Friday, October 31, 2003

Odd Washington meetings on 9-11

On September 11, 2001, there were two odd meetings held in Washington, DC:

  1. George Bush, the father of the current President, was at an investment conference hosted by the Carlyle Group, along with James Baker and Shafiq bin Laden, who is described as an estranged brother of Osama bin Laden; and

  2. General Mehmood Ahmad, the director of Pakistan's ISI, was at a breakfast meeting at the Capitol with the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Porter Goss (who used to be in the CIA), who were actually quizzing him about Osama bin Laden and other issues when they heard about the WTC attacks (some accounts call it a 'quiet breakfast meeting', but others have more people in attendance).

So the idea is that this is very suspicious, as the bin Laden brother's meeting with Bush and Baker ties the bin Laden family to the Bush Crime Family on the very day when Osama attacked the United States (with the conspirators at Carlyle presumably discussing how they would profit off the war on terror which they knew would result from the attacks), and the head of the ISI, who has been accused of funding Mohammed Atta, meeting with the U. S. politicians in charge of overseeing American intelligence operations (which had to be manipulated to allow the attacks to occur). It seems to me that if either Shafiq bin Laden or General Ahmad had any inkling of the terrorist attack, the last place on earth they would want to be caught is in a public meeting with people who could in some way be connected to the framework of the terrorism. They may very well have wanted to be around to take advantage of the attacks, but they would not be in a suspicious position if they were aware that the attacks were about to occur. On the other hand, it would make perfect sense for someone who was working on the creation of an official explanation for what happened to arrange for these people to be in compromised positions on September 11. This allows for the option to elaborate the Official Story about 9-11 in whatever direction suits the manipulators at the time. It may seem odd, but this type of flexibility seems to be a part of all the best intelligence planning. The idea is to provide damning evidence against all possible groups which you might want to blame or manipulate, so that you will have the maximum options available to you depending on how the conspiracy develops. Playing up the Shafiq bin Laden angle allows them to solidify the Saudi and bin Laden family connection to 9-11, and even may allow them to put pressure on the President himself. Playing up the General Ahmad angle allows them to implicate Pakistan and the ISI, and may even allow them to put pressure on Pakistan to remove General Ahmad and rein in the ISI. The only people who were in a position to make such meta-plans would be those who both knew exactly when the attack was to occur, and were in a position to see to it that Shafiq bin Laden and General Ahmad were in the compromised positions at the requisite times.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

New Iraqi terrorists

Everybody in the world can now see that the anti-occupation violence in Iraq is spiraling out of control, except for Bush and his neocon posse, and the warmongers and warbloggers who love them. If this were just billions and billions of dollars of money transferred to Halliburton and Bechtel and the military contractors, and the lives of hundreds of American soldiers (not to mention their limbs and sanity), it would be intolerable, but perhaps the real problem is the monster that Bush is creating in Iraq. The American occupation is systematically creating a cadre of war-hardened, determined, violent, anti-American fighters motivated in part by radical religious leaders. They are getting on-the-job training in the arts of terrorism. Where have we seen this kind of thing before? In Afghanistan, from 1979 to 1992, when the CIA supported the 'Arabs' in the war against the Russians. That led to the radicalized group the American authorities now like to call 'al Qaeda'. When the Americans eventually leave Iraq, they will leave behind a very angry group of men who will not want to stop their favorite new hobby, killing Americans. Bush said:

"The Baathists try to create chaos and fear because they realize that a free Iraq will deny them the excessive privileges they had under Saddam Hussein. The foreign terrorists are trying to create conditions of fear and retreat because they fear a free and peaceful state in the midst of a part of the world where terror has found recruits - that freedom is exactly what terrorists fear the most."

It is the Americans who are the foreign terrorists, and the conditions of fear they have created in Iraq will certainly create many more anti-American terrorists. The longer the Americans stay - because the neocons don't want to abandon their plans to give the Middle East a queer makeover, because Bush dosn't want to admit he made one of the largest mistakes in U. S. history, and because Cheney's close personal friends aren't yet done stealing from the Iraqi and American peoples - the more terrorists will be created.

Wolfowitz attack

The Americans are trying to portray the attack on the Al Rasheed hotel which almost (damn!) killed Paul Wolfowitz as a random attack that could not possibly have been targeted at Wolfowitz. What they would like us not to notice is that the attack hit the room directly under Wolfowitz's room. We know this because Robert Fisk reports he was 'a room away' from one of the hits, and Wolfowitz himself effectively confirms he was one story above a hit. That's some fine luck, not to mention some pretty fine shooting. It should be abundantly clear that the Iraqis have completely infiltrated the American command with their own spies, and know everything the Americans are doing. Next time they won't miss. Wolfowitz went to visit a badly injured American, which led to this paragraph in the Associated Press story:

"A badly wounded American colonel, who had grown up in Beirut but lives in Arlington, Va., gave Wolfowitz the thumbs-up when he was asked: 'How do you feel about building a new Middle East?'"

'How do you feel about building a new Middle East?' What a stupid, insensitive, dweebish, neocon question! My guess is that the colonel's gone native, and is using the Iraqi meaning of 'thumbs up'.

Fate of date farmers

Whatever happened about the Iraqi farmers who had their date palms and citrus trees bulldozed by American troops? Did they get any compensation, or even an apology? Did anyone in the American officialdom even acknowledge their existence?

Monday, October 27, 2003

Loftus conta Saudis

I have been complaining about the recent overwhelming PR program in the disgusting American media to pin much of the blame for 9-11 and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism on the Saudis. This appears to be the sole thought all across the American political spectrum, from Michael Moore to Michael Ledeen. The idea seems to have suddenly occurred to right-wingers after the Saudis attempted to intervene in early 2002 in the Palestinian problem to propose peace, something that must never be allowed to occur. Blaming the Saudis seems to be the shot across the bow which has kept them quiet on the plight of the Palestinians, and created a not very veiled threat that the Saudis might find themselves in trouble with the next neocon war if they don't go along with American ideas about the production and pricing and development of their oil. The lefties, on the other hand, have become enamored of the idea as they see it as a method of attacking George Bush and his shady business connections with various Saudi businessmen. The leftist argument is that Bush and the Republicans are protecting their evil Saudi friends because they make so much money off the oil business. Here is an interesting exchange in an interview by Keith Olbermann of John Loftus, beginning with Loftus discussing the arrest of Abdurahman Alamoudi (I've emphasized some of the 'best' parts):

"Well, you know, it's a funny story. About a year-and-a-half ago, people in the intelligence community came and said guys like Alamoudi and Sami al-Arian and other terrorists weren't being touched because they’d been ordered not to investigate the cases, not to prosecute them, because there were being funded by the Saudis and a political decision was being made at the highest levels, don't do anything that would embarrass the Saudi government. So, of course I immediately volunteered to do it and I filed a lawsuit, against al-Arian charging him with being a major terrorist for Islamic Jihad, most of his money came from Saudi charities in Virginia.

Now, Alamoudi's headquarters were in the same place, he was raided the same day, on March 20. An hour after I filed my lawsuit, the U.S. government finally got off its butt and they raided these offices. And, the stuff that they're taking out of there now is absolutely horrendous. Al-Arian has now, finally been indicted, an along with Alamoudi, today.

But, who was it that fixed the cases? How could these guys operate for more than a decade immune from prosecution? And, the answer is coming out in a very strange place. What Alamoudi and al-Arian have in common is a guy named Grover Norquist. He’s the super lobbyist. Newt Gingrich's guy, the one the NRA calls on, head of American taxpayers. He is the guy that was hired by Alamoudi to head up the Islamic institute and he's the registered agent for Alamoudi, personally, and for the Islamic Institute.

Grover Norquist's best friend is Karl Rove, the White House chief of staff, and apparently Norquist was able to fix things. He got extreme right wing Muslim people to be the gatekeepers in the White House. That's why moderate Americans couldn't speak out after 9/11. Moderate Muslims couldn't get into the White House because Norquist's friends were blocking their access.

OLBERMANN: How does this tie back into the thing that apparently pulled the stopper out of the drain, if you will - The developers at Guantanamo bay? How rotten is the system of the interpreters and the chaplains - the Muslim Chaplains that Alamoudi was involved in setting up?

LOFTUS: It's as rotten as it gets. Think of the Muslim chaplain's program that he set up as a spy service for al-Qaeda. The damage that's been done is extreme. It wasn't just sending home mom and dad messages from the prisoners. These guys, this network in Guantanamo, stole the CIA's briefing books. Everything that the CIA knew about al-Qaeda is now back in al-Qaeda hands. That's about as bad an intelligence setback as you can get.

OLBERMANN: John, how does this end up? How far will the investigation into this necessarily have to go to get to the bottom of it?

LOFTUS: There's a lot more to go. Norquist had a lot of other clients. There's a whole alphabet soup of Saudi agencies that funded terrorism in this country. They had an awful lot of protection. And, one of the things we may find about 9/11 is that people out in the field weren’t allowed to connect the dots and questions will be asked weather guys like Grover Norquist were part of the problem?

OLBERMANN: I got chills down my spine. The former Justice Department official, John Loftus of radio's 'Loftus Report.' As always John, many thanks."

Wow! I have a few comments:

  1. Loftus is the co-author of the amazing book "The Secret War Against the Jews". This book has a great heap of excellent information in it (lots of good stuff on the Nazi connections of the Bush crime family, something that has recently come out in the news), but is one of the nuttiest things I've ever read. The basic thesis, which is repeated over and over, is that the Anglo-American establishment is utterly anti-Semitic and has done horrible things to the Jewish people (I can't argue with that), but the Jewish people have always prevailed by using the threat of revealing these horrible things to the public as blackmail to force these anti-Semites to help Israel (sheer craziness).

  2. Notice how the names of Norquist, Rove and Gingrich (!) all find their way into the argument. For leftists, these are all names associated with pure evil, and thus the Islamic charities are damned by association. The game is to suck in the lefties by associating the charities with the nasties of the Republicans, and suck in the righties with the general anti Islamic racism which has become so popular in a country which is prone to racism.

  3. Loftus says, referring to Norquist:

    "He got extreme right wing Muslim people to be the gatekeepers in the White House. That's why moderate Americans couldn’t speak out after 9/11. Moderate Muslims couldn't get into the White House because Norquist's friends were blocking their access."

    Do you think that Loftus actually believes that 'extreme right wing Muslim people' are the 'gatekeepers in the White House'? I haven't heard anything that funny in quite a while.

  4. Reading this, you might think that Abdurahman Alamoudi is some kind of terrorist. Actually, he is a prominent leader in the American Islamic community, and was arrested for the technical violation of receiving money from Libya for a charity which he runs (although a federal affidavit in support of denying him bail goes much further in attempting to claim that he is associated with charities which fund terrorism) . Since Libya is still a pariah according to the United States, Alamoudi finds himself in trouble.

  5. Abdurahman Alamoudi helped to set up the Muslim chaplain program which is currently being used to assist the poor victims of the current American insanity who find themselves caged in conditions worse than animals should have to face at the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. One of these chaplains has been arrested for what appears to be very minor breaches of security (two interpreters have been arrested on what may be more serious charges, although at least one of those may also have fallen afoul of the 'politics' of the base). It appears that the chaplain overstepped the tight military security in attempting to assuage the suffering that these prisoners must feel as they are held in indefinite and possible permanent detainment, contrary to all terms of American law (which is said not to apply because the camp is on an old colonial relic of the American empire in Cuba), international law, and our basic understanding of natural justice. Loftus writes:

    "These guys, this network in Guantanamo, stole the CIA's briefing books. Everything that the CIA knew about al-Qaeda is now back in al-Qaeda hands. That's about as bad an intelligence setback as you can get."

    Do you think that Loftus believes that the chaplains at Guantanamo Bay have access to "everything that the CIA knew about al-Qaeda"? Would the CIA leave it lying around so that a chaplain could steal it? This idea may be funnier than all those extreme right wing Muslim gatekeepers in the White House.

  6. Sami al-Arian is the Florida professor who is currently being held awaiting trial. On all accounts of those who know him he is a moderate, but a supporter of the Palestinian cause, and therefore fell under the current American purge of all those who don't toe the Zionist party line. He is being held on the same kind of vague suspicions of the use of charities to fund terrorism that now seem to be a permanent part of the American legal repression of uppity Muslims. Remember all those thousands of Muslim men who were noisily arrested in the wake of 9-11, treated as if the United States lacks a constitution, and then just as quietly released?

  7. Academics who are in any way sympathetic to the Palestinian cause appear to be subject to a concerted attack by ultra-Zionists in a program that resembles McCarthyism. Even if these attacks lead to no convictions or even arrests, they represent the removal from American academic discourse of any people prepared to argue for the cause of the Palestinians or of Muslims generally.

  8. I can't figure Loftus out at all. He's a great researcher, but his politics is difficult to interpret. On his web site, under a link entitled "Why Loftus serves on pro-Muslim boards", he points out that he "volunteers as General Legal Counsel, Root & Branch Association and Advisory Board Member of the Association's Islam-Israel Fellowship", and then prints the text of a very odd address by a controversial Italian Muslim which follows exactly the usual Zionist anti-Saudi line. Root and Branch claims to promote "cooperation between the State of Israel and other nations, and between Jews and B'nai Noah (non-Jews) in Israel and abroad, to build a better world based on the universal Noahide Covenant and Laws as commanded by the G-d of Israel in the Bible and Jewish Tradition." 'Noahide Laws' is one of those code terms you look for when ferreting out Christian Zionists, which shouldn't really be a surprise. We are going to be hearing more and more (some of it from me) about the role of Zionists and Christian Zionists in the big conspiracy which the rest of the world currently faces.

I have no doubt that Islamic charities have been used to fund terrorism, and that many Islamic charities are largely funded by Saudi money. In fact, after the collapse of BCCI, the terrorist funding funneled through that bank was simply shifted over to a series of charities. That does not mean that every Islamic charity is a funder of terrorism, or that the main leaders of Saudi Arabia have any interest in being associated with terrorism. The current rather obvious campaign to associate the Saudis with 9-11 and terrorist threats to the United States has to be seen in the context of the 'hand off' which occurred at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Before that time, Israel was officially regarded in the United States as the American bulwark against Soviet influence in the Middle East (and the Americans were simultaneously able to control the large Arab states due to the fact that they hated the communists more than they hated the Jews). When the Soviet Union collapsed, Israel seemed to have no strategic purpose for the Americans. The fear of Islamic terrorism was generated to fill this gap, and has grown into a monster. Israel is now depicted as serving as a bulwark against the evil America-hating fundamentalist-supporting Arab states (and Iran). At the same time, the 'war on terror' is used as the bogus excuse for American imperialist wars which serve both to satisfy Israeli security concerns and to build American corporate control over strategic resources. This switch wasn't done because the anti-Semitic American Powers That Be suddenly developed a love for the Jewish people, but purely for geopolitical reasons associated with controlling the wealth under the ground in the Middle East (although it is also the case that the Zionists have cleverly managed to infiltrate the American government and steer the tendencies of the Powers That Be in a Zionist direction). The current Saudi attack is just another manifestation of this program, and finds fertile ground in a country that is very prone to racism.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Iraq's non-nuclear program

It is absolutely certain that Iraq's nuclear program, which ended in the early 1990's, was never started up again. Judith Miller's infamous aluminum tubes were not meant for uranium enrichment, but were rockets, and their strategic unimportance is underlined by the fact that the Americans have taken no steps to secure them. We've heard a lot from the Bush Administration about 'weapons of mass destruction', but we have learned, particularly from David Kelly and his associates in their consideration of Blair's shameful lying dossier, that there was never any real danger from either biological or chemical weapons. Saddam simply lacked the delivery mechanism and the technology to make these weapons effective. The only possible threat was from nuclear weapons, and the simple truth was that Saddam had no nuclear weapons program. The main reason he lacked such a program was that he feared detection by the much-maligned weapons inspectors, and had they been allowed to continue to operate, Iraq would have never posed a danger. General Hussein Kamel, who had been in charge of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, in 1995 told U. N. officials, and American and British intelligence officials, that he had personally ordered the destruction of all chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the missiles to deliver them (see also here and here). When the story came out in Newsweek, CIA spokesman Bill Harlow angrily denied it, but his face must have been red when Glen Rangwala was slipped a copy of the transcript of Kamal's U. N. interview a few days later (see pp. 13-14 for the destruction, p. 7 for the effectiveness of the U. N. inspectors, and p. 3 for comments on American favorite Dr. Hamza). Kamal's information was hidden from the American and British publics, and indeed was completely misconstrued so that it could be used as evidence for Saddam's having weapons of mass destruction (note the specific lies ascribed to Kamal's testimony), so that Bush and his poodle Blair could have themselves a little war. Now that we are absolutely certain that there was no nuclear program, isn't it time that somebody paid a political price for all these lies?

Saturday, October 25, 2003

The Israeli-American Apartheid Wall

The infamous Israeli-American apartheid wall is not being built along the Green Line but is allowed to significantly drift over onto Palestinian land. This incursion has already created a major problem concerning the Palestinian land between the border and the wall. From The Palestine Monitor (or here; my emphasis):

"On October 2, the Israeli military released an order declaring all occupied West Bank land between the 'security' wall and Israel's pre-occupation 1967 border a 'Closed Zone'. The order states that 'no person will enter the (Closed Zone) and no one will remain there.' Free access to the Closed Zone will only be granted to 'Israelis'. In this October 2nd order, General Moshe Kaplinski defines 'Israelis' as any citizen of the state of Israel, resident of the state of Israel, and any one eligible to emigrate to Israel in accordance with the Law of Return, 1950. This means therefore, that while the 15,300 Palestinian residents in this 115 square km area, or those in adjoining communities who own agricultural land here (180,000 people) must now obtain highly unreliable permits to validate their existence, any Jewish person from anywhere in the world is quite free to come and settle on this land."


"The order stipulates that all crossing into the isolated areas is prohibited unless a 'permit' from the Occupation 'Civil Administration' is obtained, which can only be done by land owners who 'prove' that they have land residing behind the Wall or are 'officially registered' workers. Farmers and residents are fearful however that were they to apply for 'permits' the well-grounded reality is that they would be denied on the basis that their Jordanian land certificates will not be recognized - Israeli authorities are all too aware that the majority of Palestinian certificates are Jordanian since land registration in the West Bank took place under Jordanian rule prior to the 1967 Occupation."

Here is a translation of the order. A massive Israeli bureaucracy is apparently going to be required to handle the paperwork of the massive number of permits that Palestinians will require to try to continue to live their lives. Permits will be needed to live in the 'Closed Zone' (just as with the original apartheid, Israeli apartheid comes with its own vocabulary), as well as to visit agricultural land cut off from its owners by the wall. It is a certainty that the Israelis will use control of the gates to make use of this agricultural land practically impossible. Just as with the use of the checkpoints, the Israelis want to make the lives of the Palestinians intolerable through the imposition of innumerable petty bureaucratic decisions, each of which has a huge negative impact on the lives of the individuals subject to the bureaucracy (this has already started). It has been estimated that 70,000 Palestinians will be cut off, effectively caged by the Israeli-American apartheid wall. The Israelis have also cleverly routed the wall to give Israel almost complete control over the Western Aquifer System, continuing the almost complete monopoly Israel has over water in the West Bank. The Israeli-American apartheid wall - and it is at least as much an American wall as Israeli, built with American money, American international support, and American approval - is a clear breach of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (which Israel has not ratified; many first-world countries have also not ratified it), and the Fourth Geneva Convention (which Israel has signed and ratified, but claims doesn't apply to the Occupied Territories!), section 47 of which states:

"Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory."

Benjamin Netanyahu, who will presumably run Israel after Sharon, has implied that the wall will demarcate the permanent border, and thus will constitute a completely illegal annexation of land. The intent is obviously to formalize the bantustans that Israel has always wanted to create in the Occupied Territories, caging the Palestinians in such intolerable conditions that they will eventually have to leave. Who will stop the wall?

Friday, October 24, 2003

Lynch deaths

Of the soldiers involved in the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, one has already died in a mysterious single car crash (at 8 o'clock in the morning, while wearing his seat belt and on his way to his fiancee's house, he swerved off the road and hit some trees), and one has died in a mysterious shooting by a hooded man. This shooting is described a gang related, although the victim was not a member of a gang. Both of the deceased soldiers were in units which created the diversion which allowed special forces to rescue Lynch (or so the story goes . . . ). I would advise any other soldiers involved in that rescue operation to make sure their life insurance is fully paid up. Two people dead isn't much of a coincidence, but two people dead in completely mysterious ways is.

Gaza attack equals Liberty

The bomb attack which killed three American Dyncorp rent-a-thugs (allegedly guarding some delicate flowers in the CIA) in the Gaza Strip was immediately ascribed to Palestinian terrorists. This appears to be based on nothing except for an anonymous call which was immediately denied by the group supposedly responsible, and the normal prejudices of the disgusting American media. More sober thought would lead one to the conclusion that the attack was almost certainly not by the Palestinians. If it was an Israeli attack, it would not be the first time that the Israelis have attacked an American target as part of their struggle to achieve their evil dream of Greater Israel.

Finally the Good News


Thursday, October 23, 2003

Bush Doctrine

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. has an review (or here) in The New York Review of Books, in which he considers the so-called 'Bush Doctrine', the doctrine that the United States is entitled to engage in preventative war. This is a subject worth thinking about. The Bush Administration has attempted to claim that it engages in 'preemptive war' - war that is fought in response to a direct, immediate and specific threat - a type of war which is closer to legitimacy than preventative war, which has been considered to be beyond the pale by every U. S. post-war Administration. The idea that the threat to the United States is no longer from nation states, but from terrorists, has allowed the American ideologues to blur the distinction between preventative war and preemptive war, on the basis that it is much more difficult to determine the specific nature of the threat. As Schlesinger points out, however, there is no possible way to argue that the attack on Iraq was preemptive war. It was clearly a preventative war, 'anticipatory self-defense', and was thus completely without justification under international law and norms of behavior. The doctrine of preventative war is merely the excuse used by the American ideologues to hide their real plans, which are for exploitation of the current status of the United States as the sole superpower to create global American hegemony over the world's strategic resources. Schlesinger traces the new doctrine of American global hegemony through unilateral action back to the suppressed Cheney/Wolfowitz Pentagon draft Defense Planning Guidance of 1992, the neocon/Israeli 1996 paper entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" (a document which grows more scary with each passing day, and the probable blueprint for the military future of the United States), and the 1998 PNAC open letter to President Clinton advocating an attack on Iraq. The Bush Administration intellectuals have tried to force the doctrine of U. S. global hegemony under the international law rubric of preemptive war, where it doesn't fit, and tried to claim that the Iraq attack was a legitimate preemptive war, when it was clearly an illegitimate preventative war. Bush himself, who we are coming to see as essentially a religious fruitcake, has managed to justify the neocon/Zionist nonsense under the idea that he has a mission from God to preserve the United States and rid the world of terrorism. Since he is on this mission, he is allowed to use U. S. power to assert American hegemony over the world in pursuit of what God wants him to do. Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons are almost like Bush's Rasputin, playing on his deep religious insanity and well-deserved intellectual insecurity to convince him to run roughshod over international law in order to force through their plans for Israeli dominance in the Middle East and American corporate dominance over the world's resources. Bush's insanity and the ease with which he has been manipulated has left the United States in a terrible position, with the doctrines of international law, carefully nurtured by successive American Administrations because they were in the interests of the United States, in tatters. Schlesinger writes:

"What is the status of the Bush Doctrine today? Practically speaking, it has been sorely damaged by Mr. Bush's shrunken credibility. The entire case for preventive war rests on the assumption that we have accurate and reliable intelligence about the enemy's intentions and military capacity - accurate and reliable enough to send our young men and women to kill and die.

But 'instead of using intelligence as evidence on which to base a decision about policy,' as Robin Cook, the former British foreign secretary who resigned from Tony Blair's cabinet over the war, said, 'we used intelligence as the basis on which to justify a policy on which we had already settled.'"

The most amazing thing of all is that even with:

  • an easily manipulated President with an insane Messiah complex,

  • the doctrine of preemptive war stretched completely out of shape to cover preventative war,

  • preventative war used as a cover for the assertion of global unilateral American/Israeli hegemony, and

  • the misuse of fear of terrorism to tie everything together,

the neocons were still fearful that they could not find the factual intelligence basis to justify the attack against Iraq. As Seymour Hersh points out in another of his masterful articles (see also here), the neocons systematically destroyed the usual checks and balances in the American intelligence system so they could have full control over the raw intelligence data. This allowed them to pick and choose what data they wanted to see about Iraq, without the use of the usual judgment of intelligence experts about the quality of the data. This process led directly to the fact that the attack on Iraq was based entirely on lies (lies which they still won't give up, with Cheney spouting them on a regular basis and Bush prepared to spend another $600 million to send Kay back to Iraq to look for something that isn't there). The disaster is even worse because the same system of lie production supported the faulty intelligence that the Iraqis would welcome the invasion, a mistake that has led directly to the woeful problems in which American troops now find themselves, not to mention the billions of dollars the Americans will need to spend on Iraq to keep the place from falling completely apart so they can steal the oil (unilateral war means unilateral paying for the reconstruction). The doctrine of preemptive war depends on a near perfect intelligence system, so that you may be certain that you have the data that the threat to you is indeed direct, immediate and specific, and so that you may argue that you had no choice but to attack to avoid an imminent threat that could only be avoided through the use of war. The Bush Administration officials not only lacked such intelligence, they went out of their way to ensure that the information they had was tainted by their own prejudices, and untroubled by the oversight of experts (and the problem still exists and is being used to manipulate the United States into another disastrous war against Syria, as proven by Bolton's recent testimony consisting of more neocon intelligence lies, the upcoming sanctions against Syria, and Bush's bizarre enthusiastic support for Sharon's recent unilateral unprovoked attack on Syria). As Schlesinger points out, this has led to three big problems on top of the immediate military and financial problems in Iraq:

  • in the words of Henry the K, "It is not in the American national interest to establish preemption as a universal principle available to every nation," but that's exactly what Bush has done;

  • most of the rest of the world now vehemently hates the United States (this has already started to manifest itself in the commercial problems of brand-name products associated with the United States, the failure of American to succeed in international negotiations, and an increase in the popularity of anti-American terrorist organizations); and

  • the Bush Doctrine has completely messed up American constitutional checks and balances, putting way too much power in the hands of the President.

Schlesinger does a particularly good job in raising the last point, a point which has been largely ignored. The failure of the American press and Congress to serve as any opposition to Bush's plans has put the United States into what should be regarded as a constitutional crisis. Schlesinger writes:

"On February 15, 1848, during the war with Mexico, a young Illinois congressman sent a letter to his law partner pointing out the constitutional and practical flaws in what we now call the Bush Doctrine. 'Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion,' Abraham Lincoln wrote William H. Herndon,

and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure . . . . If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent: I see it, if you don't.'

The Philadelphia convention, Lincoln said, had 'resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.'"

The whole point of the American constitutional system is to provide checks and balances on the exercise of power by any one branch of government. The hallucinations of the President are not supposed to be sufficient to lead to war. The Bush Doctrine has completely destroyed the checks and balances, and it is now possible for the bogus fear of terrorism and a manipulated intelligence system to be used to force the country into war on the say-so of the President alone. An arguably insane President has been manipulated into a disastrous war (with even more disastrous wars to follow), with the Bush Doctrine:

  • destroying the international doctrines of war which have benefited the U. S.,

  • destroying the international reputation of the United States,

  • precluding international cooperation with America's former allies,

  • increasing the danger of terrorism to Americans,

  • destroying the fundamental basis of the American intelligence gathering and analysis system, and

  • destroying the checks and balances at the core of the American constitutional system.

It's quite a little doctrine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Carlyle without Bush

The Financial Times reports:

"George Bush, former US president, is retiring from his position as senior adviser to the Carlyle Group, officials at the well-connected Washington-based private equity firm said yesterday."


"Carlyle offered no particular explanation for the retirement of Mr Bush, other than his age and desire to move on to other endeavours."

Desire to move on to other endeavours? Couldn't they come up with something better than that? That's what a corporation says of an executive it has fired. Bush wouldn't have had to do anything as senior advisor, except lend them the benefit of his 'prestigious' name and occasionally have drinks with some dictator who was feeling pangs of conscience about spending his country's money, otherwise slated to keep its starving citizens from dying, on some shiny weapons from Carlyle. Carlyle's web site says:

"Former President Bush was at one time the Senior Advisor to the Carlyle Asia Advisory Board but retired from that position in October 2003. He holds no other positions at Carlyle."

Why would Bush resign from a no doubt extremely high-paying sinecure? Couldn't Carlyle have spared a few words of thanks and appreciation? Is there trouble in paradise? Whatever can it all mean?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Pipes out of Iraq

Daniel Pipes now wants most American troops out of Iraq. What?! Did he hit his head and become sane? Hardly. The neocons have a problem. They want another war, any war, before the next election. Preferably Iran, but they'll take Syria (North Korea is off the plate until the crooked voting machines reelect Bush, largely because it is of no possible threat to Israel). The problem is that the American troops are all tied up dying for Israel in Iraq, when the neocons now want them to die for Israel in Iran or Syria. The answer is to move most troops out, leaving the Iraqis to kill each other in a mild civil war, and shift them to the new Israeli victim. Iraq is no immediate threat to Israel (not that it was before the attack), the Americans have the oil fields, and American corporations can continue to rape the country until the violence gets too severe. And that's where the problem really lies. In fact, it is the crux of the conflict between the old-fashioned paleocons, who need the troops in Iraq to serve as bodyguards for the employees of the American corporations who are stealing from Iraq, and the neocons, who need to free up sufficient troops from Iraq so the U. S. Army can stage another immoral and illegal attack on behalf of Israel against another sovereign country which poses no possible threat to the United States. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The generals are already floating the idea of massive reductions in U. S. troops, an idea that won't work if American corporations also want to exploit the resources of the country. The most sensible exit strategy would be to gradually turn the whole thing over to U. N. peacekeepers, but that would involve the loss of the American ability to steal from Iraq and a great embarrassment to the neocon-PNAC planners. If the neocons win, I can just hear the commanding officer of some of those American reservists saying:

"I've got some good news and bad news. The good news is that you're leaving Iraq. The bad news . . . "

I honestly don't believe Americans realize the imminent danger they face of being dragged into yet another disaster of a war, much more deadly and much, much more expensive than Iraq. The eventual solution to the neocon-paleocon problem is simply to double the size of the U. S. army, and double the size of the Pentagon budget.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Posner propaganda

Salon has an excellent article written by Mark Follman concerning Gerald Posner's allegations concerning the American interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, allegedly a top al Qaeda operative. Abu Zubaydah supposedly claimed that Pakistani air force chief Mushaf Ali Mir made a deal with bin Laden in 1996 to support al Qaeda, and that this deal had the blessing of the Saudis, and in particular four Saudi princes: Prince Ahmad bin Salman, Prince Sultan al-Saud, Prince Fahd al-Kabir, and Prince Turki bin Faisal. To back up the claim, Posner cites the fact that the results of the interrogation were conveyed to the Saudis a month after the interrogation, and, shortly after the issue was raised, Prince Ahmed, Prince Sultan and Prince Fahd all died within a few days of one another. Seven months later Pakistani air force chief Mushaf Ali Mir died in yet another of those mysterious Pakistani air plane crashes. The deaths of all the guilty parties except Prince Turki, who is said to be too powerful to kill, are supposed to show how those involved were removed once it became clear that the Americans were aware of the plot. Therefore, the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were involved at the highest levels in al Qaeda and, by extension, in the attacks of September 11. I have a few comments:

  1. Every, and I mean every, person who is in any way knowledgeable about the assassination of JFK would tell you, without the slightest hesitation, that Gerard Posner's book on the assassination is the single worst piece of crap written on the subject. Considering the amount of nonsense written about the death of JFK, that tells you all you need to know about Posner.

  2. What about the deaths of the Saudi Princes and Mushaf Ali Mir? Isn't it obvious that the whole story was concocted after these people died, and they were included as the people implicated by Abu Zubaydah as: 1) their deaths seem to back up the story; and 2) they are no longer in a position to point out how ridiculous it is? Prince Turki, who is still around, vehemently denies it.

  3. The experts in the Salon article point out how implausible it is for the mainstream of Saudi rulers to be behind 9-11. The most striking thing about the attack is that, of all foreign countries, it is Saudi Arabia which suffered the worst damage from it. It is certainly plausible, and even likely, that some Saudi princes supported al Qaeda, but it is a long way from that to say that al Qaeda was supported by the rulers of Saudi Arabia. We have to use a little common sense. Why would the rulers of Saudi Arabia support a group devoted to their violent overthrow, and support an attack on the United States that was guaranteed to hurt their interests? The Saudis are heavily, heavily invested in the United States, and the last thing they would want is any kind of attack that would hurt the American economy. It is true that, at the instance of the United States, the Saudis had provided support for the Islamic fighters against the Russians in Afghanistan. It is also true that the Saudis support the bin Laden family. But there is not one piece of evidence that the Saudi government intended to commit suicide by supporting terrorist actions, which, if discovered, were guaranteed to lead to its violent end.

  4. Pakistan is a different situation, and the true nature of the relationship of the Pakistani government and al Qaeda is still murky. Pakistan actually benefited from 9-11, and the relationship between the ISI and the Pakistani government is complicated. Pakistan certainly supported the Taliban (and still does), but seems to be genuinely fighting al Qaeda remnants to the extent it can. Whatever the true relationship between Pakistan and al Qaeda, Posner's story is sufficiently unbelievable with respect to the Saudis that we can't rely on it to implicate the Pakistanis.

  5. The Saudis claim that they have been told that the American interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has revealed that he was instructed by bin Laden to use Saudi nationals in the 9-11 attack in order to strain relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Leaving aside the fact that I have grave doubts about whether the United States actually has Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in custody, and the fact that there is still no proof of the real nationality of any of the hijackers, this idea makes a lot of sense. Since one of bin Laden's main goals is to replace the current corrupt leaders of Saudi Arabia, it would make sense for him to use Saudi nationals, or at least identities stolen from Saudi nationals, in his attack on the United States.

  6. In response to the bad image of Saudi Arabia in the United States, the Saudis have released details on their efforts to assist the Americans in the war on terrorism. From the Salon article:

    "The most intriguing and controversial claim, however, involved none other than the alleged key Saudi conspirator, former intelligence chief Prince Turki. Turki claimed his intelligence service warned the CIA in late 1999 and early 2000 about two al-Qaida members, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who were later among the Sept. 11 hijackers. 'What we told them was these people were on our watch list from previous activities of al-Qaida, in both the embassy bombings and attempts to smuggle arms into the kingdom in 1997,' Turki told the Associated Press.

    The CIA denied receiving any such information from Saudi Arabia until after 9/11, and Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., admitted that 'no documents' were sent. But Turki insisted his agency communicated the warning to the CIA, at least by word of mouth."

    The famous Malaysia 'summit' meeting of al Qaeda, attended by al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, was held on January 5-8, 2000. The fact of a Saudi warning to the CIA at around the same time as the al Qaeda meeting just makes the failure to add the names of these terrorists to the U. S. 'watch list' even more inexplicable.

There is currently a tremendous neocon propaganda campaign going on against the leaders of Saudi Arabia. The Posner story just appears to be another aspect of it. It is unclear whether Posner is part of the propaganda war or has just been taken in by the neocons. As I've said before, the neocons are insane, and the result of their plans will be tragic for both the world and the United States. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, Americans are going to realize that the neocons are a much, much greater threat to the United States than any foreign country or group of terrorists. It is an amazing thing that anyone still listens to them after the debacle of their attack on Iraq, but they are carrying on with their PNAC plans as if that attack was a complete success, and appear to now have almost total control of the American government. Their goal is still to take out any and all possible opponents of Israel, and secure all Middle East and Central Asian oil under American control. Unless the neocons are stopped, any idiot can see that this is going to lead to complete disaster (a very large multiple of the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq). The attack on the Saudis is intended to further the neocon goal of eventually destroying the Saudi government so the United States can take over the Saudi oilfields. The propaganda campaign has been so successful, the neocons even have Michael Moore parroting it. The main trick was to leave the Saudi matters out of the published 9-11 report, so people could think the worst of the Saudis, and then slyly make people believe that it was left out because Bush was protecting his Saudi business friends. A brilliant strategy! All of this propaganda works only because Americans are still afraid to admit who was really behind 9-11. A hint: the Saudis don't run NORAD.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Third Policeman

The anomalies in the David Kelly case keep adding up:

  1. I've already (item 5) summarized the discrepancies in the statements between the people who found the body and the police concerning the amount of blood present at the scene. Both of the people who first saw the body were struck by the small amount of blood. The testimony of the forensic scientist who examined the scene indicates that he did not actually examine the areas under the body to determine if sufficient blood was present to account for a suicide having occurred there (see here, item 2).

  2. I've already summarized the discrepancies in witness statements concerning the position of the body. It is clear that the body was moved by someone between the time it was first discovered and the time the police described it.

  3. There are discrepancies in witness statements involving the number of people who were present at the scene. Both of the people who found the body and one policeman clearly state there were three people. In contrast, DC Coe, who is asked specifically about this, says (here, sections 1 and 2; my emphasis):

    A. On the route to Harrowdown Hill I met the two people from the volunteer search team, a female and Mr Chapman.

    Q. And what did they say to you?

    A. Mr Chapman told me that they had found a body in the woods.

    Q. Who were you with at this time?

    A. Detective Constable Shields.

    Q. It is just the two of you?

    A. Yes.

    Louise Holmes, the first person to discover the body said (here, sections 14 and 15, my emphasis; 'Paul' is Paul Chapman, her fellow searcher):

    "Q. When you got back to Mr Chapman, what happened next?

    A. Paul had tried to ring Control but had been unable to get to them on the number we had for Control so we decided to ring through to ask to speak to Abingdon off a 999 call. So Paul rang the 999 and said we had some information relating to that search, and somebody from Abingdon rang us back and we arranged to walk back to the car to meet the police officer to take them and show them where the body was.

    Q. When you say someone from Abingdon, would that be Abingdon hospital?

    A. Abingdon police station.

    Q. And what did you then do?

    A. We walked back towards the car. On the way to the car we met three police officers and Paul took them back to show them where the body was, and I went back to the car."

    The other searcher, Paul Chapman, said (here, sections 27 and 28; my emphasis):

    "As we were going down the path we met three police officers coming the other way that were from CID. We identified ourselves to them. They were not actually aware that (a) the body had been found or we were out searching this area. They I think had just come out on their own initiative to look at the area. I informed them we had found the body and they asked me to take them back to indicate where it was.

    Q. So these were not the people you had arranged to meet, as it were?

    A. No, because this was only 2 or 3 minutes after I had made the phone call.

    Q. How did you know they were police officers?

    A. Because they showed me their Thames Valley Police identification.

    Q. Do you recall their names?

    A. Only one of them was DC Coe."

    Referring to Coe, PC Franklin said (here, section 32; my emphasis):

    "Q. You mentioned DC Coe. Was he part of your search team?

    A. No.

    Q. What he was he doing?

    A. He was at the scene. I had no idea what he was doing there or why he was there. He was just at the scene when PC Sawyer and I arrived."

    So you might think that the confusion is answered, with the three officers being Coe, Franklin and Sawyer. But no. PC Sawyer, who was with PC Franklin, said (here, sections 46 and 47; my emphasis):

    "A. We then went to the track that leads up to Harrowdown Hill, I do not know the name of the track, but when we arrived we saw a vehicle parked which belonged to Louise. We started walking up the track. We also had with us two paramedics who had arrived, which we took up with us to make sure that the person we were going to see did not require any medical assistance.

    Q. Those two paramedics had obviously arrived separately from you?

    A. They had arrived more or less at the same time we did. So the five of us went up because we were with Sergeant Alan Dadd as well.

    Q. Where did you stop the cars?

    A. Stopped the cars - I believe it at is the top, I have not seen the map but I believe it is at the top of Common Lane. Then we turned left and right up to the track which leads up to Harrowdown Hill.

    Q. You go along the track, where do you then go to?

    A. We met Paul from SEBEV walking down the hill.

    Q. Paul Chapman?

    A. He told us basically the body was further up in the woods. We continued walking up the hill, where I saw DC Coe and two uniformed officers. I said, you know: whereabouts is the body? He pointed the path he had taken. I asked him if he had approached the body. He said he had. I asked him to point out where he had entered the woods and PC Franklin and myself entered the woods at the same point, taking with us a dozen or 15 aluminium poles we use when we are moving towards a scene to establish a common approach path.

    Q. Were the paramedics with you at the time?

    A. Yes.

    Q. The other three officers?

    A. They remained down on the path.

    Q. So it is you, PC Franklin and two paramedics, then the other three officers you have met; is that right?

    A. Yes.

    Q. You go down further into the woods, is that right?

    A. The three officers - DC Coe and the two uniformed officers - stayed on the path which leads through the woods."

    But who was the third policeman (as a big aside, "The Third Policeman" is an excellent novel, better, in my opinion, than "At Swim-Two-Birds")? Why did Coe not mention him? Why does PC Sawyer seem somewhat annoyed at the inexplicable appearance of DC Coe at the crime scene? How was it that the police happened to show up before they could have been sent by the dispatcher at the police station that Paul Chapman phoned? Was the third policeman the 'director' of the little play that involved getting Kelly's lifeless body to a place in the woods where it would be discovered? Did the police show up to ensure that the discovery went smoothly? Did Coe say there was only himself and one other policeman so he would not have to disclose who this other person was?

  4. Much of the evidence seen by Lord Hutton is not published, but is just listed in the list of evidence. One such piece of evidence (referred to here) is described as "TVP Tactical Support Major Incident Policy Book: Operation 'Mason' Between 1430 17.07.03 and 0930 18.07.03, DCI Alan Young." If "Operation 'Mason'" was the search for Kelly, why did it begin at 2:30 p. m. when his family didn't report him missing until just before midnight later that day? Why would they have a book covering that particular 19 hour period, ending just when the discovery of the body is confirmed? Are British police so efficient they start to investigate crimes even before they occur? Or did the full 'Operation' actually begin at 2:30, when Kelly was still alive? Could 2:30 p. m. have been the estimated time of the phone call which prompted Kelly to leave his house to walk to meet someone? His wife said he received a phone call at 3:00, which she assumed was from the Ministry of Defence (see here, sections 48 and 49). Kelly left his house for his last walk between 3:00 and 3:20 p. m. (see here, section 49, lines 15 to 18), and was last seen shortly after by Ruth Absalom (see here, section 1, line 20). "Operation 'Mason'", besides having a very evocative name, almost exactly covered the time between the phone call and the time the body was identified, despite the fact that the police had no legitimate reason for monitoring Kelly until just before midnight when he was reported missing.

  5. When Dr. Kelly's dentist heard about the discovery of his body he went to his files to look for Dr. Kelly's dental charts. They were missing. He told the police, who investigated but found nothing suspicious. Two days later the records were found back in the filing cabinet. The police seem remarkably untroubled by this, but did do a DNA test to ensure that the body was really Dr. Kelly. The reason you might remove dental records is so they could not be used to conclusively identify a largely burned or skeletal body. Did the plans with respect to Dr. Kelly change, so that it was not necessary to hide these records? Were they returned because the person who removed them did not know that they had been noticed missing, and wanted their theft not to be noticed if they were consulted at a later date?

Does anyone still really believe Dr. Kelly killed himself?

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Receipts for computer voting machines

If a computer voting machine gives you a receipt confirming who you voted for, that will allow you to confirm that the receipt matches who you thought you were voting for on the touchscreen of the machine. But it does not prove how the vote was actually recorded by the computer, or that the totals aren't subsequently manipulated. To provide the minimal level of security required for everyone to be comfortable that the election was fair, all such receipts would have to be collected and counted and matched against the computer totals. If each person leaves the voting place with his or her receipt, such counting would be impossible. Therefore, computer voting machines that prepare a receipt for the voter to take away do not answer the essential problem with computer voting machines. If the machine merely provides a printed ballot to be inserted by the voter into a ballot box, all the security concerns are answered (leaving some possible privacy concerns), but then you have to wonder what advantage the extremely expensive and unreliable machines have over pencil and paper.

Limbaugh's end

Allegations of Rush Limbaugh's drug abuse and possible illegal conduct in obtaining drugs first appeared as a rumor on the Drudge Report on October 1 (and possibly late on September 30). The story was first published in the New York Daily News and the National Enquirer on October 2, and it began to appear everywhere on October 3. The oddity about all this is that the National Enquirer apparently sat on the story for two years before suddenly deciding to not only publish it, but make a big deal about it as part of its commitment to 'real' journalism (they actually did an excellent job on the story). What happened between two years ago and October 2 that led to the publication of the allegations against Limbaugh?:

  1. Rush is getting old, and I imagine his audience is getting old with him. The United States has a new generation of morons, sons and daughters of the ditto-heads, who don't want to listen to the guru of their parents. They seek a new moron-king, and Rush is past it. Even those who like him as a comedian are starting to feel that he is repeating himself. The demographics of his audience must be awful for advertisers, as his shows seem to advertise things like adjustable beds and itching powder. How many itchy, tired old men are there left in America, and how much money do they have left to spend after their monthly bill for itching powder is paid? I've always wondered whether the enormous amount of money Limbaugh is paid is justified by the advertising on his shows, or whether the costs are subsidized as a way of providing constant advertising for the Republican Party in the guise of a talk show. The Powers That Be can probably find a much cheaper, hipper, replacement that would appeal to the new generation of the dumb.

  2. Rumors of the story appeared on October 1. On September 30, Limbaugh covered the Wilson-Plame matter, entitling his show "Rush is Right: Liberals Over the Top With Seething Rage" (parts of it are transcribed here; I can't get the Google cache of it to work, and you'd otherwise have to give money to Limbaugh to read it, money which he'd only spend getting higher than a kite). Limbaugh predictably makes light of the story and ascribes it to the bad motives of liberals, and in particular to Wilson being a Democrat and a 'Bush-hater'. His obvious intention is to make the story appear as a partisan attack, and get it out of the news.

  3. The tabloids are known to be extremely close to the CIA, and some may actually be CIA fronts.

Is it possible that Limbaugh was destroyed because he made light of the Plame story, and to warn others that the Plame story is to stay in the news until someone pays for upsetting the CIA? The revelations about Limbaugh also took Limbaugh, who has an inexplicably enormous influence on public opinion, out of the picture, where he can do the story no more harm. Those of you who find this argument a bit of a stretch have to ask yourselves why the story remained unpublished for two years, and only came out immediately after Limbaugh attacked the Wilson-Plame story. In the past, the National Enquirer, which is more of a magazine than a newspaper, could not have turned the story around that quickly. However, it seems that it has that capability now, using local printers so the product can be distributed very quickly. If the story and front page were ready to be used when needed, and especially if the staff had some notice that Limbaugh's attack was going to occur, it should not have been a problem for the Enquirer to make a 48-hour deadline (in a court case in 2002 involving Mrs. Condit, the court heard evidence that the lead time for the Enquirer might be as low as three days). The moral of the story may be that the CIA is not going to allow the disgusting American press to derail this story, as they have done to all other stories of embarrassment to the Bush Administration. I'm not one of those who believes that stories disappear because 'the public' loses interest. All of these matters are manipulated by those in power. The fact that this particular story hasn't died means that someone with power is supporting it.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Plame on Niger Uranium

How did Cheney and Libby find out about Plame? Clinton Administration officials knew her, but didn't know what she did:

"On the guest list of the 1999 state dinner hosted by President Clinton for President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, no occupation was listed for Valerie Wilson, the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, Clinton's top White House Africa analyst from 1997 to 1998.

Clinton administration colleagues of Joe Wilson say they always wondered what Valerie Wilson did. One former State Department official, who requested anonymity, says Wilson said his wife was an energy analyst. 'But it was always very vague,' the former official says."

So how did Cheney and Libby find out (my emphasis)?:

"In Washington, Plame was assigned to the CIA's Non-Proliferation Center, an organization of analysts, technical experts and former field operatives who work on detecting and, if possible, preventing foreign proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, met with officials at the Non-Proliferation Center before the invasion of Iraq to discuss reports that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium in Africa. A U.S. official with knowledge of those meetings said Plame did not attend. But the former U.S. intelligence official said she was involved in preparing materials for those meetings."

Cheney and Libby met at the CIA to discuss the very issue in question, and, although Plame was not at the meetings, she was involved in preparing CIA materials for the meetings. It was almost certainly at these meetings that Cheney requested confirmation of the Niger uranium story, and the CIA chose Wilson to go to investigate. Plame's name probably came up in the meetings as one of those preparing the materials, and as it was generally known that she was married to Wilson, Cheney and Libby must have immediately linked Plame to Wilson once Wilson wrote his article complaining about the Niger uranium claim in the state of the union address. It would be an easy jump for Cheney and Libby to conclude that Plame, who was preparing CIA materials debunking the claim that Cheney and Libby wanted to use as a basis for war, put her husband up as the candidate to go to Niger to find information to support her thesis. If Cheney and Libby thought that Wilson and Plame were working in concert to foil their plan to attack Iraq by undermining one of their main justifications for war, they must have been very angry at the both of them. The outing of Plame wouldn't have been primarily directed at Wilson, but at Plame herself, who Cheney and Libby would have blamed for the whole problem. Republican conspiracy theories that Plame was behind sending Wilson may in fact be true, but not because she wanted to give him an all-expenses paid holiday in Niger (?!), but because she wanted someone who she could trust to finally bury the Niger uranium thesis. It remains a mystery of how Cheney and Libby, or whoever the leaker was, found out about the true nature of Plame's position in the CIA, but that information might have been revealed at those meetings or at some other CIA meeting attended by Cheney and/or Libby.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Blackout mushroom

It's been two months since the electrical blackout of northeastern North America, and we still have not received the slightest hint of what the cause might have been. Does this not seem a little odd? I'm starting to feel like a mushroom.

Diebold's many problems

Diebold supplied the touchscreen voting machines used in Georgia for the last round of voting for Governor and U. S. Senator. Both races returned Republicans, results out of sync (or here) with polling results or Georgia voting history. Wired reports:

"Now a former worker in Diebold's Georgia warehouse says the company installed patches on its machines before the state's 2002 gubernatorial election that were never certified by independent testing authorities or cleared with Georgia election officials."

The worker's name is Rob Behler, who says, referring to the fact that election officials in the Georgia secretary of state's office were never told about the patches:

"That's the last thing Diebold wanted. They made that very clear. . . . I sat around tables where (Diebold people) discussed whether they were going to tell them the truth, the half-truth or a complete lie. I understand if a company has information that they need to keep under tight lip. But when you sit around discussing lying to a client in order to make sure you're getting paid . . . it's an ethics issue."

Can anyone trust a company like this to deliver fair voting results? Remember, given the nature of computer voting machines, to a large extent we have to rely on the integrity of the manufacturer to ensure that the machines produce the proper results. Given Diebold's almost unbelievable track record, which contains a huge series of other problems and anomalies, how can any voter using a Diebold touchscreen voting machine have any confidence that his or her vote is being properly recorded? Diebold, a security firm, sloppily left information available on the internet which appears to be very damning of its machines. When this information appeared on another site for the purposes of analysis and discussion of an important political issue (the integrity of democracy itself), it thuggishly tried to use the DMCA to shut that site down, proving that Diebold has no comprehension of how the internet works (which is a bit of a problem for a corporation that supposedly knows how to securely use the internet with its voting machines). Every time we happen to learn more about Diebold it further erodes what little is left of Diebold's reputation. And this is the company whose reputation and products are going to be relied on for voting machines?

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


From an excellent article "Two Civilized Men Among the Barbarians: Dennis Kucinich & Al Sharpton" from the exemplary The Black Commentator:

"Measured by the most minimal standards of the modern, industrial world, only two of ten Democratic candidates for President passed civilized muster at the September 25 debate in New York City: Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Rev. Al Sharpton. The rest of the field, to varying degrees, fail to even comprehend modern assumptions of what it is to be human, living among other humans."


"Kucinich is labeled a kook when he argues for 'health care for people, not for profit' - although this is the premise on which all the other wealthy societies begin their discussions of health matters. Rev. Sharpton's platform calls for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing quality health care as a right, and seeks universal, single-payer coverage in the interim."


"Sharpton and Kucinich bring social justice to the national political conversation, for which they deserve our deepest gratitude. The Black activist preacher and the white leftist congressman speak to civilized values, without which the United States will become a failed nation. At a pace that corporate media cannot comprehend and, therefore, cannot convey, the world recoils from the backward model that the U.S. presents in domestic as well as foreign policy. There is nothing surer than that the U.S. will in coming years be shrunk to normal size in the community of nations. When that day arrives, Americans will only prosper if they have learned to speak to a world of equals, in civilized language."

I've always felt that the American political spectrum was somewhat bizarre, extending as it does from an extreme right-wing party to a-so-extreme-you-can't-possibly-believe-it right-wing party. All other first-world nations have left-wing progressive parties, and centrist parties, and these parties tend to form the governments. Even the so-called right-wing parties in these countries are far to the left of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, if plopped into most of these countries, would be electable, but just barely, in a massive reaction against years of left-wing governments. It would not be a sustainable party in power. The Republican Party, if plopped into these countries, would be seen as some sort of joke, somewhere out there with the neo-Nazis and white racialist parties. I think that Clinton evoked such extreme disappointment in people, and left some progressive people unhinged with hatred for him, because he was wrongly perceived as a centrist or even progressive man, when he was actually just the leader of an extreme right-wing party who had managed to deceive himself and some voters into thinking that he cared about people. Kucinich and Sharpton are described as 'unelectable', which means that what they have to say isn't listened to, and the disgusting American media, owned by the corporadoes who fear common sense policies more than anything else, manage to marginalize them and exclude their ideas from the debate. Democrats are always fretting why they are always getting punked at the voting booth. Besides the crooked voting machines, the main reason is that they fail to take up the obvious political policies that would help the average person, and rely on a watered-down chicken-hearted version of the Republican platform. The attack on Iraq is an excellent example. They could have chosen to oppose the attack, which was clearly illegal and immoral and dangerous for American interests, but they all fell in line for fear of being labelled unpatriotic (those few who didn't meekly follow along should be celebrated as the real patriots). Now that we can see how deeply contrary to the true interests of the country the attack really was, these same Democrats are unable to take any political advantage from the disaster, and are tongue-tied when asked to comment on it. Faced between one party with bland anodyne policies crafted not to offend anyone, and another with evil policies which it truly believes in, voters will always pick the party with the courage of its convictions.


In stating that Rice was one of the most powerful women ever, I forgot to mention that she is certainly the most powerful black person of either gender in modern history. Does my forgetfulness mean that I am colorblind or a racist?

Collective stupidity

Yet more on what appears to be a horrible example of collective punishment committed by American troops against Iraqi farmers. The victims are obviously not wealthy people, and it is not an exaggeration to say that this American travesty may very well permanently ruin the lives of some of these people. American politicians in rejecting American involvement in the International Criminal Court argued that the United States was ready and willing to police itself. Well, here's their chance to prove it. Here is what the Americans must do (but won't):

  1. Apologize.

  2. Obtain new trees and have the American troops plant them in the places where they were removed.

  3. Calculate the loss of income to these farmers until the new trees mature and pay the farmers at least that amount.

  4. Arrest the officers who ordered the collective punishment, and the soldiers who followed illegal orders, and try them for breach of the Geneva Conventions. If they are found guilty, punish them in accordance with American law.

  5. Make an official announcement that collective punishment is not the policy of the United States or its military, and any further examples of it will be punished to the full extent of the law.

When the occupation began some cynical Israelis recommended that the Americans should buy some armored bulldozers, for they would be needing them. The Israelis are fully aware of the addiction of collective punishment, where the punishment causes further resistance, which leads to further punishment, and so on. The Israelis have just finished devastating the Rafah Refugee Camp in the Gaza strip, destroying houses and leaving 1,240 Palestinians homeless (imagine how many suicide bombers that is guaranteed to produce). They claim to be looking for tunnels, but it is quite obvious what is really going on. The Americans have a way to go to reach the exalted Israeli standards of evil, but once collective punishment becomes accepted practice there is no end to the horrors that are possible. Besides the obvious immorality of it, it simply creates more resistance, and more resistance is the last thing the Americans need (the Israelis, on the other hand, want to use collective punishment so they can create more suicide bombers who can be used as an excuse for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, and the creation of Greater Israel on their land). The United States needs to put a stop to this now.

Condi power

Condoleezza Rice seems to be the Administration official closest to Bush, the one he trusts and relies on the most. She played a huge role in the dissemination of the lies that led to the attack on Iraq, and has now been appointed Grand Vizier of both Iraq and Afghanistan (she muscled practically everybody in the Administration aside to take control). She is a tremendously enthusiastic, if not particularly gifted, liar, having lied about 9-11 and the supposed inability of anyone to predict it, the justifications for the war on Iraq, the Niger uranium story and how it got into the state of the union address, and most recently, of how Rumsfeld was aware of his upcoming effective demotion (a lie revealed by Rumsfeld himself). Rice has been rumored to be in line to replace Colin Powell when he resigns in disgust, but I don't see why she would accept such a demotion. In her current status as national security adviser, she is the most powerful person in the White House after Cheney, and Cheney's star appears to be fading fast. She has built the position of national security adviser up to the point where it rivals the importance of the position during the heady days of Henry the K. She is the most powerful female in American political history, and may be the most powerful female political figure in the world since Margaret Thatcher, and possibly since Queen Elizabeth I.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Plame bait

Aldrich Ames may have given Plame's name to the Russians before his arrest in 1994, so she was brought back to Washington for safety reasons. She was in the process of shifting to a new cover as a State Department official. Therefore, outing her as undercover CIA may not have had the dramatic results that have been claimed. In other words, the day after Novak's column, it is not likely that some American was found in a back alley in Minsk with a knife in his back. Her outing was probably not the end of the world, and the fact we're hearing about all the work the CIA has to do to fix its damaged intelligence networks is very suspicious. This got me to thinking . . . :

  1. Say, Dick Cheney, in one of his innumerable visits to the CIA to kick some CIA butt, happened to run into a fairly senior CIA guy, and started ranting about 'that bastard Wilson' who was embarrassing the Bush Administration and Cheney personally by bringing up unpleasant details about the African uranium claim made in the state of the union address. Say, the CIA guy said something like: 'The funny thing is that he's married to one of ours.' He then completes the description of Plame, and goes off to smuggle some drugs or assassinate someone, or whatever the hell it is that CIA guys do. The bait is set.

  2. Cheney gets back to his office, still furious, and summons, say, 'Scooter' Libby into his office, and tells Libby the whole story. They get to talking, and, not thinking about the legal ramifications, come up with the idea that they can vent some anger, get back at Wilson (by reducing the earning potential of his wife), and make it clear that nobody messes with Dick Cheney, all by leaking details about his wife, thus blowing her cover. Libby scoots off to phone long-time Republican hack journalist Novak, and tells him to out Plame. Novak publishes (after checking with the CIA to see if it is ok to do so). The hook is set.

  3. Now, all the CIA has to do is reel them in. It is hardly a defense for the leaker to claim he got the information from the CIA itself, as that just provides an admission of the knowledge which is a key element of the crime. All the CIA has to do is phone up the FBI, allege that a crime has been committed, and let justice take its course.

  4. Here is a very interesting paragraph from the Walter Pincus and Mike Allen article from the Washington Post (another example of how the Post, and Walter Pincus in particular, is eating the New York Times' lunch again, no doubt due to the mess in which the Times finds itself due to its inability to come to grips with the legacy of Judith Miller):

    "The FBI is trying to determine when White House officials and members of the vice president's staff first focused on Wilson and learned about his wife's employment at the agency. One group that may have known of the connection before that time is the handful of CIA officers detailed to the White House, where they work primarily on the National Security Council staff. A former NSC staff member said one or more of those officers may have been aware of the Plame-Wilson relationship."

    You have to try to read through the words in the article to get at the truth, as the authors obviously know a whole lot more than they are able to let on (the peculiarity about almost all the articles on this matter is that the authors almost certainly know exactly who the leaker is, but have to pretend that they don't). This part of the article is labeled as White House spin, as it comes from a 'former NSC staff member', and attempts to suggest that CIA officers may have been involved in leaking to the White House. This is very unlikely, as the CIA staff members would be unlikely to know about Plame, would presumably have loyalty to the CIA and its methods and would not out a fellow CIA staff member, and would be quite aware of the legal penalties for leaking. It does, however, indicate a suspicion that the original information may have its original source in the CIA. This makes sense, as who else would know?

  5. From the same article:

    "Wilson said he attempted to increase pressure on the White House the day after the June 12 article was published by calling some present and former senior administration officials who know national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. He wanted them to tell Rice that she was wrong in her comment on NBC's 'Meet the Press' on June 8 that there may be some intelligence 'in the bowels of the agency,' but that no one around her had any doubts about the uranium story.

    Wilson said those officials told him Rice was not interested and he should publish his story in his own name if he wanted to attract attention."

    This is very interesting. Rice was lying (as usual), but Wilson assumed she was just misinformed, and wanted to set her straight. Rice, trying to brush him off, made the enormous tactical mistake of inviting him to publish his story, which he did, and the rest is history.

  6. As Nicholas D. Kristof writes:

    " . . . Mrs. Wilson's intelligence connections became known a bit in Washington as she rose in the C.I.A. and moved to State Department cover, but her job remained a closely held secret. Even her classmates in the C.I.A.'s career training program mostly knew her only as Valerie P. That way, if one spook defected, the damage would be limited."

    So who was the only possible source of the information that could be passed on to the leaker?

What would be the point of all this? It might allow the CIA to remove the leaker from the Bush Administration, and in so doing assert some power. More likely, it would provide a point of pressure on the Bush Administration which could be used as blackmail to clear up some of the problems in the CIA's falling influence in the White House. If the leaker were important enough, the CIA could agree to not press the matter in return for an agreement that the White House stop using entities like the Office of Special Plans to do an end around the CIA. The CIA also might be able to take back some of the intelligence gathering and covert operations that have been taken over by the Pentagon. It might also insist that it not be blamed for things, like the attack on Iraq and the coming attack on Syria, which it tried to warn against. This kind of blackmail leaves a much more useful message, and a greater opportunity for future manipulation, than shooting someone and leaving his body in a park.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Apocalypse Now

More on the American use of collective punishment in Iraq, from Patrick Cockburn writing in the Independent:

"US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops."


"The children of one woman who owned some fruit trees lay down in front of a bulldozer but were dragged away, according to eyewitnesses who did not want to give their names. They said that one American soldier broke down and cried during the operation. When a reporter from the newspaper Iraq Today attempted to take a photograph of the bulldozers at work a soldier grabbed his camera and tried to smash it. The same paper quotes Lt Col Springman, a US commander in the region, as saying: 'We asked the farmers several times to stop the attacks, or to tell us who was responsible, but the farmers didn't tell us.'

Informing US troops about the identity of their attackers would be extremely dangerous in Iraqi villages, where most people are related and everyone knows each other. The farmers who lost their fruit trees all belong to the Khazraji tribe and are unlikely to give information about fellow tribesmen if they are, in fact, attacking US troops."

The jazz reminds me of an 'Apocalypse Now'-style soundtrack to American violence in Vietnam ("They made a sort of joke against us by playing jazz music while they were cutting down the trees," said one man, which of course describes American behavior which is very, very close to psychopathic), the woman in front of a bulldozer and the grabbed camera are of course references to the great country of Israel, but the American soldier crying is pure Americana. After only six months, the United States has become so corrupted by this occupation that it has descended to the moral level of the Vietnam War or the daily crimes committed by Israel.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Collective punishment in Iraq

American 'accidents' in Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq (my emphasis):

"The coalition has tried to cultivate allies among influential local Iraqis, such as Sheik Mishkhen Jumaili, a leader of a prominent local tribe who serves on the American-installed Governing Council in Ramadi. But in the last two weeks, Jumaili has lost nine family members, including his son, in a series of accidental shootings by American troops.

'They mean to kill as many Iraqis as possible,' Jumaili said, fighting back tears at the funeral of his cousin Beijiya last week. "All the tribes are suffering. This is murder.' It is impossible for US troops to tally the number of civilians killed by mistake, said Lieutenant Kate Noble, a spokeswoman for the coalition troops: "It would be really irresponsible on our part to give estimates." But it is hard to find a family in Ramadi or Fallujah that does not say it has lost a relative in a shooting."

On top of the 'accidents', the full extent of which we'll probably never know, American troops have taken a page out of the Israeli playbook and are now engaging in the kind of collective punishment (or here) used by the IDF in the Occupied Territories. The punishments include destruction of houses, burning of crops, and restrictive curfews. There are examples of the mercies of the 'liberators' that sound exactly like something out of the West Bank:

"Last week, the Americans destroyed the palm orchard that has been in twenty-five year old Mohamed Ali Sadoun's family for fifty years because passing U.S. convoys had been attacked from its cover. 'As far as I am concerned, it is Israel that destroyed my orchard,' Ali Sadoun said. It took three days for the American bulldozers to uproot all of his one-thousand date palms. When Ali Sadoun asked for a few days reprieve to harvest the dates, the Americans refused.

'I hated the Americans before and I hate them more now,' he said. 'I will teach my children and their children to hate the Americans until the end of their lives. Even if they pave our streets in gold, we don't want them here.'"

Collective punishment is of course completely illegal under international law (Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 33, one of those increasingly rare international agreements to which the United States is a party), not to mention guaranteed to create further opposition to the American occupation.