Saturday, November 26, 2005

Some things you might have missed

Some things you might have missed:

  1. Nibras Kazimi drills serious holes in the credibility of one of the two main witnesses, a man called 'Hosam Taher Hosam', in the Mehlis report defaming Syria for the assassination of Hariri (the other main witness, Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik, has already been completely discredited). Mehlis not only did a hack job on Syria, he did an obviously incompetent hack job on Syria. Are German prosecutors always this bad?

  2. Charlie Kimber, Simon Assaf and Kevin Ovenden completely decimate the latest attack by the extraordinarily embarrassing Norm Coleman on George Galloway (see also here and here). The people of Minnesota are going to have to start wearing paper bags over their heads saying "I didn't vote for him, it was Diebold."

  3. While people worry about an attack on Iran that is never going to happen (the United States would never attack a potential ally of Israel), the American ground war against Syria has already started, and Saudi Arabia is on deck.

  4. Even the ultra-ultra-ultra conservative Los Angeles Times is having trouble swallowing the official explanation of the Danziger Bridge incidents.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

NYT: spinning the Iraq war lies

The spin of the New York Times to explain its deplorable coverage leading to the war in Iraq is the usual anti-conspiracy remedy of claiming stupidity. The publisher, editors and, in particular, Judith Miller, were all completely taken in by liars such as Chalabi, Curveball, al-Libi and Cheney, and, despite all appearances to the contrary, were definitely not engaged in a treasonous criminal conspiracy to fool the American people into illegally attacking a sovereign foreign country for no good reason at all. Morons, idiots, fools - but definitely not liars. It is now coming out that the spin is itself a lie, and that the Times had information contradicting Miller's lies before she published them. There is no way around it: the New York Times was engaged in a treasonous criminal conspiracy which invoved lying to its readers. They knew, and they lied.

By the way, every single media outlet in the United States, and every single journalist (except for a handful including Hersh, Pincus, the Knight Ridder guys, and Jay Bookman), participated in the lies, either actively or by simply doing nothing as the obvious fables were broadcast or published. Ignorance is no excuse, as the bloggers were all over these lies right from the beginning. Where are the apologies for all this appalling lying?

A bit more on the theft of Iraqi oil wealth

A bit more on the theft of oil wealth from the Iraqi people:

  1. an article critical of production-sharing agreements by Daphne Eviatar of Newsweek; and

  2. Chalabi is in favor of them for Iraq (surprise, surprise), which probably explains why he is still hanging around in power in Iraq and why he is still alive.

Blair saves Al Jazeera

Tony Blair is in big political trouble and a memo is leaked making him look like the savior of Al Jazeera by talking Bush out of bombing its headquarters in Qatar. I've always thought Al Jazeera was funded by the CIA, so such a bombing would have been an incredible waste of American taxpayer money, not to mention politically impossible (bomb a country which is a key American ally and one of the rare places in the Middle East where American troops can be based?). Nevertheless, it wouldn't be the first time that the United States has attacked Al Jazeera militarily, and this is the kind of fantasy a vulgarian like Bush might have. However, the whole set-up of the story looks like a Tony Blair PR move. The matter is published sufficiently to travel all around Britain and the world. Just to make sure that no one missed its importance, it is then emphasized by a completely silly attempt (or here) to put the genie back in the bottle by using the Official Secrets Act. It reeks of an attempt to make Blair look good. How often is the Official Secrets Act used as a tactic to make people feel that a story that might have been ignored is actually important?

Optimism in Israeli politics

Ghassan Khatib has an optimistic view of Israeli politics. I don't get it. Israel now has a coalition government consisting of a bunch of right-wing crazies led by Sharon supported by a corrupted Labour Party, which claims to have no 'negotiating partner' and so has to impose its will on the Palestinians unilaterally. After the next elections, Israel will have a coalition government consisting of a bunch of right-wing crazies led by Sharon supported by a corrupted Labour Party, which will claim to have no 'negotiating partner' and so will have to impose its will on the Palestinians unilaterally. What's the diff? Sharon will have managed to squeeze out the most insane of the Likudniks, not because he doesn't agree with their ultimate goal of ethnically cleaning the Palestinians, but because he doesn't agree with their tactics. He's wanted to get rid of the albatross of Natanyahu - whose only real use is to go on speaking tours to raise money from North American and British Jews who want to quietly pay for the killing of Palestinians without having to take any moral responsibility - for years. Sharon, the master military planner, has correctly determined that the only politically possible way to eliminate the Palestinians is to slowly make life intolerable for them, with the construction of the Wall, service roads, checkpoints, and the unilateral seizing of land and water sources. The plan is that the Palestinians will eventually leave 'voluntarily', thus fitting into the Israeli creation myth that the original Palestinian inhabitants of what is now Israel left 'voluntarily'. It seems to me that the 'seismic shock' of the last few days is just a PR move to make the ethnic cleansing more tolerable to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The theft of Iraqi oil wealth

Based on an inappropriate contractual model imposed by the U. S. State Department, Iraq stands to lose, on the assumption of an oil price of $40 per barrel and from only the first 12 oilfields to be developed, between $74 billion and $194 billion over the lifetime of the proposed oil-development contracts. Oil company rates of return would range from 42% to 162%, rather than the usual industry minimum target of around a 12% return on investment. The type of contract is called a 'production sharing agreement', and is in use in no comparable oil fields (in fact such contracts are in use with respect to only 12% of world oil reserves, a number which is likely to decline as Russia stops using them). The paper "Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth" by Greg Muttitt describes all the gory details (see also here and here and here and here, and for Platform, the producer of the report, here), and proposes some logical alternatives for the government of Iraq to consider. The most sensible way by far is for the Iraqi government to develop its own oil industry, and ignore the parasite oil companies. We are seeing the beginnings of the Iraqi resistance. The huge danger, or course, is that the current Iraqi politicians will be bribed into signing long-term agreements which the Iraqi people will never be able to get out of.

Mrs John Paul II

Was Pope John Paul II married? With a UK-resident wife and adult children with criminal records? There is a passing reference at the bottom of this obituary page, and more here (referring to the beautiful Fawley Court, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and its museum of Polish history). For a head-spinner, see this from the same thread. A pope with a colorful past could be easily controlled, which might explain why he was picked to follow his murdered predecessor.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dennis Prager, racist

Dennis Prager has written an expressly racist anti-Muslim op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, and Juan Cole has deftly shredded it. I've have only one question for the Los Angeles Times, which is where do they get the nerve to print such racist drivel. If Prager had been writing in the 1950's, his equivalent article on civil rights would have been called 'Five questions non-Negros would like answered'. The answer to my question to the Times is that anti-Muslim racism is invisible to Americans. You can write whatever you want about Muslims, make whatever generalizations you want, and make whatever factual misstatements (i. e., lies) you want, and no one will notice what you are really up to. The United States has done a fairly good job at dealing with the intellectual basis of its traditional anti-Black racism (but not such a good job in the practicalities, as seen in the aftermath of Katrina), but has simply replaced underlying anti-Black racism with underlying anti-Muslim racism. The underlying assumptions explain why Prager can get away with such an outrageous op-ed.

Prager's op-ed fits into the pattern of Zionist propaganda which completely dominates the American media. The general idea is that Muslims are uniquely ill-suited to govern themselves, and therefore it is perfectly acceptable to deny them the national sovereignty in places like Iraq and Syria that everybody else has as a matter of course, and perfectly acceptable for Israel to deny the Palestinians the nationhood that every other people in the world is entitled to have. The idea is that 'non-Muslims' regrettably have to treat Muslims differently because of some weird and unique failing in Muslims themselves, which is presumably some sort of brain damage you catch from reading the Koran (as I can think of no other similarity that Muslims around the world have that would require them to all be treated like children). We've recently seen some spectacular examples of this Zionist propaganda in articles by Pipes, Boot and Steyn, all ridiculously trying to shoe-horn the French riots into their understanding that the West is in the middle of an attack by Islam. Prager is just another of the same bunch, pretending to innocently ask questions while really forming another part of the general Zionist propaganda war required for Israel and the United States to do the things they are doing to Muslims in the Middle East. Prager is an out-and-out racist, and its high time Americans started to notice it and complain about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bomb trigger

We can now start to get an idea of the very simple but ingenious way in which the Jordan bombs were activated. I think we can take as a given that the target of the bombs was the Palestinians, particularly the chief Palestinian spy, and the Chinese military officials. Besides killing the Palestinians, the bomb was intended to send a message to the Chinese that they shouldn't be dealing with the Palestinians (I'll leave it up to you to guess the identity of the only country in the world that might want to send that kind of message). Any other story completely ignores the fact that it is just too much of a coincidence that the Palestinian and Chinese officials died. The technical problem was how to manage the bombing so that the right targets ended up dead.

The civilian deaths were required to lay the basis for the suicide bomb fable. In other words, most people died simply to hide the identity of the real targets, as an attack against only those people would make the identity of the killers too obvious. The bombers needed a sure-fire way to ensure that the targets were together in a room pre-planted with the bombs, and that the bombs in the other hotels were detonated at the same time as the bomb directed at the real targets.

A timer wouldn't work, as no one could be sure when the targets would be together in the room. Cell phone triggers might not work, and a radio signal might be jammed (especially with all the spies about). So they came up with a clever low-tech solution. The bombs were pre-planted in the ceilings, and hooked up to the hotel electrical systems. As long as the power was on, the detonators were off. As soon as the power was interrupted, the detonators were triggered. Someone at the front desk in charge of booking the rooms booked the Chinese and Palestinians into the same conference room, made sure they were all in, and then used the house phone to call the hotel electrical room. The agent in the electrical room telephoned the other hotels to tell them to set off their almost simultaneous cover explosions which disguised the real target, and flipped the circuit breaker to the room containing the Chinese and Palestinians. Boom! An added bonus is that the darkness hid the real source of the blasts, allowing for the creation of the suicide bomber explanation. The Associated Press reports:

"A security official, meanwhile, said lights in sections of both the Radisson and Hyatt hotels went out just before the near-simultaneous blasts in apparently coordinated fashion. A man who was working as a disc jockey at the Radisson, where a Jordanian-Palestinian wedding reception was bombed, also recalled how the ballroom where the party was being held mysteriously went dark.

'The lights at the wedding hall went off seconds, maybe just one second, before the blast, although there was electricity outside the room in the corridor, the nearby lobby area and the reception,' said Fadi al-Kessi.

'For some reason, I looked to my right in the darkness and saw what looked liked lightning, then there was a loud boom. It felt like the explosion came from the ceiling, then people started running out.'"

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The old reverso votefraud trick

The Democrats are headed for a big unpleasant surprise in the 2006 elections. Their apparent success in the most recent elections was just a trick. With various Republican scandals, and Bush's ridiculously low poll results, Republican victories due to more election fraud would have produced outrage, and forced Democrats to get off their sorry asses and do something about trashing the crooked voting machines. With the Democrat 'victories', they now will shut up and allow the Republicans to fix the 2006 elections, the ones the Republicans really care about. It is even possible that Rove told Diebold and his other vote machine pals to fix the most recent results to ensure Democrat wins, just to make sure that no one messes with the precious machines before 2006.

How do we know what happened? These recent elections were completely irrelevant to the continued Republican raping of the American treasury, and did not in the least concern Republican organized criminals in Washington. Well, except for one telling exception. There were five ballot initiatives held in Ohio, four of which were to reform that state's obviously corrupt voting system (you know, the one that gave Bush the Electoral College votes he needed to win the last crooked election). The poll numbers before the election showed that the reform would win comfortably, or, at the very least, that the issue was still open and dependent on undecided voters. In spite of this, all the election reform initiatives were defeated, with dramatic discrepancies from the pre-election poll results (the only non-election-related initiative passed matching the poll results almost exactly). Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman describe (or here) the gory details of the striking flip-flop in the voting (which they characterize in two of the four cases as 'statistically staggering'), and Brad Friedman sets the results out in a table (or here) so you can see the discrepancies. What a coincidence. The only results that Rove cared about in the whole country are the ones where the results didn't match the polls, and the ones where the electorate provided the results that Rove wanted. Jeb or Dick will need those Electoral College votes in 2008. Another coincidence? Diebold computer voting machines were used in almost half the voting stations to create obtain the results.

Now we won't hear anything about the problems with the voting machines until late next year, after the Democrats get trounced, and the Republicans will be able to drag out reform so the crooked machines will still be in use in 2008. Karl Rove, busy with other matters (!), still had enough time to be ten steps ahead of the Democrats. It's like watching a cat play with a dying mouse.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Jordan river of lies

There are all kinds of problems with the Official Story of the Jordanian bombings. I've mentioned some already, and here are some more:

  1. Pictures of the damage appear to show evidence of bombs placed in the ceiling. Since this would be inconsistent with the Official Story that the bombing was done by visitors from Iraq, who presumably had no privileged access to plant the bombs (how much do you tip the bellboy when he carries your explosives into the hotel, and how much does the concierge get when he sends out to find you the detonators you forgot back at your 'safe house'?), the Official Story had to be changed to deny that there were ceiling bombs. If it was a suicide bomb, why would the ceiling twelve feet above the floor be extensively damaged, but the wall directly adjacent to where the bomb is supposed to have gone off be completely unmarked?

  2. The Jordanians have supposedly found a witness, the wife of one of the suicide bombers. Unfortunately, the story as told by the Associated Press is incoherent (Muasher is Jordanian deputy premier Marwan Muasher):

    "Al-Rishawi was shown on state television wearing a white head scarf, a buttoned, body-length dark denim dress, and belts packed with TNT and ball bearings. Muasher told CNN the belts were captured with her.

    Al-Rishawi said she and her husband, Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari, 35, were wearing explosive-laden belts when they strolled into a Radisson ballroom where hundreds of guests, including children, were attending a Jordanian-Palestinian wedding reception.

    'My husband wore a belt and put one on me. He taught me how to use it, how to pull the (primer cord) and operate it,' she said, wringing her hands.

    'My husband detonated (his bomb). I tried to explode (my belt) but it wouldn't. I left, people fled running and I left running with them.'

    Muasher said al-Rishawi's husband noticed her struggle and pushed her out of the ballroom in order not to attract attention before blowing himself up."

    Pushing her out of the ballroom wouldn't attract attention? If she was already outside, how then did she run out with the people running from the bomb? Here is the same story from Aljazeera, quoting the wife:

    "'We went into the hotel. He [my husband] took a corner and I took another. There was a wedding in the hotel. There were women and children,' she said.
    'My husband detonated [his bomb] and I tried to explode my belt, but it wouldn't. People fled running and I left running with them.'"

    Did he push her out before he set off his bomb, or not? Why would he bother to do so? Why not just set off his bomb? Was he suddenly afraid that his wife might be killed in the explosion (that would be ironic, don't you think?).

  3. The Jordanian story of how they found her doesn't make sense either (from the same Associated Press story):

    "Al-Rishawi was arrested Sunday morning at a 'safe house' in the same Amman suburb where her husband and the other two bombers rented a furnished apartment, a top Jordanian security official said.

    Jordanian security was tipped off to her presence by al-Qaida in Iraq's claim of a female bomber, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists. The group apparently assumed she was killed in the blasts."

    How did the claim that there was a female bomber possibly provide enough information for them to find her in her 'safe house' unless they already knew where the 'safe house' was?

  4. Why would insurgents fighting the American occupation of Iraq decide to take a busman's holiday and blow themselves up in Jordan? Didn't they have enough to do in Iraq? Wouldn't their meager resources of available suicide bombers be better put to use in Iraq?

  5. Why would Sunni insurgents in Iraq head immediately to blow up a Sunni wedding reception in the hotel? Weren't there much better targets around? Speaking of better targets, how lucky do you have to be to kill a number of Palestinian officials, including the head of Palestinian intelligence, and take out the Chinese defense officials the Palestinians may have been planning to meet? For a bunch of bombers just arrived in town, they sure seemed to know where specific targets were located.

The witness, paraded theatrically with her supposed suicide belt, appears to represent a fear in Jordanian officials that no one was buying the Official Story. Flubbing the obvious cover-up is probably just going to make suspicions worse.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mary Ferrell Foundation

There is a massive new website on the Kennedy assassination, with reliable stuff: the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

Black-ops in Turkish Kurdistan

From Cryptome (scroll down), correspondence from 'A':

"A Turkish military black-ops scandal has been unfolded in the city of Semdinli in eastern Turkey (Turkish Kurdistan) after three Turkish black-op sergeants from the Turkish Gendarmerie Intelligence Service (JIS) were caught red-handed by citizens after attacking a bookstore on November 9. The sergeants were almost lynched by upset Kurds but were rescued by Turkish police. Kurds broke into the car in which the sergeants had carried out their attack on the bookstore and they found WEAPONS, BOMBS, DEATH-LISTS, WRITTEN PLANS, MAPS, etc. Everything was documented by Kurds at the scene. The Kurds also manage to get their hands on one of the sergeants military ID and their pictures were taken before the police managed to rescue the sergeants. The sergeants later confessed during interrogation to the Turkish Republican Prosecutor of Semdinli that they had carried out the attack on the bookstore, which killed one person and seriously wounded another one. Lo and behold! They ALSO confessed that they had carried out the bomb attack on November 1 outside a military residency in the city that injured 23 people, among them 3 Turkish police officers, 4 Turkish soldiers and 16 Kurdish civilians. THAT bomb-attack was blamed on the PKK by every god damn media outlet in the world, even though PKK denounced the attack. Turkish military black-ops in a nutshell!

If the military of the NATO-member Turkey carries out this type of black-op attacks, then what not? And they call the Kurds in Turkey 'terrorists'."

The news reports are here and here and here (a vaguer report here). The Turkish Prime Minister has called (scroll down, but read the other reports) for the incident to be 'demystified'! The November 1 incident documented by Reuters with a photo has this caption (my emphasis; see also here and here and here and here):

"A Turkish soldier stands next to the buildings damaged by an explosion while an unidentified man talks on his mobile phone in Semdinli town in southeast Turkish province of Hakkari November 2, 2005. Kurdish rebels detonated a car bomb in front of security headquarters in a town in southeast Turkey, wounding 23 people and damaging dozens of buildings, officials and media reports said on Wednesday. The blast hit Semdinli on the mountainous border with Iraq and Iran at 11.30 pm (2130 GMT) on Tuesday, wounding four soldiers, three police officers and 16 civilians, the provincial governor's office said in a statement.

It is relatively rare for these black operations to be caught, which may explain why it is so difficult to convince people of how common they are. This is exactly what happened to the two British soldiers in Basra who were caught red-handed trying to create some atrocity which would then be blamed on Iranians or al-Qaeda or local insurgents or whatever group the British had decided to defame.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Who died, and who didn't, in Jordan

There is an excellent summary of some peculiarities in the Jordan bombings in Xiaodong People, tying it to warnings given to Israelis in other recent 'terrorist' attacks (we might add the Odigo 9-11 warnings). The original story that the Israelis received warnings has been whitewashed, and the link replaced by a denial. There is, however, reported confirmation of advance warning from Amos N. Guiora, a former senior Israeli counter-terrorism official. You have to wonder why the Israelis chose not to share their wonderful intelligence with the Jordanians (in much the same way that you might wonder why they didn't go into more detail in their warnings to the United States on 9-11, particularly as their intelligence was apparently good enough and specific enough to be able to send Israeli agents to film the attack on the WTC, not to mention cheer it on). The attack did manage to kill the head of the Palestinian intelligence services (not to mention a Palestinian banker and a Palestinian commercial attache), and members of a delegation from China's University of National Defense, with whom the Palestinians might be assumed to be meeting (or at least the Israelis might have so assumed; see Kurt Nimmo on the Chinese connection). Since at least one of the bombs was pre-planted in a ceiling of the hotel, it would be very interesting to know who owned the hotel and could give access to bomb planters. The Jordanian reaction, to blame it all on the same dead man the Americans use as the scapegoat in Iraq, is probably a reflection of the extremely close ties between the CIA and Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate. I think we can probably chalk this one up to the continuing battle between the Israelis and the Palestinians over who gets to be protected by China after the American Empire collapses under the weight of trying to build the Israeli Empire.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Israel and the global right

There is a very important article in Counterpunch by Jeff Halper called "'What are You Doing? What Have You Become?': Israel as an Extension of American Empire". You should read the whole thing, but I want to focus on one aspect of it that we don't usually consider. Halper writes:

"One of the tragic developments related to this rightward shift of Israeli politics and social policies - even defining Israel's view of itself in the world - is its emergence as a center for the global right-wing, a constellation of nefarious ideologies, groups and forces that seek nothing less than American-Christian hegemony over the entire world. In a unique and, again, tragic confluence of historical processes, the rise of an aggressive neo-con ideology and militaristic foreign policy, centered in the US but not limited to it, coincides with the emergence of the Israeli rights and an expansionist Israel. 'Coincides' might understate the case: in fact, the rise of a religious right in the West owes much of its impetus to Zionism and Israel, while Israel is able to pursue its Occupation only because of its willingness to serve Western (mainly US) imperial interests including acting as a galvanizing center for global neo-con forces."

Halper considers a lot of details about the Jewish neocons and the Christian Zionists, all well worth reading, but the article gets very interesting when he considers the Israeli leadership role in world-wide, mainstream, right-wing politics. He writes:

"Just as it has benefited from the rise of the Right in the US and elsewhere in Europe, Israel under the Likud (though not exclusively under the Likud) has become a center for mobilizing right-wing ideological and political forces on a global scale. Most visible in this regard is the annual Jerusalem Summit (actually held in the Israeli city of Herzliya), where the neo-con tribe gathers and galvanizes its plans for world domination around their concern for Israel. We are not speaking of marginal 'kooks,' but of top right-wing political leaders from Israel, the US, Europe and other parts of the world, high military officers and leading academics. Its leading lights include: Baroness Caroline Cox, Deputy Speaker of the U.K. House of the Lords and the non-executive director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation (I wonder what Sakharov, who spent his whole life upholding human rights, would think of that!); Sam Brownback, Republican U.S. Senator from Kansas; Prof. Moshe Kaveh, President of Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Daniel Pipes, Board Member, United States Institute of Peace; Director of the Middle East Forum; Initiator of CampusWatch; Dr. Yuri Shtern, Knesset Member, National Union; a leader of the Russian community and a member of the extreme right; [my note: the list seems to be truncated here]

Their worldview and agenda is summed up in what is called the 'Jerusalem Declaration.' It covers a range of issues of concern to the global right: But it also brings Israel into the center of the global right-wing agenda, suffusing it with Israeli claims and terms. Thus, Israel and its exclusive 'right' to the entire Land of Israel is inserted into the very center of the neo-con agenda."


"Although hardly a fan of Christians, Menachem Begin and his Likud colleagues appreciated their ideological similarities and the dovetailing of their political worldviews, especially since a militarily strong Israel able to use its Occupation for expansion was at the common center of their concerns. In order not only to strengthen the right-wing position at home but to influence policy towards Israel deriving from the US-led international community, Israel's right wing has worked diligently to insert itself into the global right alliance."

People always ask why we pick on the Israelis so much, when Israel is such a small insignificant country. The reason is that the Israeli right, preoccupied with its imperialist plans, has made itself a world leader in the mainstream-but-extreme right in order to form the alliances it needs in order to carry out those plans. These nuts have not only destroyed their own country and its once promising socialist and fully democratic future, but are having a greatly disproportionate malign influence on the whole world. The American neocons are just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that the Christian Zionists support Israel isn't an accident; they were actively courted by the Israeli right. The fact that the neocons are all Jews isn't an accident; they are the agents of Israel working in the United States to follow a specific right-wing Israeli plan (specific enough to include the destruction of Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and, eventually, Egypt). You might even call it a conspiracy. What is even worse is that this Israeli imperialist ideology has been marketed by the Israeli right in a vile package of policies. It is not an accident that neocon American/Israeli imperialism is coupled with neocon every-man-for-himself economic policies. The packaged product marketed to the world-wide right ties support for Likudnik imperialist policies to support for American hegemony (for the American imperialists and their stooges like Britain), support for Ledeenesque total-war polices (for the international arms trade, in which the Israeli right is a big player), and support for rapacious capitalism (which all right-wingers like, but which is particularly appealing to Bush's Christian Zionist 'base'). The American Republican Party starts to look like the tail of the Likud dog. The Americans and their allies have bought the whole package. How much better would the world be if the Likud didn't have this disproportionate influence?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Alito and the Democrat resurgence

Bush has finally found the Supreme Court judge he needs to form the five required to overturn Roe v. Wade. Alito seems to be another easy nomination, unless someone can prove that the allegations that he is mobbed up are true (a prominent Italian-American attorney from New Jersey mobbed up? who could think such a thing?). The intriguing aspect is whether it is the Democrats who really want Alito and the inevitable end of abortion rights in the United States.

The historic turn in American politics occurred when the Democrats did the right thing and decided to support the civil rights movement, leading to the loss of their natural base, the Southern cracker vote and those who think like Southern crackers. Although much current Republican electoral success is based on fixed voting machines, it is also true that Republicans have been winning consistently for years, even before the voting machines were fixed, largely based on the deep racism still holding up American politics. Racial politics may have killed the Democrats, but sexual politics may kill the Republicans.

Suburban Republican supporters organize their covert lives around free access to abortion just like everybody else does. It would put a real damper on the party once their teenaged daughters start having to go to back-room abortionists, or the costs of an unwanted child start to impinge on the disposable income. The end of Roe v. Wade, something that polls consistently show is unpopular among all American groups (except the religious nuts, people who tend to access abortion rights more than most, and who lie when they answer polls), might form the historic turn in American politics when the Republican Party destroys itself. Many Democrats may be quietly cheering Alito's nomination.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Vive la revolution!

There are some riots in the poor banlieus of France, and the American right-wingers are falling all over themselves blaming it on the European welfare state, or Islamofascism, or the failure of Europe to confront the menace of terrorism. Doug Ireland (or here) explains what is really going on. It seems to me that the rioters, rather than demonstrating their failure to integrate into French society, are really showing just how well they have integrated. They are having their own little French Revolution. The French have shown over and over again that they don't accept any bullshit from their political 'leaders'. Whenever they are ignored - and the French system of very centralized government is prone to ignoring people - they take things into their own hands and destroy a little personal property, something that will always get the attention of the authorities. The current rioters are just following good old-fashioned French tradition, and it is refreshing to see people who still have enough energy to make their discontent known (I also note that they are another group of political radicals who are using cell phones to organize protest, something we are seeing over and over again). Rather than show a collapse of society, the demonstrations express a belief that positive change is possible if the politicians will only turn their minds to the problem. These days, we are much more likely to see the self-fulfilling 'nothing can be done' attitude of the herds of sheep who blandly accept everything that is done to them. Now that the discontented have gained some attention, the French will no doubt start to apply their considerable powers of social planning to the problems. There is a reason why France is the best place in the world to live for most people, and a reason why some people in France are always having to draw the attention of the authorities to the fact that they are not yet in the fortunate group. Vive la revolution!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Republican thievery and Democrat hypocrisy

Here is one of the very few smart things I've read on the current state of Republican politics, coming from the unlikely place of The Huffington Post (the only other recent non-crap from that source is this), Tom Gilroy's "'White House in Chaos' & Other Utter Horseshit". He is writing about the supposed demoralized state of the Republicans:

"Here's a little secret; they never reel because they are never demoralized. They don't measure success and failure they way you and I do, by analyzing public benefit or desire, or even legality, or ethics. They measure success by how much more money they feast on from the public trough. And by that measure, they hogs are literally drowning in shit.

So while you fold your arms in the triumphant reassurance that Scooter's indictment and the GOP's plummeting ratings reveal the world to be what you've always had faith it was, think again. The pendulum you always talk about is not swinging back. The Truth has not come out. What has happened is what you've known all along has merely been reiterated. There is no new information, and so there will be no new consequences. And while you smirk and feel validated they'll go right along gobbling up more and more, laughing at you between belches.

Because they don't care about your moral indignation, your ethical judgment, or what the public thinks. They don't care what's popular, legal, or good for the country. They want your money.

So while the Democrats brunch and strategize about who to run in 2008 (choosing from the 3 frontrunners, all of whom want to INCREASE troop numbers in Iraq), the dozens of Rove wannabees over at the The Federalist Society are planning their fifth, sixth, seventh move from now in their uninterrupted plunder."

My thesis is that Democrats never get anywhere because they secretly like the American Empire, but just want someone else to get covered in all the blood. Hence no real efforts to do anything about the crooked voting machines. Democrats can continue to vote with their consciences, secure in the knowledge that the Diebold machines will always reliably elect Republicans.

The proof? While the Democrats pretend to be outraged about the outing of Valerie Plame (something they would have cheered twenty years ago), and pretend to be outraged about all the lies that led to the war in Iraq, guess what's going on NOW? That's right: exactly the same plan leading to the attack on Syria. Seymour Hersh points out that they're even using exactly the same kind of lies that they used in the build-up to the attack on Iraq (although I disagree with Hersh's optimism about Fitzgerald, who has to play along to get along). Do I hear one Democrat complaining about this? Do I hear one Democrat trying to stop Bolton's plan to use UN sanctions and their supposed violations as the inevitable cause for the next war? No. More American soldiers are moving into Iraq NOW. The plan appears to be as stupid as the Iraq plan. They figure they can soften the place up with bombs, and then spare 40 thousand or so soldiers from Iraq for a few months to take care of Syria. They won't need to keep the place stable - in fact, Israel won't want a stable Syria - as they won't need to stay to protect American bases, so they can leave as soon as they've wrecked the joint. Two years from now, a bunch of Democrats will be outraged about the lies that led to the attack on Syria, but the neocons will have moved on to Saudi Arabia. In other words, all the folderol about Plame and Niger is just partisan political politics from a group which likes what the Republicans are doing, and is extra careful not to say anything until it is too late.

There's a certain refreshing honesty about just wanting to steal money.

Syria and the Gaddafi Gambit

The American trick used against countries it wants to destroy has been to put the leaders of such countries in an impossible position. In the case of Serbia, the clear message was that NATO would keep killing Serbian civilians until the Serbian leadership gave up (which it did). In Iraq, Saddam was offered two options: give up his weapons of mass destruction (which he couldn't do, as he didn't have any!); or completely disarm (leaving him at the mercy of the upcoming American attack, not to mention at the mercy of his neighbors). In the older case of Libya, Gaddafi was framed for Lockerbie, and thus Libya was permanently subject to international sanctions. Now we have the case of Syria, framed for the assassination of Hariri (the real reason, of course, isn't Hariri, but Israel), and forced to give up important members of the government, an option the Americans know will lead to some kind of power struggle and regime change by coup. How does Syria extricate itself from the American trap?

Libya is the only country that has thus far managed to solve the riddle. Gaddafi realized that the Americans were in a position where they were desperate for a 'win' in fighting the 'war on terror'. The sanctions were preventing the international development of Libyan oil fields, so there was also significant pressure from financiers and oil companies to have the sanctions lifted. Although Libya was almost certainly not responsible for Lockerbie, Gaddafi had the brilliant idea to take responsibility for it anyway, and offer to pay substantial reparations. Bush had to jump at this offer, and the sanctions were lifted (despite the fact Libya apparently hasn't even paid the reparations!).

There is a hint in the Gaddafi gambit in what Syria must do in order to avoid the neocon thrill at the thought of another 100,000 dead Arabs. Syria has to figure out a way to comply with the American demands on paper, while not succumbing to the neocon's intended regime change. If Syria can come up with a solution that looks good, Europe will play along, and the Americans won't be able to lead Syria into Bolton's trap of sanctions, allegations of 'violations', and the inevitable bombings to enforce the sanctions.

Patrick Seale writes (referring to Syrian President Assad):

"In their different ways, both the international community and his own public are urging him to act. They are encouraging him to carry out a 'corrective movement' against undisciplined barons of his regime, including men close to him, similar to the palace coup which brought his late father, Hafez Assad, to power in 1970. The choice before Assad is clear: either continue to claim that Syria is innocent of the murder of Hariri and that the charges in the Mehlis report are unsound and politically motivated or recognize that mistakes have been made and carry out a purge of the top security officials named in the report."

The trick would be to find just the right patsy, the figure or figures that could plausibly take the blame for Hariri and whose absence from the Syrian political scene would benefit the country (if he has the cojones, he might even go for the Big Kahuna, but that might be too risky and unnecessary). This is a tremendously cynical move, but, as none of these guys are saints, probably not that unjust. Once the right patsies are picked, Syria could then pull its 'Gaddafi Gambit' - take full legal if not moral responsibility for the assassination, and offer to pay reparations due to the 'unauthorized' actions of the few 'bad apples' who, just like the American torturers in Iraq, acted without legitimate government authority (ha!). Syria could then offer to try these 'bad apples' itself, or turn them over to an international court not controlled by the Americans. In one daring move, Assad could clean up an internal problem while getting the Israelamericans off his back.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The basis of Plamegate

Cryptome reprints a sensible commentary on Plamegate from the Wall Street Journal, marred only by the fact that the authors make the absurd statement that the CIA "got right the basics of the Soviet military threat", something we now know to be nonsense as it systematically exaggerated such threat. I continue to insist that, while it is fun to watch the Washington factions battle it out, it is unwise to let the CIA get away with its own set of lies. While the authors of the commentary have an obvious partisan agenda, and skip over the inconveniently bad motivations of the Bush Administration officials, no crime was committed.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Unified Fleitz flu

Following up some recent postings:

  1. Juan Cole suggests that there might be a "Unified Field Theory of the Iraq War fraud" (see here).

  2. Frederick Fleitz was the original leaker of Plame's identity, and the dangerous information flowed through all of John Bolton, David Wurmser and John Hannah - it's like a pool shot that clears the table - before it got to Scooter (see here).

  3. "Spain's agriculture minister dismissed fears bird flu sparking a global epidemic among humans as 'science fiction', saying the virus currently only poses a threat to birds." (see here)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Neocon history

There is a good article by Ehsan Ahrari in the Asia Times (why does the Asia Times have such a monopoly on good articles?; you'd never read something this good if you read American journalism for a million years), relying on James Mann's "The Rise and Fall of the Vulcans", on the history of the neocons:

"The real plan to invade Iraq was originally hatched in 1991, when then-president, George H W Bush, was at the helm. Libby was only one of its planners. The 'big enchiladas' were Cheney, who then served as secretary of defense, and Paul Wolfowitz, who served as under secretary of defense. Current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld became an active participant as someone who was then outside the government. Their plan to oust Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait was reportedly far riskier than the one promoted by then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell. Bush Senior apparently vetoed the Cheney et al's plan and gave a nod to Powell's.

The neo-conservative architects of the invasion of Iraq were 'deeply disappointed' when Bush Senior decided against the hot pursuit of the retreating Iraqi forces from Kuwait."


"As Mann points out, even though the initial military target of the US in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was Afghanistan, Wolfowitz (then deputy defense secretary) and Libby 'laid out the case for the invasion of Iraq just one week after the Twin Towers fell'.

Libby was also reportedly responsible for the first draft of Powell's now infamous presentation to the United Nations a month before the US invasion of Iraq."

There's a lot more, on how the neocons got away with it, and how their revenge-based ideology still infects American foreign policy (the loss of Libby has done nothing to change the neocon policy - Libby has been replaced by crazies who are even more hard-line - and the failure of the American left to realize how screwed it was by Fitzgerald - two years later, and he's still looking for clues, just like O. J. Simpson is still looking for whoever killed his wife - means that the neocons can continue to carry on their plans without any real opposition). The neocons intended to destroy Iraq years before September 11, years before anyone had ever spoken of al-Qaeda, and years before anyone had any concern whatsoever about the weapons of mass destruction supplied to Saddam largely by Americans like Rumsfeld (and subsequently destroyed). All their lies were simply ad hoc excuses to back up a ten-year old plan which had been thwarted by Presidents too smart to carry it out. Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Libby just bided their time during the Clinton interregnum, waiting for a
Bush stupid enough to go along with their insane ideas. The upshot is the biggest mistake in the history of American foreign policy, soon apparently to be repeated over and over again in places like Syria.