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.