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.