Saturday, April 30, 2005

Reminiscing with an old friend

This is (both here) just crazy enough to be true:

"There are claims that US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during his last visit to Iraq met with ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

According to a news article based on Iraqi Baath sources in Jordan published in the London based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, Rumsfeld met with Saddam in his cell in Bagdat (Baghdad) and the US Secretary of Defense asked Saddam to end the insurgence. The paper claims that Rumsfeld asked him on a television broadcast to make a call for insurgents to end the resistence against US and multi-national forces as well as the Iraqi security forces."


If true, this betrays a certain desperation. Contrary to Pentagon and Bush Administration assurances, things are starting to spiral out of control in Iraq. The insurgency is setting off big bombs in strategic locations on a daily basis, and its abilities at creating mayhem are increasing week by week. The Pentagon either can't, or won't, do anything to stop it. If things keep progressing at this rate, not even the disgusting American press will be able to continue to hide the extent of Iraqi lawlessness. At some point, people are going to question whether the great American army is as powerful as it claims to be.


A Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam is not at all implausible. After all, they are old friends.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Destabilizing Iran

Iason Athanasiadis writes about the possibility of the CIA attempting to destabilize Iran through stirring up ethnic tensions (click on the little map to see how non-Persian the state of the Persians is). This type of attack makes much more sense to me than all the talk of a military attack on Iran, and fits into the Yinon plan to break Israel's enemies into small pieces.

Marla Ruzicka

I was right in the middle of writing about this very thing, but Michel Chossudovsky beat me to it: "The Mysterious Death of Marla Ruzicka: The US Military has Detailed Statistics on Civilian Casualties". If I get around to it, you can expect a little more from me on this issue. The death was very mysterious indeed.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Solving the Zodiac

Steve Huff is the fellow who came up with the brilliant idea that the man who called himself Joseph Newton Chandler III was possibly the Zodiac Killer. He now carefully considers the suggestion from some crazed anonymous blogger that there may be a connection between the arrival of Chandler in northern Ohio and a series of murders of couples in northern Ohio that started about the same time. I still very much like the suggestion that Chandler could be the Zodiac, but we still need a bit more help to try to reach a conclusion (while I find Joseph Cannon's suggestion that L. Ron Hubbard could be the Zodiac very entertaining, I'm afraid L. Ron, nuts as he may have been, was about twenty years too old to have been the Zodiac - much the same problem faced by those who advocate that Jeff Gannon is Johnny Gosch - and the mysterious guest at the 'painting party' referred to the link provided by Joseph Cannon, which is itself a paraphrase of parts of Robert Graysmith's first book on the Zodiac, may very well be another product of Graysmith's vivid imagination). There are two possible avenues of exploration with respect to Chandler:

  1. Fingerprints. Although the authorities claim that Chandler's apartment contains no usable fingerprints, I find it odd that an apartment he lived in for years would not have a fingerprint lying around, no matter how long it's been since he lived there and no matter how thoroughly it has been cleaned. It would be very helpful if some super-expert from the FBI were to give the place a complete going over. Did Chandler make any big structural changes where he might have touched the back of a wall? Did he work on a light switch? The plumbing? Did he move an appliance where he might have left a print on the bottom? Did he take out the drawers and touch the underside of them? The FBI would know where to look and would have the technology to lift the prints. What about the paper forms that he used to obtain his Social Security card, or any other forms associated with his life in Ohio? Since authorities have prints from the Stine murder which they think may be Zodiac's, just one match would solve the one of the most famous cold cases in the United States and make a hero out of some FBI fingerprint expert.

  2. The composite. Look at the two pictures at the top of Huff's article. The shape of the chin and the shape of the jaw are an amazing match. I have trouble with a lot of forensic evidence - the 'science' behind such things as fingerprints, ballistics, fiber identification and the supposed reliability of eye-witness reports have all been challenged in recent years, and the whole concept of 'profiling' has been put into question by the BTK Strangler - but composite photos are often amazingly accurate (although they can also dangerously restrict the scope of a police investigation). This composite is particularly likely to be accurate as it was drawn with the help of the policemen who actually encountered Zodiac near the Stine crime scene, but let him pass as they were looking for a black suspect due to a mistake made by the dispatcher. With the DOE Network and other sites on the internet it is now possible, as never before, to allow such a composite to be seen by people all over the world. Someone must remember this guy. He was probably in the Navy - American, Canadian, or British - in the 1960's. He would have been weird, but not so weird that he couldn't have fitted in to social situations without being particularly noticeable. He would have had some electrical engineering expertise, and drafting expertise. He would have been well read, and likely dropped references to his learning into his conversation. If Chandler is the Zodiac, the composite will be very close to what the Zodiac looked like in 1969, and thus what he looked like while in the Navy.


It should still be possible to use fingerprints to tie 'Chandler' to the Zodiac, and then use the composite to discover the real identity of 'Chandler'. As Sherlock Holmes would say, "The game is afoot".

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fool me once . . .

Juan Cole quotes Kevin McMillan who points out that there is no need to qualify in any way the proposition that Bush and the Bush Administration outright lied about Iraq in order to fool the American people and Congress into war. McMillan points to the devastating analysis by Glen Rangwala. It's finally making the British election campaign that the Poodle lied too. Needless to say, the quibblers and subject-changers will never be able to accept the cold, hard facts. It's no sin to be lied to - although I have to question whether the American Congress is quite as dumb as it pretended to be in accepting at face value the ridiculous claims of the Bush Administration about the threat of Iraqi drones! - but it is a sin to refuse to accept that you've been punked by pretending that it didn't happen or raising spurious issues in order to cover your embarrassment or protect the liars for partisan political purposes. It's also a sin to fall for the same trick again, and we are beginning to see exactly the same sort of lies as part of the new campaign for attacks against Iran and Syria. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Lies about Syria

Remember the story, spread by Dick Cheney amongst others, that the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could not be found because they had been moved to Syria? This story served the dual purpose of explaining the embarrassing lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, while implicating Syria, perhaps the next American victim of an illegal attack, in aiding the Iraqi leadership by conspiring to hide the weapons. The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has now concluded (the conclusion is in an addendum to its report) that "it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place." Why? Because detainees interviewed by the ISG "uniformly denied any knowledge of residual WMD that could have been secreted to Syria." In other words, there couldn't have been transfers of weapons of mass destruction to Syria because there were no weapons of mass destruction to transfer. Needless to say, Michael Ledeen isn't convinced (see also here, where Ledeen continues to riff on the fact that you can't prove a negative), but all sane people now have to conclude that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and that Syria didn't collude with Saddam to hide them.


The latest report recommends that scientists being detained by the Americans in order to interrogate them regarding weapons of mass destruction be released, a very good suggestion particularly as the detention of Iraqi scientists is one of the main complaints of the Iraqi resistance. For those deluded into thinking that the American occupation is going well, the report states that the deteriorating security situation made it impossible for the ISG to continue its work.


It's telling that one of the most important complaints made about John Bolton is that he outright lied about Syria's capacity to make weapons of mass destruction (this is politely referred to as 'stretch'). His speeches on the matter were in direct contradiction to American intelligence (although the CIA, with great effort, did manage to force him to tone down some of his more outrageous claims). The Bush Administration, after consistently lying about Iraq, will no doubt continue to consistently lie about Syria. Syria did not collude with Saddam to hide weapons of mass destruction (a ridiculous idea anyway, as Syria was no friend of Saddam), Syria's own capability regarding weapons of mass destruction has been blown up out of all proportion by John Bolton, and Syria has now complied with American and French pressure and has withdrawn its troops and visible intelligence personnel from Lebanon (thus complying with UN Security Council Resolution 1559). Nevertheless, in the continued build-up towards a war against Syria, expect to see more of the exact same lies repeated by Bush Administration officials (Cheney continued to talk about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and supposed ties between al Qaeda and Saddam for months after these lies were conclusively refuted), lies which will be reported by the disgusting American media with nary a word about what blatant horseshit they are. In the absence of anything else to plausibly complain about, we will no doubt be hearing a lot about Syria's failure to secure its border with Iraq, a funny complaint since the biggest and presumably best army in the world apparently is having the same difficulty.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

AIPAC chutzpah

At AIPAC's policy forum in May there will be a 'walking tour' exhibit on how close Iran is to creating a nuclear bomb. AIPAC is currently under investigation for spying against the United States, an investigation which turns on the alleged illegal supply of classified American information concerning Iran by AIPAC to Israel. The definition in my dictionary of 'chutzpah' is, simultaneous with the spying investigation, staging an exhibition for Americans providing information on Iran. Do you think they'll thank Larry Franklin for his extraordinary assistance in providing materials used in creating the exhibit? And speaking of spying, do you buy the supposed tiff between ex-employees Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, and AIPAC? Rosen and Weissman vehemently deny any wrongdoing, and are met with the pointed response of AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton:

The statement made by Rosen and Weissman represents solely their view of the facts. The action that AIPAC has taken was done in consultation with counsel after careful consideration of recently learned information and the conduct AIPAC expects of its employees."


What a smack-down, but obviously part of the script. By staging such a conflict, Rosen and Weissman play their roles as 'rogue' employees unwilling to take responsibility for their actions even after they have been exposed, and thus paint AIPAC as a victim in the case. Rosen and Weissman had to be cut free from AIPAC so AIPAC could save itself, but will no doubt be amply rewarded in ten years or so as heroes of Greater Israel with their statues erected in the new capitol of that country, Jerusalem.

Calipari's warning

The Pentagon is going to come out with a predictable whitewash of the checkpoint incident in which Nicola Calipari was killed. Giuliana Sgrena has consistently stuck to her story that American authorities lied about the incident. Although there was supposed to be a joint investigation with Italian authorities, who were to have been given full cooperation from the Americans, apparently full cooperation doesn't go as far as allowing the Italians to actually see the car. Wouldn't want to give them an unfair advantage. Fortunately, Eli Stephens has done the math - I love it when people do the math - and has concluded, based on the American details of what happened at the checkpoint, that the amount of notice given by the Americans before they started shooting was so short that no one could have possibly slowed down in time to comply with the warning. In other words, the warning, if indeed there was a warning, was a sham solely intended to be part of the American excuse after the assassination of Sgrena.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The state of the Plame Game

Here is the single best article I've read on the Plame investigation, "Plame Game Redux", by Murry Waas (Waas' blog is here). Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald appears to know the identity of the leaker of Plame's name, and the fact that the leak was part of an operation to discredit Joseph Wilson, but has no proof that the leaker knew that Plame was a clandestine CIA officer. The crime under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act requires the leaker to have had such knowledge. The leaker denies knowing, and Fitzgerald may believe that Robert Novak is trying to protect the leaker by falsely claiming that the leaker did not claim to know that Plame was a clandestine CIA officer. This is all supposition, as no one knows what Novak told the investigators, but it is supposition that manages to tie together the mysteries of Fitzgerald's long and seemingly unfruitful investigation. Since the only two witnesses to the conversations between Novak and the leaker are Novak and the leaker, if the two of them lie about the knowledge of the leaker, Fitzgerald is stuck with no way to prove the essential elements of his case. The may explain why Fitzgerald is so relentless in attempting to force both Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper to testify. If Miller and Cooper talked to the same guy, and he admitted to them that he knew that Plame was a clandestine CIA officer, Fitzgerald could prove his case.


If all this is true - and of course nobody knows anything at this point - Novak is a real rat. Not only would he have committed perjury to protect an unsavory member of the Bush Administration, and thus acted in a party partisan way, he might also have acted as an accessory to the crime itself in lying to protect the perpetrator after the fact (Novak is protected by the Act in reporting on the matter, but not in lying to subvert Fitzgerald's investigation). As well, he would be allowing a very bad precedent to be set on whistleblowing, and allowing two fellow journalists to go to jail so he can protect his political friends. All this is so bad that I find it difficult to believe that anybody, even a scum like Novak, would do it, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If Fitzgerald is able to convince Matthew Cooper that Novak is lying to set Cooper up to go to jail in order to protect the leaker, Cooper may feel slightly differently about protecting this particular source. He has refused to answer certain questions, but maybe the questions just need refining. A clever lawyer might even be able to frame the questions to Cooper in such a way that he could testify as to what the leaker said without technically giving up the identity of the leaker, particularly if the leaker himself admitted talking to Cooper.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Saving Saudi Arabia

From an article by Efraim Halevy, the former chief of the Mossad and the National Security advisor to Ariel Sharon:

"Not long ago a senior official in one of the world's largest oil companies told me that he wakes up every morning fearful that he will turn on his bedside television set and see reports of a coup in Saudi Arabia."


and (my emphasis of his careful wording):

"Few observers of the Middle East scene are actually taking a good hard look at the situation in Saudi Arabia and examining coolly the terrifying scenarios, one of which might ensue. Some believe that there is a real danger that extremist religious figures will seize power in Saudi Arabia and establish an 'Al-Qaida state' in Riyadh. Others note that the national identification of large numbers of the country's population with the Saudi entity is feeble and that their main attachment is tribal or local-regional. Thus, a revolutionary situation might cause the disintegration of the state and the creation of parallel regimes in various regions of the kingdom.

In a visit to the United States two weeks ago, I was told by several well-informed observers that should one of the more severe scenarios come to pass, the United States will have no choice but to deepen its presence in the Middle East. To that end, it will have to renew the draft, to ensure that there are enough forces to deal with developing situations in countries like Saudi Arabia."


An attack on Iran just causes problems for the Americans without really addressing the issue of total control of the world's oil that appears to be mad Cheney's ultimate goal. The Iran attack would cost a fortune, go on for years, result in the deaths of thousands of Americans, and might even fail. After the debacle of the lies about Iraq and the disastrous American occupation, it would be very hard for the Bush Administration to make a case for it. On the other hand, if Israel and/or the United States were to stage a fake 'coup' in Saudi Arabia - a bit of made-for-TV bafflegab blown up into a full armed insurrection by the disgusting American media, together with claims that 'al Qaeda' now controls the American oil supply - American troops could have full control of the country in a matter of days, without having to interrupt the flow of oil. Americans run the security apparatus of Saudi Arabia, and can almost certainly remotely render useless any defense mechanisms which have been supplied by American arms contractors. The Saudi rulers are essentially helpless.


Due to the 'instability' in the Middle East ("in countries like Saudi Arabia"), the Bush Administration would then have full authority to call a draft, and the same instability would serve just as well as another terrorist attack in removing the malaise that has now settled over Bush's presidency (the last time we heard of problems in Bush's Presidency was in early September 2001). The new political capital could be used by Bush to propel his planned take-over of the American social security system by Wall Street. The price of oil would go up, benefiting Bush's oil friends, but not too much as to be a political problem (Americans will accept just about anything if it is framed as being part of fighting the 'war on terror' by keeping al Qaeda from taking over Saudi Arabia). Saudi rulers and clerics would be bundled off to the new statelet around Mecca and Medina - a new country completely unthreatening to Israel, having neither arms nor money - and the rest of the country, including all the oil fields, would be run from Washington and Tel Aviv.


I think all the talk about Iran, including Sharon's much publicized show-and-tell map show presented to Bush in Crawford - no doubt with maps of every orphanage, bomb shelter, baby formula factory, pharmaceutical plant, and Chinese embassy in Iran, but with no maps of the well hidden Iranian scientific labs - may be a trick to hide the real goal. Don't forget Laurent Murawiec. Once Saudi Arabia goes, Iran is not a problem.


Halevy spends a lot of the rest of the article trying to weasel out of the terms of the 'road map', but also leaves this gem:

" It was none other than Martin Indyk, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, who not long ago raised the idea of establishing an American trusteeship regime in the areas of the Palestinian Authority, if it should turn out that the Palestinians are not ripe for self-rule. That arrangement would require an American operational military presence along Israel's border with the Palestinian territories."


That might explain the recent reports of the presence of significant numbers of American troops in Israel. American troops would save Israel the messy problem of being the concentration camp guards for the bantustans - for excellent analyses of Sharon's most recent plans, see here and here and here - that Sharon is obviously attempting to create by dividing the Palestinians into small enclaves divided by the expanding settlements.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Canada's 'Orange Revolution'

There's a corruption scandal going on in Canada that may threaten the current minority Liberal government and lead to a June election. This 'scandal' is very old news, and Canada has had an election since the issue broke, so much of it appears to have been generated by the opposition Conservatives and their very good friends in the disgusting Canadian media. A lot of the speculation is based on polls which have been generated by exactly the same polling companies which attempted to swing the last election to the Conservatives by releasing polling results which showed much, much higher Conservative support than was reflected in the election results (these lying polls were a form of 'push polling', intended to make the Conservative victory seem inevitable, but Canadians weren't fooled). Here's the best thing I've read on the subject, by 'weapons-grade pandemonium' in a Metafilter thread:

"Suppose for a minute the money was kicked back to the Liberals to save the country. If you look at the sleazy way the Canadian Alliance took over the Conservatives, how their platform is built nail for nail on the American agenda, then add Western and Eastern alienation & almost losing the Québec separatist referendum way back, and you'll see a picture of massive forces dedicated to breaking up Canada, picking clean our natural resources, and installing Star Wars under a Fundie government. Just suppose."


Exactly! We're seeing the 'Orange Revolution' applied to Canada. Americans right-wingers would dearly love to change Canada into an extreme right-wing clone of the United States, but have had to be very careful in doing so as being seen to interfere would have the opposite effect. They appear to have found the secret weapon.


The latest scandal is based on self-serving unsubstantiated allegations, the main ones from someone who is awaiting criminal prosecution for his role in the matter. These were hidden under a temporary publication ban intended to allow for a fair trial, a ban which was effectively broken by a systematic campaign by right-wing American bloggers who revealed the testimony based on their 'confidential sources'. We've already seen the use of blogs by the extreme right wing of the Republican party, particularly in the matter of the CBS Bush service memos. Paul Martin, the leader of the Liberals, has publicly stated that Canadians will play no role in Iraq (and the Americans are still riled that Canada refused to participate in the illegal attack in the first place), that Canada won't participate in the American missile defense program, and that Americans are welcome to try the Canadian refugee system to escape service in the war in Iraq. Canada has a large number of trade issues with the United States, particularly softwood lumber and beef, and Canada has slowly started to retaliate for American intransigence by putting tariffs on American goods. Canada is clearly angling to make a lot of money selling its enormous quantities of natural resources, including what is probably the largest quantity of hydrocarbons in the world in its oil sands . . . to China. Canadian lackadaisical attitudes towards enforcement of laws concerning marijuana drive the Americans crazy, as do the upcoming laws concerning gay marriage (American fundamentalists are sending large amounts of money to Canada to assist in the fundie campaign against the new laws, a fact which has probably hurt their cause). The Canadian health care system, which the Conservatives clearly want to destroy, is also very annoying as it gives Americans the idea that there may be some alternative to the insane American system. Cheap Canadian pharmaceutical prices don't help either.


The Conservatives have managed to smooth off some of the rough edges, but they are essentially a party combining extreme right-wing economics with hillbilly fundamentalist religious nuts. In other words, they have created a clone of the Republican Party. Canadians have seen the damage such policies have caused the United States, and clearly don't want any part of it. Will they be fooled by an 'Orange Revolution' - a campaign concocted in Washington to further extreme right-wing American corporate and fundie interests - into a disastrous choice of government?

AIPAC, lobbying pioneers

The Zionists in Israel and the United States have given the American people so much. Terrorism on American soil and against Americans and American interests all over the world. Vastly higher oil prices. The enmity of everyone in the Middle East, and with the ridiculous one-sided American support for Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinian people, the enmity of the whole world, with an accompanying world-wide rejection of goods associated with the American brand. All this and more Holocaust museums per square foot than anywhere else in the universe. Plus they've lifted a trillion dollars or so out of the pockets of American taxpayers (it was just burning a hole there anyway). But that's not all. From an article on the fact that AIPAC seems to be distancing itself from Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two high-level AIPAC dudes who are on the hot-seat for allegedly spying for Israel (my emphasis in bold):

"Weissman has worked at AIPAC for 12 years, but Rosen, 62, has been with the organization since 1982, when he was hired from the Rand Corporation, a think tank that often consults with the Pentagon.

He was hired after AIPAC's lobbying efforts failed to stop the U.S. from selling spy planes to Saudi Arabia; the opposition to the sale that AIPAC amassed on Capitol Hill dissipated once President Reagan launched his own lobbying effort in its favor.

The lesson, Rosen suggested time and again, was that the organization had to lobby the executive branch as well. That made some traditionalists nervous. Lobbying Congress was a time-honored practice in Washington, but lobbying other branches of government seemed unseemly.

Yet Rosen's model soon was replicated throughout Washington, and now it's routine for lobbyists of all stripes to target both the legislative and executive branches."


How can Americans ever thank them enough? The article goes on to tell us that AIPAC's policy forum in May will feature a 'walking tour' exhibit on how close Iran is to creating the bomb. Will the giving never stop?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cheap labor and high commodity prices

The gold bugs are all a bit nuts, as they insist, correctly, that the gold market is completely fixed, while constantly advocating that people should buy more gold! Nevertheless, paranoia provides enlightenment. From a market summary at Jim Sinclair's MineSet, here is a letter to Jim Sinclair from "Anonymous Pal" and Jim Sinclair's reply (also reprinted in the Gold Forum at www.gold-eagle.com and reprinted here and here; the MineSet editorials are worth reading):

"Dear Jim:

My Bank in London called me today to inform me that in order to comply with new US laws, they are halting all new services to American residents (citizens?).

I can keep my accounts for the moment, but I cannot add any new currency accounts or any other investment products to my portfolio. They will not allow any US residents to open accounts in the future.

Just my thoughts but:

1. New bankruptcy law (last week)

2. Announcement that travel to other parts of North America will require a passport (papers please)

3. New compliance standards for foreign banks (this past year)

4. Elimination of foreign accounts for US residents (one by one)

Currency controls have been initiated.

Regards,
Your "Anonymous Pal"

Dear "Anonymous Pal:"

I have cautioned the Community that financial privacy is all but a chapter of history - with the exception of bullion coins.

Anyone attempting to open international bank accounts at major and reputable non-US banks will run into the difficulties you have outlined, making it all but impossible to accomplish even with the best of intentions.

The net result is an effective form of currency control as part of Patriot Act II. This covert method of currency control is a preemptive strike at what is coming when it is realized - as the Economist put it - that there is no constituent support and therefore no real political will to reduce the US Budget Deficit.

As a result, the dollar must decline. The result of a declining dollar is logically a move towards other currencies which in itself is a form of Gresham's law.

Of all the possibilities you outline, there is only one that is in the black: Patriot II will be just as effective as any currency control put into law. This has significant implications for gold once all of this hits the proverbial fan.

Regards,
Jim"


The effect of requiring more banking data from international banks dealing with Americans will just be to discourage them from dealing with Americans. It's a soft way of introducing currency controls, which would otherwise be politically unpopular. Apparently, everything is possible if it is part of the 'war on terror'. Soft currency controls will be necessary to manage the upcoming crisis with the American dollar. Some American war in the Middle East will cause the cost of oil to rise so much that Asian countries will have to sell their U. S. treasury bills in order to pay for it, and that will signal the end of Asian central bank support for the American dollar. Once it starts to fall, it will fall fast.


The 'creeping fascism' in the United States is no longer creeping, it's on a full run. The Bush Administration doesn't want to stop spending money on wars and allowing its friends like Halliburton to make out like bandits on war profiteering, and certainly doesn't want to stop its class warfare in the ongoing transfer of money from everybody else to the plutocrat class. Currency controls are needed because the Bush Administration doesn't want to deal with the double deficits, trade and budget, as that would require giving up the war addiction and putting an end to the tax cuts for the rich. The bankruptcy bill has to be seen in the same context of class warfare. Most Americans get into bankruptcy trouble due to health care costs, and bankruptcy has been the only way out. By limiting the only way out of permanent slavery to lenders the Bush Administration makes the average American even less secure, and makes employer-provided health insurance even more vital. As such insurance is almost never portable, and it is increasingly difficult to find a job with such insurance, the interplay between the bankruptcy bill, the insane American health care system, and employer-provided health insurance means that more and more Americans are completely denied any chance of labor mobility, which of course decreases the cost of labor.


Which jurisdiction is going to manufacture the most North American vehicles in 2005? Michigan? Ohio? How about . . . Ontario? Why? Health care costs. The Bush Administration is so interested in pursuing it's cheap labor/high commodity price policies that it is prepared to see GM either disappear or at least be forced into manufacturing outside the United States. GM is a bad example anyway, as it provides its employees with good benefits and a decent salary. Conservatives feel that companies like GM give too much money to their employees. It is much better to have employers like Walmart.


All of the seemingly inconsistent and certainly insane policies of the Bush Administration can be explained in the class warfare known as 'cheap-labor conservatism'. Nothing else matters as long as the cost of labor can be decreased at the same time that commodity prices are increased. Middle East wars, the war on terror, the bankruptcy bill, the tax cuts, the failure to address the deficits, the crazy inefficient health care system - it's all part of the same package. Much of the real-world realities of these policies has been shielded from the American public by the recycling of money paid for oil into the American economy, followed by the recycling of money paid for Asian consumer products into the American economy. Once the recycling stops, and Americans see the full price of conservative policies, it will be interesting to see what their reaction will be.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Was Joe Chandler the Zodiac?

On July 30, 2002, a 70-year-old man called Joseph Newton Chandler III killed himself in Eastlake, Ohio. I bet you think I'm going to say this was actually an assassination disguised as a suicide, but this one appears to be a genuine suicide. The novel aspect in this case is that when authorities attempted to contact the next of kin, they determined that there was no record of the man calling himself Joseph Newton Chandler III before he applied for his first Social Security Card in Rapid City, S.D. in September 1978 (at the age of 41). He arrived in Eastlake in 1979. Investigators discovered he had taken the identity from a young boy killed in a car crash in 1945. They think that he switched identities sometime between 1968 and 1978. There is evidence that he had been in California, worked around or was in the U.S. Navy, and had some electrical engineering experience.


I remember this made the news, but it is not that uncommon for people to run away from their old lives. What is very interesting is the suggestion, made by Steve Huff, that Joseph Newton Chandler III is actually the Zodiac Killer, a famous serial killer from the San Francisco area who seems to have stopped killing in the late 1960's or early 1970's, and stopped writing taunting letters by the mid-1970's (recently mentioned by me here).


Chandler showed up with his new identity around the same time that the Zodiac Killer stopped operating in the San Francisco area. He would have been quite close in appearance in the 1970's to the police composite of the Zodiac. The Zodiac is thought to have had Navy connections and knowledge of electrical engineering. He was obviously inspired by Jack the Ripper, particularly in his use of misspelled letters taunting the police, and an investigator in the Ripper case was called Joseph Chandler. The Zodiac was the kind of guy who would be attracted to such a name.


Chandler's body was cremated before these issues arose, so no comparison with the DNA thought to be from the Zodiac is possible. The police claim that no usable fingerprints could be found in Chandler's apartment (?!), so no comparison can be made with fingerprint evidence taken from the Zodiac murder of taxi driver Paul Stine. We may never know who Joe Chandler really was. What is chilling is that there was a series of murders in northern Ohio from 1979, when Chandler arrived in northern Ohio, to 1982. These murders were of young couples killed in various violent ways. The Zodiac killer killed, or attempted to kill, young couples in various violent ways.

Friday, April 15, 2005

A new theory on September 11

Bush and Sharon had a meeting in Crawford, and Bush pretended to insist on the 'Road Map', including the prohibition on the expansion of Israeli settlements. This was very encouraging, but misleading. As soon as Sharon left Texas he was confirming that he had no intention of following the 'Road Map', and that Israel would do just what it wanted with respect to illegal settlement expansion. Sharon left not the slightest doubt who was calling the shots. Despite the AIPAC Grand Jury and the Plame investigation, the Israelis and their neocon stooges in Washington are obviously certain that they have total control of the American government. The recent report blaming the CIA for intelligence failures leading to the attack on Iraq, without mentioning the real culprit, the Office of Special Plans and similar neocon operations in the Pentagon, is evidence that the neocons are still sitting pretty. The shocking honoring of the Israeli operatives behind the Lavon Affair proves that the Israelis feel not the slightest concern about directly insulting the United States. How can they possibly be so confident?


From "Reprise of the October Surprise: Is the Worst Surprise Still to Come?" published in May/June 1991 and written by Richard H. Curtiss, concerning Reagan's election and the October Surprise (my emphasis in bold):

". . . what is the significance today of this violation of the law that may have tipped the scales in favor of his election? First, it is a very likely explanation of why, whenever the Reagan administration and the hard-line Israeli governments of Menachem Begin and his successors went eyeball to eyeball, it was always the US that blinked. The US declined to press Begin on such topics as the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the invasion of Lebanon, the occupation of West Beirut, the Sabra-Shatila massacres, and even the Reagan Plan for Middle East peace. The Reagan administration apparently was vulnerable to highly damaging Israeli blackmail, and at least some top officials of both governments knew it.

It also explains how and why the Reagan administration so easily fell into the catastrophic series of arms-for-hostages blunders, clearly instigated as well as carried out by Israel, that became known as Irangate, or the Iran-Contra scandal. The renewed arms shipments in 1985 and 1986 were initiated by reopening exactly the same channels used in 1980 and 1981 by some of the same principals on both, sides.

The final significance of the story concerns the administration of George Bush, now clearly teetering on the edge of a major initiative to put pressure on Israel for a land-for-peace Israeli-Palestinian settlement. If Bush really was involved personally in illicit Reagan campaign activities to forestall an 'October surprise,' he would now be so vulnerable to Israeli blackmail that no such political or economic pressure on Israel would be possible, even today. In the more likely event that Bush was not personally involved, clever Israeli agents could work through media leaks to create doubt about his role. This seems to be happening with the televised testimony of Israeli agent Ari Ben Menache, and that of Hushang Lavie, the Iranian arms dealer."


This was written before Gary Sick's great book on the October Surprise was published. Sick's thesis was that George Bush was indeed involved. Robert Parry has since found and published a Russian memo confirming Bush's personal involvement. George Bush is a fellow who claims not to have been involved in a lot of things. He claims not to have been in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He claims to have not been involved in the October Surprise. He claims to have been 'out of the loop' in Iran-Contra. In each case, he is almost certainly lying, and his lies left him open to political blackmail. Iran-Contra in particular never made any sense from an American strategic point of view. The only real beneficiaries were Iranian hard-liners and Israeli arms dealers. The small amount of money that actually flowed to the Contras could easily have been obtained in many easier and politically safer ways. The real story of Iran-Contra and the October Surprise may have been to provide the Israelis with opportunities to blackmail the American government.


Like father, like son. The same neocons behind the October Surprise and Iran-Contra are back in the White House. What if Tenet's famous briefing to Bush in Crawford in early August, 2001 contained sufficient information to indicate that the United States was under grave and imminent danger of an attack involving hijacked passenger planes flying into buildings? What if it described the probable targets, the approximate date of the attacks, and the concrete steps Bush could take to prevent the disaster? What if the neocons in Crawford surrounding Bush convinced him that Tenet was just a Nervous Nelly, and that Bush need not take any immediate action and should just continue on his well-deserved holiday? What if the neocons knew that Tenet was right, as they had Israeli intelligence confirming Tenet's fears, in part derived from the surveillance of Atta and the gang in Florida, and set Bush up to make the biggest mistake of his Presidency? What if threats to reveal this mistake have since been used by Israel to blackmail Bush into continuing to support the crazy Likudnik policies that are so obviously the real reason behind the terrorist threat to America? The real story of 9-11 may have been to take what was at least in part a legitimate terrorist threat and manipulate Bush's reaction to warnings about it in such a way as to leave him subject to Israeli blackmail.


Consider:


  1. Right after September 11 there were some grumblings that Israel had known about 9-11 and had failed to inform its American ally. Israel angrily denied these charges, and pointed out that it had passed on warnings to the American government about a serious terrorist threat. There are still some doubts about the issue, but it seems clear that Israel - as well as many, many other countries - passed on fairly specific information to American officials regarding the threats of terrorist attacks.

  2. Joseph Cannon makes an excellent case that Tenet's famous Presidential Daily Briefing memo presented to Bush in Crawford on August 6, which is usually described as one and a half pages long, was actually ten pages longer than that. In other words, the Bush Administration is pretending that a shorter version of the memo, no doubt edited to remove the more embarrassing parts to Bush, is the memo Tenet presented to Bush in Crawford. It makes sense that the Administration, fearing that they might have to produce the memo, would create a sanitized version.

  3. During the proceedings of the 9-11 Commission, Richard Ben-Veniste asked Rice to provide the name of the August 6 memo, and she gave the title as "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States". She looked like a deer caught in the headlights, and everyone took this as a major 'gotcha' moment. It never really made sense. Ben-Veniste was hand-picked to sit on the Commission just because he could be counted on not to ask any questions that might embarrass anybody. This exchange between Ben-Veniste and Rice seems to be a piece of political theater, cooked up and rehearsed by Rice and Ben-Veniste to keep the pressure on Bush while not actually revealing all the contents of the memo. Everyone is left to speculate how much warning Bush actually had. The most damaging parts of the memo, and thus the potential for blackmail, remain hidden. The 'Bush knew' idea of the conspiracy theorists may actually be a neocon plot to trap Bush.

  4. When the Israelis making a video of the destruction of the WTC towers were caught celebrating and were arrested, one of them is reported to have said: "We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem." I interpreted this to mean that the United States was now subject to Islamic militant terrorism, and so would share Israel's problems. What if he really meant that the United States now shared Israel's problems because Bush had failed to act on Israeli warnings about 9-11, and was thus now completely subject to Israeli blackmail? They weren't cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, but rather the fact that the trap had been successfully set. Until the WTC fell, Bush was safe from blackmail.



The most serious charge made against Israel was that it had information on the 9-11 terrorists and failed to inform American authorities so they could have prevented the terrorist attacks. What if this is completely backwards? What if Israel fully informed the CIA of its concerns and intelligence, and made sure such information reached Bush, but had its neocon agents ensure that Bush would not do anything about it, thus leaving him open to continuous blackmail? That would explain the supreme over-confidence of Israel and the neocons, the fact that the American government caves in to every insane Likudnik position no matter how damaging to real American interests, and the apparent lack of concern about outrageous embarrassment of the American government by the Israelis. Has George Bush fallen into the same Israeli blackmail snare that caught his father?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

You will know them by the trail of dead

There's a rock band called ". . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead", which is also the way to recognize a lot of conspiracies. The conspirators have gotten more sophisticated since the heady days of the 60's and 70's, when witnesses were dropping like flies. Now they just need to take care of a few key people, like Gary Webb, or James Hatfield, or Cliff Baxter, or Danny Casolaro, or Steve Kangas. Raymond Lemme was an investigator from the Florida Inspector General's office at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). He is now dead, an apparent suicide. Lemme was the investigator assigned to the case of Clint Curtis, a Florida programmer who has made some disturbing allegations about Chinese spying and computer vote rigging in Florida. You might think a story tying a Republican congressman to both Communist Chinese espionage and computer vote rigging might be big news, but you'd be wrong (and innocent Dr. Wen Ho Lee is still waiting for his pardon). From Chris Floyd:

"Late last year, Congress heard sworn testimony from Florida programmer Clint Curtis, who created vote-rigging software in 2000 at the request of Tom Feeny, a Bush Family factotum. Feeny wanted Curtis (a fellow Republican) and his employer, Yang Enterprises, to produce untraceable programs that could 'control the vote' as needed, investigator Brad Friedman reported. Feeny also told Curtis of Bush plans to 'suppress the black vote' with 'exclusion lists.' This is exactly what happened. BBC investigator Greg Palast has shown that tens of thousands of legitimate African-American voters were deliberately 'purged' from the rolls by a private Republican-controlled corporation hired by Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Afterwards, Feeny - who had been Jeb's running mate in his first gubernatorial campaign - was rewarded for his dutiful service with a plum congressional seat.

In 2002, Raymond Lemme, a Florida state government inspector, took up Curtis' charges, which included other corruption allegations involving Feeny, Yang Enterprises and a Yang employee charged with peddling military technology to the Chinese. In June 2003, Lemme told Curtis he had 'tracked the corruption all the way to the top' and that 'the story would break in a few weeks.' On July 1, 2003, Lemme was found dead in a Georgia hotel room, just across the Florida border.

Local police ruled that Lemme, a happily married man eagerly planning his daughter's wedding, had suddenly decided to slash his wrists. At first they said there were no photos of the death scene; but then the pictures turned up on the Internet and were confirmed as authentic by the embarrassed police. The photos clearly contradicted the original suicide report on several points - presenting evidence, for example, that Lemme had been beaten before his death. The investigation was reopened after Curtis' Congressional testimony - and then abruptly shut down after local police spoke to a never-identified 'someone' in the Florida state government."


This story has received exemplary coverage in The Brad Blog (index of articles here: see also here and especially here). The disgusting local press has tried to 'manage' the problem for Jeb and Feeny, but has been deftly parried by The Brad Blog. As well as alleging vote fraud, Curtis also testified to the illegal shipment of computer chips to China by an employee of the same computer firm which was working on the vote-rigging software. The employee has admitted to the gist of the charges in a plea agreement he has entered into. A contract between FDOT and the programming company in question was terminated by FDOT as a result of the investigation launched after allegations first made by Curtis. Officials apparently find at least some parts of Curtis' testimony worth acting on. As well, Curtis has passed a polygraph examination concerning his allegations. There is every reason to believe that the story told by Curtis of computer vote-rigging in Florida is true, and the extraordinary circumstances of the death of investigator Raymond Lemme adds the unmistakable odor of a conspiracy cover-up. To summarize the weirdness (excellent full summary here):

  1. Curtis stated in his affidavit that Lemme had told him in June of 2003 that "he had tracked the corruption 'all the way to the top' and that the story would break in the next few weeks."

  2. Lemme's body was found in a motel in Valdosta, Georgia, about 80 miles from Tallahassee and just over the Georgia state line. Had he killed himself in Florida there would have been a mandatory state autopsy. There is no such requirement in Georgia.

  3. His wife reported him missing on the day she couldn't locate him, which was June 30. However, the documentation from the motel shows that he signed in on June 29. Even better, it shows he signed out on June 30, a pretty good trick for a dead man. The date discrepancies may be because of an error in the computer at the motel, but that still doesn't explain how a dead man checks out.

  4. His unsigned suicide note fails to mention his only daughter, who was due to be married in three weeks and about whom he often talked. Everyone who knew Lemme said it was very out of character for him to disappear as he did.

  5. The Valdosta police investigators reported that they had no crime scene photos due to a malfunction of the flash memory cards in the digital camera they used (i. e., more than one card must have failed). The photographs, which were no doubt released by an honest cop, appeared on the internet. The police lied. Why would they do a thing like that unless they didn't want anyone to see the photos?

  6. The investigators reported that he killed himself by slitting his wrists, and there was no other trauma to the body. The graphic crime scene photos show an unmistakable discoloration to the side of the neck, as if he'd been sapped to knock him out before his murderers slit his wrists to stage the suicide.

  7. The police report states:

    "On the bathroom floor next to the bathtub was a black in color man's dress belt, which was lying on the top of a white in color hotel bath mat. The belt appeared to have been used as a tourniquet; dried blood was visible on the belt but was not visible on the towel."


    The crime scene photo shows this to be incorrect, with blood clearly visible on the towel.

  8. The Valdosta police reopened the investigation and then quickly closed it again after a call from a mysterious Florida official.

  9. Why would a guy who wanted to kill himself drive 80 miles to the sleasiest motel (see here) in Valdosta, Georgia?

  10. A witness saw three men outside of Lemme's room, and thought it was strange that they were standing there.

  11. The Supplemental Incident Report claims the police were summoned as a customer refused to vacate a hotel room. They really enforce the check-out time in Valdosta! Do the police commonly enforce the check-out of motel customers? When they are two hours late? When the customer had signed a check-out receipt at 6:54 a. m.?

  12. Lemme's watch was placed neatly next to the sink. It had stopped. Why would it have stopped? Did it break in the trauma of his kidnapping?

  13. From The Brad Blog:

    "We had hoped to speak with Det. Shannon Floyd since she took the crime scene photos and wrote the most detailed report in the case file. She was the one who reported the camera's 'flash memory cards' as having failed, said that there were no 'signs of trauma', that 'Nothing was observed that would indicate foul play' and described there being no visible blood on the white towel next to the tub. She also described the stopped watch and the check-in and check-out receipts, along with their dates, but mentioned nothing about the apparent inconsistency in dates.

    In our first conversation with Valdosta's Capt. Childress, he had informed us that Det. Floyd was no longer with the department and was now teaching at a university. He didn't feel it appropriate to let us know where she was teaching, but in our second call, he informed us that, 'Det. Floyd does not work for us anymore. She left and is teaching somewhere now. I'm not gonna tell ya where she is. Her husband said she didn't want to talk to the media. I spoke with him last night after we spoke.'"



A diligent investigator discovers that vote fraud goes all the way to the top of government in Florida. The thugs who run Florida have three enforcers kidnap the investigator, drive him up to the nearest place where they can be safe from an autopsy, knock him out, and stage his suicide by slitting his wrists. Pressure is put on local investigators, no doubt used to doing dirty work for the thugs who run Florida from the wild city of Tallahassee, to lose the crime scene photos and deliver a report completely consistent with suicide. An honest cop releases the photos, so the preparer of the report has to disappear, and local police have to clam up. One phone call from Tallahassee shuts down the reopening of the investigation. Honest men like Raymond Lemme deserve better than this sordid cover-up. His staged 'suicide' is proof that the allegations of Clint Curtis are true. The conspirators always give themselves away in the cover-up. You will know them by the trail of dead.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

(obviously) Iranian-supported terrorists

I'm having trouble figuring out how the Bush Administration is going to lie their way into their next attack on another non-threatening sovereign country. Given the disaster in Iraq, and the fact that the Iraq attack is now generally known by the American people to have been based on outright lies by the Bush Administration and its stooge 'journalists' (Judith Miller) to the extent that the lies are now the subject of Jay Leno jokes, they're going to need one hell of a good reason to attack either Syria/Lebanon or Iran. Although the propaganda effort against Iran has started, the American people and the American Congress just aren't going to buy it. The Bush Administration has a serious case of Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf Syndrome, and nattering on about pie-in-the-sky Iranian nuclear bombs is just going to remind people of aluminum tubes, mobile biotechnology labs and - drum roll please - killer Iraqi drones flying over the Eastern Seaboard. I'm sure the big brains at the think tanks are working on this problem, and Michael Ledeen is a guy who would have the answer. Here he is in a column from 2003 complaining - as usual - about the State Department's (relatively) sane attitude towards Iran, and in particular about the Pentagon - by which he means the neocon civilians who have taken over the Pentagon - being prohibited from stirring up trouble by talking to Iranian dissidents:

"I guess some top official will have to die at the hands of (obviously) Iranian-supported terrorists before the Pentagon is permitted to work on the subject."


So there you have it. When the time comes for the next attack - and as I've said before I think it will be Syria and Lebanon rather than Iran - there will be a 'terrorist' attack against a top American official - probably someone without the requisite subservient attitude towards Israel - which will immediately be blamed by the Bush Administration on "(obviously) Iranian-supported terrorists" (substitute 'Syrian-supported' if the neocon plan is to go after Syria). Of course, the attack could also be against Americans generally, following the model of September 11. In any event, it is impossible to conceive that it would be politically possible for Bush to set out on another illegal attack without opening another can of whoop ass on the American people. Sadly, another quick 'terrorist' attack, with an equally quick FBI report that it was the work of (obviously) Iranian-supported terrorists, would work just as well as September 11 worked (September 11 as Pearl, or Perle, Harbor), and anyone who questions the obviousness of it will be labeled a crazy conspiracy theorist.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The unique state of Israel

Here is an article by Syed Aslam summarizing some of the peculiarities about the State of Israel, including its systematic racism and discrimination (see here or here, and here and here and here and here and here and here) and creeping undefined borders. These facts are worth constant repetition, if only because we're not supposed to know about them.

Fingerprints of a 'con-job

From an interview by Ian Masters of Vincent Cannistaro, the former CIA head of counterterrorism operations and intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan (Masters' questions are in bold):

"Well, Ambassador Wilson publicly refuted the claims - particularly the 16 words in the President's State of the Union address that the Iraqis were trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Niger. That document, I understand, was fabricated ... it originally came out of Italian intelligence, I think SISME, or SISDE - I'm not sure which one.

It was SISME, yeah. ...

[D]uring the two-thousands when we're talking about acquiring information on Iraq. It isn't that anyone had a good source on Iraq - there weren't any good sources. The Italian intelligence service, the military intelligence service, was acquiring information that was really being hand-fed to them by very dubious sources. The Niger documents, for example, which apparently were produced in the United States, yet were funneled through the Italians.

Do we know who produced those documents? Because there’s some suspicion ...

I think I do, but I'd rather not speak about it right now, because I don't think it’s a proven case ...

If I said 'Michael Ledeen'?

You'd be very close . . ."


Produced in the United States, and very close to Michael Ledeen. This is consistent with my old theory that the documents are the work of Iraqi dissidents associated with Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. The documents would have flowed from Chalabi to Ledeen to SISME, and thus would have been laundered to make them appear as legitimate products discovered by a legitimate intelligence agency. This sophistication in the use of foreign intelligence agencies appears to be part of the modus operandi of the neocons, and may derive from the particular expertise of Ledeen and Perle, developed in various shenanigans going back to the 1970's (in particular, or course, Iran-Contra). Intelligence agencies in Britain, France, and Germany were also used in the same campaigns of lies which led to the attack on Iraq. One of the strategies was to feed some nonsense to one intelligence agency, and then have that nonsense distributed to other intelligence agencies. Then the claim would be that the information must be true, as it came from multiple sources.


The handling of the source of the main lies used to justify the attack, the aptly named 'Curveball', also displays the same sophistication in technique. Curveball was too obviously undependable to be sent directly to the CIA. As Joseph Cannon writes:

". . . the [Office of Special Plans] could feed lies directly into the Oval Office - but they needed more. They needed to find a way to make the CIA bestow its imprimatur onto this silliness. Thus, the neocons somehow arranged for Curveball to be routed through German intelligence - we don't yet know how it happened, but it happened. Why give this alky German minders? If the CIA had dealt with Curveball directly, they would have seen through his deceptions rather easily. But since the information came by way of the BND, the CIA tended to trust it. By the time the agency decided to take a closer look at the sourcing, war was already a done deal.

This little scheme offered a bonus: Since Tenet and McLaughlin had bought into the BND's information, when the shit finally hit the fan, responsibility could be laid to rest at the feet of the CIA. Not the OSP, not the INC, not the BND, not Mossad, not the neocon ideologues.

Once again, we see use of a bold tactic: The use of a foreign spy shop as a go-between, in order to legitimize and circulate bogus (but ideologically useful) data within the U.S. intelligence community. A similar history beset the yellowcake scandal and the infamous 'sixteen words.'"


If you feed Curveball's shoddy information through German intelligence, with no CIA experts allowed to see him, and ignore the German protestations that he could not be trusted, you can have the lies fed into the American system without any caveats about reliability. The added bonus is that by using the CIA to convey the information, you can then blame the CIA when the shit hits the fan. Perfect.


The common thread in the forged Niger documents, the use of Curveball, and the British intelligence manipulations which ended up getting David Kelly killed, is a very clever use of multiple intelligence agencies to disguise the source of a collection of rather obvious lies which were used to justify the attack on Iraq. Whoever was behind this had to have had a long history of involvement in American government and involvement with multiple foreign intelligence agencies. There aren't that many people with that kind of experience. Who was: 1) a neocon in favor of an attack on Iraq; with 2) connections to Feith's Office of Special Plans; and with 3) ties to Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress; and with 4) long-standing documented relationships with foreign intelligence agencies, particularly SISME? At some point, Americans might want to find this guy and ask him why he decided to do such damage to the United States.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Bin Laden's mole

Did the CIA have a mole close to bin Laden? From James Charles in Dissident Voice:

"Rumors of the mole's existence began circulating within national intelligence circles about the time that the 9/11 Commission report was released. At least three separate sources told essentially the same story about CIA's infiltration of al Qaeda, and they - along with information from other sources - enabled the piecing together of this report. No one interviewed would allow their names to be used."


and:

". . . according to one former CIA employee, 'It is entirely likely that Tenet told Bush about the mole at that August meeting at the ranch, if the president didn’t already know. Why else would he suddenly race off to Texas on a weekend? Not just to talk about what (Condoleezza) Rice told the 9/11 Commission was something that the administration thought of as an historical recounting of old information. It doesn't make sense.'

A second former intelligence officer said he harbored the same suspicions after news of the Tenet trip and the contents of the PDB became known publicly. 'The DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) simply doesn't interrupt the president's vacation to chat about a relatively innocuous, two or three page report unless there was something extremely sensitive the president needed to know that Tenet didn't want put on paper.'"


and:

"It is viewed by insiders as entirely likely that the CIA director told President Bush in August that al Qaeda was planning an immediate attack using commercial airplanes as guided missiles."


and:

"But with the existence of a mole inside al Qaeda increasingly likely, then there is a much more serious, insidious and sinister possibility: That George W. Bush knew at least a month before the attacks that they were going to occur, and chose to do nothing to stop them."


There are a few problems with this article. The fact that no one will speak on the record may mean it is just a few 'old school' CIA officials constructing a scenario to support the 'Bush knew' conspiracy theory in order to get revenge on Bush for his perceived slighting of the Agency. Regardless of what someone claiming to be bin Laden may have said, it is highly unlikely that bin Laden had the hands-on detailed involvement in the plot that the article assumes he had. The timing is also wrong, as bin Laden would hardly be giving Atta names as late as August, but there is reason to believe that the final nature and timing of the attack weren't finalized until late August or even early September. I've always had trouble with the financing story, which is very implausible as the Pakistani intelligence agency would not be likely to be that sloppy (although it seems certain that there is a Pakistani connection to the attacks). Finally, the article assumes that bin Laden had severed his connections with the Agency, which may not be true. Bin Laden himself may have been the mole!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Israeli attack on Iran

Kaveh L Afrasiabi lists a whole bunch of good reasons why an Israeli attack on Iran is highly unlikely. I still think all this talk about Iran is a ruse to disguise what Israel and its American stooges are really up to. Israel has no real interest in attacking Iran, especially if long-term plans are to build some kind of ongoing semi-friendly relationship with non-Arab Iran (which will be Israel's next-door neighbor once Greater Israel is in place). The American stooges won't do anything without Sharon's instructions, so Iran may be the safest place on earth right now. Just think what any kind of attack would do to American gas prices! This factor alone is decisive as gasoline prices were the real reason why Bush, a war President during a war, lost the last election (had the votes been properly counted), and gas prices are really hurting his current popularity, and thus his ability to continue to do his real job, which is to conduct class warfare against the vast majority of the American people. Iran may be one of the only places on earth - along with some parts of Antarctica - which aren't under direct threat from the wingnuts in Washington. All of the threatening talk disguises the real Israeli goals, which are to destabilize both Lebanon and Syria.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Dead Pope II

Barry Healy on the Dead Pope's opposition to Liberation Theology:

"By assiduously aligning himself with the most reactionary elements of late 21st century power politics, John Paul II left a profound crisis in Catholicism in his wake. Latin America was once overwhelmingly Catholic but the US rulers have used their Protestant fundamentalist sects as weapons against liberationist Catholics there. Now 10% of Brazilians are believed to be talking in tongues!

In the developed capitalist countries, Catholicism continues to bleed membership as believers tire of the ridiculous strictures on their sexuality and democratic rights within the church. As AIDS threatens millions in the crucified impoverished world and wars and indebtedness worsen, the Catholic Church's lame responses are simply making it irrelevant."


The effect of II's horror at Liberation Theology - and for that matter for any kind of freedom outside of Poland - has been to drive the people of Latin America out of the Catholic Church and into the arms of American evangelical fruitcake religions, which are spreading like a plague over Latin America. Historians will look back on II as one of the most destructive Popes in history in the damage he inflicted on his own church in his crazed love of totalitarianism, both political and ecclesiastic. Much has been made of a few quotes from him on the problems with capitalism and the need for world peace. Of course, it was all bullshit. His sole purpose in life was to turn back the progressives who had started to take over Catholicism in the 1970's, and he took not one practical step during his whole papacy to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism or reduce the war in the world. In fact, in his excessive toadying to the world's most reactionary leaders, he encouraged both the wars and the destructive capitalism which they promote. When the Church canonizes him - and watch them do it so fast it will make your head spin - they should make him the patron saint of globalists, arms dealers, torturers, evangelicals, and back-room abortionists. You can tell how popular he is with the totalitarians of the world in the extraordinary wall-to-wall coverage of his death, with perhaps the largest disconnect in world history between the views of the average person in the world, who either doesn't care or didn't like him, and the fawning coverage from the media, with not one dissenting word questioning his saintliness.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Jake's Comedy Corner

Here is a blog of original topical jokes that are actually funny. Most of the jokes are political, but not all:

"A 28-year old blind man has earned an MD degree from the University of Wisconsin. That makes him the second blind doctor in America after Joan Rivers' plastic surgeon."


I heard this guy on Radio New York International (on shortwave station WBCQ 7415 from 8-12 p. m. U. S. Eastern Time on Sunday nights), a comedy show which airs right after Harry Shearer's 'Le Show' (from 7-8). Shearer's show is the only essential show on American radio, covering all the American politics you won't hear about anywhere else (Shearer has done an enormous range of things, but is most well known now for doing the voices of Ned Flanders, Smithers, and Montgomery Burns on the Simpsons). You should spend Sunday nights listening to the radio (there is also good lefty political radio broadcast from 6-7 on the same station).

Murder of Eugene Mallove

On May 15, 2004, Dr. Eugene Mallove, probably the leading proponent of the scientific theory of cold fusion, was found brutally murdered outside his childhood home in Connecticut. Although cold fusion is usually depicted by the disgusting media as some kind of wacky theory, it is actually the subject of legitimate scientific research, and has rather obvious connections to the current oil-price raising scam involving discussions of 'peak oil'. The murder remains unsolved, although the police are weakly trying to paint it as a robbery. From a local report (my emphasis in bold):

"Mallove, 56, was found on the lawn outside his childhood home at 119 Salem Turnpike in Norwich, Conn., just before 11 p.m. on May 15, beaten around the head and neck. He had been cleaning the property with plans to rent it, and a friend has told Connecticut reporters that he was with Mallove until 7 p.m. When the friend passed by the house an hour later, he noticed Mallove's green van was gone.

Mallove's van was located the next morning about 15 minutes away, in a remote parking lot of Foxwoods Resort Casino. A few have theorized that Mallove, a scientist, was killed because he was a tireless champion of cold fusion, a controversial cheap and clean alternative energy source.

The police, however, believe Mallove was a victim of a robbery gone bad because several items, although of little value, were taken."


The most recent police theory is to pin the murder on a man, Jarion Childs, who is, perhaps conveniently, dead. Considering the massive effect that the validity of cold fusion would have on world power relations, not to mention the effect it would have on the wealth of the very rich, this mysterious murder has conspiracy written all over it.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Vote fraud confirmed

Joseph Cannon in Cannonfire blogs an excellent summary of the most recent analysis (PDF) of the 2004 American Presidential election (PDF summary of the analysis). Comparing exit poll results with the official count across the country, and carefully filtering out rationalizations for the unprecedented discrepancies, leaves only the conclusion that the vote was fixed, and almost certainly fixed at the level of computer counting (they may have done it as simply as having the computers record some Kerry votes as empty ballots, or 'undervotes'). It's about a one-in-a-million chance that the exit polls were that far off, and the only Americans who get to know about it are those lucky enough to live in Akron, Ohio. The last two paragraphs of the report are careful but clear:

"Well-documented security vulnerabilities and accuracy issues have affected voting equipment as far back as the late 1960s, and history shows that partisan election officials have long
possessed the power to suppress and otherwise distort the vote counts. The recent and ongoing proliferation of sophisticated computerized vote recording and tallying equipment, much of it unverifiable and hence 'faith-based', dramatically augments the opportunities for wholesale and outcome-determinative distortions of the vote counting process. That the lion's share of this equipment is developed, provided, and serviced by partisan private corporations
only amplifies these serious concerns. The fact that, in the 2004 election, all voting equipment technologies except paper ballots were associated with large unexplained exit poll discrepancies all favoring the same party certainly warrants further inquiry.

The absence of any statistically-plausible explanation for the discrepancy between Edison/Mitofsky's exit poll data and the official presidential vote tally is an unanswered question of vital national importance that demands a thorough and unblinking investigation."


Two things come immediately to mind:

  1. A great deal was made of vote suppression of minority voters. While this is a terrible thing, and should be stopped, it may very well have been a ruse to hide the real crimes being committed by those who built, programmed, and manipulated the computer voting process. Can't you see Karl telling his operatives to go out and make a big deal of vote suppression in order to distract everyone from the real back-room manipulations that decided the election?

  2. The Democrats swore up and down after the 2000 debacle that they would never let that happen again. All the 'reforms' did was make it easier for the Republicans to cheat in 2004. It is almost beyond belief, but it appears that exactly the same thing is happening again. The 'reforms' passed as a result of the 2004 election will end up making Karl's job even easier in 2008. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, the Democrats are certifiable. Some Americans said they won't leave for Canada as the honorable thing to do is stay and fight for the country. If you don't fight this, what's left to stay and fight about? The time to fight is now, not, like the last time, three weeks before the election when the damage is too late to correct.

Dead Pope

Extreme right-wing Vatican insiders murdered reform-minded Pope John Paul I to make the man who just croaked their super-reactionary pope (David Yallop's book, "In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I", is excellent). Pope John Paul II immediately moved to protect as much as possible those behind the financial scandal that was about to engulf the Vatican. He then delivered exactly what was expected of him, a show-boat papacy that hid:

  1. a profound hatred of women (as seen in his views on contraception and the role, or should I say non-role, of women in the church);

  2. a disdain for the poor (no more liberation theology);

  3. a retreat from any new ideas (no more free thinkers like Küng);

  4. a love of kiddy-diddlers (II did everything he could to assist the American bishops in covering up this massive scandal, a scandal which after all is just a extension of the Church's screwy attitudes towards women); and

  5. domination of the church by nasty criminal secret societies (Freemasons and Opus Dei).


The deep evil he brought with him has now been permanently installed at the heart of Roman Catholicism. I think he took such a long time to die because he knew that the place he was going was far worse than the place he was at. He was truly a piece of shit. The only good thing I can think to say about him is that the thug who replaces him will almost certainly be worse.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Jewish conspiracy

An Israeli researcher, Gershom Gorenberg, is attempting to pry information out of a part of the Israeli State Archives in order to write a book on Israel's policy on Jewish settlement in the Occupied Territories during the first 10 years after the Six-Day War. Despite his attempts at going through the proper channels, he has made no progress with the archive bureaucrats, and is now having to go to court. His court petition (or here):

" . . . contains quotations from the telephone conversation with archive director Tsur in which she informed Gorenberg of the decision to reject his second application.

'We do not reveal such materials because this whole issue of the settlement in the territories has entered a very problematic area of discussions or contact with the Palestinians,' Tsur is cited as having said. 'You know very well that the settlers did not enter a vacuum, and this certainly touches upon the contacts with the Palestinians. And you see what's happening in the outside world with the whole story about the fence. These are very delicate subjects, very problematic, and I am certain that you don't want to be the one to open these problems to the outside world.'"


I am certain that you don't want to be the one to open these problems to the outside world. This is a reference to the idea that the mass of Jewish people in the world is like some kind of secret society that has to maintain a consistent front of lying. Since everyone hates the Jews, the usually unstated but commonly held belief is that the Jews have to operate covertly in their schemes, and have a right and a duty to lie and deceive the rest of the world. We saw the same thing with the recent attempts by Daniel Pipes to secretly prevent Barry Chamish from publishing. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist when an Israeli state archivist expressly makes the point. Of course, if you suggest that such a thing is going on you're an 'anti-Semite'. It is particularly interesting that the secrecy of the Jewish Cabal has come up in this context, as the decision to start the settlements was the fateful decision which will eventually lead to the destruction of Israel. Considering that it is the single most important issue in Israel today, the elephant sitting in the living room while everyone pretends not to notice while distracting themselves and the world by discussing 'terrorism', it is telling that nobody has gotten around to writing a book on the subject, and that attempts at research are meeting such consistent and instinctive opposition.

Forgeries and anthrax

Each of the three recent forgeries - the yellowcake (or here) forgery, the forged CIA memo which attempted to pin Joe Wilson as a liar by purporting to show it was his wife who recommended him for the Niger job (notice the pre-Gannongate Washington Post account, which refers to the 'the Talon News questioner' at a time when the identity of the questioner, and his connections to the White House, seemed irrelevant), and the faked cable which attempted to show William Arkin was on Saddam's payroll (oddly reminiscent of the Telegraph's libel of George Galloway) - have similarities:


  1. they are all forgeries; and

  2. they are all in the nature of political 'dirty tricks', intended to fool Americans into believing things useful to the Bush Administration; and

  3. they all involve a degree of sophistication and knowledge that would not be available to the average person; but

  4. they were all done incompetently enough that a real expert was able to instantly see them as forgeries.


Justin Raimondo, referring to Larry DiRita's statement that the Pentagon was not going to investigate the source of the Arkin cable, writes:

". . . listening to DiRita claim he just doesn't know where to look, one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. He might start with the entire sub rosa apparatus set up by the neoconservative faction, a series of parallel policy and intelligence-gathering networks the existence of which is well-documented and rather extensive. As per their usual practice – remember 'Team B,' which wildly overestimated Soviet economic and military strength? – the neocons set up their own bureaucratic fiefdom inside the government: the Office of Special Plans, the Iraq Survey Group, the army of contract consultants who were assigned to write up 'talking points' for administration officials hard-pressed to reconcile the case for war with the facts.

Taken together, this propaganda operation constituted an open conspiracy to embroil us in a war with Iraq by any means necessary – including a campaign of 'dirty tricks' to discredit and even legally endanger the antiwar movement."


and:

"In reading excerpts of these various forgeries, from the famed Niger uranium papers to the latest smear against Arkin, I always wonder: who writes this stuff? A neocon Jayson Blair, or perhaps some smartass young ideologue acting out his fantasies on the government's dime?"


I still think the yellowcake documents look like productions by dissident Iraqis associated with convicted forger Chalabi - Sharon's office is also a possibility but for the fact that Sharon's office would probably have done a better job - that were then laundered through Italian intelligence and journalism channels to make them look respectable, but all three sets of forgeries bear the odd similarity of being both sophisticated and incompetent at the same time. In other words, all contain information that comes from a superficial familiarity with the relevant 'bureaucratese', but lack the attention to detail that you would expect to see from someone who was familiar with the relevant documents. As Raimondo suggests, the obvious first suspects are the neocons in the Pentagon. Who, after all, is in the Pentagon, with access to precedents and jargon, but not of the Pentagon, with a deep basis in how to use these precedents and jargon? It would be like giving a law student some precedents and asking him to draft a contract. Although he knows the terms and the concepts, the document he produces will be immediately obvious as the work of an amateur to anyone familiar with professionally-drafted contracts. I can just imagine the neocons standing around the water cooler concocting schemes and sending some intern off to cobble together some document to use to attack their enemies. They would all be impressed by the use of the proper jargon, just as they were probably impressed by the yellowcake documents, but would have no way of knowing that the documents would be immediately recognizable as forgeries by an expert. Who else had the motive, means and opportunity, coupled with a goofy incompetence, an extreme if unwarranted amount of self-confidence, and a passing familiarity with Pentagon jargon and documents?


Each of these forgeries also bears an odd similarity with the anthrax attacks. The anthrax attacks, also apparently out of Pentagon labs, combined extreme competence in the delivery and quality of the anthrax itself, coupled with laughable incompetence in the creation of the clumsy letters attempting to frame Islamic terrorists. More importantly, the whole plan was ill-conceived due to the fact that the strain of anthrax spores could, if the FBI had any interest in the matter, be traced to a specific American military lab. Instead of investigating, the FBI spun its wheels going after what was obviously the wrong guy, and have acted in a way to let the real perpetrators go. The FBI has no apparent interest in Gannon and the Wilson-defaming memo Gannon claims to have not seen, no apparent interest in questioning the former Italian intelligence agent who is the only person who might have information on the yellowcake documents, and no apparent interest in determining the lab from which the anthrax attacks originated. The Pentagon has no interest in determining who prepared the Arkin-defaming cable. A suspicious person might even be able to detect a whiff of conspiracy in all this lack of interest.