Saturday, January 31, 2004
Friday, January 30, 2004
"The communication by the media of information (including information obtained by investigative reporters) on matters of public interest and importance is a vital part of life in a democratic society. However the right to communicate such information is subject to the qualification (which itself exists for the benefit of a democratic society) that false accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others, including politicians, should not be made by the media. Where a reporter is intending to broadcast or publish information impugning the integrity of others the management of his broadcasting company or newspaper should ensure that a system is in place whereby his editor or editors give careful consideration to the wording of the report and to whether it is right in all the circumstances to broadcast or publish it. The allegations that Mr Gilligan was intending to broadcast in respect of the Government and the preparation of the dossier were very grave allegations in relation to a subject of great importance and I consider that the editorial system which the BBC permitted was defective in that Mr Gilligan was allowed to broadcast his report at 6.07am without editors having seen a script of what he was going to say and having considered whether it should be approved."
Note how he slides from talking of untrue statements to those which are just impugning, and effectively creates a version of 'libel chill' over the day to day operation of the media, who are now required to set up some sort of vetting agency to determine whether any criticism of politicians should be published or broadcast, without reference to whether the criticism is true or not (meaning that Hutton is suggesting that they might want to entertain the idea of not publishing criticisms of politicians, even if such criticisms are true). As a practical matter, this requirement means that the media will be scared off from any criticism of politicians, and won't even bother to set up the complicated mechanism that Hutton would require for them to be safe from censure or worse. Not only does Hutton thus effectively end freedom of the press in Britain, his report also forms part of the ongoing plan of the Powers That Be to weaken and destroy the BBC, so that its functions can be taken up by thugs more in tune with the establishment, like, say, Rupert Murdoch. Hutton's report is a direct attack on the very structure of democracy in Britain, and is practically a fascist document. The British have every right to support the BBC and to cast a wary eye on Hutton and characters like Blair, who Hutton seems so suspiciously hell bent to support. When the poodle soon goes off to the vet to be put down, he will be able to look back and blame a lot of his troubles on Hutton's inability to craft a report that doesn't look like a totalitarian joke.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
- A quick summary:
- Kelly killed himself.
- Kelly killed himself for reasons based on some psychobabble heard at the inquiry.
- Kelly was completely responsible for his own plight, and was wrong to be a whistleblower.
- The dossier wasn't 'sexed up'. Campbell didn't press to harden the terms of the dossier. The language was possibly sexed up, but not the essence of it, and the intelligence services were completely happy with the result.
- There was no strategy to name Kelly, and no leaking.
- Blair had nothing to do with the decisions made at the meetings he chaired, and knew nothing about them (so forget all about what Kevin Tebbit said).
- The Ministry of Defence didn't do anything wrong except for being insufficiently touchy-feely in the way it told Kelly of his fate.
- John Scarlett may have been 'subconsciously' influenced to produce a harder report based on his feelings about what Blair wanted (mystical psychobabble, perhaps involving ESP, and no mention of the clever way that Scarlett used the term 'ownership' of the dossier to arrange to have it prepared without meaningful input of the intelligence experts like Kelly).
- Kelly didn't say what Gilligan said he did, despite the fact that Gilligan is the only living witness to the conversations, Kelly himself basically confirmed the truth of what Gilligan said (although he remained confused, probably because Gilligan had another as yet unnamed source), Susan Watts also confirmed it, and it has been completely confirmed by all subsequent events.
- The whole war thing that the British people and the British Parliament didn't want, and the thousands and thousands of dead people killed on the basis of Blair's lies, and the lies about the weapons of mass destruction and the imminent threat (battlefield or strategic weapons, who cares!), and the 'crock of shit' concerning the 45 minute claim and on and on and on. You know whose fault it all was? Apparently, it was all the BBC's fault!
Of course, anyone looking at the facts can clearly see that every single one of Hutton's findings is very tenuous. In every single case where the facts could have been interpreted in two different ways, Hutton sided firmly with the government, and in many cases he really had to stretch the facts to do so.
- The British people are peasants and remain peasants. In no modern country would such an insulting report be issued without riots in the streets. This report is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who reads it and an insult to the British people, who apparently are prepared to accept this horseshit from their 'betters', and like it. Gloating Blair (or here), who has been lying to the British people non-stop for months, now has the absolute audacity to demand an apology from those who dared point out the obvious fact that every single thing he said to force through the attack on Iraq has proven to be a lie. Hutton must have retired to his club, lit up a big cigar (or perhaps a big blunt, for that is what he must have been smoking when he wrote his report), and had a huge laugh with his friends about how the peasants have been fooled again.
- The failure to even question the huge problems with the story of Kelly's death, including the inadequacy of the cut, the absence of blood (the forensic expert apparently concluded that since Kelly killed himself he didn't have to look for the blood, for it must have been there!), the mysterious and unaccounted for men in black at the crime scene, and the movement of the body after it was discovered, means that someone has gotten away with murder.
- From a good comment from a MetaFilter thread by 'vbfg':
"Hutton's line on the 45 minute claim was that the intelligence services believed the source to be accurate, therefore going to war and killing thousands of people was fine. His take on the Today programme broadcast is that the BBC believed their source to be accurate, therefore broadcasting it without taking further notes, obtaining corroborating evidence and subjecting Kelly to a lie-detector test is despicable.
Is it me, or is the world crazy, when an inquiry can criticise the BBC for broadcasting one assertion based on a single source for which there is no tablets-of-stone proof, yet not criticise a Government for taking the country to war on the basis of one assertion from a single source which has been demonstrably proved to be incorrect?
For God's sake, which is the more serious issue here? The precise form of words used by Gilligan in a single broadcast at 6.30am heard by a couple of hundred people, or the fact that we went to war and killed people as a direct result of a claim which has been proved to be demonstrably false?"
- There is something extraordinary about a British judge censoring a broadcaster for what he feels are its failure to live up to journalistic standards. There seems to be an essential misunderstanding of the nature of journalism, again relating back to the over-deference paid by Britons to their superiors (I've always liked the logic of Mark Twain's line: "Always obey your superiors - if you have any."). In all this nonsense we have to remember one thing: Gilligan's assertions have proven to be substantially correct. Investigative journalism is a tough job. Everyone is trying to hide something, and those who want to talk are all pushing a hidden agenda. There is no way to meet the standards that Hutton apparently feels are necessary. Hutton and his ilk thrive on secrecy, on hiding from the peasants the outrageous things the lords and ladies are doing, and Hutton's essential prohibition on investigative journalism just makes Britain more of a dictatorship. The Gilligan's of the world have to be free to throw a little dirt in the air, and see what sticks. All Blair had to do was deny it, and the market of ideas would have determined whether people believed the BBC or not. The only reason this became a big issue is that everyone knew that Gilligan's story was essentially correct. Blair couldn't defend himself on the facts, so Campbell came up with the strategy of putting all the blame on the BBC, a strategy which, with Hutton's help, has completely succeeded. Hutton has now cast a permanent cloud over investigative journalism in Britain. The people of Britain are less free as a result.
- The Chairman of the BBC has resigned as a result of the report. Much as I like to attack the disgusting American press, it is impossible to conceive of an American head of a broadcaster having to resign over the lousy opinion of a judge. The fact that the BBC is state-owned is irrelevant. The Chairman should not have had to resign. As well, Gilligan did nothing but what he should have done, and should be back at his job. He should, in fact, receive journalistic awards for his work. Would the people of Britain be better off not knowing what he had to report? Hutton's real problem with Gilligan is that this lower class punk was insufficiently deferential to his betters. Good journalists can never be deferential to anyone, and good broadcasters, state-owned or not (and the good ones are all state-owned), have to keep up the fight against those, like Hutton, who stand for secrecy to support the absolute rule of the powerful.
- There is no hope that Hutton would have delved into the really interesting issues in the case, including the creation of falsified intelligence for political purposes, and the deep relationship between American intelligence agencies and their British counterparts.
There is one issue on which I have to give Hutton credit. He could have created a more subtle and nuanced report, letting Blair off the hook but sacrificing a few of the minions. Such a report would have also been a lie, but would not have been an obvious lie. The report Hutton gave is such an obvious, total and complete crock of shit that no one will be fooled into believing any of it.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
- Raymond Whitaker and Glen Rangwala list fifty lies told to the British and American peoples concerning the rationale for the attack on Iraq;
- Anne Gwynne reacts to those who are suddenly concerned about the plight of the 'poor' Israelis who are about to lose their country due to the demographics of Israel and the Occupied Territories, pointing out just some of the facts of the Zionist evil that has destroyed the viability of a separate Palestinian state and thus has directly led the Israelis to their current position (read some of the facts she lists and try to tell me why it is the Israelis we should feel sorry for);
- Ahmed Amr describes the story of a couple dozen men who call themselves 'neocons', are financed from the profits from bingo halls, and who run the United States for the benefit of Israeli Likudniks;
- Gustavo Arellano describes the disgusting - and there is frankly no other word to describe it - coverage by the American media of the April 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela (you have to be brain dead if you think you can get any semblance of the truth from the American media).
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
- There is a pattern forming with respect to the truth-telling whistleblowers who report on the inner workings of the Bush Administration. John DiIulio ("Mayberry Machiavellis"), Paul O'Neill and David Kay all came up with extremely disturbing comments that in various ways embarrassed the White House. Presumably, someone like Cheney got on the phone and threatened to personally rip their throats out, for each one came back with a modification to the original story a day or two later. This modification lasted for long enough for the press to report that the original story has been largely overturned, but in fact the gist of each whistleblower's story remained intact. Now that David Kay has come partly clean on the weapons of mass destruction fiasco, I fully expect the Bushites will start to describe him as 'disgruntled'.
- Kay's first story was that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Immediately, in a story in the Telegraph (Conrad Black, temporary prop.), it turns out that "part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programme was hidden in Syria." Kay said: "We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons." The Bush bootlickers and Zionists immediately jumped on this to claim that the danger of Syria was the real story ('Let's bomb Syria'). Almost immediately, Kay went back on this story, saving there was no conclusive evidence that weapons had been moved to Syria, but the damage to the truth had been done.
- There are big problems in the story that weapons of mass destruction went to Syria. Leaving aside that it appears to be an obvious ploy to create a rationale for war that the neocons are seeking, it is difficult for Kay to say that there are no weapons of mass destruction, but some of the weapons that didn't exist are in Syria. I think Kay even realized this when he clarified his statement. On top of that is the problem that Kay's massively expensive investigation found exactly nothing, which means any other ideas he has on the subject have very little credibility. If he had any real evidence, I'm sure we would have seen it. Kay said: "There's satellite photography, there are reports on the ground, of a constant stream of trucks, cars, rail traffic across the border. We simply don't know what was moved." Ridiculous. The fact that there is trade between Syria and Iraq proves nothing, and Kay knows it.
- Kay is also trying a version of the excuse that Saddam's scientists were fooling Saddam into thinking he had a weapons program, when in actual fact he did not. This old chestnut won't die, and returns when the neocons get really desperate for an excuse. The argument, such as it is (and it is close to incoherent), is that since the scientists fooled Saddam, it is okay for the Bush Administration to be fooled. Of course, there is not one shred of evidence for this theory (except for some Iraqi scientists looking to give people like Kay a story that will get them out of the jails in which the U. S. is holding them), and it doesn't go far enough for the neocons anyway. Bush needed to have conclusive proof of an imminent threat to the United States from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction to even begin to construct an argument for war on a non-threatening sovereign country, and he obviously never had such evidence. Not only did he not have such evidence, but we know, from the statements of Powell and Rice that I have recently referred to, that the Bush Administration was completely aware that Saddam posed no threat to the United States.
- Kay also uses a variant of the 'Blame Clinton' argument:
"We have to remember that this view of Iraq was held during the Clinton administration and didn't change in the Bush administration."The problem with this argument concerning Clinton's alleged possession of the same misleading view of Iraq is that Clinton didn't start a war over it. I'm amazed that the neocons have the audacity to keep raising Clinton in this issue, when it was Clinton's good sense that they so clearly lack.
- Kay said:
"Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat."and, despite the absence of weapons of mass destruction, on whether Iraq posed an 'imminent threat':
"That is a political judgment, not a technical judgment."
I have to admit he's completely lost me.
- The most outrageous part of Kay's revised story is his attempt to deflect blame onto the CIA. Kay said, in response to a question of whether Bush owed the nation an explanation for the discrepancies between Bush's tales of weapons of mass destruction and Kay's findings: "I actually think the intelligence community owes the president, rather than the president owing the American people." So it's the CIA's fault! I think the CIA under George Tenet can be criticized for the way it handled this whole matter, but for an official from the Bush Administration to blame the CIA for Bush's warmongering is completely ridiculous. Cheney and Rumsfeld set up the office of Special Plans under Feith and Luti with the specific intent of bypassing the normal intelligence channels of the CIA and the DIA. The reason for this was that Cheney feared that the experts wouldn't play along with Bush's political program. Selected false information, much of it gathered by Chalabi's gang, was manipulated to create the basis for a war that the Bush Administration was determined to have regardless of the facts. Parallel to this completely corrupted misuse of 'intelligence', the CIA was attempting to do the real job of intelligence gathering (with Cheney hanging around the CIA offices, as a constant reminder of intimidation). We haven't seen the results of this analysis, but from what hints have been reported, we can try to guess at the truth:
- the CIA's reports, particularly the infamous National Intelligence Estimate, accurately conveyed the CIA's serious doubts about the neocon claims about weapons of mass destruction, but did so in an oblique way (in footnotes and qualifications), without forcefully facing the issue;
- the reason for the lack of force in the CIA's work was based in the general personality of Tenet, who tries to get along with his masters, and the real fear in the CIA that a strong dissent from the required view would further marginalize the CIA, leaving it vulnerable to further assaults in its function from other entities like the Office of Special Plans;
- the CIA has only itself to blame for this, having as it does an absolutely abysmal record from its lying analysis of the Soviet threat in the 1970's and 1980's, where it greatly exaggerated the Soviet military capabilities in order to prolong the cold war and satisfy its political masters (for the sordid history of this, see here);
- the combination of the existence of the parallel intelligence universe of the Office of Special Plans, Tenet's desire to get along, and a history of politicization of the intelligence gathering and analysis of the CIA led to it create an accurate but insufficiently forceful view on the weapons of mass destruction.
- If you can believe it, Colin Powell is trying to make the argument that Saddam is to blame for the war, as he was given the opportunity to divulge what his country was doing but chose not to. Saddam sent the U. N. some 12,000 pages on what he was doing, 12,000 pages which were lifted by the United States 'for photocopying' and were edited by the Americans to remove embarrassing information before being circulated!!!
There is a consistent pattern in all the neocon excuses for the absence of weapons of mass destruction, in that in each case they use a particularly egregious example of Bush Administration wrongdoing in order to attempt to explain themselves. It is never their fault, but Syria's fault, Clinton's fault, the CIA's fault, or even Saddam's fault for not turning over the information the Bush Administration stole from the U. N.! Nick Theros, the Washington representative of Iyad Allawi, who headed the Iraqi National Accord in exile, now says that the claim that Saddam could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a claim featured in the Blair case for war, was based on an unverified single source, and now seems to be a 'crock of shit'. 'Crock of shit' accurately describes the entire Anglo-American intelligence basis for this illegal attack on a sovereign country.
Monday, January 26, 2004
- One of the mysteries of the case of David Kelly is how he thought he was going to get away with revealing the sordid things about the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Blair's government that he apparently told Andrew Gilligan. Another of the mysteries is why he waited until after the war was over to express his thoughts on the misleading nature of Blair's dossier, when he could have stopped or delayed the attack had he spoken out sooner. Maybe we can answer both questions.
- Pilgrimage is important in Bahá'í. The main places of pilgrimage are the former residence of the Báb (1819-1850) in Shiraz, Iran (demolished during the Islamic Revolution and not yet rebuilt); the former residence of Bahá'u'lláh during his banishment and exile in Baghdad and the Garden of Ridvan on the banks of the Tigris in Baghdad (both inaccessible due to the political conditions in Iraq); and the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahjí. The Shrine, which is the holiest place, is located in Israel, and is thus completely accessible.
- Bahá'í sounds like the kind of organized religion I might become interested in, were I suddenly to lose half my IQ and organized religion started to make sense to me (in my present state of IQ, organized religion strikes me as easily the single largest source of evil in the world today). It seems to be all sweetness and light, almost a religion of liberalism. But looks can be deceiving. Religion drives men mad, and it has driven some of the leaders of Bahá'í mad, leading to the creation of Bahá'í fundamentalism (see here; and here, which shows how Bahá'í exhibits the main characteristics of modern religious fundamentalism; and here). The strict tenets of the religion are enforced by shunning those who don't conform, who are known as 'covenant-breakers'. The fundamentalists control the supreme governing body of Bahá'í, the Universal House of Justice (UHJ) in Haifa, Israel, and believe that decisions of the UHJ are infallible. The combination of shunning and infallibility creates total centralized control over the tenets of the religion. Despite what seem to be the tenets of the faith, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom officially came out with a policy that members of the faith should take no position on the war on Iraq, i. e., they should not oppose it, even though Bahá'í officially advocates non-military resolution of conflicts and the supremacy of the United Nations. Fundamentalism seems to be slowly killing the religion, as people become disillusioned on finding that this nice liberal religion is led by the same type of crazies who lead all the other religions. It is possible that the opening up of Iraq would create new pilgrimage opportunities that would reinvigorate a religion that is rapidly becoming moribund due to the stultifying influence of the fundamentalists.
- David Kelly gave his only known public speech on his work as a weapons inspector in Iraq and his misgivings on Blair's process of creating the dossier at a Bahá'í meeting at the home of Geeta and Roger Kingdon on October 5, 2002 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Roger Kingdon discusses Kelly's position:
"Roger Kingdon told The Observer last night that Kelly expressed his unhappiness with how the document was being interpreted, saying the intelligence information supplied was accurate, but indicating that he was uncomfortable about how it was being represented."and:
"Critically, however, Kingdon said it was unclear whether Kelly was saying that he was unhappy at the way the document had been presented by the government, or at the way it had been interpreted by the media, or both.It is interesting that there appears to be an attempt on behalf of Bahá'í to cover up the fact that this was a Bahá'í meeting (and generally, the Bahá'í's are looking for an innocent explanation of the Pederson-Kelly connection). When he gave his presentation, his identity and position in the process which lead to the creation of Blair's dossier became known to those in power in the Bahá'í faith. Professor Juan Cole and Frederick Glaysher have raised the issue whether there is a Bahá'í angle to Kelly's actions, particularly given the involvement of Mai Pederson.
'I asked him what he thought of [the dossier]. It was clear that he was happy with the factual content but less happy... and felt frustrated... by the way it had been interpreted... But he did not say who by.'
Kingdon said Kelly was 'ambiguous' about exactly who he blamed for the misrepresentation of the dossier. '[He] expressed frustration at how it was interpreted but did not say by whom,' he said."
- Mai Pederson is a U.S. Army linguist and, despite what she might claim, an American spy. She has hired a lawyer, Mark Zaid, who specializes in intelligence matters. She has not allowed her unsworn statement to the Hutton inquiry to be released, and has, for all intents and purposes, gone into hiding. She and Kelly worked together in Iraq, at a time when the Americans weren't supposed to have spies in the UN team. She converted Kelly to Bahá'í, and the conversion took place near the Defence Language Institute in Monterey, California, a Pentagon foreign language and espionage school. It was completely unnecessary for Kelly to go to California for the conversion. Pederson's husband describes her:
"Part of her military training was to cultivate anyone who might be able to help her in her intelligence work. It may well have been why she zeroed in on Dr Kelly. She undoubtedly viewed him as a potential intelligence source. The two things that obsessed her were the military and the Bahai faith."
It appears likely that she saw how she could use the religion to manipulate Kelly, and keep the lines of communication open which she could use for American military purposes. It would not surprise me if her avowal of the Bahá'í faith was part of her intelligence cover. It is also interesting that she is Kuwaiti.
- Operation Rockingham was the British part of the disinformation campaign to feed misinformation concerning Iraq's weapons to the British press in order to start a war. Kelly, because he was used as a liaison to journalists, may have been part of this operation, but was possibly genuinely fooled by some of the misinformation. It is funny to see that the rats at various British intelligence agencies are already trying to avoid the blame for the lies told to the British people by Blair.
- Kelly's thoughts on the real nature of Saddam's threat have been described in various ways. He started as a genuine warmonger who seemed to firmly believe in the threat of Saddam. The obviously corrupt process of creating Blair's dossier seemed to have awakened his misgivings. In an unbroadcast television program taped on October 29, Kelly expressed the view that Saddam could get his weapons filled in a matter of days or weeks, but would probably use them only in self-defense:
"I think some people would consider that when the chips are down, and he is fighting his last battle, that is when he may be prepared to use them. I think he would be reluctant to use them in the build-up to the war - in the transition to war - because he knows what the response would be. It would be utterly devastating for him."Later, just before the war, Kelly wrote an article which expressed views quite different from the claims made in Blair's dossier. He wrote that "the current threat presented by Iraq militarily is modest, both in terms of conventional and unconventional weapons", but felt that the long-term threat, which could only be averted by regime change, was "Iraq's development to military maturity of weapons of mass destruction". It was hardly a ringing endorsement of the war, but was vague enough that it did nothing to dissuade from war.
- I don't think it is 100% correct, but it is getting very close, so I reprint the whole of the posting of Mr. Toad from the Guardian talk forum of December 30, 2003:
"This from my friends on the river bank:
Hutton is a jigsaw puzzle. And like all the best puzzles there was a piece missing. Some people have found the missing piece, but they keep trying to put it in upside-down.
1998 - Mai Pederson attached to Kelly as UNSCOM translator.
1998 - UNSCOM out of Iraq
1998 - Tom Mangold presents Panorama documentary revealing extensive infiltration of UNSCOM by national security services.
1998+ Pederson / Kelly relationship remains close
2000-2003 MoD becomes suspicious of Kelly's relationship with Pederson. Begins moving Kelly towards the door marked 'exit', but does it quietly so as not to alarm Kelly or his friends overseas. No grading increase, retirement age reduced from 65 to 60, moved to PR role with no access to classified information.
May 2003 Gilligan interviews senior member of HMG, who makes the Campbell 45 minute claim 'off the record'. Gilligan cannot run the story without a creditable source, so is pointed to Kelly as 'unattributable' MoD source.
Gilligan goes to Kelly, tells him he knows the 45 minute claim is fictitious and plays the 'name game', then goes home and writes up his piece overnight using info from souce 1 effectively attributed to Kelly. Kelly is baffled by Gilligan's interview, but once Gilligan's piece goes out he realises he has been set up. He writes to MoD to admit the unauthorised interview but denies he is the original source of Gilligan's information.
Kelly is called to meeting with line managers and told that orders from on high dictate that he will be the 'fall guy' or will lose his pension and find his relationship with Pederson plastered across the front page of the Telegraph and tv news. What Kelly did not realise was that this was a bluff. MoD were well aware of Pederson's actual role and would never have allowed the name to come out in this way at the time.
Kelly does as he's told and goes before the parliamentary committee and ISC. This should be the end of it, except that Kelly broods on it and decides he will take steps to clear his name. Unfortunately, to do this he has to admit to the Pederson relationship. throughout the whole saga Kelly has been in close touch with Pederson, who has been reporting back to her masters. On July 17th Kelly tells Pederson he is going to leave his wife and going to the press to clear his name. Pederson reports immediately to her managers, the alarm bells go off in Washington as they believe she is about to be 'outed' and it's "goodnight Vienna".
The CIA did to Kelly what they did to everyone, lied to him about Iraq's WMD. The difference is that they thought Kelly's position as MoD bio-weapons expert would allow him to influence the policy of HMG.
Here's how it was done: Pederson was a US airforce translator working from Arabic to English. After the removal of UNSCOM from Iraq in 1998, evidence of WMD capability came from satellites and smuggled documents. These would land first on the desk of Ms Pederson and her colleagues for translation, before passing to the scientists for analysis, who then advised USG.
In the case of Pederson, however, the documents did not come from Iraq, but from the CIA. Pederson 'leaked' fake intelligence to Kelly over an extended period, which she claimed came from smuggled Iraqi documents indicating the existence of WMD. By 2003, Kelly was completely convinced not only of the existence of WMD in Iraq, but also believed he knew what they were and where they were.
However, when Kelly attempted to go to Iraq (post invasion) to locate them, he found his was mysteriously barred. On a first occasion his official visa proved worthless and he was turned back at Kuwait. On a second occasion he found himself confined to an airbase for the duration of his stay on security grounds.
There may be some evidence that shortly before his death, Kelly became aware of the nature of Pederson's information. In preparation for his next planned visit to Iraq Kelly appears to have shared informaton from Pederson with Gabriele Kraatz-Wadsack, a German army weapons inspector and biological weapons expert. It appears from her reply, however, that she was less than convinced as to the veracity of the information, as made clear by the 'concerns' she expressed.
In short, Kelly's death was the result of two conspiracies colliding. The first being the civil war within the cabinet of HMG, which nearly resulted in the exposure of the second, USG's plans to help HMG make up its mind with regard to Iraq's WMD.
Ultimately, it wasn't murder or suicide, but a series of unfortunate accidents.
Trouble with this jigsaw puzzle is, once you put it together, you realise it's just a part of a much bigger puzzle."
- Pederson wasn't CIA or working for the CIA, but for military intelligence (although I suppose she could have been cross-posted); there is no reason to believe Kelly was going to leave his wife;
- the Iraq warmongering plans go back to the late 1990's, and part of Pederson's job was to 'process' faked Iraq documents to create the intelligence dossier used within the American government to press for war, a process that was so successful it is still influencing opinion in Washington (David Kay's recent comments prove that the whole thing was a lie);
- Pederson met Kelly, saw a weakness in him, and exploited that weakness through converting him and turning him into a back channel by which the Pentagon could funnel some of this misleading data on Iraq to the British government;
- Judith Miller may have been a witting or unwitting part of this, buttering Kelly up by praising him in a book and being one of the last persons he e-mailed, perhaps indicating a constant line of communication (with more American intelligence lies on Iraq funneled to Kelly to influence the British government);
- German Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriele Kraatz-Wadsack may also have played a role in miseducating Kelly by feeding him fake documents, but it is more likely that it was her 'concerns' that started to tip Kelly off to the fact that he had been had;
- the fact that Gilligan had two sources for his story, one high up in the MoD or elsewhere in the British government, explains why Kelly was confused about the contents of Gilligan's reporting (he thought he was Gilligan's source but couldn't understand where Gilligan got information Kelly hadn't told him; this was so confusing Kelly had started to doubt his own memory), and why Kelly saw 'dark actors playing games', as he knew what he told Gilligan would not in itself be a breach of any confidentiality agreements (but what the secret source told Gilligan would have been, thus setting Kelly up for the treatment he received at the hands of the MoD and Blair's operators);
- Kelly was being used as a backdoor conduit of information from the Pentagon to the MoD, and simultaneously was used by his female contacts (Pederson and possibly Miller) to get inside information to the Pentagon on the status of thinking on Iraq in the MoD and the progress the MoD was having in motivating the Blair government (despite Hoon's lies about it, Kelly had had a lunch with Hoon not long before all this mess started, showing how well connected he actually was, and how useful he would be as a two-way conduit of information);
- Kelly honestly believed the lies he was being fed by Pederson until his suspicions were raised in the process of meeting to discuss Blair's dossier, when he began to realize that he was being used, and started the process of discovering what was really going on;
- fundamentalists in the Bahá'í faith found out about Kelly's misgivings when he gave his presentation to a group of Bahá'í members in October, and manipulated Kelly to keep quiet about his misgivings until after the war so that the defeat of Saddam would open up the Bahá'í pilgrimage sites in Baghdad and revitalize a failing religion (Kelly probably justified this to himself on the basis that Saddam had to be taken out sometime anyway, even though he presented no imminent danger, and Kelly may have still been partly misled by Pederson's documents);
- the peculiar nuances in Kelly's positions on the war are explained by the fact he was trying to balance his commitment to the truth, his anger at being lied to and manipulated in the creation of the dossier, his gradual realization that Pederson had been feeding him lies over the years, and his continuing loyalty to the Bahá'í faith, whose leaders saw a benefit in the attack on Iraq;
- Kelly was murdered either because he was regarded as a traitor by someone in the MoD or British Intelligence, or because the Americans feared he would disclose the intelligence nature of the relationship with Pederson and that the information he was being given was Pentagon lies intended to influence British government opinion; and
- the bottom line is that David Kelly is dead because he somehow fouled up or threatened to foul up the secret line of communications between American military intelligence to the British government whereby lies, not just those involving Iraq, are fed to the British government to influence British actions along lines favorable to the Pentagon.
Do you think that Lord Hutton will have the courage to get close to the truth?
"Any humanitarian looking at the sheer number of innocent civilians who have lost their homes can only condemn Israel's house demolition policy as a hugely disproportionate military response by an occupation army."and:
"The nearly 15,000 people whose homes and possessions have been ground into the sand by Israel's bulldozers can hardly be blamed if they have come to believe that they are the victims of collective punishment."and:
"It is a policy that creates only hardship and bitterness, and in the end can only undermine hope for future reconciliation and peace."
UNRWA has asked for donors to supply additional funds to help pay for the new homes that will be required.
Saturday, January 24, 2004
"This particular brand of terrorism, the suicide bomber, is truly born out of desperation.
Many, many people criticise, many, many people say it is just another form of terrorism, but I can understand and I am a fairly emotional person and I am a mother and a grandmother. I think if I had to live in that situation, and I say this advisedly, I might just consider becoming one myself.
And that is a terrible thing to say."
This is being depicted as a statement in favor of terrorism, and even as an incitement of terrorism. Obviously, it is neither. She later said:
"I was just trying to say how, having seen the violence and the humiliation and the provocation that the Palestinian people live under every day and have done since their land was occupied by Israel, I could understand and was trying to understand where [suicide bombers] were coming from."
Her sin was saying what no one is allowed to say, that the actions of the state of Israel against the Palestinians have created such intolerable conditions that it is completely understandable that a human being might find becoming a suicide bomber a rational choice. Has anyone noticed that we are currently in a position of a complete Orwellian freeze on speech about Israel, with what certainly seems like a conspiracy of international Zionism to use every weapon possible against free speech to stop even the slightest comments on the immorality of the actions of the state of Israel? Here are some of a huge possible list of recent examples of Zionist repression of free speech:
- the constant use of the term anti-Semite to stifle anyone who makes any comment on Israel;
- Daniel Pipes' attacks on academic freedom through the brown shirts at Campus Watch;
- attacks on the Ford Foundation as some of its grants go to Palestinian organizations;
- prevention of the showing of the movie Jenin Jenin on the Jenin massacre;
- attempts to stop Palestinian scholar Hanan Ashrawi from receiving the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize;
- German publisher Suhrkamp's forced decision to drop Ted Honderich's book on September 11 (an excellent book, by the way, not just on September 11, but on the wider morality of living in a rich country when so many people in the world are suffering greatly) because Honderich has the temerity to consider the possible morality of resistance to oppression (formerly distinguished German philosopher Jurgen Habermas completely embarrassed himself over this issue);
- the New Zealand Herald's firing of cartoonist Malcolm Evans for allegedly anti-Semitic cartoons (see especially here and here and here and here);
- attempts at censorship by preventing the distribution of the children's book 'A Little Piece of Ground' by Elizabeth Laird because it attempts to portray the life of a Palestinian boy in the Occupied Territories;
- the punishment of Oxford University professor Andrew Wilkie for rejecting an Israeli student because he had served in the IDF.
The censorship is not working. Indeed, I think it is fair to say that the issue of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians is the defining issue of our day in determining whether you are progressive or not. The Zionist attempts to repress the awful truth of what the state of Israel is doing confirms the justice of supporting the cause of the Palestinian people.
"Q: What happened to the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons that everyone expected to be there?
A: 'I don't think they existed.'
'I think there were stockpiles at the end of the first Gulf War and those were a combination of U.N. inspectors and unilateral Iraqi action got rid of them. I think the best evidence is that they did not resume large-scale production, and that's what we're really talking about, is large stockpiles, not the small. Large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the period after '95.'
Q. After '95?
A. 'We're really talking about from the mid-90s, when people thought they had resumed production.'
Q. What about the nuclear program?
A. 'The nuclear program was as we said in the interim report, I think that will be a final conclusion. There had been some restart of activities, but they were rudimentary.'
'It really wasn't dormant because there were a few little things going on, but it had not resumed in anything meaningful.'
Q: You came away from the hunt that you have done believing that they did not have any large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the country?
A: 'That is correct.'
Q. Is that from the interviews and documentation?
A. 'Well the interviews, the documentation, and the physical evidence of looking at, as hard as it was because they were dealing with looted sites, but you just could not find any physical evidence that supported a larger program.'
Q: Do you think they destroyed it?
A: 'No, I don't think they existed.'
Q. Even though in the mid-1980s people said they used it on Halabja?
A. 'They had stockpiles, they fought the Iranians with it, and they certainly did use it on the Kurds. But what everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s.'"
So there it is, from the American expert on the subject. No biological or chemical weapons, and no meaningful nuclear program. Americans were clearly lied to in order to provide an excuse for the attack, and have been consistently lied to ever since, up to and including the most recent State of the Union Address ('weapons of mass destruction-related program activities') and Cheney's most recent statements. American taxpayer dollars are still being spent to continue the search for what isn't there. Why is this not a hot political issue in the United States?
"There had been a time when both Blacks had kept their feet on the ground. This ceased to be the case. One evening Barbara Black rang Charles Moore panic-stricken from her Kensington home. There had been a last-minute drop-out from one of the famous Black dinner parties. 'I'm short of a woman,' she told Moore. Moore surveyed the newsroom. His gaze alighted on the journalist Eleanor Mills, by chance the stepdaughter of the Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell. An hour later, hastily groomed, made-up and brushed, Mills was sipping pre-dinner drinks in Cottesmore Gardens. Then disaster struck. A male guest, Max Fisher, dropped out. Mills was approached by Conrad Black. 'Finish your drink and skedaddle,' he told her. Barbara Black then told her to go to the kitchen and out through the servants' door, where the driver would pick her up and take her home."
The rich are different from you and me. They're assholes.
Friday, January 23, 2004
- As part of the completely obvious Zionist control of American foreign policy, Donald Rumsfeld is apparently considering provoking a military confrontation with Syria by attacking Hezbollah bases in eastern Lebanon. This would cause the Syrians to intervene, and give the American neocons an excuse to attack Syria.
- Israeli warplanes attacked bases of the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. The initial Israeli excuse for this was that Hezbollah had killed an Israeli soldier in Israel, provoking the expected American condemnation by lying Colin Powell, but this was later revised to an admission that the soldier was killed when he was over the border in Lebanon (!!). The Israelis had to admit the truth as a U. N. official was able to confirm that the Israeli soldier died due to being shot while in Lebanon.
- On January 15, Lebanese authorities in Beirut seized a private plane that had arrived from Baghdad via Jordan carrying about 19.5 billion in new Iraqi dinars, or about $12 million in U. S. dollars, in cash. Three Lebanese citizens onboard were arrested: Mazen Bsat, a prominent Beirut businessman who owns a chain of pharmacies and a company that leases planes for charter flights; Richard Juraysati, head of the external affairs department in the dissolved Lebanese militia forces, a group opposed to Syria; and Muhammad Abu-Darwish, from a prominent Shiite family from southern Lebanon. Michel Mukataf (or Mkattaf), son-in-law of the former Lebanese president Amin Gemayal (who was kicked out of his own fascist Phalangist party in Lebanon for being too anti-Syrian; the Lebanese Maronites have a more nuanced view of the Syrian situation than the hard-core diaspora Lebanese) was awaiting the arrival of the plane and was also arrested. Mazen Bsat was questioned and released, and the other three were released while the investigation continues. The New York Times report cleverly tries to insinuate that the caper involved currency speculation, but the truth is more interesting. Muhammad Abu-Darwish told investigators the money had come from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad and was intended to buy armored cars. Iraq's interior ministry confirms that the money was payment for a contract with a British company for "the urgent delivery of sophisticated equipment aimed at dealing with the precarious security situation in Iraq." It would have been necessary for anyone taking off from Baghdad Airport to have the approval of the American occupation forces. The most recent version of the story is that the British vendor of the armored cars felt it would be easier to exchange the cash in Lebanon than in Iraq. Of course, none of this makes the slightest sense. Why would the Coalition Provisional Authority be paying for contracts by sending a bunch of Lebanese businessmen off to Lebanon to do business with a British company, and be paying for the armored cars with cash? If there was a currency conversion problem, why couldn't the conversion be done in Iraq? Even better, why not pay in American dollars and avoid the conversion problem completely? Does the Coalition Provisional Authority pay for its multi-million dollar contracts in cash? The whole scenario is absurd. Amin Gemayal, whose son-in-law was waiting for the plane, is directly connected to prominent American neocons through their shared involvement in the 'Golden Circle' of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL). The PNAC-style blueprint on Lebanon, entitled Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role, was written by Ziad Abdelnour, the leader of USCFL, and none other than Daniel Pipes. The USCFL, which is not the American branch of the Canadian Football League, promoted the passage of the recent U. S. sanctions against Syria.
There have been a lot of questions about where all the billions and billions of American dollars sent to Iraq is actually going. There has been speculation that some of it is being used to bribe government officials of two-bit countries to send their own soldiers to Iraq to die in place of Americans in the 'coalition'. In this case, it seems obvious that money is being siphoned, probably illegally, from the Coalition Provisional Authority to friends of the neocons in Lebanon, as part of a scheme to undermine the pro-Syrian government in Lebanon, and possibly provoke a war desired by the Zionists against Syria. From the Daily Star:
"An informed source was cited as saying that it was almost certain that the money intercepted by the Lebanese authorities was 'black money' sent by the Iraq-based Americans 'not just for the purpose of laundering it, but in order to be used by some local (Lebanese) politicians in order to destabilize the situation in Lebanon.' The paper said there were 'close relations' linking one of the detainees in the affair, Richard Jreisati, to US intelligence officials. 'Jreisati, who was an intelligence official for the now-dismantled Lebanese Forces (LF) militia, knew the US intelligence officials because he often coordinated with them,' it said."
Destabilizing Lebanon means destabilizing Syria. Are Americans ready to spend another $100 billion or so and hundreds more American lives to make Ariel Sharon and his American neocon pals happy?
Thursday, January 22, 2004
"A death row inmate who had extensive contacts with convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh over a 23-month period has completed a manuscript that includes details of many heretofore unpublished secrets he claims McVeigh passed to him before his death by lethal injection on June 11, 2001."and:
"In the fresh account that Hammer provides, McVeigh says the men who assisted him in the bombing were persons with close connections to Elohim City – a Christian Identity enclave in eastern Oklahoma near Muldrow.
In a chapter titled, Blood Makes the Grass Grow, Hammer writes: 'On October 12th 1993, McVeigh and Terry Nichols drove from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Elohim City. They were met there by (Andreas) Strassmeir, who Tim called 'Andy', or 'Andy the Krout.''"
"While Hammer's detailed manuscript contains considerable attention to dates and locations he says McVeigh provided him, it also includes references to three men that the inmate says McVeigh told him were central to the conspiracy – men with close ties to the U.S. military.
Unfortunately, McVeigh, Hammer writes, went to his death claiming he did not know the true identities of these men – only their code names."
"One of these men, McVeigh claims, contacted him shortly after his discharge from the army.
Referring to him only 'the major,' McVeigh said he was invited to work with the shadowy figure during a meeting the two had at Camp McCall. Camp McCall is located on the grounds of Fort Bragg, N.C.
At this meeting, McVeigh – who was still smoldering after being passed over for a spot in the elite Army Special Forces – was told of an off-budget defense department project the Major wanted to invite him to join. The Major said McVeigh would be involved in gathering intelligence for the government on members of the radical rightwing in the U.S., specifically members of the KKK and Aryan Nations.
Hammer wrote that McVeigh told him he was aware of the far-right's methods of robbing banks and armored cars for the so-called 'cause' – the shorthand description of the white power agenda some in the most violent wing of the movement adhered to. It was these tactics, McVeigh said, that he was also encouraged to use."
"Although [McVeigh's sister] said she did not have any names of her brother's cohorts to provide the FBI, she did say her brother told her he was part of a group of men with military backgrounds. He also wrote her that he was working for a group of ex-military soldiers involved in a covert operation involving drug smuggling and assassinations.
At McVeigh’s bombing trial, copies of letters to his little sister were introduced that reflected oblique references to men with military backgrounds that McVeigh claimed had been working with, at the behest of the government, on secret missions."
There are a whole lot more revelations in the article regarding the planning and execution of the Oklahoma City bombing, including the allegation that Terry Nichols didn't provide meaningful assistance to the group after the Murrah building was chosen as the target for the bombing. It is not uncommon for fake informants to come forth after a conspiracy, but all the details provided by Hammer make his story quite compelling. What interests me is the military involvement. Every major American conspiracy in the last forty years has involved significant involvement by two American federal institutions: the FBI and the military. Military intelligence sets up the patsy and arranges the logistics of the attack (sometimes with the help of possibly 'rogue' CIA agents), and the FBI provides cover by stifling any investigation before the attack takes place (the role of the CIA, when it is involved, is usually to create the cover-up and confuse matters by taking the brunt of the blame). Was the Oklahoma City bombing another example of this same pattern? Was 9-11?
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
- The initial American official response, which remained the official response for months, was that the firing was a return of fire from an enemy in the hotel. There are a number of versions of this, some seemingly made up on the spot (see p. 11 of the report). Gen. Vincent Brooks was the main spokesman. The official American position was a lie, as there was no firing from the hotel. The Pentagon lie became an American government lie when it was repeated by inveterate liar Colin Powell. A later version of the American position has it that the fire was to eliminate an Iraqi spotter in the hotel.
- The soldiers who fired were unaware that there were journalists in the hotel, and were clear that they would not have fired if they had known. They were firing at what they thought was an enemy spotter. They were not intending to hit journalists.
- The Pentagon was aware that there were journalists in the hotel, and, through either negligence or possibly with the intent of putting unembedded journalists at risk, failed to notify the soldiers in the field. The blame rests at the level of Gen. Buford Blount, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, and above.
- The deeper problem lies in the Pentagon's distinction between embedded journalists, i. e. Pentagon suck-ups, who it recognizes and tries to protect, and unembedded journalists, who are fair game.
- The report seeks to have the enquiry reopened to determine the real reasons for the deaths of the two journalists (it also, on p. 27 and following, seeks a proper investigation of the medical circumstances behind the death of journalist Patrick Bourrat who died on December 22, 2002 in Kuwait).
A proper investigation? I'm not holding my breath. I'm also not holding my breath waiting for this to become any kind of 'news' in the U. S.
Monday, January 19, 2004
- For a good summary of what happened, I recommend the article "The Martin Luther King Conspiracy Exposed in Memphis" by Jim Douglass. Note that the FBI and the Pentagon show up yet again as key conspirators, just as they do in the assassination of JFK and the events of September 11.
- For an outstanding book on the subject and one of the best books ever written on a conspiracy, and an inspiring example of what one man can do to research the facts behind a conspiracy if the government refuses to, see the "Murkin Conspiracy", by Philip H. Melanson. One of the most striking aspects of the case is how two-bit hick hoodlum James Earl Ray, who had never been to Toronto, was able to use the stolen identities of three residents of Toronto who didn't know each other and whose identities were perfectly suited to his purposes. The sophisticated use of stolen identities is a calling card of all these conspiracies.
- As far as I know, both Marrell McCollough and Ray's handler 'Raoul', whose real name may or may not be Jules Ricco Kimble (an amazing man in his own right), are still alive and could be available to testify in a court of law, if anybody cared enough to require them to do so.
It has been noted by many that the Powers That Be didn't really mind the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King's role in it. In fact, they may have wanted to see blacks more fully integrated into the American economy, both as consumers and producers. He was assassinated only when he started to criticize the Vietnam War, the military-industrial complex parasites, and institutionalized basis of poverty. His assassination means that not much has changed in the United States.
"Now, as Iraq threatens to explode in internal chaos, it is important to rethink the entire postwar monetary order anew. The present French-German-Russian alliance to create a counterweight to the United States requires not merely a French-led version of the Petro-dollar system, some Petro-euro system, that continues the bankrupt American Century, only with a French accent, and euros replacing dollars. That would only continue to destroy living standards across the world, adding to human waste and soaring unemployment in industrial as well as developing nations. We must entirely rethink what began briefly with some economists during the 1998 Asia crisis, the basis of a new monetary system which supports human development, and does not destroy it."
If the American situation is going to have to change anyway, and most of the rest of the world will be damaged by an unmanaged shift in the world reserve currency, now might be the perfect time for the world to decide on the basis of mutual self-interest to completely revamp the world financial system. Unfortunately, one cannot be optimistic that the band of thugs running the United States will listen to any plan that doesn't result in total dominance for American corporate interests in all the world. The current American leadership is just too venal and too stupid to do the right thing.
Sunday, January 18, 2004
"Three minority extremist groups - the militant fundamentalist Islamists exemplified at the far edge by Al Qaeda, certain activist elements among America's reborn Christians and neoconservatives, and the most inflexible hard-line Zionists from Israel - have emerged as dangerously destabilizing actors in world politics. Working perversely to reinforce each other's ideological excesses, they have managed to drown out mainstream voices from all sides. Each has the aim of changing the world according to its own individual vision."and:
"Al Qaeda and its radical Islamist supporters, believing in Islam as an assertive ideology of political and social transformation, want a re-Islamization of the Muslim world according to their vision and their social and political preferences. The alternative that they offer is widely regarded as regressive and repressive even by most Muslims, let alone the West. Violence against innocent civilians can neither be justified in Islam nor find approval among a majority of Muslims. Yet many Muslims have come to identify with the anti-American and anti-Israeli stance of the radicals because they have grown intolerant of America's globalist policies."and:
"The extremists of [American fundamentalist Christians and neoconservatives] seek to 'civilize' or 'democratize' the Arab world in particular, and the Muslim world in general, in their own images, and they have particular influence through key appointees in the Bush administration. The fact that democracy can neither be imposed nor be expected to mushroom overnight does not appear to resonate with them. (The agenda of some fundamentalist Christians, who promote Jewish dominance of the Palestinian lands as leading the world closer to the prophesied Judgment Day, is a variant that might be dismissed as a hysterical fringe element if it were not connected to a powerful voting bloc supporting President George W. Bush.)"and:
"The efforts of the neoconservatives dovetail all too effectively with the aims of the radical Zionists who push for more and more Jewish settlements on Palestinian land. Because of Israel's proportional voting system, these radicals exercise disproportionate power within Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government. Although a majority of the Israelis still support the creation of an independent Palestinian state based on the principle of land for peace, the electoral system leaves them hostage to the minority of extremists in their midst. The activities of these three extremist minorities feed on one another: actions by each are seized on by others to justify their own extremism. With considerable help, intended or not, from one another, these three groups have now positioned themselves to determine the future of world order and, for that matter, humanity."
Unfortunately, traditional liberalism is ill-equipped to deal with fundamentalism, as the traditional liberal value of freedom of religion makes liberals squeamish about criticizing fundamentalist beliefs. We are currently seeing this very problem in France, where the government is facing the issue with the inelegant approach of banning ostentatious religious dress in state-funded schools, fearing, with some justification, that these symbols are becoming associated with fundamentalist politics. France has come to its current position of secularism through a long history of violent struggle, and fears falling back into the abyss of religious hatred. It would be nice if people could wear whatever symbols they want, but it is not racist for the French to fear that certain symbols are being misused by fundamentalists to undermine the secular basis of the French state. I also wonder whether all the Muslim women demonstrating for 'freedom' to wear head coverings are actually free of physical or emotional pressure from their male relatives who force them to wear symbols of female subservience they would rather leave behind. Liberals all over the world are going to have to come to grips with the fact that religious fundamentalism, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish - not to mention the horrors being committed in the name of fundamentalist Hinduism in India - is the main enemy of the traditions of the modern liberal state, not to mention the main cause of physical insecurity in much of the world today. Freedom of religion does not mean that those who are advocating the end of the modern secular state should be free to hide behind religious freedom to hurt the freedom and security of everybody. The main goal of modern liberalism has to be to stop the insanity of the fundamentalists, with a few caveats:
- Modern neo-fascism in Europe, exemplified by the assassinated Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, has attempted to hide its racism behind the fog of an attack on fundamentalists. The fascists feign an interest in tolerance, and then claim that non-whites have to be excluded from European societies because their fundamental values are inconsistent with the freedoms enjoyed by white Europeans. The views of the fundamentalists are held up as the example of the views that must be excluded from Europe. Of course, the logical fallacy of the fascists is their assumption that most immigrants agree with the views of the fundamentalists. In fact, many immigrants wish to escape the stultifying influence of the fundamentalists, and most immigrants are no more interested in the views of religious fruitcakes than are most Europeans. Liberals have to be careful not to fall into traps laid by the fascists, who would like to use problems stirred up by the battle against fundamentalists to achieve their own goals.
- Over and over again it has been determined that fundamentalism as a disease grows in a culture where young men feel ostracized and humiliated by the society they grow up in. This is the case in both the slums of Cairo and rural Alabama. People who are not allowed to use class analysis to examine their plight, or who are unaware of it, tend to see their helplessness as imposed on them due to a humiliating weakness which prevents their defeating the oppressor country or group. In the American context, there is a long history of those oppressed by capitalism to blame their plight on northern liberals, who they see as advocating positions undermining traditions in culture and family life, and taking the cause of non-whites against the interests of poor white men. The oppressed gain confidence against their weakness through their participation in extreme regimented religion, which provides structure in their lives and a higher purpose set by the deity, with the confidence that they will succeed because success is the will of the deity. Fundamentalist leaders, who tend to be completely bonkers, feed off the insecurity of the oppressed peoples of the world. In the final analysis, fundamentalism can only be rooted out by removing the causes of the humiliation. The current American plan for the Middle East, by fighting fundamentalist violence with American state violence, is doomed to fail because the terror imposed by the American state only increases the humiliation of its victims, and thus feeds the fundamentalism. We can see in the recent debates by so-called American liberals over the war in Iraq, that even these 'liberals' remain hopelessly confused over how fundamentalism has to be confronted. Dropping bombs on people won't help, and the whole war on Iraq has been an utter disaster in the liberal war against fundamentalism.
- It is important for liberals not to fall into the trap set by conservatives of seeing all those who struggle against neo-colonial oppression as doing so under the thumb of fundamentalists. The freedom fighters in Iraq are struggling to free their country of violent military oppression, and are not necessarily religious fundamentalists. On the other hand, religious fundamentalists will certainly use the excuse provided by oppression to recruit for their cause. That fact should not tar all freedom fighters - or for that matter all people living under oppression - with the label of fundamentalists. Some Palestinians fighting the state terrorism of the Israelis do so under the banner of religious fundamentalism, but that does not mean that all Palestinians fighting for freedom from oppression are fundamentalists. The peculiar propaganda logic of the fundamentalists means that we hear all about the religiously-themed videos of the 'martyrs', but don't see the day-to-day struggle of the average non-fundamentalist Palestinian. The propaganda war means that it is in the interests of both the Muslim fundamentalists and the Zionist fundamentalists to portray all elements of the resistance as religiously based. The truth is that fundamentalists are always a minority, and most people given a choice will not choose to be led by religious nuts.
- The primary weapon of liberalism has always been objective scientific truth, and it is not an accident that modern science and the modern liberal state arose at the same time from the same minds. The fundamentalists would prefer to return to the Middle Ages, when all was certain and determined by religious leaders. For fundamentalists, there is no objective truth, but only religious doctrine and political propaganda. We see an example of this in the silly American debates over evolution. We also see it in the reporting of the disgusting American media, which is essentially just the propaganda arm of the military-industrial complex. Americans have been dumbed down by years of conditioning and lousy education to the point where they become angry if they are forced to encounter the truth. The truth is regarded as one of the weapons used by liberals to undermine the comfortable certainties of life. Liberals don't realize that their opponents don't share their view that telling the truth is a paramount goal. Liberals still can't bring themselves to believe that there are many people in the world who would prefer to be lied to. Many Americans were furious at BBC coverage of the war in Iraq because it attempted to be objective, and objectivity is regarded as treason. The dumbing down planned by corporate America over the last forty years has been so successful that it poses a problem for liberalism in America. The majority of Americans are not led by the nose by religious nuts, but the preference of people to believe the lies of religious nuts over the unpleasant truths told by liberals, the ability of the nuts to get their vote out, the concentration of their followers in southern states, and the peculiarities of the American Electoral College (which poses the same type of problem in the United States as is faced in Israel with its ridiculous and evil system of proportional representation), means that liberals have had to struggle in recent years in the United States. The last American election, where the liberal ran a terrible campaign and faced all the problems faced by liberals in America, but still won (and would be President were it not for a crooked Supreme Court), means that the battle is far from hopeless, but will never be easy until deep structural issues in the American media and education system are dealt with. American liberals have only themselves to blame for this sad state of affairs, in large part through pretending to ignore the crimes committed over the years by their political opponents.
I hope the French can resolve their current problems without having to resort to laws about what people can wear, but if clothing is being used as a symbol of fundamentalist politics, it is not an un-liberal position to attack fundamentalism through laws on clothing. Such laws are not dissimilar to laws preventing the wearing of gang colors in order to prevent gang violence. The battle against fundamentalism is the most important battle modern liberal societies face today, and if lost will plunge the world back into the Dark Ages. It is time for liberals to start to fight with a strong and smart and resolute commitment to save liberal values, as such values are under direct serious threat by a small minority of religious fundamentalists.
Friday, January 16, 2004
- Venezuela has draft legislation for a revised penal code proposing the decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal use (see here, but I don't think the legislation has passed); and
- a Supreme Court judge has proposed (or here) to add to the same set of revisions to the penal code a provision that those who take food, medicine or inexpensive goods without using violence and for necessary reasons would not be punished (the Jean Valjean law; Reuters UK publishes this in a section called 'Oddly Enough'!).
You can see why the thugs who run the United States hate Venezuela so much.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
- The Bush apologists still haven't figured out whether the proper response to O'Neill is to claim that he is a liar, or simply say that everyone knew that Bush was going after Iraq and so O'Neill's revelations, while completely true, are not news. They can't have it both ways. Another official, who was at the same early 2001 National Security Council meetings as O'Neill, completely confirms what O'Neill has said, so claiming he is a liar is becoming difficult. Nevertheless, Rumsfeld has further embarrassed himself by essentially claiming that O'Neill is either a liar or too stupid to know what was going on.
- The anonymous official said:
"The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces. That went beyond the Clinton administration's halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force."
This is an absolutely key point, which the Bush apologists and the Bush Administration are trying to hide. Bush himself said:
"The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear - like the previous administration, we were for regime change."
The Bushites are claiming that Bush just continued Clinton's policies, but that is completely unfair to Clinton. Despite the entreaties of the neocons, including a specific letter written by PNAC, Clinton resisted the step that Bush took, which was regime change by war. Clinton wanted Saddam out, but that is not identical to removing him by war. Fudging the distinction between war and other methods of regime change is the way that the neocons think, but we must not fall into the same trap. It is Bush's war that is the disaster which breached international law and ruined the reputation of the United States, not to mention cost innumerable lives and billions of dollars. By claiming that Clinton wanted the same thing as Bush, the neocons are ignoring the distinction between Clinton's good sense in this matter, and Bush's foolishness. Faced with the same situation, the same Saddam, and the same basic goals of the American government, Clinton did not attack Iraq and Bush did, and Bush started the stark change in American policy from the time he came into power. Much as they may try, they can't pin this one on Clinton.
- It is not surprising that O'Neill is now backtracking a bit. When he goes to his club, all the old geezers in there probably give him the skunk eye for betraying the Republican cause of big business. O'Neill is an honest man, but he is still a Republican, and he must have heard an earful from all his cronies. The striking thing is that he has not taken back any of the substantive claims that he made, but is merely trying to fit them within the 'Clinton did it' standard Republican position.
- It is also not surprising that the boot lickers are calling O'Neill every name in the book. 'Disgruntled' is the favorite term. He was capable enough to run Alcoa, but is now incapable of sizing up a moron or reading clear briefing materials in a National Security Council meeting. This predictable nonsense from the Bush apologists is an excellent indication that O'Neill has come way too close to the truth for an Administration which thrives on lies.