Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Some Americans are all in a huff because some multinational company owned out of Dubai is going to police some of their ports. No one wants to admit to being an anti-Arab racist, so the reason for the complaints has to be cloaked in some mumbo-jumbo about involvement in terrorism. In particular, the racists have latched onto the fact that a small amount of the millions spent on the 9-11 plot came from a wire transfer from a bank in Dubai. Holy shit! Those cunning Arabs and their ongoing efforts to undermine our 'Western values'. The Arabs have banks! They have wire transfers! Is Dubai supposed to close its banking system to make the world safe from terrorism? Were they supposed to somehow know that his particular guy making this particular transfer should have been stopped?
More sophisticated racists - James Ridgeway seems to have survived the right-wing takeover of the Village Voice quite well - have now created a mega-theory of Dubai perfidy, setting it up as the center of a world-wide illegal guns, drugs and terrorism organization. Everything follows from the fact that an arms dealer is based in Dubai (or course, there aren't any arms dealers anywhere else!). It's apparently the new version of the SPECTRE organization from James Bond films (this kind of thing is part of what gives me the creeps about Sibel Edmonds). This is so silly it's hardly worth commenting on, except for the fact that some who should probably know better are now playing the same tune. What is the difference between this kind of theory and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Crazed grand conspiracy theories are no longer permissible if a powerful group is the subject, but are wonderful if Arabs are the conspirators.
The Dubai conspiracy is apparently going to be to use the American ports to fill the United States up with illegal drugs and illegal arms. Finally, the American people will have illegal drugs and arms! Then they'll fill all the ships up with terrorists and blow up the entire country! You might think this would be bad for business if you are trying to run an international port security company, but the Arab love for terrorism knows no bounds.
The real problem with Dubai, or course, is that it's a little too much of a success story. It doesn't fit the Zionist model of what Arabs are supposed to be like. Bush is right on this one - although one might legitimately question why port security isn't handled by government - and his opponents, even those who think of themselves as being on the 'left', are racists.
It seems extremely likely that (or here) the attack on the religious shine at Samarra was the work of those attempting to cause a civil war in Iraq leading to its destruction as a unified country. An eyewitness report confirms Americans were in control of the area when the bombs were set. That would be American troops operating on behalf of the American neocons, who, despite some recent setbacks, are proceeding with their original Israeli plan without interruption. Iraqi Shi'ites would hardly blow up their own shine (nor would the Shi'ite Iranians, who in addition like the way things are going in Iraq without this added complication), Sunnis wouldn't do it because they would be aware of the retaliation it would cause, and, despite some warblogger opinion, it is not al Qaeda's style to attack a Muslim shrine. The insurgency wants to remove the occupiers, and this attack just strengthens the occupiers, who of course can't leave while the Iraqis are in so obviously incapable of looking after themselves. That leaves the Israelamericans, who have the characteristics of being capable of doing the deed, being the only group that benefits from it, and having security forces in the area (means, motive, and opportunity). There is nobody in Iraq or the Middle East who doesn't know who really was behind the attack.
The most telling incident wasn't the attack itself, but the execution of a group of Iraqis, Sunnis and Shi'ites, who were driving to attend a rally of national reconciliation. There were intercepted on the road by people who set up a fake checkpoint outside of Baghdad, pulled from their cars, and summarily slaughtered. The provoking incident and the violent prevention of positive Iraqi steps to prevent civil war are part of the same conspiracy. Who would want to stop reconciliation? More pointedly, who uniquely has the ability to identify the reconciliation group, and immediately mobilize to block the road? The combination of technical ability and desire to stop reconciliation points to only one group, the neocon operators in Iraq and their allies in the Iraqi government. The Yinon plan - one also favored by parts of the American establishment including Leslie Gelb - of breaking Israel's possible enemies into small, unthreatening statelets, continues.
"To date, the strongest controversies pointing to multiple shooters have centered around two issues: the number of shots fired, and Sirhan's position relative to RFK during the shooting. The evidence indicates that at least 9 shots were fired that night, yet Sirhan wielded an 8-shot revolver, which he did not reload. The second main controversy revolves around eyewitness testimony that places Sirhan in a position from which he could not physically have inflicted RFK's wounds. While both issues are of paramount importance to a finding of conspiracy, they are, and will likely remain, irresolvable. This is so for two reasons: the LAPD destroyed key physical and photographic evidence, and eyewitness testimony, no matter how powerful, sincere, and corroborated cannot be considered 'proof.' Today, however, we can move past those tantalizing possibilities to what I believe amounts to proof of conspiracy; a round fired from Sirhan's gun could not have caused the wound that actually killed RFK—the headshot. As inconceivable as it sounds thirty-eight years after the fact, the 'proof' comes straight from RFK's autopsy report."
The conclusion, based on the autopsy report, is that the kind of damage caused to RFK's head, specifically the size of the entry wound of the fatal shot, could not have been caused by the type of ammunition in the gun that Sirhan Sirhan was supposed to have been carrying.
Cryptome has been following German investigations of the odd connections of Detlev Mehlis. Mehlis did a preliminary investigation on the Hariri assassination and, based on witness statements, concluded Syria was to blame. When all his first group of witnesses were completely discredited, Mehlis didn't miss a beat, rounded up a second group of witnesses, and determined that his original conclusion was still true. This is very odd behavior for someone who purports to be an objective prosecutor. The travesty of the first report would have directed any honest prosecutor to the inevitable conclusion that the 'facts' have been so messed with in Lebanon that any serious investigation is impossible. Why does Mehlis hate Syria so much? It's almost as of he's working for the CIA. Well . . .
German investigators have been looking into the illegal CIA rendition of innocent German citizen Khaled el-Masri. He identifies, with 90% certainty (he picked him out of a 10-man police lineup), a German federal policeman named Gerhard Lehmann as being involved in his interrogation in Kabul. Lehmann claims to have been on vacation in Germany at the time, but can't remember specifically where he was (!). This specific kind of memory problem occurs so often in conspiracies that it is almost a cliché ("I wasn't there, but I don't remember where I was"). Lehmann is so connected to the Mehlis investigation that he was the one who officially presented the report to the Lebanese government, a presentation documented in a photograph (Mehlis was tied up officially presenting the report to Kofi Annan).
Let's see. German official directly tied to CIA illegal rendition is also a major part of Mehlis investigation team. The Mehlis investigation is starting to look like just another CIA black op.
Friday, February 24, 2006
I'm not a big fan of Holocaust denial. It's a stupid position, often intentionally hurtful to people who have suffered enough already, and it just plays into the hands of the Zionists, who use it as their main propaganda weapon in stealing land from Arabs. As a conspiracy theorist, I go as far as wondering who is actually supporting people like Zundel. We're supposed to assume it is rich neo-Nazi German industrialists.
The broad argument is that denial of the Holocaust implies that the Jewish people are lying about it, which means we might punish them for lying by having another - or, I guess I should say, a first (!) - Holocaust! Therefore, denial of the Holocaust is unique, and must be stopped using legal sanctions. The argument in favor of punishing Holocaust denial is even sillier than Holocaust denial itself. No one can really believe that David Irving's views are going to prevail, a fact clearly demonstrated by the universal reaction to him. The next Holocaust won't be caused by stories about the first one.
The striking thing about the Holocaust is that it is the only subject about which you cannot even voice an opinion that isn't completely in line with the orthodoxy. In fact, unless you have the seal of approval, you are not even permitted to investigate the subject. It used to be that human sexuality was similarly off limits, but, after Dr. Kinsey, the Holocaust is now the only intellectual taboo in the western world. If I wanted to study the metallic composition of the wheels of the trains on which Holocaust victims were transported, and I didn't have the correct permission, I would get in as much trouble as Bruno or Galileo.
The Holocaust is actually an amazingly under-studied subject, mostly because of the taboo. In fact, until the mid-1960s it wasn't talked about at all. The reason it became a big subject, and particularly a big subject in the American education system, is that the Americans started to become interested in selling arms to Israel to use it as part of their geopolitical strategy in the Middle East. The Holocaust was part of the PR spin to depict Jews as the eternal victims, and thus justify selling arms into an area which didn't need more arms. The Holocaust was part of an advertising campaign for arms dealers. It has subsequently been used as the main underlying excuse for the brutality against the Palestinians. The slightest perceived threat against the Jewish state justifies any and all responses. Never again!
The homeland of Hitler and Haider, not to mention Waldheim, has a bit of a chip on its shoulder, and the Irving circus was a bit of a show trial for Austrians to prove they are not as bad as everybody thinks. David Irving did what he thought his persecutors wanted, which is prostrate himself before the court and deny his life's work. He probably thought this abject submission would be enough. The judge said (or here):
"We've seen no evidence that he tried to come to Austria to say 'I've changed my mind' and to prove that he was a different person."
This is quite amazing. Stating in open court isn't sufficient to evidence that he had changed his mind, although apparently changing his mind would have been enough to absolve him. In other words, the judge found Irving guilty for what he thought. Holocaust denial is a pure thought crime. If you think impermissible thoughts, you go to jail. Someday they'll invent a scanner for it, and we'll all have to pass the purity test.
"The fact in question is that The Globe has lately got a new editor, Mr. Ed Greenspon, who is Jewish and presumably inclined to neo-Zionism, no doubt subject to ready journalistic qualifications. What is indubitable is that the newspaper's line of support with respect to the Israeli government has hardened since his appointment. The Toronto Star's position . . . is by contrast made to seem pro-Palestinian."
Sadly, the newish publisher of the Toronto Star, interestingly a paper to which Honderich has strong family ties, has been moving it towards a pure Zionist position as well, probably under the influence of Jewish business leaders in Toronto. The truth is hard to come by in Canada.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Bush's handlers had a big problem as he prepared for his reelection run. He had hoovered so much up his nose during the early 1970's that the earth's surface in Colombia had risen a few inches due to the loss of weight of all the cocaine. This drug use meant that he was unable to risk taking drug tests, which meant that he had to go AWOL on his military service, which meant he didn't go to Vietnam. This wasn't a problem when he was running against Gore - the completely compliant press went along with the Bush cover-up of his drug use - but it was a real problem in dealing with John Kerry. How does a guy like Bush run to be Commander-in-Chief against a war hero in the same war in which he couldn't fight because he was too coked up?
The answer was to attack Kerry on the very issue that worried the Bush handlers, his war service. Swift boating. The concept is so preposterous that it worked. Normally, if you have a sensitive issue in a political campaign, the last thing you want to do is bring it up, unless you have some way to diffuse it. Bush could not explain his problem away, so his handlers acted as if there was no problem at all. By attacking Kerry on his war record, they simultaneously raised questions about Kerry while making it seem that Bush was in the clear. Everyone assumed that Bush had nothing to worry about. How else would he have the nerve to raise the issue? The bonus was when Kerry's people complained about it, suspicion fell on Kerry, as if it was Kerry who had the war problem and he was trying to cover it up by blaming Bush!
I'll call this the hypocritic method. You take your most embarrassing debating point, and deal with it by vehemently attacking your opponent on the very same issue. Everyone is so shocked by the audacity of the attack that they assume you must be telling the truth, and your opponent must have a serious problem. Your opponent's attempts to defend himself just make him look more guilty. By the miracle of PR spin you take your most politically debilitating problem and turn it into an asset. Children are very familiar with the concept ('I know you are, but what am I?').
Note that the hypocritic method only works if you have a completely controlled press that you can be certain won't ever raise the issue of how preposterous it is, for example, for Bush to attack Kerry on his war record. It would only take one question to upset the whole scheme. Fortunately for the Bush handlers, the disgusting American media is so consistently disgusting that it could be relied on to pretend that the Emperor's clothes were made of gold. It takes very special skills to be an American 'journalist'.
The hypocritic method is now being used in the Middle East. Israel pushes the Palestinians out of their homeland every day, and yet screams about Hamas having some words about destroying Israel - mere words that Hamas can't act on - in its charter. The bonus is that Israel uses these words to withhold moneys from the Palestinians to further push them into the sea! The Israelamericans complained bitterly about the Syrian occupation of Lebanon at exactly the same time that the Americans, at the behest of the Israelis, were engaged in a brutal occupation of next-door Iraq. The Israelamericans complain about non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons which would, if they existed, simply be a deterrent against the weapons that Israel actually has. They complain that Iran isn't complying with its international obligations (which it is), while they don't even admit that there are international obligations which apply to them. The attacks against Hamas and Iran and Syria are so hypocritical that nobody even seems to notice that it is Israel pushing the Palestinians into the sea, the Americans with the brutal uninvited occupation of Iraq, and Israel with the real, and completely illegal, nuclear weapons which constitute the real threat to peace in the Middle East.
Watch out for the hypocritic method. I think we're going to see a lot more of it in the future.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Monday, February 20, 2006
The idea of pushing Israel into the sea has come back into the news partly due to ruminations from an Iranian politician playing to the rabble (and notably, an idea officially disclaimed by the Iranian government), and partly due to the Israelamerican phony reaction to the terms of the Hamas charter. It's a bit rich for Israel to be complaining about the theoretical terms of the Hamas charter. Hamas has not the slightest capability or potential to impinge one inch on Israeli borders. While Israel complains about words and rhetoric, Israel is actually pushing Palestinians into the sea with the wall, a brutal occupation intended to force Palestinians out, and illegal seizures of land. Hypocrisy, thy name is Israel! The further irony is that Israel's false fears about the terms of the Hamas charter are just an excuse to withhold money from the Palestinians and force the Americans to do the same, all in aid of making life even more intolerable for the Palestinians. It's even more outrageous in that the money being withheld by Israel is Palestinian tax moneys rightfully belonging to the Palestinians which are only in the hands of the Israelis due to the fact that the illegal Israeli occupation puts Israel in the position to collect it.
Some thoughts about 'pushing Israel into the sea':
- It's simply not going to happen. Even if the Americans finally come around to a reasonable position on the Middle East - and I don't foresee that in the short- or even medium-term - the world isn't going to tolerate the destruction of Israel. Israel still has by far the most dangerous army in the Middle East, and, uniquely in the area, nuclear arms and the capability, and inclination, to use them in retaliation.
- If anybody were to try it, far more Arabs would be dead at the end of the attempt than dead Jews.
- Talking about pushing Israel into the sea plays right into the hands of the Zionists. The 'existential crisis' to Israel - 'never again' - is their sole rationale for the way they are allowed to treat the Palestinians. All the collective punishment, the brutal occupation, and all the settlements, are justified on the basis of necessity, based entirely on the lie that Israel has to do these things in order to stop itself from being destroyed. People who persist in talking about destroying Israel make it that much easier to support the lie.
- It may seem odd, but the modern Middle East needs Israel. Like it or not, Israel is going to remain the most industrialized nation, and the main conduit for non-oil-related Western capital, for the foreseeable future. Leaving Israel alone within its proper borders is also the proper model for coexistence of all Middle Eastern states.
- It would be wrong to destroy Israel, both morally wrong and, of course, illegal under international law. The fact that the state of Israel seems to have trouble with concepts of international law does not mean that the Israeli people should forfeit its protection. This is particularly so as Israel as one of the most ridiculous systems of government possible, guaranteed to put political power in the craziest of crazy minority groups. To put it bluntly, if Israel had a true first-past-the-post political system, the entire Israeli-Palestinian issue would have been solved years ago. You can't punish the Israeli people for having a moronic political system. It is also our hypocrisy if we complain about the loss of sovereignty of the Iraqi people, or the failure of Israel to allow the Palestinians a state, if we are not prepared to allow the same sovereignty to Israel. The hypocrisy of the state of Israel does not justify the hypocrisy of its opponents.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
The danger of Able Danger - at least for those who enjoy believing everything they are told - is that it completely undermines the whole basis for the Official Story of what happened on September 11, 2001. It's a timing thing. The FBI has been very careful to have Atta arriving for the first time in the United States in June 2000. Their simple reason for the certainty of arrival time is that he is documented to have been attending school in Hamburg up to May 2000. Able Danger puts Atta in the United States, as head of a Brooklyn cell of terrorists, at least as early as January or February 2000, and probably back into 1999. There have been more recent attempts to obfuscate the issue by claiming that the information, including the picture of Atta, came from surveillance overseas, or claiming that Atta's participation in the Brooklyn cell was in September 2000 (impossible, as Atta was otherwise engaged by that time; also note this 'usually reliable source' making a fool of himself carrying the water for the Pentagon spinners), but the original information is clear that the data mining with respect to Atta was with respect to his American activities at least as early as early 2000. Therefore, the terrorist Atta can't be the same guy as the student in Hamburg. However, the entire story of September 11 is constructed on that identity. The biography of the Egyptian Atta, how he became radicalized attending a mosque in Hamburg, formed part of the al Qaeda terrorist cell in Hamburg, and then came to America to lead a terrorist attack, depends on the American 'Atta' being the same guy as the Egyptian/Hamburg Atta (by 'Atta', I mean the guy who assumed the Atta identity for his operations in the United States). Able Danger confirms that they are not the same guy, and that we really know nothing about the background of the American 'Atta'. Since we can now see that the FBI story with respect to Atta is a lie, and we have no way of knowing anything about who he really was or what motivated him, we can see that the stories about every other one of the nineteen is similarly flawed. If the FBI can lie about Atta, they can lie about all of them. Suddenly, the connection between al Qaeda and September 11, which depended entirely on the connections to the Hamburg radical Muslim cell, disappears.
Most of the hijackers are just ciphers, a name and a face and a date of arrival. We seem to know a lot about Ziad Jarrah, but his FBI story has the same flaw as the Atta story, in that we rely entirely on the FBI to prove that the American Jarrah was a radical Islamist terrorist. All the independent evidence - from family and friends and Hamburg acquaintances - is that it was impossible for Jarrah to have had anything to do with 9-11. He liked fast cars - he was caught for speeding in the United States - and parties, and was described by the Imam in Hamburg as a 'weak' Muslim who had to be practically dragged to the mosque. The most plausible story about Jarrah is the one believed by his family, that he was tricked into being on the plane, and was not a terrorist but just another victim of the plot.
Jarrah as a patsy would be very easy to set up, especially if the Hamburg cell was really just a 'honey pot' created by intelligence agents to provide the evidential background to 9-11. They would have been looking for a collection of patsies, including a young, devout, Muslim male from the Middle East, who had professed a desire to learn flying in the United States. Jarrah wasn't devout, but he fit the rest of the pattern perfectly, so he would have to do. They would give him some plausible story - say, that they were going into business to sell crop dusters in the Middle East - and offer to partly pay for Jarrah's American adventure if he would assist them in their business operations in the U. S. Jarrah didn't need the money - his father's wedding present to him was to be a Mercedes - but a guy like Jarrah could always use a few extra bucks. Jarrah attended a flying school just down the road from the school that 'Atta' attended, lived in an apartment around the corner from where 'Atta' lived, started his role in the 9-11 plot by moving to a hotel near the hotel used by 'Atta', and bought a ticket to fly on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. All of this could easily have been set up by 'Atta', all as part of the assistance Jarrah was supposedly giving 'Atta' in his American business. After 'Atta' thus implicated Jarrah in the plot, the Americans shot down the plane, and you have an instant patsy. The only thing really tying Jarrah to the terrorist plot are the voice recording of the terrorist pilot on the plane - which could have been anybody or even an FBI fake - and his connections to 'Atta', which we know from Able Danger doesn't prove anything.
Of all the nineteen, there are only a few for whom we seem to have some independent information, and all of the information, again, comes through the FBI. Since we are certain the FBI is lying about Atta, how can we rely on their information on any of the nineteen? Hani Hanjour had a life in the United States prior to the hijackings, obtained a pilot's license (almost certainly fraudulently, as he never learned how to fly a plane), and was known to at least one independent person, Aukai Collins, who wrote that he thought that Hanjour was not a committed Muslim, and was not the kind of guy to give up his life for this cause. Coupled with the fact that the people who were teaching him to fly felt he couldn't fly a Cessna, we have another example of someone who doesn't fit the profile as the pilot of Flight 77, and whose ties to the plot depend entirely on connections with the group associated with the American 'Atta'.
The entire operation was a combination of intelligence officers, including the American 'Atta', and hired-help patsies tricked into implicating themselves in the plot. The patsies, or their identities, were chosen based on being Middle Eastern Muslim males who vaguely fit the profiles of potential terrorists. Some of them, but not the main ones, may actually have had real connections to Islamist radical groups, but it is just as likely that their identities were stolen identities which were chosen based on the fact that they could be traced back to people who could be connected to terrorism (some families of identified terrorists claim that they haven't seen their relatives since they went off to places like Kashmir or Bosnia, places where they might have died and their identities been harvested as potential terrorist identities). Everything - and I mean the entire 9-11 fantasy story - depends on their connections to Atta, or at least the cell in Hamburg that Atta is supposed to have joined. Since the revelations on Able Danger prove that the story of Atta must be a fraud, the Official Story must be a fraud. The 9-11 Commission knew about the Able Danger story, but omitted it from their report, obviously because it didn't match the Official Story.
In conclusion, I should briefly comment on the issue of 'Atta' and identification. The only guy who seems to be alive to the deep dangers in the Able Danger revelations is Mark Zaid, the attorney for Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, one of the Pentagon whistleblowers. Zaid's name comes up often in these matters of Washington skullduggery, and his awareness of the problem indicated that he is probably worth whatever his clients are paying him. He has been trying to make the point that the identification of Atta is just based on the name and not any photo obtained in the United States, and could thus be entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether the Pentagon could have stopped the plot at an early date. The 'Mohamed Atta' name could have been the name of a completely innocent guy caught by Pentagon data sweeping. This won't do. The Pentagon not only had Atta's name, but his picture at the top of their giant - and notably still missing - chart ("a color mug shot of Mohammad Atta, circled in black marker"), and had gone to the trouble of putting a yellow sticky note over the face of 'Atta'. This is supposed to mean that 'Atta' was off limits due to legal restrictions, but if that was the case, they should have had a sticky note over every entry in the chart. The note had the paradoxical effect of indicating that the face of 'Atta' was particularly important, and allowed Pentagon officials to identify him as the guy on their chart (based in one case on the look of his cheekbones), even though they hadn't seen the chart for a number of years. The identification of 'Atta' by recent Pentagon whistleblowers was based on the fact that the FBI pictures circulated of the infamous terrorist looked like the guy with the yellow flag on the chart. They remembered him, not because they remembered one name on a chart with hundreds, or thousands of names, but because of his picture, and the prominence of that picture on the chart. 'Atta' was Terrorist No. 1.
Weldon and the Pentagon, who for various reasons are trying to eliminate American constitutional and legal restrictions against Pentagon spying on Americans (that spying is already going on, and they just want American elected officials to cry 'uncle' and retroactively legalize and constitutionalize what the Pentagon is doing anyway), both claim that the sticky note indicated that Pentagon lawyers had stifled investigation of terrorism by the Pentagon, restrictions which should now be eliminated (the idea that the investigation of Atta was somehow illegal has been thoroughly debunked, and is just part of the Weldon/Pentagon trick to allow the Pentagon more snooping powers). Actually, the sticky note indicates that 'Atta' was off limits, that he was somehow protected against arrest by the authorities as he worked on his plot. We have seen numerous instances where this 'license to kill' worked, cases where 'Atta' had run-ins with American authority figures and was always allowed to walk.
We have also seen other notable instances where 'Atta' was recognized in the United States prior to June 2000, despite the fact that the Official Story is that he had never been in the United States prior to that time. One woman recognized him - and her recognition must have been based on a similarity to the published picture and not on his name - as attending an American officers' school in Alabama. Johnell Bryant, an official with the Department of Agriculture, had a particularly memorable encounter with him in the spring of 2000 in Florida, when he seemed to be ensuring that he not only would be remembered, but remembered as a potential terrorist. 'Atta' was in the United States at a time when the Egyptian/Hamburg Atta couldn't have been, the Pentagon was aware of him being in the United States from the beginning of his activities, he was under official American government protection, and he wasn't a Muslim terrorist. My best guess is that he was a highly trained intelligence agent, a guy who on at least one account spoke fluent Hebrew, hired to fake an Islamic extremist terrorist attack against the United States. Weldon and the Pentagon should have let sleeping dogs lie.
Friday, February 17, 2006
- Some connectivity issues will limit the number of postings over the next week or ten days.
- I've been noticing that there are quite a few referrals from translation sites, and have been experimenting, without much success, with various translation additions to the blog. All of them seem to have some problem or another. I've finally found one that works (sort of), and plan to add it soon.
- The blogroll is still a work in progress (as it must always be), and I'm wondering whether I should try to limit its ever-increasing length by restricting it to pure conspiracy sites. It has always seemed to me that too long a blogroll is no better than not having one at all.
- The big philosophical debate is whether I should have more, shorter, links, just alerts to particular conspiracy issues, along with the longer, more reflective, posts. More links might attract more traffic, people who might not otherwise be aware of the longer posts. The downside is that you'd have to wade through more crap to get to the unique stuff. Perhaps the ideal is to leave xymphora as it is, and create a new blog with just short links.
- The Blogger spell checker doesn't recognize the word 'blog'.
- Thanks to TT and WR for their generosity.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Cheney handled himself quite well in the explanation he should have given days ago. The terrible way in which the spin was handled prior to his staged interview - with no less than the American version of Soviet-era Pravda - puts the lie to the assumption that the Bush Administration has a genius with PR. Fact is, the Bush Administration gets away with incompetence with spin, as it does with incompetence in all matters, simply because it receives the full assistance of the disgusting American media on every issue. This story was different because, well, the VP nailing a guy with a shotgun is always good copy, and the symbolism was so obvious. Dick Cheney making a terrible mistake due to his arrogance and intoxication leading to a lot of unnecessary and foolish violence inflicted against the innocent, with the accompanying heartache in those around him. I think every American has a feel for the analogy.
Despite the fact that Cheney got the tone right in his explanation, there is still something odd about his story:
"He was dressed in orange, he was dressed properly, but he was also - there was a little bit of a gully there, so he was down a little ways before land level, although I could see the upper part of his body when - I didn't see it at the time I shot, until after I'd fired. And the sun was directly behind him - that affected the vision, too, I'm sure."
I thought you hunted quail by flushing them up into the air. The 'sport', if you can call it that, is to treat the quail like living skeet and fire in the air at them as they are flushed. Cheney later said:
"And you hunt them - basically, you have people out on horseback, what we call outriders, who are looking for the quail. And when they spot them, they've got radios, you'll go over, and say, get down and flush the quail."
and (my emphasis):
". . . in that part of the country, you always are on vehicles, until you get up to where the covey is. Then you get off - there will be dogs down, put down; the dogs will point to covey. And then you walk up on the covey. And as the covey flushes, that's when you shoot."
What possible quail did Cheney think he was firing at on the ground, or even below ground level? Whittington was dressed in orange, but Cheney is claiming that he was so obscured by being in the gully that Cheney couldn't see the orange clothes. Later Cheney is asked "And you - and I take it, you missed the bird" and responds:
"I have no idea. I mean, you focused on the bird, but as soon as I fired and saw Harry there, everything else went out of my mind. I don't know whether the bird went down, or didn't."
He's clearly saying he was firing on a quail and not some other animal that might have been on the ground. Does this make any sense?
Cheney also talks about time. He says the sun was so low that it was directly behind Whittington when Cheney fired (odd if the victim was at or below ground level when he was hit, and at least an admission of recklessness on Cheney's part if he fired, knowing that there were people around, without being able to see what he was firing at). Later he says it took about 30 minutes to get Whittington to the hospital from the time of the shooting, and that he was there around 7:00. Therefore, the shooting would be around 6:30. Is that the time the sun would be setting?
Cheney also says that Katharine Armstrong was an eyewitness to the shooting, something which appears to be doubtful. I'm not left with a comfortable feeling about Cheney's belated attempt to talk his way out of a big political, and perhaps legal, problem.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
"Mr. Cheney sprayed Mr. Whittington, 78, with 6 to 200 pieces of birdshot, the doctors said yesterday."
Now, I don't expect the doctors to have to take off their shoes to do the counting, but . . . 6 to 200? What kind of estimate is that? Did they examine him from outer space? '6 to 200' is obviously a nice way of saying 200, but they can't say 200 out loud as that would mean Cheney was too close for the Official Story to stand. I don't know the legal terminology in Texas, but if the victim croaks, or even if he croaks later but his doctors feel his death was accelerated by the incident, we're looking at something like criminal negligence causing death. What the lies leading to the attack on Iraq and the intentional campaign to out Plame - not to mention the outrageous conflict of interest concerning Halliburton war profiteering - couldn't accomplish, landing Dick in the jail in which he deserves to be, might end up happening as the result of a single pellet of Texas buckshot.
Monday, February 13, 2006
While we listen to lots of veiled threats and speculations about possible attacks on Iran, there is a real multi-part conspiracy going on involving northern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The plan, spearheaded by crazed neocon Elliot Abrams (crazy enough to be the G. Gordon Liddy of the Bush Administration, and an Iran-Contra criminal who thinks big if not well), has three parts:
- The Kurds will ethnically cleanse the oil-rich areas on northern Iraq, not traditionally Kurdish areas, and populate these areas with ethnic Kurds. This oil will form the economic basis for Greater Kurdistan to be centered in northern Iraq. This ethnic cleansing has already begun.
- The Kurdish areas of eastern Syria will be broken off to join Greater Kurdistan, and Syria will suffer 'regime change', receiving a government agreeable to Kurdish oil plans and Israeli plans to annex the Golan Heights (this part won't work out as planned but stupid plans are part of the neocon pattern).
- Lebanon will be partitioned into a Christian country and an Arab country, and the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon will be made full citizens of the Arab country, thus removing the obligation of Israel to consider claims of a right of return for these people (this will also be a big mess, but the neocons won't care).
The Kurdish oil can't go through Iran, as Iran will be angry at the Kurds for trying to slice off northern Iran as part of the new Kurdistan (and the Americans have demonstrated, through the great expense for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, that they will go to all lengths to avoid any oil flowing through Iran), and can't go through Turkey (as the Turks will be furious about Kurdistan and its potential to break up Turkey), so it will have to flow west. The Haifa pipeline is temporarily on the back burner, and the new plan seems to be to have the oil through a pipeline over the old pipeline route closed by Syria in the 1980's. It would flow from the newly acquired oil fields of Kurdistan through Syria to Tripoli.
Hariri was murdered because he didn't want to partition Lebanon. It's funny how the Mossad has a long history of murdering Lebanese politicians using car bombs (some described here, and see also here), and yet a prominent politician is murdered by a car bomb in Lebanon, a killing that clearly benefited Israel and not Syria, and everybody blames Syria. In 2004, Hariri publicly called for the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, something else which would not make him popular in Israel. By killing Hariri and blaming it on Syria, they removed an obstacle to their plans in Lebanon and created an excuse for regime change in Syria at the same time.
The general neocon plans are set out in the 'Clean Break' paper: first Iraq, then Lebanon, then Syria, then the Palestinians (in all the confusion about Sharon and Hamas, Olmert has enunciated what Sharon wanted to do but never dared say - the Israeli maps of the wall were always vague on one issue - that Israel is going to surround the Palestinians in a cage by grabbing the Jordan valley while simultaneously withdrawing from the least desirable settlements, a plan completely in line with Abrams' publicly-stated thinking on the matter). They are just working their way down the list. The details of dealing with Lebanon in particular are in a document called "Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role" by Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour (see also here), and signed by almost every neocon you can imagine, including Abrams. It is very critical of Hariri, subtly hints that one advantage of getting Syria out is that Israel will be able to steal Lebanese water, and, while not expressly calling for partition, is very coy about Lebanese Christians (my emphasis):
"Perhaps the most delicate issue has to do with the religious make-up of Lebanon, home to the Middle East's only remaining free, native, enterprising, and relatively secure Christian community. It was the Christians of Lebanon who were the first and quickest in the Middle East to absorb Western ways, so freedom in Lebanon owes its existence in the first instance to this Christian community. Take away Lebanon's Christians and the rest of the country, too, is almost automatically deprived of its freedoms. The country is then ipso facto transformed into just another Middle Eastern state. Preserving Lebanon's free Christian community therefore becomes the cornerstone for safeguarding the country's special freedoms that uplift all its communities and offer a much-needed breathing space for the entire Arabic-speaking world."
The paper is most directed to removing Syrian troops from Lebanon, and the assassination of Hariri clearly led to that goal. The general plans are also completely in line with the Yinon plans to break the Arab world into little statelets that won't be a threat to Israel. As a bonus, Kurdistan will cause Turkey to act in such a way that it probably won't be able to join the EU, thus furthering the goals of the 'clash of civilizations' crowd and the anti-immigration racists in Europe.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
A common theory is that the upcoming attack on Iran is due to Iran's plan to establish an oil bourse to trade oil in Euros. Paul Craig Roberts neatly rebuts this theory. Any American geopolitical thinkers worried about the value of the American dollar would be worried about keeping the dollar as the world reserve currency, and the cost of an attack on Iran, a cost which would be enormous (in total, probably five to ten times the one or two trillion the Iraq war will cost) and would all have to be borrowed, would do much more to finish the American dollar as a reserve currency than any oil bourse would. The bourse might have a small effect, as countries which need to buy oil might find it handier to keep more of their reserve currencies in Euros, but the overall status of the American dollar is much more dependent on the continued general financial health of the United States. American planners may very well be looking to the bourse as an excuse to gently deflate the overly high value of the dollar.
Anyone who tells you that the war on Iran can just be accomplished with bombing raids is lying because:
- American troops would have to go in to secure the oil fields, which would lead to a ground war and an eventual insurgency even stronger than the Americans face in Iraq; and
- the Iranian leadership would retaliate by releasing the hounds of insurgency in Iraq (if you think it is bad now, with Iranian cooperation in place to keep things relatively calm, just wait until Iran decides to stir things up!).
Nuclear bombs aren't an option as the Americans need to keep the place habitable for American oil engineers, and the loss of world Iranian oil production simply isn't possible. I remain completely convinced that the talk about the war in Iran is just talk, and Syria is the real target in danger. Scott Ritter thinks that war on Iran is inevitable because John Bolton's speechwriter told him that the speech setting it up has already been written. Think about it. If this is true, would Bolton's speechwriter have told Ritter about it? Isn't it just an obvious trick to fool Ritter into thinking that the target is Iran? The United States isn't going to attack Israel's only possible friend in the Middle East. Besides hiding real American intentions, and keeping the Iranian leadership as radical as possible (moderate Iranian leaders would be a disaster for Israel), the Iran talk helps maintain a high world oil price (gotta keep those Exxon profits up near forty billion a year!).
"I assume because they believe, correctly, it is unnecessarily inflammatory. It's legal to run them, but is it wise? The Danish editor who started all this actually recruited cartoonists to draw offensive cartoons (some of those he invited declined). And why did he do it? To demonstrate that in a Western liberal society he could. Well, we already knew that. Some victory for freedom of expression. An editor who deliberately sets out to provoke or hurt people because he's worried about 'self-censorship' is not an editor I'd care to work for."
Of course, since the self-censorship excuse is so ridiculous (it is as if Denmark got freedom of speech just last week and the editor wanted to show off his new freedom), we know there must have been a much darker motive. American cartoonists who have discussed the Danish cartoon issue have almost universally supported publication, perhaps reflecting their ongoing fights with editors which they endure in order to have their cartoons published (and reinforcing the idea that cartoonists aren't that smart, but are just doodlers with an attitude). There is much more censorship out there than we hear about, and the main censorship is that the most interesting cartoonists never get published, or are only published in intentionally 'alternative' publications. Trudeau, who I've attacked for his nasty attack on bloggers (he's since covered blogging again and done a much better job with the tone, seemingly recovering his sense of humor), is the only American cartoonist who seems to understand the issue.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
On June 8, 1826, a group of young men from the Tory ruling establishment, disguised as Indians (!), raided the offices of radical newspaper publisher William Lyon Mackenzie, smashed his printing press, and threw type into the bay. From the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography":
"The Tory magistrates did nothing to protect Mackenzie's property. As Jesse Ketchum, a far-sighted Reformer, remarked: 'the ministerial Party could not have done anything more against themselves.' Mackenzie, back in York, took the eight major participants to court, refusing a £200 settlement. The case was heard in October with James Edward Small, Marshall Spring Bidwell, and Alexander Stewart of Niagara acting for Mackenzie. The jury awarded compensation of £625, a sum far beyond the damage done. The settlement enabled Mackenzie to pay off his most pressing creditors and re-establish himself on a sound footing. He never ceased to refer to the trial, joining himself to such martyrs for Upper Canadian liberty as Robert Thorpe and Robert Gourlay. Yet his trial demonstrated that the Upper Canadian courts could be fair."
The reason we protect freedom of the speech is because we want to stop the establishment from smashing our printing presses. The rulers neither need, nor want, free speech (although it's probably fair to say that one of the reasons free speech is protected is that the elites regard it as advancing prosperity). Progress is made through the free discussion of all ideas, political, religious, scientific. Freedom of the speech allows new ideas, ideas held by people outside of the establishment, to be heard and thought about. Since all freedoms arose out of ideas, free speech is often regarded as the most important freedom.
Despite its importance, freedom of speech isn't absolute. We don't allow people to cry 'fire' in a crowded theater. Most advanced political systems have some laws against what is called hate speech. In the absence of such laws, hate speech often leads to violence, and has been shown capable of leading to much worse, so we make an exception to our general protection of speech.
There was much speculation with the advent of the internet that the new era of access to information would lead to some kind of progressive political nirvana. It hasn't happened. In fact, in the last ten years or so, the political situation in the West has generally become much worse. It appears that reactionary forces responded to the new threat by circling the wagons. We have seen more media concentration in the hands of the elites, and the elimination of any non-standard views from the mainstream media. The absolute consistency of the stories carried by the mainstream media should be an indication that there is something more going on than mere reporting. In fact, as we are seeing more and more often, the mainstream media is perfectly happy to outright lie in order to advance the program of their masters. They have always lied, of course, but they no longer even bother to apologize for it.
Not to get too Chomsky-esque, but the control of politics in modern democracies depends on the artful manipulation of popular opinion through a combination of lies and, more importantly, selective reporting. The establishment has found that shunning ideas that don't advance their agenda is much more effective than lies. If you want to do some geopolitics in the Middle East, and some Muslims may die as a result, the effective way to deal with the problem is to constantly show video of Muslim rioters, and constantly discuss Muslim terrorism. Focus on the reaction to the oppression rather than the oppression itself. The lives of the vast, vast majority of peaceful Muslims is never discussed, because it is not 'news'. Without even working particularly hard at it, the mainstream media has managed to be an effective apologist for any and all atrocities committed by the West against Muslims. All of this manipulation is done under the banner of freedom of speech.
The Danish cartoon controversy is complicated by the fact that the history of European free speech is closely tied to free speech concerning religion. The early history of European free speech is often a history of blasphemy, for the simple reason that many of the main power relationships under attack by the radical thinkers ran through the establishment Church. If a Catholic painter in a country whose political establishment is all or partly Catholic paints a painting insulting to the Virgin Mary, that may very well be political speech which should be protected. That is why we have to be very careful of right-wing calls for new laws against blasphemy, which are of course just a method to protect Christianity from political attacks. In other words, calls for new laws against blasphemy are just another attempt to protect the usual power relations.
If the Danish cartoons were originally solicited and published in Egypt, some of them might have been political speech. In Denmark, where the Muslim community is relatively small and without a shred of political power, they are just a further example of manipulation of the concept of freedom of speech to benefit the existing power elites. They can't even be called satire, as satire only applies if you make fun of the powerful. Making fun of the weak is just bullying. When the thugs damaged the printing press of William Lyon Mackenzie, they were trying to stop his anti-establishment speech. When the cartoons were published by the political elites in Denmark, they were just an insulting provocation intended to advance an anti-immigration position in Denmark, and an anti-Muslim position in the Middle East. Freedom of speech was not used to advance any real debate, but to lead to an angry reaction which would reinforce the caricature of Muslims being drawn in the mainstream media.
When the New York Times wanted to attempt to salvage its reputation by publishing the story on NSA snooping, it went to the criminals responsible, the Bush Administration, and negotiated its 'free speech'. What does free speech have to do with the mainstream media? Free speech is simply being used as a weapon to advance a much larger policy towards Muslims around the world. Sometimes the establishment uses bombs, sometimes it uses free speech. The key to understanding this issue lies in considering the relative power between the people doing the attacking, and the people being attacked. It also helps to consider the context of the universal media information war being conducted against Muslims, particularly in the context of the real attacks being made against Muslims in Europe and the Middle East. While we should be very careful to protect as wide a range of speech as possible, as it is never really possible to determine what the ideas of the future will look like, this issue, considered in its context, isn't difficult (minor corrections thanks to commentator ECMpuke).
Friday, February 10, 2006
Denmark has in its legal repertoire the concept of intentional interference with contractual relations (informative pdf here). This is a tort which allows a plaintiff to recover damages if it suffers losses due to the intentional actions of a defendant who knew or ought to have known that its actions would lead to the loss of a contract or, in its extended version, business opportunities, between the plaintiff and a third party. The Danish newspaper at the heart of the cartoon controversy has admitted that it solicited and published the cartoons in order to push the envelope to the extent that it would cause a reaction. That’s the intentional part. Was the damage foreseeable? No question. Any Dane would know that Danish firms do a lot of business in the Middle East, and that a malicious provocation might lead to an economic boycott. A Danish court would have to weigh the benefit of so-called ‘freedom of speech’ – which is really just freedom to offend – against the risk of injury caused by the publication (see page 21 and 22 of the pdf). This isn’t a ‘slam dunk’ argument – the Danish court might balk at the idea that this publication is unacceptable behavior as it might be afraid of inhibiting freedom of speech in other areas, or it might find that providing damages with respect to prospective contracts is too wide an extension of the concept, particularly when the offending parties have no obvious economic interest in the Middle Eastern contracts - but it is at least as good as many other legal arguments that are tried. I would think that some of the Danish companies that are going to lose billions of dollars in lost sales from the Muslim world, sales which they will never get back – it’s so bad that Muslim shopkeepers in Toronto (!) are having to go through their entire inventory to remove Danish products – should consider suing the editor, the newspaper, and any Danish politicians who helped stir the pot in this obvious conspiracy to further right-wing anti-immigrant policies in Denmark.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Both Americans and Europeans seem to be having an difficult time coming to grips with the Danish cartoon controversy. I keep reading that we can't allow the 'Islamofascists' to attack our Western 'enlightenment values' of 'free speech'. The entire issue is regarded as a no-brainer, with the Danes entirely in the right and the violent and irrational Muslims entirely in the wrong. As a conspiracy, it has been a great victory for those promoting a certain view of Muslims and the Middle East.
The conceptual problem lies in the underlying view of Muslims and Arabs in the West. These ideas are very old in Europe, going back to fears of invasion hundreds of years ago (which, in turn, was partly based on guilt regarding the Crusades). In the United States, the anti-Muslim view coincided with the desire to exploit Middle Eastern oil resources. It was necessary to develop a negative view of people living over the oil in order to do the things necessary to take it. Since the beginning of Israeli colonialism with the settler movement, there has been an acceleration of the idea that Muslims and Arabs are violent, irrational creatures, not worthy of being considered as human beings. Of course, all these negative ideas went into turbo-drive after September 11, and now form an essential part of the American - and to a somewhat lesser extent, European - Weltgeist.
If you want to try to cure yourself of the problem and remove the cultural blinders, you have to do a Nigger Thought Experiment. If you prefer, you can do a Kike Thought Experiment. Instead of the Danish cartoons, image a big-lipped, bug-eyed 'nigger' eating a giant watermelon. Or perhaps you'd prefer a cloaked, hook-nosed 'kike' with a giant bag of gold 'jewing' some gentile out of his money? Would you be defending the right of the papers to publish such cartoons based on the 'enlightenment values' of the West? Would you be so proud of your precious 'free speech'?
Needless to say, the argument will be raised that this is 'different'. Well, it's not, and the inability to see that it is not just proves my point. The general unstated (usually) but all-pervasive assumption in the West is that Muslims are sub-human. It's in the air we breathe. It is such an important underlying assumption that people don't even realize that they are making it, leading to the kind of nonsense analysis we are seeing regarding the Danish cartoons. Without this assumption, we would be psychologically unable to treat Muslims the way we do. Here is a small list of some of the things we do to Muslims, without even a hint that there might be some moral issues involved:
- drop bombs on innocent civilians in a country that posed no harm, and boastfully talk of 'shock and awe';
- shoot their children in the face as part of an organized program to steal their lands;
- imprison their wives and daughters as hostages;
- chop down the olive trees that have supported their families for hundreds of years;
- threaten more innocent civilians with death in countries like Iran and Syria, countries which again pose no threat;
- lock up their young men by the hundreds of even thousands after September 11, unconstitutionally and illegally, and quietly release them months later rather than admit it was all a racist program of profiling;
- fire a tank shell into a group of their children, and call it a 'mistake';
- set up torture centers to brutalize and humiliate mostly innocent civilians, and continue doing it after photographs of some of the least outrageous acts are shown;
- drop bombs on apartment buildings on the chance that some political enemy you are illegally targeting might possibly be there;
- set up food distribution for the poor, tauntingly featuring soup made of pork;
- surround them with walls to formalize the theft of land from them and make it impossible for them to have a state.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The Danish cartoon controversy is just another part of an organized program to cultivate the idea that Muslims are not worthy of bring treated as human beings. We are therefore morally permitted to do the awful thing we do to them. Compared to all the other things we do, making fun of them and their religion is small potatoes.
It seems, as a civilization, that we always need a 'nigger' (or 'sand-nigger', if you prefer the American term, as Americans still need to keep their 'niggers' straight). Muslims are the 'niggers' of our time. Maybe someday we'll pick some other group to be the designated sub-humans. Probably after Greater Israel is created and the oil runs out.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
You know that it has hit the fan when you start to see alternative conspiracy theories in an attempt to deflect attention from the real conspiracy. There are at least two:
- the Saudis (or here) stirred up the cartoon issue in the Muslim world in an attempt to deflect attention away from the deaths that occurred during the Hajj; and
- Danish Imams created the controversy by spreading the cartoons to the Middle East.
Juan Cole takes care of the Saudi conspiracy by considering the timing issues in how the protests arose. In fact, if we look at the timing issues, we can see how the real conspirators, who were all non-Muslim Europeans, worked. The intention was to provoke the kind of response in the Middle East that we are seeing now. The initial European salvo was to solicit the material and publish it in a Danish newspaper. It didn't work. In fact, there were peaceful Muslim protests - putting the lie to allegations that there were no protests until the issue was artificially raised later - and an attempt to use the Danish legal system to confront the issue. Danish Muslims behaved in exactly the responsible way that the current critics of the violence say they should have behaved. In response, they got nowhere with the legal system - apparently it is only illegal to make fun of Jews (with a predictable response to Eurohypocrisy from Iran) - and a lecture from the Danish Prime Minister, threatening protestors with legal repercussions and essentially telling them to go fuck themselves (here you can see the close connection between the conspirators and the Danish political establishment). The official Danish response, that nothing can be done because it is a free speech issue, has been proven to be a lie as the same newspaper had rejected cartoons insulting to Christians on the basis that they would offend its readership and "provoke an outcry".
Since the cabal of Europeans did not get the response they wanted from publication in Denmark, they decided to escalate, first by publishing in Norway, and then by publishing throughout Europe. This re-publication was all based on the completely bogus explanation of expressing solidarity with the free speech rights of their beleaguered Danish colleagues. Of course, free speech was never the issue. The cabal wanted to provoke the kind of violent protests in the Middle East that it felt would be useful in promoting ant-immigration policies in Europe, and defending the Israeli violence against the Palestinians. They would have kept publishing until they got the response they wanted. It wasn't either Danish Imams or the Saudis who created the problem; it was entirely the work of a group of European extreme right-wing editors.
Aseem Shrivastava rips the free speech issue to shreds:
"Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that he cannot apologize for his country's free press.
Free press? How come we hear so little from the same free press about European governments helping the US ferry people - on no fewer than 800 flights over four years, according to Amnesty International - to be tortured in places where it is legal to do so? How is it that nobody in the European free press is talking much about the fact that Iran stopped any further discussion of its nuclear program because the three EU leaders who were parleying with them reneged on their side of the bargain, by not ensuring Iran security in the event of a foreign invasion?
We hear nothing from the free press about the fact that the success of Hamas in the recent elections may have more to do with its schools and health clinics for beleaguered Palestinian communities (while the generous 'international community' has abandoned them) than with its purported Islamic fundamentalism.
The 'free' media in the West do not bother to investigate the events of September 11, 2001, or allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency itself may have been involved in the Bali bombings of 2002. It does not make any demands of the Bush administration to release the more than 1,700 pictures and videos of tortures and humiliations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo that the Pentagon has kept away from the public eye.
We have to hear from bloggers on the Internet about the US forces in Iraq kidnapping women and girls related to suspected insurgents. Needless to mention, no dead American soldiers are shown on the TV screens of the Western media (though there is no bar on showing those killed by suicide bombers in Baghdad). How often is it remembered, not to speak of responsibility taken for the fact, that genocidal UN sanctions prosecuted by the West killed more than a million innocent people in Iraq in the 1990s? The free media in the West keep secret from the public the fact that the US has for years given asylum to proven terrorists such as Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada, wanted by Latin American governments for blowing up planes and suchlike. They are exempt from the 'war on terror'.
Above all, the media do little to ask for the impeachment of the consummate liars and mass-murderers who occupy elected positions in more than one Western democracy today, even as they pretend to teach lessons in political morals to less fortunate countries.
Free press? Or cowardly media eager to please the wealthy masters?"
'Free speech' is being used as another weapon in the West's attempts at dominating the Middle East. Just as in the use by Bush of the term 'democracy' - apparently something you get only if you vote for the 'right' party - 'free speech' is being used as a cover for the continuation of American-European-Israeli colonialism. 'Free speech' is one of many tools in the West's PR campaign to justify what it does in the Middle East (see here).
The violent response, of course, has been stirred up and encouraged - at least to the extent that authorities let it be known that protest wouldn't be stopped - by various governments who saw it as a safe way for the poorest people to vent some frustration. Needless to say, the protests have become the entire focus of media interest on the issue, just what the original cabal wanted. Most commentators, even 'liberal' ones, are criticizing Muslims for again taking the bait. On the other hand, had the response followed the original Danish lines, we would never have heard of this issue. Letters to the editor to newspapers in Cairo would never have been reported on in Europe. The problem, as usual, relates to power. Muslims in the Middle East are used to being shat on from a great height by both Europeans and Americans. The only thing that seems to warrant any attention for the outrages commonly imposed on Muslims is violence. So violence is what we see.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Saturday, February 04, 2006
The Danish cartoon conundrum is pretty easy, isn't it? Publishing and republishing the cartoons has nothing to do with free speech. I have the right, the legal right, the free speech right, to go up to the next developmentally-challenged person I see and call him a retard. But I don't. Why not? Because I'm not six years old! I may consider all religious beliefs to be silly superstitions (and I do!). However, I know that people take their religious beliefs very seriously, and would be genuinely hurt if I were to make fun of them. So I don't. It's just a question of common courtesy. Freedom of the press has absolutely nothing to do with it. The Danes showed how far their principles went when they started to apologize only when it appeared Danish corporations would lose money from a Muslim boycott. Some principles!
The conspiracy angle of this unnecessary crisis is that the Danes knew exactly what they were doing, and intended to provoke the violent Muslim reaction that they got. Those involved are anti-immigration racists who wanted to make the point that Muslims are inherently violent and shouldn't be allowed into Denmark. This was no accident.
What the hell happened to Denmark anyway? It used to be one of the most reliably progressive places in the world. Now we see a right-wing government backed by anti-immigration racists that sent troops to Iraq, troops that even had their own little torture scandal. Denmark is actually an excellent example of the future joys of vote reform, since the far right, anti-immigration Danish Peoples Party provides the seats which allows the government to control power.
From yet another article advocating voting reform (my emphasis; notice the use of 'bait and switch': by providing so many alternatives, the proponents of voting reform manage to hide the huge problems involved in each system):
"The systems that add proportionality are 'Mixed Member Proportional' (MMP, as used in Germany and New Zealand) or the Single Transferrable Vote in multiple-member ridings (STV, as used in Ireland and the Australian Senate) or full Proportional Representation (PR, as used in Israel and the Netherlands). Some important characteristics are explained below, but at this stage the thing to note is the first argument of most reform opponents. They say that proportional systems in the Canadian context will seldom produce majority governments, and this is true.
However – and this is where most Canadians do not understand the rest of the world – the alternative is normally not what we call 'minority governments' with their pattern of instability. Rather the normal outcome is the far more stable 'coalition government' pattern where two or more parties negotiate a program for the life of the Parliament."
Bingo! If you ever wonder why progressives lose all the battles, this explains it in a nutshell. The entire point of the exercise is to remove class interests from political debate. Left and right are no longer the issue; politics becomes a rolling series of single-issue parties holding up a bland left-right coalition. If everybody just does what the corporations want, everybody will be happy. Why mess things up by talking about class interests? Such nonsense is hateful 'class warfare' (you ever listen to Rush Limbaugh on the subject of class warfare?).
The lefties like the idea of coalition governments because it provides the appearance of power. They get to sit at the table and ride in the limos. While they are riding in the limos, the people they supposedly represent are having their wallets rifled by the corporadoes. I'd much rather see the progressives outside the room yelling for change than inside the room getting along (note how bent the German Green Party became once it had a taste of power). The corporadoes like corporatism because they can fully control the outcome, and the lefties have shown they can be bought. Debates based on the concept of class interests will be considered to be embarrassingly old-fashioned. Since the elites all want voting reform, democracy has very few more years to live in Canada.
"A Letcher County woman suffered a horrible injury early Thursday when her arm was severed in a car crash on the Mountain Parkway in Clark County.
Jacqueline Dotson and her six-year-old daughter had to be cut out of their vehicle after the accident in which Dotson veered into the median and over-corrected, rolling her truck over the guardrail and landing upside down after flipping several times."
and (my emphasis):
"Her arm was found near the accident still clutching a cell phone."
Lawrence Solomon, a right-wing environmentalist (whatever the hell that is!), with whom I rarely agree, writes the only article defending the Canadian electoral system against the ubiquitous attacks from the proportional representation elites. People say that the United States, Canada and Britain are the only countries still using the 'old-fashioned' first-past-the-post system (we could also add France to that list). My counter to that is that these are sadly the only three real democracies in the world. The elites hate first-past-the-post, as it gives way too much power to the people. They despise the fact that an entire slate of elected officials can be turfed on their ears by the choice of the voters. The nerve! Don't the peons have any respect? The hidden agenda is to put the genie of power in the people back in the bottle. The much preferred alternative is called corporatism, where left and right elites decide that their common interests outweigh the interests of the electorate. They thus conspire in back rooms to horse trade for their respective interests, leaving the messiness of democracy behind.
The real problem with first-past-the-post is that it is too unpredictable for corporate interests. Corporations don't like having full control over the agenda. They thus buy the leftist elites by promising them power in the back rooms. Since the lefties are tempted by the illusion of having power (not to mention the trappings of power, which they never thought they'd get under the old system!), the deals are made. Needless to say, the corporate interests always end up having their way. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the idea that politics should be based on class interests, leading to something like the current situation in Germany, where politicians with supposedly opposite positions have formed a coalition. There are no longer left and right, just generic interchangeable politicians who represent corporate interests.
It is interesting that the real problem with the electoral systems in each of Canada, the United States and Britain is that the executive has unconstitutionally taken too much power. Blair's done it, there is currently a big debate in the United States over it, and Canada is essentially run out of the Prime Minister's Office (the last Canadian election, described as being about Liberal corruption, was really about corporate lobbyist control of the Prime Minister's Office). The reason for this is the reaction of the elites to the fact that the electoral system puts too much power in the people. Their answer is to retake the power by removing power from legislatures in favor of the back rooms of the executive offices. This is a serious problem, but it can be fixed. Most if not all of the concerns people have about the voting systems turns on this unconstitutional usurpation of power (the Americans also have their own peculiar problem in that they can't seem to get around to removing their crooked voting machines). It would be ironic if the response to this fixable problem is to take all power away from the people.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The single most striking deterioration that has happened in the United States in the last ten years or so is the loss of the right to dissent. The United States government has always done terrible things, but through it all Americans have always had the right to complain about it. The reason that we still hear a lot about what happened in Chicago in 1968 is that it was such an aberration (if you haven't seen it, you should watch the movie 'Medium Cool' some day). Kent State was another aberration, but I wouldn't be surprised, the way things are going, to see another such incident before the end of Bush's Presidency.
The consistency of support amongst all political groups for freedom of assembly and freedom of speech has been the best thing about the United States, and it is now dead or dying. The old strain of American libertarianism, which was perceived as flowing directly from the spirit of the American Revolution, and which always supported free speech, now only exists in the form of opposition to any control over gun ownership.
Over and over again we are now seeing people arrested for holding up signs, wearing t-shirts with the 'wrong' (i. e., non-Republican Party) message on them (with arrest clearly being used solely as a method of removing the ability to make a public point), or even standing in the wrong place. Freedom of assembly no longer exists, with all manner of artificial and unnecessary restrictions which make assembly useless. Even stronger restrictions are planned. Since there is no real outlet for any contrary opinions in the controlled media, only one voice, the official talking points of the Republican Party (and the Democrats who shamelessly follow them), is allowed.
This moral deterioration has occurred in American conservatism. Conservatives who used to be staunch supporters of freedom of speech now see the only issue as maintaining power in their Republican Party, and they applaud any efforts to prevent any contrary point of view from being presented. Conservatives always saw themselves as the true defenders of the values of the American Republic. Their moral deterioration into admit-no-dissent partisanship appears to be permanent, and is why the United States is doomed. American economic superiority is also eventually doomed, as it rested on the freedom of thought required for science and technology, and the Republican attack on science continues and is accelerating. People in countries all over the world who used to look to the United States as an unattainable model of freedom are now able to protest, and do, but protest of any kind is no longer allowed in the former home of freedom.