Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
"The elephant in the room for all Sunnis remains Iran the Shiite theocracy next door that provided refuge to many of Iraq's current Shiite leaders during Saddam's dictatorship. Tehran has welcomed the Iraqi people taking charge of determining their own fate and drafting a constitution that respects and protects the rights of its citizens.
There is little doubt that sidelining the Sunnis would vastly increase Iran's influence in Iraq and the whole region an anathema for Sunni Arabs and a nightmare for many Washington policy-makers."
Well, some Washington policy-makers. The neocons on the ground in Iraq have ensured that Iraq will break up into three parts: a non-threatening Sunni remnant, Kurdistan, and a Shi'ite Empire led by Iran. Sunni-dominated groups in the Middle East have all spoken against it, and have all made the point that stressing the Arab identity of Iraq is the only way to avoid a catastrophic break-up of the country. Conflicts between the new Shi'ite Empire and the Sunni world will give Israel plenty of room to work towards creating Greater Israel. From the same article, here is the Israeli math:
"Shiites account for less than 15 percent of the 1 billion Muslims around the world. But they make up an estimated 60 percent of Iraq's estimated 27 million people, although Sunnis dominated the country under Saddam and earlier regimes."
The plan is so obvious, but everyone pretends not to see it. I note that this Zionist-neocon plan will not benefit the United States.
The New York Times feels Judith Miller should be released from jail as "continued incarceration is not going to sway a reporter who believes she is making a principled sacrifice." It seems to me that the damage done by her incarceration to the concept of whistleblowing - and, unlike many, I think that there has been such damage (see here) - has already been done, and letting her out won't cure the damage. Her contempt continues. Given all the terrible things she did to lie the U. S. into the attack on Iraq, they might as well throw away the key and leave her in there forever. If the New York Times was genuinely concerned about getting her out, they would write an editorial urging Scooter to sign the damn waiver. Of course, if she's as involved in the Plame scandal as many suspect, Miller still won't want to testify even with a waiver (which means her sacrifice isn't 'principled'). Read the Arianna Huffington comments on the continuing saga.
"The strong suspicions that have surrounded the dubious and partisan activities of Reporters without Boarders (RSF) were not unfounded. For many years, various critics have denounced the largely political actions of the Parisian entity, particularly with regards to Cuba and Venezuela, whose characteristics that utilizes propaganda is obvious. The positions of RSF against the governments of Havana and Caracas are found in perfect correlation with the political and media war that Washington carries out against the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionaries.
Finally the truth has come to light. Mr. Robert Ménard, secretary general of the RSF for twenty years, has confessed to receiving financing from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization that depends on the U.S. Department of State, whose principal role is to promote the agenda of the White House for the entire world. Ménard was indeed very clear. 'We indeed receive money from the NED. And that hasn't posed any problem.'"
In other words, Reporters Without Borders is another bought-and-paid-for American government propaganda outlet. The perfect advocates for Judith Miller.
There are so many crazy new stories about the London shooting, but I've been trying to understand this one in The Guardian:
"Armed police officers fired at Jean Charles de Menezes for over 30 seconds when they killed him at Stockwell tube station, according to a witness statement made to independent investigators and obtained by the Guardian.
The witness says the shots were fired at intervals of three seconds and that she ran for her life fearing terrorists had opened fire on commuters."
The witness was Sue Thomason, a freelance journalist from south London, who apparently correctly said that eleven shots were fired at a time when the actual number of shots was not made public. Some excerpts from her testimony:
"The shots were evenly spaced with about three seconds between the shots, for the first few shots, then a gap of a little longer, then the shots were evenly spaced again."
"I recall hearing gunshots . . . The shooting was coming from the carriage to the left of me. When I heard the gunshots I thought it was terrorists firing into the crowd. I thought about getting behind a seat . . . After the initial first shots . . . I left the carriage."
"While I was making my way to the escalator I remember hearing more shots coming from behind me. I thought that I would be shot in the back... Half way up the escalator I remember looking behind me and hearing two more shots... "Once I got outside the station my legs went.
I would say there was 10 or 11 shots fired. The shots were . . . evenly spaced out (timewise)."
What the hell?! Remember these were extremely close-range shots to the head. I can understand a panic response when a flurry of shots is fired almost simultaneously, but this timing is just plain weird. It would sound something like this (for those who count seconds by counting Mississippi's!):
- [time space . . . one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi]
- [time space . . . one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi]
- [longer time space . . . one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi . . . four Mississippi . . . five Mississippi]
- [time space . . . one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi]
- [time space . . . one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi]
and so on, up to eleven shots, spaced out over a period of thirty seconds.
She says that the two investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission who interviewed her used a map of Stockwell tube which had key features in the wrong place, and omitted the number of shots and the intervals between them from her statement until she insisted that this information be included! Her story rings true, as she could confirm the interval based on the time it took for her physical escape from the scene of the crime.
Was this some kind of ritual killing? Did the number of shots and their timing have a meaning to the SAS? Is it like a twenty-one gun salute? Can anyone confirm if similar SAS executions in Ireland had similar characteristics?
Monday, August 29, 2005
The latest outrage (or here) is that the United States 'caved in' on radical Shi'ite demands that Iraq have a constitution where canonic Islamic law is the fundamental basis of the laws of Iraq. Difficult as it may be to believe, this issue may actually be causing Bush some political problems in the United States, where Americans can see a contradiction between a constitution rooted in fundamentalist Islam and stated American goals on such issues as democracy and women's rights. In fact, the real story is even stranger. Kurdish politicians are criticizing U. S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for his role in pushing for an Islamic-based constitution. From a story in The Age (also here, and referred to by 'mondo' in my comments section; my emphasis in bold):
"The current working draft of the constitution stipulates that no law can contradict Islamic principles. In talks with Shiite religious parties, Kurdish negotiators said they had pressed unsuccessfully to limit the definition of Islamic law to agreed-upon religious principles.
The Kurds said current language in the constitutional draft would subject Iraqis to extreme interpretations.
Kurds also contend provisions in the draft would allow Islamic clerics to serve on the high court that would interpret the constitution. That would potentially subject marriage, divorce, inheritance and other civil matters to religious law, and could harm women's rights in particular, Kurdish negotiators and some women's groups said.
Mr Khalilzad had specifically supported those provisions, urging other groups to accept them, according to Kurds involved in the talks."
The reason for this is supposed to be the American desire to hurry the drafting of the constitution, but that doesn't make any sense as this issue was the cause of the main delay in producing the final draft. There was no longer any real deadline, as the drafting was already operating under an arguably unconstitutional extension, and could just as easily been extended again, and no American political deadline, as 99.999% of Americans could care less. Why did Khalilzad insist on the fateful words?
We've already seen that the Americans completely dominated the constitutional process by having English as the operating language of drafting. Zalmay Khalilzad went out of his way to push for language which matches the kind of legal system you would find in Iran. Khalilzad, a pure neocon (a founding member of PNAC), helped draft a constitution in his native Afghanistan that declared it an 'Islamic Republic' in which no law could contradict Islam (contrary to what they say, neocons like fundamentalist Islam). Now he's pushed for the words that will ensure that the constitution divides Iraq between Sunni and Shi'ite factions (the Kurds don't like the wording, but apparently are prepared to support the constitution), and in fact, divides the new Iraq from the entire Sunni world. It does, however, suit the Shi'ite fundamentalists who are close to the leadership of Iran. In fact, this new constitution was drafted by the Americans expressly to cause the country to break up, and lead to the new Iran-Iraq Shi'ite Empire, whose main enemy will be the world of Sunni Islam. Khalilzad's drafting is just another neocon trick to cause dissension in the Middle East between factions in Islam, thus benefiting Israel. The alleged pressure of time was a ruse to allow Khalilzad to force through the destructive language.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
"Equality has gone out of fashion. Social justice under Labour means heaving the poorest over the poverty threshold and lifting the life chances of children from lower social classes. Tony Blair said early on that he was not bothered about wealth, only about abolishing poverty. Talk of inequality sounds like the old politics of envy. Equality of opportunity, yes, but equality for its own sake, why?
Here is the answer. Richard Wilkinson is a professor of social epidemiology, an expert in public health. From that vantage point he sees the world in terms of its physical and psychological wellbeing, surveying great sweeps of health statistics through sociological eyes. He has assembled a mountain of irrefutable evidence from all over the world showing the damage done by extreme inequality. However rich a country is, it will still be more dysfunctional, violent, sick and sad if the gap between social classes grows too wide. Poorer countries with fairer wealth distribution are healthier and happier than richer, more unequal nations."
"Life expectancy in rich nations correlates precisely with levels of equality. So Greece, with half the GDP per head, has longer life expectancy than the US, the richest and most unequal country with the lowest life expectancy in the developed world. The people of Harlem live shorter lives than the people of Bangladesh. When you take out the violence and drugs, two-thirds of the reason is heart disease. Is that bad diet? No, says Wilkinson, it is mainly stress, the stress of living at the bottom of the pecking order, on the lowest rung, the stress of disrespect and lack of esteem. Bad nutrition does less harm than depression."
This runs exactly counter to the praises of excessive capitalism that is all we hear churned out by the usual propaganda machines that seem to be run by the corpse of Ayn Rand. From a discussion of Wilkinson's work by James Lardner (and see here):
"If inequality damages health, it probably operates through a variety of pathways. As George Kaplan and John Lynch at the University of Michigan point out, low income (even if it isn't low enough to meet the official definition of poverty) means limited access to education, health care, and other services, with long-term consequences for health. At the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Clyde Hertzman has done extensive work on the latent effects of socioeconomically influenced differences in prenatal care and early childhood development. In the June 3rd issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, Paula Lantz and James House, who work with Kaplan and Lynch at the University of Michigan, analyze the link between income and such forms of self-destructive behavior as smoking, alcohol abuse, and over-eating.
But as Lantz and House point out, these specific risk factors explain only a comparatively small part of the socioeconomic gradient in health, which Wilkinson himself believes may, at bottom, have more to do with psychosocial factors - with what inequality does, for example, to friendship and the will to take part in social and community activities. 'I think that social relations -friendships and alliances - should be seen as horizontal relations between equals in contrast to the vertical hierarchy of power relations,' he says. 'Friendship and hierarchy are opposite principles of social organization. In friendship one is talking about mutuality and reciprocity - your needs being my needs. Hierarchy is about power, coercion, and access to resources regardless of other people's needs . . It's strength and power that determine who gets what, and I think that's the fundamental reason why as inequality increases the social environment deteriorates.' We have much to learn, he says, from the 'vigilant sharing' of hunter-gatherer societies, where people 'don't compete for the essentials of life.'"
In the current climate of the dog-eat-dog world it is like farting in church to even mention it, but the single most important thing that those who set public policy can do to improve the health and happiness of society is to reduce inequality. The two ways to do this are through income redistribution through tax policy, and the public funding of education and health care (and in particular an early childhood development strategy). In the current political climate of the United States it is impossible to conceive of how these type of policies would be possible, but all those countries not suffering from the current American political malaise should be hopping to it. This issue is directly connected to the issue of social mobility.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
"There was never the slightest reason for Israel to send in the army to remove these settlers. The entire operation could have been managed, without the melodrama necessary for a media frenzy, by providing them with a fixed date on which the IDF would withdraw from inside the Gaza Strip. A week before, all the settlers will quietly have left with no TV cameras, no weeping girls, no anguished soldiers, no commentators asking cloying questions of how Jews could remove other Jews from their homes, and no more trauma about their terrible suffering, the world's victims, who therefore have to be helped to kick the Palestinians out of the West Bank."
The settlers are like astronauts on a space walk, completely dependent on the lifelines from Israel proper, and the severing of any of these lines would have had them scurrying back to safety. The whole withdrawal was a made-for-television movie as part of the ongoing Israeli propaganda war to ethnically cleanse the West Bank (and go back for Gaza later on). Under cover of favorable, and silly, coverage of the withdrawal, Sharon is stealing as much more land in the West Bank as he possibly can.
Here are a few things I've heard in reference to the withdrawal:
- Jews don't do this to Jews. Is this finally the confirmation that Judaism is indeed some secret society which treats other members of the secret society in a privileged way?
- Moving the settlers is just like the Holocaust. And yet if I were to say that the Pol Pot massacres in Cambodia were a 'holocaust'. I'd be labeled an 'anti-Semite' for, as we all should know now, nothing can be compared to the Holocaust, which is a morally unique event. Well, except for moving some people out of a government-supplied house into another government-supplied house, from one piece of illegally-settled land to another piece of illegally-settled land, all lubricated with the payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars of hush money thoughtfully provided by American taxpayers. That's a Holocaust!
- The movement out of Gaza will solve the Israeli demographic problem. For you see, the Arab occupants of Gaza were less than human before, and count for absolutely nothing now. Of course, Israel can't get off the hook through such attempts at legal niceties. Gaza was occupied territory before the settler withdrawal, and remains occupied territory now. Since it maintains the right to intervene militarily in Gaza at its own discretion, Israel has no (or here) right to claim that the occupied status of the area has changed, and no right to claim that it is off the hook for its legal obligations as an occupying power. The Policy Brief entitled "Legal Aspects of Israel's Disengagement Plan under International Humanitarian Law (IHL)" by the International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative states:
"Despite the military significance of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the limited control of the Palestinian Authority over key functions of government, its lack of control over international borders, sea and airspace, as well as the continued Israeli control of key security and welfare aspects of life in the Gaza Strip are likely to be major obstacles for recognition by the Security Council of an eventual end of occupation that would relieve Israel of its obligations toward the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip.
To successfully bring the occupation of the Gaza Strip to an end, one may argue that Israel will need at a minimum to withdraw the entirety of its troops and installations from the Gaza Strip, in particular from the 'Philadelphi Road', transferring full and sovereign control of the border of the Gaza Strip with Egypt to the Palestinian Authority. Every arrangement short of that withdrawal and transfer of sovereignty is likely to fail to bring an end to the occupation of the Gaza Strip."
All the Arab occupants of Gaza still count as inhabitants of Historic Palestine, and still make up the majority of the population of Historic Palestine.
- The withdrawal was an excellent trick by Sharon as the certain failure of the Palestinian 'state' in Gaza will prove that the Palestinians can never be allowed to have a state. They are like children who will always need someone to rule over them. Of course, the failure of the Palestinian 'state' in Gaza will just prove that such a state cannot survive without its counterpart in the West Bank. In other words, the failure of the Palestinian 'state' in Gaza will prove that the Israelis have to withdraw completely from the West Bank.
- On the general hypocrisy of coverage of the withdrawal, see here and here.
Despite all the hoopla, there was never any doubt that the withdrawal was going to be peaceful, and Sharon must have had the secret agreement of settler leaders in his pocket to ensure that there would be only token violence (besides killing a few innocent Palestinians, which of course doesn't count). The first reason for the threats by the settlers was to increase the amount of 'compensation' they will get from American taxpayers for moving from one free and illegal house to another. For some of them, this is an ongoing racket, having moved to Gaza from illegal houses in the Sinai with lots of compensation, now moving to the West Bank and looking forward to more moves and more compensation in the future (it reminds me of the punchline to the joke attributed to Oscar Wilde: 'We already know what you are my dear. I'm only trying to establish the price.'). There was even the hint of a slight 'legitimacy crisis' in Israel, where the settlers, long revered as representing the historic roots of Israel (I guess because they carry on the tradition of living on stolen land!), were beginning to be seen as threatening the security of the whole state for their own selfish purposes.
The second reason for the threats of violence was to make it appear to be politically impossible for Israel to withdraw from any more of the West Bank, other than the few settlements the Israelis intend to turn into police stations. After all, if it took that much trouble to move a few thousand settlers, how can Israel ever hope to move hundreds of thousands? Needless to say, with enough compensation, the withdrawal is completely 'scalable', and could cover as many settlers as would take free homes and hundreds of thousands of dollars of blackmail money to move to Israel. Israel has proved that a complete withdrawal is possible, and it is up to the rest of the world to insist on it.
Friday, August 26, 2005
"Our department doesn't do that kind of thing. It's against the law. He's a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."
The fact that assassination is 'against the law', by which he no doubt means the law of the United States, is repeated in almost all the stories on this issue. They rely on Executive Order 11905 signed by Gerald Ford, part of which, Section 5 (g), states :
"No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."
Ironically, this was signed because of a reaction to disclosures of American CIA actions in assassinating, or attempting to assassinate, the leaders of countries in Central America and the Caribbean. But things have changed. From an editorial in the Daytona Beach News-Journal:
"Executive Order 11905 is a 6,000-word national policy statement on the activities of intelligence services at home and abroad. President Ford signed it on Feb. 18, 1976. Here's one of its simplest orders: 'No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.' Sometime between Sept. 11 and Sept. 14, 2001, President Bush signed a secret intelligence order revoking Ford's. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would confirm the reversal in a CNN interview six weeks later. Assassinations were back on.
On Nov. 3, 2002, an unmanned CIA Predator drone fired at a convoy traveling in Yemen, killing a man believed to be al-Qaida's district manager for Yemen. The CIA didn't know an American was traveling with the convoy. He was killed, so were four other Yemenis. 'I can assure you that no constitutional questions are raised here,' Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, said of the assassination, which turned out to be one of many. In his State of the Union address three months later, Bush verged on gloating, Tony Soprano-like, about the productivity of his assassination policy. While 'more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries,' he said, 'many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way - they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.'"
Bush is bragging about targeted assassinations, which are now quite legal, at least under the Bush Administration's interpretation of American law (the ban against political assassinations is said not to apply during 'wartime', and 'wartime' is, of course, all the time!). The law was changed by an intelligence 'finding' signed by Bush which defined the list of newly permissible targets (and there were moves to change the law even before September 11). Since Bush establishes who is on the list, how do we know that Hugo Chavez isn't already on the list? Hugo Chavez has been attached to al Qaeda and Islamic terrorists by writers on the right, and we know that the United States has interfered in the Venezuelan electoral process and played a major role in the thwarted coup against Hugo Chavez. To thugs like Bush, anyone who gets in their way - and Chavez, with his control of oil coupled with his popular social programs which set a bad example for the rest of the world, is really in their way - is a 'terrorist'. If he's not already on the list, he could be put on the list tomorrow. There is no longer the slightest real restraint on the Bush Administration's ability to assassinate any politician in the world. Robertson's comments, which may have been some sort of trial balloon to see how the American public would react to such a move, may actually have bought Chavez some time before the Americans dare try to actually pull the trigger.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
"Negotiators here described American officials as playing a major role in the draft. U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad shuttled among Iraqi leaders, pushing late Monday for the inclusion of Sunnis in talks, negotiators said. U.S. Embassy staff members worked from a Kurdish party headquarters to help type up the draft and translate changes from English to Arabic for Iraqi lawmakers, negotiators said."
A major role indeed. The U. S. Embassy is working from Kurdish party headquarters to translate changes from English to Arabic for Iraqi lawmakers. So the Americans are writing the constitution in English, and then helpfully sending out - symbolically from Kurdish party headquarters - the drafts translated so the Iraqi lawmakers can see what the U. S. has planned for their constitution. By controlling the language in which the document is drafted, the Americans can control the terms of the debate, and ensure that the various factions can never come to a meeting of the minds in the kind of compromises that might lead to a workable document. Yet the spin on all this is how embarrassing it is for the Bush Administration that the constitution contains all these Shi'ite-influenced references to the dominance of Islam in the laws of the new state. Isn't it obvious that all this religion is being planted by the Americans in order to ensure that the Sunnis and religious moderates won't be able to live with the constitution imposed on them, thus leading to the break-up of Iraq and the formation of the new Shi'ite Empire?
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
"SH: Okay, I'm going to go ahead and name some people whom I suspect inside the State Department and the Pentagon, and I suppose you won't be able to answer affirmative or negative on any of these, but I'm very curious when I read about this kind of corruption going on in the State Department, I immediately think of John Bolton and David Wurmser. Do those names mean anything to you?
SE: Well, first of all, I'm not going to answer that question at all, but also you should pay attention to the fact that some of these people have been there for a while, and some of these people had their roots in there even in the mid-1990s.
SH: So more career officials rather than political appointees.
SE: Or maybe a mixture of both."
Who is she referring to? The United States has a peculiar habit of completely changing government officials from administration to administration - is that habit unique amongst sophisticated countries? - and it is quite unusual for a senior bureaucrat to survive from a Democrat President's administration to a Republican President's administration. Who survived from Clinton to Bush? The most prominent figure I can think of is Marc Grossman, who had until his recent retirement and cashing in been Bush's Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Grossman had met with Pakistani General Mahmoud Ahmed when Ahmed was visiting Washington in the week before September 11, 2001. He had had a long career as a professional diplomat, and had been Clinton's ambassador to Turkey (remember that Edmonds' allegations refer to translations of Turkish documents for the FBI). He was appointed by Clinton to be Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs in 1997. From 1984 to 1986, he had been the Deputy Director of the Private Office of Lord Carrington, then Secretary General of NATO. The husband and wife team that Edmonds has fingered for wrongdoing are USAF Major Douglas Dickerson and Melek Can (aka Jan Dickerson). Douglas Dickerson, who had been working for the USAF selling American weapons systems to the 'Stans, was protected by posting him to NATO in Belgium. In the longer version of her interview (the thread, also contains information on the allegations made concerning Turkish bribes to Dennis Hastert), Edmonds said:
"Well, what is interesting with [the] Vanity Fair article, I don't know how many people picked up on that, but they're saying Turkic - Turkish counTRIES. It's a plural, people. And to look and say, OK, you're looking at this region of the world that nobody is referring to in the War Against Terror. OK, you're looking at Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhistan and Uzbekistan, and these are the countries that now we are busy establishing bases in. And a large portion of their GDP depends on narcotics. And there's a presence, Al Qaida presence, in these countries. We don't hear anything about Balkan countries and, again, their direct ties and their direct relevance to Al Qaida. They are not even naming these countries. The role that Pakistan played before and the role that Pakistan is playing today. So, as I said, as I have said before, there are several countries, there are several organizations, and not just say, isolate just one country or one organization."
and, in a similar passage from an interview with Amy Goodman (the transcript is faulty as where it says 'Turkey' is should say 'Turkic'):
". . . what I have said all along is the fact that as far as the 9/11 is concerned, September 11 is concerned, these departments - and when I say 'these departments,' the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense - have intentionally blocked the investigations of real - the real criminals in this country. And we are talking about countries involved. The Vanity Fair article points out to Turkey - countries. And it's very interesting. To this date, we are not hearing anything about targeting, you know, certain Central Asian countries. They are not speaking about the link between the narcotics and al Qaeda. Yes, we are hearing about them coming down on some charities as the real funds behind al Qaeda, but most of al Qaeda's funding is not through these charity organizations. It's through narcotics. And have you heard anything to this date, anything about these issues which we have had information since 1997? And as I would again emphasize, we are talking about countries. And they are blocking this information, and also the fact that certain officials in this country are engaged in treason against the United States and its interests and its national security, be it the Department of State or certain elected officials."
Edmonds sometimes makes me a bit nervous as she seems overly adept with the terms and arguments of conspiracy theory for someone who is supposed to have been a lowly FBI translator (it's like she's been reading Peter Dale Scott!). Is she part of the battle in Washington between the Bush Administration enablers involved in the drugs/arms business who don't mind directly or indirectly supporting al Qaeda if it is good for business, and those old-fashioned types who still consider that dealing with American enemies is treason? We should see the battle concerning the lies created by friends of Israel to trick Americans into the attack on Iraq, and the whole AIPAC scandal, as part of the same larger war. It will be interesting to see who wins: the anything-for-a-buck operators or the American patriots.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
- Here is a long account of today's version of what happened to Jean Charles de Menezes (this kind of thing has happened before). A commentator points out that the story that de Menezes had jumped over the subway ticket barrier came from the police, and not media sources. That jump is one of the main components of the first version of the Official Story, necessary to the idea that the police reacted to suspicious actions by de Menezes, and the police lied about it. They can't claim that they just failed to correct a media error.
- The Freakonomics economists comment on the 'Peak Oil' idea. Since global warming caused by consumption of hydrocarbons is the real problem facing the world, the luckiest thing that could happen is if 'Peak Oil' were correct, but I don't think we are that fortunate. If we all decided to tax the windfall profits of the oil industry caused by this artificial panic at, say, a rate of 150%, we would hear no more of this 'problem'.
- A cartoon and an excellent article on the biofuel-from-corn scam. Note all the problems that biofuels will cause. If we all decided to stop the obscene subsidization of agricultural production, and in particular, corn, we would hear no more of this ridiculous idea (and ending First-World agricultural subsidies would go a long way to ending Third-World hunger and economic deprivation).
- Enshrining Islam in Iraq's constitution is just another part of the neocon plan to create a Shi'ite Empire which will be an ally of Israel. Don't believe the hype that Iran is in any danger (but we will continue to hear about it as part of the campaign to force Iranian politics to the right).
From The Bush Beat by Ward Harkavy in the Village Voice, you ought to read "Dual Disloyalty: Feith and the Occupations of Gaza and Iraq", the first time I've seen Douglas Feith's radical Zionism expressly connected with his ridiculous views on the Occupied Territories, his advocacy of the war on Iraq (remember he played a key role in creating the lies which led to the war), and his treatment of Arab prisoners in Iraq worse than if they were animals. On Feith's radical Zionism (but to be fair to Feith's father, Betar, his father's group, is much, much more moderate that the extreme Likudnik ideas of Feith, and I don't believe it's fair to slur his father as a 'a founder of Likud', although he was a terrorist against the British and Arabs - at a time when being a terrorist was apparently a good thing! - in the Zionist underground in Palestine in the 1940's):
"Feith is such a radical that he won't even refer to the West Bank as the West Bank — he uses the biblical names Judea and Samaria. And he doesn't even like to say 'occupied territories,' even though they are. In fact, our own government officially refers to them as 'occupied' and freely uses the term 'West Bank.' Just look at the CIA map of Israel above, and you'll see that Gaza and the West Bank are separate from Israel, and each carries an asterisk.
But there's no asterisk attached to Feith's version of Israel. The son of a founder of Likud, he has pursued a radical Zionist policy at the expense of Israel's own Jews, a majority of whom don't favor the settlers."
On allegations that Feith has dual loyalties, to Israel and the United States, a ridiculous charge, as Harkavy points out:
"Does Feith have divided loyalties? That's a common allegation leveled against those neocons and others who seem to put Israel's interests before those of the United States. It's clear, though, that Feith doesn't. His loyalty belongs to Israel and to its extremist politicians like Bibi Netanyahu, for whom he was an adviser."
Israel has absolutely nothing to worry about.
Putting a radical, Arab-hating, Zionist who worked solely for the interests of Israel in charge of promoting the disastrous American attack on Iraq and the subsequent spectacularly inhumane treatment of Arab prisoners is beginning to look like not such a good idea. The treatment of prisoners is so bad that the Pentagon is actually arguing that release of photos of the treatment will so inflame Arab sentiments that it would endanger American troops, and we can lay the blame for this treatment entirely on the Zionist view that Arabs are Untermenschen, and to Feith's personal implementation of this view. The truth is finally starting to appear. You can't insult the Village Voice by calling it part of the mainstream media, but it's close. It won't be long before Americans get to know what the rest of the world has known for years.
From The Observer:
"Senior sources in the Metropolitan Police have told The Observer that members of the surveillance team who followed de Menezes into Stockwell underground station in London felt that he was not about to detonate a bomb, was not armed and was not acting suspiciously. It was only when they were joined by armed officers that his threat was deemed so great that he was shot seven times."
and (more evidence that the SAS hit squad was just out to kill someone, and didn't need or want a good reason):
"A police source said: 'There is no way those three guys would have been on the train carriage with him [de Menezes] if they believed he was carrying a bomb. Nothing he did gave the surveillance team the impression that he was carrying a device.'"
and (more changes to the Official Story, which seems to change completely each day):
"The Observer now understands that seconds before the firearms team entered the tube train carriage, a member of the surveillance squad using the codename Hotel 3 moved to the doorway and shouted: 'He's in here.' De Menezes, in all likelihood alarmed by the activity, stood and moved towards the doorway. He was grabbed and pushed back to his seat. The first shots were then fired while Hotel 3 was holding him."
and, in case you thought the surveillance team was off the hook (my emphasis in bold):
"Meanwhile, questions have been raised about the accuracy of the police intelligence that led to the raid on the block of flats occupied by de Menezes. It was initially suggested that the flat was connected to the man known as Hussein Osman, who was arrested in Italy. On the Saturday after the shooting, officers raided the flat in a high-profile operation watched by the world's media. As a result, a man, identified only as 'C', was arrested 'on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism'. But he was released on 30 July with no charge, raising the possibility that the flats had no connection with the bombings."
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is also "expected to look into selective briefings to the media over the days following the shootings." 'Selective' is the nice way to refer to the fact that the police effectively lied by allowing untrue speculations to circulate.
This whole thing has become completely unbelievable. It wouldn't be any weirder if they held a press conference tomorrow with de Menezes himself, announcing that it was all part of the latest Richard Branson publicity stunt to advertise Virgin bulletproof vests.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
- Sir Ian Blair has to resign, or be fired. He either said things he knew to be untrue or passed on such lies by subordinates who had so little respect for him that they didn't care if he lied or not. In either case he has no place running a police department. The cover up of the lying just makes things worse.
- There has to be a full-fledged public inquiry.
- All the officers involved have to be tried for manslaughter, including those who ordered the execution, and attention ought to be paid to whether Sir Ian Blair should be charged with obstruction of justice.
- The 'shoot to kill' policy should be as dead as Jean Charles de Menezes.
All these things are obvious, but I think it is important to stifle the even more important danger that the British military is attempting to import the dirty war in Northern Ireland into London. From an article by Michael Smith (him again!):
"Press photographs of members of the armed response team taken in the immediate aftermath of the killing show at least one man carrying a special forces weapon that is not issued to SO19, the Metropolitan police firearms unit.
The man, wearing civilian clothes with a blue cap marked 'Police', was carrying a specially modified Heckler & Koch G3K rifle with a shortened barrel and a butt from a PSG-1 sniper rifle fitted to it — a combination used by the SAS.
Another man, dressed in a T-shirt, jeans and trainers, was carrying a Heckler & Koch G36C. Although this weapon is used on occasion by SO19 it appears to be fitted with a target illuminator purchased as an 'urgent operational requirement' for UK special forces involved in the war on terror."
Although the official position is that the SAS was only involved in surveillance, and the London police did the shooting, it is impossible to believe anything they say anymore, and more and more evidence points to this being a full-fledged military operation. Smith goes on (my emphasis in bold):
"The use of multiple shots to the head is the modus operandi of the special forces, whether from the SAS, the SBS or the undercover intelligence operators used in the Stockwell operation. Over the past 30 years the SAS has developed a reputation for never allowing gunmen to remain alive, an attitude shown most graphically during the 1980 Iranian hostages siege and the Gibraltar IRA killings eight years later.
'It is vital to strike fear into the minds of the terrorists,' one former SAS officer said. 'In an ongoing situation such as we have now the fear must be directed to the fact that we are watching them and will eventually (get) them. They need to know that they cannot escape.
'We know they are happy to kill themselves but that doesn't mean they are happy to be killed by others. As long as they evade the police they will think they are in control but the minute they are intercepted they lose control.'"
Despite all the talk about the Israeli 'shoot to kill' policy, the execution of Jean Charles de Menezes appears to be an example of a long-standing British military policy. It was irrelevant to them whether he was a terrorist or not. They decided to pursue him, and literally grabbed him out of the hands of the London police, because they wanted to set an example. The complete ruthlessness with which they acted was meant to show any prospective terrorists that they would not live to be heroes. You simply can't have incompetent military murderers running around in a civilized country. Apart from dealing with this specific problem, the British people have a bigger job to do: keep Britain from becoming infected with the threat of military violence against its own people.
Friday, August 19, 2005
I understand there have been some new revelations on the SAS murder in London, and new allegations from Washington concerning some guy named 'Atta', but all that interests me is the possible solving of the disappearance of Judge Crater. I've mentioned that Crater was on the DOE Network, but since he disappeared on August 6, 1930, you'd think this was a mystery that would never be solved. Now, a 91-year-old woman named Stella Ferrucci-Good has died, leaving behind in a safety deposit box a letter labeled 'Do not open until my death'. The letter apparently states that Crater was murdered by her late husband, Robert Good, an NYPD policeman named Charles Burns, and the policeman's brother, Frank Burns. Crater is supposed to have been buried in Coney Island at the current site of the New York Aquarium.
There was a NYPD officer named Charles Burns who served from 1926 to 1946, and spent part of his career assigned to the 60th Precinct in Coney Island. Five bodies were found at the site of the Aquarium when it was being built in the 1950's. These remains are being checked.
The letter also claims that Charles Burns was one of the policemen guarding Murder Inc. killer Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles when he mysteriously fell to his death from the sixth-floor window of a Coney Island hotel in 1941, just hours before he was due to testify against mob boss Albert Anastasia (making Reles known as 'the canary who could sing but couldn't fly').
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
"Our new, field-by-field analysis of production capacity, led by my colleagues Peter Jackson and Robert Esser, is quite at odds with the current view and leads to a strikingly different conclusion: There will be a large, unprecedented buildup of oil supply in the next few years. Between 2004 and 2010, capacity to produce oil (not actual production) could grow by 16 million barrels a day - from 85 million barrels per day to 101 million barrels a day - a 20 percent increase. Such growth over the next few years would relieve the current pressure on supply and demand."
"This is not the first time that the world has 'run out of oil.' It's more like the fifth. Cycles of shortage and surplus characterize the entire history of the oil industry."
"The growing supply of energy should not lead us to underestimate the longer-term challenge of providing energy for a growing world economy. At this point, even with greater efficiency, it looks as though the world could be using 50 percent more oil 25 years from now. That is a very big challenge. But at least for the next several years, the growing production capacity will take the air out of the fear of imminent shortage. And that in turn will provide us the breathing space to address the investment needs and the full panoply of technologies and approaches - from development to conservation - that will be required to fuel a growing world economy, ensure energy security and meet the needs of what is becoming the global middle class."
Yergin is the author of "The Prize", an excellent history of the oil industry. I wouldn't mind this oil-shortage scam so much if it was the first time they've tried it, but they keep pulling it again and again and we keep falling for it. Some people think the oil crisis of the 1970's was engineered in order to make the North Sea oil commercially viable, and thus keep Britain from going bankrupt. Technology keeps advancing, and higher oil prices just allow oil sources to be developed that were formerly not profitable. The big oil companies are making billions and billions of dollars in record profits, selling the same amount of oil as always, all on the basis of fooling us again into believing there is an incurable shortage. We're told that the price is going up due to supply and demand, when most of the increase is due to the falling real value of the American Dollar (another reason to start pricing oil in terms of a stable currency like the Euro). Since the main problem facing the world today is global warming caused by our burning too much fossil fuel, a shortage of oil is probably the best news the world could have, but we are unfortunately stuck with having enough oil for the foreseeable future. Of course, another foolish war on any country in the Middle East would change things considerably.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
"Throughout his time as head of the C.P.A., L. Paul Bremer III, whom the insurgency may well have viewed as its highest-value target, was protected by a Triple Canopy competitor, Blackwater USA. Private gunmen, according to Lawrence Peter, are now guarding four U.S. generals."
Don't laugh (ok, you can laugh a little). If you are an American general who has spent years bowing and scraping to the top, and are now just waiting out a few months in Iraq so you can retire to your cushy sinecure in the industrial part of the military-industrial complex, you don't want to put your life in the hands of some 19-year-old reservist from Redneck, Texas, some fodder unit so dumb he actually thinks he's fighting the 'war on terror'. You can afford the best, so you hire the best. On the other hand, this doesn't show much confidence in the army these generals are supposedly leading, and a critical person might think that generals like that should be summarily fired. An even more critical person might think that Donald Rumsfeld, the man who so understaffed the army that it has been reduced to hiring people to guard its own generals, should be fired. Lawrence Peter, apparently both a lobbyist for the mercenary industry and a consultant to the Department of Defense on outsourced security (what a handy combination!), claims there are 25,000 armed mercenaries in the employ of the Americans in Iraq (in addition, of course, to all the unarmed staff provided by companies like Halliburton).
Isn't it striking that everybody in the Bush Administration associated with the planning of the attack on Iraq, and the creation of the lies told to lead to that attack, are Jewish intellectuals with close ties to the extreme right-wing Zionists in Israel? Indeed, some, if not all, of these officials hold Israeli passports. If you look at the people surrounding Cheney, and all the people on the civilian side of the Pentagon, the uniformity of origin is amazing. The only people not in this group are Rumsfeld and Cheney. Rumsfeld had his own reasons for the war, as he wanted an easy challenge from a weakened enemy to test his new theories of warfare. Unfortunately for Rumsfeld, all his new theories of warfare have proven to be wrong, but at least he got his laboratory.
And Cheney? What was Cheney's motivation? Leaving aside the big issues of oil and geopolitics, could it just be money? Cheney still receives a salary from Halliburton, has interests in Halliburton's success, and no doubt will be well rewarded by Halliburton when he leaves politics. Halliburton is the subject of what is probably the largest series of military frauds in American history, and still receives a constant feed of new contracts, all without question sent its way by the Vice President himself (see Halliburton share price history chart, as referred to in Cosmic Iguana). I still find it amazing that Cheney continues to skate on this scandal, which should by rights be front-page news in every American newspaper.
Let's say you're Cheney, and you know before you arrive in power that you're going to start an attack on Iraq in order to line your own pockets as a result of the largest financial scandal in American procurement history. How do you go about protecting yourself if everything should go wrong and the American public starts looking for a scapegoat? By picking the people in the Administration on the front line in preparing for the attack from an identifiable scapegoat group. Cheney picked all these Likudnik Jewish intellectuals for the specific reason that when the shit hit the fan the whole thing could be blamed on Israel.
The fact that Israel and its friends were set up to take the blame doesn't take them off the hook. After all, they were given the bait and they all grabbed at it. Every one of them committed the treason required to start a disastrous war for reasons associated only with what they perceived to be the interests of Israel, and the American Likudniks deserve all the blame they are starting to receive. Nevertheless, the real person to blame for this is still Cheney. Cheney set this up in order to start a war to fill his pockets and the pockets of his friends, while providing a tidy alibi when things went sideways.
A real conspiracy theorist might even go back to the origins of all these intellectuals in various right-wing Washington think tanks set up in the last twenty years. Were these think tanks staffed with Zionists by some forward-thinking anti-Semites, who knew that the Zionists would eventually serve their purpose as scapegoats while hurting the Jewish people? Those who claim that pointing out the obvious fact that the war was started for Israel makes you an anti-Semite are playing right into the hands of the wider conspiracy. The dangerous Zionists aren't Jewish. After all, American Jews were probably more against the attack than the average American. The real dangerous Zionists, the ones with real power behind the scenes, are Christian Zionists. The Christian Zionists are the real anti-Semites, despite their current preoccupation with Israel. The Christian Zionists are interested in Israel only because they see its destruction in the apocalypse as a necessary precursor to their rapture, and so foster the positions of the Likudniks as they correctly see such positions as inevitably leading to World War in the Middle East. It could very well be that the seeming victory for Israel in the American attack on Iraq has been set up by real anti-Semites, with Cheney as their (well-paid) agent, intending to frame the Jewish people by playing on the stupidities and weaknesses of the American Jewish Likudniks.
Monday, August 15, 2005
"And the other thing I want him to tell me is 'just what was the noble cause Casey died for?' Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We're not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism. There, I used the 'I' word - imperialism. And now I'm going to use another 'I' word - impeachment - because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail."
It is important to couple the removal of American troops from Iraq with the removal of Israeli troops from the Occupied Territories. They are two sides of the same coin, and action is required on both in order to reduce the dangers of terrorism. Research on suicide bombings has shown that the cause of terrorism isn't 'evil', but is simply the military occupation of a country by troops of a different religion. Stop those occupations and you take real steps to end terrorism. Cindy Sheehan is saying things which many people know to be true, but which have no outlet in the mainstream media.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
There is so much deep 'n meaty conspiracy theory flying around the United States now that it just might be 1963, or 1973, again. The indictment of Jack Abramoff is just so, so . . . nixonian, Abramoff being the Bebe Rebozo of his time. The similarity is that each is the connection between the highest levels of the Republican Party, organized crime, and a weirdo hate group, in Bebe's case anti-Castro Cubans (an ongoing Repub connection), in Jack's case the Israeli settler movement.
The ties of the Republicans to the worst of the Zionists is becoming the standard assumption of the ordinary American, as witnessed by the express connection made by Cindy Sheehan in her letter to NightLine:
"Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by a George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11. We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy . . . not for the real reason, because the Arab-Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy. That hasn't changed since America invaded and occupied Iraq . . . in fact it has gotten worse."
Despite the expected efforts by the Zionists to label her an anti-Semite or even a neo-Nazi, her views are now the common-sense views of mainstream America (note the commentators are in full agreement with her views, and not with the haters who want to call her names). You'll never hear such common sense from the 'elites' or the media, as the fear of being labeled an 'anti-Semite' is so strong that they would rather die than even suggest a connection between the Iraq war and its only obvious beneficiary, Israel. Nevertheless, it is completely predictable that the average American would eventually make the connection, and this kind of common sense will become more and more prevalent as the Iraq war drags on.
I'll have some more to say about this, as I detect at least one even deeper level of conspiracy here, but I want to turn to another Israeli conspiracy, as noted by a poster at Rumor Mill News. FarSight3 writes (I've changed a bit of the spelling):
"Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, a member of the ethnic Tamil minority who led an international campaign to ban the Tamil Tiger rebels as a terrorist organization, was assassinated yesterday. Clearly, there is more to this story than there is told. Interestingly, the 'blame' is put on the Tamil Tigers itself - which makes no sense, as the FM worked for 'their goals' in a peaceful way - but obviously not for the 'benefit' of those 'terrorists'. Question is now - as always: WHOM IS SERVING TERRORISM?
Same, as in Palestine - those 'Error'-Organizations seem to have developed an independent life - BY NO WAY SERVING THEIR ORIGINAL GOALS, they have been 'founded' for."
FarSight3 goes on to quote from a review by Sachi Sri Kantha of "By Way of Deception; The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer", the famous book on the inner secrets of the Mossad by Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy (the bold is in the original):
"Now, let me focus on the material related to Sri Lanka, which made Ostrovski a recognizable name in the government and military circles in Colombo now. Ostrovski's disclosures on the deals made by the military and political power-brokers of the ruling UNP and the Mossad had been published in excerpts in the Tamil Nation of Oct.15, 1990.
What shocked the Sinhalese ruling establishment and the journalists (including the editor of Lanka Guardian, Mervyn de Silva) was the revelation of Ostrovski that Mossad had trained the Sinhalese military personnel and 'a group of Tamil guerrilla factions' simultaneously. Based on the meagre details provided by Ostrovski, these power-brokers and opinion-makers had identified LTTE as the beneficiary of Mossad's patronage.
To me, this sounds too premature and incorrect. Let me repeat what Ostrovski had written on this topic. 'Around 1983, a group of Tamil guerrilla factions, collectively known as the Tamil Tigers, began an armed struggle to create a Tamil homeland in the north called Eelam - an on-going battle that has claimed thousands of lives on both sides'. This is the only sentence in the book, where a vague reference is made to the Tamil Tigers.
The time-frame Ostrovski had written about was 'mid-July 1984', when he was still a trainee at the Mossad Academy. He had not mentioned LTTE by name anywhere in the book. At that time, all the militant groups fighting for Eelam (LTTE, TELO, EPRLF, EROS and PLOTE) were identified as 'Tamil Tigers'. This point need be stressed.
The authors of Broken Palmyra also clearly state this fact in page 72 of their book; 'Up to this time (April 1985), the Tamil population had hardly differentiated between rival groups. They were all referred to as boys and even Tigers' Again the fact is that as reported in the Economist of August 3, 1985, in its coverage on the five Tamil militant groups, LTTE was identified as receiving training from the PLO in Lebanon.
Ostrovski has noted that in mid-July 1984, 'nearly 50' Sri Lankan army personnel arrived for training in Israel. These training sessions were not offered free. According to Ostrovski, 'A unit of 60 trainees would cost about $300 each day (per trainee), for a total of $18,000. For a three-month course, that would be $1.6 million.
On top of that, they would be charged $5,000 to $6,000 an hour for helicopter rental, and as many as 15 helicopters could be used in a training exercise. Add to that the cost of special ammunition used in training: a bazooka shell, for example, cost about $220 a unit, while heavy mortars were about $1000 each...'
Ostrovsky should be credited for exposing the deals Sri Lankan government had with Mossad, through the Mahaveli River Diversion Project. Apart from exposing how the Sri Lankan authorities diverted foreign-aid funds they received from unsuspecting donors, Ostrovski also has pricked the bloated egos of the Sri Lankan military personnel by divulging how Mossad had fooled them."
So the Israelis were training the Sri Lankan army at expensive rates, while training their enemy, the inchoate Sri Lankan Tamil resistance movement, for free! In fact, the Israeli training may have created the modern Tamil resistance movement. You can see how this kind of thing might turn one into a conspiracy theorist.
Oh, and here's the good part. Israel trained the Sri Lankan resistance in the mid 1980's. The very first Tamil Tiger suicide attack was on July 5, 1987. Obviously influenced by the success of the Tamil Tigers, and prompted by the Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinian people, the Palestinians started using suicide bombers in the 1990's. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Is it just possible that the technique of suicide bombing - now of course migrated to such places as New York, Iraq, and London - is the ultimate example of 'blowback', as it was taught to the Sri Lankans in the mid 1980's by the Israelis, who ended up on the wrong side of it when the Palestinians picked it up in 1993, and used it particularly from 2000 on. Where would the Israelis have learned of its success? From Lebanon in the 1980's. The technique was first used in Lebanon in December 1981 by the Islamic Dawa Party (the current Prime Minister of Iraq is a member of this party!), and its most famous example was the October 23, 1983 Beruit barracks bombing. It was used by the Shi'ite group Hezbollah in Lebanon with a great deal of success (the PLO-Tamil connection is not relevant, as the PLO didn't use suicide bombers in the 1980's, although it is possible that the Tamils learned of suicide bombing techniques directly from Hezbollah). If Israel learned of the tactical success of the technique by studying Hezbollah's use of it in Lebanon, and passed it on to the Sri Lankans in the mid-1980's - possibly just to cause enough conflict in Sri Lanka to generate more business training the Sri Lankan army at expensive rates! - it would be very ironic if the Palestinians took it up as the only alternative open to them at a time when the similarly powerless Tamils were using it to great success in Sri Lanka. The example of the Palestinians has led to the technique being used everywhere. The intellectual line would be:
- where it was studied by Israeli military strategic thinkers,
- who taught it to the inchoate Sri Lankan Tamil resistance movement, in order to generate revenue training the Sri Lankan army against the resistance,
- who developed, through its use, into the resistance movement we now know as the Tamil Tigers,
- whose great success with it led to its deployment by the similarly oppressed and powerless Palestinians,
- whose use of it inspired bombers in places like New York, Bali, Iraq, and London.
The Israelis may have only themselves to blame for the use by the Palestinians of the suicide bomb technique. Since the whole world now suffers from the same problem, perhaps the whole world has even more to blame on the Israelis!
Thursday, August 11, 2005
- South Korea, which holds the fourth largest currency reserves in the world, traditionally held in American debt instruments, announced in the spring that it was going to diversify into other currencies.
- Russia now calculates the value of the ruble in terms of a basket including the American Dollar and the Euro, with the Euro weighting in the basket gradually increasing. It is also considering denominating the value of its oil in Euros rather than Dollars.
- China has announced that the value of its currency will be determined by a basket of currencies, instead of being fixed against the American Dollar. The relative weightings of currencies in the basket is a secret, which will allow the Chinese to quietly divest themselves of American holdings without triggering a panic that would suddenly reduce the value of these holdings. The American political opposition of the Chinese acquisition of Unocal is going to turn out to be a very dumb move.
- With the new Chinese approach to valuing its currency, other Asian countries are likely to begin valuing their currencies against the Chinese currency, rather than against the increasingly pressured American dollar.
- The Iranian oil bourse, a new international market for oil in which the oil will be priced in Euros rather than Dollars, is slated to open next spring.
- Saudi Arabia, immediately after the death of King Fahd, announced that it was going to repatriate $360 billion invested overseas in the last 18 months. Of course, the majority of this was invested in the United States, and Saudi Arabia can't possibly absorb all that money, so this is a polite way of saying that they will invest their oil revenues in countries other than the United States. Thus quietly ends the scheme that Saudi oil surpluses would be invested in the United States. This has worked exceptionally well for the Americans, and the thanks the Saudis got for it was to be constantly blamed for financing terrorism, financing which started at the insistence of the United States! The replacement of Prince Bandar - a man perceived as very close to American interests, particularly the Bush crime family itself - as Saudi ambassador to the United States almost certainly also signals that the Saudis are tired of propping up the American economy and receiving only aggravation in return. The loss of the very close friendship of the Saudis is another gift the Americans have received from the Zionists in the Bush Administration. Sometimes it helps to know who your real friends are.
In the last six months, Americans are starting to get a taste of what the rest of the world thinks of the policies that came out of the last two crooked American Presidential election results. These are a series of irreversible attacks against the hegemony of the American Dollar. Putting up with dumb politicians has a price.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Plamegate is rapidly turning into a liberal parlor game, a new version of Clue ("it was Rove in the White House with a telephone"). The latest revelation is that Judith Miller actually met with Scooter Libby on July 8, before the Novak column appeared (this is one of a series of scoops on this matter from Murray Waas; also see the TalkLeft analysis). This is interesting in and of itself, and also interesting that it is only coming out now (actually, all the parts of it came out a while ago, and it is just now being assembled as a story). Why would Miller have to go see Libby? Couldn't Libby have talked to Miller on the phone? The first thought is that Libby had to show something to Miller, but if the only issue in question was the status of Wilson's wife, it is difficult to see why this couldn't have been discussed by phone. Did Libby really need to show Miller the State Department memo that had been circulating in the White House, or could he have just told her about it? Miller denies that she was given a document.
What if the meeting with Libby was a ruse to allow Cheney to 'drop in' on the meeting, and convey what he wanted Miller to know? After all, Libby works for Cheney, with a handy office. While Libby could have talked to Miller on the phone, the VP probably feels himself too high and mighty for such calls, and would insist on people coming to see him. An official meeting with Cheney puts Cheney on the books, but if he accidentally-on-purpose dropped in on a meeting with Libby nobody but Miller and Libby would be aware of it. It was Cheney who was personally embarrassed by Wilson's post-war revelations, and this kind of nasty retaliation fits Cheney to a tee. If Miller was at Libby's office as part of an elaborate plot to out Plame without leaving Cheney vulnerable to either political or legal attack, it would explain why Miller never wrote about whatever juicy gossip she got from Libby. The lock-step way in which Miller's lying articles about Iraq were followed immediately by Cheney's political use of such articles suggests a close Miller-Cheney connection. Miller's refusal to testify would be to protect Cheney, and Libby's failure to give a specific waiver would be his method of ensuring that Miller didn't have to testify under oath as to who she talked to in Libby's office. If this is true, watch for Miller to refuse to testify even after Libby gives the waiver (she can always plausibly claim it was coerced).
The Plamegate scenario would then be:
- Miller comes to see Libby.
- Cheney drops in to tell Miller that Plame was Wilson's wife and a CIA undercover operative. She may have already known some or part of that, but didn't realize that there was a necessity to launder the plot to reveal it. Perhaps they exchanged Washington gossip on the matter.
- Cheney tells Rove to call Miller, as she might have something interesting to say (wink, wink).
- Rove talks to Miller, and gets the scoop on Plame. Rove feels safe, as the information is already out in the journalist community in the person of Miller, so he is free to spread it around.
- Rove talks to Novak, and they discuss the Washington 'gossip' (wink, wink) surrounding Wilson and Plame (the timing here is very tight but just fits if Miller talked to Rove immediately, Rove then talked to Novak immediately, and Novak wasted no time in writing after talking to Rove).
- Novak outs Plame.
Thus Cheney manages to have his spiteful revenge on Wilson (the nastiness is thought of as typically Rovean, but it might just as well be Cheneyesque), and fires a shot across the bow of the CIA, while insulating himself, and Rove, from the various legal problems this scheme might have entailed. Having Miller an integral part of this convoluted plot would be the logical conclusion to the shoddy way in which the New York Times carried the water for the Bush Administration, and Cheney in particular, in lying about Iraq.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
- American commanders knew that bin laden was at Tora Bora; and
- the Pentagon nevertheless refused to deploy a cordon of its forces to cut off the escape routes.
This inevitably leads us back to the Michael Meacher theory (or here) that the whole 'war on terror', an integral part of which would have to have been the capture of bin Laden, was just a sham needed to create the 'Pax Americana' American hegemony as set out in numerous policy documents created by the Project for the New American Century think tank.
The Republicans continue their stealth campaign to roll back the New Deal (not that there's much left to roll back). Bush's Energy Policy Act repeals the Public Utilities Holding Company Act (PUHCA), an act from 1935 that regulated the holding companies of electric or retail natural gas utilities. From WorldChanging (the pdf link is worth reading):
"The goal of PUHCA was to prevent the kinds of cross-dealing and subsidiary 'looting' that became increasingly commonplace among owners of utilities in the early days of the Great Depression. According to the excellent 2003 document from Public Citizen, "PUHCA For Dummies: An Electricity Blackout and Energy Bill Primer" (PDF):
PUHCA was enacted because huge holding companies were using secure utility revenues to finance and guarantee other, riskier business ventures around the world, and 53 utility holding companies went bankrupt from 1929 to 1936 after the banks called in their loans.
Under PUHCA, any companies that seek to become owners of public utilities have to divest themselves of their non-utility holdings. PUHCA rules were designed to make it very, very difficult for energy holding companies to get involved in risky businesses. As a result, not one PUHCA-regulated utility holding company has gone bankrupt since 1935."
PUHCA was enacted because the holding companies had been using their secure revenue streams provided by their positions as monopoly suppliers to invest in other, riskier ventures with higher returns. Like capitalists everywhere, they wanted to take the advantages of government-provided monopoly protection, with its secure and generous, but capped, rates of return, while having the opportunity to gamble with the financial health of the utilities in order to make a high rate of return in other businesses. PUHCA also had the effect of reducing over-concentration of power in the utility industry, and allowed public oversight into the books and records of the holding companies. All that public protection has now quietly disappeared.
After the debacle of the Enron rape of the California electricity market, you would think this kind of reckless deregulation would be politically impossible, but it appears to have slipped through just because it is so technical. It is precisely these seemingly inconsequential policy decisions that lead to the biggest problems in the future. Watch for some big insolvency of a public utility in about five years, which will cause much public disruption and will have to be paid for out of taxpayer monies. The Republicans won't take any political blame for it, although it will be entirely their fault. It will mirror the S & L scandal of a few years ago, also caused by Republican deregulation.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I thought Thomas Friedman's suggestion to create an official American list of 'excuse makers' - people who have the nerve to suggest responses to terrorism other than Friedman's own, which is a never-ending series of wars against innocent Muslim civilians - was bad enough. We all know how official lists quickly turn into official oppression. In the current violent climate of the United States, merely being on a list is tantamount to being on a hit list for violent retaliation from right-wing nut jobs, and Friedman knows this. The whole point of creating such a list is to create a climate of fear of physical, economic, or official retaliation in order to repress any alternatives to Friedman's moronic approach to the 'war on terror'.
The United States has been through this kind of thing before. In the 1950's the lives of many people were ruined by Joe McCarthy and his ilk, who created an atmosphere of threat by merely creating lists of possible traitors, whose lives were then ruined by being blacklisted by movie studios (ironically, almost all these victims of lists were Jewish intellectuals). These people were 'excuse makers', people who only wanted to suggest alternatives to the government policies of the time. The most famous American 'excuse maker' was Eugene Debs, who was imprisoned in 1918 under the Sedition Act (also ironically used to oppress Jewish intellectuals), merely for daring to suggest that the United States not participate in the First World War. Friedman's idea of creating an official list of people with alternative approaches to the problem of terrorism is a fascist act, and he should be fired from the New York Times.
But it gets worse. Tony Blair is now suggesting that there be a criminal offense in Britain for 'condoning or glorifying' terrorism anywhere in the world. Condoning terrorism would include Friedman's 'excuse makers', anyone who has the nerve to suggest that there might be rational reasons for terrorism which could be answered by reasonable actions by Western states, and anyone who suggests that terrorism just might have causes in the actions of states such as Britain and the United States. That would include people such as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway, whose trenchant criticisms connecting Blair's foolish decision to participate in the attack on Iraq with the London bombings are apparently starting to bother Blair. His solution will be to throw the 'excuse makers' in jail.
The only guy who really belongs in jail is Tony Blair, a clear violator of international law, and a war criminal of the highest order.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
". . . it was orchestrated by the highest levels of the US Military and military-industrial complex; on behalf of the national and international politicians, corporates, and moneyed interests. It had, and still has the full support of the US Military/intelligence apparatus - who control much of the alternative media and the 9/11 movement."
But people who live in glass disinformation houses shouldn't throw stones. WagNews is big on analyzing photos of the London bombers taken from the CCTV cameras. It has made a great deal of supposed anomalies in these photos. This analysis is complete and utter nonsense. Analyzing similar allegations made at Citizens For Legitimate Government (or here), the poster Anonymoose, posting at Rantburg (not a place I'd ordinarily cite, but when you're right, you're right), wrote:
"Actually not. It's a function of a low-res camera with a transfer from videotape to a compressed video format."
another poster, 11A5S, wrote:
"I zoomed in on it and it shows nothing of the sort. It's a security photo. The definition is too low to support the kind of naked eye analysis that this site is claiming."
Wild allegations of disinformation from WagNews are trumped by clear and demonstrable disinformation published by WagNews. The photo analysis is nonsense, presumably intended to deceive the reader into following the WagNews analysis of the London bombings. You should be your own judge of where the real disinformation is being posted.