Thursday, September 30, 2004

Don't forget Yinon

The essay, 'A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties', by Oded Yinon, published in 1982, contains the following paragraph on Iraq (italics in original):

"Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization."

The Iraqi-Iranian war failed to accomplish the dissolution of Iraq, so the Americans were tricked by the neocons into the attack on Iraq, largely through the efforts of Douglas Feith feeding erroneous Israeli-prepared intelligence into the American political system. Feith will no doubt someday be honored by a statue in Israel. Israeli or American agents provocateurs currently operating in Iraq are finishing the job proposed by Yinon, as part of a similar ongoing operation against all the Arab states, of breaking the country up into small, unthreatening ethnic enclaves. Everything that we see going on in Iraq today has to be seen in the light of the long-standing Zionist plans for the Middle East.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Farooqi trick

With much fanfare, and conveniently just after Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf visited the United Nations in New York and was beginning his visit to Europe, Pakistan announced the death of alleged al Qaeda member and Daniel Pearl murderer Amjad Farooqi. Problem. The Asia Times reports that its contacts are:

" . . . adamant that Farooqi was in fact arrested some months ago, and that the 'incident' resulting in his death in the southern Pakistani city of Nawabshah was in fact stage-managed by Pakistani security forces."

In other words, a situation exactly like the supposed capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Pakistan, with the assistance of the Bush administration, continues to successfully stage-manage its supposed rounding up of al Qaeda members, all handled perfectly to depict Pakistan as a strong American ally in fighting the war on terror, and ensuring that the American aid money keeps flowing. Do the math: Musharraf talked on the telephone with George Bush on February 24, 2003, and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was allegedly captured on March 1; Musharraf met with Bush on September 22, 2004, and Farooqi was allegedly killed on September 26. It's like ordering pizza.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Losing the war in Iraq

From "Incident on Haifa Street" by Tom Engelhardt:

"In our ability to let loose destructive power at great distances and by air, the United States military is undoubtedly unparalleled as a power today. And yet here's the counterintuitive way you have to think about American airpower in Iraq: Watch where the bombs and missiles are falling - starting with Falluja and ending up on Haifa Street - and you can map almost exactly where American power is blinking off. The use of air power, in other words, is a sign of American weakness. Its use maps our inability to control Iraq. To the extent that you can monitor our air power, you'll know much about what's going badly in that country, in part because the resort to air power in a guerrilla war means the surefire alienation of the contested population. It means that you've given up on 'hearts and minds,' to use a classic Vietnam-era phrase, and turned to the punitive destruction of bodies and souls."

The United States is losing the war in Iraq one war crime at a time. The Pentagon is completely oblivious to the fact that these air attacks on civilians should be profoundly embarrassing to the United States, and continues to announce these barbarities as if they were military successes. The funny thing is that these crimes are being committed at a time when the right-wingers in the United States seem to want to use the current American election campaign as a chance to return to a debate on the Vietnam War. The emasculating experience of being so roundly defeated by a peasant army in Vietnam has always been excused by the right as being the fault of war protestors, who somehow wouldn't allow the American military to fight the war as it should have been fought and won. The pathetic excuse for the ignominious American defeat in Vietnam is the protests of people like Jane Fonda and John Kerry. The Vietnam veterans seem to think that Jane Fonda still has their balls pickled in a jar somewhere. They shouldn't be so sensitive about their emasculation. Since the French experience in Algeria, no army, no matter how powerful, has been able to prevail against a determined guerilla resistance in a case where the army is attempting to enforce the neo-colonial subjugation of a country. The Vietnamese would have won with or without Jane Fonda, although it may have taken many more American deaths to prove it.

The argument that it was the civilians who lost the Vietnam War continues to reverberate in American politics today, and fear of it seems to lie behind Kerry's inability to come up with a coherent policy on Iraq. Since the whole of the United States appears to be united in support of the war, the Pentagon can't even use the excuse that it is losing because its hands are tied by popular opinion. The fact that it can proudly issue press releases celebrating American war crimes is proof that it is able to fight the war without any restrictions whatsoever.

And still, the Americans are losing, and losing badly. They are not just losing the battle of hearts and minds, as that part of the war was lost a long time ago. They are also not suffering under the PR problems that you would think would be caused by ever increasing numbers of American casualties, as those statistics are either hidden from the American public or apparently are of no concern to it. They are actually losing in the good old fashioned way that would have been understood by the Ancient Greeks. Each time they have a battle, the Americans suffer more debilitating casualties than the resistance. The Americans are losing for the simple reason that they are running out of troops. This explains the more and more ridiculous stories we see of attempts to deal with the lack of American troops. It also explains the reliance on aerial bombardment of civilians. Aerial bombardment is completely useless against the resistance, who are highly mobile and simply evacuate the area, leaving the women and children and old men to die under American bombs. If these bombs are killing any members of the resistance, it is by sheer luck. The increasing American reliance on the war crime of aerial bombardment reflects the desperation of an army that is out of answers. With every battle it cedes more and more ground to the resistance, and suffers a disproportionate number of casualties. The Americans can no longer even afford to fight the resistance in the mano a mano fights that might lead to American success, as the Americans can no longer afford to take the rates of casualties they would suffer. They can't replace the troops they would lose. Each case of aerial bombardment increases the fury of the Iraqi people, and thus the size and determination of the resistance. It is a vicious cycle the Americans can't hope to win.

The attack on Iraq has turned into one of the main embarrassments in American military history. Bush has based his whole election campaign on fighting the war on terror by fighting the war in Iraq, so he has no possible exit strategy. It will be interesting to see how much permanent damage he does to the American military. Once the neocons have tired of Iraq, it's on to Syria and Iran. Will there be enough of an American army left to fight these new illegal wars? How much will the draft help? Will the draft undermine the success of the completely volunteer army? Will the American Empire be over before it has a chance to begin?

Mohammed Atta in Prague

A member of the opposition Civic Democratic Party in the Czech Republic, Petr Necas, is pushing for a formal inquiry into the failures in Czech intelligence that led to the completely erroneous report that Mohamed Atta met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence agent.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Simona Torretta and the breakup of Iraq

There is excellent conspiracy theory in this article (or here) by Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill in the Guardian on the many reasons why the kidnapping of the two Italian women in Iraq cannot possibly be by the Iraqi resistance. They point to the theory that the kidnappings were by foreign intelligence agencies out to discredit the resistance. What possible reason would an intelligence agency have to further discredit the Iraqi resistance? Hasn't it been discredited enough already? All reports depict the Iraqi freedom fighters as fanatical and evil Islamic terrorists connected to al Qaeda (the Zionist-controlled CanWest Global newspaper chain in Canada has been expressly busted for this kind of intentional deception of its readers, but the same type of lying is ubiquitous in coverage of Iraq and the Palestine in the Anglo-American media). When the coverage is so biased that it amounts to lies, why would anybody have to stage a kidnapping to further defame the resistance? The most obvious reason for such a kidnapping is to sow further discord within Iraq itself, leading to the final goal of breaking the country into little, inconsequential, and unthreatening, pieces. It is part of the policy of anarchy consisting of assassinations of academic and cultural leaders, failure to fund promised reconstruction of the fabric of Iraqi civil society, forcing out of foreign aid workers, and completely unprovoked attacks on civilian populations with the excuse of hunting 'terrorists'. It is not surprisingly very similar to the campaign being waged against the Palestinian people. We are now seeing a flurry (or here) of reports from 'experts' which suggest that this breakup is inevitable. These reports are part of the campaign to create the breakup. In which country's interest is the destruction of Iraq desirable?

Saussy: "Sympathy for Mr. Cheney"

The website of F. Tupper Saussy - on some accounts a genius and on some accounts a nut, and the man behind the excellent 'autobiography' of James Earl Ray - includes an odd essay, "Sympathy for Mr. Cheney", which is very good on the American deceit behind the 1991 Gulf War and contains the following:

"In the decade between the Gulf War and 9/11 the United States covertly nurtured a Muslim reaction to America's blasphemous intrusions - the Koran, after all, permits retaliation: 'whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you.' (2.194, Shakir translation) This nurturing produced the world's perception of 'terrorism' as a product of Islamic fanaticism rather than of American foreign policy."

Friday, September 24, 2004

A bit more on bloggergate

A bit more on bloggergate:

  1. How did the dirty tricksters know that CBS would take the bait and run with the story using the reformatted documents? The brilliance of the plot is that the tricksters didn't substantially change the content of the memos. CBS producers had no doubt been hearing the same stories all over Texas about what a goof-off and drug addict George was, and how there had been critical memos on him in military files. Suddenly, memos with the right information appear, substantially in the format you would expect, consistent with everything CBS had been hearing. On top of that, they arrive from a source with all the right connections, a source who misled CBS by giving them an excellent provenance for the memos. How could CBS resist? I suspect that insiders in CBS working for the plotters helped the plot along by insisting on early broadcast of the report, before the documents could have been properly vetted. The excuse for haste would have been, as it always is, that there was a danger of CBS being scooped on this story had they waited for the quibbles of document examiners. Why rely on document examiners when you have documents with what you believe is an excellent provenance consistent with everything you know about the facts?

  2. From Uncommonsense:

    "Well, as has been noted elsewhere, Bush seems to be campaigning almost exclusively to the Republican base, to the people who sincerely thank God every night that Bush is in the White House. Karl Rove knows what will happen if these people are convinced of the drug use or AWOL story. It's not that they are going to swing over to Kerry. But if Bush went AWOL because he was stoned on coke, they simply won't vote at all. They'll stay home in droves. Which is pretty much the same thing as a vote for Kerry. Bush the AWOL coke-head is Bush's Ralph Nader, the candidate Karl Rove is desperate to keep off the ballot this November."

    Exactly! Given that their policies benefit the class interests of about one per cent or less of the population, a Republican couldn't get elected to be a dog catcher in Texas without the use of a lot of electoral tricks. The main trick is to reduce voter turn out, essentially to convince those who would vote Democrat to stay home. If you combine this with a direct appeal to a number of small but highly committed single-issue groups, a fifty per cent voter turn out allows you to cobble together a plurality. The reduction of voter turn out is done through many methods, some of them highly illegal (illegal manipulation of voter rolls as we saw and are seeing in Florida, and intimidation of and lying to minority groups). The main method, however, is to convince voters of the hopelessness of it all, of the inevitability of rule by plutocrats. Misleading polls, the ubiquity of the Republican message on cable news shows and talk radio, the general denigration of the usefulness of government and public policy, and mudslinging in negative ads, all come together to make politics seem dirty and useless and voting irrelevant and hopeless. If the Democrats want to have a chance at winning, complex policy arguments droned by John Kerry aren't going to do it. They have to fight fire with fire and convince Bush's hillbilly voting base to stay home. The way to do this is to show them that Bush is really not the responsible father figure protecting them from terrorists, but a sinning, irresponsible drug addict who went AWOL because of legal problems stemming from his drug use. Rove's dirty trick was only worth the high risk because of the huge risk of the truth from Texas coming out. Rove knows more about winning than the whole Democratic Party, and they should follow the track which Rove is trying so desperately to hide.

  3. Despite the success of bloggergate, at least one person in the mainstream press, E. J. Dionne Jr., has had the sense to point out that Bush's military service is still an issue only because the Republicans have consistently acted as if Bush has something to hide. It is not CBS's fault that this is still a live issue. It is Bush's fault. Somehow the Republicans have managed to get away with a constant series of petty attacks on Kerry's exemplary war record without even having to answer legitimate questions about what Bush was up to during the same time period. It is also highly ironic that the CBS report, which led to massive attacks on CBS for foolishly accepting the validity of forged documents, replaced another report CBS was intending to air on the Niger uranium documents. These are another set of forged documents, but his time a more easily spotted set of forgeries relied on by the Bush Administration as evidence to start an illegal and immoral war in Iraq that the United States is in the process of losing.

  4. Don't feel sorry for Dan Rather. Dan Rather only has the position he currently has because the Powers That Be decided to reward him for his exemplary service to the Empire back in 1963. He managed to see the Zapruder film before any other broadcaster, and was able to lie on television and say that Kennedy's head snapped forward, a story consistent with shots coming from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository, and thus consistent with the Official Story on the JFK assassination (I can't get the link to work, but here is the Google cache of 'Dan Rather Blinked' by Penn Jones Jr, describing the many oddities in Rather's coverage of the assassination). Misleading photographs were published in Life Magazine, and Life hid the film away for years to keep the truth from the American public. When the film was finally released, it was clear the head snapped backwards, consistent with a shot from the Grassy Knoll and inconsistent with the story that Oswald was the 'Lone Nut'. Dan Rather began his rapid ascent up the CBS ladder because he lied. I guess he managed to convince himself that the Powers That Be wouldn't turn on him if he managed to ruffle a few Republican feathers, but he was wrong.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

'Lucy Ramirez'

USA Today on Bill Burkett:

"In interviews in recent days with USA TODAY, both in person and on the phone, Burkett said he had merely been a conduit for the records purported to be from the private files of Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, one of Bush's former Guard commanders, who died in 1984. Burkett admitted lying to USA TODAY about the source of the documents but said he did not fabricate the papers.

In earlier conversations with USA TODAY, Burkett had identified the source of the documents as George Conn, a former Texas National Guard colleague who works for the U.S. Army in Europe. Burkett now says he made up the story about Conn's involvement to divert attention from himself and the woman he now says provided him with the documents. He told USA TODAY that he also lied to CBS.

Burkett now maintains that the source of the papers was Lucy Ramirez, who he says phoned him from Houston in March to offer the documents. USA TODAY has been unable to locate Ramirez."


"'I didn't forge anything,' Burkett said. 'I didn't fake any documents. The only thing I've done here is to transfer documents from people I thought were real to people I thought were real. And that has been the limitation of my role. I may have been a patsy.'"


"Sitting in a rocking chair in his weathered ranch house south of Baird, Texas, Burkett recounted his continuing efforts - beginning before he was discharged from the Texas Army National Guard in 1998 - to clean up what he saw as Guard corruption and mismanagement. He said that activity led to a telephone call in March from Ramirez and her offer to provide documents damaging to President Bush.

Burkett said Ramirez told him she had seen him the previous month in an appearance on the MSNBC program Hardball, discussing the controversy over whether Bush fulfilled all his obligations for service in the Texas Air Guard during the early 1970s. 'There is something I have that I want to make sure gets out,' he quoted her as saying.

He said Ramirez claimed to possess Killian's 'correspondence file,' which would prove Burkett's allegations that Bush had problems as a Guard fighter pilot.

Burkett said he arranged to get the documents during a trip to Houston for a livestock show in March. But instead of being met at the show by Ramirez, he was approached by a man who asked for Burkett, handed him an envelope and quickly left, Burkett recounted.

'I didn't even ask any questions,' Burkett said. 'Should I have? Yes. Maybe I was duped. I never really even considered that.'

By Monday, USA TODAY had not been able to locate Ramirez or verify other details of Burkett's account. Three people who worked with Killian in the early 1970s said they don't recognize her name. Burkett promised to provide telephone records that would verify his calls to Ramirez, but he had not done so by Monday night.

An acquaintance of Burkett, who he said could corroborate his story, said he was at the livestock show on March 3. The woman, who asked that her name not be used, said Burkett asked if he could put papers inside a box she had at the livestock show. Often, she said, friends ask to store papers in her box that verify their purchases at the livestock auction. She said she did not know the nature of the papers Burkett gave her, and he did not say anything about them."

This is a fiendishly clever plot, and Burkett is indeed the patsy. Burkett never even saw 'Lucy Ramirez', who is no doubt the employee of the plotters (there is beginning to be speculation about which Republican dirty trickster is actually behind the plot). He can't tie the documents back to anyone (it's like James Earl Ray trying to convince people of the existence of 'Raoul'). Burkett was chosen as the plotters knew he really hated Bush and had a particular issue with Bush's military service which would make him leap at the chance of distributing documentary evidence embarrassing to Bush, he had enough prominence and credibility to be able to interest CBS, he could be tied to the Democrats (a particularly sweet point for the plotters), and he had no expertise in documents. Indeed, he insisted that CBS verify the documents as he had his own doubts. Had the plotters gone directly to CBS with the forged documents, CBS would have been a lot more careful. As it was, Burkett's enthusiasm for attacking Bush led him to lie to CBS about their provenance (I wonder if 'Lucy Ramirez' suggested that to him), and the combination of Burkett's reputation and his lie made CBS blind to any problems they should have seen in the whole scenario (and at least some at CBS were almost certainly in on the plot). Once CBS and Burkett had been led down the garden path, the plotters arranged for 'Buckhead' to be armed with the technical information required to challenge the authenticity of the documents, and the set up was complete. Since the challenge was supposedly by bloggers just interested in the truth, the fact that over 90 per cent of the real substance of the attack came directly from a Republican operative passed unnoticed. It didn't hurt that the disgusting American press was able to write the story as the populist bloggers challenging, and beating, big, bad CBS. The end result is that the whole issue of Bush's military service is confused and unusable by the Democrats, the voters resent the Democrats for raising the matter, the Democrats are cast with the suspicion of being involved in their own dirty tricks involving forgery (!), a particular enemy of Bush gets his comeuppance, the press is further scared off even thinking about raising any issues embarrassing to the Republicans (, a website set up by a Republican operative, demands the resignation of Dan Rather), and Kerry loses even more valuable time in the American media when his attacks on substantive problems with the Bush regime are lost in the Rovean fog.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


More on Bloggergate:

  1. The original internet poster on the CBS memos, 'Buckhead' (I sometimes get my B's and F's mixed up too), has been unmasked (or here) as a Republican Party operative named Harry MacDougald. He's not just a Republican, but is associated with the most wing-nut extremes of the Republican Party. He is a lawyer with no known expertise in the minutiae of fonts and typewriters. From The Agonist, you can find a link on Hullabaloo to what he has also been up to in Georgia. He appears to be a (reluctant?) fan of the crooked computer voting machines that will be used in the next election.

  2. CBS was concerned about the authenticity of the documents, and the turning point in deciding to air the broadcast was the complete absence of comments from Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. Bartlett had been shown copies of the documents by CBS, and had even showed the documents to Bush. Had Bartlett said anything, CBS was prepared to can the story. It appears the CBS was set up to be the messenger that was shot by Bloggergate in order to hide the real issues raised by the content of the memos.

  3. Bloggergate follows the usual pattern of the use of deception by the Republican Party (in a similar vein, note the tricks of Phil Parlock). The efforts to undermine the substance of the CBS story was hidden by having it come from blog postings. I am reminded of the 'Brooks Brothers Riot' in Florida, where a group of Republican Party operatives used violence to stop the Florida recount before that recount could determine that Gore had in fact won Florida. This was critical, as the Republicans were from that point on able to depict Bush as the winner and Gore as the sore loser, with Gore always in the position as having to challenge the presumptive winner. The rioters were depicted as concerned citizens, but sharp-eyed Democrats were able to identify every single one of them as Republican Party staffers sent down to undermine the integrity of an American election through the use of violence. The riot was a dirty trick which was pulled off through the use of deception, and Bloggergate is the same thing.

Why do American think that it is a good idea to vote for a political party that apparently feels the only way it can get elected is through a constant series of deceptions and dirty tricks? And why are Democrats consistently taken in by these tricks?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Swift Boat Bloggers for PR

Robert Sam Anson suggests that there is something fishy about the blogger campaign to attack the CBS memos, referring to a Freeper posting by someone named 'Buckhead' a little over three hours after the CBS report first aired:

"First (leaving aside how suspiciously well Buckhead puts sentences together for a righty blogger), there's the extraordinary, yeah, boggling, knowledge of typewriting arcana. More remarkable still are the circumstances under which discernment occurred. Namely, viewing the document on a TV screen from a presumed distance of six to a dozen feet. Folks who make their living at this sort of thing rely on magnifying glasses, if not microscopes. And they don’t venture opinions unless the document's in their puss.

Then there's the warp speed with which Buckhead discerned monkey business. The last big document mess was the trove that conned Seymour Hersh into believing Jack Kennedy signed a contract with Marilyn Monroe agreeing to pay a hundred grand in consideration of her shutting up about their adventures between the sheets, as well as his pillow talk of owing the 1960 election to the good offices of Chicago mob boss Sam (Momo) Giancana. Their exposure (in which your correspondent had a walk-on) took weeks. And those documents were nutso on their face.

Another timing oddity which may or may not be related to the mysterious Buckhead, depending on your choice of villain, is the Pentagon's release of allegedly newly-discovered records of Mr. Bush’s flight hours and middling piloting abilities one day almost to the minute before Mr. Rather’s report—following four months of insisting there were no more documents to disgorge. Second coincidence: The Pentagon release came hours after the Boston Globe, poring through yet other records, reported that Mr. Bush 'fell well short of meeting his military obligation' by failing to report to a Boston-area Guard unit after he enrolled in the Harvard Business School, and by earlier ducking out on required training and drills for a total of nine months. Either could have landed Mr. Bush on full-time active duty for two years, potentially in Vietnam. But he received no punishment whatsoever.

Finally, there's a detail that appears to have escaped press notice: The Web site where Buckhead's posting appeared also happens to be the repository for anti-Jew, anti-Catholic, anti-homosexual, anti-John Kerry rants by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D. And whom, you ask, is Dr. Corsi? Co-author of the best-selling Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, that's who."

After digesting that, read what PR Week has to say:

"Creative Response Concepts (CRC), the VA-based agency promoting the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, used right-wing blogs and news sites to turn a CBS report casting doubt on President George W. Bush's National Guard service into a potential black eye for both the network and the Democrats.

A CRC client, the Cybercast News Service (CNS), was among the first to voice suspicion that documents suggesting Bush had received preferential treatment in the Guard were forgeries.

'After the CBS story aired, [CNS] called typographical experts, got them on the record that these papers were fishy, and posted a story by 3pm Thursday,' said CRC SVP Keith Appell. 'We were immediately in contact with [Matt] Drudge, who loved the story.'

CRC worked with CNS and the Media Research Center, another media watchdog client, to push the story into the mainstream press.

'We've been communicating with bloggers and news websites to make sure they know it isn't just Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge who are raising questions,' added CRC president Greg Mueller."

After someone probably pointed out that the Official Story is that populist bloggers did the CBS story all by their lonesomes, and that PR firms are paid to stick to the Official Story and not blow their own horns, CRC issued a sort of retraction:

"Please understand, we never meant to imply that the blogosphere is something we did, or even could, control or direct. No one controls the bloggers. The extraordinary depth and breadth of their talent and resources only breeds one thing: a fierce independence much needed in the country. They are a force the PR industry and news media need to pay greater attention to.

In the interview with PR Week, we tried to communicate that the bloggers, and then CNS, were moving this story, which we then began pushing to conservative media, news websites and 'mainstream' press.

If anything, we're just proud that our client, CNS News, provided some hard news reporting to add some gasoline to the already rampant wildfire that the bloggers had started. Do we deserve credit for that? Not nearly as much as the guys at PowerLine, Instapundit, LittleGreenFootballs, INDCJournal, Allahpundit, and so many others deserve."

The conspiracy is starting to unravel. CBS was attacked, not by bloggers, but by swift boats. As I wrote a few days ago on what I called the 'quick blogger response team', the coordinated way in which the bloggers worked, together with their amazing speed and instant expertise on old typewriters and fonts, not to mention the way their postings were seamlessly integrated into the mainstream media, indicates that the attack on the CBS memos was not the bottom-up populist unorganized campaign that has been depicted by the right-wing media, but nothing less than a propaganda blitz by the Republican Party to deflect attention from some very embarrassing material by attacking the messenger. It should not be a surprise that PR firms would fasten on blogging as a method of disguising the fact that the message is coming from a partisan source. After all, deceiving people is their job. However, from now on Americans should never assume that just because information is coming from bloggers that it is not part of an organized campaign of disinformation.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Haifa-Kirkuk Pipeline

Why is Israel so interested in building an oil pipeline from Kirkuk to Haifa? The whole idea sounds preposterous, given the likely reaction from the whole Arab world. The not unreasonable perception would be that the attack on Iraq was just to let Israelis steal Iraqi oil. But the idea just won't go away (see here, and note the last paragraph). As I have already written, it appears likely that Chalabi's fall from grace is because he reneged on his agreement with the neocons to give favorable treatment to Israel in its raping of the resources of Iraq. Chalabi reneged on his agreement presumably because the people of Iraq simply wouldn't stand for the idea of a pipeline to Israel. An oil pipeline would be an obvious target of fundamentalist terrorists, both while it was being built and during the entire time it was operational. It is difficult to see how it could ever be economically viable, given the costs of protecting it and the inevitable sabotage attacks. What could Israel be thinking?

And then it struck me. Israel dosn't want either the pipeline or the oil it would carry. Israel wants to build a pipeline that it knows will be attacked as it is being built. The attacks will thus require the presence of Israeli troops to protect the contractors building the pipeline. The Israeli troops will require a system of roads to move along the pipeline and to communicate with Israel. Small outposts to provide services for the contractors and the troops will have to be built. The outposts themselves will have to be fortified, surrounded by walls, and protected by more troops. Once the pipeline is built, it will require even more protection to prevent sabotage. With each attack, Israel will scream that it is being attacked by 'terrorists'. It will insist on more American military aid, and probably American troops, to help it protect the ever expanding network of pipeline, outposts, and roads. The American Congress will approve this as quickly as it possibly can. The zone around the pipeline will have to be expanded to protect it from 'terrorism', and fortifications will have to be created to protect the zone. Anyone who complains about this will be branded a sympathizer of those who threaten Israel's deepest security interests and thus its very existence. Anyone who even whispers a concern about the pipeline and its zone will be branded an anti-Semite.

Suddenly, there is an armored corridor protected by Israeli and American troops, and inhabited by Israeli 'settlers', stretching from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. This is the backbone of Greater Israel. All that will be needed to finish the dream is to continue to widen the zone. The genius of the plan is how it follows the Israeli strategy in the Occupied Territories. Theft of the land of the Palestinians and brutality against them creates a reaction which is labeled 'terrorism'. Camps of Israelis are introduced onto Palestinian lands in order to promote Israeli 'security'. The settlers provoke more of a reaction, so Israeli troops are required to protect the settlers. The troops require a system of roads, and more settlers are introduced to increase 'security'. This system of violence and lies has worked so well on the West Bank that the 'facts on the ground' - settlements, outposts of troops, and roads - mean that it will be impossible to separate the land of the West Bank to create any kind of viable Palestinian state (the joke, of course, will be on the Zionists, when the world eventually insists on the majority Palestinian population having a vote). The attempt at creating Greater Israel based on the pipeline will be based on exactly the same strategy of troops, settlers, roads, and American aid, spiced with allegations of 'terrorism' threatening Israel's very existence. They won't get away with it, but how much harm will they do as they try?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The superscript th

For a scandal known as Rathergate, because the superscript th was allegedly unavailable when CBS's memos were supposed to have been typed, the comments of Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's former secretary, Marian Carr Knox, are somewhat ironic (my emphasis):

"Knox said signs of forgery abound in the four memos.

She said the typeface on the documents did not match either of the two typewriters that she used during her time with the Guard. She identified those machines as a mechanical Olympia typewriter and the IBM Selectric that replaced it in the early 1970s.

She spoke fondly of the Olympia, which she said had a key with the 'th' superscript character that has been the focus of much debate in the CBS memos."

The issue of the superscript th, which got the bloggers in the door on the whole forgery issue, was phony. Not only was the superscript th available at the time, it was available to Killian. On the other hand, Knox's view that the type on the memos doesn't match the type on either of her two typewriters is very compelling evidence that the memos were recreated on modern equipment. We know they must have been recreated rather than completely made up because Knox is very specific that she typed memos containing 'the same information' that is in the CBS memos. Why would anyone take the risk of recreating the memos if they had access to the original memos?

Why forgery?

Assuming for the moment that the CBS documents are forgeries, but, as the former secretary of Lieutenant Colonel Killian says, accurately reflect his thoughts and are likely based on the contents of his original notes (and watch for reports of this in the disgusting American media to simply say the documents are forgeries, without reference to the vital fact that the contents are substantially true), why would the forger go to all the trouble of making a forgery? If he had access to the original notes, and he must have had such access in order to make substantively accurate forgeries, why not send them to CBS? The only reason you would make a forgery, and a forgery which was discovered with very suspicious speed and detail, is if you were trying to undermine the credibility of the content of the notes. If you knew the substance of the notes was going to be released, and might be an election issue, releasing the notes yourself in a forged form is the perfect way to diffuse the crisis. Everyone is now watching the spectacle of the alleged shenanigans, and completely ignoring the substantive issues raised by the notes.

Why Bush Left Texas

"Why Bush Left Texas" by Russ Baker is the first article to seriously consider the deep reasons for the inconsistencies in Bush's military record and the extremely odd way in which this record has been presented to the American people. Finally, someone has stopped beating around the Bush (this article should have been written by somebody - or at least somebody other than James Hatfield, who was on the story and may have uncovered even more if not for his unfortunate 'suicide' - five or six years ago). Baker writes:

"A months-long investigation, which includes examination of hundreds of government-released documents, interviews with former Guard members and officials, military experts and Bush associates, points toward the conclusion that Bush's personal behavior was causing alarm among his superior officers and would ultimately lead to his fleeing the state to avoid a physical exam he might have had difficulty passing."

and (my emphasis):

"If it is demonstrated that profound behavioral problems marred Bush's wartime performance and even cut short his service, it could seriously challenge Bush's essential appeal as a military steward and guardian of societal values. It could also explain the incomplete, contradictory and shifting explanations provided by the Bush camp for the President's striking invisibility from the military during the final two years of his six-year military obligation. And it would explain the savagery and rapidity of the attack on the CBS documents."


"It is notable that in 1972, the military was in the process of introducing widespread drug testing as part of the annual physical exams that pilots would undergo."

and, explaining the reason why witnesses are so hard to find:

"One of the difficulties in getting to the truth about what really took place during this period is the frequently expressed fear of retribution from the Bush organization. Many sources refuse to speak on the record, or even to have their knowledge communicated publicly in any way."

The usual Republican stooges are going to demand a lot more specifics than are contained in this article, but it is an excellent start. Somebody still needs to find out whether the drug test was a particular worry to Bush because of other drug-related legal difficulties he was having in Texas (the fact that a drug test at the time would not have been able to detect cocaine use is irrelevant if Bush thought it might and couldn't afford to take the risk that a positive drug test would put him in breach of the terms of some conditional sentence he was purporting to fulfill). The reckless drug use, general lack of care about other people, and the feckless wasting of chances given to him solely because of the position of his father are all important examples of Bush's irresponsibility, a trait which continues to this day. Bush's irresponsibility is the governing characteristic of his personality. His handlers know this, and hiding it has been Rove's chief occupation for the past four years (note that the secretary who may have typed the originals of the CBS memos says that the CBS memos are forgeries, but the contents of them accurately reflect the thoughts of one of Bush's commanders, a combination of facts which indicates to me that the faulty memos may have been supplied to CBS as part of a dirty tricks campaign to hide their content under a Rove-directed campaign of bloggers against the form of the memos). Bush's ignoring the memo presented to him by the CIA in August 2001 which referred to the specific danger of an attack like September 11 is just another manifestation of this profound personality disorder. The fact that a person with Bush's specific flaws is running his campaign as representing the responsible guardian of the American people against the evils of the world of terrorism is nothing short of obscene.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A Rove dirty trick?

Some have surmised that the entire CBS documents scandal is another dirty trick by Karl Rove. The idea is that Rove circulated embarrassing documents that were going to come out anyway, but altered them so the right-wing bloggers could make their arguments that the documents were forgeries. The whole forgery issue would then provide a smokescreen for the real contents of the documents. While I have yet to see any evidence that the documents were indeed forgeries, and the fact you can recreate similar looking documents on a computer today just proves that fonts don't change (which is the whole point of fonts!), the idea that Rove might try such a trick isn't as crazy as it seems. James H. Hatfield, the suicided author of the Bush biography 'Fortunate Son', had a very similar Rove experience. From Barbelith Webzine:

"They produced a run of 45,000 copies, and this time, with Hicks as a mouthpiece, Hatfield did not spare the anonymity of his sources. 'I know that Sander Hicks, my publisher, has stated in interviews and in the introduction to the new, updated second edition of Fortunate Son that (Karl) Rove was one of my sources, but I cannot personally deny or confirm.' And so we get to the alleged villain of the piece. Karl Rove, ex-Nixonite and Bush camp spin-doctor described by Hatfield himself as 'the ultimate dirty trickster'. Also implicated was Clay Johnson, advisor and long-time friend to Bush. Hicks' and Hatfield's version goes like this: when Bush made his hasty admission and the media seemed ready to pounce, Rove realised he needed to find a way to remove discussion of Bush's drug past from the national debate so thoroughly that even Bush himself couldn't bring it up again. Right around August 1999, when Bush made that press conference blunder, J. H. Hatfield's biography Fortunate Son was in its final stages with St. Martin's Press.

According to Hatfield, during the writing of Fortunate Son he had contacted Rove and Johnson and interviewed them at length. Hatfield mistakenly assumed that Johnson and Rove weren't aware of his 1988 conviction for solicitation of capital murder. Rove and Johnson realised that, in Hatfield, they had found their solution to Bush's drug problem. A flawed author."

Hatfield himself said:

"When Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President was published and subsequently recalled by St. Martin's Press (under pressure from Bush's legal eagles) in October 1999, everyone wanted to know who my sources were for the controversial afterword in which I alleged Dubya had been arrested for coke possession in 1972 and had his record expunged due to his father's political influence. Believing that principles only mean something if you stand behind them when it is inconvenient, I wouldn't oblige . . . . But thanks to the new introduction [in the July 2001 reprinting of the book] by my publisher, Sander Hicks, who 'named names' and identified my sources, I was backed into a corner. When USA Today's Bob Minzeheimer point-blank asked me at the BEA press conference if Karl Rove, Dubya's chief strategist and dirty trickster extraordinaire, was indeed my major source - the so-called 'Eufaula Connection' - I had to fess up to the truth, especially since Hicks was also handing out to the press copies of my private phone records along with the new version of Fortunate Son. . . . And, of course, Rove 'was traveling and could not be reached' for a comment. He can't go on the record and say it isn't true, because IT IS and the phone records speak volumes. How else would I have his private number at his home in Ingram, Texas, plus his fax machine and other unlisted numbers? . . . Although I had no choice but to identify the sources since my publisher had admittedly reneged on his promise 'to take these names to the grave' (in his defense, he felt a professional and personal obligation to expose them since he believed I was the victim of one of Rove's notorious dirty tricks), the general consensus was that I divulged my sources only to heighten interest in the book and spike sells. In other words, I only did it to draw attention to the book and make the cash registers sing like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. . . . It's a classic case of damned if you do and damned if you don't."

So Rove, in the face of very damaging information concerning Bush's drug habits that he knew was going to come out anyway, leaked that information to a man with a serious criminal record who Rove knew was writing a book on Bush. When the embarrassing information became public, Hatfield's legal problems were also publicized, and the substance of the allegations against Bush was buried under the issue of the credibility of Hatfield himself. Hatfield's credibility problem led to the disappearance of his whole book, which was, and is, the only attempt to uncover some of the more sordid details of Bush's past. This was a spectacular disinformation success for Rove, as the Bush cocaine allegations have never been an issue since the original publication of Hatfield's book was pulped. There are obvious parallels to the current CBS documents. Due to the forgery allegations, the messenger, in this case CBS, has become the issue rather than the documents themselves. The entire controversy over Bush's service record has been completely forgotten in the arguments over trivialities. If the documents are forgeries, I would not discount the Rove hypothesis.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Rove's quick blogger response team

The one good thing that has come out of the recent mess regarding the alleged CBS forged Bush military records is that it has outed the right-wing bloggers as directed agents of the Republican Party. The myth created by certain ersatz internet philosophers is that there is a group of bloggers reflecting the general feelings of the American people who independently publish their home-made journalism, and these bloggers are becoming increasingly influential with main-stream journalism and thus the American political process. This myth is very useful for the Republicans, who have the unenviable task of convincing the American people that a party which represents the class interests of only the top one percent of the population actually represents the class interests of everybody. They have tried various methods to get around this problem, including the recent trick of preparing pro forma letters to the editor containing Republican talking points, letters which they encourage their followers to write to local newspapers in an attempt to fool unsophisticated newspaper editors into publishing, thus hiding Republican propaganda in the guise of personal opinion. In the CBS case, the speed, sophistication and organization of the attack betray the political machinations behind it. Rove must have received a 'heads up' from a CBS insider that the documents were going to be embarrassing to Bush. The Republicans, organized as they are and with Rove not missing a (dirty) trick, presumably have a quick blogger response team, ready to provide guidance to the right-wing bloggers for an organized attack, together with sophisticated (mis)information from document experts that could be used in this attack. If the attack had come from Rove himself, it would have been seen as partisan spinning. Directed from the world of blogs, it appears to be the independent thinking of many dedicated bloggers only out to reveal the truth. While I have very little sympathy for the members of the media, you really have to feel for them under this covertly organized political onslaught. Bloggers were not only regurgitating the Republican propaganda, they went on to suggest that CBS journalists should be fired for merely attempting to do their jobs. These suggestions are an obvious threat to anyone considering reporting on anything even remotely embarrassing to the Republicans, and partly explain why the American media appear to be so biased.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Cole on Afghanistan

I really like Juan Cole's weblog, but here's a sentence from a recent posting that had me shaking my head at the opinions of 'experts':

"The US cleverly outfoxed al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, using air power and local Afghan allies (the Northern Alliance) to destroy the Taliban without many American boots on the ground."

There is simply not one letter in this sentence that is even close to correct. The Taliban hasn't been defeated, but is in control of much of the same lands it was in control of on September 10, 2001. The Northern Alliance is an 'ally' of the United States? I guess it depends what you mean by 'ally'. If an American soldier ventured to walk on most of the territory controlled by the Northern Alliance, he would be shot on sight. The grim reality is that the United States and its stooge Karzai have control of downtown Kabul and a few outposts, but the rest of the country is controlled by most of the same characters who controlled it before the American invasion. The only difference is that slightly more of it is controlled by opium-producing warlords than was under the relative sanity of Taliban rule. And just how did the US cleverly outfox al-Qaeda? Bin Laden fervently desired that the US would attack him in Afghanistan, and he got his wish. Al-Qaeda is as a result more powerful than ever. Attacking Afghanistan, a country whose nationals almost certainly had nothing to do with September 11, in order to punish a group of nomadic terrorists who were not even welcome guests of the Taliban, and who almost all escaped, is one of the single stupidest things the United States has ever done.

Some recent links

Some recent links:

  1. From Ethel the Blog (all the Ethel the Blog posts are worth reading), a pretty good guess at another future Florida Republican election trick, this time based on the recent hurricane destruction:

    "The zones of destruction, i.e. the poorer, Democratic areas, will be militarized for as long as they have to be, i.e. until at least, say, a Tuesday in early November. Polling locations that have been damaged will be relocated as far away from their original locations as is possible, with several checkpoints between them and the voters to ensure that 'looters' or 'terrorists' don't disturb the election. The GOP operatives manning the checkpoints will of course ensure that ample time is taken with each dark-skinned voter at each checkpoint to ensure their smooth passage to the voting booth. Those who've lost the papers they need to vote (if you've lost most of your house you've probably lost more than a few such valuables) will find that, despite the herculean efforts of Jeb Bush, their just isn't sufficient time or resources to recertify them before the election. By far the greatest effect will be the intimidation factor of living in areas that will almost certainly remain obviously militarized until early November. And if you think cops did a good job of spooking minority voters in 1980, just think what cops plus the ostentatiously heavily-armed National Guard will do this time to those who've probably never seen a uniform they can trust, and certainly not one holding an M-16 rifle and regarding them with automatic suspicion and distrust."

  2. Also from Ethel the Blog, a reference to the 'Sanders Hypothesis', that the United States is no longer capable of producing what the rest of the world needs or wants (as demonstrated by recent balance of trade statistics), so the neocons have decided to steal the world's hydrocarbons in a perpetual war in an attempt to blackmail the rest of the world into continuing to fund the American trade deficit (you may scoff, but it is consistent with many of the things that Dick Cheney has said).

  3. My favorite Slashdot thread of all time, 'Cleansing Hardware of Dead Pig Odors?'

Bush, Drugs, Texas and 1972

I've said it before, but apparently it is worth saying it again:

"Rove is on his game here. By holding back the military records he has made the military records the issue, and has managed to divert the media from the real issue, which is the community service. If those legal files ever get out, showing that Bush was convicted of a serious drug offence, his political career will be finished. The real reason that Bush went AWOL was that he couldn't afford to take a drug test. The real reason he couldn't afford to take a drug test was that it would have been a condition of his sentencing that he remain clean. If word of the failed drug test had filtered back to the court, he would have gone to jail. His fear of the criminal legal consequences is why he went AWOL, and that's why the community service is the key to understanding what is going on here. By concentrating on the military records, the media is walking right into Rove's trap."

At some point the Democrats are going to have to get it through their thick heads that Bush's shoddy military record is not a winning issue for them. Bush's supporters have digested the fact that Bush had help from high places in his short military career, and can live with it. What they can't accept is the fact that Kerry came back to campaign against the war, and thus, as far as the Bush supporters are concerned, committed Hanoi-Jane-style treason against the United States. Every time the Democrats bring up Bush's war record, it just reminds Bush supporters that Kerry is a traitor. The details of Bush's service, or lack thereof, will always be buried in the selective releases of laundered records released by the White House and the Pentagon (isn't amazing how each release is described as all the documents, only to be followed by more releases when specific new points require a response?). Those who want to believe in Bush will always be able to fool themselves into believing what they want to believe. At this point, with all many documents available, and the new allegations of forgery from Bush's true believers, undecided voters will just throw up their hands in disgust at the whole issue. If Democrats want to win, the only way they can do it is to get information on what happened in that Texas court room in 1972. The person brave enough to do this would be on an a suicide mission, as Rove and Cheney would have him or her killed (a 'suicide' consisting of three shotgun blasts to the head). There is also an ethical issue involved, as anyone who talks to the suicidal investigator would also be killed. Nevertheless, the drug conviction issue is the only thing that will register with the American electorate. Do the Democrats really want to win, or are they just going through the motions again?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

More on Beslan

The Beslan school attack follows the standard model for conspicuous terrorism (think September 11). If you want a terrorist act to provoke a political response against a particular group, you start by hiring a group of nameless commandos to serve as the technicians to accomplish the attack. Anyone in the world with sufficient means and the right connections could hire these commandos. Then you hire a group of patsies who can be connected to the ethnic or political group you wish to defame. The patsies probably know they are involved in some kind of political action, but are probably unaware of the nature of the action and the fact they will die as a result of it. The standard model answers some questions:

  1. Why would political terrorists commit wanton acts of barbaric cruelty against children? All this would do is hurt their cause. On the other hand, such cruelty allows the real perpetrators to use the barbaric actions to later attack the patsy terrorist group. The type of commandos hired for these jobs are psychopathic killers for hire who would have no qualms against committing any act of cruelty. From the Toronto Star:

    "Reports also emerged that some of the militants did not know they were to take children hostage and may have been killed by their comrades when they objected."

    Those killed would be the patsies.

  2. Why would 'suicide killers' attempt to escape? Obviously, these are the guns for hire who never intended to die doing what for them is just another job.

  3. Why would the terrorists film their worst acts of cruelty? Obviously, to provide the propaganda desired by the real perpetrators. The film is an integral part of the process.

  4. How did these terrorists get access to the school in order to hide their explosive and arms caches? The real perpetrators would have been able to arrange that.

  5. Why are the Russians obviously lying in saying that none of the killed terrorists were Chechens, and most were in fact 'Arabs'? The set-up against Putin was intended to simultaneously force him to take political positions more agreeable to Israel and the United States, and put political pressure on him to negotiate with the Chechens. The neocons have been using the Chechen conflict in an attempt to weaken Russia, and this incident may be used to spread unrest throughout the Caucasus. Putin can't do much about being forced to take political positions more agreeable to Israel and the United States, but he can attempt to disconnect the terrorism from the Russian policy towards Chechnya. By blaming the incident on vague international Arab terrorism, Putin can avoid the charge that it was caused by Russia's undeniably brutal policies towards the Chechen people.

Russian spinning on this incident has been amusing. Putin's initial reaction was to use it as a method of demonizing the Chechens, and providing an excuse for the continuation of the brutal Russian campaign against them (he actually put out a bounty on Chechen leaders). This campaign, largely ignored by the international press for various political reasons, is one of the great collections of war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in the world today (see an example here). When it became clear that the Russian people didn't buy Putin's initial line, and were actually blaming Putin's intransigence for creating the conditions that would provoke such an attack, the official Russian position turned 180 degrees overnight, and suddenly none of the terrorists were Chechens, but were some unidentified collection of 'Arab' terrorists. 'Terrorism' is a very malleable tool in the hands of unscrupulous politicians.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


What if the Russian school attack had nothing to do with terrorism, at least as the term is currently understood, and everything to do with the geopolitics of oil? Putin appears to be trying to create a Russian-European oil alliance to compete with the Bush Administration's attempts to corral the whole world oil supply. Conspiracy theorists suggest that his attacks against Yukos were to stop the dalliance of Yukos management with American oil companies. The North Ossetia school attack made Putin look weak and vulnerable - not something he is used to - and his political stature in Russia could not stand any more such attacks. At the same time, he can't agree to any concessions with the Chechens or any of their neighboring troubled areas (presumably, his hard core base won't accept any further diminution of the traditional Russian empire). After the school attack, Putin is immediately interested in falling in with the American model of a 'war on terrorism', seeing it as a Manachaean fight of Good versus the Evil Islamic fundamentalists (Putin: "Why talk to child killers?"). Putin is even supposed to be bargaining with Israel for cooperation in fighting the terrorists. Israel and the United States may be running a sort of protection racket, with Israel agreeing to 'help' Russia prevent terrorism in return for a change in attitude of Russia towards Syria, the Palestinians, and Iraq, and the United States agreeing to do what it can to ensure the school attack isn't repeated in return for Russian agreement to the American dominance in the world oil supply. It's like the Mafia agreeing to protect your store windows in return for a weekly payment, with the understanding that if you don't pay, the Mafia itself will send somebody to break them (Greece's hiring of Israel to provide security at the Olympics seemed to be a similar case of paying off the greatest threat). Do the Russians think that the CIA and/or the Mossad are really the prime movers behind the school attack? Was Putin's attack on American tacit support for Chechen leaders - something which, by the way, shows just how incredibly bogus the whole American 'war on terror' is - his way of expressing who he really thinks was behind the school attack? Based on the complete absence of evidence of a plausible tie to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, it wouldn't be a bad guess to think that this attack was a threat to Putin to stay in line with respect to neocon plans for the Middle East and the control of oil.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

You may think you're radical, but I think you're too scared

From a letter by 'G' to Sam Smith at the Undernews blog of Progressive Review:

"You may think you're radical, but I think you're too scared to face some plain common-sense problems that are right in front of you. What happened, for example, to the 757 that supposedly crashed into the Pentagon? Where was the debris? I was out there soon after, and there was no debris. No debris in any published photograph taken shortly after the incident. Intact windows. Intact columns. No scorched grass. No debris. If you plot the size of a 757 against the size of holes, it just won't fit. So . . . . it's a simple question: what happened to the plane? Or was it actually a 757 or something else?

There's the evidence. The facts are quite clear. Why don't people want to ask questions about what really happened?"

The bottom line is that there is only one piece of evidence that Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. One. What is that evidence? That the Bush Administration said so. That's it. All the eye-witness evidence, such as it is, either contradicts the Official Story or was obviously tainted by the unsupported assertions of the Bush Administration. Every single bit of physical evidence completely contradicts the Official Story. Your propensity to believe the blatant nonsense of the Official Story is directly proportional to how cravenly you accept the word of authority. You may think you're radical, but I think you're too scared to believe your own lyin' eyes. The problem with the obvious truth of what happened at the Pentagon on September 11 is that it directly contradicts the fairy-tale view Americans still have of their government. If it wasn't Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon, September 11 was at least in part a conspiracy of the highest levels of the American government. Americans have been accepting official cover-up horseshit for so long that I truly believe they can no longer tell the difference between truth and nonsense.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Blocking Text Messaging

Cell phone text messaging has recently been used in achieving victories for average people against the Powers That Be in at least Spain, the Philippines, and Venezuela. It was only a matter of time before some authoritarian dictatorship decided to block such messaging to thwart the power of the people. A reader of the weblog boingboing, Kevin Slavin, reports that messages going through the political text sharing site TxtMob were blocked by cell phone service provider T-Mobile on Tuesday during the Republican National Convention, and there is one report that users also reported problems on Wednesday. It is possible that this was a real technical problem, but as text messaging becomes more used as a tool for mass mobilizations of political protestors (there is a description of how it was used in New York City here), it is certain that it will be blocked by those who control the technology.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Hostages and headscarves

Although the reports are still cautious, it looks like good news for the two French journalists kidnapped in Iraq. They apparently have been handed over to a group which favors their release. Some comments:

  1. It appears that the moron kidnappers went out to capture some foreigners to pressure the home country of those foreigners to remove its occupying forces from Iraq, and accidentally ended up with some Frenchmen (but read this for an alternative possibility). Not knowing what to do with them, they then foolishly tried to tie the lives of their hostages to the recent ban on headscarves in French schools. They weren't smart enough to realize that attempting to blackmail France goes against what they claim to be fighting for. Their just cause is to be able to live freely in their own country, unoccupied by foreigners. They do not want another country telling them how to live. How is this consistent with attempting to tell the French how to govern their country? Their foolishness not only undermined the logic of their desire to be free of foreign oppression, it ran the risk of alienating one of their main friends in the world.

  2. You have to give France full credit. It moved heaven and earth to call on all its Middle Eastern and Muslim friends to show support for the captured men, and this groundswell of Muslim opinion may very well have saved the lives of the men. Americans should comtemplate what would happen if George Bush tried a similar effort to save the lives of American hostages (not that he ever would try to save an American hostage). He would have been met with all the contempt he deserves. Sometimes being considered to be the asshole of the world has a cost.

  3. The attempt of the moron kidnappers to force the French to change their law banning headscarves in schools was an utter failure. Democracies can't bow to such pressure. It is one thing to stop doing what you shouldn't be doing anyway, and withdraw your troops from Iraq, but entirely another thing to alter your own properly passed domestic legislation due to blackmail. France was absolutely right not to even consider changing its laws, just as the Philippines was absolutely right to withdraw its troops to save the life of one of its citizens.

  4. The first day of the French headscarf ban went without incident, with almost total compliance. My guess is that most Muslim girls are quite happy to have a legal excuse to dump the medieval patriarchal symbol that they are some man's property (and let's face the fact that the real reason for the insistence on headscarfs has nothing to do with religion or tradition, and everything to do with patriarchy). Amongst those who added their voices to the request for the release of the hostages was the French Muslim community, and the attempt at blackmailing the French state had the effect of removing almost all the opposition to the headscarf ban. The hostage taking put into stark contrast the brutality of fundamentalism, as against the wisdom of the French secular state. French secularism is what protects all its citizens, including its Muslim citizens, from the violent stupidity of fundamentalism.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The UN Resolution on Lebanon

In case you're thinking the poor, embattled neocons are still smarting from the recent Israeli spy scandal, or hope that they are under siege and have lost their power, think again! As if to show who is still in charge, the United States is now going after Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon is proposing to modify its constitution to allow its current pro-Syrian president to rule for another three years. The United States - with the backing of France, a backing which may cost some Frenchmen in Iraq their heads! - will propose a draft resolution before the United Nations rejecting that amendment and insisting that Syrian troops immediately leave Lebanon (on this whole issue, including the question of Syrian-American relations, see this comment from an outstanding blog on Syria called 'Syria Comment'). The Americans threaten that not following the terms of this resolution will lead to the taking of 'additional measures'. I don't think having Syrian troops in Lebanon is such a great idea, but the Lebanese apparently prefer them to the alternative of Israeli troops, and it should be up to Lebanon to make this choice. It is ironic that it is the United States, of all countries, that is upset at the presence of foreign troops in a country in the Middle East. After Iraq, it is a sick joke for an American State Department spokesman to be worrying about "Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity". You might be asking yourself what is the great strategic interest of the United States in meddling in the internal politics of Lebanon. Of course, there is absolutely no good reason for the United States to be involved in this issue. It is being done entirely for the interests of Israel, which apparently feels that the presence of Syrian troops complicates Israeli plans to annex parts of southern Lebanon. So in the middle of a series of scandals involving alleged improper influence of Israel on American foreign policy, what do the neocons do? They produce a draft UN resolution which clearly evidences improper Israeli influence on American foreign policy. Do you think they are worried in the least about the 'investigations' that are going on? Do you think they've lost any power in Washington?

How does Israel do it?

Here is an excellent article by James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya which answers the question:

"How was the Israeli state able to influence the US imperial state into pursuing a series of wars, which would imperil its own imperial economic and security interests and further those of Israel?"

Here's a representative quote from the article:

" . . . the territorial Israeli state has little power of persuasion, economic reach or military clout in comparison to the major powers (Europe and the U.S.). The power of Israel is based on the Diaspora, the highly structured and politically and economically powerful Jewish networks which have direct and indirect access to the centers of power and propaganda in the most powerful imperial country in the world. Tribute is exacted via the influence of these 'internal colonialists' who operate at the level of mass media opinion makers and via Congress and the Presidency. Close to 50% of the funding of the Democratic Party comes from pro-Israeli Jews. For every dollar spent by the Jewish networks in influencing voting outcomes, the Israeli state receives $50 in aid to finance the building and arming of colonial settlement in the Occupied Territories complete with swimming pools, Rumanian gardeners and Filipino maids."

and another, making a particularly strong point how the Israeli paranoid syndrome is now the American paranoid syndrome:

"Even more dangerous is the irrational paranoia which the colons transfer from Israeli politics to the U.S. All Arabs are suspect. Middle Eastern adversaries should be threatened if not bombed. Secret military tribunals and summary justice should be meted out to suspected terrorists. The mass media is especially tuned to pick up the Israeli paranoid syndrome: magnifying every threat, featuring Israeli resolution and efficiency against Arab 'terrorists'. The paranoid style of politics had led to Israel's attacks on Arab countries in the Middle East, espionage on the U.S., illegal purchase of nuclear devices in the U.S. and unremitting violence against Palestinians and Lebanese. The danger is that the assimilation of the paranoid style by the U.S. has vast consequences not only for the Mid-East but for the rest of the world and to democratic freedom in the U.S."

If Americans would read this article, the paper "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" (written by, amongst others, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser), and the paper "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" by Oded Yinon, they might start to understand who hijacked their country and crashed it into Iraq.