Saturday, November 30, 2002

There are some intriguing instances of foreknowledge of September 11 from unlikely sources:

  1. On September 10, a fifth-grader in a Dallas suburb told his teacher World War III would begin the next day, and the United States would lose. This occurred in a northern suburb of Dallas. Just a few days before the student's remarks, the FBI had raided InfoCom Corporation, a website hosting company for clients in the Middle East, which is located in the nearby suburb of Richardson. Across the road from InfoCom's offices is the headquarters of the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charitable organization which was the largest Islamic charity in the U. S. and whose chairman was a vice president of InfoCom, and which has been accused of being a sponser of Hamas terrorists in Israel (there may also have been family connections between Hamas and InfoCom). The Holy Land Foundation was subsequently shut down by the U. S. government. The FBI investigated the matter of the prescient student and dismissed it on the rather unsatisfactory grounds that the teacher later decided she could not be certain the boy had actually predicted World War III would begin on the same day as the terrorist attacks (do they think she must have imagined this story?).

  2. The most famous story of foreknowledge is that of the 14-year-old student in Brooklyn, who supposedly stared out the window of his school at the WTC on September 6, and predicted that the towers would not be standing the next week. The story was investigated but the issue appears to remain a mystery and the student remains in the school. There are a few other similar stories around (see the Insight article), most of which are probably legends, but this story appears to be an example of true foreknowledge.

  3. A writer for the Village Voice was in a cab driven by an Arab cab driver on July 16, 2001. The driver told her that he would be going home to Egypt sometime in late August or September, as Osama bin Laden had planned big terrorist attacks for New York and Washington for that time. She reported him on September 13, which caused him to be questioned, but not arrested, by the FBI. Over a year later she asked him about it. After initially denying that that he told her about the attacks, he admitted that he had, saying: "But many people knew this." He said it was merely common knowledge in the Arab world. There are other stories involving cab drivers not working on the morning of September 11, which are probably mostly urban legends.

The common factor in these stories is an odd reluctance by the authorities to believe any of them. Of course, it is now very embarrassing to all American police and intelligence agencies, not to mention the Bush Administration, that knowledge of the attacks should have been so readily available, and therefore they have an interest in downplaying any stories of foreknowledge. It seems to me that there were rumors in the Arab community that were taken semi-seriously, but these rumors were never reported as people felt, no doubt correctly, that the authorities would not believe them. Schoolchildren and talkative cab drivers were the only ones who would mention them outside the community. In the wake of the massive number of arrests of young Arab men who were held unconstitutionally, often without proper legal representation, and eventually released, the Arab community will probably take future warnings much more seriously but will not dare report them to the authorities. There is a cost to racial profiling and the denial of constitutional rights.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Sebastian Junger, in two interviews on CNN (referring to his article in Vanity Fair which does not appear to be on the internet), presents further examples of foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks coming out of an area in South America called the Triple Border (where Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil meet). Junger depicts this area as a hotbed of terrorist activity including al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Irish Republican Army, the Spanish ETA, and even right-wing American extremists. Seven months before September 11, a former Argentinian intelligence officer wrote a letter to the American Ambassador in Argentina warning that in the next half-year or so suicide pilots would fly planes into buildings (i. e., exactly what Condoleezza Rice said was not predictable). He said some possible targets were the White House, Congress, the WTC and the Pentagon. He thought the planes would have explosives in them. A Moroccan who was an al-Qaeda operative in Brazil named Abdel Fatah (or Abdel Fattah or Gadan Abdel Fattah) had a change of heart and went to the authorities, where he was arrested on other charges. He wrote a letter to the United States embassy warning about attacks, specifically attacks to occur on September 11. He gave that letter to his lawyer a week before September 11 (this story is eerily similar to that of Delmart Vreeland). Fatah was questioned by Brazilian, US consular, and US law enforcement officials who all apparently concluded that there was no (or here) corroborating evidence that he had any real knowledge of any terrorist attacks (to put that into common sense terms, it means they couldn't prove that he didn't know, but they weren't clever enough to find any corroboration - you'd think that merely being able to predict the future, including the specific day of the attacks, would be corroboration enough). The sheer volume of instances of specific foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks, not to mention the diversity of the sources of this foreknowledge, means that it was one of the worst kept secrets in the world. It appears that the Bush White House was one of the few places that was clueless.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Bush has appointed Henry the K to chair his phony commission to investigate the intelligence and security flaws that occurred leading to the events of September 11. This is good for the following reasons:

  1. Henry the K can no longer travel outside the United States for fear of being arrested as a war criminal, so this will give him something to do instead of travelling.

  2. The apoplexy that this appointment will cause may kill Christopher Hitchens.

  3. The appointment is arrogant and an insult to the American people, especially the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks, and eventually this type of arrogance will be noticed by the voters.

  4. We all know that this commission will be a whitewash anyway, so appointing a chairman as ridiculous as Henry the K (I guess Ronald Reagan was otherwise engaged) will just make it all that much more easy to see it for the charade that it is. The Warren Commission was an exactly similar bit of nonsense, but the good reputation of Chief Justice Earl Warren made the nonsense more difficult to see.

  5. Chairing such a vile coverup is a fitting cap on the career of Henry the K.

In spite of the fact that this commission will certainly be a mass of lies, Gary Hart might prove to be a very interesting commission member.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

This article, published in an American newspaper (!), shows an unusual understanding of how the colonial history of Arabia relates to current attitudes of the inhabitants of the area towards the United States (you can contrast the intelligence in this article against the whole collected works of such 'experts' as Pipes and Lewis). The last paragraph is particularly good.
There are some odd stories about foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks. On September 7, 2001, while officiating at a wedding in Todi, Italy, a priest named Father Jean-Marie Benjamin told (or see here) a judge and several politicians that he had been told that a terrorist was preparing an attack, with hijacked passenger planes, on American and British population centers. Father Benjamin has not revealed to the press who told him these things. He has also learned that the attack on the British target failed at the last minute. He had some interesting things to say about the terrorist organization (I have removed some words inserted in the article from his quote and put some words in italics):

"In the past, these organizations had autonomous activity, without any links to other bodies. But now they have developed a very different apparatus. Bin Laden alone is linked to 70 of his organizations in some 30 countries. In turn, these groups are in touch with some 900 Muslim organizations, located in all the continents, and they have thousands of militants, some of whom are Westerners, who do not have an Arab surname and who don't even believe in Islam."

So much for racial profiling! Father Benjamin is an activist against the use of radioactive weapons in the Gulf War, the embargo against Iraq, and the horrors of the ongoing American-British bombing attacks against Iraq.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) says that Iain Hook, the man killed by the Israelis in Jenin, was shot in the back at a time when there was no military action in the area, and thus is stating that the Israelis have lied about the incident. UNRWA has also protested that, on November 22, "an IDF combat unit of 20 to 30 heavily armed troops surrounded the Bethlehem home of Allegra Pacheco, UNRWA’s Field Legal Officer" who "was held at gunpoint in the open air for two hours while her house was searched, her mobile phone was taken from her". In addition, her husband was made to partially strip and was taken into IDF custody. Twenty-three of UNRWA's Palestinian staff are being held by the Israelis, all but three without charge. When you consider these facts with the pressure being put on the United States to stop funding UNRWA, and the fact that UNRWA is in many cases the only agency standing between the Palestinians and starvation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the attack on Mr. Hook was part of a larger plan to force UNRWA out of the Occupied Territories and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians by forcing them to leave due to lack of food.

Monday, November 25, 2002

The Indonesians are being conspicuously and suspiciously successful in their efforts to 'round up the usual suspects' and completely solve the Bali bombing case in record time. I would be very surprised if the Indonesian military didn't play a role, and perhaps the major role, in the attack, and blaming the whole thing on a few fundamentalists is extremely convenient. Do you think the Australians will accept the Indonesian Official Story?
Israel is ethnically cleansing the Occupied Territories of Palestinians using a number of techniques, but the main method now seems to be starvation. One of the sole agencies standing between the Palestinians and utter annihilation is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The Israeli military has now shot and killed an employee of this agency, Mr. Iain Hook. Initially, they claimed he was killed in an exchange of fire so it was unclear whether he was killed by the Palestinians or by the Israelis, then that he was killed in error in the course of a gun battle with Palestinians, some of whom were firing from a UNRWA compound (UNRWA doesn't accept these explanations, and denies that there was any firing from its compound). In fact, it appears that any Palestinian firing had stopped two hours before Mr. Hook was shot, and he may very well have died due to the Iraaeli Army prohibiting a clearly marked UN ambulance from evacuating him and transporting him for nearly an hour. When it turned out the Palestinians weren't shooting, the Israelis claimed he was killed 'in error', as they mistook his cell phone for a grenade (or perhaps a gun). This seems unlikely, as he should have been recognized by the Israelis. He seems to have hurried out of the UNRWA building with his cell phone as he was arranging the evacuation of UN workers from the compound. Israelis and their U. S. (and Canadian) supporters have been using the argument that UNRWA is actually a supporter of terrorism, and therefore it should be abolished or at least the United States should stop funding it. Of course, another method to make it impossible for UNRWA to operate would be simply to start killing its employees in cold blood. If, as has been alleged, the Israelis then made the ambulance take a longer detour to the hospital rather than go through one of its checkpoints, it will become certain that the newest in the line of Israeli crimes against humanity is the slaughter of relief workers. Mr. Hook's job was arranging for the rebuilding of homes that were destroyed in the Jenin massacre, so his death must have been particularly satisfying (I wonder if they just tried to kill any UNRWA employee, or whether, since they were aware he was unsuccessfully trying to convince them by phone to cease fire long enough so the UN workers could be evacuated, he was particularly targeted for symbolic reasons).

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Some time ago, I posted about the whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, and her testimony about foreign agents in the FBI. Due to the way in which the identity of the country who engaged the foreign agent was hidden, I guessed it was likely to be Israel (what other country would the U. S. government be so eager to protect?). Now it turns out that the country was Turkey. Turkey!? Sibel Edmonds was a wiretap translator in the Washington field office of the FBI, and was involved in translating intelligence-related wiretaps. She alleges that one of her co-workers, a contract translator of Turkish, had worked for a Turkish organization being investigated by the FBI's own counter-intelligence unit, and had a relationship with a Turkish intelligence officer stationed in Washington who was the target of that investigation. Edmonds also alleges that the co-worker tried to recruit her into that organization, and that the co-worker deliberately left out information from the translations that would have revealed that the intelligence officer had spies working for him inside the U.S. State Department and at the Pentagon! U. S. government officials asked that the name of the organization not be revealed for national security reasons. The co-worker vehemently denies the allegations, noting that they were investigated and found to be untrue. John Ashcroft has asked that the whistleblower suit be thrown out of court using the state secrets privilege in order "to protect the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States." I have a few comments:

  1. If it is Turkey, it opens up all kinds of new speculations. Turkey is an Islamic country that has never come up in investigation of September 11. Is it possible that FBI translations were interfered with in order to assist terrorism? I think that is very unlikely, as I do not see any reason for this to be kept hidden as a U. S. state secret. The other possible Turkish angle is the extremely powerful Turkish mafia, and its connections to the former Turkish government. It is possible that a Turkish official was attempting to interfere with FBI investigations of Turkish criminal activities in the United States? Has Turkey responded to the 60 Minutes report?

  2. Turkey seems odd. Note that the Washington Post article quoted Edmonds' restatement of the words of the co-worker's husband when he attempted to recruit her into this unnamed organization (I've removed some of the words the article added):

    "Are you a member of the particular organization? It's a very good place to be a member. There are a lot of advantages of being with this organization and doing things together and one of the greatest things about it is you can have an early, an unexpected, early retirement. And you will be totally set if you go to that specific country."

    Does that sound like Turkey? Does it sound like she is being offered a position in the Turkish mafia? No. I'm afraid it still sounds like Israel with its long tradition of using the Jewish residents of other countries as amateur spies (and can you think of another country caught red-handed infiltrating U. S. counter-terrorism operations that wouldn't be exposed?). Given the fact that the co-worker has apparently been investigated and has been allowed to go, and that the United States government seems determined to cover this whole issue up based on grounds of national security, is it possible that Turkey is being used as a scapegoat for the real country that was involved in infiltrating the FBI? Much of this speculation depends on the liklihood of Edmonds having ties to a particular country which would make it likely that she could be recruited as a spy. It would be insane for the co-worker or her husband to try to recruit Edmonds unless they were certain that her ethnic ties or expressed political views would mean she would not turn around and report them to the U. S. government. The fact that she did report them, and the U. S. government acted as if nothing had happened, makes the whole story look like some kind of elaborate charade.

  3. The story as it stands is very odd. We're supposed to believe that the co-worker's husband attempted to recruit Edmonds into this foreign organization, while it is the co-worker's boyfriend who was running the spy operation. The husband appears to be a very understanding guy. He is also a major in the U. S. Air Force and has been posted to Brussels (NATO?). The United States government seems remarkably unconcerned about posting a man who has been accused of assisting in an espionage plot into a position where he could possibly obtain and pass on a lot of information.

  4. Both Edmonds and the co-worker passed FBI polygraph tests!

So is the story true? Is the country involved Turkey? If it is Turkey, does this mean we should be thinking of Turkey as a country against which the U. S. has to run counter-terrorism operations? Or has the story been changed to substitute Turkey for the real country involved? Is John Ashcroft going to succeed, as he always does, in burying the truth?

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Mounir El Motassadeq, a Moroccan accused of being the paymaster for the September 11 terrorists, is being tried in Germany. One of the witnesses in the trial is the former girlfriend of Ziad Jarrah, Aysel Sengun. She testified:

"He called me on September 11...he was very brief. He said he loved me three times. I asked what was up. He hung up shortly afterwards... It was so short and rather strange him saying that repeatedly."

We are supposed to take from this, I suppose, the idea that this was the last phone call made by Jarrah before he hijacked Flight 93. However, it seems equally possible that this is the phone call of a man who knows he will have to disappear after September 11 as it will no longer be safe for him to appear in public as 'Ziad Jarrah' (he might have even been aware that he was to be killed). There are just too many reasons to suppose that there were at least two men using the 'Ziad Jarrah' identity to conclude that this cryptic phone call means that the man on the phone was phoning as he was about to hijack an airplane. If the real Jarrah loved her enough to telephone her and tell her three times that he loved her, would he be able to immediately go out and martyr himself?
Zacarias Moussaoui has maintained that he was a member of an Islamic fundamentalist group, but had nothing to do with the September 11 terrorism. Captured al-Qaeda leader Ramzi Binalshibh has now apparently given evidence to support the claims of Moussaoui. Binalshibh has stated that Moussaoui met with terrorist planner Khalid Sheik Mohammed in Afghanistan in the winter of 2000. Binalshibh also met with Moussaoui in Karachi in June 2001. However, he and Mohammed decided that Moussaoui was too unreliable and too much of a blabbermouth to use in the terrorist attack unless it was absolutely necessary, and would only give Moussaoui instructions at the last minute if they decided to use him. This basically confirms Moussaoui's story, and may explain why the U. S. government is so loathe to allow Moussaoui to call Binalshibh as a witness. Indeed, the case against Moussaoui, which was weak to begin with, is falling apart so much that the government is floating the idea of labelling Moussaoui an 'enemy combatant', shipping him to Guantanamo Bay, and possibly eventually trying him in a military tribunal. It's bad enough that they are thinking of using military tribunals, but the idea of using military tribunals after they have decided to use the regular court system but don't look to be successful there is really repugnant. The way the United States is going, you can foresee defendants being shuffled down through various layers of courts with decreasing levels of constitutional protections until the prosecutors find one that will provide a conviction.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Abdulaziz Alomari was a Saudi who was studying at the University of Colorado. He had his identification stolen in 1995, and reported the theft at the time. There is a picture of him in this article (and here). You can immediately see that he is not the same guy as the famous hijacker (picture here and here, and, in Portland with Atta, here). The oddity is that the real Alomari was 43 years old, while the imposter appeared to be 15 to 20 years younger than that, and listed his date of birth as May 28, 1979 or December 24, 1972 (to add further to the confusion, the imposter Alomari appears also to have stolen the identity of a Saudi pilot who was taking flying lessons in Florida named Abdulrahman (or Abdul Rahman) Alomari, a 41 year-old man with a family, which explains why early descriptions of the hijacker confuse him with this man). There was also a man named 'Abdulaziz Alomari' who attended the Brooks Air Force Base Aerospace Medical School in San Antonio, Texas - this man is quite possibly the hijacker, having stolen the original Colorado Alomari's identity, and, like a number of the actual hijackers including Atta, attended a U. S. military school using his stolen identity. Another person studying at the University of Colorado was Ahmed Alghamdi (picture), a man with the same name as another one of the hijackers. A man with that name was later listed with Saeed Alghamdi as living in housing for foreign military flight trainees at Florida's Pensacola Naval Air Station, thus oddly putting him in a connection with another stolen identity (Saeed Alghamdi also had his identity stolen, and it appears the person who used that identity used it while attending Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, California, again fitting the profile of a man using a stolen identity attending a U. S. military school). Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmad Alnami and Ahmed Alghamdi all may have trained in Pensacola. Ahmed Alghamdi also lived for a while in a house in Vienna, Virginia with yet another man who was using a stolen identity, Waleed Alshehri (a man about whom I will have to write more, as his story is very complicated). There were such wild goings on at this house that neighbors phoned the FBI and even the CIA!. I actually think that this kind of connection is an important hint. What appears to have happened in a number of cases is that an original fundamentalist terrorist operative has been used to scout out potentially usable identities of Arabs living (usually studying) in America. The operative has then either stolen the identity himself or has passed the information on to someone who could steal the identity. The stolen identity has then been assumed by one of the imposters who we now think of as the hijackers (and these imposters sometimes used the stolen identity while attending a military school). Some of these identites were stolen in the United States (e. g., Alomari), some were stolen in Europe or the Middle East (e. g., Atta, Jarrah). I feel that these imposters are likely not to be al-Qaeda members, but appear to be mercenary thugs who have been engaged to do most if not all of the technical work behind the hijackings. To give two examples:

  1. Ahmed Alghamdi found the identity of Abdulaziz Alomari, which was then stolen and used by the terrorist (as I have already written, it is possible that the man who died on the flight was yet another imposter, subbing for the first imposter Alomari so that man could escape).

  2. Marwan Alshehhi possibly discovered the original Mohammad Atta and Ziad Jarrah living in Hamburg, and was able to supply their names so that their idenities could be used by mercenaries.

The general pattern is that the al-Qaeda member finds the useful identity, either he or someone else researches the identity and steals the paperwork, and a mercenary who has some terrorist skill assumes the stolen identity. Thus the hijacking cadre consists of two groups, the original fundamentalist terrorists and the mercenaries (more accurately, I think there were two kinds of fundamentalists: those who lived in the United States and were involved in the early planning or at least the setting up of the operation, and those who arrived very late to assist as the 'muscle' in taking over the airplanes). As time goes on it is becoming apparent that at least part of the mercenary group was associated with the illegal drug trade, exactly the sort of thing that you would expect them to be involved with (the other likely area of involvement is gun smuggling). It has become abundantly clear that U. S. government intelligence agencies have used the drug trade to further their own goals, and the type of mercenaries I am thinking about keep popping up in such areas as the JFK assassination, various attempted attacks on Castro, Iran-Contra, and the CIA involvement in allowing the sale of crack cocaine in the United States. Three things follow from all this:

  1. Identifying who of the terrorists was a mercenary helps to understand the dynamics of the operation, and may help in actually identifying the group or groups out of which the mercenaries came.

  2. Al-Qaeda had no way of obtaining access to a group of the type of thugs who are involved in this shadow world between organized crime and intelligence work. September 11 had to be a joint operation of Islamic fundamentalists and whoever runs these mercenaries. Al-Qaeda supplied some manpower, some money, the intellectual ideas, and most importantly, the right party to blame after the attack was completed. The mercenaries, equipped with new stolen identities, supplied the technical expertise to succeed in such a complicated operation.

  3. Most importantly, 9-11 wasn't a unique type of operation but fits neatly into the pattern of intelligence operations that we have seen for the last 40 years.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Some 'progressives' tell us that the United States has a duty to rescue Iraq from Saddam and lead its people to American standards of democracy and progress. They expect us to believe this will happen despite the fact that the last two attempts at nation building by the U. S., in Bosnia/Kosovo and in Afghanistan (see also here and here), have been abject failures. The obvious reason for these failures is that the Americans have not the slightest interest in improving the lot of the inhabitants of the countries that are their targets. The Americans just want to achieve their geopolitical goals and leave. The talk of improving the condition of the inhabitants of these victim countries is always just propaganda to appease the lefties, who are happy to find a rationalization to grab on to. 'Progressives' who claim that things will be different in Iraq are either stupid or disingenuous.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

If you think:

  1. that police agencies often protect certain people or criminal operations from investigation by other police agencies, sometimes for good reasons (e. g., if the person being protected is a police informant), and sometimes for bad reasons (e. g., the police agency has been corrupted to protect the criminals, or someone is using the criminal operation for some political goal); and

  2. that it is not uncommon for the United States government to use and abuse the illegal drug trade for various geopolitical and intelligence goals; and

  3. that the Saudi Royal Family may have paid for some of the weapons flown from the United States to the Contras in Nicaragua; and

  4. that the current Bush regime is merely an intentional continuation of what was going on under the Reagan-Bush regime (even Poindexter is back doing really, really bad things!); and

you read an article like this one (the article, if it moves, can probably be found on the same site under the title "Terror Flight School Owner Implicated in 'Protected' Drug Trafficking Ring"), you might be forgiven for seeing the events of September 11, 2001 as just a continuation of Iran-Contra in another form.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

There was a recent shootout in the Ansal Plaza shopping center in Delhi, India, in which the two apparent shooters were left dead. The Indian police immediately blamed the incident on Pakistani terrorists. The only problem was that the entire incident was probably staged, presumably by the Indian police for political purposes (a witness disputes the account of the police, the police have attacked the credibility of the witness, but the police attack seems rather weak). There are lots of reasons to question the handling of the incident by both the police and the Indian government. It is worth remembering how easy it is for the authorities to create a faked terrorist attack, especially these days where the governments of both Britain and the United States are setting up their respective citizens for attacks which will presumably remove any lingering doubts about the sense of the coming massacre of the people of Iraq.

Friday, November 15, 2002

The movie The Godfather, Part 3 contains a rather confusing version of the crimes committed by and around the Vatican Bank, crimes for which no one has ever been punished. The death of Roberto Calvi, suposedly a suicide, meant that much of the evidence was lost. Many have suspected that Calvi was murdered to cover up the sins of the Vatican, the Mafia, and various prominent businessmen. It turns out that Calvi probably was murdered. They've even found a safety deposit box owned by Calvi in Milan, a box which contained, amongst other things, a brick, possibly sone kind of reference to Freemasonry. Investigation of the case is being reopened in Italy. This could get very interesting.
Here's yet another article arguing that it should be the liberal American position to support the war on Iraq. I was going to try to refute the arguments made in this article, but they are preposterous on their face. There seems to be an idea that the United States is so uniquely filled with virtue, the sole "shining city on a hill", that it has a moral duty to flit around the world using its bombs to improve the lot of those individuals not fortunate enough to be Americans. The United States is a country that, since the end of the Second World War, has caused more death and suffering than any other country other than China under Mao and the Soviet Union under Stalin, and there are still 'liberals' who have the audacity to think that the United States is on some exalted moral plane that requires and entitles it to fix the problems of the world. Since the Marshall Plan the United States has not taken one major step to improve the lot of anyone other than the richest Americans, and the idea that an attack will turn out well for the Iraqis is ridiculous. Read this last paragraph and see if you can keep from vomiting:

"We liberals have much to do in the world. We must encourage America to fight wars on poverty and hunger and disease and pollution. Such is the burden of a worldview that compels us to repair the earth on which we live. And so long as dictators and terrorists stride the global stage - torturing their own, menacing others - there is no reason that we should exempt them from this worldview. They too must be fought."

Saddam is in place as the leader of Iraq because it pleased certain U. S. oil interests that he be the leader of Iraq. Until he turned against short-term U. S. geopolitical interests, his torturing and manacing were never mentioned by the 'liberals' who now find it so moral that he be removed. When are American liberals going to wake up and realize how bad things really are?

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

There's a funny argument going around that the United States should fight the war against Iraq because Saddam is a really bad guy and the removal of Saddam will be something that progressively-minded people should applaud. Thus, even if the Bush junta's motives are highly questionable, the results of the war will be good. A variation on this is that Saddam is going to be forced out anyway, and therefore it is better to force him out in an orderly manner, protecting various minority groups from what might be a messy situation. I have a few comments:

  1. This is really just a version of the old excuse for British colonialism, the 'white man's burden', to forcefully improve the lot of the various benighted races who lack the benefit of having a certain form of genes.

  2. Has American military intervention ever benefitted the invaded country. Cuba? No. Colombia? No. Grenada? Maybe a wash, though the invasion was completely unnecessary. Panama? Perhaps thousands killed (all hushed up), but perhaps an improvement only because the Americans removed their own evil stooge, Noriega. Haiti? No. Any of the other numerous places in Central and South America? No. Vietnam? Vietnam doesn't really count as the U. S. lost that war, but they were well on the way to destroying the villages in order to save the villages. Kosovo? No - a complete disaster. Afghanistan? No - a complete disaster and rapidly getting worse. The promises of reconstruction aid were lies. So if every other major effort by the U. S. at saving countries by attacking them has been an utter humanitarian disaster, why is Iraq going to be any different?

  3. There is no reason to suppose that Saddam's regime is in any way threatened by internal attacks. All manner of U. S. tricks over the years to destabilize Iraq by supporting enemies of Saddam have failed miserably. If the Iraqi people want to be truly rid of the Saddam legacy the only way is for them to remove him themselves.

  4. Pym Fortuyn, before he was so rudely interrupted, was making the rather bold argument that Islamic immigration into the Netherlands should be stopped because the fundamentalist views of many of the immigrants were not in accordance with traditional Dutch liberalism and tolerance. Some progressives are taking the view that the evil fundamentalist regimes in the Middle East should be replaced by Western military might, thus bringing these poor souls into the Enlightenment which they haven't had the good fortune to experience. One of the Crusaders marching on Jerusalem would have completely understood this type of argument. You can even add to it by suggesting that the problems of the Middle East have been caused by the effects of Western colonialism, and therefore an American war is only undoing the bad done by the Western colonial powers. This type of thinking is utterly arrogant and disrespectful of the lives of the victims of these 'humanitarian' wars.

  5. I makes me mad when I read columnists who I know haven't given Iraq a second thought in ten years suddenly jumping to the tune of the Bush junta in becoming insistent that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction suddenly pose an imminent threat to the United States. Have these people no shame? No, they have none.

  6. Whatever you think of Saddam, this war will set a precedent destroying the last hundred years of international law that will be used in the future by the United States and other countries to excuse whatever wars they want to fight. All the laws and international understandings created as a result of two world wars will be destroyed.

  7. Could anyone possibly think that a war destroying Iraq will encourage other repressive states in the region to suddenly become models of liberal and democratic virtue? It is much more likely that the Iraq example will put an end to any experiments in tolerance. In order for people to feel tolerant they need peace and security.

  8. It is probable that at least tens of thousands of innocent people are going to die, and the toadies of the Hegemon are perfectly content to cook up rationalizations for what is essentially the theft of the oil fields. Hitchens the Orwellian doesn't see the irony of the fact that he appears to be a clever propagandist for a bunch of warmongers.

Everyone knows what is going to happen. The United States is going to kill as many Iraqis as it needs to remove Saddam. It is then going to defend the oil fields, taking as much as it dares as 'reparations' for the costs of the war, and parcelling the control of the oil to American and British oil companies (and perhaps the oil comapnies of other countries who the Americans had to buy off to get Security Council votes). It will then completely abandon all the people of Iraq, there will be terrible civil wars, and much more death and suffering.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

I've put off writing about the American election because it gives me a headache and I'd rather not think about it too much, especially given all the suffering that the results are going to inevitably cause. There seem to be two related reasons being given for the Democratic disaster:

  1. The Democrats failed to take any positions different from the Bush junta on any important issue, and the completely 'tactical' campaign they attempted to run just didn't work. The general theory of the leaders of the Democrats was that they could win by default by scrupulously failing to take a position on any issue that someone might disagree with, and fall back on a general displeasure in the electorate with Bush's handling of the economy and his connections to crony capitalism. The official reasons why this didn't work appear to be: 1) it is logically impossible to simultaneously support every position of the party you are running against while claiming that that party is doing a wonderful job at managing those issues, and make the argument that the electorate should vote for you instead of them; and 2) the only issue that the electorate was concerned about was the fear of further terrorist attack, and the electorate was satisfied with the Bush Administration's position on fighting the war on terror, thus making the 'tactical' campaign of the Democrats completely irrelevant. Neither of these reasons is completely convincing. While the Democrats did support too much of the Bush agenda, they were resisting the worst of the plutocrat tax cuts, they were putting up opposition to Bush's friends' crony capitalism, and they were beginning to resist some of the worst excesses of the fascist security state. Despite the best efforts of the junta with all its phony terrorist warnings (and perhaps the October distraction of the snipers), it does not appear that the majority of the population supports the permanent state of war that the junta proposes, and, in particular, the majority of the population is not convinced of the prudence of a war on Iraq. Given that, the 'tactical' campaign should have worked, particularly given the propensity of any electorate to pass a message on to their leaders in mid-term elections by voting for the minority party (this propensity means that it won't do for the Democrats to claim that they really lost control of the Senate by only the cumulative effect of a few thousand votes, as they really should have won, given the circumstances, by many thousands of votes).

  2. Clinton destroyed the soul of the true Democratic Party by introducing large-scale corporate fundraising, which in turn led to a sharp turn in political philosophy to the right, and the corresponding loss of Democratic values. The idea appears to be that this dilution of the pure Democratic message caused traditional Democrat voters not to vote, thus leading to the extremely low turn-out and the loss of control of the Senate. Certain people have been on this 'Clinton did it' rant for years. It is amusing that the Republicans seems to hate Clinton as he was so successful at using traditional Republican methods against them, and the Democrats who hate Clinton hate him for the same reason. It strikes me that Clinton is a symptom, and not a cause, of the problems of the Democrats. If it had not been for his embracing of the Republican style of politics, the Democrats might not have won the two Presidential elections that he won. The idea that the Democrats would obtain more democratic success if they moved sharply to the left, to their supposedly historical roots, is laughable. Had they moved sharply to the left in this past election they would have done even worse than they did.

So why did the Democrats lose so badly? There has been a constant shift over the years from Democrat to Republican in all areas of politics. This was particularly noticeable during the Clinton era, and predictably, has been blamed on Clinton. I think this is unfair to Clinton, as the shift has been going on for many years. When was the last time that the Democrats actually outright won a Presidential election, rather than just winning by default? The JFK and Johnson wins. Carter only won because of the general disgust with Watergate, and Clinton only won because of the general exhaustion with 12 years of Reagan/Bush (and was reelected as he ran basically unopposed, and the complete lack of credible opposition is ironically the reason why Gore won). It is important to realize why Johnson was the last Democratic candidate for President who won because the electorate wanted to vote for him, rather than because it rejected the Republicans. Johnson brought in the civil rights legislation and much of the social welfare legislation that the Democrats rightly believe were the glory of the party (it is quite ironic, and perhaps instructive, that an ogre as bad as Johnson should have presided over such good legislation). In so doing, however, Johnson inadvertantly created the basis for the essentially racist hold that the Republicans have over American politics. The Vietnam War and the ensuing mass protests led to the creation of a gulf of perception between Nixon's 'silent majority' and what was then described as the counterculture, a rift that still exists to this day in a different form. Republican strategists wisely created the idea, based on a rather stupid nationalism, that war protestors were traitors, and associated such treason with the Democrats. The view was created that the civil rights movement and various social redistributive efforts by the Democrats were hidden forms of oppression of the white majority in favor of non-white minorities, and were just another form of the same treason. All of this is now hidden in the code words used by Republicans to describe Democrats. When Jeb Bush described McBride as a 'tax and spend' Democrat, cracker Florida voters had no problem reading that as a description of a man who wanted to redistribute white tax money to non-whites, and the race, with the Democrats running a perfectly credible candidate in an election where the electorate still should have been mad at Jeb for the last election fiasco, wasn't even close. Whenever you hear the words 'liberal' or 'soft on crime', there is a corresponding racist subtext. The whole war on drugs and the creation of the prison-industrial complex, not to mention the U. S. gun fetish and the fear that Democrats are 'gun grabbers', is part of the same subtext. The brilliance of the Republican strategy was to add to the racist vote the politically organized Christian religious fundamentalist vote, a group whose leaders have great powers to get the vote out. The Democrats, in their heroic shift from the party of racist oppression in the South to the party of social conscience, also lost any chance of doing well with voters who could be provoked to associate race issues with jingoistic U. S. nationalism (and the Republicans have now completely sewn up the traditionally Democratic South). The Vietnam protests allowed the Republicans to connect the Democrats to a form of treason which became associated with anti-white actions, and this same nationalism was successfully stirred up by 9-11. Of course, in 9-11 the racism was generally directed at Arabs and Muslims, and helps to explain why there was essentially no protest at the unconstitutional imprisonment of the thousands of young Muslim men who were (and are) imprisoned in the aftermath of 9-11. The Republican message is still that it is only the Republicans who have the will to protect white Christian folk from attack from other races or religions. This reached its height in the fact that a chicken hawk in Georgia was able to easily defeat war hero Senator Cleland by claiming that he was soft on terrorism for not supporting the Homeland Security legislation, when, with an essential irony that shouldn't be lost on the Democrats, Cleland's objection to the bill concerned the Republican attempt to sneak in a further erosion of labor union rights. The role of fighting non-white foreign terrorists is simply too powerful a weapon in the hands of the Republicans for the Democrats to be able to mount any kind of effective challenge. What does this mean?:

  1. The United States is fundamentally a much nastier place under the surface than most people are willing to believe. The deep racism of American politics makes possible the evils of American foreign policy, and explains the rather bizarre way that many Americans have of voting against their class interests in order to ensure preservation of what they perceive as their race interests.

  2. There is no real strategy that the Democrats can take that will ensure that they will win any given election. They have effectively been marginalized into what amounts to a third party. While the Gephardt/Daschle/McAuliffe strategy was stupid, and the Democrats should get rid of the lot of them, the strategy itself wasn't the fundamental reason for the Democratic disaster.

  3. The Democrats are not finished, and no doubt will do well again. The current Administration is now so completely arrogant that it will get into all sorts of trouble. If the war on Iraq goes well, that will just encourage them in their series of colonialist wars until they start one that runs into a disaster. The draft is sure to come, and the tens of thousands of body bags will just as surely follow. The obviously Republican judges will decimate the popular reproductive choice protections, and the continued crony capitalism will become even more outrageous. The environment will start obviously to be destroyed, and by the second George term or the first Jeb term the lack of American industrial competitiveness caused by the American failure to follow the Kyoto protocol will start to become obvious as wasteful American firms won't be able to compete with countries that have learned how to produce the same output using less energy. Eventually, some foolish war will result in destruction of the oil fields somewhere, leading to another fake 'oil crisis', and, in the ultimate political problem, SUV's will have to be parked. Even after stealing the Iraqi and Saudi oil fields, the cost of all the wars will destroy the U. S. economy. There's plenty of hope for the Democrats yet.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Mir Aimal Kansi, who I recently wrote about, is slated to be executed by the State of Virginia on November 14, 2002. The U. S. State Department has issued a 'Worldwide Caution', based on the fear that this execution may trigger retaliatory attacks against Americans. Just as in the case of McVeigh an execution is going to occur where evidence is going to be irretrievably lost, and just as in the case of McVeigh this will presumably suit some in the U. S. government just fine. Kansi is calling for there to be no retaliatory attacks, and claims that his actions were not terrorism, but were a response to U. S. policy in the Middle East and American support for Israel. I still find this extraordinarily suspicious, as I do not see how to make any sense out of his taking random shots at people based only on the fact that they might have worked for the CIA, and then disappearing without drawing any political connection until after he was caught. Did he think that shooting a few Americans who possibly worked for the CIA would be a logical response to U. S. policy in the Middle East? Was this supposed to change U. S. policy? What does he mean when he claims that what he did "had nothing to do with terrorism"? Commuting his sentence to life imprisonment would: 1) preserve the possibility of obtaining evidence from Mr. Kansi, particularly as he does not seem to hold a grudge against the United States but only claims to have had a problem with certain American actions; and 2) preserve the lives of those Americans who will probably be killed in retaliation for the execution. Just how important is it to prevent Kansi from ever being able to tell the real story of what happened?

Saturday, November 02, 2002

The most important piece of evidence in a shooting case is the gun. If you can connect the gun to the victims through ballistics, and the gun to the shooter through fingerprints, possession, or some kind of documentary evidence, then you have excellent evidence to convict your suspect of the crime. This type of evidence is critical when you lack witnesses and lack a confession, as we do in the case of John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo. When these two suspects were apprehended, a search of the car revealed a number of pieces of evidence, including a gun. This gun was then linked ballistically to almost all of the shootings (due to the damage to some of the bullets, the tests were inconclusive in two of the murders). Case closed, right? Well, maybe not. Here's how the issue was reported by CBS News in an article dated October 25, 2002:

"Law enforcement officials tell CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart they recovered a .223 caliber Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle from the suspects' car. Police also found a scope and a bipod in the vehicle."


"The gun recovered from the trunk was a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, .223 caliber, model A-35, XM15."

This was the gun that was apparently ballistically linked to the shootings. The oddity is that another version of the same story exists in a number of places on the internet (see here and here and here and here and here), with an interesting change to the sentence I quoted above, which reads as follows (with the changed words in italics):

"Sources tell CBS News that the gun recovered from the trunk was a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, .223 caliber, model A-35, xm15-e2s, serial number l-166036."

Apparently, someone at CBS has seen fit to slightly change the article to remove reference to the serial number (this type of change to articles on the internet is called 'scrubbing'). The really interesting thing about this serial number is that we know it ties the gun conclusively to John Muhammad. A State of Washington Firearm Transfer form, referred to in court documentation concerning the restraining order issued against Muhammad (which court documentation is itself referred to in what appears to be an October 2002 Complaint and affidavit by a BATF Agent), "reflects that on or about May 23, 2000, JOHN ALLEN MUHAMMAD transferred a Bushmaster rifle, semi-automatic .223 caliber, model A-35, XM15-E2S, serial number L166036." L166036. This seems to conclusively prove the John Muhammad owned the gun found in the car, and should be perfect evidence against him. Actually, it may be conclusive evidence to show he was framed. There are a whole lot of problems with this gun:

  1. Notice that the form is a State of Washington Firearm Transfer form. Muhammad was selling the gun to the gun shop from whence he had bought it.

  2. Muhammad had bought the gun from the gun shop before he was in trouble with the law over violence against his wife, and therefore had no original difficulty in buying the gun. If he had wanted to buy it back, however, a computer check should have shown the gun shop that it was illegal for Muhammad to buy the gun due to the restraining order that was outstanding against him, and they should not have sold it to him. How, then, did he get it back?

  3. He may have stolen it from the gun shop, but according to the people who work there, their procedures make that highly unlikely. The gun shop itself appears to have no records of its sale (although they have the box it came in), and did not report it stolen, as is required by law.

  4. An additional huge problem with the gun is the records of the manufactuter, Bushmaster. Whatever serial number was supplied to Bushmaster by the authorities described a gun that was shipped to a distributor in Washington state in June 2002. How could this gun be the same gun that Muhammad owned in May 2000?

When the authorities went in to examine the Texas School Book Depository in November 1963, they originally removed a rifle, the supposed weapon used by Lee Harvey Oswald, which police detectives skilled in firearms identified as a 'Mauser'. Soon, this weapon was identified as the now-famous 'Mannlicher-Carcano'. Why the change? There was documentary evidence tying Oswald into the purchase by mail (as if an assassin would purchase his weapon in a traceable manner!) of a Mannlicher-Carcano. It thus appears that the gun that was found, a Mauser, was replaced with a gun that could be tied to Oswald. In the Muhammad case, it appears very likely that the gun which could be tied to Muhammad, the gun with the serial number 'l-166036', was used to commit the shootings and was planted in his car to tie him to the shootings (it needn't be the exact same gun, but just a gun of the same type whose serial number was changed to the number that gun records showed had belonged to Muhammad). This was a fairly sophisticated operation, as the same gun was apparently used in a shooting in Baton Rouge, and in Montgomery, Alabama. It is important to note that Muhammad and Malvo were only seen with a handgun at the Montgomery shooting, meaning that someone else used the magic gun to leave ballistic evidence at the site (how can we be sure that it was Muhammad who phoned the police to tie him and Malvo to the Montgomery crime, a connection which eventually solved the whole case?). Someone had obtained a gun which could be tied to Muhammad (or a similar gun with an altered serial number), used it to murder people in Baton Rouge and Montgomery and used it in the Maryland/Virginia shootings (perhaps driving a white van), and then given it to the authorities, who then planted it in Muhammad's car or at least claim they found it there. Some overeager 'source' then described the gun to CBS News, foolishly including the serial number, a serial number which CBS dutifully reported. Some higher officials probably read the report and realized to their horror that the serial number was way too much information, allowing someone to put the pieces together and realize that Muhammad must have been framed. Thus, the serial number was scrubbed from the report on the CBS website, but lives on in the various other places it was reprinted before it was edited (the story was so convoluted that some press reports were completely mixed up, an example of which is here). The only possible more innocent explanation is that the 'source' assumed that the serial number on the gun found must be that of the gun which Muhammad last owned in May 2000, but since Muhammad sold the gun it is difficult to see why the 'source' would make that assumption unless he also knew that Muhammad had been framed with the gun but didn't realize the danger in making the connection too explicit, and it doesn't begin to explain how the ballistics matches with the Alabama shooting if Muhammad and Malvo only used a handgun. It is much more likely that the perpetrators outsmarted themselves by using a gun which could be tied to Muhammad, not realizing that the connection to Muhammad also tends to make it look like he was framed. 'Lee Harvey' Muhammad and 'James Earl' Molvo were patsies, and their patsy-fication follows the same guide that has been used to establish U. S. patsies to hide political crimes for at least 40 years. Their extremely wide-ranging travels without any obvious source of funds reminds me of the travels of both James Earl Ray and Arthur Bremmer (the man who shot George Wallace). The general method seems to be to send the patsy on a 'mission' for his country (like Oswald or McVeigh, these people tend to be very patriotic, which is also why, like Muhammad, they tend to have a lot of military service), a mission which establishes guilt and leaves them in a compromised situation at the time that the political crime is committed.