Sunday, February 27, 2005

The incriminating videotape

Haaretz reports:

"In a videotape made prior to the Friday suicide bombing that killed four people in Tel Aviv, bomber Abdullah Badran declared that the attack was intended to do harm to the Palestinian Authority, which he said served the interests of the United States.

The Damascus-based leadership of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack at the entrance to a beachfront nightclub, saying that it was in retaliation for what a Jihad official called Israel's violation of the Israeli-Palestinian truce concluded at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit on February 8.

The aim of the bombing was 'to attack the self-rule Authority, which acts according to American interests,' Badran, 21, said on the tape. Badran was a resident of a Tul Karm-area West Bank village located adjacent to the separation fence."


Makes sense, except for one minor detail. If your goal is to kill yourself in a suicide bombing in order to frame the Palestinian Authority, why would you leave behind a videotape which admits your plan and thus completely undermines the frame-up?

Neocon Anti-Turkish slander

The Agonist does a good job of tying the slanderous attack on Turkey by Robert J. Pollock of the War Street Journal to a similarly slanderous attack on Turkey by Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute. Note the logic of Rubin's analysis: Turkey's economy is doing well, the Saudis have lots of money to invest (having drawn billions out of the U. S. economy), therefore the strength of the Turkish economy must rest on an influx of Saudi money, bringing with it the vile influence of Saudi Islamist politics on Turkey. Not a shred of proof for any of this, of course. The facts are that Turkey is moving rather definitively towards policies which will see it enter the European Union, and the neocons are trying to stop this with the usual parade of AEI lies.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Everybody did it

From the Israelinsider (my emphasis in bold):

"Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz blamed Syria on Saturday for a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv, and also froze plans to hand over security responsibilities in the West Bank to the Palestinians.

Abbas angrily accused a 'third party' of orchestrating the suicide bombing to sabotage the Mideast peace process, and his security officials directly said the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah was involved.

In Beirut, however, Hezbollah denied the accusations, and Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group, claimed responsibility from Lebanon, reversing initial denials by its members in the Palestinian territories."


Confused yet? Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades both emphatically denied involvement on Friday night. Is the newest theory that the Syrians are trying to destroy the state of Israel one disco-er at a time? One of the many other stories, ascribed to a "senior Palestinian security official", was that the suicide bomber was hired by Hezbollah. Hired? I hear there's good money in a career as a suicide bomber. Of course, it really doesn't matter who did it, as the Israeli solution is always the same (back to the Israelinsider; my emphasis in bold):

"Israeli security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the truce no longer applied to Islamic Jihad militants in the Palestinian territories, and said they may resume assassinations of the group's leaders.

A resumption of Israel's targeted killings of wanted militants, which Israel recently agreed to halt, would likely mean the end of the cease-fire.

Further straining the cease-fire, Mofaz ordered a freeze in plans to withdraw troops from five West Bank towns and hand over security responsibilities to the Palestinians. The handover is among the most significant gestures by Israel in the wake of the cease-fire."


The only people who benefited from this bombing are extreme right-wingers in Israel who don't want any concessions made to advance the peace process.

Reoccupation of southern Lebanon

I'm wondering, with all the talk of an American-Israeli attack on Iran, whether we are being misdirected. After all, the Americans are hardly likely to tip their hand, if for no other reason that having insider knowledge of the next American victim gives the possessors of such knowledge a way to make money. I wouldn't be shocked to see the next attack made on a surprising and somewhat easier target, sort of a neocon palate-cleanser between feastings on the blood of innocent civilians. What about Zimbabwe? It's on the list of evildoers, it would be easy to knock over with relatively few civilian casualties, Bob Mugabe seems to have lost his marbles, no one would complain much, and the United States could gain some much-needed credibility by providing some form of 'democracy' and 'freedom'. Not to mention that the whole county is loaded with minerals for the Bush-Cheney crime syndicate to steal. The whole debacle of Mark Thatcher may have slowed them up, but Zimbabwe would be perfect while waiting for the next big target to be lined up.


So what is the next big target? Scott Ritter says Iran, in June. Ritter was right in everything he wrote about Iraq, so he has a great deal of credibility. I wonder. The Americans could certainly bomb Iran - air out some of those new bunker-busting nukes! - but even the neocons must realize that such an attack would only solidify, and enrage, the current Iranian leadership, which would seek revenge by making Iraq even more of a mess than it is today. 'Regime change' would require hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground - Iran will be a much more formidable target than the heavily weakened, and much smaller, Iraq - and the Americans simply don't got 'em. They've been quietly removing troops from Iraq, and have pulled back the tsunami troops, but in the absence of a draft they can't fight a proper war in Iran. If Iran is not the target, who is?


What if Iran is a ruse to provide an excuse for the real target? We've seen some odd things in recent weeks:


  1. Israel agreeing to move parts of the wall closer to where it should have been in the first place, and talking seriously about removing some of the more remote settlements.

  2. Israel taking steps, in clear contravention of the 'roadmap', to establish permanent ownership of the settlement blocks closest to the Green Line, and in particular around Jerusalem.

  3. Both Rice and Bush stating that Israel will have to make some concessions. Bush's European speech called on Israel to:

    "freeze settlement activity, help Palestinians build a thriving economy and ensure that a new Palestinian state is truly viable, with contiguous territory on the West Bank. A state of scattered territories will not work."

    (has hell frozen over?)

  4. Sharon musing that recent Israeli moves will require some corresponding movements of the border in favor of the Palestinians.

  5. The assassination of Hariri (this article by Patrick Seale is amazingly forthright in casting blame).

  6. The American-sponsored 'Orange Revolution' in Lebanon, part of the ongoing American plan to use manipulated calls for democracy to achieve American colonial goals.

  7. Instability in the clearly spooked Syrian leadership, who know that they've been had with the assassination of Hariri, with accompanying promises to begin to move Syrian troops out of Lebanon.

  8. A rare suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, immediately blamed on Hezbollah in Lebanon (although Hezbollah denies having anything to do with it).


Whatever can it all mean?


What if the real goal was to force Syrian troops out of Lebanon, in order to allow Israel to reoccupy southern Lebanon on the excuse that it is acting in self-defense - the usual Israeli excuse - from attacks on it from Iran-sponsored Hezbollah? The argument would be that Iran is using Hezbollah as its proxy to gain revenge on the United States and Israel for all the pressure being put on Iran over its nuclear program. Iran, itself, would be left for a later date when the Americans have more troops. Sharon, whose biggest personal embarrassment remains southern Lebanon, could go out a hero having recaptured the lands Israel had to so ignominiously abandon. Israel covets not only the land, but its water supply. The border adjustments for the Palestinians could be taken care of much more comfortably with Israel in control of all the new land in Lebanon. This land would be the treat offered by Rice to Sharon in return for the temporary concessions required to lure the Palestinians into their concentration camps, and would constitute a fine extension to the Project of building Greater Israel. As an additional bonus, relations with Syria would be so terrible that Israel would no longer have to worry about negotiations to return the Golan Heights. With this massive blow to Syrian prestige, the Syrian government may blow up on its own, and in any event would pose no immediate threat requiring another immediate American attack. That can wait for later.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ronald Henry Tammen, Jr.

Ronald Henry Tammen, Jr. is another spooky disappearance from the Doe Network (see also here).

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

If you're exactly like me you've been wondering - just in the last few days in fact - whatever happened to William Zantzinger, the killer in the great Bob Dylan protest song "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" (note the superb lyrics to this hypnotic song). I'd even done the math to figure that he'd still possibly be alive. Ian Frazier answers my questions.

CIA-Contra dirty tricks in Nicaragua

The United States is trying to force the Nicaraguan Army to give up its supply of SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, allegedly on the basis that they might fall into the hands of international terrorists. Of course, the real reason is that the Americans fear a return to power of the Sandinistas, and want to maintain their monopoly of violence over Central America so nobody can defend themselves (the same reason why the Americans complained about the recent announcement that Venezuela was purchasing defensive weapons from Russia, and, for that matter, why the U. S. is angry that the Russians propose to supply defensive weapons to Syria). The Nicaraguans have destroyed 1000 missiles, but have resisted the heavy American pressure and will maintain an arsenal of 20 percent of the total. As backing to the American fears, two men were recently arrested and convicted of planning to sell such a missile. And now the good part (or here; my emphasis in bold):

"One of the men convicted of selling a SAM-7 surface-to-air missile in Nicaragua, Jorge Ivan Pineda, said he was paid $1,000 by the CIA to buy the weapon and that the whole thing was planned at a meeting in the US embassy in the presence of the US ambassador Barbara Moore on Dec. 23 2004. The head of the Nicaragua Army, Gen. Javier Carrion, said he believes there could be an international campaign to discredit his institution.

According to Pineda, two former contras were also present at the meeting at the US embassy. These two men went by the names of 'Cascabel' and 'Arandu' and were the ones who obtained the weapon, which had never been in possession of the Nicaragua Army but was one of 100 SAM-7 missiles that the US government had given to the contras to fight against the Sandinista government in the 1980s. These weapons have never been recovered and apparently are still in the possession of ex-contra fighters in the northern mountains of Nicaragua.

Pineda went on to claim that Silva Clarence, the head of the anti-drug directorate in the National Police force, is really an undercover CIA agent. Those who orchestrated the whole thing, says Pineda, 'even asked 'Cascabel' and 'Arandu' to take a photo of the weapon as proof. This photo would be shown to Bolaños and Moore.'"


With Negroponte running all American intelligence, and CIA-Contra dirty tricks in Nicaragua, it feels like the 1980's have returned.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I Don't Support Our Troops

Superb political satire entitled "I Support The Occupation Of Iraq, But I Don't Support Our Troops" from The Onion:

"I support Bush-administration foreign-policy goals, but I stand firmly against the individual men and women on the ground in the Persian Gulf.

Yes, occupying Iraq does require troops, but they are there for one reason and one reason only: to carry out the orders of the U.S. Defense Department. As far as their overall importance goes, they are no more worthy of our consideration than a box of nails."


and:

"I'd like to ask those currently trumpeting their support for the troops a question: Have you ever actually met any of these soldiers in person? Well, I have, and believe me, they are no more impressive than any other low-level functionary of a large institution."


It never ceases to amaze me how the political right in the United States manages to cloak all manner of violent stupidity by claiming that even raising questions about American foreign policy amounts to an attack on American troops.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Gannongate and 9-11

Forget about Gannon. The only reason he has been interesting is the purient part of his story. I'm reading more and more about how everyone in the White House, up to and including Rove and Bush, is as gay as Paul Lynde, which just reflects the deep homophobia in the coverage of Gannongate. The gay aspect is a red herring. The deep politics aspect of the story is the connection between the White House, conservative e-mail harvester and fundraiser Bruce W. Eberle, and GOPUSA President Bobby Eberle. Bobby Eberle's eyewitness testimony of Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon is the big break we've been waiting for, the first tiny window into the American conspiracy behind 9-11.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

America arms the 'deadenders'

From the Asia Times:

"Now it emerges that there is a strong movement in southern Iraq for the establishment of autonomous Shi'ite provinces as a precursor to introducing vilayet-e-faqih (rule by the clergy) in the whole country.

Of these calls for autonomy or federalism, the most disconcerting for US authorities is the call for religious rule. Already, leading Shi'ite clerics in Iraq are pushing for 'Islam to be recognized as the guiding principle of the new constitution'.

To head off this threat of a Shi'ite clergy-driven religious movement, the US has, according to Asia Times Online investigations, resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population to 'nip the evil in the bud'.

Asia Times Online has learned that in a highly clandestine operation, the US has procured Pakistan-manufactured weapons, including rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry. Consignments have been loaded in bulk onto US military cargo aircraft at Chaklala airbase in the past few weeks. The aircraft arrived from and departed for Iraq.

The US-armed and supported militias in the south will comprise former members of the Ba'ath Party, which has already split into three factions, only one of which is pro-Saddam Hussein. They would be expected to receive assistance from pro-US interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord.

A military analyst familiar with strategic and proxy operations commented that there is a specific reason behind procuring arms from Pakistan, rather than acquiring US-made ones.

'A similar strategy was adopted in Afghanistan during the initial few years of the anti-USSR resistance [the early 1980s] movement where guerrillas were supplied with Chinese-made AK-47 rifles [which were procured by Pakistan with US money], Egyptian and German-made G-3 rifles. Similarly, other arms, like anti-aircraft guns, short-range missiles and mortars, were also procured by the US from different countries and supplied to Pakistan, which handed them over to the guerrillas,' the analyst maintained.

The obvious reason for this tactic is to give the impression that the resistance acquired its arms and ammunition from different channels and from different countries - and anywhere other than the United States."


If your head doesn't explode, follow this up with some information from Time:

". . . after nearly two years of fighting, parts of the insurgency in Iraq are prepared to talk and move toward putting away their arms - and the U.S. is willing to listen. An account of the secret meeting between the senior insurgent negotiator and the U.S. military officials was provided to TIME by the insurgent negotiator. He says two such meetings have taken place. While U.S. officials would not confirm the details of any specific meetings, sources in Washington told TIME that for the first time the U.S. is in direct contact with members of the Sunni insurgency, including former members of Saddam's Baathist regime.

Pentagon officials say the secret contacts with insurgent leaders are being conducted mainly by U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers. A Western observer close to the discussions says that 'there is no authorized dialogue with the insurgents' but that the U.S. has joined 'back-channel' communications with rebels. Says the observer: 'There's a lot bubbling under the surface today.'"


So the Americans are retrying the successful 1980's operation in Afghanistan against the Soviets - you know, the one which established al Qaeda and bin Laden - by covertly supplying arms to the Ba'athist insurgents. Contrary to how this is described in the Asia Times, such arms will not only fail to 'nip in the bud' the break-up of the country, it will go a long way to ensuring that such a break-up is inevitable. The Asia Times lets the cat out of the bag:

"People from different walks of life from Basra and other southern provinces can be heard on television and radio channels demanding a federal system in which southern Shi'ites could govern their oil resources for their benefit.

Notably, Ahmad Chalabi, a leading secular Shi'ite candidate in the Iraqi elections, has called for autonomy for the Shi'ite south, which contains some of the world's largest oil fields. Chalabi, a former US favorite who fell out with Washington after the 2003 invasion, said the move would ensure a fairer share of wealth for a region that provides the bulk of Iraqi revenue but receives only a fraction of state spending. The mainly Shi'ite southern provinces of Amara, Nasiriya and Basra are Iraq's poorest, Chalabi said."


Despite a falling out a while ago, Chalabi is still the main neocon agent in Iraq, which explains how he is still hanging around despite having no real power base in the country. The plan is to arm the insurgency to assist in creating the civil war which will eventually force the creation of three mini-states in Iraq. Chalabi is working the political angles, and the newly-armed insurgency will work the military angles. All of this leads to the Likudnik goal of breaking Arab states up into small unthreatening statelets. The funny thing is that these Ba'athist insurgents will use many of these American-supplied weapons to kill American soldiers, but I guess the goals of Israel are worth a few more dead Americans.

Bobby Eberle, eyewitness

Here are some quotes (or here) for the coincidence theorists:

"It was a beautiful Tuesday morning in Washington, DC. The sky was blue; the air was crisp; and millions of Americans were making their way to their jobs just like they did on any other day. But this was no ordinary day. In fact it was a day that would change my life and change the course of American history. On this day, September 11, 2001, I rode with the top down in my friend's convertible along the highway toward the Pentagon. As I listened in disbelief to the radio reports of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, I was snapped back into reality by the roar of jet engines only a couple hundred feet above my head. Flight 77 then crashed in front of my eyes in a fiery explosion into the Pentagon."


and (or here):

"With the Pentagon in sight, the roar of jet engines quickly filled the air. I looked over my left shoulder and saw the aircraft only a couple hundred feet over head. It was so loud and so low and so fast, and I knew in an instant that something was terribly wrong. I wanted to scream, but the only words that would come out were 'Oh no.' A few seconds later, American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon and exploded in a burst of flame right in front of my eyes."


The author of these fine eyewitness statements? Bobby Eberle, President and CEO of GOPUSA. I have speculated that at least some of the witnesses to the crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon were ringers planted by the conspirators. What are the chances that Eberle, whose name has come up prominently in Gannongate, was an eyewitness to the crash? Those who are so certain that the testimony of eyewitnesses means that Flight 77 must have crashed into the Pentagon, despite the enormous amount of physical evidence to the contrary, just might want to give their heads a shake and rethink things. If the evidence of the crash of Flight 77 is so goddamn clear, why did the operators in the Republican Party feel the need to gild the lily?

A one-two JFK/LBJ assassination scenario

Anyone interested in 'alternative' American history might like to read these two threads on possible patsy Robert Babcock (an odd coincidence is that the name 'Robert Babcock' also appears in the Warren Commission exhibits [p. 7 of pdf]), Barry Goldwater, Prescott Bush, and the assassination of JFK (see also here). It's never made a whole lot of sense for the right-wingers to kill Kennedy to get Johnson, as Johnson was fundamentally a much more progressive politician than Kennedy was or would have been (I know that is not the general view, but just look at the legislative record of Johnson on income distribution and civil rights). I've never heard the Babcock story before (is there any confirmation?), but a one-two JFK/LBJ assassination scenario to put Goldwater in the White House makes perfect sense. It's long been suspected that George H. W. Bush was in Dallas working for the CIA on November 22, 1963, and was somehow involved in the assassination (see here or here - note the involvement of Preston Bush, George H. W.'s father, in Nixon's career - and here and here). Was he there because of a Prescott Bush/Barry Goldwater plot? Prescott Bush is perhaps unfairly ignored in the covert history of the United States. Barry Goldwater's spirit is still alive in Washington in the person of John McCain. If the Republicans start to falter on the economy or the Zionist wars, watch for McCain to be touted as the new alternative.

Two theories on Hariri

Two theories on Hariri's assassination:

  1. The Yinon theory, as expressed in Aljazeera.net:

    "Bushra al-Khalil, a Lebanese lawyer and political activist, told Aljazeera.net the plot against al-Hariri's life also targeted Syria.

    'If we look at the way the assassination has been conducted, it is very sophisticated, I knew al-Hariri's security measures - no local system could have breached them.

    'The question is, who stands to benefit from his death? Syria's enemies. I think al-Hariri's death is part of the plan to divide the region into tiny helpless sectarian states. This plan has started in Iraq and it will continue to hit all other Arab countries.'"


  2. The theory that it is part of the preparations for the attack on Iran, as Israel wants Syrian troops out of Lebanon so that it will have a free hand to attack Hezbollah. It is unclear whether Israel fears Iran will retaliate against Israel using Hezbollah, or whether Israel will use the cover and confusion of the attack on Iran to finish off Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah remains the only Arab force to have ever defeated Israel on the field of battle, and thus is an ongoing embarrassment to Israeli leadership, not to mention an obstacle to the theft of lands in southern Lebanon which the great land thief Israel still covets.

The decline of the American empire

From an interview by Saul Landau of Ricardo Alarcon Quesada, the Vice President of Cuba (my emphasis in bold):

"Although the US remains the biggest military power, it has trouble controlling a rather small country like Iraq, which it almost destroyed by bombing and an economic embargo before the war. The reality is that US is only the most powerful entity in one area: information and communication.

It was the only dominant force at end of the Second World War, the only nuclear power. Nagasaki and Hiroshima, by the way, are the only cases in which nuclear power has been used destructively. They were not employed by a terrorist state, but by the US democracy - allegedly to defeat Japan. At that time and later, during the Marshall Plan, the US was at the top. Since then it has been declining. That does not mean it is a country in disarray, but it is going downward.

To answer this downhill slide, in my opinion, came the neo-cons who believe that by using the United States' comparatively limited economic and large military resources, but especially by exploiting their advantage in terms of communication technology and near monopoly of information media, they can reverse the trend. That is impossible. The US cannot turn the world back to 1945 and reappear as the only power in the world. The US needs to learn to live in a diverse world with different players, different ideologies and interests and not to pretend to be the owner of the planet."


The American empire is the first empire not to be built on military strength - the United States loses all the wars it fights - or on economic strength - its staggering economy is entirely dependent on the continued goodwill of its lenders - but on advertising its identity as an empire in the media. Since it is only an empire because people believe it to be an empire, its fall from power will be as sudden as the world realizing what a pile of bullshit the American empire really is.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Jeff Gannon

I've been reading all this stuff on the 'Jeff Gannon' scandal, and I just don't see it. The lefty bloggers seem to think that this represents hypocrisy in the Republican Party, but someone else might say that this fascination with outing someone in the White House just represents an anti-gay agenda amongst the lefty bloggers. It's probable that someone in the White House is gay, and introduced Gannon as a ringer who could ask soft questions to guide the discussion in a Republican-friendly direction. If this person is outed and forced to resign by the lefty bloggers, will this represent a victory for truth and justice? What if this secret gay guy in the White House turns out to be one of the moderating influences?


Gannon is just a hustler, and figured the hustling in the White House press corps was more lucrative, if far more degrading, than what he did at night. The sad fact is that Gannon wasn't noticed for months because his questions were no different than those asked by the likes of hustler Wolf Blitzer (and everyone else except for Helen Thomas). It's quite true that if this had happened in the Clinton White House, CNN would be covering it 24/7, and would have commissioned special theme music for it. So we have more proof that there is hypocrisy in the Republican Party, and the networks are terribly biased. So what? More proof of these things won't change anyone's mind about anything. This scandal is just a reflection of frustration amongst those who live in a country with an immense number of real scandals - Gitmo, illegal wars, killing civilians, torturing people to death, class warfare, environmental degradation - not one of which seems to cause even the slightest ripple in the consciousness, or conscience, of the nation.


Although there is a long history of sexual blackmail in Washington, there is not one piece of evidence that Gannon was connected to any of that, and hints of such things, or comments about the legality of what Gannon was doing in his other job, just smack of homophobia. If there is more to this than we have already seen - and the diggers should, of course, keep digging - I know one thing: Gannon is a dead man walking.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The stand-up comedy of Douglas Feith

Douglas Feith, in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, indicates that he intends to become a stand-up comedian after he leaves the Bush Administration:

"In the war on terrorism, one of the key strategic challenges is this: How can we fight a global war against enemies who are present in so many countries with whom we are not at war? Indeed, many of these countries are friends of ours.

To contemplate that question is to come to understand why the United States cannot possibly win the war on terrorism by military means alone – or by itself alone. The United States can win the war – it can defeat terrorist extremism as a threat to our way of life as a free and open society – only through cooperation with allies and partners around the world.

Now, this may strike you as a shockingly non-unilateralist pronouncement. Perhaps you will conclude that it represents the new diplomatic tone of the new term of this Bush presidency. In fact, recognition that allies and partners are indispensable to the war effort has animated U.S. strategy since 9/11. Top U.S. officials have said so for years, though statements to this effect tended to be ignored or underplayed by folks wedded to the thesis, as common as it is false, that the administration is run by fools committed to go-it-alone-ism in national security affairs. But I digress."

Rafiq Hariri and cui bono?

Bill Van Auken, discussing the big cui bono? question involving the assassination of Rafiq Hariri:

"The Post's brief against Damascus is based on the well-known detective’s maxim: to discover who committed a crime, ask the question, 'Who benefits?' Washington's newspaper of record asks the question in order to supply its predetermined answer: 'the rogue regime in Damascus.'

But precisely how has Syria benefited from the murder? Its immediate concrete consequences are mass demonstrations organized by anti-Syrian political forces in Lebanon demanding that Damascus withdraw its troops from the country, a ratcheting up of Washington's threats of anti-Syrian military aggression, and the prospect of Lebanon descending into civil war."


I can't think of another example of a case where the party so generally accused of the crime was more harmed by the results of the crime. Are we supposed to believe that the Syrians are insane and/or stupid? Do they want to invite an American-Israeli attack? Do they want to provide the biggest excuse possible to force them to leave Lebanon? As Mike Whitney puts it:

"The likelihood that Syria was involved in the assassination is zilch. One can hardly imagine a greater disaster for poor Syria who has been scrambling to avoid the American bludgeon for the last four years. Few people realize that Syria provided more assistance in the first year of the war on terror after 9-11 than any other nation."


You may remember Seymour Hersh reporting how U. S. officials rebuffed Syrian efforts to cooperate in the war on terror by supplying its excellent intelligence on Muslim extremist groups. Hersh wrote:

"In Washington, there was anger about what many officials saw as the decision of the Bush Administration to choose confrontation with Syria over day-to-day help against Al Qaeda. In a sense, the issue was not so much Syria itself as a competition between ideology and practicality - and between the drive to go to war in Iraq and the need to fight terrorism - which has created a deep rift in the Bush Administration. The collapse of the liaison relationship has left many C.I.A. operatives especially frustrated. 'The guys are unbelievably pissed that we're blowing this away,' a former high-level intelligence official told me. 'There was a great channel at Aleppo. The Syrians were a lot more willing to help us, but they' - Rumsfeld and his colleagues -'want to go in there next.'

'There is no security relationship now,' a Syrian foreign-ministry official told me. 'It saddens us as much as it saddens you. We could give you information on organizations that we don't think should exist. If we help you on Al Qaeda, we are helping ourselves.' He added, almost plaintively, that if Washington had agreed to discuss certain key issues in a back channel, 'we'd have given you more. But when you publicly try to humiliate a country it'll become stubborn.'"


There has never been a more clear example of how the 'war on terror' has nothing to do with terrorism, and everything to do with hiding Washington's - and Tel Aviv's - real goals. Van Auken continues:

"The powers that most clearly stood to advance their strategic aims by having Hariri assassinated and blaming the crime on Syria are the US and Israel. Among those who play the game of speculating who organized the car bombing in Beirut, the smart money is undoubtedly on Washington and Tel Aviv."


and:

"The maneuvers against Syria manifest as well the unprecedented coordination of US and Israeli policy in the region. Damascus is a primary target because it has provided sanctuary to Palestinian groups that have opposed Israel, including the Islamist organization Hamas. It has also failed to curb the growing influence of the Lebanese Shiite movement, Hezbollah, which forced Israeli troops out of southern Lebanon after 20 years of occupation. It is hoped in both Washington and Tel Aviv that either forcing Syrian troops out of Lebanon or carrying out 'regime change' in Damascus will undermine Hezbollah’s position and open the door for renewed Israeli control on both sides of its northern border."


and (most interesting):

"The timing of the assassination, barely a week after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced their truce in Egypt, is noteworthy. It is quite possible that any limited concessions the Israeli regime may agree to make as part of the 'peace process' with the Palestinians will be repaid by Washington giving the green light for Israeli provocations and military actions against Syria."


Van Auken concludes with a discussion of the infamous 'Clean Break' report, co-authored by David Wurmser, Cheney's adviser on the Middle East, and a short summary of Mossad assassinations, usually involving remote-controlled car bombs, in Lebanon. There are many cases where it is difficult to determine who was behind an atrocity. This one is easy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pipes versus Chamish

Daniel Pipes seems to have decided to make his career as the Savaronola of American academia, effectively a book-burner of anything which criticizes, even vaguely, the Likudnik project for the creation of Greater Israel. It must be difficult for Pipes, the son of a famous academic following in his father's footsteps, all the while hearing the muffled jeers that his whole academic career is based on nepotism, and he is getting his revenge by systematically attacking freedom of speech in American universities. This has all been on the guise that such free speech is anti-Semitic, or supports 'terrorism', but his real goal is obviously to suppress any talk that might interfere with the Likudnik goal. He has finally given himself away in a bizarre attack on the Israel Insider, putting pressure on it to stop publishing the writings of Barry Chamish. This was supposed to be a secret - a conspiracy, if you will, to surreptitiously repress free speech, and ironically one of the few occasions when the conspiracy referred to by Chamish comes to light - but the honesty of the Israel Insider let the cat out of the bag.


The Israel Insider is obviously ultra-Zionist and completely supportive of the most extreme Likudnik positions. Their editorial rants are scary, but they do attempt to cover the news accurately (I think it is fair to say that Israeli news sources on the Middle East and Israel are always considerably more accurate than the lying and/or incompetent efforts of the disgusting American press). They also publish the writings of Barry Chamish. Chamish is also a Zionist, but more importantly, a truth-seeker. He is one of the few who dares criticize the inner workings of the Israeli state, and in particular one of the few who criticizes the obviously sanitized story of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, an assassination with obvious conspiracy ties to the highest levels of the Israeli establishment. Rabin was killed by people who wanted to stop the peace process, as peace would end their deranged dream of Greater Israel. These same people are still in power in Israel.


There is a long history of connecting the Jewish people with conspiracies and secret societies, with the accompanying suggestion that the minority Jewish population is secretly undermining the societies in which they live in the accomplishment of their covert goals. Unfortunately, there is a tendency amongst supporters of Israel to substantiate these fears, with the clear suppression of any talk which might give 'outsiders' any leverage over the Jewish state. The Jews have to hang together over Israel, no matter what it does, or hang apart in a new Holocaust. Jewish liberals are as aghast at what is going on as the rest of us, but repress their misgivings for fear of giving a weapon to enemies of Israel. The fact that the latest faked rocket attack on Israel was revealed by members of the IDF itself is a welcome development, and may indicate that Israel is finally reaching a state of maturity and comfort with itself that the truth, however unpleasant, can be told.


Pipes completely gives himself away in his insistence that the Israel Insider stop publishing Chamish. Chamish's writings can't possibly be called anti-Semitic, or anti-Zionist, or anti-Israeli, or pro-terrorist. Chamish thinks that Israel is the victim of a larger anti-Zionist conspiracy involving the highest levels of the American establishment. He may be wrong in this, but there is no obvious reason to suppress his right to express his point of view. By connecting the leaders of Israel to the Council on Foreign Relations, he expressly attacks the self-righteous nature of the stated goals of the Israeli leadership. The only thing Chamish undermines - and I note that I doubt Chamish would support my characterization - is the reputation of Israeli leadership, and in particular the unholy alliance of the most crazed religious nuts with the leaders of the Likud party and the Israeli military, a combination which may be employed by the CFR to destroy Israel in its long-term goal of American control over Middle Eastern oil. Pipes has finally gone too far and has revealed that he is not trying to stop anti-Semitism, or hateful speech. He is trying to repress talk of the darkest of Zionist secrets, as he and those he works for are afraid that the truth will stop the crazy religious goal of the creation of Greater Israel.


Reuven Koret of the Israel Insider, to his great credit, is refusing to buckle under to Pipes' considerable pressure. Regardless of what your political position, agreeing to the terms of censors and book-burners is simply wrong. Pipes has gone one step too far, and has revealed what he is really up to. He really ought to see a psychiatrist about these issues with his father.

More of the same in the Palestine

Eric Margolis throws some cold water on all the optimism about peace in Palestine:

"While Sharon and Abbas talk peace, Israel continues to expand settlements and expropriate Arab land. There are now 450,000 Jewish settlers on the West Bank, 200,000 of them in the illegally enlarged boundaries of Jerusalem.

Sharon's vision of a Palestinian 'entity' is three of four separate cantons, or apartheid-style Bantustans, isolated by Jewish-only security roads and checkpoints, all surrounded by a high 'security wall.'

Jewish settlements may occupy up to 58% of the West Bank. Palestine's air, land, sea and telecommunications contacts with the outside world will be entirely controlled by Israel. This is not peace. It's a penitentiary."


It is completely implausible to conclude that Zionist Arik Sharon and Christian Zionist Condi Rice woke up one morning and decided to allow the Palestinians to have a state sufficiently robust that it would block the establishment of Greater Israel. No, the Likudnik plan - to put the Palestinians in a series of what are effectively concentration camps, completely surrounded by constantly hounding and encroaching settlers and without any economic or political viability, give the camps a flag and call them a 'state', and wait for the inhabitants of the camps to slowly but steadily leave in despair - remains in full effect. The goal is to entice the Palestinians to agree to this trick with a combination of rhetoric and relief from some of the worst breaches of international law imposed on them by the state of Israel, and have the Palestinian leadership fall into the trap of collaborating in their own destruction. There are elements of the Jewish collaboration with the Nazis here - an irony not lost on the Holocaust-obsessed Zionists - where Jewish leaders participated in the eventual destruction of Jews, all on the hopes that cooperation would lead to an acceptable compromise, never realizing that compromise wasn't on the agenda of the Nazis. Compromise is also impossible for the Zionists, and you will notice that with the 'concessions' by Israel we have not seen one attempt to comply with the terms of the 'road map'. All the real concessions have been by the Palestinians, particularly the decision by Abbas to take over the destructive job of policing his own freedom fighters (a mistake that Arafat also made, which led to the intifada). The proposed withdrawal from Gaza, much touted as part of the peace process, is simply another tactical way for Israel to isolate the Palestinians in separated settlements, and allow the misery imposed by the uninhabitable nature of the settlements to take its course. Israel has just announced it would be building a new settlement in the West Bank to house some of the current inhabitants of Gaza, an announcement so utterly incompatible with the 'road map' that it is almost surreal, and reveals the true plans of the Likudniks. There will be no peace in the Middle East until there is sane leadership in Washington.

Who won the Iraqi elections? The neocons!

I keep reading that the Americans suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Iraqi election, with the results now effectively establishing a Shi'ite theocracy controlled by Iran. This is certainly a further blow to American prestige, and demonstrates the hollowness of Bush's talk about 'freedom', but is it really a blow for the neocons? Their interests are definitely not the same as the interests of the United States. The neocons have but two goals, not necessarily in this order:

  • gain control of all the Middle Eastern oil fields so that they may use such control to dominate the world (and in particular to blackmail the rest of the world into continuing to fund American profligacy); and

  • establish Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.


The neocons could care less about the type of government in Iraq, as the oil fields will continue to be guarded by a huge contingent of American troops. Actually, they would prefer a dictatorial theocracy, as it would further fuel their arguments that the Arab mind isn't capable of understanding democracy, and thus that the Middle East should continue to be run by 'strong men' compliant with the interests of the American empire. Of course, Greater Israel cannot occur until the country of Iraq is broken up. As Oded Yinon wrote in 1982 (italics in the 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."

As I wrote a while ago (see also here and here):

"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."


Now we're supposed to believe that this phony election, staged by the neocons and run by the Pentagon, with the votes counted without any effective international monitoring, represents a defeat for the neocons? I don't think so. Those who do the counting get exactly the result they want. With the Sunnis effectively completely powerless, and at the mercy of their historic enemies, the Shi'ites, and the Kurds feeling overly powerful due to their relatively strong showing, we have all the elements set up for a complete break-up of the country into three parts, all burdened by ongoing wars and violence. Once the Kurds form their own state Turkey will have to become involved, and the war will ruin relations with Turkey's Kurdish population, thus permanently queering Turkey's chances of getting into the EU (once Turkey is part of Europe, with Turkey's enormous population of consumers and producers, it's game over for the American Hegemon). The Sunnis will never accept Shi'ite rule, and the continuing resistance will eventually lead to civil war. The neocons will be able to use alleged Iranian meddling in Iraq as one of their excuses for the new war on Iran, and the Great Game will again be afoot. The big danger that we're hearing about, that there will be an Iranian-dominated Shi'ite empire from Iran across central Iraq and into Lebanon, won't be a problem for the neocons once Iran is smoldering under American and Israeli nukes. Who won the Iraqi elections? The neocons!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Adderall

Health Canada has instructed Shire BioChem to withdraw its drug Adderall XR from the Canadian market. Adderall is used in the treatment of the 'disease' manufactured by the pharmaceutical-industrial complex called attention deficit disorder. I have a few comments:

  1. Before I start, I want to make clear that I have nothing whatsoever good to say about Health Canada, an obviously corrupt part of the Canadian government completely in the pocket of the major pharmaceutical companies.

  2. Even by the standards of the disgusting media, also completely in the pocket of the pharmaceutical companies, coverage of this issue has been woeful. Reading most of the articles, you would get the impression that Health Canada acted without any scientific basis, depriving children of a drug which they absolutely need. Note the typical quote from a concerned parent in the Globe and Mail article (or here):

    "Pam Eisen, a Toronto-area mother of a severe ADHD sufferer, said she is troubled and unsure what she will do if the 14-year-old can no longer get Adderall. 'My son has gone from not being interested in school at all, and being really disruptive, to being one of the most-improved students.'"


    Expect to see a lot more of this kind of propaganda quote. Will no one think of the children?

  3. Not to pick on the Globe, but it goes on to quote Dr. Umesh Jain, administrator of something called the Canadian ADD Resource Alliance - which sounds suspiciously like one of those supposedly independent health organizations set up as a front by the pharmaceutical companies - who says:

    "What are my patients supposed to do now? I have to slot them all in and find alternative treatments. But what happens if they don't have supply in the meantime? Do they have to go through withdrawal?"


    Cold turkey for the kiddies as they have to get off the horse!

  4. More help from Dr. Jain in the Globe

    "Dr. Jain, who is also a researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said he takes issue with Health Canada's interpretation of the safety data. He said among the 20 Adderall XR users who died suddenly, the vast majority had prior heart problems, and there is no evidence that children or adults with healthy hearts are at risk. 'If you take out the kids with prior cardiac difficulty, the difference in risk is negligible, Dr. Jain said."


    Contrast that with what a Health Canada official has to say from a CTV article:

    "Dr. Robert Peterson, director general of the Therapeutic Products Directorate noted that most of the victims had had no history of cardiac problems before their sudden deaths.

    'The adverse events that were identified are very rare, but they are also catastrophic,' he said in a conference call.

    He also noted that the deaths occurred in patients who were taking the prescription as directed, within the recommended dosage levels."


  5. Almost all the articles from the mass media focus on the issue of whether the decision made by Health Canada was the right one based on its interpretation of the scientific data. The FDA had reviewed the same data as Health Canada and had concluded that the problem could be dealt with in a warning label stating that Adderall XR should not be prescribed for people with 'structural cardiovascular abnormalities'. In fact, the issue only arose in Canada when Shire, probably fearing liability, asked Health Canada to consider the same warning label in Canada. Here's the good part. Health Canada only learned about the deaths during this review. In other words, Shire had hidden the deaths from Health Canada until it requested the label change. In fact, Shire had withheld information on some of the deaths which had occurred before the drug was originally approved for sale in Canada! From Medical News Today (my emphasis in bold):

    "In its warning, Health Canada stated that the 'identified risk of sudden death following the recommended doses cannot be managed by label changes' (Wall Street Journal, 2/10). Robert Peterson, director general of the Therapeutic Products Directorate at Health Canada, said, 'It was not possible for us to determine wording that would caution individuals about sudden death.' He added that Canadian officials had found 'instances where the sudden death occurred without underlying' cardiac factors that would explain it (Wilde Mathews et al., Wall Street Journal, 2/11). Peterson also noted that it would be difficult to warn patients about the risk of sudden death, adding, 'It's very difficult to generate a benefit-to-risk balance when the risk is sudden and unexpected death.' Peterson added that some of the deaths had not been previously reported to Health Canada and occurred years before Adderall XR received Canadian approval for sale. 'We were surprised to find these cases,' he said. Shire officials said the company forwarded reports of deaths to Canadian officials promptly (New York Times, 2/11). Shire said Health Canada learned about the deaths in November 2004, when the company sought to add a warning label to Adderall XR . ."


    Note that the Shire excuses at the end of the quoted text are inconsistent.

  6. From the New York Times:

    "A day after Canadian officials suspended the use of a hyperactivity drug amid reports of deaths associated with its use, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa contended that United States health officials had asked the Canadian regulators not to do so.

    Senator Grassley, a Republican, said on Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration had made the request of Canadian health officials because the F.D.A. could not handle another 'drug safety crisis.' Mr. Grassley said he was basing his contentions on reports from whistle-blowers within the agency."


    Senator Grassley is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Health Canada, perhaps proving that there is honor among thieves, denies the report. More from the New York Times (my emphasis in bold):

    "Dr. Peterson of Health Canada described discussions between the two regulatory bodies as 'collegial.'

    Differing health regulations govern the differing responses of the two agencies to the Adderall reports, Dr. Peterson said. Canadian law lets regulators suspend a drug's sales while safety questions are investigated; United States law does not."



You might think, given the increasingly bizarre 'diseases' being promoted by the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, and the increasingly toxic substances being prescribed to treat them, that the pharmaceutical industry would be the most regulated of all industries. In fact, as this incident clearly demonstrates, the pharmaceutical industry is completely unregulated. Health Canada only looks good here in comparison with the useless FDA, which obscures the fact that this is the first time Health Canada has ever done anything. In fact, they've both been completely captured, to use the technical term, by the industry they are supposed to be regulating. The pharmaceutical companies are poisoning us, and there is no one to stop them.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

J6M's Vermeer?

Two FBI agents investigating the 1990 art theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston went to Paris to investigate whether Jean-Marie Messier, fairly recently deposed head of entertainment conglomerate Vivendi Universal, knows the whereabouts of some of the stolen art. Vivendi Universal is the corporate abortion created by moron heir Edgar Bronfman, Jr to fritter away billions of dollars of the Bronfman fortune, a fortune which was of course originally acquired by the illegal smuggling of alcohol into the United States from Canada during Prohibition (the story of how Bronfman, a hick from Canada, got taken by the sharks of the French corporate establishment, is quite funny). The FBI agents met with the French prosecutors involved in the French investigation of Messier's alleged fraudulent stock trading. The FBI's underworld source, described as being 'right more often than wrong', claims that Messier's personal collection contains four of the 13 pieces stolen, including two Rembrandts and a Vermeer. Messier's French lawyer Olivier Metzner says that the allegations are "the kind of information pulled from a trash pail". Messier calls himself J6M, short for 'Jean Marie-Messier, moi-même maître du monde' ('Jean Marie-Messier Myself Master of the World'). On December 7, 2004, Messier was fined one million Euros by French regulators for deliberately deceiving investors in Vivendi (Messier is appealing the decision). A year before, he had to pay the SEC, and give up considerable corporate perks, for similar deceptions. The only time I visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - an outstanding museum - was a few weeks after the theft, so the only way I guess I'll ever get to see the stolen paintings is if I start to travel in the better circles in France.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

It's kind of muddled

Bush's Alzheimers continues to get worse. From Tampa Bay, February 4, 2005:

"WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: I don't really understand. How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?

DUBYA: Because the - all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those - changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be - or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the - like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate - the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those - if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."


On February 8, in Detroit, the traditional question and answer period after Bush's speech was mercifully dropped. Bush is the guy who is going to lead the United States on a series of wars around the world, probably culminating in some kind of world war. What is the procedure if a President becomes too mentally incapacitated to do his job? What is the procedure if half the population won't admit that the President has a problem? Americans should be very afraid.

some guy living in a cave

From the Toronto Star:

"A Moroccan-born Montrealer detained for nearly two years on suspicion of being a terrorist testified for the first time yesterday, suggesting ultra-conservative Americans may have been responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

'I'm not an expert but from what I read, some guy living in a cave doesn't have the means to plan an attack against the most powerful nation in the world,' Adil Charkaoui said when Federal Court Justice Simon Noël asked who was responsible for the attacks.

'It could've been (Osama) bin Laden,' Charkaoui said. 'But maybe it was done by ultra-conservatives in the United States for economic gain.

'It was the world's biggest conspiracy.'"

Cordelia Scaife May

A few excerpts from the obituary of Cordelia May, heiress to the Mellon fortune and sister to the infamous Richard Mellon Scaife, financier of the 'vast right-wing conspiracy' (my emphasis throughout):

"Through her foundation, she donated millions to cultural, environmental and population-control organizations and many Pittsburgh area causes.

The Laurel Foundation said in a statement that she 'was blessed with a wonderful sense of humor and took great pleasure in entertaining her friends with her skills as an eloquent raconteur. She was a knowledgeable admirer of the flora and fauna of the world and was greatly concerned about the sustainability of the world's ecosystems due to the impact of the growth of population.'"


and:

". . . money did not equal happiness; she named her estate Cold Comfort.

In one of the few interviews she granted, in 1999 she told Robert G. Kaiser of The Washington Post that she and her brother, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, grew up in an alcoholic household, nurtured by nannies and nurses. 'I don't remember any laughter in that house,' she said. Her mother, Sarah Mellon Scaife, was 'just a gutter drunk. So was Dick. So was I.'"


and:

"She married an old friend, former Allegheny County (Pa.) district attorney Robert W. Duggan in 1973, just before she would have had to answer Internal Revenue Service questions about Duggan, who was under investigation by the IRS and the U.S. attorney for corruption. Less than a year later, on the day he was indicted for tax fraud, Duggan's body was discovered on their property, a shotgun wound in his chest. Police ruled the death either an accident or a suicide.

Mrs. May, who continued to use her first husband's name, believed for years that her estranged brother was involved with Duggan's death. In 1999, she told The Post that she had finally accepted that her husband committed suicide."


Here is the obituary published by Scaife's newspaper. For the racism financed by Cordelia May under the guise of population control, see here. For another mysterious 'suicide' associated with Richard Mellon Scaife, see here and here and here. Given the lives that they lead, it is no wonder that these people are such assholes.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Fake rocket attack

Typical Israeli timeline:

  1. Peace summit arranged in Egypt between Sharon and Abbas.

  2. On the morning of February 7, a day before the summit is to start, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told Israel Army Radio that he had received intelligence warnings that some militants, including Hezbollah, may try to disrupt the summit.

  3. Due to the intelligence warnings, Israel Police moved to a level III heightened alert status, one level below a state-of-emergency.

  4. Like clockwork, on the afternoon of February 7, rockets rained down on the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, and were immediately described by Israeli police as Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

  5. Later in the same day, the attack was described as the result of 'human error' involving a failed test by an Israeli weapons manufacturer in the area. It was made clear - some might say too clear - that although the failed test took place on an IDF firing range and was by a weapons company closely associated with the IDF, the IDF had nothing to do with it.


Obviously, the IDF attempted to disrupt the summit, or even provide a reason to call it off, by faking a rocket attack by Hezbollah. It wasn't a coincidence that the Israeli Defense Minister announced the possibility of an attack in the morning, and a faked attack occurred in the afternoon. This is the usual Israeli terrorist bullshit. On times too numerous to mention, whenever Sharon needs political cover to hide some outrage he is committing a convenient 'Palestinian' attack pops up to distract the press and make the poor, poor Israelis look like victims again. This time they were caught red handed, and had to come up with the laughable excuse of 'human error' in rocket testing (you've got to be kidding!). But here's the good part, and the aspect of this whole sordid matter that inspires some optimism. They were busted, and they were busted by IDF insiders. People in the IDF was so disgusted by the trickery that they spilled the beans, resulting in the necessity of the ridiculous cover story to explain the inconvenient fact that rockets coming from an IDF firing range were landing on an Israeli town. It wouldn't do for people to find out that crazies in the IDF were willing to murder Israelis in order to stop the peace process. The good news is that there are Israelis, including Israelis in the IDF, who wouldn't let them get away with it. If Israel is ever to have peace, we need to see more of this whistleblowing.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Palestinian casino

Some Israelis are praying that the peace talks between Sharon and Abbas fail. They need not worry, as the Israelis will ensure that they will fail. Abbas is doing all he can to fit into the spirit of what is claimed to be required of him, making Arafat's mistake of going the collaborator route by having the Palestinian Authority do the dirty 'security' work of the Israelis, while every day the Israelis kill more Palestinians, build more settlements, and extend the Wall. This is doomed to failure, as Palestinian society will need to see rapid progress towards some kind of just settlement, or fall back into another intifada. A just settlement simply isn't going to happen, at least with the current American government in place. The necessary and sufficient condition for peace is entirely territorial, restoring all of the Occupied Territories to the Palestinians (on the maps of the loss of Palestinian territory, moving from the fourth map to the third), and the Zionists and Christian Zionists - including Condoleezza Rice - won't let that happen. It would be the end of the dream/nightmare of Greater Israel. I think the best comment was from the thread on Fark by 'wibblyhead':

"Things would be much better if the Israelis would let the Palestinians open a few casinos."


You just have to laugh.

Lists of lies

Here is a compendium by Eliot Weinberger comprising much of the staggering quantity of bullshit spewed by members of the Bush Administration concerning Iraq. See also Sam Smith's 'Revision Thing: A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies'.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The 'Real' Universe of the neocons

How is it that the neocons make so many mistakes, yet never seem to lose their confidence to continue to make more mistakes? The next disasters will follow from Iraq as if Iraq never happened. How can they be simultaneously so violent and yet so self-righteous? Remember Ron Siskind's famous meeting with a senior adviser to Bush, the meeting which led to the currency of the phrase 'reality-based-community'? From Siskind's classic article 'Without a Doubt' (or here):

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"


Now, read the article 'Creative Agnosticism' - found via the excellent weblog wood s lot - published in 2000 (!) by Robert Anton Wilson (!!; for RAW, see here):

"If, as Colin Wilson says, most of history has been the history of crime, this is because humans have the ability to retreat from existential reality into that peculiar construct which they call The 'Real' Universe and I have been calling hypnosis. Any Platonic 'Real' Universe is a model, an abstraction, which is comforting when we do not know what to do about the muddle of existential reality or ordinary experience. In this hypnosis, which is learned from others but then becomes self-induced, The 'Real' Universe overwhelms us and large parts of existential, sensory-sensual experience are easily ignored, forgotten or repressed. The more totally we are hypnotized by The 'Real' Universe, the more of existential experience we then edit out or blot out or blur into conformity with The 'Real' Universe.

Concretely, the Violent Male - the extreme form of the Right Man1 - edits out the suffering and pain he causes to others. That is only appearance and can be ignored. In The 'Real' Universe, the victim is only one of Them - one of all the rotten bastards who have frustrated and mistreated the Right Man all his life. In existential reality, a large brutal male is beating a child; in The 'Real' Universe of self-hypnosis, the Right Man is getting his just revenge on the oppressors who have abused him."


The 'Real' Universe is the world of the neocons, while the rest of us live and suffer in the real universe. We can read the 'oppressors' as the terrorists, or Muslims, or Arabs, or anyone who opposes the project of Greater Israel, or anyone who opposes the American Empire. RAW continues:

"The 'Real' Universe - the model which has become experienced as the real universe - is, on the other hand, quite finite. It is compact and tidy, since it has been manufactured by discarding all the inconvenient parts of existential experience. This is why those self-hypnotized by a 'Real' Universe of this sort can be so oblivious to the existential continuum around them. 'How could a human being do something so cruel?' we sometimes ask in horror when an extreme Right Man is finally apprehended. The cruelty was 'only' in the world of existential appearances; it does not exist in the edited and improved 'Real' Universe of the Right Man. In The 'Real' Universe, the Right Man is always Right.

The ghastly acceleration of violent, inexplicable and seemingly 'pointless' crimes by Right Men in this century - and their hideous magnification into mass murders and war crimes by Right Men in governments - indicate the prevalence of this type of self-hypnosis and what Van Vogt calls 'the inner horror' that accompanies it. This 'inner horror' is a sense of total helplessness combined with the certainty of always being Right. It seems paradoxical, but the more totally Right a man becomes, the more helpless he also becomes. This is because being Right means 'knowing' (gnosis) and 'knowing' is understanding The 'Real' Universe. Since The 'Real' Universe is, by definition, 'objective' and 'outside us' and 'not our creation,' we are made puny by it. We cannot act but only re-act - as The 'Real' Universe pushes us, we push back. But it is bigger, so we will lose eventually. Our only defense is in being Right and fighting as dirty as possible.

This, I think, is in succinct form the philosophy of Adolph Hitler. It is the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade, and of any rapist or thug you can find in any prison in the world. Where Single Vision reigns - where The 'Real' Universe is outside us and impersonal - this shadow-world of violence and horror follows in its wake."


"Our only defense is in being Right and fighting as dirty as possible." is as good a summary as any of the Bush Administration world-view of the 'war on terror'. Wilson continues, referring to Nietzsche's analysis of the issue and anticipating the 'war on terror' prior to 9-11:

"If a man feels overwhelmed by The 'Real' Universe, he will seek to destroy what oppresses him. Since we cannot get at The 'Real' Universe, revenge must be directed at symbolic targets in the existential continuum. The Will to Power - which Nietzsche held was essentially a will to self-overcoming: to neurological self-criticism in my terminology: to become more than one was - then becomes deflected into a Will to Destroy.

In the language of modern existentialist and humanist psychology, Nietzsche is describing the process by which we shirk responsibility. We seek revenge, but since we are only re-acting. The 'Real' Universe made us do it. Any criminal will give you his own version of what Nietzsche is describing: 'It was my mother's fault.' 'It was my father's fault.' 'Society was to blame.' 'I wanted to get even with all those bastards.' 'I couldn't control myself; I just went haywire.' 'They pushed too hard and I exploded.' Man as a re-active mechanism - the Materialist metaphor - is Man with a grudge."


We can perhaps see who so many otherwise sensible middle-aged American men - Christopher Hitchens comes to mind - were driven mad with revenge fantasies in the wake of 9-11. The inability of some to see the possibility that the United States had it coming - an issue raised again in the current imbroglio over Ward Churchill, which is a repeat of similar nonsense concerning Chomsky, Rall, and Sontag - is just another part of shirking responsibility. Americans edit reality to create a 'Real' Universe where the United States has never done anything wrong, and thus whatever terrorists do must be baseless evil which merits the most violent response posssible. The good news is that the constant self-editing of the realities of the world mean that the neocons will eventually fail spectacularly. Many of the younger ones will probably die in the jails in which they are incarcerated as a result of war crimes trials. The bad news is that until they fail, they are going to inflict a heap of violent horror on the world.

The tragedy of the election in Iraq

Two quotes from ITN's Julian Manyon on the Iraqi election (which I found on the blog Critical Montages; my emphasis):

"Well, I assume the point that is being got at here is really whether the violence is getting in the way of us covering this story, and I'm afraid to say it is, but it's not the only factor getting in the way of us covering the story.

To try to get some understanding of what lay behind Christiane's remarks just now - in other words, the scale of the turnout and the validity or otherwise of these elections, the violence is obviously a major deterrent for journalists doing their jobs.

You know, I have been out in the last couple of days a couple of times, but one goes out fearfully in the knowledge that one might either be shot at or in the extreme worst case - one prays it will never happen - actually kidnapped.

Beyond that, it must be said, there is also another wide range of factors which are actually preventing journalists from covering this election properly, and one of those factors, for example, is the way in which the American handlers who are actually running the Ministry of Information's affairs here in real terms, have designed the whole thing. I would say that along with the violence, it is just as serious an impediment for journalists.

Why, for example, we've been limited to filming at only five polling stations, and we discovered when the list of the five polling stations was published that four of those five polling stations are actually in Shia areas, and therefore by definition will shed very little light on whether Sunnis vote or not."


and:

". . . it's disturbing quite frankly because it's very difficult to see how these elections can live up to international standards in terms of dispassionate supervision and policing of the polls. There are no international observers out there for the same reason that there are very few journalists out there. And the journalists that are, I suppose, one has to say either courageous or mad enough to get in their cars and try to do something are only going to see a small fraction of what is going on.

I mean, we've got a situation in Mosul, for example, where American troops, we now discover because the Iraqi employees of the election organization have deserted en masse, it's American soldiers who will be transporting the ballot boxes around when they are full of votes. This is really very far from ideal, and if it were happening in any other country - I mean, one could mention Ukraine, for example - there would be a wild chorus of international protest."


Election coverage limited by American handlers to five heavily guarded polling stations selected by the handlers; voting boxes transported by American soldiers; no international monitoring or even coverage by journalists; an election run by ex-Saddam henchman Allawi, convicted fraudster Chalabi, and the serial liars in the Pentagon . . . this is supposed to be the election which validates the illegal attack on Iraq as well as Bush's entire program of hiding violent American imperialism under the guise of 'freedom'? Remember, the American spin depends entirely on the 'courageous' Iraqis endorsing Bush's illegal war by going out to vote. The original statement that the turnout was 72% was immediately admitted to be a fabrication, and the later guess of 60% is equally suspect. We don't know, and we'll never know, what the real turnout was, as the people monitoring the election are entirely controlled by the Americans. Frankly, the turnout is as likely to be 5% as it is to be 60%. Leaving aside the fact that the Iraqis who did vote did so for various motives embarrassing to the American occupiers - the establishment of a Shi'ite theocracy, the removal of the American troops, or the mundane hope that a locally controlled government just might be able to do what the Americans apparently can't do, restore the electricity - this farce of an election proves nothing about Iraq, but a lot about the United States. It proves that by staging the form of an election, the Bush Administration is able to magically sanitize its most evil acts in the eyes of the American public and American public writers and commentators. The most tragic element of this election is that writers who call themselves moderates or progressives are now starting to write that this election validates the entire Bush world-view. Resistance is now futile, and there is officially no American opposition to the Bush warmongers. If such an obviously questionable election can make the worst war crimes right, Bush is out of control and the whole world is in great peril.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Phony Phreedom

If you find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having to disguise your imperialist warmongering by claiming that you are actually bringing 'freedom' to the oppressed - or at least to those of the oppressed who happen to live on top of a pool of oil - but find that some of the oppressed are impolite enough to request that their freedom be accompanied by elections, there is an easy way to have your imperialism and be seen to grant your phony phreedom too. Like sausage making, the process of creating phreedom is quite simple but not very pretty, and you don't necessarily want to be aware of all the ingredients. You begin with 'shock and awe' bombing, followed by a violent military occupation. You install your own stooge government of opportunists ready to do what they are told, including setting up something which could, on a dark desert night, pass for an election. Then you bring in some UN election wizards, technicians so skilled they could stage what looks to be a fair election in a morgue (a useful skill in Iraq).


You pick a few photo-op polling stations in relatively safe areas, and surround them with enough of the US Army to make it safe enough for an Iraqi to consider voting there, and, much more importantly, safe enough for American 'journalists' and camera crews to venture intrepidly out from under their Baghdad hotel beds to video the photo-ops. Add a few photogenic voters - local go-getters who have a nose for power, bribe recipients, those threatened with the loss of their only source of food if they don't vote, and a few people who just want to be on TV - and a completely credulous 'journalist' to stand in front of the camera, all to create the illusion of a representative polling station. Slip a few dollars to a 'representative voter' - either a ringer from your stooge government or a local opportunist/exhibitionist - to tearfully thank America for restoring his freedom, have a few worthies line up to provide local color by performing some folk dances, badly, and you have all the makings of an Emmy Award for news coverage. Repeat in a few different places and you've recreated the whole election for American television. The inky finger becomes the logo now required for Americans to be able to process any new information.


Now, have your stooge government certify some enormous, and completely fictitious, turnout rate. The real international monitors are hiding under their hotel beds in Jordan, having correctly concluded that Iraqi pollinq places were too dangerous to get near, so no one will ever really know what the real turnout was, or even whether the results were in any way fair.

Finally, have the commentators in the disgusting American media - to a man - describe this charade as the story of the little people of Iraq fighting off the evil terrorists - oh, yes! - to courageously make their way to the polling stations to claim the freedom and dignity granted to them by America, personified by the saintly George Bush. This fits right in with the usual mythology that America only does good, and provides cover for that part of the population still capable of feeling guilty for an illegal attack on a sovereign country based on a rationale consisting of a series of lies, the bombing of civilians (wedding parties!), the cluster bombs, the depleted uranium, the torture, the children spattered with the blood of their parents, and so on. Any American member of the media who demurred on the celebration of American goodness - and, don't worry, there weren't any - would have been immediately met with the question of who they hated more, the courageous Iraqi people, freedom, or America.


The real tragedy in all this is that it sets up Bush to continue to use his bogus equation of American warmongering with freedom. In other words, going along with the charade of this election means you are implicitly dooming the next victim of the American Empire, who will receive exactly the same treatment under the guise of the same phony phreedom. The next attack will be easier, as Bush can fall back on the example of the phreedom he has personally granted to the Iraqi people, and will no doubt promise the people of Iraq, or Syria, or Cuba, or Venezuela, or wherever. We will see the mechanics of this phony pharce of phreedom repeated again and again, with staged elections being used to retroactively justify the results of American colonialist violence.

Fear Factor: Elections in Iraq

I'm not sure I'll dignify the travesty of a joke of a sham that was the new American 'reality' television show - 'Fear Factor: Elections in Iraq' - with much blogging, but I thought this posting from Eschaton summed it up quite well, referring to the revelations of Chalabi's old friend, Judith Miller:

"Last night's little quote from The Queen of All Iraq wasn't just about the usual Miller-bashing, it was actually a bombshell revelation. Here we have a New York Times reporter going on the record saying that according to a source, the Bush administration was in talks with Chalabi about a position in the new Iraqi government. So, in one neat little package we learn that the Bush administration backs Chalabi and has significant influence over appointments in the new government, once it exists.


Isn't this important?


Repeat, Judith Miller on Hardball:

We now are told, according to my sources, that the administration has been reaching out to Mr. Chalabi, to offer him expressions of cooperation and support and according to one report he was even offered a chance to be an interior minister in the new government."


So it's the United States government which gets to offer the senior cabinet postings in the newly 'elected' Iraqi government. No big surprise, but probably a mistake for Miller to reveal it. The election, initially rejected by the Bush Administration who wanted to install a 'strong man', but forced on them by the insistence of Sistani, and staged by an occupying army making it completely illegal under international law, was just a front to cover the fact that the United States continues to run Iraq down to the smallest detail (they need the new giant embassy in Baghdad as it will be the real government building for the whole country). Apart from all the other things wrong with the election - e. g., general systematic problems, vote or starve, misleading or lying reports of high voter turnout, no independent election monitoring (with the election run by ex-Saddam henchman Allawi, internationally wanted fraudster Chalabi, and the serial liars in the Pentagon, prospects of a fair election are essentially nil), problems with people not being allowed to vote in Kurdish areas, limited Sunni participation, vote fraud, massive amounts of violence, etc., etc. - it was fundamentally a sham, a made-for-television movie intended to back Bush's new propaganda line that the United States is installing 'freedom' while it is really doing just the opposite. Whether it be Baghdad or Cleveland, the people running the United States have developed a certain expertise at running crooked elections staged as a series of televised photo-ops intended to disguise what is really going on.