Sunday, May 30, 2004

The cutting room floor

Nicholas Berg sure got around. Now it turns out he was filmed as part of an interview for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, but this footage didn't appear in the final movie (he was - forgive me - left on the cutting room floor). How was it that this supposedly unknown freelance radio-tower technician/adventurer found himself being interviewed for a possible part in an important film by the most famous documentary maker in the world? Or, as William Brunch asks:

"So, how would a completely unknown young wannabe contractor like Berg come to the attention of Moore, whose anti-President Bush screed 'Dude, Where's My Country?' was the best-selling book in the nation at the time?"

Apparently Moore's people attended a conference on business possibilities in occupied Iraq looking for interviews with those prepared to take advantage of the situation (the two slightly different Associated Press stories are: 1) here or here or here, and 2) here or here). These are the kind of people that Moore likes to feature in his films as they are apt to say telling things about the real state of the world. This was the same conference where Berg met Aziz al-Taee, his eventual business partner in Iraq. Two possibilities come to mind:

  1. Berg was working for somebody who wanted him to watch a certain kind of person, which would include both Aziz al-Taee and Michael Moore (and Moussaoui's friend). It was widely known that Moore was working on an anti-Bush film, and not surprising that somebody would want to keep an eye on what Moore was doing. Berg's real job may have been to introduce himself to people like Moore to spy on them.

  2. Berg managed to have himself hired as a freelance investigator for Moore, saw something he shouldn't have at Abu Ghraib prison, and was detained and eventually killed because of what he saw.

Berg seemed to live quite a life of adventure with very marginal means of support. You have to wonder whether he had a secret sponsor. His propensity for 'running into' certain people is beginning to look like a pattern.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Chalabi and his loose-lipped Washington handlers

Bob Dreyfuss summarizes new allegations that high officials in the Bush Administration (the names mentioned are Feith, Luti, Rhode and Rubin) passed highly classified electronic communications intercepts to Ahmad Chalabi in order to help him gain power in Iraq, and this intelligence ended up in the hands of the Iranians. If this is true - and I have to say that the whole Chalabi-Iran story is very fishy, and I particularly wonder how anyone can be sure where the Iranians obtained the intelligence (unless, of course, the CIA deliberately planted some sort of identifying tags in it to entrap the neocons!) - it would dwarf the affair of the outing of Valerie Plame and might actually lead to somebody going to jail.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Puzzles of the Berg videotape answered

The thesis that the Nicholas Berg execution video is a composite made up of two parts - one part being a routine interrogation when Berg had previously been in American custody, and the other part being a faked beheading of the already dead Berg - explains two of the biggest mysteries about the death:

  1. Why did the Pentagon lie in saying that Berg was never in American custody?; and

  2. Why did the video contain odd incongruous statements by Berg identifying his father and mother?

Why wouldn't the Pentagon have simply confirmed what Berg's family already had official notice of? It could have stated that Berg had been in American custody, but was released before he fell into the hands of the bad guys. Why lie about it? The Pentagon lied because it did not want anyone to know about the prior interrogation by American officials and the fact that it was videotaped. Many people must know about standard procedure, which probably consists in the taking of such a videotaped statement, with the prisoner wearing a standard-issue orange jumpsuit, sitting on a standard-issue prison plastic chair (someone should ask Andreas Shafer about his experiences). Anyone who knew that Berg had been in American custody would be able to put two and two together. In other words, the Pentagon lied, not because it was concerned about the fact that Berg had been in American custody, but because it didn't want someone who knew that there would have been a videotaped interrogation to reconsider the nature of the obviously heavily edited decapitation video (the video was edited with extremely sophisticated techniques to make it look completely amateur, with degradation of image quality used to hide the editing). The odd statements by Berg identifying his father and mother are even more interesting. Why would Berg even think to raise the names of his father and mother to a bunch of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Iraq? What would they care about the names of his father and mother? However, there are people who would care. Nick Berg's father's name was on a enemies list published by the Free Republic. Military interrogators are apt to be aware of that site, and it is not inconceivable that Berg was picked up due to the fact that his father's name was on that site. It would have been normal for an interrogator who knew about Berg's family background to begin by confirming the names of Berg's suspicious parents. That particular snippet then made it into the final composite video, possibly as part of a message to those who might question the wisdom of King Bush. Berg may not have been intentionally killed, but his dead body, together with a pre-existing interrogation videotape, made an excellent video distraction from the stories of torture and murder, and has even been used to argue that continued discussion of the torture issue is unpatriotic as it puts the lives of Americans in Iraq at risk. The American knuckledraggers see the video as confirmation that the 'sand niggers' are subhuman, thus confirming the righteousness of murdering them in large quantities. It has been an extremely useful piece of propaganda, and is almost certainly a fabrication of the Pentagon or the CIA.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Conspiracy odds and ends on Iraq

Conspiracy odds and ends on Iraq:

  1. Why are the neocons not speaking and acting consistenly with respect to Chalabi? Consistency of message, a value drummed into them by Cheney, is their main strength.

  2. From an outstandingly well thought out analysis of the Berg decapitation video:

    "By the time the CIA psyops boys, dressed as terrorists, cut off Berg's head he was already long dead. As noted by various qualified observers there was no spray of blood. I further doubt whether even the hardest of the CIA hard boys would come at hacking off someone's head while they were alive.

    They had no alternative but to do the deed with Berg dressed in the orange jumpsuit because, to dramatise the horror of the supposed event, they had to have footage that unequivocally showed him to be alive before his throat was cut. In the only such material available to them, Berg was dressed in the jumpsuit."

  3. A picture of a tattoo in Abu Ghraib prison.

  4. General Anthony Zinni thinks the attack on Iraq was intended by the neocons in the White House to strengthen the position of Israel. He says:

    "I think it's the worst kept secret in Washington. That everybody - everybody I talk to in Washington has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do. And one article, because I mentioned the neo-conservatives who describe themselves as neo-conservatives, I was called anti-Semitic. I mean, you know, unbelievable that that's the kind of personal attacks that are run when you criticize a strategy and those who propose it. I certainly didn't criticize who they were. I certainly don't know what their ethnic religious backgrounds are. And I'm not interested."

    We have to keep banging on one important point: it is not relevant that these traitors are Jewish, it is only relevant that they are Zionists. Some Zionists are religious Jewish Zionists, some are secular Israeli nationalists, some are Christian Zionists, and some are old-fashioned American conservatives using rabid Israeli nationalism to further American corporate interests in the Middle East. The charge of anti-Semiticism leveled at those who dare speak the obvious truth about the attack on Iraq is meant to change the subject and confuse the issue. People like General Zinni and Senator Fritz Hollings should be congratulated for their courage in facing the invective spread by the Zionists.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The revisionist history of Ahmad Chalabi

The spin now is that Chalabi was actually working all along for the Iranians, and may have even been the method by which the poor neocons were tricked by the nefarious Iranians into attacking Iraq. The disgusting American media, which can shift gears faster than Michael Schumacher, appears to have swallowed this story hook, line and sinker, and the neocons have achieved another convincing victory:

  1. Stuck with a lemon in Chalabi, who appears to have gone back on his promises to the neocons to turn Iraq over to Israeli interests, the neocons have decided to make lemonade by throwing him out of power. The Iranian story makes it clear that he's not getting back in, and disproves conspiracy theories that the raid on Chalabi was just a way to make him look better to the Iraqis. The American government can hardly allow an Iranian 'Axis of Evil' agent to run Iraq. Whoever replaces him will no doubt show the proper attitude to Israel, including having the oil flow to Haifa.

  2. The neocons provide themselves with an excuse for their failed attack on Iraq, as they can now blame the whole attack on Iraq on misinformation supplied to them by the Iranians through their secret agent Chalabi (I wonder if it will suddenly turn out that the Niger uranium documents were Iranian forgeries). The neocons can argue that the Office of Special Plans was as deceived as everybody else, and the whole attack wasn't a neocon trick on the American people, but an Iranian trick on the American people.

  3. Chalabi can now take the blame for the stupid program of de-Ba'athification, thus letting the neocons, and in particular Bremer of Baghdad, off the hook.

  4. The Iranian story sets up Iran as the target for the next American attack, as the evil Iranians must be punished for tricking the Americans into the disastrous attack on Iraq.

  5. The neocons can now claim that they have lost all power in Washington to the interests of the State Department, who can finally get rid of the neocon hero Chalabi (we're even supposed to believe that Bremer of Baghdad would order an attack on Chalabi behind the backs of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith!!!). The neocons can thus pretend that it is the State Department that is in charge of the debacle in Iraq, and lay low until Bush gets reelected.

In order to believe all this you have to believe that the Iranians would want the Americans to attack Iraq. While they hated Saddam, he was absolutely no danger to them. On the other hand, having Iraq under military occupation by an American government whose stated goal is regime change in all the 'Axis of Evil' countries, including Iran, would be the last thing the Iranians would want. The attack on Iraq was the training wheels for a series of wars against those countries targeted by the neocons, and it was not in Iranian interests for this series of attacks to start. American bases in Iraq would be the perfect staging ground for an attack on Iran. It is preposterous to think the Iranians would use Chalabi to trick the neocons into attacking Iran. If Chalabi had Iranian contacts, and I have no doubt he did, he would have had the full blessing of the American government. Neocon ties to dodgy Iranians are not unprecedented: think of Ledeen and Manucher Ghorbanifar (Ledeen still purports to support Chalabi). When you hear that Chalabi's downfall is a great loss for the neocons, remember that it was Wolfowitz who ordered that his American stipend be cut off. The stories about Chalabi have even reached the crescendo that he was planning some kind of coup to destroy the new Iraqi government (with the American military in complete control of the country?!), and thus had to be removed. How many tall tales can Americans believe? The destruction of Ahmad Chalabi is another stunning victory for the neocons.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Resistible Rise of Ahmad Chalabi

There are lots of conspiracy theories flying around about why Chalabi ended up the recipient of a visit by the American jack-booted thugs. I've been over this ground a few weeks ago. It appears that Chalabi was given the right to rule Iraq by the neocons on two conditions:

  • that he allow Israelis privileged access to the Iraqi economy; and

  • that he ship Iraqi oil to Israel through a pipeline to Haifa.

When he reneged on these promises, the neocons went apeshit (note Zell's comments), but decided to give him a few weeks to see the error of his ways (note the continued support of Ledeen and Frum). When he was either unable or unwilling to sell his country out to the Israelis, the neocons decided to replace him. If you don't yet have him in your dead pool, you're missing out on a sure thing.

Thomas Friedman self-parody

Remember when Thomas Friedman wasn't regarded as a laughing stock? No, I can't either, but I understand that at one time, many eons ago, he was regarded as an expert on something or other. Now he is just someone to mock. This is funny.

Rafah and Rwanda

People are still wringing their hands over the failure of the world to act to stop the slaughter in Rwanda. Given what is going on today and now in the Gaza Strip, with yet another unprovoked Israeli attack on civilians (not to mention the massive American-financed war crime of the collective punishment involved in the destruction of thousands of homes - and yet Americans still ask 'why do they hate us?'), together with the use of snipers to prevent ambulances from reaching the wounded, why isn't the world directly intervening today and now to remove the government that is ordering these monstrous crimes against humanity? The only difference I can see between what happened in Rwanda and what is happening today and now in Gaza is that the poor people of Rwanda had to do their killing with machetes, while Israel does its killing with the finest American supplied and paid for military technology. These outrages are no surprise: Israel has been signaling its clear intentions for days. The Israelis actually had to wait for their judiciary to rubber-stamp the invasion (the other modern country that had its war crimes pre-approved by its judiciary: Nazi Germany). If the world was sincere in apologizing about Rwanda, why is there no real action taken today and now to save the people of the Gaza Strip?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


The Judith Miller scandal at the New York Times won't go away until the Times makes at least some effort to acknowledge that it had, and has, a serious problem. From an article by William E. Jackson Jr.:

"Who at the Times protects Miller from the consequences that should have flowed from the highly irresponsible reporting she did on WMD in 2002-2003? At several national newspapers, not to mention the Times itself in the Jayson Blair case, severe penalties have been imposed on bad journalists for reporting untruths. However, they were not involved in the glaring conflicts of interest - among other negatives - that characterized Miller's performance.

An industrious star reporter holding onto her job is one thing. But just what is the problem that keeps executive editor Keller from ordering a lengthy editors' note correcting what she wrote based on tainted sources in the pages of the Times? She was up to her eyeballs in hyping disinformation resulting from a highly suspect intelligence operation run by a foreign exile group, which had penetrated the office of Cheney, and which actively suborned the entry of the United States into a misguided, and destructive, invasion of Iraq."

Miller-gate ties directly into the scandal of the Office of Special Plans. Miller was part of a series of conduits funneling misinformation, in this case directly to the American people, to assist Cheney's political position in arguing for war (the main 'stovepipes' in Feith's operation funneled misinformation to the political decision-makers without having been vetted by the proper intelligence experts). The reason the Times finds itself unable to mention the problem - while Miller's ongoing reporting makes it look increasingly ridiculous - is that the role of the Times in this disastrous war approaches something impolite people might call treason.

The (im-)moral arguments for the attack on Iraq

Paul Savoy dismembers the moral arguments made by both conservatives and so-called progressives in favor of the attack on Iraq. My question: given their extreme moral obtuseness, why do we continue to listen to the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Michael Ignatieff on any subject? Mongering for this clearly immoral disaster should have been a career-ending move for anyone who pretends to comment on ethical issues.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Apache helicopter attacks on Palestinian refugees

Israel usually at least goes through the motions of pretending that its illegal collective punishment attacks on Palestinian civilians have something to do with its own security. Without any provocation or any stated reason, it began its illegal entry into the Gaza Strip to demolish the homes of Palestinian refugees with an attack of rocket fire by Apache helicopters, killing 15 Palestinians and wounding at least 33 others. These helicopters are supplied by the United States and are supposed to be used for defensive purposes only. In Israel's opinion, murdering Palestinian civilian refugees must be a defensive act. Do you think Sharon has finally stepped over the line? I wonder how Colin Powell will manage to blame Arafat for this latest outrage.

Aziz and Berg

This article, and this intriguing thread discussing it, are the first strong indications that Nicholas Berg was more that the naif in Iraq who was unlucky enough to fall into the hands of some terrorists. Aziz was a prominent self-appointed spokesman in the American media in favor of the attack on Iraq, and was used by the neocons and the media to hype the attack. A few comments:

  • According to Aziz, Berg approached Aziz. You have to wonder whether Berg had approached the friend of Moussaoui who passed on Berg's email password to Moussaoui. If someone was on the trail of what Moussaoui was up to prior to 9-11, having him use Berg's email would be a clever way of finding out.

  • Aziz seems to travel in an interesting crowd, and has an interesting criminal background.

  • How does Aziz have knowledge of Berg's phone usage?

  • Why would muggers want to steal Berg's notebook?

  • Berg seemed to have prospects of working as a sub-subcontractor for the Iraqi Media Network, the controversial and amazingly trouble-ridden stooge media empire being set up in Iraq by Bremer of Baghdad. Was this connection made through the neocon contacts of Aziz?

  • The clerk in the Al-Kalaa Hotel in Baghdad reported that Berg had Jordanian currency with him, not surprising as he traveled via Jordan, and Iranian currency.

  • Why was Berg detained by the Iraqi police? What do they mean when they say he 'seemed confused'? Was he drugged?

  • Why would terrorists have captured him in early April, and then held him for weeks without any hostage or ransom demands, before killing him?

Monday, May 17, 2004

Throw the dog a Cam-bone

Why is the disgusting American media continuing with the story of the Iraq torture? We know these 'journalists' wouldn't report on anything even mildly embarrassing to Bush unless they were told to do so for an ulterior motive. Could it be because the torture really doesn't concern Bush's base ('them ragheads had it coming for knocking down them buildings in New York'), while serving to cover up the even greater outrages taking place in Iraq and Israel? The torture nicely obscures the fact that the American military just completed one of the great massacres in recent world history, killing at least four to five hundred civilians in Falluja, as well as many Iraqis who were defending their city against the attack (the defenders are called 'terrorists' in official Ameri-speak). The American military is in the process of killing more people in southern Iraqi towns, and attacking and damaging the holiest Shi'ite religious sites. If this continues, we may see the conflagration which the neocons are obviously trying to start. As the torture story unfolds, the Israeli military has gone wild in the Gaza Strip, and Israel is in the process of destroying the homes of hundreds or even thousands of people (outrageously, Colin Powell blames the whole problem on Arafat, who is apparently hindering peace by daring to complain about Israel's clear breaches of international law!!). The release of the torture pictures suits the neocons just fine, as it upsets the Arab world while simultaneously covering up the wholesale evil being conducted by the American and Israeli militaries. Seymour Hersh's latest revelations about Rumsfeld and Cambone further drag out the torture story, continuing the smokescreen. Hersh is one of about three real journalists working in the whole United States, so I don't want to say anything bad about him, but the latest anti-Rumsfeld allegations - no doubt true and completely consistent with the Bush Administration's pattern of using 9-11 to as an excuse to abandon any pretence of civilized behavior - have the distinct smell of CIA leaks intended to embarrass Rumsfeld, deflect attention for the torture away from the CIA, and regain for the CIA some of the power it has lost to Rumsfeld's Pentagon. The neocons may have to throw their critics a Cambone bone, but their position has not been weakened, and their main goal of starting WW III in the Middle East continues under cover of the more enticing torture stories.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

More thoughts on Nicholas Berg

A few more thoughts on the death of Nicholas Berg:

  1. If the beheaders were talking Russian, as some believe, that is not inconsistent with their being Israeli. There are a lot of Russians in Israel, and many of them from very rough backgrounds.

  2. How did the FBI find out that Moussaoui had used Berg's email password? The only obvious way is that they have a copy of the email received by whoever Moussaoui was mailing, showing that it was sent from Berg's email account. Who was this person, and how did the FBI know about him? Did they get the information from his famous laptop computer? We can be sure the recipient wasn't an identified 9-11 conspirator, or we would have heard that used as evidence against Moussaoui, especially as the evidence they have against Moussaoui tying him to 9-11 is very shaky.

  3. Berg may have been recruited when he was interviewed by the FBI about the password. Why did the FBI visit him three times while he was in custody?

  4. Why would an increasingly observant Jew be carrying around anti-Semitic literature, possibly written in Arabic, a language he couldn't read? Analogous to what we have seen in Israel, with the Holocaust misused to inspire a Holocaust against the Palestinians, it may be that Berg was using the tangible evidence of the hatred that some have against the Jewish people to justify to himself whatever it was he was doing.

  5. Going to Iraq without a job or any prospect of work makes absolutely no sense.

  6. The orange prison jumpsuit is probably not a clue. If the Americans were behind his death, they would be unlikely to be so stupid to have him killed in a jumpsuit which seems to be evidence of American involvement. The only way I can see such a mistake being made is if the video were a production of the same doofus guards in Abu Ghraib prison who were involved in the torture. If Berg was being held there, and 'accidentally' died, someone might have decided to kill two birds with one stone and make a video to take the pressure off the American torturers.

  7. Official American denial that he was in American custody, when we have clear proof that he was, is evidence of official American guilt about something. Why deny it if there was a legitimate reason to hold him? Are they afraid to disclose the reason they were holding him, or are they afraid the fact they held him proves official American involvement in his death?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Nicholas Berg's literature

American authorities claim that Nicholas Berg was arrested in Mosul by Iraqi police because the police believed he may have been involved in 'suspicious activities'. Berg himself is alleged to have told an acquaintance that he was arrested for having an Israeli stamp in his passport. The police chief of Mosul denies that his police department ever arrested Berg. Here is an excerpt from an article in the Scotsman (my emphasis):

"A US official said Berg was detained by Iraqi authorities 'for his own protection' because his behaviour in Mosul seemed unusual for a westerner.

He had been seen travelling in taxis and moving about the dangerous city without any escort, the official said. He added that Berg, who was Jewish, had written materials which were 'anti-Semitic' in tone, the official said without elaborating."

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Headless in Iraq

Reading between the lines of the many conflicting reports of the beheading of Nicholas Berg, it appears that he had been in the control of the U. S. military before his death, possibly using the Iraqi police as a front. He then mysteriously ended up in the hands of fundamentalist Iraqi freedom fighters. It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Pentagon arranged for him to be turned over to the freedom fighters in order that Berg's inevitable death could be used to divert attention from the George W. Bush Rape Rooms and give the knuckle-dragging Americans another reason to think of Iraqis as sub-human and thus deserving of torture, rape, and murder at the hands of the Penta-torturers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


From an interesting interview with Hunter S. Thompson (HST) by Adam Bulger (AB) (my emphasis):

"HST: And sort of on my way to bed, I saw something on the, heard or saw, something about a plane hitting the World Trade Tower. The first reports were of the 'small plane' - like one of those things that sometimes hits buildings around the world. That got my attention just enough not to go straight to bed. I turn around and have a look at the TV set, just in time to see that other one go straight in. Jesus.

AB: Um. . .

HST: Hang on a second there . . . there's so many things about who uh, oh boy, this is a dangerous area. But I talked to witnesses, I'm just thinking of one in particular, a guy, a driver who watched the, just happened to be taking uh, maybe the owner of the Giants, I forget who he was, but he was out at the Meadowlands. But he saw both of them hit.

AB: Right.

HST: Direct line of sight. The first one, he didn't get really get a line on, but it got his attention, though he hadn't seen the approach. But the second one, he said, uh, and I heard this from other people, but very few, really, calm and sane accounts the moments of insanity. I happened to see the second one go in, but just the last few seconds, as it came out of the left, stage left, and then plowed right into the front of the center of the TV picture and the center of the building, uh, perfectly. And I wrote that it was one of the most efficient, uh, most skillful and just about impossible um, acts of piloting . . . That's a very rare, uh, uh pilot . . . can take a big plane and plant it right as if a target or bulls-eye was on the side of the building. Apparently that second plane approached, and veered off, and made sort of a half-loop and then sort of came back and aimed again and then hit the building.

AB: Right.

HST: Have you heard this, or did you see that, or do you know about it?

AB: Yeah, well I've seen the tape so many times.

HST: But have you seen what would be before the tape that we see, like a minute before the hit?

AB: No, I haven't.

HST: Well, I haven't either, really. But there were eyewitnesses. And several people have said that, but you had to be watching. This guy happened to be at the Meadowlands. Cause I've kind of seen it as something that's really horrible and atrocious but not that hard to pull off. I mean it just seems like they got some box-cutters and they hijacked a plane and they flew it into a building. It doesn't seem like there was that much skill or that much preparation really. It's pretty broadly assumed that there's is a lot more to that story than the uh, the simple, kind of evil guys who just wanted to learn enough about flying to take a plane off but not land it.

AB: Right.

HST: Remember, everything we know about that, that incident, and it was a horrible thing, I mean tragedy! Uh, and about Iraq and about Afghanistan and the people allegedly inside those countries, you know, Bin Laden . . . Everything we know in this country is spun through the CIA or NSA, but lets call it the CIA."

The Official Story about 9-11 is that some fundamentalist Islamic terrorists came to America, learned how to fly at American flying schools well enough to perform the simple maneuvers required to plow planes into buildings, and performed well enough to hit the two towers and the Pentagon. The Pentagon story has always been unbelievable, with incompetent Cessna pilot Hani Hanjour required to suddenly acquire the skills of a stunt pilot to manage to crash Flight 77 into the Pentagon at exactly ground level. The second plane to hit the towers was Flight 175, supposedly piloted by Marwan Al-Shehhi. If he demonstrated fighter-pilot skills on his reapproach to the WTC, it destroys the credibility of the Official Story. It would mean that the pilots were highly trained pilots before they arrived in the United States, and weren't just a few religious nuts who learned to fly as students - and not very good students - at American flying schools. The American flight training has always been said to be just enough to allow them to take over the flights from the original pilots and guide the planes directly into their targets. It is quite possible that the entire story about the Florida flight training is itself a deception to give credibility to the Official Story about the identity of the hijackers. Everything we think we know about the hijackers, including the little we know about the Florida flight training schools, may be part of this deception.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Now that we know more about what has been going on in the American torture system in Iraq, we can understand more about the case of Guantánamo chaplain Captain James Yee. He was arrested while allegedly in possession of classified documents "that a chaplain shouldn't have." After adding some more bogus charges, the Pentagon eventually had to drop every charge against him except for the bogus ones, and he was eventually completely, albeit grudgingly, exonerated of them too. Yee, however, remains under a gag order. Could Yee's documents relate to the torture going on at Guantánamo Bay? Is the gag order what the Pentagon was really after? He had lists of the detainees and lists of their interrogators (it would be interesting to find out if any of these worthies ended up in Iraq). If Yee had proof of torture in September 2003, it world show clearly how long this problem has been going on, and that torture is the new systematic strategy of the Bush Administration. It would also prove that the Pentagon was trying to cover up its criminal pattern of torture months before torture in Iraq made the mainstream news. The torture in Iraq is just the logical conclusion of steps taken by the Bush Administration - the Patriot Act, enemy combatants held without chance of trial or legal representation, mass domestic arrests on racist grounds with hundreds or even thousands of detainees held for months without charge and then quietly released, the entire charade of Guantánamo Bay being outside of both American and international law, detainees at Guantánamo held for no reason at all (remember the British detainees who were eventually released into British custody, with the British authorities interviewing them and releasing them all within hours), the unpunished beating deaths by the military of at least two detainees in Afghanistan, and untold horrors being perpetrated in the new American gulags around the world, not to mention the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere - which constitute a declaration of violence and war against the whole world (including selected citizens of the United States). Iraq is no aberration, and is not the work of 'bad apples'. It is official American policy. It is the new American reality. There has been some discussion comparing Bush's America to Nazi Germany. Look at the newest picture released by Seymour Hersh, of a naked man cowering in abject terror as the hillbillies are about to unleash a vicious dog on him, and tell me if you don't see the concentration camps of Nazi Germany (the hillbillies must think they've died and gone to hillbilly heaven, with their freedom to play out their life-long fantasies on Iraqis of what they'd all like to do to black people). The thug who the Bush Administration has brought in to 'fix' the situation in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, not only was involved in Guantánamo Bay, but was brought to Iraq in August and September to improve the efficiency of the American interrogation techniques in Iraq, and recommended that the U.S. military police become "actively engaged in setting the conditions for the successful exploitation of the internees." Miller was also directly behind the persecution of Captain Yee. If is as if Hitler was accused of conducting medical experiments on unwilling human subjects, and brought in Dr. Mengele to fix the problem. Despite some grudging apologies, the prisons are still operational and the interrogations continue. Miller is now on the scene to ensure that leaks are repressed until after the next American Presidential election. Americans will vote for Bush, thus approving the new American moral standards. Welcome to Amerika!

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Squeal like a pig

Rick Salutin, who along with Heather Mallick is about the only non-right-wing columnist in the Globe and Mail, wades into the contretemps between the Globe's television columnist and Fox news thug Bill O'Reilly about O'Reilly's assertions that the Globe is a left-wing newspaper. The whole article (or here) is very good, but I found this quote to be particularly revealing:

"I thought of the Fox network's Bill O'Reilly when I heard about the recent prisoner abuses in Iraq. Not because of the normal abuse you get on his show. But I was on The Radio Factor With Bill O'Reilly last week and in the intro to our discussion he referred often to The Globe and Mail as left-wing. I said I had to defend it against that charge, since The Globe has always been a conservative, business paper here. Oh, come on, he scoffed, noting that The Globe is 'secular.'

We sparred and it was only when he repeated the term that I realized that in the United States, the main political divide now runs between Christian fundamentalism and 'secularists.' I said I was grateful for this insight: that the U.S. may be the only nation that defines politics in such religious terms."

Under O'Reilly's definition, which probably represents a fairly mainstream view in the United States, you are left-wing if you are not espousing the views of fundamentalist evangelical Christians. This leads to the important problem for Americans: what do you do if your country has been taken over by a relatively small, but very organized and very determined, group of religious fanatics. I keep hearing that elitist liberals are supposed to be more understanding to these people, but how can you moderate the opinions of people who are religiously insane? Liberal attempts to meet them half way, which is what John Kerry is trying - and failing - to do, are doomed to failure, because their religion will not accept compromise. Looking at the pictures of the torture of Iraqis, I see a group of Americans who look like extras from the movie 'Deliverance' ('squeal like a pig'; you can almost hear the banjo music). They like George Bush because he is so obviously a moron. What is a modern democracy supposed to do with people like that? The extreme ostentatious in-your-face religiosity is just a symptom of the general and profound absence of intelligence and curiosity about the world. Rather than have to think, they prefer religious fairy tales. The problem is all over the country, but the main Axis of Stupidity seems to run from West Virginia, through western Virginia, and on through Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas. Is it possible to just cut that part out, call it Evangelica or Stupidia, and carry on with the rest of the country? The United States would actually be a nice country, with people as smart as people anywhere, but it is being dragged down by the anchor of this mass of stupidity.

Zell and the Chalabis

L. Marc Zell has written a letter to Salon protesting, amongst other things, the quotes attributed to him in the article I referred to a few days ago. The author of the article, John Dizard, stands by the article and the accuracy of the quotes. Zell claims:

"I have never met with Mr. Ahmed Chalabi nor have I ever held any discussions with him."

While I suppose this is possible, it is extremely difficult to believe (Zell would have been better just to deny the accuracy of the quote, rather than gilding the lily by claiming he had never met Chalabi or had discussions with him). Zell is a former law partner of Douglas Feith, and appears still to be very close to Feith, and Feith is one of the main champions of Chalabi in Washington. For all the many years that Chalabi swanned around Washington as the darling of the neocons, it is very difficult to see how it is possible that Zell never met him. The neocon world is not that big. As well, Zell is a partner with Chalabi's nephew in Iraq, in an enterprise which bills itself as having insider contacts to the highest levels of the new Iraqi leadership. Nephew Chalabi's ability to peddle influence with his uncle, and Zell's ability to peddle influence with the Washington neocons, makes for a perfect lobbying partnership, albeit one that stinks to high heaven. Zell's problem is that his intemperate remarks about Chalabi breached the main taboo of the neocons. He revealed the fact that the whole war in Iraq and the continuing occupation were intended by the neocons to allow Israeli access to Iraqi oil and the Iraqi economy, with the long-term goal of extending 'Greater Israel' as far as the Euphrates (I find it funny that it is considered crazy to even mention this goal of the Israeli right in discussing the Middle East, while it is discussed openly, and with some pride, in Israel itself). This goal has been obvious for a long time now, but Zell's quote bitterly complaining that Chalabi reneged on his promises to grant favorable treatment to Israel is one of the clearest proofs that this disastrous war has been waged by a small group in Washington solely for the benefit of a small group in a foreign country. The billions of American dollars spent (soon to be trillions, as the neocons, in their planned assault on Najaf, are on the verge of their goal of starting WW III), and the hundreds of American lives lost (soon to be thousands), not to mention the irreversible loss of prestige of the United States around the world, has been engineered on behalf of the insane religious fantasies of a tiny group of people in Israel, a group which includes Zell himself. If the American people ever figure this out, you won't be able to find a lamppost in Washington that doesn't have a neocon swinging from it.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Why do we know about the torture?

CBS sat on the Iraq torture pictures for at least two weeks before broadcasting a story on the issue. Why didn't they suppress the story completely? The disgusting American media does all it can to cover up for Bush, and never, ever, ever, broadcasts anything that would contradict the fairy-tale view of the innate perfect super goodness of America and Americans. The story might have been intended as a propaganda ploy to head off a story that was going to get out anyway, but the pictures were so extreme that they hardly constitute the 'limited hangout' that you would expect to see. So why was the story broadcast (I'll ignore as laughable the idea that it was broadcast because it was 'news')? Who benefited from the release of these pictures?:

  1. Israel, which now has perfect evidence that what it does on a daily basis to the Palestinians is no worse that what the Americans do to the Iraqis. In fact, Israel's crimes against humanity look positively benign compared to what went on in the George W. Bush Rape Rooms. How can Americans possibly complain about Israel now (not that they were complaining much before)?

  2. The neocons, who are trying to stave off irrelevancy by ensuring that WW III is well underway before the next American Presidential election. Even if Bush loses, they will be able to fit right in under Kerry, who has shown every indication that he will be as much of a warmonger as Bush. These pictures raised a predictable fury in the Middle East, making the coming world war all that much more easy to start and keep going. Once it is going, Kerry will be all to eager to go along, and will need the neocons to help him. It's happy days for the neocons!

You might want to ask yourself if you can think of another torture center where the torturers carried cameras to take souvenir pictures. A little odd, no?

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Chalabi and the Zionists

Suddenly, right out of the blue, after months of being the golden boy of the Pentagon and the neocons to lead Iraq, the disgusting American press is reporting that Chalabi is now out of favor and has in fact been suspected of passing on sensitive information to the Iranians. We're hearing about what a crook he really is, and how he knew about the bombing of the Jordanian embassy in advance but gave no warning. What a rotter! What happened to change his fortunes so quickly? We all know that the disgusting American press only reports what they are told to report, so why the sudden interest in dissing Mr. Chalabi? From Newsweek (my emphasis - reading this whole article is like trying to decipher something out of Pravda in the 1970's: what the hell is a 'U.S. official familiar with information presented to policymakers'?):

"NEWSWEEK has learned that top Bush administration officials have been briefed on intelligence indicating that Chalabi and some of his top aides have supplied Iran with 'sensitive' information on the American occupation in Iraq. U.S. officials say that electronic intercepts of discussions between Iranian leaders indicate that Chalabi and his entourage told Iranian contacts about American political plans in Iraq. There are also indications that Chalabi has provided details of U.S. security operations. According to one U.S. government source, some of the information Chalabi turned over to Iran could 'get people killed.'"

Wow! By 'top Bush administration officials' they are of course referring to the neocons, who again are up to their old Office-of-Special-Plans tricks of using mangled intelligence for their own political purposes (although the Official Story is completely the opposite, that these stories are being planted by CIA and State Department officials who have always hated Chalabi and are trying to force Bush to get rid of him: see what I mean about Pravda?). And why are the neocons mad at Chalabi? L. Marc Zell, Feith's former law partner, and foaming-at-the-mouth Zionist, said:

"Ahmed Chalabi is a treacherous, spineless turncoat. He had one set of friends before he was in power, and now he's got another."


"He said he would end Iraq's boycott of trade with Israel, and would allow Israeli companies to do business there. He said [the new Iraqi government] would agree to rebuild the pipeline from Mosul [in the northern Iraqi oil fields] to Haifa [the Israeli port, and the location of a major refinery]."

Bingo! Chalabi is getting the traitor treatment from the disgusting American press because he is reneging on his promises to the neocons to sell out Iraq to the Zionists (the rest of the Salon article contains amazingly explicit references to Zionist plans for Iraq, writing which until recently would have been labeled 'anti-Semitic conspiracy theory'). The press treatment is a shot across the bow to make him toe the Israeli line. If he survives in power, or in fact isn't killed, watch for him to sell out Iraq to Zionist interests as quickly and thoroughly as possible (Ledeen and Frum are still supporting him, so we can be sure the ultra-Zionist fix is in). He sold what soul he had to the Devil, and the Devil is collecting. When will Americans finally wake up and see who hijacked their government?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The inherent inferiority of Americans

The racism behind the general American view of the world, and in particular of the Arab world, is so all-pervasive that Americans don't even notice it anymore. Think about this excerpt from an article by Virginia Tilley (and think about it in particular if you ever have the misfortune to read any of the anti-Muslim rantings of Daniel Pipes and his ilk):

"The irony here is that, if these photos had instead portrayed American soldiers abused in some Arab prison, screaming right-wing US media would have waved them as substantiating every racist claim of inherent Arab depravity. On Fox News, ranks of flunky intellectuals would have soberly propounded the social-psychological violence inherent in Muslim theology and the 'Arab mind'; tears of patriotic passion would have celebrated US military might as the golden force opposing the dark ferocity of the savage Arab masses. Feeble liberal protest - that it is wrong to extrapolate from one prison policy to a whole culture - would have been derided and silenced. And high-minded speeches would have emerged from the White House, mustering US patriotic zeal to combat these forces of evil which produced such an outrage. Yet when others launch similar stereotyping distortions of us, we claim the high ground: those ignorant savage Arabs, we sneer, with no conception of our culture. How gullible and backward they are, to fail to grasp the truth and be so enflamed. It must be al-Jazeera's fault."

Given the clear evidence of unspeakable acts of torture, much of its sexualized, committed by many young Christian Americans in Iraq, what is it about Christian America that turns its young men and women into violent sexual sadists? The only possible explanation is that Americans are not fully human, and their crazy inferior religion, with all its erotic depictions of violence against Christ (just ask Mel Gibson), turns them into psycho-sexual savages with peculiar homoerotic compulsions. This sounds like complete crazy-talk, but it is exactly the sort of nonsense I read every day written by distinguished American experts about the Arab and Muslim worlds. How does it feel when the shoe is on the other foot?

Monday, May 03, 2004

American trial for torture in Iraq

UNOCAL has been ordered to stand trial in California for alleged human rights abuses in Burma. Defense contractor CACI International Inc. employs interrogators allegedly involved in the torture in Iraq. Someone should bring an action in the United States against CACI on behalf of the victims of the torture. A few Pentagon generals, CIA agents, and military intelligence officers might make good defendants as well.

The torture

The torture:

  1. That picture, that iconic picture of the torture victim standing on the box, Christ-like, with a hood from a Spanish Easter procession or the KKK, with the backlighting and the wires hanging down like in an old science fiction movie, that picture is the representation of the new American Empire, the symbol that the whole world now identifies with the Evil of the United States of America. They should send the Statue of Liberty back to France - the values she represented are no longer American values - and replace it with a model of this Iraqi prisoner. I wonder if he is still alive, and what state he is in. Do you think they might find it in their stony hearts to let him out of prison?

  2. As Robert Fisk quite properly points out, this mistreatment is a product of years of systematic anti-Arab racism (of course, the whole attack on Iraq, the idea that it was morally acceptable to apply 'shock and awe' to innocent civilians, is a product of the same racism). The knuckle-dragging hillbillies who so enthusiastically participated in the torture aren't very far removed from their lynch mob ancestors who so easily did the same thing to American blacks. They pathetically claim they can't be held accountable because they didn't have sufficient training in the niceties of the Geneva Convention. Do they mean to argue that they actually thought it was acceptable to humiliate, torture, rape and murder prisoners of war? Do they need a PhD in international law to know that this is wrong? What kind of animals is the United States producing? Since the whole attack on Iraq is illegal, literally every soldier in the U. S. army is guilty of obeying illegal orders, so I guess they are just following their usual pattern of obeying illegal orders.

  3. The United States is in full damage-control mode, with everyone saying they are suitably appalled. Of course, they have known about this for months, and have done absolutely nothing about it, so their claims of being disgusted ring rather hollow now. Various human rights groups have been complaining since last summer about the deplorable treatment afforded to prisoners picked up by the United States, and nothing has been done about it. Prisoners are often arrested for purely arbitrary reasons, jailed indefinitely with no access to legal counsel, and their relatives aren't even informed of where they are being held. If American officials were really concerned, they would start by emptying those prisons.

  4. Despite the attempts to pin this on one U. S. Army Reserve General and a few of the soldiers, it is clear that this abuse was a systematic and official act by the CIA and military intelligence to 'soften up' prisoners before they were interrogated. Seymour Hersh has seen the secret internal military report which confirms that the torture was an official and sanctioned action of the American government, known to Army leadership at the highest levels.

  5. The worst torturers were apparently private military contractors, presumably hired as it was feared that the soldiers would not be stone-cold psychopathic enough to do the job properly (they needn't have worried). As they were private contractors, they will escape all American military discipline and will get off completely scot-free.

  6. Anecdotal evidence reported in the Arab press indicates that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of the horrors inflicted on Iraqi prisoners. In particular, we have not heard all the stories of sexual abuse of male prisoners, and have not heard anything about what they did to women prisoners.

  7. To fix the problem, the Americans are sending the general who was in charge of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay to Iraq! This proves the utter contempt the Pentagon has for the Iraqi people and for international law. This general will not be an expert in how to run a humane camp, as he ran one of the greatest examples of an inhumane camp in the world. What he is an expert in is running an inhumane camp while covering up all evidence of it. The Pentagon realizes that their real problem isn't the torture, but that they got caught doing it.

  8. The Pentagon will pick a few low level scapegoats, people who were guilty but just following orders, and give them a nominal punishment. Like Lieutenant William Calley, they will be quietly released after a short period of time. I guarantee that no one will serve any serious punishment for their actions.

  9. The British have a similar problem with their own torture. Again, they had warnings of the problem for months, and have done nothing about it. As Britain joined the International Criminal Court, Britain won't be able to sweep this problem under the rug. If they try to, another country will be able to initiate proceedings against the guilty. Since the guilt almost certainly goes right up to the top of the British military, not to mention into the world of politicians, this could get very interesting.

The torture finishes off the last argument for the attack on Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction, no Saddam connection to al Qaeda, no prospect of democracy, and the Iraqi people worse off than under Saddam and headed for worse things yet. The last thing the Americans had was that at least the brutality had stopped. The massacre at Falluja and the torture have finished all possible arguments for this illegal and immoral attack on the people of Iraq.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Electricity in Iraq

It is almost impossible to believe, but the United States has still - still!! - not repaired the electrical system in Iraq. The inability of the American military in Iraq to maintain any kind of security means that the civilian contractors are laying low, and no real work is being performed. If you think the Iraqis are mad now, just wait until air conditioner season. The Chimp just said:

"Electricity is now more widely available than before the war."

This is a lie (daily nationwide electricity production for April averaged 3,822 megawatts, which is much less than the prewar average of about 4,500 megawatts). The provision of electricity is not only a symbolic issue, it also directly affects the health and well being of the Iraqi people. The provision of clean water and proper sewage treatment systems depends on the electrical system. After much more significant damage after the first Gulf War, Saddam managed to have the system functioning again in a matter of weeks. Given the symbolic and practical importance of it, you would think Bremer of Baghdad would have moved heaven and earth to get the system running again. Instead, he spends his time closing newspapers and having a new flag designed in London by cutting up an Israeli flag and rearranging the pieces (with a yellow strip representing the urine stream from British soldier to hooded Iraqi prisoner of war). If there was any real concern for the Iraqi people, the electrical system would have been fixed months ago, and the current instability would not be a problem. On the other hand, if Bremer's neocon plans have all along been to make Iraq the starting battleground for WW III, his complete inattention to the most important issue he faces makes perfect sense.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

A new dawn in Falluja

The announced withdrawal of American troops from Falluja, unless it is scuppered by the neocons (and I have no doubt they are working on scuppering it), is a very important development, for two main reasons:

  1. It represents the first acknowledged defeat for the neocon 'shock and awe' mad-dog strategy of American military dealings with the rest of the world. Basically, psychos like Ledeen and Perle decided that the United States has the only domineering army in the world, and American foreign policy should be to use it to violently coerce the rest of the world to follow American big business interests. This would be accomplished by picking example countries like Iraq and using American military violence to completely destroy the country and terrify the population. The massacre in Falluja is the most blatant manifestation of this policy. The neocons were prepared to kill almost every person in Falluja until any survivors were so terrified that their terror and the deaths of the rest could be used as an example to any others in Iraq or the rest of the world who might question the decisions of the American occupiers. It is a strategy right out of the Bible. It didn't work. Again, facts have proven that an army, even the best army in the world, is useless in fighting a determined civilian resistance (Vietnam, southern Lebanon, the thirteen colonies, etc.). The only way you can 'win' such an encounter is if you are morally prepared to murder or incapacitate every last inhabitant (are the Americans ready for the Byzantine Empire solution of blinding every male in Iraq?). We have seen the neocon strategy over and over again in Iraq, starting with the 'shock and awe' bombing of civilians, and carrying through the murder of journalists, the abuse of civilians, and the torture of prisoners. It is laughable for the Americans to claim that the recent evidence of misuse of prisoners is an anomaly, when we have seen so much evidence of other incidents in the past. Now they claim they are going to 'investigate'. How many investigations have been promised before? How many people have been punished? American claims of innocence won't fly anymore. Brutality is the express and implicit policy of the Pentagon in Iraq. The soldiers who brutalize Iraqi civilians and prisoners do so because they understand that they are supposed to. Brutality is what the neocons intend to use to start a conflagration in the Middle East which will lead to their real goal - a goal essentially treasonous to the United States - of using the American military to force the creation of Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates. You want to know why Wolfowitz can't remember the number of American dead? Because he doesn't give a damn about American deaths (but I bet he can give you the name of every last insane Israeli settler illegally living on Palestinian land who ended up the victim of a Palestinian freedom fighter). Americans are just 'fodder units' for the greater Biblical goal of the creation of Greater Israel. Americans are eventually going to have to wake up to the fact that they are being led by a bunch of psychopaths whose sole loyalty is to a foreign country.

  2. It represents an incredible loss of control by the Pentagon in Washington over the American military. It is apparent that the American commanders on the ground in Falluja came to the conclusion that whoever was giving the orders in Washington was insane (Dr. Strangelove), and that they were no longer prepared to participate in a massacre that not only would fail in its short-term military goal, but would turn the whole country violently against the Americans (not to mention completely destroying the moral integrity of the American military by forcing soldiers to murder civilians). They negotiated a cease-fire unknown to the Pentagon in Washington and against the express wishes of the civilian neocons in charge of the Pentagon. In fact, Falluja was being micromanaged by the White House itself. No to put too fine a point on it, the cease-fire in Falluja was a mutiny by the American commanders in Falluja (the hero seems to be Marine Lt. Gen. James Conway). This explains why we were simultaneously hearing announcements of a cease-fire in Iraq and vehement denials from the Pentagon in Washington. It also explains why some Americans had stopped the massacre, while others, still under the control of Washington, continued. Paul Wolfowitz (Captain Bligh) said the situation was 'confusing', which is a very odd thing for the guy supposedly in charge to say. It was confusing to him because a cease-fire was being negotiated on the ground in Falluja behind Wolfowitz's back. The central command in Washington has become so bad - both incompetent and treasonous - that American soldiers in the field have to make their own cease-fires. Perhaps there is hope for the United States yet.

There are conflicting accounts of just how close the new Iraqi military leader of Falluja was to Saddam Hussein, but he looks just like him!