Friday, April 28, 2006

The false morality of supporting Israel

From an article in the Nation by Philip Weiss on the Lobby issue:

“Mearsheimer was hawkish about Israel until the 1990s, when he began to read Israel's ‘New Historians,’ a group of Israeli scholars and journalists (among them Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim and Tom Segev) who showed that Israel's founders had been at times ruthless toward Palestinians. Mearsheimer's former student Michael Desch, a professor at Texas A&M, recalls the epiphany: ‘For a lot of us, who didn't know a lot about the Israel/Palestine conflict beyond the conventional wisdom and Leon Uris's Exodus, we saw a cold war ally; and the moral issue and the common democracy reinforced a strong pro-Israel bent.’ Then Desch rode to a conference with two left-wing Jewish academics familiar with the New Historians. ‘My initial reaction was the same as John's: This is crazy. [They argued that] the Israelis weren't the victims of the '48 war to destroy the country. Ben-Gurion had real doubts about partition. Jordan and Israel talked about dividing up the West Bank together. All those things were heretical. They seemed to be coming from way, way out in left field. Then we started reading [them], and it completely changed the way we looked at these things.’ Mearsheimer says he had been blinded by Uris's novel. ‘‘The New Historians' work was a great revelation to me. Not only do they provide an abundance of evidence to back up their stories about how Israel was really created, but their stories make perfect sense. There is no way that waves of European Jews moving into a land filled with Palestinians are going to create a Jewish state without breaking a lot of Palestinian heads.... It's just not possible.’”

You cannot overestimate the importance of liars like Uris in creating the idea in the United States that American support for Israel was the moral thing to do.  This was tied directly to the Holocaust by the American educational system, and allowed the United States to cloak its real reasons for supporting Israel – which, until the end of the Cold War, were mainly American geopolitical interests, and since the end of the Cold War, are almost entirely Lobby-driven –  behind the façade of ‘doing the right thing’.

Following the moral arguments to their logical conclusion, we have to attack those, like Chomsky, who attempt to shield the activities of the Lobby by denying its importance.  The Lobby is still working now, and is calling for new wars.  These wars, and even the planning for them, are war crimes under international law, and those who deny the Lobby thesis are allowing the Lobby to continue its terrible work.  Chomsky and those of his ilk are aiding and abetting the commission of the most terrible crimes known to man.

A warning from the Canadian branch

Via YayaCanada, a curious editorial from a Canadian branch office of the Lobby:

“While the crazed rantings of overseas terrorists should be placed in the context in which they exist, so should the sometimes careless words of Canadian activists and leaders. Repeatedly, anti-Israel activists in Canada have refused to acknowledge even the possibility that the extreme language employed in discussion of the Middle East conflict might unintentionally encourage individuals or groups for whom violence carries no stigma. It is simply not adequate to contend that any violence preceded by extreme language is an unintended consequence. Citizens in free societies are called upon to exercise a degree of sensitivity not only to the impact their words are meant to have, but the impact their comments might have unintentionally. Abdicating this core civic responsibility is a major failing of Israel's critics in Canada and elsewhere.

Now, when we have explicit, if vague, threats to the security of overseas Jews, Israel's critics must be held to a higher standard than before. The issue is not so much the veracity of the accusations - criticism of Israel, like certain accusations against Jews throughout the ages, are usually grounded in a seed of truth - but they have often been misused by malcontents to sway the ignorant. The fear, of course, is that people who are inclined toward violence will be emboldened by the hateful imagery and language employed by otherwise peaceful anti-Israel activists. As unpleasant and unfair as this connection may seem, it is rejected only by people whose concern for the safety of Jews is eclipsed by their dislike of Israel.

Individuals and groups in a multicultural society have an obligation not only to choose their words and approaches respectfully, but to give some thought to the way their words could be interpreted by people whose intentions are less pure. This is the core failure of the anti-Zionist movement in Canada (as well as Europe and elsewhere). There is insouciance toward the presumably unintended consequences of their rhetoric. If this was ever forgivable, it is not anymore. Canadians of goodwill, critics of Israel and others, must temper their language in the context of the times. Meanwhile, Canadian governments should be playing a role in alleviating the financial and other burdens of protecting communities who are the subject of explicit threats.”

The editorial begins by expressly requesting extra protection for Canadian Jews from the Canadian government against the threat of attack from al Qaeda.  Would the next logical step not be to request Canadian government protection from those who might want to criticize the policies of the State of Israel?  Consider yourselves warned.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Be like Noam

Good stuff on the Lobby from:

The pathetic anti-Lobby arguments fall into a small number of categories:

  1. Name calling (‘Nazi’, anti-Semitic’), the main thrust of big brains – for a five-year-old – like Dershowitz
  2. ‘Company you keep arguments’, the idea that the thesis must be wrong as people like David Duke have written favorably about it (this is all the way up to the rhetorical sophistication of a ten-year-old)
  3. Arguments that the thesis must be wrong, as prominent Israelis wrote against the attack on Iraq.  Of course they did, as the attack didn’t benefit Israel, and the Lobby doesn’t work for the real interests of Israel or the Israeli people.  It operates for the Likudniks and the Settler Movement, and the Christian Zionists who are looking for an apocalypse in the Middle East.
  4. All manner of what we could call ‘neo-Chomskean’ arguments, that the American Empire, by definition, only operates for the benefit of the American Empire, or Capitalism, or some such vague idea, following on the Chomsky/Marx/Hegel thesis that the real operators in the world are not human beings but ideas.  Thus, by definition, and no matter how much it looks like the Lobby thesis is correct, or how much evidence we pile up to support it, or how obvious it is that recent actions by the Americans in the Middle East have gravely – probably mortally – wounded the American Empire, the Lobby thesis must be wrong, because, by definition, only the interests of the Empire inform the actions of the Empire.  Chomsky’s intellectual suicide note to hide the crimes of the Lobby was sad, but the fact that neocons who six months ago would have had Chomsky hung for treason are now spouting his ideas in a vain effort to refute the Lobby thesis is hilarious.
  5. Arguments that there were other reasons for the attack on Iraq:  oil, geopolitics, bases, dollar hegemony, etc.  Of course there were other reasons.  The Lobby thesis doesn’t require that the Lobby be the only reason for the war.  Does anyone seriously believe that the United States would have attacked Iraq without the full-court press of the Lobby, efforts by the entire Lobby-controlled media, most notably Miller and the NYT (and the aluminum tubes, Curveball, etc.); Wolfowitz; Wurmser; Feith and the OSP, and the complete disruption of the usual process of relating intelligence to politics; the Christian Zionists who give Bush his backbone and got him elected; etc, etc, etc?  The attack on Iraq took months of preparation and bullying and lying, and would simply not have happened without the efforts of the Lobby. Nevertheless, the Lobby thesis is still correct even if the Lobby only played a substantial role, rather than a definitive role, in the enormously ill-advised decision to attack Iraq.

The biggest joke is that the efforts of the Lobby continue unabated, to the extent that Israelis are complaining that Israel will be blamed for any upcoming attack on Iran as the connections between the call for war and Jewish lobbying is so blindingly obvious.  Israel and its defenders can’t continue to have it both ways:  rely on the Lobby to advance the craziest of Zionist ideas, all the while pretending that the Lobby doesn’t exist.

 

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Meet the new Osama, Imad Mughniyah

The Bush Administration needs a new terrorist attack before the fall.  It has to keep control of Congress to avoid any impeachment problems, but must keep the polls close enough to be able to continue to use the crooked voting machines without the American public becoming suspicious and trashing them before the next presidential election (the Republicans haven't honestly won a presidential election since 1988, and won't be winning another one soon without a little electronic help).  In order to sell the terrorism 'product' they need a new scary guy to front the operation.  Bin Laden is past his sell-by date, and Al Zarqawi has been officially retired and really only worked the market for Iraq anyway.  I think we now know who the new Osama is, a name from the past.

Michael Ledeen introduced the name in a column in January.  The President of Iran visited Syria, and Ledeen wrote:

". . . it should not have surprised anyone that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew to Damascus last Thursday to meet with Bashar Assad, nor was it surprising that among his entourage were key Iranian officials in charge of Hezbollah, probably including the operational leader, Imad Mughniyah."

Note that Ledeen didn't really have any information that Ahmadinejad had brought Mughniyah, just that Ahmadinejad had brought Iranian officials with him, and Mughniyah was 'probably' with them.  It actually seems highly unlikely that Ahmadinejad would brought Mughniyah along, especially given that Mughniyah is still a wanted criminal, and Syria would not want him around.  Mughniyah is thought to be responsible for a number of attacks against Americans, including the 1983 bombing in Lebanon.  Actually, only a raving Zionist would find it plausible that the President of Iran would pay an official visit to another country with an entourage which includes an internationally-wanted terrorist.  In fact, Ledeen begs lots of questions in assuming Ahmadinejad brought officials with him who were 'in charge of Hezbollah', and the whole article is just more typical Ledeen lies and spin and innuendo.

Ledeen's unlikely guess is then repeated (full article here) in the New York Sun (note the completely misleading headline), and cites the meeting as a fact based on foreign (no doubt Israeli) 'diplomatic sources'.  Finally, the story arrives fully developed, and as a certainty, in the London Sunday Times (with yet another wild headline).  It is now supported by 'senior government officials', who Ledeen says, are convinced Mughniyah was there, despite the fact they don't know what he looks like and don't have his fingerprints.  Must be identification by magic.

Mughniyah is perfect, as the story now ties together Iran, Syria and Hezbollah with a terrorist known to have a long involvement in attacks against Americans.  The new Osama is ready to be held responsible for the next terrorist attack against Americans, and will be able to help the Republicans keep control of Congress without too much electronic help, and point the blame to whatever patsy the Israel Lobby wants to attack next.

 

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Iran talk and the price of oil

Qatari oil minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya on the price of oil:

“If you can stop the politicians from making negative statements, I am sure you will see almost 15 dollars disappear from the price.” 

He says he is not referring specifically to American talk about Iran, but we all know that he is.

Idiot Box

A cartoon called “Idiot Box”:

Bangladesh H

With all the complicated drug smuggling routes we hear about, here is a simple one using front companies to ship heroin produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan directly from Bangladesh to Britain.  It seems awfully easy compared to the tremendous effort required to ship it overland through places like Albania or Turkey.  The Bangladesh press is much harder on the ‘legitimate’ importer than is the Guardian (see also here and here).

Gorilla theater

The play “My Name Is Rachel Corrie”, effectively censored in New York by the pusillanimous actions of  James Nicola and the New York Theater Workshop, is receiving one reading in Toronto, to be held at a secret time and place!  Has it come to the point where the Israel Lobby is so all-powerful where even the slightest implied criticism of Zionism has to be held in secret?  Will discussions of Israel have to be held like the planning sessions of Solidarity in Poland?  Will copies of the play be passed around like Samizdat material in the Soviet Union?  Will anti-Zionists have to recognize each other by secret handshakes?  I have three suggestions:

  1. There should be a boycott of the New York Theater Workshop until it gets around to staging the play.
  2. Since it falls into the category of forbidden literature, it would make the perfect subject for a ‘happening’ or ‘guerilla theater’, where suddenly in a crowded public place a production breaks out.
  3. The attack on the play is an attack on the theater, and it only requires one young woman to play the part.  As a form of protest for freedom of the theater, very brave directors should plant it into other ‘legitimate’ plays.

The main enemy of Zionism is truth.

 

Friday, April 21, 2006

The hypocrisy over Hamas

The former leader of the Mossad, Efraim Halevy, discloses in a new book that the King of Jordan in 1997 conveyed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an an offer from the Hamas leadership to reach an understanding on a thirty-year cease-fire.  The offer reached Netanyahu a few days after the Israeli assassination attempt on Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, an early example of the Israeli policy of ‘targeted assassination’, and an attempt which, needless to say, voided the offer.  It is worthwhile to consider facts like this in the current political atmosphere when all we hear is talk of how illegitimate Hamas is for failing, in essence, to give up the right of the Palestinians to defend themselves against an illegal occupation, a right enshrined in international law.

What caused the cartoon riots?

Joseph Cannon repeats the right-wing lie that the violence which resulted from the Danish cartoon controversy was intentionally caused by the actions of a Danish Imam named Ahmed Abu-Laban (for similar arguments, see here and here and here and here).  Cannon refers to wing-bat Canadian columnist David Warren, without question the worst regular newspaper columnist in North America, and a man who, from his writing alone, appears to be completely insane (his columns are so bad that they are regularly made fun of by Canadian satirical magazine Frank by simply copying excerpts from them!).   This lie was concocted to try to hide the guilt of the real perpetrators of the problem, the European newspaper publishers and editors.

It is very easy to disprove the lie.  Ahmed Abu-Laban and other Danish Muslim leaders traveled to the Middle East in December in order to bring the issue to the attention of religious scholars and diplomats in Cairo (see here and, for the intention of the visit, here and here).  The only reason they did so was that similar approaches to Danish officials had got the Muslim community in Denmark absolutely nowhere.  The hope was that Egyptian officials could make some progress with their Danish counterparts.  Again, no progress was made.  At this point the controversy was still relatively restrained, with no riots or violence.

The problems only occurred after mid-January, and only after the offending cartoons were reprinted across Europe, in phony solidarity with the ‘beleaguered’ Danish and Norwegian press (who of course were in no way ‘beleaguered’).  In other words, the timeline conclusively disproves the thesis that Ahmed Abu-Laban caused the problem (the issue has been muddied by the fact that other cartoons and anti-Muslim material was included in the package circulated by the Danish Muslims, a fact which the right-wingers use to claim that the package of materials was misleading).  The information may have led to various governments allowing the riots to occur, but the riots themselves were clearly caused by an escalation of the provocation in Europe, a situation which was part of a conspiracy to continue to raise the issue until a violent response was obtained, thus proving how ‘crazy’ Muslims are, and how they are not fit to live in civilized Europe.  The right-wing thesis is intended to hide the fact that the controversy was intentionally created by anti-immigration and Islamophobic forces in Europe.  The idea that the violence was caused by Ahmed Abu-Laban is in another attempt to blame the victim.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bio-war test in Iowa?

Biological warfare testing? (see also here):

“U.S. government health officials said Wednesday that an outbreak of mumps has hit states in the U.S. Midwest and shows no signs of ending. More than 1,100 cases of the contagious disease have occurred during the past four months.”

and (my emphasis in red):

“Dr. Gerberding said the U.S. outbreak may be connected to an outbreak of more than 100,000 cases in the United Kingdom during the past two years. ‘We do know that the genotype, at least in the early cases of this outbreak, was the same genotype of virus that was associated with the United Kingdom outbreak. But that doesn't necessarily mean there was a direct link to introduction. (It is) certainly possible, but we don't have any proof of that at this point in time,’ she said.”

The good folks in Iowa are blaming it on that new-fangled Blue State invention called ‘air-o-planes’.

‘A2’ writes Cryptome about the mysterious strain (my emphasis in red)::

“I was looking up the mumps genome this weekend. Mumps is pretty well-characterized.  The seven genes that completely make up its genome have been sequences since 2001. The strains compared to date have been nearly identical. So this new entry as of this 23rd February is (to me) startling:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=gene&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=full_report&list_uids=2828643

Here are all the mumps gene entries:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?id=11161

Mumps is highly contagious, but not too dangerous, and might be the perfect biowarfare test agent.  Did some UK biolab come up with a new strain which is being spread around the UK and, now, the American Midwest?  Iowa seems to be ground zero (see also here):

“The state of Iowa has established the Iowa Laboratory Alert Network (ILRN), as part of a national bioterrorism preparedness and response network of public health and clinical laboratories for the purpose of disease surveillance and emergency response to possible acts of bioterrorism. If one of the participating state laboratories suspects it has discovered a biological agent, they are advised to contact the UI Hygienic Laboratory, which serves as a reference laboratory for the state.”

The University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory was set up over one hundred years ago to study communicable diseases, and also now has expertise in bioterrorism.  It is actively engaged in studying the mumps case.

Sabotaging the AIPAC case

Undernews raises the interesting point that the recent attempt by the FBI to pre-censor Jack Anderson’s files on the ridiculous excuse that there may be something in those files related to the AIPAC case may well be another attempt by Zionists in the Bush Administration to sabotage the prosecution of the AIPAC case.  This sounds like a bit of a stretch, until you consider that the prosecutors, with the connivance of the judge and the – ahem – New York Times, appears to have set up the prosecution to allow the AIPAC defendants to characterize the matter as a free speech issue (the original Undernews link is here, but doesn’t seem to work; see also here and here).  The AIPACers weren’t journalists, and allegedly passed on classified information which they knew to be classified regarding an enemy of the United States, information which could have resulted in the loss of lives of American government employees, to an Israeli intelligence agent.  If that is protected free speech, the only case in which the United States could prosecute an espionage case is where the spy had signed some kind of loyalty oath (that would probably catch such cases as Ames and Pollard, but their lawyers might want to revisit the issue).  Every other case of espionage would be protected free speech.  The United States would be the only country in the world unable to do anything about most cases of spying.

I’m looking forward to this.  Can you imagine what the high-tech people will say when they realize that the spies working for China mailing the plans of American military technology to their handlers in Beijing will now be able to claim they were simply exercising their First Amendment rights?  The American public seems to be having trouble grasping the significance of the AIPAC case – the fact that Israel is not an ally of the United States, and can more accurately be described as a parasite – but the fact that the AIPAC case led directly to the United States losing the ability to protect itself against espionage may start to wake them up.  Do you think that the American government giving up the ability to stop spying in order to protect the most obvious organ of the Israel Lobby might prove something about the validity of the Lobby thesis?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Connecting the dots

I’ve written a lot about Ali Mohamed and his extraordinary plea agreement, which seems to have resulted in his not receiving any sentence at all.  We have to assume has been quietly released, despite his admissions to involvement with terrorist activities for al Qaeda against the United States embassies in Africa.  Reading between the lines (and trying to guess what is on the redacted page seventeen), it appears that the deal was that his eventual sentence would depend on the value of his testimony against others, but he was never asked to testify (presumably because the government didn’t want what he had to say to become public).  The entire plea agreement appears to have been a charade to make it look like the government was doing something against terrorism while actually it was just engaging in a cover-up.  Ali Mohamed is a key piece of evidence of American government connections to what purports to be terrorism against the United States, and thus has to be considered as a model for Mohamed Atta.  In considering Ali Mohamed, I failed to connect one big dot.  The Assistant United States Attorney who presented the government’s case concerning the plea bargain?  Patrick Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Almost simultaneously

Almost simultaneously, Bush refuses to rule out a nuclear strike on Iran and expresses concern over high gasoline prices (see also here).  Even the headline writer at Marketwatch had to put the word concern in scare quotes. 

Dumb suicide bombers

Another suicide bomber in Israel goes out of his way to set off a bomb in a place where he is very unlikely to kill any Jews.  In this case, the victims are migrant workers;  in most other cases, they are Israeli Arabs.  Those suicide bombers sure are dumb.

Wurmser knew

Robert Dreyfuss writes about the power of the Office of the Vice President, and in particular here on David Wurmser, the Likudnik neocon who has largely gotten a free pass in discussions of who to blame for Iraq (my emphasis in red):

“Like Hannah, who came to the OVP from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Wurmser traipsed a roundabout path to Cheney’s staff: He worked with Hannah at WINEP in the 1990s, and then went to AEI, where he directed Middle East affairs, to the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans, to John Bolton’s arms control shop at the State Department, and then to the OVP. Even among ardent supporters of Israel, Wurmser - and his wife, Meyrav, who runs the Hudson Institute’s Middle East program - is considered an extremist. In 1996, the Wurmsers, Perle, and Feith co-authored the famous ‘Clean Break’ paper for then-Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, which called for radical measures to redraw the map of the entire Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine) to benefit Israel. Later, in a series of papers and a book, Wurmser argued that toppling Saddam was likely to lead directly to civil war and the breakup of Iraq, but he supported the policy anyway: ‘The residual unity of [Iraq] is an illusion projected by the extreme repression of the state.’ After Saddam, Iraq will ‘be ripped apart by the politics of warlords, tribes, clans, sects, and key families,’ he wrote. ‘Underneath facades of unity enforced by state repression, [Iraq’s] politics is defined primarily by tribalism, sectarianism, and gang/clan-like competition.’ Yet Wurmser explicitly urged the United States and Israel to ‘expedite’ such a collapse. ‘The issue here is whether the West and Israel can construct a strategy for limiting and expediting the chaotic collapse that will ensue in order to move on to the task of creating a better circumstance.’ Later, with former cia director James Woolsey and others, Wurmser proposed restoring the Jordan-based Hashemite monarchy in Iraq. While Wurmser’s OVP allies may share his neoconservative fantasies of the willy-nilly reorganization of the Middle East, few experts do. ‘I’ve known him for years, and I consider him to be a naive simpleton,’ says a former U.S. ambassador. Adds Wilkerson, ‘A lot of these guys, including Wurmser, I looked at as card-carrying members of the Likud party, as I did with Feith. You wouldn’t open their wallet and find a card, but I often wondered if their primary allegiance was to their own country or to Israel. That was the thing that troubled me, because there was so much that they said and did that looked like it was more reflective of Israel’s interest than our own.’

We’re supposed to believe that what has happened to Iraq is a complete surprise to the Bush Administration.  Yet Wurmser, Cheney’s chief advisor on the Middle East, knew about the all the problems, described them in detail, and said they didn’t matter as getting rid of Saddam was so important for Israel.

Demographics and democracy

Ilan Pappe on the Israeli ‘democracy’:

“On 31 July 2003, the Knesset passed a law prohibiting Palestinians from obtaining citizenship, permanent residency or even temporary residency when they marry Israeli citizens. The initiator of the legislation was a liberal Zionist, Avraham Poraz of the centrist party Shinui. He described it as a ‘defence measure’. Only 25 members of the Knesset opposed it and Poraz declared that those already married and with families ‘will have to go to the West Bank’, regardless of how long they had been living in Israel.

The Arab members of the Knesset were among those who appealed to the Supreme Court against this racist law. When the Supreme Court turned down the appeal, their energy petered out. The Arab members come from three parties: the Communist Party (Hadash), the National Party of Azmi Bishara (Balad) and the United Arab List drawn up by the more pragmatic branch of the Islamic movement. The Supreme Court ruling made clear their irrelevance, in the eyes of both the parliamentary and judicial systems. We’re always told that Palestinians should be pleased to live in the only democracy in the region, to have the right to vote, but that vote brings no power.

In the dead of night on 24 January this year, an elite unit of the border police seized the Israeli Palestinian village of Jaljulya. The troops burst into houses, dragging out 36 women and eventually deporting eight of them. The women were ordered to go to their old homes in the West Bank. Some had been married for years to Palestinians in Jaljulya, some were pregnant, many had children, but the soldiers were demonstrating to the Israeli public that when a demographic problem becomes a danger, the state will act swiftly and without hesitation. One Palestinian member of the Knesset protested, but the action was backed by the government, the courts and the media.

The ten members of the new Knesset from Palestinian parties will not be included in any coalition and will probably be sidelined and forgotten, as they were in the previous parliament (there are two other Arab members and two Druze members from Labour and Kadima). Haaretz sent a journalist to live for a few days in the ‘Arab areas’ in order to write - as an anthropological tourist - on the Palestinians’ reaction to the elections. Apart from this piece of reportage, the Israeli media had nothing to say about how the Palestinians voted. After all, they are the problem, not the solution. And if disengagement doesn’t ‘stop’ the growth in their numbers the Jaljulya operation could show the future.”

The Zionist attack on the Israel Lobby thesis started with some quibbles about the Mearsheimer & Walt views of Israeli ‘democracy’, quibbling which has stopped presumably as the Zionists don’t want anybody to enter into a detailed consideration of what Israel actually looks like.

The second bag

In order to believe the Official Story of September 11, you have to believe that a man about to embark on a suicide mission would carry a bag with him containing information on the entire terrorist plot (why?), a bag he had to believe would be destroyed along with him, and a bag which miraculously never made it onto the hijacked plane and conveniently fell into the hands of the FBI, who used the information in it to solve the crime in a suspiciously short time period.  This miracle bag is the second miracle bag; the first miracle bag was Atta’s other bag found at Logan, the one containing his unlikely Muslim will and some bizarre terrorist instructions.  It’s funny we’re just hearing about the Rosetta stone bag now, from a former FBI agent who was retired at the time of 9–11, who heard about it at John O'Neill’s funeral from another now retired FBI agent, who now works in private industry in Dubai.  Is someone in the FBI feeling uneasy about the short time-frame in which the crime was solved?

Possibility and conspiracy

Impossibility is the thing that draws me to conspiracy theory.  Oswald could not possibly have done what he is said to have done, so there must have been a conspiracy.  My problem with controlled demolition theories of the two towers is that it is impossible for the charges to have been planted in hundreds of floors of constantly and heavily occupied buildings without even one person seeing anything.  There would have had to be obvious construction activities on all these floors – walls and insulation removed in multiple places – and thousands of people would have had to see it.  It would have had to have been done shortly before the attack, as no demolition expert would rely on old charges or an old detonation system.  No expert could guarantee success on such a project with a huge amount of unpredictable damage caused by the airplanes hitting the towers (and by the way, I an getting tired of hearing that no steel building has ever been felled by a mere fire;  show me a steel building with a fire that has been hit by a large aircraft which knocked off the insulation specifically put on the building to stop a fire from weakening the steel – why do you think they put insulation on the steel? – and I’ll pay attention).  Since the project of installing the materials required for controlled demolition without any witnesses noticing anything is impossible, I have to reject the thesis.  Peculiar artifacts in videos must have some other explanation, as does the ‘physics’ described by experts from podunk universities.

On the other hand, a missile attack on the Pentagon is quite possible.  A trailer-mounted cruise missile fired from a military base in northern Virginia could have done the damage done to the Pentagon, and in fact would have left just the damage profile seen in the Pentagon (there is no way to explain how Flight 77 could have caused the damage).  The reason Flight 77 detoured to the west for such a long time – a time when you would think the hijacker pilot would have been in a hurry to finish the attack for fear of being intercepted by American fighter jets – was that the Pentagon experts had to be sure the towers had been hit before the Pentagon was attacked (it would have been hard to explain a naked Pentagon attack if the other attacks had failed).  You arrange for a similar plane (or maybe exactly the same plane) to fly low over the Pentagon at exactly the time that the cruise missile hits, so it appears to witnesses that the plane disappeared into the Pentagon (it actually disappeared out of sight over the Pentagon).  You plant a few ringer witnesses who say exactly what you want the Official Story to look like, and you seize and hide all the surveillance videos.  Not only possible, but easy.

 

The oil reason for Iran talk

Oil companies pump oil out of the ground, refine it, and move it.  They pay a pittance to the countries they lift it from (Chavez is on the hot seat, mainly because he is trying to change this), and a relatively small amount on their other costs, which are pretty much fixed.  The supply is always about the same, and the demand is always about the same.  Oil is an addictive substance, and people seem prepared to pay whatever they can be fooled into paying, until they are literally incapable of paying more and the economy collapses.  If oil is $10 a barrel, oil companies lose money;  if it is $60 or $70 a barrel, they make hundreds of billions of dollars a year.  The job of oil company executives is to arrange for people to pay the higher amount, which they do through various kinds of advertising and spin, largely based on raising questions of possible future supply problems.  The actual day-to-day amounts of oil available on the market varies very little, due to the fact that enormous amounts of it are always available in storage, but the executives have to find varied ways to make people think there is an upcoming crisis.  This scam works until they cause a recession.  During the recession they sell much less oil at a much lower price, thus keeping the oil in the ground for when they can sell it at a higher price.

Oil prices were sagging, so we recently heard, out of the blue, that the Kuwaiti oil fields were failing.  There was no evidence for this, but it succeeded in keeping the price up for a while.  Keeping the price per barrel as high as possible is the single most important reason for all the talk about Iran.  All the talk about the United States wanting to control the oil fields of Iraq or Iran is more spin;  the key is to control the oil market.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The United State of Israelamerica

The problem with the Israel Lobby thesis for people like Chomsky is that they cannot conceive of a situation where a predominant country would allow things to be run in a way which doesn’t benefit the interests of its elites.  Chomsky’s rejection of the Lobby thesis in the face of what has to be considered to be overwhelming evidence entails that his whole view of the world is unfalsifiable, and is thus without real content.  It has become clear that Chomsky defines whatever the United States does as being done by and for American elite groups, and thus his thesis is trivial.  No evidence can possibly disprove it.

We should probably start to consider the entity involved as one federal country known as the United State of Israelamerica.  The country consists of two parts, the state known as the United States of America, and the state known as the State of Israel.  As is the case in most federations, each state has its own laws, legal system, electoral system and legislature.  The federal level of government is run by a corporatist elite group which consists of American Christian and Jewish Zionists, and American politicians who front for these groups, who take instruction from the government of Israel, and run the policies of the federation with respect to the Middle East almost entirely in the interests of the State of Israel.  The federation closely resembles the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a federation with two separate parliaments which was run by an Austrian Emperor largely, but not entirely, in the interests of the Austrian part.

The new federation is not old, but came into being around the time of the selection of Bush as American President by the U. S. Supreme Court.  It is currently run by a group which holds Israeli interests as being more important than American interests, but that could, of course, change.  The newness of the federation explains why analysis of the American-Israeli relationship which considers history from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s is almost completely irrelevant.

Besides all the evidence of the power of the Lobby, the most striking evidence of the new country is Bush’s unilateral promise (or here) of the use of American ‘military might’ to protect Israel (see also here and here):

“But now that I'm on Iran, the threat to Iran, of course, the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace; it's a threat, in essence, to a strong alliance. I made it clear, I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel.”

I’ve heard of mutual defense pacts, and of countries threatening military attacks to enforce their ‘sphere of influence’.  This is a new one.  What kind of dominant country makes a unilateral offer of protection involving its full military capabilities?  What kind of dominant country sends its troops to die solely in the interests of protecting another country?  The answer is that Israel is now one part  – the dominant part – of the United State of Israelamerica, and is entitled to protection from its federal partner in exactly the same way that the residents of Maine can expect protection from soldiers from California when the inevitable attack on Maine from Canada occurs.

Groundhog Day

Every day I wake up and hear the same things:

  • Bush is going to fire Rumsfeld
  • Cheney is about to resign
  • Fitzgerald will indict somebody other than Scooter
  • the neocons have lost their power in Washington
  • American troops are going to be withdrawing from Iraq
  • the Republicans will do badly in the upcoming elections
  • the Bush regime is going to be replaced in a military (or herecoup (you know things aren’t going well when Burt Lancaster, rather than Kirk Douglas, is regarded as the hero in ‘Seven Days in May’).

I’ve been hearing some of these things for five years.  What is common to all of them is that Americans are hoping to be saved from some great evil by the actions of somebody over whom they have no control.  In each case, a fairy godmother is going to come down and do what Americans are apparently incapable of doing for themselves.  Even the election hope depends on the crooked voting machines all catching fire on the day of the elections.  Isn’t it time Americans took a cue from the French protesters – and, by the way, why do I keep hearing that France is in a terrible mess and on a rapid decline when it is one of the most productive countries in the world, has the world’s best health-care system, is probably the best overall country in the world for human beings to live in, and has enormously better prospects than a certain big failing country I could name? – or even their own immigration law protesters, and make themselves heard in a way that can’t be ignored?  The fairy godmother isn’t coming, and Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, the Republicans and the neocons are just getting warmed up.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The finessing of Plamegate

This is a pretty good analysis (or here) of how the Bush White House finessed the whole problem it had with the outing of Valerie Plame.  Remember that Bush and Cheney were not under oath when they had their little ‘chat’ with Fitzgerald.  The niceties of what authority Cheney had or didn’t have to declassify documents aren’t going to be enough to build a criminal case, and everybody – except Libby who had to lie to protect the 2004 election – will be off the hook.

I disagree with the author that Libby has been ‘hung out to dry’.  The understanding between Libby and the White House seems to be that Libby can do whatever he can to get off on a technicality.  If he is convicted anyway, Bush will pardon him.  All Libby’s lawyers have to do is manage the timing of the case so that Libby doesn’t actually have to report to a jail before Bush pardons him in December 2008.

Cleanser rather than cleansee

Isn’t it funny how Jews in Russia were upset at the antics of extreme nationalist Russian political parties who advocated the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people from Russia, decided to escape the anti-Semitism by moving to Israel, and then set up an extreme nationalist Israeli political party which advocates the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Israel?  In other words, it wasn’t the concept of ethnic cleansing that bothered them.  They just wanted to be sure that they were the cleanser and not the cleansee.  Due to the faulty Israeli electoral system, this party, Yisrael Beiteinu, will probably end up holding a vastly disproportionate amount of power, with no doubt disastrous consequences.  Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the party, has some striking similarities to Ariel Sharon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Beware of the Fox

I think it is important to point out the many concrete examples which conclusively prove the Israel Lobby thesis.  The thesis is so obvious that this should hardly be necessary, but for the loud whining from the apologists for the Lobby and their Chomskeyite American-Empire-explains-everything fellow travelers.  Here’s something to think about from Ira Glunts, a former IDF volunteer (Glunts’ writing starts with “In an op-ed column . . .” ; it is also reprinted here; it was originally posted here, but for the life of me I can’t get the link to display properly; more Glunts here; my emphasis in red):

“In their recent best-selling book, Boomerang: The Failure of Leadership In the Second Intifada, presently only available in Hebrew, Raviv Drucker and Ofer Shelah, two respected Israeli journalists, described a meeting between the then Secretary of State Colin Powell, who the lobby considered to be the ‘weak link’ in the chain of more Israel-friendly Bush Administration officials, and Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith, who is a prominent member of what in Israel is called the Jewish lobby. The following selection indicates in a dramatic way that Gergen’s view of the influence of the Israel lobby may not be shared by all ex-government officials.

In his [Powell’s] own State Department there was a keen awareness of the strength of the Jewish lobbyists. Secretaries of State did not usually meet with lobbyists, but both Jewish officials and Jews that did not officially represent specific groups from Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League to Ronald Lauder, could meet with Powell on short notice…. At the State Department, Foxman had an aura of omnipotence. He was held responsible for the appointment of Indyk as Undersecretary of State under Clinton, and was thought to have played a role in the appointments of Secretaries of State Christopher and Albright. Powell related to Foxman almost as if he were someone to whom he must capitulate. Once Foxman told one of his deputies that Powell was the weak link. When the Secretary of State heard this he began to worry. He knew that in Washington a confrontation with the Jewish lobby would make his life difficult. Once he arranged a meeting with Foxman, but the busy Foxman postponed the meeting three times. When they eventually met, the head of the Anti-Defamation League apologized to the Secretary of State [for the postponements]. ‘You call, we come,’ replied Powell, paraphrasing a well known advertisement for a freight company. That statement had much more meaning than just a humorous polite reply.

Drucker, Raviv and Shelah, Ofer, Boomerang…, Keter, 2005, pps. 132-133. Translation and text emphasized or enclosed in brackets, mine.”

So Colin Powell, American Secretary of State, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, multi-decorated American general, cowers in fear before Abe Foxman, a guy so powerful he can get away with postponing a meeting with Powell three times?  And you want to try to tell me that the Lobby has no power?  Are you on crack?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

He's dead, Jim

The Washington Post has reported that the role of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the Iraqi insurgency has been played up by the Pentagon for propaganda purposes, both in Iraq and in the United States (see also early precursor article here).  A New York Times reporter named Dexter Filkins wrote a front-page article on a letter supposedly written by al-Zarqawi, although Filkins now says he had doubts of the authenticity of the letter.  Despite this, he just passed on the Pentagon propaganda, without bothering his readers with the details of such uninteresting topics as the authenticity of the letter he was writing about.  He mentioned the authenticity issue only in passing, in the patented Judy-Miller style of burying it in such a way that the reader is led to the conclusion that the Pentagon propaganda is the truth.  Filkins is playing a continuing role in Pentagon propaganda by downplaying the importance of  al-Zarqawi (see also here).  Presumably, the Pentagon is clearing the decks of al-Zarqawi in order to roll out a new series of lies (although not everyone in the Pentagon is going along with the new program).

Al-Zarqawi has been the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Iraqi insurgency, appearing in an enormous variety of roles and places.  You have to give him credit.  The fact that he has been dead since at least 2004 hasn’t slowed him up one bit (nor has the fact that he lost a leg and then grew it back to star in the Nick Berg beheading video).  Here’s some recent Robert Fisk (see also earlier Fisk here):

“Well, I don't know if al-Zarqawi is alive. You know, al-Zarqawi did exist before the American Anglo-American invasion. He was up in the Kurdish area, which was not actually properly controlled by Saddam. But after that he seems to have disappeared. We know there's an identity card that pops up. We know the Americans say we think we've recognised him on a videotape. Who recognises him on a videotape? How many Americans have ever met al-Zarqawi? Al-Zarqawi's mother died more than 12 months ago and he didn't even send commiserations or say ‘I'm sorry to hear that’. His wife of whom he was very possessive is so poor she has to go out and work in the family town of Zarqa. Hence the name Zarqawi. I don't know if al-Zarqawi is alive or exists at the moment. I don't know if he isn't a sort of creature invented in order to fill in the narrative gaps, so to speak. What is going on in Iraq at the moment is extremely mysterious.”

It’s mysterious all right.

The al-Zarqawi myth appears to be another manifestation of the American myth that al-Qaeda is behind the series of terrorist attacks in the ‘long war’ that continues to (barely) sustain the Bush Administration.  If there is to be some sort of phony Shi’ite terrorist attack on the United States, they won’t be able to blame it on Sunni al-Qaeda, so the shift away from al-Zarqawi may eventually have domestic American implications.

 

Israeli advice to Americans on Iraq

The Jerusalem Post helpfully provides some advice to Americans on how they can get out of the Iraq mess by – surprise, surprise –  agreeing to the Yinon solution of breaking the country into three chunks.  Iran gets to look after the Shi’ites (strengthening the covert Israeli ally), Jordan gets to look after the Sunnis (and keep them pacified and out of Israel’s hair, just like it does to its own citizens), and Turkey (!!!) gets to look after the Kurds (the Kurds should be thinking: ‘with friends like Israel, who needs enemies’).  Does anyone still have any doubt that this was the neocon/Israeli plan for Iraq from the beginning?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Is al Qaeda a hoax?

The British are now concluding that there was no al Qaeda connection to the July 7 London bombings. This follows on the findings by the Spanish government that there was no al Qaeda connection to the Madrid bombings, the inability of the German courts to convict anybody in connection with the September 11 attacks (the Germans are rightfully suspicious of the evidence given to them by the CIA, statements of 'Ramzi Binalshibh' and 'Khalid Shaikh Mohammed', two guys who may very well have never been in American custody given the suspicious accounts of their respective captures), and the fact that 'Atta' was in Brooklyn in early 2000 and thus could not have been a part of the infamous al Qaeda 'Hamburg cell'. If you consider that the initial Osama bin Laden statement was an uncategorical denial of any involvement in the plot, the connection between terrorism and al Qaeda starts to look very suspect.

The evidence for the connection come from the FBI, based on the precedents of the African embassy bombings, and the USS Cole attack, together presumably with all the 'chatter' they had ignored before the attacks. The embassy bombings were connected with Ali Mohamed, obviously a double agent for the Pentagon, and there is reason to believe that the Cole attack may have been an Israeli false-flag operation (see also here). The ties between al Qaeda and various terrorist attacks, which have been a sacrosanct part of American mythology, are falling apart.

I have always been loathe to bite the bullet and state that the entire story of al Qaeda and terrorism is a lie. For one thing, it seems to belittle both the anger in the Muslim world and the ability of Muslims to fight back against all the attacks against them. Another factor is the apparent large number of independent inquiries,

Niger forgeries, again

The 'new' story on the Niger forgeries is that they were manufactured by the Niger consul to Italy and the embassy employee known as 'La Signora'. As Josh Marshall points out, the story is hardly new, and appears to be more spinning from the same Italian intelligence sources in SISMI who have been obfuscating this story from the very beginning. He wonders why the Italians have arrested no one for the forgeries if they know who made them, and why the 'new' story contradicts the original chain-of-custody story, where the documents came to the Americans directly from Italian intelligence (see also here).

The reason that the forgeries were discovered so quickly was that the information in them was inconsistent with the diplomatic and political history of Niger. You might think that the Niger consul to Italy would also be familiar with this history! He is quoted as saying:
"If you really want the truth you must look somewhere else. You should deepen your inquiries elsewhere."

So let's look elsewhere.

My best guess is that Michael Ledeen, Ahmad Chalabi and their mutual friends in SISMI had a delicious meal in a Jewish restaurant in Rome, where it was decided that one of Chalabi's associates, a guy who had escaped from Iraq with some old stationery, would whip up some documents to provide support for the Iraq nuclear threat story. He didn't know anything about recent Niger history, but was familiar with the Niger names from Saddam's dealings with Niger in the 1980's, and so used all the wrong names on the forgeries (neither the Niger consul to Italy, nor SISMI itself, would make such an obvious mistake). While they were leaving, Ledeen winked and said that of course the whole conversation was hypothetical, as nobody would ever do such a thing, and everybody laughed. At their next meal, while they were eating the delicious artichokes, Chalabi slipped a brown envelope over to one of the SISMI guys, and in due time SISME passed the forgeries over to the Americans.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Finkelstein and Ben-Ami

Here is a transcript (or here) of the debate between Norman Finkelstein and Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami.  Needless to say, Finkelstein wipes the floor with him, but Ben-Ami accredits himself fairly honorably in that he agrees with most of the facts that Finkelstein presents with such precision (Finkelstein presents the case as well as you will ever see).  Ben-Ami falls down on his biased view of Arafat’s intentions, which seem to be based on the misleading Israeli intelligence reading of Arafat, and at the end, when he starts to sound a little like Dershowitz in his increasingly feeble attempts to come up with something good to say about Israel.  Still, the man comes across as a bastion of integrity compared with every single American Zionist.

Conspiracy theory versus institutional theory

I’m still thinking about Chomsky.  In the meantime, some things to ponder:

  • “The Ontological Status of Conspiracy Theory” by anarchist Hakim Bey (heavy-duty smarts).
  • Conspiracy Theory” by Michael Albert (ZMag is where the high priests of Chomskyism reside).
  • Not all conspiracies are created equal” by John Judge.
  • “The JFK Assassination II: Conspiracy Phobia On The Left” by Michael Parenti (I was too hard on Parenti, who really is a cool thinker, to throw him in with stiffs like Chomsky and Cockburn)
  • JFK Conspiracy: The Intellectual Dishonesty and Cowardice of Alexander Cockburn and Noam Chomsky” by Michael Worsham.
  • My Beef with Chomsky” by Michael Morrissey.

The debate, which originally involved Chomsky’s bizarre inability to accept some of the most obvious facts about the JFK assassination, has been rekindled with some of the same lefty ‘gatekeepers’ attempting to stifle discussion of the September 11 conspiracy.

Cartoons, racism, and immigration

An anonymous commentator refers me to this excellent article on the Danish cartoon controversy by Göran Rosenberg.  Two things come to mind:

  1. There is an interesting relationship between racism and what people are prepared to say out loud.  As recently as thirty years ago, if you were a white visitor to a place like Atlanta, you could still hear the most outrageously racist things said by white people about black people, all based on the assumption that you would be a receptive audience as you were part of the general fraternity of white people.  As things have changed, the circle of people who could be safely spoken to on a general assumption of shared racism has shrunk dramatically.  Racists now have to look over their shoulders, and can no longer make an easy assumption that racist words are going to be acceptable.  When you make a racist statement out loud to someone in your own racial group, you are expressing the fact that you and your audience are in the racially superior group.  Your words have a political significance.  Of course, there are still racists and will always be - Nietzsche thought the only way to get rid of racism is if all the races interbred to create one race! - but the fact that spoken indications of racism are now socially unacceptable does have a real long-term effect on what people think.  Denmark is moving the wrong direction on this.   Publishing hurtful things in a daily newspaper in the context of a country where public quasi-racism is becoming more and more acceptable will only lead to more and more hatred.
  2. There is a great deal of stress involved in immigration, both for the immigrants and for the immigrant-receiving country.  That stress leads to the kind of problems we are seeing in places like Denmark.  Three issues predominate:
    • White and racially homogeneous European countries have no history of receiving immigrants.  Places like Canada and the United States, which seem to accept immigrants easily, had the same kind of problems a hundred years ago, but have managed to get the knack of it with experience.
    • Plutocrats like immigration because it lowers the price of labor.  Americans are now in the middle of a struggle over this, with lower and lower middle-class people experiencing reduction in their standard of living which they associate with uncontrolled immigration.  They should be blaming the plutocrats, but it is easier just to be racist.
    • Denmark is a small place, and part of the attitude relates to something akin to claustrophobia.  The United States and Canada have the illusion of space, although in fact most immigrant groups end up crammed into small enclaves in the same big cities.  Nevertheless, the fact that the space is out their reduces the stress levels caused by perceived over-crowding.

I have sympathy for people who are fearful of immigration, particularly when it seems to be out of control and intended to reduce the standard of living for the average person.  I don’t have any sympathy for politicians and newspaper editors who try to manipulate hatred to further their own agendas.

 

Friday, April 07, 2006

Eyewitness testimony concerning Israeli war crimes

International lawyers are looking for eyewitness testimony concerning the Israeli war crimes of house demolitions, killings, and torture.  It is nice to go after the big wigs, but I think it would also be useful to nail a few of the Caterpillar drivers and child murderers.  As Israel becomes increasingly uninhabitable, people are going to want the option to live elsewhere, and the stark prospect that there is no other place to go without facing a stiff jail sentence may scare some of the IDF thugs into acting like human beings.  There is no more reason to let IDF soldiers off the hook than there is to let Nazi concentration camp guards off the hook.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Chomsky summary

Some commentators have pointed out the excellent article (or here) by Ghali Hassan on Chomsky-gate.  To summarize what I feel about Chomsky:

  • Only in the United States could anyone have a ‘debate’ on the Lobby issue.  The basic Mearsheimer/Walt thesis is absolutely true, and everybody in the world knows it.  You have only to look at members of Congress reacting to the slightest hint that they don’t show sufficient fealty to Israel as if they were teenaged girls reacting to the arrival of the slasher in a slasher movie, or to look at AIPAC stating that it is going to have a particular member removed for not being sufficiently Israel-friendly, doing it, and then boasting about it, or to look at the consistent almost unanimous votes on the most outrageous anti-Palestinian motions imaginable.
  • Chomsky isn’t an idiot, and is fully informed, so he knows the thesis is true.
  • Despite this, Chomsky went out of his way to publish on the matter (he didn’t have to comment on it, and he certainly didn’t have to attack it), thus using his considerable intellectual reputation to provide cover for the Lobby to allow it to continue to do the evil that it does.
  • Fine reading of Chomsky shows that there is a long-standing Zionist exception to his criticism of Empire.

Put this all together, and Chomsky’s actions on this matter are deplorable, and put the lie to his entire life’s work.

Sense on the Danish cartoons

Sensible Canadian response to right-wing attempts to frame the Danish cartoon controversy in ‘clash of civilizations’ terms in order to use it as part of the ongoing Western/Zionist war against Muslims.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Lobby is bad for Israel

Amazing commentary in the Boston Globe (of all places) by Geoffrey Wheatcroft:

“If Mearsheimer and Walt had wanted to show that they were saying the unsayable, then they appear to have made their point-the ferocious response suggests a taboo being broken. And yet the American reaction is puzzling to Europeans: This question is yet another illustration of the great transatlantic rift. On the eastern side of the Atlantic, it has long been recognized that there is an intimate connection between the United States and Israel, in which AIPAC clearly plays a major role. The degree to which this has affected American policy, up to and including the war in Iraq, has been discussed calmly by sane British commentators-though also, to be sure, played up maliciously by bigots.

In America, by contrast, there has been an unmistakable tendency to shy away from this subject. As Michael Kinsley wrote in Slate in the autumn of 2002, both supporters and opponents of the coming war did not want to invoke classic anti-Semitic images of cabals, arcane conspiracies, and malign courtiers whispering into the prince's ear. Such motives are honorable, and yet there is always a danger when something is wilfully ignored. As Kinsley said, the connection between the invasion of Iraq and Israeli interests had become ‘the proverbial elephant in the room. Everybody sees it, no one mentions it’ Until now, at any rate.”

Only in the United States could there be a debate about the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis.  Everywhere else in the world people read the paper, roll their eyes, and say “Duh”.  The Lobby and its malign influence is the most obvious thing in the world.  People who deny it are quite simply lying.

Wheatcroft goes on to make the rather obvious point that, not only is the Lobby bad for the United States, it is also very, very bad for Israel.  The Lobby provides the safety net to allow Israel to defer making the only possible decision it can make,  to allow the Palestinians to have their own viable state with its own borders.  The longer Israel delays making this decision – and the recent election has just delayed it some more – the greater the chance that Israel will find itself in a position which will lead to its eventual complete destruction.

 

 

Saint Noam has a posse

I think I’ve learned that there are two things you just aren’t allowed to criticize on a blog:  controlled demolition theories about the WTC, and Noam Chomsky.  Saint Noam has a posse, and it’s watching his back.  I understand why Noam is so popular with what passes for American progressive thought.  He lays the criticism of the American Empire on thick, but never actually blames Americans for the problems.  It’s always some undefined class or ‘interest’,  guys in silk top hats who hang around Wall Street, guys who Noam can never quite put his finger on.  If he identified anybody who actually did something, Americans might actually have to do something about it.  Noam simultaneously blames dark actors, absolves actual Americans, and lets the left off the hook for actually doing anything.  What could be better than that?

Blankfort proves that Chomsky is a closet Zionist.  Watching a Chomskowitz ‘debate’ about Israel is like watching a Harlem Globetrotters game.  Chomsky will always win, and prove how open-minded Zionists really are by criticizing the details of the ethnic cleansing.  Dershowitz plays the Washington Generals and gracefully loses.  It’s entertainment in aid of controlling debate.  Left unsaid is whether the project of Greater Israel should really be proceeding.  Just like the average American, Israel is off the hook for the atrocities as it is all really the work of the evil, but vaguely defined, American Empire.  It’s a neat trick, but it is a trick.

I’ve always really liked Chomsky, with the proviso that I’ve always been unsettled by his complete refusal to even consider conspiracy theory in the JFK assassination.  His taking a political stand on the Lobby issue opened my eyes to wider problems with his methods.  I’m not misrepresenting him, just reading between the lines a bit.  In case you haven’t noticed, that is what I do.

 

Mehlis scuttlebutt

The Angry Arab News Service has some scuttlebutt on the Mehlis investigation team.

Gorilla in the Room

You should be reading Gorilla in the Room on the Lobby scandal, as it is a blog that specializes on the very subject, started before the subject became cool.

Aluminum tubes, again

Excellent Greg Sargent on Plamegate:  Rove felt that Bush couldn’t get reelected if the American public was aware of the fact that Bush knew that the aluminum tubes rationale for war was a lie, but continued to tell the lie anyway, so Libby and Rove had to lie about the Plame outing scandal to avoid the kind of investigation that would have demonstrated that Bush had in his hands an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate doubting that the tubes had anything to do with a Saddam nuclear program.  Remember that Tenet phoned Hadley to have Bush change his October 2002 speech in Cincinnati, but the same Hadley mysteriously forgot the warning when the aluminum tubes reappeared in the State of the Union address.

 

The Israeli end game

Something I don’t understand about Chomskowitz and its Lobby pals:  what’s the end game?  From a reader response to Undernews:

“The thing a lot of Israel-firsters fail to comprehend is that Israel's making permanent enemies of all its neighbors is not a wise policy in the long term. It might take the Arabs another 50 years to get their act together, but eventually they will beat the Israelis in a war (when the time comes, the US might well be in no position - or mood - to rescue Israel). And when they do, it won't be pretty.”

Does Chomskowitz actually think that after the ethnic cleansing is over the Arab world is just going to say ‘Hey, nice job!’ and forget about it?  Or is the Apocalypse going to arrive and take care of the problem?

Wasting more time in Israel

The only decent thing I’ve read about the Israeli elections is by Omar Barghouti.  Israeli’s all have broken arms from slapping themselves on the backs so many times for rejecting Netanyahu.  All they really did was reject Netanyahu’s Eichmann-esque Final Solution to the Palestinian Problem, something that Israel would never have gotten away with, in favor of Sharon’s slow-motion ethnic cleansing through incrementally making life so intolerable for the Palestinians that they are forced to ‘voluntarily’ leave Greater Israel.  In the future history of ethnic cleansing and genocide, this will be known as the ‘Israeli method’.  It isn’t something to be proud of.  It also won’t work.  Israel would have been better off voting for Likud, as they would have at least seen the folly of their attempted genocide more quickly.

Chomsky turns over his cards

Blankfort on Chomsky:

“He would have us believe that Israel’s occupation and harsh actions against the Palestinians, its invasions and undeclared 40 years war on Lebanon, and its arming of murderous regimes in Central America and Africa during the Cold War, has been done as a client state in the service of US interests. In Chomsky’s world view, that absolves Israel of responsibility and has become standard Chomsky doctrine.”

Continuing my theme that Chomsky’s ill-advised political act in getting into the Lobby debate on the side that protects the Lobby, thus making Chomsky personally and directly responsible for the slo-mo genocide against the Palestinian people (and putting the lie to his entire life’s work:  American beating up on Nicaraguan peasant bad; Israeli beating up on Palestinian peasant not so bad, because it is all the American’s fault), I wonder if this summarizes, in a nutshell, the deep problem with Chomskian anti-Americanism.  Has anything gotten better since Chomsky started telling us about the problems with the American Empire?  No.  Everything has gotten much worse.  Why?  Because Chomsky’s information is directed at vague intangible bad guys that Americans can’t do anything about.  Short of revolution, which ain’t gonna happen, how do you wage war against a ‘class’?  On the other hand, it you are made aware that there are certain identified people – like, ahem, the Lobby – that are causing the problem, you can actually do something about it.

Chomsky’s bizarre blindness about Israel is starting to look like the pattern of his life’s work.  Americans are no more responsible for what happens than are Israelis, as everything is the fault of the American Empire.  He provides reams of carefully-edited facts, but the sum total of what he does amounts to what we could call ‘controlled dissent’.  He seems to be complaining, but he is no real threat to the Empire, as the only road out left by him is Revolution.  Acting on his writings is hopeless, which is why things continue to become worse.  Ironically, this criticism of Chomsky is the main political criticism leveled by the left against conspiracy theory.

Unintended consequences

Palestinian refugees are fleeing (or here) the tumult caused by Israel’s war against Iraq.  Wouldn’t it be funny if they ended up in the West Bank, thus adding to Israel’s demographic problem?

The Chomskowitz strategem

Michael Neumann passes on the Israel Lobby debate, and heads for the meat of American Middle East policy:

“What matters is that the US no longer has any reason to support Israel, and huge reason not to. Just imagine if the US stopped backing Israel and gave even moderate support to the Palestinians. Suddenly Islam and America would be on the same side. The war on terror would become a cakewalk. The credibility of American democracy would skyrocket in the Middle East. And it would all be a hell of a lot cheaper. This seems a tad more important than which Jewish neocon said what to whom.”

As a debating technique, this may make sense.  Americans will spend eternity arguing who did what to whom and why, and the real influence of the Lobby will continue.  In fact guys like Chomsky and Dershowitz – whose views are essentially identical on this matter so I’ll call them ‘Chomskowitz’ – would like nothing better for the real issues to be lost in a pointless debate.  By needlessly stepping into the debate, the Chomsky end – I assume Chomsky is the head and Dershowitz the ass – achieved his goal of focusing everybody on the inessential.

On the other hand, some of us just want the truth of what really happened to come out.

 

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Israel-Iran alliance

The secret Israel-Iran alliance isn’t much written about (it’s a secret, after all).  Here are some quick points to think about:

  • the ‘doctrine of the periphery’, the idea that Israel’s natural allies are non-Arab states not adjacent to Israel, which Susser indicates is dead, is very much alive, applying now both to Turkey and the Kurds (an impossibility in the long run, which both Turkey and the Kurds are going to find out), and applies most of all to the Persians (Cyrus the Great was the liberator of the Jews!)
  • Iran facilitated the immigration of the Jews from Iraq to Israel in 1948-1949
  • continuing dealings between Ledeen and Ghorbanifar, who represents Iranian business interests (the real long-term power base in Iran)
  • Israeli support for Iran in the Iran-Iraq war
  • a little thing we like to call Iran-Contra, although the Contras got very little out of it, should have been called Iran-Israel, as it was primarily a deal for the Israelis to sell arms to Iran.

The relationship is literally thousands of years old, and a few Mullahs aren’t going to slow it down.  The fact that Iran lies completely outside the proposed boundaries of Greater Israel is a bonus.

Chomsky's real agenda?

Jeffrey Blankfort and James Petras each attack Chomsky’s bizarre rejection of the Israel Lobby thesis.  A quote from Blankfort:

“At least, I realized I was not alone in my assessment of Chomsky. His position has been a boon for AIPAC and therefore has benefited Israel’s position in the United States. In fact, as noted earlier, he has never even mentioned the organization by name in any of the books he has written on the Middle East. By steering activists away from confronting the liberal politicians that the lobby holds in thrall and placing the blame for Israel’s actions on the resident of the White House, Chomsky has, without question, been doing ‘damage control’ for AIPAC.”

From Petras:

“Chomsky claims that the Lobby is just another lobby in Washington.  Yet he fails to observe that the lobby has secured the biggest Congressional majorities in favor of allocating three times the annual foreign aid designated to all of Africa, Asia and Latin America to Israel (over 100 billion dollars over the past 40 years).  The Lobby has 150 full time functionaries working for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), accompanied by an army of lobbyists from all the major Jewish organizations (Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, etc.) and the nation-wide, regional and local Jewish federations which hew closely to the line of the "majors" and are active in policy and local opinion on Israel and promote and finance legislative candidates on the basis of their adherence to the Lobby’s party line.  No other lobby combines the wealth, grass roots networks, media access, legislative muscle and single-minded purpose of the pro-Israel lobby.”

and:

“Chomsky fails to analyze the near unanimous congressional majorities which yearly support all the pro-Israel military, economic, immigration privileges and aid promoted by the Lobby.  He fails to examine the list of over 100 successful legislative initiatives publicized yearly by AIPAC even in years of budgetary crisis, disintegrating domestic health services and war induced military losses.”

and:

“Chomsky fails to discuss the role of the Lobby in electing Congress-people, their funding of pro-Israel candidates and the over fifty-million dollars they spend on the Parties, candidates and propaganda campaigns.  The result is a 90% congressional vote on high priority items pushed by the Lobby and affiliated local and regional pro-Israel federations.”

and:

“Nor does he undertake to analyze the cases of candidates defeated by the Lobby, the abject apologies extracted from Congress-people who have dared to question the policies and tactics of the Lobby, and the intimidation effect of its 'exemplary punishments’ on the rest of Congress.  The ‘snowball’ effect of punishment and payoffs is one reason for the unprecedented majorities in favor of all of AIPAC’s initiatives.  Chomsky’s feeble attempts to equate the AIPAC’s pro-Israel initiatives with broader US policy interests is patently absurd to anyone who studies the alignment of policy groups associated with designing, pressuring, backing and co-sponsoring the AIPAC’s measures:  The reach of the Jewish lobby far exceeds its electoral constituency – as the one million dollar slush fund to defeat incumbent Georgia Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinny, demonstrates.  That she was subsequently re-elected on the basis of low keying her criticism of Israel reveals the Lobby’s impact even on consequential Democrats.”

You have to be willfully blind not to see the enormous influence of AIPAC and the Lobby on the U. S. Congress.  It’s not just support for the most ridiculous of  Israel-centric motions, but the unanimous, or near unanimous, support.  The members of Congress have again and again demonstrated something akin to stark terror at even the slightest suggestion of anything less than complete fealty to the interests of Israel.  It’s like watching an elephant in fear from a mouse.

I have been hard on Chomsky on this, but I think he deserves it (a more reasoned view is here).  I could have been harder, in that I blamed his thinking on his Marxist analysis.  I’m not suggesting that he is a Marxist, but just that all the main dissenters against the American Empire (Chomsky, Parenti, Cockburn) came out of the intellectual milieu of American socialism, and derive their principles from class analysis (it’s funny how the first wave of American dissenters from Marxism became neocons, and the second wave became what we now think of as the old guard of the American left). 

The deep problem with Chomsky’s peculiar and uncharacteristic attitude towards the Israel Lobby is that it undermines his life’s work in attacking American colonialism.  One of his main points is that the mainstream media hides the actions of the United States government not so much by lying – although they do that too – but by simply failing to report on the most important crimes committed by the Empire.  Chomsky is clearly doing the exact same thing in protecting the Lobby.  Right-wing critics of Chomsky claim that he just hates America, and uses rhetorical tricks to put down the United States.  Since he doesn’t hesitate to use the same techniques he so roundly criticizes in his efforts to protect the Lobby from criticism, perhaps the right-wing critics are right.  The ultimate conspiracy theory would be that Chomsky’s entire opus of attacks on the United States, which started at about the same time as the main push for Israeli colonialism, is just an attempt to hide the only thing he really cares about, the creation of Greater Israel.  He’s walking on very thin ice.