an act of terrorism into a world war, with its concomitant vast amount of suffering imposed on the innocent, but simply ferret out the psychos, and start to take steps to relieve the stress which allows them to act.
Ronald Reagan, supporter of the Taliban. 'The resistance of the Afghan freedom fighters is an example to all the world of the invincibility of the ideals we in this country hold most dear, the ideals of freedom and independence.'
So let me get this straight: The best pal of the U. S. in the new war against terrorism is Tony Blair (although Tony Blair's worst terrorist nightmare, the IRA, receives massive funding from supporters in the United States, and almost all the terrorist groups have offices in, and run their funding through, London). Another big pal is Vladimir Putin (although some say the CIA has been helping the same terrorist groups as are connected with bin Laden in their holy war against Russia in Chechnya). The United States supports both sides in the war in Macedonia (although one side, the Albanians, are also allied with bin Laden's pals). The United States is also pals with Saudi Arabia (although some of the family that rules Saudi Arabia also supports radical Islamic fundamentalist groups and the bin Laden family is super-friends with the Saudi rulers). Finally, the United States is also suddenly great pals with Pakistan (although Pakistan continues to support Islamic fundamentalist terrorist operations in India, and Pakistan's military intelligence unit, the ISI, is the primary supporter of the Taliban in Afganistan). Everything is clear to me now.
The U. S. controlled press has now decided that Bush has found his stride and is up to the challenge. Why? For no reason other than he was able to read the speech that his handlers wrote for him. Someone has translated his speech to Congress from Chimp into English.
They're probably going to have to permanently close Reagan Airport. A weedy abandoned field is a more appropriate tribute to Ronald Reagan anyway. Perhaps they can make it useful, and put the Ronald Reagan sanitary landfill there. Someone should write an essay drawing the direct line from Reagan's attack on the air traffic controllers to the completely inadequate response of air security to the plane-bombs. And let's not forget that it was under Reagan that U. S. foreign relations reached its psychopathic peak.
The U. S. has an unfortunate history of blaming terrorist attacks on countries it otherwise has a dispute with (Sudan, Libya, the "Maine" incident, the Tonkin Gulf incident), and using 'retaliation' for these attacks as a weapon in U. S. geo-political intrigues. Is it so crazy to think that U. S. desire to control an oil pipeline through Afganistan for central Asian oilfields is behind the quick determination that the Taliban is behind the recent horrors?
One of the main sources of income for the oligarchy is the taking of huge fees associated with money laundering. We therefore have a War On (some) Drugs, as this war both increases the value of the drugs and provides the necessity to launder the proceeds from the drugs. The oligarchs also enjoy moving their money around in offshore shelters from taxing authorities (the attack on these shelters was stopped by the Bush administration). Some of the profits on drugs grown in the Middle and Far East, together with money from governments and religious institutions, has been moved through the same money-laundering banks and offshore shelters used by the oligarchs, and has funded the terrorism cells. The only way to stop terrorism is to stop the funding for it, which would require stopping the War On (some) Drugs and forcing places which harbour money-laundering institutions (including London and, ironically, New York City) and offshore tax shelters to close them down.
Could the selection of George Bush as President have been a factor in the terrorism? We can expect that the forces behind the terrorism expect and want a retributive attack. Do they hope that Bush, someone who heard a rumour about the Vietnam war in a cocaine-alcohol haze, would act more rashly than Al Gore, who had first-hand knowledge of Vietnam, and would have a real understanding of the stupidity of sending thousands of Americans to die in Afganistan? Do thay hope that Bush is just a puppet of the old cold warriors who worked for his father, and will do exactly what they say, no matter that their solution to everything is war, as war gives them the excuse they want to radically increase military spending? Do they hope that Bush is stupid enough to walk right into the trap they've set?
One way to determine if the oligarchy had foreknowledge of the terrorism is to check the records of the victims. If there are no dead generals in the Pentagon, and neither dead senior executives, senior partners, nor sons of the oligarchy (i. e., you don't see Ritchie Rich IV on the list), and find that all these people were miraculously saved as they unavoidably had to be out of the office that morning, you can draw your own conclusions.
Did the oligarchs who run the U. S. let the terrorism happen so they could: 1) make huge amounts of money on the military contracts they will get; and 2) have the right to impose huge restrictions on civil liberties, at once both telling lots of people what to do and making more money supplying the various rent-a-cops and security devices that the restrictions will entail? While I wouldn't put anything beyond them, it is inconceivable that the oligarchs would countenance an attack on the WTC and the Pentagon, symbols of their power. Just the loss of computer and paper files in the WTC would drive them crazy. However, what if the terrorists told their infiltrators that they intended to attack a less important set of targets in less important cities? This would still cause the outrage that would lead to military and security contracts, without causing any great harm to the oligarchy. I can see the oligarchs, misled by the terrorists, letting the terror go ahead to make a little money.
If Monday was a 'patriot rally', what would a Benedict Arnold rally look like? Rather than look out for the interests of the country, investors seemed to follow the true American way and looked after their own wallets.
Just like Oklahoma City, this recent terrorism has the marks of a sting operation gone horribly wrong. The speed with which the FBI identified the terrorists, coupled with the evidence that warnings were given in Europe and the U. S., leads one to the conclusion that the U. S. counter-terrorism forces had infiltrated at least some of the terrorist cells. The terrorists are so sophisticated, however, that they anticipated infiltration, and either 'turned' the infiltrators or gave them incorrect information. The trouble with counter-terrorism is that the FBI has to wait until the last possible moment to gather enough information to make the arrests, and if they are misled as to the nature or timing of the attack, will wait too long. Even worse, given that the FBI may have had some terrorists in custody and then released them, is the possibility that the FBI may have been playing a counter-terrorism game, releasing the terrorists with a view to using them to follow the actions of other terrorists.
Does the public have a right to know if Port Authority workers ordered people back into one of the towers before it collapsed on them? What about stories of survivors who defied loudspeaker or employer advice to stay and therefore are alive to tell the tale?
Speaking of irony in its true sense, the worst thing about the recent horror was the pictures of the trapped people waving white cloths from the top of one of the towers. When we saw these pictures we knew, like a Greek chorus, that the hopes of these tragic actors for rescue would end with the collapse of the tower.
Is it not just a little ironic that the U. S. A., absolutely alone in the world, unable to even consider a single treaty (Kyoto, bio-weapons, racism, arm's control, etc.), now wants help from all sorts of nations in its new campaign against terrorism.
The fibs of the White House to explain why Bush didn't come back immediately to Washington don't make any sense. If you plan to attack the White House, it would presumably be your most important target, and you'd head for it first, or at least simultaneously with the other targets. Otherwise, you tip off the authorities, who may be ready to shoot you down. You also don't make a call to your target to warn them that you're coming! The Cockburn/St. Clair story in Counterpunch, that Cheney pulled an Al Haig-like 'I am in control here' and told Bush to stay away from Washington, makes a lot of sense. Bush seems to rely on Cheney to tell him what to do, and it was only when Bush's political handlers realized the bad optics of Bush's trip through the mid-west that he returned and the political machine had to make up excuses.
Why is the U. S. government now covering up the car bomb that was reported in front of the State Department? Why are they so coy about whether they shot down the Pennsylvania airplane? If they had shot it down, it would be to their credit. Could it be that they didn't shoot it down because their response time isn't good enough, but they don't want future terrorists to know that?
The argument being advanced for Bush's shameful absence from Washington during his country's hour of need is that the White House was subject to attack. No useful details are given about this, and I guess nobody bothered to tell Cheney, who apparently spent the day there (and, by the way, what happened to Cheney?). Bush apparently spent the whole day flying around to places like Louisiana and Nebraska. Could Bush have needed some time to get his story straight, given his and the whole Bush family's interesting relationship with bin Laden?
The United States in the last fifty years has been able to arrange proxy wars all over the world in furtherance of the interests of its military-industrial complex. It has been able to do this at no risk to its own rich citizens, and, with the notable exception of Vietnam, at relatively little risk to any of its citizens. Yesterday, a few psychopaths proved that those halcion days of safe American empire are no more. If terrorists can find qualified pilots who are willing to give up their lives, those terrorists can now commit acts of war on American soil, and there is no obvious way to stop them, short of turning airline flight into an Orwellian experience (which I expect we will see).
Will today's terror have the effect of drastically reducing the rents obtainable on high, prestigious pieces of real estate, the tenants of which may reasonably now see themselves as sitting ducks? Will it reduce or end the development of such targets?
Today was proof, as if any were needed, of the complete absurdity of a national missile defence system. The terror was committed by a handful of men who could fly airplanes and were willing to give up their lives for a cause. No amount of multi-trillions of defence spending could stop them. The absurdity will be magnified when the current administration uses the situation to argue for even more spending.
It was so inspiring to see Karen Hughes stand in for Governor Bush this afternoon, who I guess was unavailable at his country's greatest hour of need due to the fact he had to wash his soiled underpants in a bunker in Omaha. I wonder if some members of the oligarchy, awaiting death in their top floor executive offices in the World Trade Center, had any second thoughts about who they selected to pretend to be President.
Today's horrors were an attack on the World Trade Center, the symbol of U. S. financial hegemony, the Pentagon, the symbol of U. S. military power, and the State Department, the entity which arranges U. S. foreign policy to put U. S. military power to work to increase U. S. financial hegemony. It was clearly intended to be a symbolic attack against the military-industrial complex, and not, as the politicians and press would have it, against freedom, democracy and the American people. Having said that, it shows a psychopathic disregard for human life and security (unfortunately only matched by the psychopathic disregard for human life and security displayed by the military-industrial complex).
Cryptome reports that all of Ralph McGehee's posts on the Google Groups Usenet archive since May 1998 have been deleted. Mr. McGehee is a retired CIA officer who has the courage to write about the misdeeds of the CIA. Some wonder whether Google removed these posts at the request of someone who didn't appreciate their content. If Google is messing with the Usenet archives for any reason, no one should be able to trust any of their search services, and everyone would be wise to use some of the many alternatives to Google.
This is the almost unbelievable story of how the Japanese looted Asian countries of gold in World War II, only to have the gold secretly taken from them at the end of the war to form the basis of a huge slush fund for use by the CIA and other American interests in the Cold War.
The Americans seem to have decided that Africa is a good place to play their little intelligence games of undeclared covert wars in aid of installing dictators who will look kindly on the exploitation of African natural resources and markets by American corporations. Could they have been behind the still mysterious death of Habyarimana, President of Rwanda, which directly led to the Rwandan genocide?
Karlheinz Schreiber is still in Toronto, trying to keep from being extradited back to Germany (some misunderstanding about taxes). Meanwhile, the repercussions from some of his 'gifts' to the German Christian Democratic Union party are still being felt in Germany.
Dr. German Velasquez, head of the drug action programme at the World Health Organisation, is coordinating a WHO investigation into the pharmaceutical industry's pricing of life-saving drugs in developing countries. He was attacked in Rio de Janeiro and had his arm slashed with a knife. He was attacked in Miami by two men who waved a pistol, threatened him with death and kicked him to the ground, and expressly told him: "We hope you learned the lesson of Rio. Stop criticising the pharmaceutical industry." Finally he was threatened twice by telephone at his home in France by a man who expressly related the treats to Miami. So just what is the connection between organized crime and the pharmaceutical industry?
Jim Bell wrote an infamous essay called 'Assassination Politics', cleverly combining a rather violent form of anarchism with ideas about digital cash and internet anonymity. He has now been sentenced to ten years in jail for stalking federal agents. It seems very iffy that he did anything other than investigate what he honestly felt was wrongdoing. Even if he stepped over the line, it is clear that he is being sentenced for having the temerity to write such an article. The Powers That Be have always had this terrible fear that one day some prole will wake up and come up with an idea that will upset the whole apple cart. It's a shame they didn't get Marx sentenced to ten years before he got up to no good. The best defence to this kind of repression of speech is for everyone to read Jim Bell's work (and, of course, ensure that this fundamental attack on the right to free speech is overturned in court).
This is an outstanding article by Gore Vidal on current American hero Timothy McVeigh. Some thoughts: 1) McVeigh's letters betray a surprising intelligence; 2) McVeigh, like the strangely similar Lee Harvey Oswald, probably was up to something, but almost certainly not what he was murdered for; 3) the more you learn about the FBI, the worse it looks (the combination of incompetence and evil is reminiscent of the CIA in the 60's); 4) all signs point to the fact that the bombing was a botched sting operation with the FBI trying to snag a bunch of militia types, only to be fooled by the militia who changed the timing of the bombing, and 5) on an interesting side note, was Louis Freeh protecting his fellow Opus Dei member Robert Hanssen, thus explaining how Hanssen was able to get away with his spying for so long?
Remember the tragedy of all the people dying in Spain due to contaminated cooking oil? Turns out it probably wasn't the oil at all, but a cover-up by the Spanish government of organo-phosphate pesticide contamination. This article tells the sordid story very well, and points out that the problem continues. What about organo-phosphates and mad cow disease?
It is almost impossible to comprehend the reality of what is being done to the Palestinians in the light of the way the mass media describes the issues. The victims are depicted as the aggressors and the aggressors are depicted as the victims. Up is down and down is up. This is another good article by Said on the subject.
Everyone's in a big flap because it has come out that the United States knew about the genocide in Rwanda in time to stop it but did nothing (or worse, encouraged the U. N. to withdraw its peacekeepers). This inactivity has been blamed on confusion. having too much information, not having enough time, etc., etc. What about the obvious: the United States did nothing to stop the genocide in Rwanda because the genocide was consistent with the interests of U. S. corporations as part of a larger 'African game' to gain mining rights in central Africa?
This is another National Post article where the content of the article seems to be secondary to the massaging of opinion. It seems likely that it is going to be proven that the United States was behind the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. This is a horrible thing, and looks real bad on the United States. Therefore, lets get out an article showing what an awful guy Lumumba actually was. He was a Commie! Allen Dulles said he was 'a mad dog' (if Allen Dulles thinks you're a mad dog, is that a compliment or an insult?). He asked for prostitutes while on a state visit to Ottawa (and received stenographers-this part of the article rings true!). So I guess it was a good thing that the Americans had the head of another state tortured to death.
The National Post can be interesting to read, not for its content but for the fact it so transparently reflects what a certain power group wants you to think. One article on the middle-east mess purports to tell us the mechanics of how the Palestinian Authority sets up attacks by the armed Israeli soldiers against stone-throwing Palestinians so the Israeli forces will look bad on television (unfortunately, it doesn't explain how the Palestinian Authority forces the Israelis to set up illegal settlements on Palestinian territory). Another article tries the ludicrous non sequitur that because there are a lot of extremely rascist writings about Jews published in the Arab world that somehow this makes it legitimate for Israel to shoot unarmed civilians and bulldoze their homes and olive trees. Whatever it is the Palestinians are doing must really be working for it to be necessary to publish such illogical drivel.
One of the most useful things about the recent protests in Genoa is that the use of agents provocateurs by the police has now been established. The fact that many, if not all, of the most thuggish protesters are working for the police should put the issue of violence in the protests into proper perspective.
Cryptome is the most interesting site on the internet. Where else would you find such a heap of interesting ideas as are contained in this article by Gordon Logan? Leaving aside the Bulgarian stuff, is it plausible to believe that the British powers-that-be would be so desperate to get the Conservatives elected that they would have contrived to start the foot and mouth disease? I would say that it is not likely, as the Conservatives are the party of the large rural landowners, and agricultural disease is hardly in their best interests. Having said that, the fundamental political point that the American oligarchs are desperate to keep the American dollar as the de facto world reserve currency is valid. The current American economic situation is not based on American productivity, American ingenuity, the internet, or any of the other nonsense we are fed every day. It is based on the fact that third-world mattresses are filled with American dollars, oil and illegal drugs and illegal arms are paid for in American dollars, and basically the American dollar is the default currency everywhere in the world. If Britain joins Euroland the American hegemony based on the monopoly position of the dollar would start to erode. It is sensible to theorize that drastic steps to stop Britain from adopting the Euro might be taken by the American oligarchs or their British allies.
The forces of truth and justice win again as Barrick Gold has forced The Guardian to apologize and pay monetary damages for a libellous article printed in the Sunday Observer. Gregory Palast, the author of the article, also has to remove it from his website, although the libel action was in the U. K. and the website is based in the U. S. The article quoted an Amnesty International report on the death of Tanzanian miners, allegedly killed when bulldozers filled in their pits on the orders of a mining company that Barrick later acquired. All responsible citizens should read and memorize the original article (and perhaps have it tatooed on their persons) just to see what perfidious nonsense it must be.
Rush Limbaugh has apparently eaten all $250 million he is being paid, causing acute mental distress to the point that when he looks at Tom Daschle he sees the devil. If you read the transcript of his show without knowing what it was you might think it was the ravings of an insane homeless person.
I like how the The Guardian has 'Special Report: Globalisation' heading its article on the beatings and torture meted out by the Italian police (actually, the Carabiniere, a military, and not a police, corps) in Genoa, rightly tying the issue of globalism to the violence of the government. The Italians have to realize that they can't elect a quasi-fascist government and expect that it won't let its quasi-fascist military/police force loose to do its worst. The sociopaths that run these kind of organizations are just itching to have the opportunity to show off their muscle. Why does Italy, a democratic country, have an army unit as its main police force?
This is a very lively and funny review of the life of Mortimer Adler. I particularly liked the term 'bad-books education'. There is something fundamentally totalitarian in Adler's philosophy of education.
James Howard Hatfield, author of the suppressed book about Bush, "Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President", has (ahem) 'killed himself'. What better proof could there be of the veracity of the book?
Mel Lastman, mayor of Toronto, got into all sorts of trouble for a remark about being in Africa and finding himself in a pot of boiling water surrounded by dancing natives. Only weeks later, a Nigerian man has won an appeal from a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board decision that he should be deported. The appeal was won on the basis that he feared that a return to Nigeria would mean he would have to join a cult that practices human sacrifice and cannibalism. A new refugee panel must now consider whether the Nigerian man can remain in Canada, and I recommend that he call Mel as a witness.
Just what did the geniuses who run Adobe think they were going to get out of sicking the feds on Sklyarov? There is no imaginable advantage to Adobe, as its dispute is with a Russian corporation. This whole issue seems to be a petty personal vendetta of certain executives of Adobe, a vendetta which is going to turn around and bite Adobe on the ass. People now want to boycott Adobe. Any shareholder of Adobe should be able to see that the executives of Adobe are using a silly and hopefully unconstitutional law to vent their own personal squabbles at the expense of the corporation and its shareholders, and should get rid of their shares until the persons responsible at Adobe are identified and fired.
I suppose that Dmitri Sklyarov naively felt that he was leaving the vestiges of Stalinism behind when he came to the United States to give a presentation on decrypting the software used to protect electronic books. Little did he realize that the mere hint of a threat to monopolist control over the capital in intellectual property would bring Stalin back to life in Las Vegas. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is the most obvious evidence that large corporations have given up even the slightest pretense that human beings have any rights in the United States.
Thoughts on Beijing and the Olympics: 1) Avoiding having to host a bunch of organized criminals running a bunch of drug bunnies around various types of tracks for the purposes of marketing the junk of transnational corporations is the best luck Toronto has had in years; 2) What will happen when Bush and the U. S. oligarchs arrange a war between China and Taiwan in, say, March 2004, for the purposes of getting Bush reelected and hugely inflating military spending?; and 3) Despite the efforts of Toronto Mayor "Cannibal Treat" Lastman's many apologists, it is clear that his racist remarks did have an effect on Toronto losing the Olympics. Many rich developers and businessmen have lost the chance to soak the taxpayers of Canada, Ontario, and Toronto for hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars, and they won't be happy with Mayor Mel.
If the White House is writing the news and supplying it to the press in advance of the events described in the news, the independent press is nothing more than a PR firm acting for the White House. Obviously, the state of
Cheney's health makes everyone nervous, especially as he is thought of as the acting President (imagine what the stock markets would do if Cheney suddenly died, and how this would reflect on Bush). This nervousness is no excuse for a controlled press. This whole thing reminds me of the rumour that a New Zealand newspaper had published an edition containing details of Lee Harvey Oswald before he had been caught and identified in Dallas! (Speaking of Cheney, he's become so nonchalant about heart surgery that he'll probably end up getting a heart transplant on an out-patient basis - in for a change at 9 a. m., and back to work after lunch.)
For all intents and purposes, Serbia has sold Milosevic to NATO for the promise of future aid. Some find this to be a bad precedent, but given these days of turbo-capitalism where everything has a price, perhaps we should get with the program and establish an international market for politicians. Many countries sheltering nasty old rulers need money. and would probably be glad to trade the politicians for aid. The problem will be establishing a market for people living in rich countries. What would the United States get for Henry Kissinger? What would Saudi Arabia get for Idi Amin? What would Japan get for Fujimoro? Perhaps countries could get some form of credit at an international tribunal which could be used to pay for the nasty politicians that they wish to have tried. If the United States wanted to have bin Laden tried, they could work out a deal to trade him for Kissinger, or someone equally nasty (the United States has plenty of nasty politicians to trade). A 'free market' could determine how many of one country's nasty politicians would have to be traded in to get the particular one it wanted to have tried. Someone of Kissinger's ilk would be very valuable.
The analogy of Bush's appointing Elliott Abrams to a senior position at the White House National Security Council would be Clinton, after granting a pardon to Marc Rich, making him a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
There is a big debate going on about the role of violence in the current anti-globalisation protests, and whether this hurts the anti-globalisation agenda. This debate seems to ignore the obvious point - the violent protesters are a small minority who are almost certainly predominently made up of government-paid agents provocateurs. Given the history of this sort of infiltration, it is amazing that people always assume that it can't be happening now.
Does the upper middle-class, risk-averse CIA have any hope of obtaining proper intelligence in areas where physical comfort and safety levels aren't up to first-world standards? Does this problem explain the complete incompetence of the CIA with respect to bin Ladin? Does the fall of an empire begin when decadence prevents the gathering of sufficient information to keep the empire intact?
It would be extremely ironic, as George Bush tours Europe, if the United States and Europe were fighting each other in a proxy-war in Macedonia. Should the members of NATO be acting this way? On many fronts, Europe does seem to be the real enemy of the current American oligarchy.
The United States is a country of mysteries. Did Roosevelt know about Pearl Harbor? Who killed JFK? October Surprise? Iran-Contra? Election proceedings in Florida? Does anyone want to find out about anything? Now McVeigh is stepped on, and with him much of any chance to find out what really went on in Oklahoma City. Is it better not to know what's really going on? Of course, the common factor in all these mysteries is the extent to which the U. S. government participates in crimes against its own citizens. Instead of being killed for committing a crime, McVeigh is killed to supress investigation of a larger crime. Ironically, his execution becomes part of the government corruption he was protesting against in participating in the original crime.
Trying to make sense of McVeigh, I can only conclude that he wanted to get himself killed by the government he hates as: 1) part of his larger protest, and 2) protection for his accomplices (on the theory that once the government had blamed McVeigh and killed him it would hide all other evidence). Now that the supressed evidence is coming out (the leaks probably represent an internal battle within the FBI), the opportunity to protect his accomplices is going, and McVeigh may now feel his larger protest is best served by staying alive. As long as he lives he represents a constant reminder of what he did, why he did it, the morality of the death penalty, the suffering of the relatives of the victims, etc. Alive, he is a constant political irritant; dead, he is just another lone nut.