Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Henry the K. is starting to find it difficult to find a country to travel to where he can feel safe from arrest. It's interesting that the type of laws and ways of looking at butchers are so new that the butchers are only now starting to be concerned. Will the example of people like Pinochet and Henry the K. be enough to change the behaviours of butchers of the future? Are we now seeing a reaction in the Israeli cabinet over the U. N. investigation of Jenin that may have something to do with personal punishment for actions taken by the Israeli government? After all, Peres and Sharon are old and not likely to ever face the music, but there must be some younger cabinet members who foresee never being able to vacation or travel outside Israel again without fear of sudden, unpredictable arrest and permanent detention?
The 'leftist' writers have been attacking Vreeland's story, first David Corn, and now Norman Solomon (and
Vreeland's reply). My first conspiratorial question is to wonder whether Corn and Solomon might not have something better to write about than an obscure story from Canada covered only by some conspiracy nuts. What is so threatening about Vreeland's story that people like Corn and Solomon feel they have to attack it? I agree that Vreeland's famous note is very vague, and contains a list of possible targets. On the other hand, if his information comes from Russian sources, who got it from Iraq, who presumably got it from Iraqi intelligence sources, it might just be that the information would be a little vague. The key of the Vreeland story is his attempts in August, 2001 to bring this warning to the attention of his Canadian jailers, and his making the point of sealing his information in an envelope and handing it to the jailers. What were Corn and Solomon doing in August, 2001? Were they so concerned about an imminent terrorist attack on the U. S. that they would have taken the kind of steps that Vreeland did? Do they think he did this just on the off chance that one of his listed targets would be attacked, and then he would be a hero? Do they think he has ESP? When you add to his actions his prediction that the authorities would find that Marc Bastien had been murdered, and the phone call from his trial which seemed to confirm his connection with the Pentagon when American authorities vehemently denied such a connection, you just have to wonder. His shady background means nothing, as intelligence agencies pick people from this type of background because they are the types who will do the illegal or questionable but adventurous jobs that intelligence agencies need to do, and because if something goes wrong the agency can disclaim the agent and use his shady background to show that he is the sort that would lie about his connection to the government. If there is any untruth in Vreeland's story, my guess is that it would be his claim to be a Naval Intelligence officer, albeit a low-ranking one. He is more likely to be a contract operative with no official connection to the government except for a phone number and perhaps a temporary office. It is also possible that he has embellished his story, particularly if he did indeed refer to 'red mercury', a substance that only exists in spy novels (and the kind of person who does this kind of work is probably a great reader of spy novels). However, nothing can detract from what he did in August, 2001, when a terrorist attack on the United States was the last thing on everybody's mind. The Corn and Solomon attacks also raise the interesting question of why progressive writers hate conspiracy theories so much (you can see the same thing in Chomsky's attitude towards the JFK assassination).

Monday, April 29, 2002

At the dawn of a new millenium, the Israelis have done what hasn't been done for many hundreds of years - they have invented a brand new crime against humanity. All these old crimes like genocide and ethnic cleansing and torture have been around forever. In the information age, we now have the innovation of 'destruction of information with the intent of facilitating ethnic cleansing'. In other recent atrocities, we did not see this, as the victims lived in a pre-computer age. The Palestinians, though living a third-world life, had first-world information technology. The Israelis systematically destroyed the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority, including schools (even destroying school records), hospitals, and government buildings. This was intended to make Palestinian life even more difficult, to lead to the eventual ethnic cleansing of the Occupied Territories. The Israeli innovation was to particularly target information by seizing and/or destroying hard drives and other information storage. Since information technology has become crucial to the operation of a modern state, this is tantamount to destroying the essence of the state itself. In a way, once the records of the existence of the Palestinian people are destroyed, so is the future of the Palestinians. The law professors should get on this and credit the Israelis with a completely novel crime against humanity. It's the kind of issue involving the relationship of society and information technology that you would expect to see in an article in Wired, perhaps with some smiling Israeli computer expert photographed against a big bank of computers, expounding on how he and his colleagues came up with this great innovation. Of course, what we're not used to seeing is this type of brutality applied against a people in possession of sophisticated technology. It is no doubt a harbinger of our future.
The police in Sugar Land have now officially determined that Enron executive Cliff Baxter's death was a suicide. I still find this preposterous.
Israel is playing quite the game with the proposed Jenin investigation, stringing the whole thing out as long as possible to allow Israeli troops to clean up their handiwork as much as possible. Each time the U. N. meets his demands, Sharon comes up with something else. Can anyone now doubt that the Jenin brutality is on an historical scale, matching any of the great massacres of our time? There is a lesson to be learned from this, one that should be applied to Jenin and to every subsequent scene of a crime against humanity. Israeli troops did their barbarism while carefully excluding all journalists. They then excluded rescue and humanitarian assistance to the survivors, both to inflict further brutality and to prevent the rescue workers from seeing and reporting on the scenes of violence before the Israelis managed to clean things up (thus committing a crime against humanity in trying to hide a crime against humanity). Once the investigators arrive, the scene will be largely sanitized, and the Israelis will claim that you cannot trust the testimony of the Palestinian victims (such arguments have already been made). It should be a principle of evidence in human rights law that the party who has blocked a timely investigation of the physical evidence while in possession of the scene of the alleged crime is estopped from questioning the evidence given by the only witnesses to the alleged crime. Israel may not like the testimony of the Palestinians, but it hardly lies in Israel's mouth to question it when Israel itself has prevented proper access to corroborating physical evidence.
It is apparently impossible to revoke a Nobel Peace Prize once it has been awarded, no matter how much of a butcher the recipient turns out to be. Thus, such worthies as Henry 'it is quite possible that mistakes were made' Kissinger and Simon Peres get to keep their prizes and help to make a mockery of the concept of the Nobel Peace Prize. I suggest that at the same annual ceremony at which the Peace Prize is awarded, a Nobel War Prize also be given. A nice medal depicting various barbarities and human rights abuses can be designed, and a speech can be made by some human rights proponent or by a representative of some of the victims of the butcher being honored that year (though with Henry the K. the list of victims is so long it would take a week for them all to give speeches). Medals can be given to the obvious Peace Prize mistakes (Henry the K., Peres), as well as to those butchers who have somehow been missed by the Nobel Committee (Pinochet, Milosevic, etc.). They would of course be welcome to attend to pick up their own medals and give their own speeches, but would be subject to immediate arrest after the ceremony and held until their trials. Given the rather motley crew of recent Nobel Peace Prize winners, I think a Nobel War Prize would make a much more effective point about what we should feel about war and crimes against humanity.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

The Le Pen success in the recent French election run-off is driving France into a sort of frenzy. Le Pen actually got no more votes than he normally does, and the whole controversy seems to be the French leftists agonizing about their apathy over the election and their failure to vote. In fact, the real problem goes much deeper than Le Pen, and affects leftist parties everywhere. There has been a gradual shift in the left away from class issues to 'identity politics' issues. This shift has gone so far that right-wing politicians like Tony Blair can call themselves leftist based on their views on issues which have nothing to do with economics. The issue of immigration is worrying a lot of people in Europe, people who are not necessarily racists. Many Europeans have no experience with mass immigration and are genuinely fearful of the effects of the social changes caused by it. Due to the concentration on 'identity politics' by leftist politicians, these issues cannot even be discussed by the left, as even discussion of immigration levels is considered racist. Right-wing politicians thus are left with the issue to themselves. Ironically, once elected, these right-wing politicians rarely adjust the levels of immigration, as the immigrants reduce the cost of labour for their industrialist supporters. Rather, they concentrate on social programs (reducing them or eliminating them) and taxes (reducing them), catering to their supporters and making things much worse for the vast majority of the population, including the immigrants. It seems to me that the class battles have not been won, and indeed are being lost every day, and it is the height of foolishness for the left to concentrate on 'identity politics' to the exclusion of class politics. In fact, once the class issues are dealt with, most of these other problems will probably take care of themselves.
There's talk about a possible Arab boycott of U. S. goods to protest American support for the Israeli state terror campaign against the Palestinians. This talk is a lot of hot air, intended by the rulers of the various U. S. client states to be a sop to their outraged populations. The Americans couldn't care less about such a boycott. Here's a better idea. Have OPEC announce that it has decided that the American Dollar has had its fair turn, and from now on all OPEC oil can be only purchased using Euros, and OPEC countries will start to move their investments out of the U. S. About 10 seconds after that announcement the Israeli troops will evacuate the Occupied Territories, Israel will start to dismantle all the settlements on the Occupied Territories, and Israel will suddenly magnanimously agree to the creation of a full Palestinian state. The speed with which these things will occur will put the lie to the idea that the United States has no control over Israel. Of course, none of this will ever happen. If the Arab states were serious about helping the Palestinians, however, they could take effective steps to alter U. S. policy without having to forego revenue from oil in an oil boycott.

Friday, April 26, 2002

The Israelis are trying to spin the Jenin massacre, but the truth is nevertheless coming out. I assume the Israeli quibbling about the U. N. investigators is simply a way to buy time to allow for disposal of the bodies of as many of the victims as possible. While not on the same scale, the killings of the civilians by the Israeli troops is of a nature similar to what we have heard and seen from Rwanda and the Balkans - an unspeakable brutality that appears to come out of the Middle Ages. I suppose one could cut the Israelis some slack by realizing that they are currently run by a psychopathic madman, and many if not most of them think he is as crazy as the rest of the world does (except for George Bush, who regards him as a 'man of peace'). The problem is that these individual acts of brutality up to and including slaughter of unarmed innocent civilians (some even disabled, sick or children), and including vandalism and theft of personal property and senseless violence, are being committed by individual Israeli young men. Their combination of hatred and brutality can only come out of a society that is itself psychopathic. The American press will slavishly follow the Israeli spin as always, so the true horrors of Jenin will never be seen by the American public. The Europeans will, however, see the brutality in all its glory. It is incredible that in as short a period as a few weeks Sharon has managed to irrevocably damage the relationship between Europe and Israel.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

It's easy to make a list of lies used by the Israelis and their American apologists, as practically every article written on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict contains at least one of them. Leaving aside the big lies that are based on incorrect and myth-making readings of the Bible and Biblical archeology, and historical lies that the Palestinians do not have ancient connections to the Palestine, we can consider the following:

  1. The Israelis sometimes admit that their myth that the Palestinians voluntarily went into exile in refugee camps in 1947-48 is a lie. They admit that the Palestinians left because they were murdered and brutalized in a campaign of ethnic cleansing (which appears to be the model for the current outrages). The Palestinians were effectively scared into exile, as was the intent of the Zionists. Let's call this lie the "Palestinians-just-up-and-decided-one-day-to-leave-their-homeland-and-take-a-permanent-vacation-in-a-squalid-refugee-camp-in-Jordan" lie, or "Voluntary Emigration" lie (VE) for short.

  2. As I have already written, it is a myth that the Palestinians rejected an extremely generous offer made by Barak at Camp David. Figures of a return of close to 100% of the Occupied Territories are mentioned. This is completely untrue, and the Palestinian 'state' envisaged by the Zionists would have been no more than a series of armed camps surrounded by Israeli settlements, with no control of its own borders, deep incursions by Israeli army access roads, and no access to the best land or water supplies. The Israeli conception of a Palestinian state was a bantustan of Palestinians providing cheap labour for Israeli enterprises. In fact, the 'generous offer' was never formally made to Arafat, and it would have been completely unacceptable to anyone. Let's call this lie the "Generous Offer" lie (GE). The evil of this lie is that it has been used to build the next lie, which is the idea that the Palestinians rejected the generous offer because they will settle for nothing less than the destruction of the State of Israel.

  3. The worst lie of all is the idea that the Palestinians seek the complete destruction of Israel. This isn't completely untrue, as it is clear that the most radical Palestinians do seek the destruction of Israel. Given the current crimes against humanity committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians, it is hardly unusual that many share this view. Most Palestinians, however, like people everywhere, just want to get on with a normal life, and have to realize that the only way this can happen is with a symbiotic relationship between the new Palestinian state and Israel. The new state will need the capital and demand for labour that only Israel can provide. Destroying Israel would only leave everyone destitute. The fact of the matter is that there is no conceivable possibility where the Palestinians could possibly destroy the State of Israel. Israel has one of the largest and best trained armies in the world, and the Palestinians have nothing but a very finite supply of suicide bombers. The Israeli arguments that they can't let the Palestinians have their own state remind me of the argument of the school-yard bully who justifies his beating up the smallest kid in the class by saying that if their positions were reversed, the smallest kid would do the same to him. The fact that some Palestinians have very negative attitudes to Israel is completely irrelevant if they can do nothing about these attitudes, and the constant carping on the subject constitutes another lie (and let us not forget that it was only when Sharon was elected that the most recent round of peace talks at Taba ended, as I assume he feared they were coming dangerouly close to establishing a successful peace). Let's call this the "No Israel" lie (NI).

  4. There are lies that somehow the suicide bombers are real terrorists, but that the systematic brutality of the Israeli state against the Palestinians is somehow just self-defence. The absurdity of this can be seen in the following: 1) it was Sharon who, by taking a provoking walk on the Temple Mount with full knowledge of what would happen as a result, intentionally started the current wave of the intifada and the suicide bombings in order to create the insecurity which led to his election (people say he had a right to walk wherever he wanted, but in his position the walk was like the right to cry 'Fire' in a crowded theatre); 2) whenever Arafat attempted to calm the situation, Sharon would inflame it and provoke more suicide bombings with his targeted assassinations; 3) the Israelis used exactly the same terrorist methods against the British in obtaining their own state; 4) suicide bombings, while terrible, can hardly be compared to attacks by tanks, helicopters and other modern weapons of war; 5) the numbers of dead civilians and children caused by Israeli actions proves that they are not just attacking terrorists; and 6) while the Israelis complain bitterly about the inhumane attacks against civilians, they do exactly the same thing in their general brutal treatment of the Palestinians, including the slow-motion degrading of the Palestinians by the constant expansion of the illegal settlements, and the use of collective punishment, in the Occupied Territories (and we shouldn't forget that the systematic Israeli brutality had been going on for a long time before the current, more dramatic, outrages). Let's call the idea that somehow Israeli state terrorism is morally elevated above suicide bombing the "State Terrorism" lie (ST).

  5. Much is made of the fact that the various Arab countries are all run by dictators, unlike the democratic Israel, and that therefore the opinions of the Arabs and their leaders are not worth listening to. The fact that the countries in the Middle East are all run by dictators is true, but leaves unstated the reason for this. The leadership of each of the Arab countries has been carefully determined by the colonial power - first Britain, now the United States. In each case the ruling elites were chosen from weak minority groups in order to make their power dependant on the colonial power. Much effort has been put into this system, including assassinations and coups. The current power structure in the Arab world is completely due to the interventions of the colonial powers. It is therefore a bit rich for the American commentators to make snide remarks about the absence of democracy and the unsuitability of the ruling elites. Let's call complaints about Arab governments and Arab opinions the "Colonial Legacy" lie (CL).

  6. There are a series of arguments, made mostly by American Protestant and Jewish religious fundamentalists, that revolve around the fact that the State of Israel is the homeland of the Bibical Chosen People, and that the creation of a Greater Israel covering the land now occupied by the Palestinians is somehow necessary for the world to move into the End Times as prophesied in the Bible. I include these stories for completeness, if only because they seem to provide a psychological foundation for much of the American writing on the subject. Let's call these lies or myths the "Greater Israel" lies (GI).

  7. While not strictly speaking lies, we have to face the various ad hominem arguments that are thrown up, which all revolve around the idea that due to past mistreatment of the Jews, no one has the moral right to make any critical comments about Israel. These arguments are being used particularly against Europeans. These are emotional and absurd arguments, and aren't even worth replying to, but have to be recognized for what they are. The meaning of the Holocaust is exactly the opposite of these views - in fact, everyone has the right and obligation to complain about crimes against humanity, and the sufferings of your ancestors give you no licence to cause others to suffer. Let's call these ad hominem arguments, well, "Ad Hominem" arguments (AH). You can recognize them when you see the words 'Holocaust' or 'anti-semitism' included in an argument about why Israel is immune from criticism.

As an exercise I recommend reading articles written on the Palestinian problem, particularly those written by Israelis or Americans, with a red pencil to circle and identify the various lies and arguments (VE/GE/NI/ST/CL/GI/AH) which are used. You will be amazed at how consistently the arguments against the Palestinians are based on untruths and sloppy thinking. It's practically impossible to read any article written by the American press which isn't riddled with these lies.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

I am coming round to the idea that I am a poor excuse for a conspiracy theorist, lacking as I do the full courage of my paranoia, and backing off the abyss of what the evidence truly shows us about the events of September 11. The strong evidence takes the following forms:

  1. Most importantly, what major steps were taken using 9-11 as an excuse, and who really benefitted?

  2. 'Negative evidence', i. e., cases where evidence isn't available where it should clearly be available, including such things as videos of the Pentagon crash; proper lists of the identities of the terrorists, at least somthing which jibes with the flight manifests (the fact that we don't know anything as to who these people were is evidence in and of itself); information on the derivative trading which took place on the basis of foreknowledge of 9-11; and evidence physically taken from the Venice, Florida flight school.

  3. Geographic evidence, including the unusual physical locations of the Israeli spy ring and the odd ambit of the hijackers.

  4. Really odd things that stand out, such as John Ashcroft's decision in July not to take commercial flights, the inexplicable behaviour of Moussaoui and the even more inexplicable decision of the FBI and the Department of Justice not to obtain a warrant against him, the very important $100,000 sent from Pakistan to Atta, the peculiarity of sending extremely talented pilots from halfway round the world to learn to fly in a two-bit flying school in a retirement community in South Florida (and general inconsistencies involving the Florida flight training), the remarkable discrepancies between the Atta born in Egypt and Atta the hijacker, the bizarre behaviour of the supposedly devoutly Islamic hijackers, the obviously faked Islamic materials left in a car at Boston Airport, the plane crash of young Bishop into a Tampa office building, and the Vreeland evidence and other foreknowledge including the Odigo warnings.

  5. Subtle evidence, including the area of the Pentagon that was damaged, discrepancies between the type of people killed on the planes and the type of people killed in the buildings, the meeting bin Laden is alleged to have had in a Dubai hospital and the vagueness in his videos, and the extent and timing of George Bush's knowledge of the terrorism.

  6. Very puzzling things like the anthrax letters, the dead microbiologists, and the death of Daniel Pearl.

As you can see, there's lots of evidence available to those who are prepared to allow the facts to lead them to a proper understanding. I'm coming to the conclusion that the attack was almost inevitable, coming as it did at a time of a perhaps never-to-be-repeated coincidence in the world power structure. I believe I have been deceived in many of the ways everyone was intended to be deceived, but hope shortly to be able to produce a general view of what happened. I find it absolutely amazing that given all the huge loose ends in the evidence there is such resistance to investigating what really happened. It's not like the United States government has never lied before.

Monday, April 22, 2002

The failed removal of Hugo Chavez (background on how Chavez got to be President of Venezuela and on the conflict) has been coming for a long time, and it is interesting to consider the mechanics of how it was attempted. Nothing like this would have been tried by the Venezuelan generals without U. S. sanction and assistance. However, the strategic importance of Venezuelan oil to the United States meant that it was unlikely that the Americans would support any disruption that would lead to a possible interruption in the oil supply, particularly now, with the Middle East supply in question. The brilliant solution was for the generals and the industrialists to pick a fight over the running of the oil industry, thus shutting down the refineries and threatening U. S. oil security. The issue was the Chavez attempt to replace the directors of the state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), in order to promote an OPEC-supporting policy (lower-production, higher-price), rather than the U. S. client-state policy (high production to satisfy U. S. markets) that had been in place. What also stuck in the American craw was the new hydrocarbon law that raised royalty rates to almost 30% from 16.7% and required that PDVSA hold a majority interest in all joint ventures with foreign companies. Once oil production was shut down, the Americans had nothing to lose in supporting a coup, and it was allowed to proceed. The problem was that neither the generals nor the industrialists had the support of the vast majority of the population (it is funny that one of the main propaganda weapons used against Chavez before the coup were 'polls' purporting to show that, despite being elected twice, his popularity had fallen to very low levels, polls which we can now see were pure lying propaganda and have all the earmarks of CIA 'psy-ops'), and, most crucially, not even the support of most of the members of the armed forces (the role of the Venezuelan armed forces in supporting democracy reminds me of the role of the Portugese armed forces in bringing democracy to that country, and they should be proud of themselves). The objections of other Latin American governments also helped to reinstate Chavez (and stand in huge contrast to the reaction of the U. S. State Department, which stated: 'Democracy has now been restored in Venezuela' - a ridiculous statement on its face in the light of the fact that the first thing the stooge selected to replace Chavez did was to annul such things as the constitution, the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General and Comptroller offices, and 48 laws passed in 2001 - and proof, if any were needed, that the U. S. government has no interest in democracy in Latin America). Pro-Chavez forces actually managed to organize a rally of 100,000 people using cellphones! When every thing started to fall apart, the plotters attacked and killed some civilians and attempted to blame Chavez supporters for the attacks (does that ever have a CIA stench about it - the State Department made sure the lie was played up, using their new favorite term 'change of government'), but everyone saw through the lies (despite the fact that all local media misled the Venezuelan people, no doubt another CIA touch), and Chavez, and democracy, are back. Again, we see an almost unbelievable failure of CIA human intelligence. They had no idea of what support a coup would have (all they did was prepare for a coup by meeting to discuss the issue of Venezuela in November 2001, and then met with, and presumably encouraged, the plotters, possibly in part by arranging to give two of them $100,000 each), as they obviously got all their intelligence from the top generals and richest industrialists, who had no clue what was actually going on. Regardless of what they now say, the whole coup has U. S. fingerprints all over it (this must be what they mean by 'democracy-building activities in Venezuela'), and in fact may have had both CIA and State Department elements to it, working at cross purposes. It may also be interesting to see what the American oil company CITGO, owned by PDVSA, played in all this. There is even reason to believe that the U. S. military attache in Caracas was with the plotters in the hours before the coup (and/or possibly US Army Lieutenant Colonel James Rodgers, an aide to the US military attache, was with the plotters in the military command before Chavez was brought there). It also appears that the US Navy provided signals intelligence and communications jamming support to the Venezuelan military to assist them in the coup (and what about that mysterious American plane that Chavez saw while under arrest?). At least two of the plotters even studied at the infamous U. S. Army School of the Americas - I imagine this failure will make their new textbook on how not to run a successful coup. The wildest thing is the probability that the scary Otto Reich, possibly the most evil of the men in the U. S. junta and certainly the most coup-acquainted, was stage-managing the coup by phoning directions into the stooge chosen to lead it. The attempted coup left us with two funny incidents to ponder:

  1. The U. S. newspapers obviously had advance information from the CIA or the State Department on the coup, and wrote up (or, rather, retyped) little hymns of praise for its results in advance, so that the U. S. spin could hit the American press as soon as the coup started. In fact, U. S. press acknowledgement of the success of the coup was part of the plan. The coup's 'success', celebrated in the press, was supposed to make it a fait accompli. As the coup turned out to be a ridiculous failure, the U. S. press is embarrassed as the stupid lapdogs of the CIA, and the United States is, well, just totally embarrassed (are Americans not starting to feel just a little uncomfortable about the consistent incompetence of their current government?). As well as enjoying the spectacle, those with suspicious minds can take some instruction as to how the CIA works with the American press, particularly the 'elite' press, to attempt to effect a 'psy-op' in another country. We can also see the role of the Venezuelan media in assisting the plotters, and the long-ongoing background of lies about Chavez in the American press which were created to form the basis for the coup.

  2. Condoleezza Rice, a woman appropriately named after an oil tanker (or was it the other way around?), couldn't help but offer her gratuitous advice to Chavez after he was reinstated. She hoped: "that Hugo Chávez takes the message that his people sent him, that his own policies are not working for the Venezuelan people, that he's dealing with them in a highhanded fashion." Excuse me?! Chavez is a guy who was elected in two successive elections, almost was killed in a CIA-sponsored coup which was only defeated by the valour of the Venezuelan people (who, unlike another people I don't need to mention, care enough about democracy to complain when sombody tries to take it away from them), and the first thing he does is offer a gracious and non-vengeful speech. The mouthpiece of the completely unelected U. S. junta then has the audacity to offer him advice to take the message his own people sent him?! It was his own people who just saved him from a U. S.-run coup attempt! I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

In the good old days, Chavez would have been simply assassinated (think of Allende). However, the United States no longer wants to be seen as staging a coup, but wants to see a 'change of government'. This required forcing Chavez to sign a resignation (which he never did, but which was duly reported by the State Department and in the American press - yet more evidence of the complicity of the U. S. press in the coup) and go through the niceties of Venezuelan constitutional law to uphold the illusion that the whole thing was perfectly legal and responsible. I wonder how the upcoming 'change in government' in Iraq has been planned.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Supporters of Israel are desperately trying to spin the Jenin massacre, even going so far as to claim that all the deaths were caused by suicide bombers! All this proves is that they realize that world opinion has completely turned against them, and American opinion will follow as soon as the truth comes out (on top of the slaughter itself, just think of how bad it looks that the Israelis intentionally hindered and prevented relief efforts, thus gratuitously causing even more deaths and suffering). I doubt that even the American media will be able to hide the enormity of the carnage and barbarity. One of the interesting results of Jenin and other recent Israeli outrages is that there has been a not-so-subtle shift in arguments put forth in the American press. The argument used to be that the Palestinians were completely in the wrong because they were using suicide bombers to murder innocent Israeli civilians, and the attacks were completely unprovoked and based solely on the hatred the Palestinians had for the Jews and their desire to destroy Israel. Now that it has become impossible to hide the extent of the Israeli brutality against the Palestinians, the new argument is that since both sides are brutalizing each other, the proper role for the U. S. is to take no role at all and let the two sides fight it out themselves (thus Powell slinks off into the night). This of course ignores the fact that the Israelis get to fight using billions of dollars worth of weapons given to them by the U. S. (and, I might add, mostly on condition that they be used only for defensive purposes), and the Palestinians get to fight by blowing up their own bodies. It's going to take a bit more time, but the Israelis and their American friends are backing themselves into a public relations nightmare.

Friday, April 19, 2002

I would like to construct the framework of an argument that the Palestinian suicide bombings are moral acts. This is a tough row to hoe, as it is obvious that the intentional killing of innocent civilians is prima facie indefensible. Consider the following:

  1. The Israeli attacks on the Palestinians, and the general program of gradually building settlements in the Occupied Territories, are obviously part of a long-term plan to eliminate the Palestinians from Israel and the Occupied Territories by using 'state-terrorism'. By gradually brutalizing the people, and gradually squeezing out the occupants of the Occupied Territories by occupying the best land and the best sources of water, the Israelis are attempting to force the Palestinians to leave. After the Occupied Territories are Palestinian-rein, they will move on to making things so difficult for Arabs living in Israel itself that they will eventually also have to leave (if they stay, their numbers will pose great demographic problems for the Jewish Israelis). The upshot of all this is that the Israelis are accomplishing what used to be accomplished by a war, all without causing a lot of obvious crimes against humanity (Jenin notwithstanding). The Palestinians will inevitable be killed or forced into refugee camps in some other country (and if they end up in Jordan, will probably be forced out again as the inexorable creep of Greater Israel continues).

  2. Some deplore the fact that the Palestinians have failed to use the type of non-violent resistance of Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Unfortunately, this type of program requires three things which are all missing here: 1) press coverage of the non-violent program and the violent brutality of the colonial power, which doesn't exist here as the press in the colonial power, the United States, absolutely refuses to cover the suffering of the Palestinians (the American lack of coverage is almost akin to military censorship); 2) liberal ideas in the elites of the colonial power, which were present in Britain in the case of India/Gandhi, and in the United States in the 1960s in the case of MLK versus the remnants of the Confederacy, but are decidedly not present in current-day America; and 3) democracy in the colonial power, which was present in Britain and in 1960s America, but is not present today with an unelected President and a Congress which votes as a block for any Israeli plans. The other obvious problem is that even non-violent resistance will be met by a terrible response, and the response will be hidden by lack of press coverage.

  3. Two possible defences to crimes like suicide bombing would be provocation and self-defence. Provocation is not available, as the suicide bombings are obviously planned well in advance, and are not immediately set off as a response to Israeli actions. That leaves self-defence (in this case, self-defence of a people, rather than an individual). The Palestinians have no weapons except for hand guns, and are facing one of the largest and best equipped (thanks to the colonial power) armies in the world. They are the victims of a slow-motion war which has been planned to wipe them out without drawing the attention that a real war would draw, and unless they fight back, they are doomed. They have accidentally discovered a way to fight back, by using suicide bombers. This is extremely ineffective as a military weapon, but has had remarkably bad effects on the Israeli psyche and ecomomy. If the Israelis can fight their slow-motion covert war against them by brutalizing civilians and forcing them off of their land, are the Palestinians to be deprived of the only self-defence they have available?

  4. If you are almost certainly doomed anyway, as I think the Palestinians are, are you allowed to kill innocent civilians in a final attempt to survive? I think if you are faced with a self-defence situation, where you are unsure of the outcome, and you are the potential victim, you are not responsible for making the calculation of your chances of survival. You can do what you must to survive, and worry about your success later.

I admit that there is a tremendous onus on anyone who suggests that it could be morally acceptable to murder innocent civilians for political ends. It goes against everything I believe in. I thus propose a framework for the possible future creation of such an argument, without knowing whether such a position is tenable. I suggest that the Palestinian use of suicide bombings might be justifiable on moral grounds only in a case where: 1) they are being destroyed in the equivalent of a war where the destruction is not apparent as in a normal war because of the new slow-motion and carefully planned methods of the Israelis; 2) non-violent resistence is completely unavailable as the colonial power, in this case the United States, is intentionally manipulating press coverage of Palestinian suffering in order to hide it from the American people, the colonial power is indifferent to human rights because of its anti-liberal politics, and the colonial power is not democratically run; 3) no other form of armed defence is possible because an almost unarmed group has to fight against one of the greatest armies in the world; and 4) the suicide bombing is done as self-defence and is the only form of self-defence available to the Palestinians.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

In thinking about the Middle East today, I finally realized that the Palestinians are doomed. Sharon is going to get exactly what he wants (the final proof is the sickening charade of the Powell visit). The Palestinians will be slowly, and sometimes not so slowly, brutalized or killed, and the survivors will be inexorably forced into some sort of exile. The lucky ones will end up as refugee claimants in some decent country; the unlucky ones will end up in refugee camps in whatever is left of Jordan. Day by day the number of settlers in the Occupied Territories will increase, as will the percentage of territory occupied by the settlers. There will never be a Palestinian state. The Israelis have full control of the American media, and the current U. S. junta couldn't care less about the Palestinians (if the Americans ever have another Presidential election things might change, but by then it will be too late). The Europeans complain and whine, but don't want to lose the money that would be involved in any action that would have an effect on Israel (an absolute trading and banking ban by European countries against any Israeli citizen or corporation would probably help, but would reduce the profitability of European companies, and therefore will never happen). The other Arab countries are all client states of the United States, and do pretty much what they're told - the various corrupt rulers couldn't care less about the Palestinians but just pay lip service to the Palestinian cause to appease their own citizens. Absolutely no one will lift a finger to help the Palestinians, and Sharon is bound and determined to wipe them out. They are utterly doomed, but don't quite realize it yet. What the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians is so horrible that they have put the Palestinians in a position where things could not possibly be worse. Once they realize what is going to happen to them, the Palestinians will become immune to threats of retaliation, for there is no worse to be done. They are incapable of being threatened. What if they were to somehow obtain a nuclear bomb and set it off in Tel Aviv? The Israelis would surely retaliate, probably with their own nuclear bombs (killing many of their own people in the process). So what? The Palestinians can expect no better from the Israelis or the world now. Why not die in one blast rather than be picked off one by one? Creating a people with no fear of the future is the stupidest thing you can do, but Israel and its 'friends' have done it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I have three more thoughts about the Vreeland interview:

  1. Vreeland states: "Another government agency has to go investigate activities connected to weapons smuggling, organized crime and drug trafficking. They use their power to break laws, and we're not allowed to investigate them. Thus certain parts of the U.S. government designed an entity called UID (Unofficial Intelligence Investigation Division). It was designed by Adm. Jeremy Michael Boorda, who allegedly committed suicide." Is there any truth to this? Does it connect to the 'suicide' of Boorda, which many feel is suspicious?

  2. Vreeland states: "The name of the defense system is SSST [Stealth Satellite System Terminator]. There are five different individual and unique defensive and strike capabilities of the system. The only portion that I have publicly spoken on is one frame regarding actual current orbiting satellites, which are not at this time owned by the US government. On advice of counsel I cannot discuss the other components. This one component is a satellite system. Within the confines of the system there are multiple, deployable space/orbital EMP [Electromagnetic Pulse] missiles that are not aimed at the ground. They are targeted at everyone else's satellites. These would kill worldwide communications. The satellites of some countries that are shielded with titanium are protected from these weapons. The protected countries are Russia and China, but U.S. satellites are vulnerable and Putin has told Bush that the U.S. missile defense system doesn't work, and that Bush knows it." Is what Vreeland states about the vulnerability of American satellites true? If it is true, how does that impact on the current American plans for a 'star wars' missile defence system? Does Bush know that it is a waste of money, intended only to line the pockets of some military contractors? I note that one obvious effect of Bush's apparent plans to build such a system is a great increase in other countries in doing their own research. Obviously the United States, a country trying to build a world-wide empire based on its ability to communicate and fight wars using information obtained from satellites, would be more affected than any other country if its satellites were damaged.

  3. Vreeland apparently knew that Marc Bastien was murdered before the RCMP did. Bastien died after drinking a mixture of alcohol and clopazine, an anti-depressant used to treat schizophrenia. I note that the Russians have recently accused the Americans of using drugged cookies and drinks to break the will of a Russian defense employee and recruit him as an agent. Whatever they gave him is supposed to have left him feeling weakness and a light trance. Might Bastien's death been some sort of accident caused by someone trying to 'loosen his tongue' but getting the dose wrong?

In thinking more about the moral uniqueness of the Israeli outrages against the Palestinians, I am struck by the fact that the Israelis seem to feel that whatever harm they do to the Palestinians is morally unimportant, for it is done to achieve God's Will. They don't hate the Palestinians as they don't hold them in sufficient regard to hate them. The Palestinians are simply in the way. What is un-modern and anti-humanist about this is the idea that there could be religious or eschatological goals which render the concerns of human beings completely unimportant. It is these religious goals which must be paramount, for no one, not even the Israelis, could seriously believe that the Palestinians represent any real threat to Israel (despite a constant barrage of Israeli propaganda about how the Palestinians want to drive them into the sea, the Israelis have one of the largest and perhaps the best armies in the world, and the Palestinians have nothing to fight with except their very deaths). The pride taken by the Israelis in killing or brutalizing the Palestinians has to be the pride taken by those who see their efforts as leading to a goal which transcends this mortal coil (for the purposes of world popular opinion the Israelis are making some efforts to hide the results of the massacre in Jenin, but don't even seem to care how much is being discovered, including the obvious joy taken by Israeli soldiers in brutalizing the Palestinians). Of course, the whole thrust of modern liberal humanism going back to Kant and developed in the light of the Holocaust by many thinkers, including many Jewish thinkers, is to deny that there could be any goals which would justify such treatment of fellow human beings. It is sad to see Israelis making the argument that the rest of the world lacks the moral authority to judge what the Jews do based on the fact of the Holocaust, when the message we should get from the Holocaust is that everyone has a right to, and a moral obligation to, complain about and try to stop any crime against humanity (we're still not very good at this, given the recent outrages in Rwanda and the Balkans, which could have been prevented if we really cared). It is no longer enough simply to refuse to follow evil orders - we all have an active obligation to do whatever we can to ensure that evil orders aren't followed by anyone.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Poor old Henry Kissinger is starting to feel a little heat over his lifetime of doing evil. There are now many web sites suggesting what types of justice he should face, and of course Hitchens' famous book and articles on Kissinger's crimes, and the reaction they produced in the old reprobate himself. There's getting to be so much stuff you can hardly keep track of it all. Things are getting particularly dicey in Chile, where folks are still understandably miffed about the whole Pinochet thing, and Kissinger's role in destabilizing the country. They even want to take back his Nobel Peace Prize (perhaps they can pick up Peres' at the same time). It seems to me, as a practical matter, that Kissinger will be protected tooth and nail by the U. S. authorities (for, after all, his crimes are also the crimes of the United States), and it will be very unlikely that we will ever see him in an appropriate court. However, it should be possible to make it legally unsafe for him to travel out of the United States, and it should be possible to go a long way to make decent people embarrassed to be in his presence.

Monday, April 15, 2002

Mike Vreeland is out on bail from his extradiction hearing, and they've apparently slowed up in trying to extradict him. He has also claimed refugee status in Canada (meaningless, as anyone can claim refugee status - he'll have a tough time proving his claim before a refugee board as the United States isn't usually considered to be a refugee-producing country). These are good tactical positions to be in, as he has bought himself quite a bit of time in Canada. If his story is true, the fact they haven't killed him is presumably due to his notoriety. He has also been giving interviews and writing letters to his doubters. He says three very interesting things in his Ruppert interview:

  1. When asked "What part of the U.S. government did you work for? Was it the CIA?", he replied: "I worked for U.S. Naval intelligence. What the CIA directs us to do is their business, so we have no way of knowing whether we're working for them or not." That fine distinction is very well put.

  2. He says that his information came from a ". . . document [that] was written in English by a U.S. agent, who had picked up a copy of a document that had been sent to V. Putin by K. Hussein, Saddam Hussein's son." That means that Iraq had prior knowledge, and had notified the Russians! (Might the Americans have information on Iraqi involvement in 9-11 that they can't divulge because it would also prove American foreknowledge of 9-11?)

  3. He indicates that the U. S. had 'without question' penetrated the terrorist cells.

His credibility is damaged by his talking of 'red mercury' as that is a term that only appears in spy novels and tracts written for U. S. hillbillies who fear suitcase nukes made from red mercury sold by those dirty commie Russians. In spite of the unnecessary and credibility-damaging enhancements, his basic story still makes some sense. He managed to predict the 9-11 tragedy and made his concerns obvious enough prior to September 11. He knew before anyone else that Marc Bastien had been murdered. The dramatic courtroom call to the Pentagon proves he has some connection to the Pentagon, despite their denials. Given what we know of various government warnings to the United States, not to mention that a large Israeli spy ring was concentrating on the people who would turn out to be the hijackers (the odd specific Odigo warnings made on the morning of September 11 seem to indicate a lot of Israeli foreknowledge), we can be fairly certain that at least some parts of the U. S. government had specific knowledge that the September 11 attacks were about to occur. Were internal U. S. government warnings lost in the sheer amount of information that was available to them, or were the warnings not believed by those in control? Or was a decision made to use the September 11 terrorism for the ends of the U. S. junta, who then stood down the normal air defence and staged the Pentagon attack?

Sunday, April 14, 2002

In a surprisingly sensible interview on the current Israeli actions, Zbigniew Brzezinski states: "We can't ignore the fact that no country in the world endorses what we are doing or endorses what the Israelis are doing. That means that in some fashion either the whole world is seized with some total misunderstanding of the situation or that the course that is being pursued by Sharon with tacit American accommodation is not productive or conducive to peace." I have wondered when some American would notice that everyone else in the world vehemently disagrees with the actions of Israel.
Apparently the people of Venezuela have the courage to protest when their democracy is taken away from them. The irony is that if Americans had had only a small amount of that courage in December 2000 when their democracy was taken away from them, the Venezuelans might not have lost their democracy. The U. S. junta leads to the Venezuelan junta.
The bias in the headlines in the newspaper accounts of the Middle East conflict is becoming almost silly. Consistently we see headines referring to 'Six Israelis Killed . . . ' or 'Four Israeli Soldiers Killed', only to read the article and see at the bottom reference to hundreds of Palestinians killed. We hear about the brutality of the suicide bombers, and read in the articles, almost as an aside, that Palestinians are buried alive when Israeli bulldozers knock down the walls of their houses, and unarmed people are shot by Israeli soldiers (but at least some reference is made to these things, unlike U. S. television coverage, which seems to take the view that the only news from the Middle East concerns suicide bombers, who do their bombing for absolutely no reason other than anti-semitism, and hate Jews so much that they would kill themselves for the possibility of killing a few). The whole thing would be simple racism if it were not for the fact that Israelis and Palestinians are the same race! When Sharon decides to drop a nuclear bomb on, say Gaza City, I fully expect to see the following headline: 'Israeli pilot bruises thumb while pushing big red button on nuclear bomber.'

Saturday, April 13, 2002

They have finally released the Cliff Baxter 'suicide note' and it is mighty suspicious:

  1. It is written in block letters. Does someone write a suicide note to his wife in block letters? Or does an assassin use block letters as he doesn't know how to fake the handwriting (presumably the assassins found some of his letterhead in his vehicle)? Unbelievably, even the signature is in block letters!

  2. It was left in Baxter's wife's car. Would Baxter have left a suicide note addressed to his wife in a car? Or would a hired killer leave it there as it was too dangerous to break into the house in the morning?

  3. Although the contents of the note are very emotional, the block letters are written as if by the hand of a stone-cold psychopathic assassin, and not by someone about to kill himself. There is no hesitation, no crossed out words, not even a sign of excitement.

  4. The content of the note makes no sense. Baxter got out of Enron at the right time for the right reasons (he objected to what was going on). He ended up a multimillionaire, and could have been depicted as a sort of whistleblower. If anything, he should have been proud of the way things worked out for him. Isn't it just a little odd that the letter makes no mention of Enron (a fake letter might not want to draw any additional attention to Enron)?

On top of all this, we have the fact that rat shot was used, hardly likely for Baxter but sensible for as assassin as it cannot be ballistically traced to a gun; the shot may have been from two feet away, almost impossible for Baxter to manage and extremely unlikely for him to try, given the risk of missing; the police investigation was completely and conveniently incompetent (including, if you can believe it, failure to test to see if Baxter had even fired a gun and failure to check for fingerprints on his vehicle!); the coroner has a 'history'; and Baxter just before his death was talking about hiring a bodyguard and expressed to his lawyer concerns about the harassment he was receiving. This is, in total, one of the most incompetent faked suicides that we've seen in quite a while.

Friday, April 12, 2002

The three Israeli right-wing brutish plans for the Palestinians are:

  1. GOAL 1: concentrate the Palestinians in small areas of the Occupied Territories, fence them in, and use them as quasi-slave labour for Israeli industrial production;

  2. GOAL 2: build an impenetrable wall between Israel and the Occupied Territories;

  3. GOAL 3: transfer all Palestinians out of the Occupied Territories (and, presumably, eventually transfer most Arabs out of Israel) to Jordan or elsewhere.

GOAL 1 would satisfy the industrialists, who would get a cheap source of labour, and the mafiya, who would continue their position in the settlements, but would not please the religious nuts, who want all of greater Israel to be Arab-free. The Americans would be happy enough, as the presence of unhappy Palestinians will continue to keep tensions high and so keep oil prices artificially high. GOAL 2 would provide some protection against suicide bombers but leaves the settlements in the Occupied Territories on the wrong side of the wall, scaring the settlers and interfering with the mafiya, and wouldn't please the religious nuts. It would also pose a logistical nightmare in Jerusalem. GOAL 3 doesn't work for the industrialists (they lose their labour force), and the actual mechanics of accomplishing it will make everyone morally ill, not to mention causing massive tensions in the Middle East (tensions so high that the price of oil would become too high, thus damaging the American economy and making the Americans very unhappy). It would, however, please the settlers, the mafiya, and the religious nuts, as well as the Israeli army, who would have plenty of killing to do. It appears that you just can't please everybody and GOAL 2 has been decided on, at least in the short term, and the walls are starting to go up. This will finish off what little is left of the Palestinian economy, and the Palestinians will presumably concentrate their anger on the settlers (and it wouldn't surprise me if we saw some anti-American terrorism). I assume that the attacks against the settlers will then be used as the excuse for either GOAL 1 or GOAL 3. It is possible that the inconsistency of the goals has delayed the ugly fate of the Palestinians.
In Netanyahu's April 10 speech to the U. S. Senate, he said: "For if we do not immediately shut down the terror factories where Arafat is producing human bombs, it is only a matter of time before suicide bombers will terrorize your cities. If not destroyed, this madness will strike in your buses, in your supermarkets, in your pizza parlors, in your cafes. Eventually, these human bombs will supplement their murderous force with suitcases equipped with devices of mass death that could make the horrors of Sept. 11 pale by comparison." Now I know Americans are idiots when it comes to Israel, but isn't it absolutely clear that when the Israeli right finishes off all hope for the Palestinians, the Palestinians will then turn their wrath on the United States, who they will correctly blame for their plight. In other words, supporting Netanyahu's plans for the Palestinians guarantees many repeats of 9-11 on U. S. soil. The most amazing thing is that after each attack the Americans will profess to not understanding why they are being attacked.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Israel made a pact with the devil in allowing many Jews and pseudo-Jews to immigrate from Russia, many of whom were criminals who regard Israel as a safe haven should there be a crackdown on their criminality (Israel won't extradict its citizens). The mafiya presence has not improved Israeli politics. The Russians are not inclined to offer land for peace, coming as they do from a huge country to a country which they perceive as having no land to spare. Someone should investigate the role that the mafiya is playing in the current massacres, given the probable role of mafiya money in funding Israeli politics (Netanyahu has been linked to mafiya money) and the dominance that the Russians have in the settlements in the Occupied Territories (I note that the Israelis were broadcasting pornographic movies, a known product of the mafiya, from Palestinian television stations - could this be a form of marking their territory?). This Sharon series of massacres (you can't really call it a war when one side has jet bombers, tanks and helicopters and the other side is unarmed or has, at most, guns) may be one of the first modern conflicts fought on behalf of, and to assert the power of, organized crime (we've seen similar things in the recent Balkan conflicts).

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

My guess is that the Israeli version of the Wanasee Conference, where the 'final solution' for the Palestinians was planned, was held sometime in early 2000. In attendance would have been Ariel Sharon, Russian mafiya leaders, right-wing politicians and their right-wing industrialist supporters, extreme religious crazies, and possibly, extreme American fundamentalist Protestant religious crazies. The plan was either to drive all the Palestinians into Jordan, or at least force them into small areas on the worst land in the Occupied Territories and use them as quasi-slave labour for Israeli industrial production (the euphemism for the removal of Palestinians is 'transfer'). This would be accomplished in the following stages:

  1. ensure that Sharon was elected by having him make an ostentatious and intentionally provocative tour of the Temple Mount in order to build up rage in the Palestinians and start the intifada, thus creating the insecurity that Sharon was elected to stop;

  2. increase the brutality (well summarized here) of the treatment of the Palestinians to an almost unbelievable degree (see reports here and here and here and here), including arrest and torture, attacks by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians, including children, denial of ambulance access and medical care to civilians, targeting of medical and emergency personnel, use of civilians as human shields, collective punishment of civilians, including destruction of agricultural land (including uprooting of olive trees) and destruction of houses, interference with education, destruction of infrastructure, appropriation of water, the imposition of ridiculouly restrictive closures, checkpoints and curfews, all intended to cause the maximum misery and economic destruction possible, and targeted assassinations (all of which crimes against humanity and others are well summarized here and lots of more specific reports are available here), all with a view to provoking a violent reaction which has largely taken the form of suicide bombers (I honestly find it impossible to digest the enormity of the crimes committed against the Palestinians);

  3. after September 11, step up the timing of the plan as it was realized that the whole program could be accelerated by calling it part of the 'war on terror' (which makes one wonder whether there was any Israeli role in the events of September 11);

  4. whenever Arafat moved to settle the violence, stir it up again by using targeted assassinations against Palestinian leaders (and step by step take actions to replace Arafat and the Palestinian Authority);

  5. wait for a particularly gruesome suicide bombing, and use it with the lie that the Palestinian rejection of the Barak proposals meant that the Palestinians were beginning the destruction of Israel, putting Israel in a fake posture of self-defence, which is then used as an excuse for the current outrages;

  6. arrange for completely biased media coverage in the U. S. with absolutely no coverage of the brutality against the Palestinians, making the suicide bombings look like unprovoked violence rather than a reaction to the daily brutalities against the Palestinians and a rather pathetic form of self-defence;

  7. possibly make contact with Hamas on the theory that since Hamas and Israel want the same thing, a mono-ethnic society over the whole of greater Israel, Hamas suicide bombers would accomplish the common goal of eliminating moderate Palestinian opinion, with the final outcome of who gets to keep the place being left for later (this theory is obviouly speculative);

  8. provoke as much desire for revenge and fear of remaining in the Occupied Territories in the Palestinian people as is possible before international opinion forces a withdrawal, await more suicide bombs, and reset the cycle again and again until you get your 'final solution'.

Even Peres thinks the Jenin operation is a 'massacre'. What is so surprising about the current Israeli outrages and the general crimes against humanity committed under the Sharon regime? It seems unprecedented somehow. We've had massacres in places like Rwanda and Cambodia, but they are outside of what we like to think of the Western liberal tradition. We've had atrocities committed by or on behalf of the U. S. government in Central America, but at least the Americans tried to cover up their involvement. Even in the Balkans, the atrocities were hidden. In this case, although there is heavy military censorship by the Israelis, there is also an element of pride in what they are doing (we haven't seen this kind of pride in the handiwork of state terror since the Nazis). In addition to the Israeli pride, we have a completely transparent attempt by the Americans to pretend to order a stop to the Israeli actions (does anyone actually believe that: 1) Sharon could actually dare to defy a real American order, or 2) there is some pupose in Powell's tardiness in getting to Jerusalem other than giving the Israelis more time to kill?). In other words, both the United States and Israel, two states which have at least held themselves out as exemplifying the Western liberal tradition, are conspiring to slaughter a significant number of people, most of them innocent civilians. At least in the case of the Israelis, the final goal (or 'final solution') of all this may very well be the complete elimination of a whole people from the geographic area where they have traditionally lived (I assume this is based on religious principles which are regarded as having precedence over secular principles, a sort of return to ancient or medieval thinking) . We have not seen this kind of open defiance of humanitarian principles, indeed, pride in defiance of humanitarian principles, by a country with a tradition of holding Western liberal values since 1940's Europe.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

If the reports are true, Jenin is shaping up to be one of the first great massacres of the twenty-first century and may even turn out to be one of the all-time greats, particularly if Colin Powell can continue heading for Jerusalem at his unbelievably slow rate of speed ('Jenin' may even become synonymous for massacre, just as other massacre sites have). Some people have pointed out that it is unwise to compare Sharon and the Israelis to Hitler and the Nazis, partly because this sets the standard of evil too high, and allows Sharon too much latitude to do evil under the high Nazi bar. It seems to me that Hitler was a rank amateur compared to Sharon. Do you think Hitler would have been capable of what Sharon has been able to accomplish in only one year? Of course not. It took Hitler years to work his way up to the Holocaust. If Sharon can keep at it for even a few more years he will no doubt be seen as one of the great monsters of history.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Boycott (or even boikott) Israel!
In July 2000, Arafat, Barak and Clinton met at Camp David to discuss peace. It was here that Barak presented his famous proposal, which was rejected by Arafat. The proposal has been depicted as being generous, unprecedented, as far as Israel could possibly go, and an offer the Palestinians couldn't refuse. In fact, it was nothing less than the creation of an unviable state, with the good land in the Occupied Terrirories being held by the Israeli settlers, and the Palestinian areas being oddly infiltrated by Israeli access roads. You would think that the minimum the Palestinians could accept would be the removal of all the illegal settlements. Despite the ridiculousness of the Barak proposal, Clinton put all the blame for the lack of agreement on Arafat. The conclusion that was drawn was that the Palestinian failure to agree to Barak's proposal must have meant that there was no Israeli proposal that the Palestinians would agree to, and that therefore their only goal must be the complete destruction of Israel. Of course, since Barak's proposal was in fact completely unacceptable, and since the whole method of negotiation was faulty, and since as it turned out the actual proposal was never actually submitted to the Palestinians, no fault or ulterior motive can be ascribed to the Palestinians for failure to accept it. Nevertheless, Israeli and American propagandists constantly cite this incident as their proof of the perfidity of the Palestinians. The suicide bombers are depicted as nothing less than part of the Palestinian efforts to destroy the state of Israel. Even though there is no way that the Palestinians could destroy Israel using suicide bombs (for one thing, they'd never find enough bombers), the propagandists have successfully combined the rejection of the Barak proposals and the suicide bombers to depict the current situation as nothing less than the Palestinian destruction of Israel, warranting the current outrages against the Palestinians as a form of self-defence. It is clear that no peace proposal is going to work unless the settlers are completely removed from the Occupied Territories, and any proposal by Israel that contains the provision that any settlers remain, let alone one that leaves a Palestinian state cut into cruel and bizarre shapes by the continuing Israeli obsession with the settlements, is a proposal tendered in bad faith.

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Questions about the current outrages against the Palestinians which will reward further thought: 1) Why do so many people accept without question the Israeli-American lie that Barak's offer to the Palestinians was so unbelievably generous that the Palestinian failure to accept it indicates that they will settle for nothing less than the complete elimination of Israel (particularly ironic since the Zionist goal seems to be the complete elimination of any Palestinian state)? 2) Why is it so difficult to see that Sharon's every move has been intended to provoke enough Palestinian unrest (including suicide bombing) that will justify an Israeli response leading to the eventual ethnic cleansing of the Occupied Territories (not to mention Israel itself), and why are such plans completely invisible to the American press? 2A) The related issue of Israel's extremely complex relationship with Hamas. 3) What are the inherent contradictions in the Israeli Zionist right-wing plans, for security, demographic and religious reasons, to:

  1. create a greater Israel over land including the Occupied Territories

  2. create a 'wall' separating Israel from the Occupied Territories and expel the Arabs into the Occupied Territories

  3. create a series of 'bantustans' in the Occupied Territories to provide extremely cheap labour for Israeli industrial production

(is it the contradictions between these goals that have thus far saved the Palestinians from even worse fates?)? 3A) The related question of the problem created for the Israelis by the settlers in the Occupied Territories who are there to create 'facts on the ground' for the purposes of controlling the Palestinian population by forcing it into smaller and smaller surrounded areas, but who also create severe problems for Israel as the settlers are on the wrong side of the proposed 'wall'. 4) What is the morality of suicide bombing (terrorism or the only means left to them of self-defence?), and would the Palestinians be better off espousing a Gandhi/MLK-like non-violent resistance, particularly in an atmosphere where the U. S. media studiously avoids covering the Palestinian 'problem' unless there is enough violence to make for good television ratings and where the Israeli response to non-violent Palestinian resistance would be bullets and military censorship? 4A) The related question of whether the Palestinians aren't already practising non-violent resistance simply by surviving 50 years in refugee camps. 5) Is there any truth to Arab conspiracy theories that all of the outrages against the Palestinians relate to American geopolitics in the Middle East, particularly the current preoccupation with Saddam Hussein and the ongoing preoccupation with oil? 6) Leaving aside all the religious/nationalist/globalist crap, what would a stable peace for Israel and the Palestinians look like?

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Colin Powell is taking his sweet time getting to the Middle East, thus giving Sharon a few more days to work his magic on the Palestinians before he has to show homage to the Empire and back off for a while. American policy is thus eerily reminiscent of the massacres in Lebanon, where Sharon turned his back long enough for the Lebanese Falangists to do his dirty work.

Friday, April 05, 2002

"[Nobel Peace Prize] Committee chairman Geir Lundestad voiced the concern of several members that if Mr Arafat were to be killed as a result of Israeli actions, one Nobel laureate might in effect be said to have killed the other ".
There is an instructive collection of witness statements on the Pentagon attack now compiled. I find that the statements are of people who didn't actually see the crash, or from witnesses who are connected with the Pentagon (I don't mean to impugn their credibility, but we should be allowed to factor this in as we consider the whole weight of evidence), or contradict other evidence, or even suggest that something else may have happened other than the official story. You can learn a lot if you read the statements carefully: 1) The two first witnesses, 'Anon' and Donald "Tim" Timmerman, have clear testimony that an American Airlines passenger plane crashed into the Pentagon. 'Anon' is, well, anon, speaks like a pilot, and is from the Navy Annex. Mr. Timmerman is a navy pilot. 2) Christopher Munsey, John O’Keefe, Omar Campo, a woman driver wanting to exit from Interstate 395, Brig. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, Alan Wallace, Mark Skipper, Dennis Young, Alfred S. Regnery, Sergeant Maurice L. Bease, Christine Peterson, Fred Gaskins, Aydan Kizildrgli, Kirk Milburn, Allen Cleveland, Meseidy Rodriguez, Oscar Martinez, and Daniel and Cynthia McAdams, all appear to have versions of the same story - each saw a plane fly overhead but did not actually see a crash into the Pentagon, although some heard the noise or saw the fire at some time later. 3) Captain Lincoln Liebner saw the plane hit a helicopter on the helipad (!), which is odd as no one else seemed to see this, the helipad appeared to be relatively undamaged, and this scenario is inconsistent with those who claim to have seen the plane crash directly into the wall of the Pentagon. He also heard people crying (?!) inside the wreckage. 4) Mike Walter, a USA Today reporter, saw an American Airlines jet, which slammed right into the Pentagon, but described it as 'a cruise missile with wings' (!). 5) Afework Hagos saw a plane which 'hit some lampposts on the way in' (!), although pictures of the scene appear to show all the lampposts intact (Kirk Milburn also thought the plane hit lampposts). 6) Dave Winslow, AP Radio Reporter, saw 'the tail of a large airliner' (I have no idea of what that means) and a CNN reporter saw a hole with some pieces of plane inside (but pieces of which plane?). 7) Steve Patterson, one of the most descriptive witnesses, saw 'a commuter jet which appeared to hold about eight to 12 people' (!), which 'sounded like the high-pitched squeal of a fighter jet' (!). 8) John Damoose was not a witness to the crash but claims to have seen pieces of the plane along Fort Meyer Drive, a bike trail (odd that we haven't seen any evidence of these pieces). 9) Father Stephen McGraw, who actually saw the crash, is another witness who saw the plane clip the top of a light pole, 'injuring a taxi driver' (?). 10) Ron Turner just saw the fire, as did the ARFF fire crews, who claim a plane was inside because they 'saw pieces of the nose gear'. 11) Ken Ford, a State Department employee, was watching the airport through binoculars (is this what they do for fun at the State Department?) and followed the plane from the airport until it hit the building. He said they thought it had been waived off (what does that mean?). 12) The pictures of Steve Riskus, who claims to have seen the crash, show the intact lampposts and the relatively undamaged helipad. 13) Mickey Bell was inside the Pentagon in an area near the crash but saw nothing of the plane except for debris afterwards. I don't understand what it could mean for him to be 'very nearly struck by one of the wings as they sped by him'. 14) Wayne T. Day didn't apparently see anything himself, but reports some vague hearsay. 15) Steve Snaman actually saw the plane crash into the Pentagon from across the river (and works for a military contractor). 16) Mark Bright, a security officer, saw the plane hit, but also claims it knocked down street lights. 17) Perhaps the most impressive witness, having a good story of actually seeing the crash and not in some way being connected to the Pentagon, is Joel Sucherman, USAToday.com Multimedia Editor. However, he confuses me when he says: 'almost like a heat-seeking missile was locked onto its target and staying dead on course'. We might be able to make some sense of all these confusing stories if only there were a shred of either physical or video evidence of the crash.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

The suppressed scientific paper on the genetics of Israelis and Palestinians is becoming topical again. Professor Antonio Arnaiz-Villena and his co-authors studied the genetic make-up of Middle Eastern Israelis and Palestinians and found that they were almost identical. He published the paper in the scientific journal Human Immunology. In short order, the journal withdrew the paper, wrote libraries to ask them to remove the offending pages, took the article off the internet, apologized profusely, and removed the writer from its editorial board. All this was for a peer-reviewed article well within the ambit of the journal, the science of which has not in the least been impugned (some comments on the issue are here). If there was something they didn't like about the science, they did not have to publish it (and it is, after all, science, which progresses by publishing theses for others to consider and try to refute). Obviously, the problem only arose after it was published, when political objections arose. Fortunately, you can still read the article (it's short and easy to get the gist of). I think it was a mistake to use politically loaded words ('colonist' and 'concentration camps') in the article, no matter how appropriate they may be, but that hardly justifies the book-burning type of response. It may in fact be the historical remarks that caused the most offense - Israeli propaganda holds that the Palestinians are only recent inhabitants of the area (archeology and common sense are gradually proving that almost all of the 'history' derived from studying the Old Testament is actually just mythology - see the article by Daniel Lazare in the March 2002 Harper's). The only possible explanation for all this censorship is the political implications of the article. If Israelis and Palestinians are the same people, how can Israel: 1) force its soldiers to brutalize Palestinians and shoot innocent Palestinians, including children? 2) treat the Palestinians as an inferior animal-like race? 3) ignore and subvert the legitimate aspirations of its brother Palestinians to live normal, dignified lives in their own country (the same desire that led to the creation of Israel)? 4) institute a system of bantustans to use the Palestinians as a very low wage, quasi-slave workforce for Israeli industrial production? The Israelis want to have a colonial power relationship over the Palestinians, and it is not a coincidence that you never see such a relationship between people of the same race. It's as if some smart aleck came to Hitler with an article proving that the Aryans and the Jews were actually the same race.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

There is a bit of humour in the plight of Arafat. Using some of the last power in his cell phone, he is interviewed by CNN's Christiane Amanpour, who wants to know his views on the U. S. call for him to rein in the Palestinian violence. He's besieged in his windowless room, surrounded by tanks and the Israeli army, having members of his staff executed by the Israelis, and she asks him about stopping the violence! The question just about sums up the complete inanity of American journalism. It is also funny that Israel attacks the Palestinians on the pretext that Arafat won't stop the violence. What do the Israelis do? Cut off Arafat's electricity and phone, and refuse to give him batteries for his cell phone. Presumably, they expect him to communicate his requests to stop the Palestinian violence by using telepathy.

Monday, April 01, 2002

The timing of the current Israeli brutality against the Palestinians is instructive. Just a few weeks ago, when the Americans were attempting to obtain Arab acquiescence to an attack on Iraq, the Americans were full of words of support for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of course, every time the Americans want something from the Arabs, they make these kind of noises. Once the Americans don't need Arab support anymore, they go back to supporting Israeli oppression. In this case, Dick Cheney toured the various Middle Eastern capitals, and got no support at all (it was one of the most embarrassing trips by a high U. S. official in recent American history). As soon as the useless trip was over, Sharon attacked. Coincidence? I think not. It became apparent to the U. S. that they weren't going to get the support they wanted, so it was no longer necessary for them to pay lip service to the idea of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conflict is in fact an important part of U. S. policy towards the Middle East. It serves the following purposes: 1) it gives the people in other countries in the Middle East, chafing under the various corrupt dictators who serve as stooges for the colonial power (originally Britain or France, now the U. S.), a sobering example in the Palestinians of what might happen to them if they get too uppity; 2) it creates an example of outrage around which to create a phony Arab nationalism which the various unpopular regimes use to maintain power; 3) it creates a huge need for Israeli arms purchases, which are paid for largely by U. S. tax dollars, which then flow back to the U. S. military-industrial complex; 4) Israeli arming provides an even more lucrative response from the Arab states, who arm themselves with more toys bought from the U. S. military-industrial complex, which arms are also used to suppress domestic unrest (it is not an accident that the British and Americans chose members of minority groups to run the Arab countries - these groups have no popular support and therefore support the interests of the colonial powers in return for the protection that keeps them in power); 5) support of Israel, particularly encouragement of Israeli violence and religious extremism, satisfies the weird evangelical protestant theology behind the current American regime; and 6) most importantly, general tension in the Middle East keeps the world oil price artifically high to the benefit of U. S. multinational oil companies and, in particular, domestic (i. e., Texas) oil producers, who can't compete at lower prices (much American foreign policy seems to consist of keeping the oil price high, but not too high, a bit of a juggling act). The problem with the current intifada is not the disruption that it causes, but the amount of disruption. Once the intifada had started to seriously affect the Israeli economy, the U. S. was suddenly interested in its supression (at least after the Americans no longer had to appear to be impartial). I think it is funny that some people are starting to criticize Bush for his lackadaisical efforts towards calming the situation, as if this were another example of Bush laziness, stupidity, or inattention, when the U. S. lack of response is exactly in line with its general policy. Israel can choose whatever brutal methods it wants to manage the Palestinians, as long as : 1) the Americans aren't trying to get Arab support for something; 2) the unrest doesn't get so out of hand that it requires repairs to the Israeli economy which will cost American money; or 3) most importantly, the methods don't have the effect of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The United States could resolve the whole problem tomorrow by insisting on the removal of settlers and soldiers from the Occupied Territories in return for a U. N. protective army surrounding Israel. The Americans don't resolve the problem because peace in the Middle East is against U. S. policy.
The book which claims the Pentagon crash was a hoax has become a best-seller in France. The Pentagon isn't currently under any pressure from the U. S. lapdog press, and so hasn't provided any evidence with respect to the crash (except for one video, which amazingly doesn't show anything). The book will almost certainly be translated into English, and assuming there is someone in the United States with enough courage to publish it, should scare up any unreleased video evidence showing the actual crash. It is absolutely inconceivable that there weren't many video cameras trained on the Pentagon, so if we aren't provided with any video tapes that should in itself be enough evidence to prove that Flight 77 didn't crash into the Pentagon.