Saturday, December 31, 2005

Kurdistan and the Turks

There has been a lot of talk about the parade of high American officials going to Turkey. It is claimed, without a shred of evidence, that these talks concern the planning for the American attack on Iran. It is far more likely that what they are really talking about is the coming violent creation of Kurdistan (coupled with the ethnic cleansing of the Turkmen from the area):

"Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan."

The Iraqi army denied the story (and wanted to know the names of all the reporter's sources!). The Turks have already threatened to fight over this, fearing, correctly, that the creation of Kurdistan in Iraq will inevitably lead to its joining with Turkish Kurdistan and the break-up of Turkey (a rather serious outcome!). The Americans are apparently helpless to influence the Kurds, as the Kurds are pals with Sharon and Sharon tells the Americans what to do. In any event, the destruction of Iraq is the main thrust of the Yinon-inspired Isrealamerican plan for Iraq, and the first phase is to break off Kurdistan, leading to the planned civil war between Sunnis and Shi'ites (who have already been prepped by the American occupation, the actions of agents provocateurs, and the election results guaranteed by the American-installed election system). What could the Americans possibly be offering Turkey to keep Turkey out of the picture? Having Turkey enter a war over Kurdistan would be an excellent way for American planners to keep Turkey out of the EU.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The fix was in

One of the Juan Cole ten myths about Iraq concerns religious extremism in Iraqi politics:

"There is a silent majority of middle class, secular-minded Iraqis who reject religious fundamentalism."

The facts of two elections appear to disprove this widely held hope. Or do they? The Americans wrote the Iraqi constitution in English, and were nice enough to translate it into Arabic so the Iraqis who were supposed to be drafting it actually got a chance to read it. American experts crafted each part of it, including how the government would be selected (and did so in a time frame mandated by American political concerns, thus not having enough time to deal with the most important issues of federalism). You would think that Americans crafting a constitution would have created an electoral system based on the Greatest Democracy in the World, the U. S. of A. But you'd be wrong. Instead of a first-past-the-post system which encourages the formation of broadly based parties which distinguish themselves primarily on class, a system which would have forced Iraqis to compromise on sectarian issues in order to create a broad enough base to have a chance at winning power, the Americans appear to have looked around for the best system they could find and fastened their hopes on the system used by . . . Israel. Yes, they picked absolutely the worst possible system, one guaranteed to encourage the formation of many tiny parties based on religious or ethnic differences, with the tiniest microparties with the craziest extremists ending up holding the balance of power. We'll never know if Juan Cole is right about the nature of the majority of Iraqi voters as Iraqi voters will never get a chance to vote for a sane party system.

After the Americans set up an electoral system guaranteed to create a theocratic state which will fall apart into civil war, they either lie about it, claiming the Iraqi elections were a great victory for democracy, or pretend to be shocked at the outcome.

Sibel Edmonds suspicions

There is a good summary on Sibel Edmonds and her claims at Wot Is It Good 4. Edmonds has lots of things to say that are music to the ears of a conspiracy theorist, but she still bothers the hell out of me:

  1. She's completely fluent in conspiracy-ese, and knows exactly what buttons to push in order to interest those who are interested in conspiracies by mentioning foreknowledge of 9-11 and massive drug dealing networks involving top American government officials. That is exactly the kind of stuff I would throw in if I were trying to create disinformation.

  2. She received all her extensive knowledge of the most mega of conspiracies by being a part-time translator in the FBI for all of six months.

  3. Nobody else has even partly backed up her claims.

  4. The main gist of her complaint is that a colleague who was pals with the American-Turkish Council put herself in charge of monitoring the tapped calls from and to the American-Turkish Council. This sounds terrible until you realize that if the colleague was pals with the American-Turkish Council, the American-Turkish Council must have known it was being tapped, in which case there shouldn't have been anything damning on those tapes, and certainly nothing as damning as Edmonds seems to be saying, which is that the American-Turkish Council was a front for criminal activity.

  5. The Bush Administration went to a huge amount of effort to shut her up, something which you would think would add to her credibility. But that's just the thing. After this huge effort, and gag orders, Edmonds continues to leak like a sieve. We know pretty much all of her story, including all the characters she is accusing of wrongdoing. If she is under such gag orders, why are they not being enforced?

Edmonds is from an important Turkish family - she says her uncle was mayor (or here) of Istanbul - but seems to have left Turkey in a bit of a huff over its censorship laws. Her position is definitely anti-Turkey. Turkey is poised to enter the EU. Turkey has a huge standing army, a huge market, and a huge low-wage economy just waiting to explode with all the capital which will pour into it from Europe, making it the new Ireland (and, just like Ireland, the right-wingers will claim that the boom is due to low taxes, rather than the massive influx of capital which will be its real cause!). Once Turkey enters the EU, the short era of the American Empire will finally be over. A successful Muslim country in Europe will also put an end to the Zionist propaganda about the inability of Muslims to succeed. There are a lot of good reasons to start to dish the dirt on Turkey. Is Edmonds the start of that? If Turkey starts to refuse to play along with Israel, or doesn't accede to Isrealamerican plans for Syria, will Edmonds suddenly become of great interest to the disgusting American media? Will the foundation created by Edmonds be used for a propaganda attack on Turkey?

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure the Bush Administration did have warnings about 9-11, and I'm sure American government officials are involved in the international drug trade. Edmonds' general complaints cause me no problem. Her specific charges, that the State Department is the most corrupted part of the American government (surely the Pentagon and the CIA are worse, and more closely tied to drugs?), and that Turkey and Turkish lobbyists in the United States are involved in major American conspiracies (I think I'd look elsewhere first!), are what is causing me problems.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ten reasons for Iran talk

Top ten reasons why Israel might want to lie about having plans to attack Iran:

  1. The lie forces Iranian leadership to the right, and reinforces the position of the most radical Iranian leaders who are most likely to be anti-Sunni.

  2. The lie forces Iran to buy defensive weapons, and Israelis, big players in that market, will no doubt get a cut (remember that a large reason for Iran-Contra was to give Israelis the deal to sell weapons to Iran).

  3. The lie is just another in the long series of distractions planned by Israel to hide the real problem in the Middle East, Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

  4. The lie reminds everyone of the military ability of Israel to attack any country in the Middle East.

  5. The lie emphasizes that Israel, apparently alone amongst all the countries of the world, has the right to attack any other country for no reason other than a slight feeling of unease.

  6. The lie reinforces the idea that Israel, alone amongst countries in the Middle East, is allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

  7. The lie plays extremely well to right-wing voters in Israel, which has an election campaign going on now.

  8. The lie gives the American politicians another reason to fall in behind Israel, and another reason to send billions of dollars to Israel to buy 'defensive' weapons from American military contractors.

  9. Most importantly, the lie focuses attention on another 'existential threat' to Israel, the kind of threat necessary in all fascist regimes - the Nazis had the Slavs, the Gypsies, and, oh yes, the Jews; the Bush Administration has the 'war on terror' - to support the otherwise intolerable burdens placed on its citizens.

I agree that it is prudent to pursue this issue as quickly as possible, and can't fault anyone for trying to publicize Israeli plans before it is too late to stop another Holocaust like Iraq. On the other hand, the noisiness of the Israeli plans for Iran leads me inevitably to the tenth reason for Israel to lie: the lie about Iran hides its very real plans for Syria, plans which are underway right now. I continue to find extreme bad faith in all those critics of the Iraq attack, including Europeans and some American Democrats, who are allowing exactly the same conspiratorial plan used against Iraq - involving lies and manipulation of the United Nations - to be employed against Syria, with nary a word of complaint.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Munich and Spielberg

The Angry Arab reviews Steven Spielberg's latest bit of Zionist propaganda called 'Munich'. Guess what? He really doesn't like it. An enthusiastic two thumbs down! Of course, any movie on this subject is supposed to remind people of murdering Palestinians, and serve as the usual Israeli distraction from the real issue, which is what provokes the Palestinians to react. The fact that Spielberg apparently depicted the targeted assassination squad as sympathetic characters just adds to the propaganda load. The worst thing about it is that the Zionist PR machine has managed to build this movie up by describing how 'courageous' Spielberg was to make it. Spielberg would have been courageous if he had made a movie about the murder of Rachel Corrie. 'Munich' is more of the same bad faith by North American Jews that makes them morally responsible for the ethnic cleansing being conducted by Israel under the fog of anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab hatred.

By the way, has there ever been a more overrated film director in the history of movies than Spielberg? If you look at the list (scroll down a bit) of movies he's directed, it's the sorriest pile of sappy, maudlin crap you'll ever see. 'Duel' and 'Jaws' are the only projects that aren't embarrassing, and they are hardly in the group of greatest movies of all time. His movies in this decade are a particular travesty. People write about him as if he was in the same league as Renoir or Kurosawa or Hitchcock. Are they on crack?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Pollard's missing pardon

I was struck in reading the list of Bush pardons, a motley crew of criminals (including one pardon obviously paid for by political donations), that it was again missing one key name. Jonathan Pollard. If Israel had set out to intentionally queer Pollard's chances of ever getting a pardon it couldn't have done a better job. The Israeli line on Pollard has gone from denying that anything occurred, to denying that Israel had anything to do with it, to claiming that Pollard was only in it for the money, to the current position, that Pollard was some kind of Israeli patriot who should be released for his good intentions towards an American ally. Israel can usually play American politicians like Yehudi Menuhin played the violin, so this uncharacteristic clumsiness and lack of success betrays a bigger truth.

Pollard out of jail is a big pain in the ass for Israel. They'll have to pay him a big pile of money and support him for the rest of his life, a fact that will particularly hurt since they know he was just in it for the money anyway. He'll no doubt sell his story for more money over the years, saying a lot of things Israel would prefer were left unsaid. Finally, his freedom will serve as a constant source of irritation to those American intelligence and military officials still mad at all the lives of their colleagues lost due to Israeli government perfidy.

On the other hand, Pollard in jail is great for Israel. Focusing on Pollard means that people are misdirected from the far greater crime against the United States, which was the Israeli government's selling secrets obtained by Pollard to the Soviets. More importantly, while Pollard out of jail just costs Israel money, Pollard in jail is a constant bargaining chip to grab more cash from American taxpayers. If an American official objects to the amount of the Israeli requests, the Israelis can simply promise to remove the pressure by not squawking about Pollard for a few months, and get another $100 million or so. Pollard in jail has probably netted Israel billions of dollars over the years. He truly is an Israeli patriot, albeit unwillingly.

Iran talk

The first sentence from an article (or here) by James Petras on the supposed upcoming Israeli attack on Iran:

"Never has an imminent war been so loudly and publicly advertised as Israel's forthcoming military attack against Iran."

Exactly! Do you think Israel would be threatening war against Iran every day if it actually had any intention of attacking? Israel of all places knows the advantages of surprise (and the disadvantages of being surprised). All this warning has just given Iran the opportunity to buy and install the most sophisticated anti-aircraft defense systems available. You might argue that the Israeli threats are intended to influence Iranian behavior except for the fact that the constant threats have only served to influence the Iranian leadership to accelerate the development of Iran's nuclear program.

Reasons why Israel won't attack:

  1. Iran isn't built on Greater Israel.

  2. Shi'ite Iran will serve a major Israeli ally against its main problem, the Sunni world.

  3. Iran, even with a nuclear program, poses absolutely no real threat to Israel.

  4. It's Syria and not Iran that is the target in the 'Clean Break' document, a document that has been followed by Israel almost down to the word (well, except for the big part about reducing dependency on American taxpayer largesse).

  5. Israel's safety depends on the mythology that it cannot be defeated, an idea achieved through much Israeli sacrifice. It has been pointed out that Israel's problem is that it has to win every time, and its enemies only have to win once. If Israel sends bombers against Iran, bombers which fail in their mission and are shot down, the Israeli mythology is shot down at the same time, and Israel's despondent enemies have a new reason for hope. Attacking Iran isn't worth the risk.

If you're looking for a real reason for all the Israeli talk of attack, here's (or here) 600 million of them. Talking up the threat to Israel is the main way Israel extorts money from the U. S. Congress.

This is a testable hypothesis. Let's see if there is an American or Israeli attack on Iran before the end of Bush's second term. I say no. On the other hand, it appears that Syria is in mortal danger of at least an air attack, and probably an attack from American ground troops. All the John Bolton machinations involving Mehlis and the U. N. aren't being done for fun.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Khashoggi into drugs?

There is an interesting article by Peter Dale Scott on the international drug trade which contains a lot of brilliant analysis but is unfortunately marred by being based on the dodgiest of dodgy sources, a combination of an anonymous Russian source 'N', an article published on a Russian web site by "a so-called Yuri Yasenev, which is clearly a compilation of extracts from intelligence reports" (which is itself heavily relied on in a paper by "a reputable Hoover Institution scholar" - which seems a contradiction in terms - John B. Dunlop, the Hoover Institution being the absolute worst of the Scaife-Olin-Koch funded thinktanks, devoted to the old anti-Soviet view of the world still held by people like Condi Rice), an article in the increasingly weird (but fun) Pravda, and an article in a Russian investigative magazine based on assistance from French and Israeli intelligence. In other words, the whole thing, which turns on an alleged meeting in July 1999 at the French villa of Adnan Khashoggi between Khashoggi and a motley crew of villains associated with the international illegal drug trade, looks like an intelligence fabrication. The multiple dodgy sourcing, as we've seen in Nigergate, is just another of their tricks.

It has become a bit of a running joke in the world of conspiracy theory that Adnan Khashoggi is connected with every single conspiracy out there (George Soros runs a distant second). I think all we can conclude is that this July 1999 meeting occurred, or, more likely, some intelligence agencies have gone to a lot of trouble to make us think it occurred. I still recommend the article for its analysis of the drug trade (and this company Far West Ltd. should be looked into). I find it amusing that I mentioned that Sibel Edmonds made me nervous as she sounded like Peter Dale Scott (and my Marc Grossman guess looks increasingly good), and Peter Dale Scott quotes her!

Iraqi civilian bombing casualties

There is an interesting article in the Washington Post reporting on the fact that American aerial bombing attacks on Iraq are killing civilians. It is qualified and excused up the wazoo, but still leaves the clear impression that civilians are dying as a result of American bombings. A few comments:

  1. Despite the enormous number of bombing runs, this is the first time of which I am aware that the deaths of civilians from aerial bombardment has even been mentioned in the mainstream media (the unmainstream media does cover it). The fact that American and British planes have been bombing civilians for years, even before the latest attack on Iraq, is one of the biggest underreported matters in American journalism.

  2. Publishing on Christmas Eve is a good way to blunt the PR impact. You can't pick a better day to announce something if you wish to cover yourself by having it officially publicized while ensuring that the absolute minimum number of people see it. It is much better to have info like this come out in a controlled way.

  3. The Washington Post article is tied to its own and a slightly earlier analysis of daily news briefs from Central Command Air Forces Forward Public Affairs (e. g., here).

  4. It is possible that making this issue 'news' now is part of a new Pentagon propaganda campaign to begin to sell the advantages of turning the ground war into an air war. The Washington Post article is the type of thing used to inure Americans to the fact that 'collateral damage' will unavoidably mean the death of a few civilians, regrettable but necessary in the fight of the 'war on terror'.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Norwegian thought experiment

As a thought experiment, just imagine that a group of Norwegian intellectuals got together and produced a report for an extreme right-wing politician in Norway that advocated, amongst other things, that Norway should arrange for 'regime change' in Sweden. A number of years later, most of these same guys end up as important officials and advisors in the American government, and set up a system specifically devised to create lies about Sweden intended to trick the American people into attacking Sweden. Some of the lies actually come directly from the Prime Minister's office in Oslo. One of the writers of the report, a guy with direct contact with Norwegian politicians and generals, even ends up heading the very group that arranges for the trickery! After Sweden lies in ruins, with 100,000 or so dead Swedes, and it has been revealed that all the stories told to the American people about Sweden were in fact lies, and someone has the temerity to point out the ethnic origin of the group who wrote the report and arranged for the war, would you call it anti-Norwegianism (since nobody hates Norwegians, English doesn't even have a word for it!)? Of course not. It just so happens that the particular group behind the disaster of the attack on Iraq is a group that is uniquely protected from any criticism, no matter how vile their crimes. It's not the group that is important, but the fact that the conspiracy was entirely in aid of the perceived interests of the country which claims to represent and stand up for that group. There were no doubt a lot of American reasons for the attack on Iraq, and it is somewhat misleading - in some cases, intentionally so - to characterize the attack as a 'war for . . . ' The key point is this: if it was not for the Herculean efforts of agents for the Israeli extreme right operating at the highest levels of the American government, the war would not have occurred. End of story.

Friday, December 23, 2005

British intelligence in Northern Ireland

A high-level Sinn Fein official named Denis Donaldson has admitted that he was a spy for British intelligence, thus confirming complaints made by Northern Irish republicans for years that politics in Northern Ireland was completely manipulated by London (in particular in the operation known as 'Stormontgate', which involved Donaldson and which simultaneously achieved a number of British goals, including embarrassing the IRA, sowing dissension in republican politics, and bringing political power over Northern Ireland back to London). Sinn Fein has been noticeably quiet about the matter, perhaps reflecting embarrassment about being so infiltrated, or perhaps reflecting internal finger-pointing at who was responsible for allowing this to happen. Jonathan Freedland suggests there could be a number of possibilities:

  1. the British security establishment does infiltrate and manipulate republican politics; or

  2. Donaldson was outed by British intelligence so the predictable violent retaliation against him would prove how nasty the IRA is and delay the blessing by decommissioning commissioner General de Chastelain; or

  3. the IRA really was involved in spying at Stormont, and British spy Donaldson had to go along with it in order to preserve his cover (which would explain why Sinn Fein doesn't want to see a big investigation which would prove it really was spying); or

  4. Denis Donaldson was originally a British agent but was 'turned' back to Sinn Fein, possibly to avoid being killed when he really was betrayed, and this is a Sinn Fein propaganda operation (but based on the truth that Donaldson was a British spy).

The last issue raised by Freedland is that Blair and Adams have become all too comfortable with the status quo, which looks after their own personal interests while denying self-rule to the people of Northern Ireland.

For another example of the same type of spying, see the saga of Stakeknife.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Prolegomena to any future parapolitics

It's relatively rare to see a conspiracy where the main conspirators are kind enough to set out the terms of the conspiracy in a published document. Such a document is "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" written for Benjamin Netanyahu by a committee consisting of Richard Perle (direct Bush Administration connection), James Colbert (JINSA), Charles Fairbanks, Jr. (friend of Wolfowitz), Douglas Feith (direct Bush Administration connection), Robert Loewenberg (Israeli thinktanker), Jonathan Torop (WINEP), David Wurmser (direct Bush Administration connection), and Meyrav Wurmser (direct Bush Administration connection). The document spells it all out (my emphasis in bold):

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions."

Note that Job 1, removing Saddam (checkmark in that box), is part of the more important effort of dealing with Syria (and Iran, not a real Israeli target, is hardly mentioned in the document). The 'Clean Break' continues (my emphasis in bold):

". . . Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the 'natural axis' with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity.

Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging - through influence in the U.S. business community - investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan's economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria's attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey's and Jordan's actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite."

Destabilizing Syrian control of Lebanon? Check. Weakening Syria through securing tribal alliances with hostile Arab tribes? A work in progress centering on the Kurds and American incursions from Iraq. Redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity? John Bolton's current big project involving the Mehlis report. The 'Clean Break' document even specifically advocates "striking at select targets in Syria proper", something that Israel has actually done (advocating such action appears to be, in itself, a war crime).

Critics of the idea that the current mess in the Middle East is part of an Israeli-directed plot can cavil all they want, but when exactly the same people who wrote exactly the same blueprint that is being followed all end up in the Bush Administration, and set up a specific organization, the Office of Special Plans (led by Feith), to ensure that only lies supporting the attack on Iraq reach Bush, such caviling appears to be a form of insanity. Just how much proof of the conspiracy do you need? The 'Clean Break' document is essentially a written confession of conspiracy, written for extreme right-wing politician Netanyahu, and carried out down to the letter by the United States government directed by a cabal of neocons (with the exception of the bizarre idea that they could install the King of Jordan as the King of Iraq, which seems to be a particular fantasy of Richard Perle).

The usual response to this conspiracy is to claim that picking out the Jewish members of the Bush Administration is just a form of anti-Semitism. What about all the non-Jewish members who also supported the war (see here)? In particular, what about the two main guys, Cheney and Rumsfeld? Cheney and Rumsfeld chose the members of the Bush Administration. Why do you think they chose a bunch of neocons, and put them in key positions to push and lie for the war? One reason is that their own patrons, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Military-Industrial Complex, wanted a war. The other side of the equation, just as important and perhaps even more important, is that they were told to put Israeli-friendly people in the Administration. Why did they do it? Because they needed to be elected. Who told them to do it in order to be elected? The Christian Zionists. And therein lies a tale which I'm currently thinking about, the revolution which has occurred in the Republican Party over the last thirty years. I think I'll call it "From Bitburg to Baghdad: A Rake's Progress".

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The snooping search engine

Search engine technology is what has happened to snooping. Echelon was just a giant tape recorder with the ability to identify certain key words. When a key word was detected, the system got a 'hit', with some kind of follow-up action indicated. The problem was too much information causing too many hits, making any useful sorting of false positives practically impossible. Algorithms from a company like Google (maybe exactly like Google, which may explain its success) could be used to make the process workable, with electronic snooping becoming like a search engine. Google tests relevance of search results with respect to a specific site by checking the relevance of links to that site, and checks the relevance of each such link by checking its links, and so on. If higher-rated sites link to you, then you move up in the search results.

If I say the words 'bomb' and 'movie theater', I'm probably talking about 'King Kong'. These words would make me a link, and the person I was communicating with would also become a link. The relevance of my words, and my ranking in the Echelon search engine, will depend on what my link is up to. If he is in a group which also uses the words 'bomb' and 'movie theater', I suddenly become more interesting. If some of the guys in the group are living in Pakistan and also talking about high explosives, I become real interesting. The search could be refined by then doing the advanced search of 'bomb' AND 'movie theater' BUT NOT 'King Kong'. Echelon goes from being a dumb tape recorder to becoming an active search engine for terrorism.

This system will obviously still not work, as the real terrorists don't use insecure communication lines to discuss their plans so obviously, but it is fun to snoop and is making someone a shitload of money, so it continues. The problem with the search engine model from a civil liberties point of view is that it requires the constant spidering that we see on the internet. Once I say the key words, the person I'm talking to has to be the subject of a full search, along with all the people he is talking to, and so on. This has to be done instantaneously and automatically in order to create the nexus out of which interesting data might be mined. Obviously, it is impossible to obtain FISA warrants for all these searches, so the process is intrinsically incompatible with any form of privacy rights.

The NYT framing of the matter as a wiretapping problem seems to be an attempt to allow the Bush Administration to depict it as merely the taping of conversations between foreign terrorists and their operatives in the United States. Who could object to that? After all the other crap justified on the basis of the 'war on terror' and swallowed whole by Americans - Guantanamo Bay, enemy combatants, torture, rounding up of innocent Arabs, the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, the Patriot Act - the Bush Administration seems blindsided by the negative reaction to this latest outrage. Why the difference? The average American, not in a gang and not consorting with shady types, doesn't identify with the Jose Padillas of the world. He can't conceive how Padilla's problems could impinge on his life. Snooping is entirely different. Any communication is now subject to being monitored by some NSA dweeb with a giant set of headphones, and this is a direct affront to the privacy of every American. To make it worse, there is no way you will ever know whether you are being listened to, and no change in behavior that would make you immune from surveillance. The phony 'war on terror' has finally hit home.

Yellow vests

Gideon Levy gives a good account of the daily brutality inflicted by the Israelis at just one of their checkpoints in Palestine. An excerpt:

"The entire West Bank is now becoming covered with phosphorescent yellow vests. A new ruling that will come into effect in Israel shortly will require every driver to wear this glowing garment when he leaves his car at night on the road. West Bank drivers, whose safety is especially important to Israel, have rushed to buy vests from the many peddlers on the sides of the roads: They know that they will be the first ones to get ticketed for violations. At the Qalandiyah checkpoint they cost NIS 15 each."

A yellow identifying garment that people of a certain group have to wear for the safety of the public. Something like this?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Big Brother Bush

The answer to the mystery of the NSA snooping scandal - why did they break the law when it was so ludicrously easy to get FISA warrants? - appears to be developing: they weren't just wiretapping, they were data mining. They were using Echelon to 'Able Danger' the whole country (this is Poindexter's Total Information Awareness, which is supposedly dead, in action). The problem is that FISA was enacted prior to the current capability for data mining, and didn't anticipate how ubiquitous it could be. The reason they couldn't use FISA is that they would have had to obtain a FISA warrant for every person in the country. Data mining requires that you follow each link discovered by your snooping, and wouldn't work if it had to be subjected to FISA or the Constitution. The NYT article, now being spun as resisted by the Bush Administration (as if the NYT would publish anything without Rove's say-so), appears to itself be part of the spinning, a limited hang-out to cover up the bigger scandal.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Holocaust II and the neocon conspiracy

One of the mysteries of the recent American history is how a small group of Jewish intellectuals took over the American government and forced it to enter into a trillion dollar war that has hurt the interests of the United States. Even better, after all the lies told for the first war were revealed in all their awful detail, the same group are well on their way to starting another trillion dollar war against Syria using almost the same methods (lies and piggybacking on the United Nations). This is so bizarre and incomprehensible that we are forced to look to conspiracy theories to try to explain it. Here is Rigorous Intuition:

"The neocons are the Lone Gunmen of Iraq. They're the patsies who'll eventually take the fall for its failure, which will actually mean success to the real players who've allowed them the liberty to play their hand. Like Oswald, these patsies aren't innocents, but neither should perfect blame be laid at their feet. And like Oswald, when their heads are offered to the public the public will be expected to sigh with relief that the beast has been slain and all is right again in the land."

In other words, the original Powers That Be, presumably the Eastern Establishment or some such plutocrat group, staffed the Bush White House with Jews so when the shit for the plutocrats' war hit the fan, the whole thing could be blamed on the Jews. But surely Paul and Scooter aren't Lee and James Earl? Patsies don't know what is going on, and are set up to take the blame for what the conspirators did. Paul and Scooter know exactly what is going on. Patsies get very little benefit out of their peripheral involvement in the conspiracy, but Paul and Scooter got exactly what they wanted. They wanted a trillion dollar war in a series of trillion dollar wars, all of which would only benefit Israel, but which Israel could never hope to pay for. The United States can't afford them either, but at least can (still) borrow the money. If the neocons are patsies, they are the first patsies who knew exactly what was going on and got exactly what they intended to get.

Hitler's Revenge is that a lot of Jewish people are completely obsessed by the Holocaust and the specter of the return of violent anti-Semitism. Scooter Libby and Judith Miller seem to have this joint fantasy that they were holed up in a barn in the equivalent of 1942 Nazi Germany, and that the fate of the Jewish people rested entirely on their ability to lie and trick their way to start a war to destroy the new Hitler known as Saddam Hussein (for Scooter's paranoia, see here and here). The fact that Saddam in fact posed absolutely no threat to either Israel or the Jewish people (or, for that matter, the United States) is irrelevant if you live in a world which is defined by your perception of ubiquitous anti-Semitism. Since every major political decision in the world is based on covert hatred of the Jews, the Jews have to fight back by defending Israel in every way possible. Since Israel is going to have to house all the world's Jews once the anti-Semitism becomes unbearable (e. g., France), and is not defensible in its current size and configuration, it is necessary to do everything possible to create Greater Israel. The alternative is Holocaust II, so there are no moral restrictions on what you can do. War on a non-threatening sovereign state? Kill 100,000 or so civilians? Do it over and over again across the Middle East (Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt)? No problemo. Once you accept the insane premise - the last gift of Hitler - that all the world turns on destruction of the Jews, all the consequences make perfect sense. As does the fact that Israel can be the only state allowed to discriminate against its own citizens, the only state allowed to have no defined borders, the only state allowed to fail to have a constitution, the only state - besides the United States! - allowed to torture, the only state allowed to consistently break international law, the only state allowed to occupy its neighbor's land and brutally oppress another people, the only state allowed to conspire to remove the government of another sovereign state (but even mentioning that there might be questions about the legitimacy of Israel is a mortal sin), the only state in the Middle East allowed to possess nuclear weapons, etc, etc. If you don't find a way to allow Israel to do all these things, the Holocaust will surely follow.

Of course, the other side of this is that everybody hates you anyway just because you are a Jew. Therefore, you lose nothing when people hate you for starting a war for Israel. It's just more anti-Semitism. The neocon deal is an excellent one: it's a trade of your reputation, which you don't really have as everybody hates you anyway, for a trillion dollar war Israel could never pay for. The worst that could happen is that a few covert agents for Israel might have to go to jail, a small price to pay to avoid the Holocaust (you also have to put up with American blowhards complaining that 'Happy Holidays' is a Jewish plot to destroy Christmas!). The Project of Greater Israel is greater than any one man or any one time, and it is the greatest honor one can have to fall on one's sword to prevent Holocaust II. Besides, we all know no one is going to jail and Scooter and Judith are going to end up very rich as a result of all this conspiring.

It's probably also time for conspiracy theorists to reconsider the idea that the American plutocracy always gets everything it wants, and is ultimately behind every conspiracy. Sometimes wealth leads to laziness and lack of attention to detail. The oil companies didn't want this war. The plutocrats are making out like bandits on it, but they always make out like bandits. Sometimes a concerted conspiracy by a small group of completely dedicated people can, at least for a time, control the agenda. I'm now thinking about the conspiracy to reposition the Republican Party over the last thirty years, a conspiracy that started in Israel.

The bad idea of the FISA court

Josh Marshall considers the number of rejections of FISA warrants and finds all of four (there were none until 2002). There has been a slight change since 2003, when the court started to (very) occasionally require modifications to the requested warrants, but the completely secret and ultra-fast court is still essentially a rubber stamp. You would think that if any good were to come out of the recent revelations it would be that Congress reject the idea that this sham court is doing anything to protect the rights of Americans. It was created to give the appearance of judicial review without actually providing any real review at all. Bush's arrogant rejection of criticisms (see here) that his Administration broke the law will no doubt fall away if Congress shows any spine on this issue, just as Cheney's indefensible defense of the right of the Administration to torture fell away when McCain refused to cave in to pressure. Bullies always back down if you have the nerve to stand up to them.

The real reason for the still unexplained failure to use the FISA Court seems to be a combination of fear of someone finding out the extent of surveillance by counting the number of warrants requested and a desire to continue to increase the kingly power of Bush by surreptitiously increasing the scope of Executive Privilege. Also note the important point made by commentator jtw to the Defensetech posting that the original story has already been spun to make it appear that the issue only involved 'international' communications, when it probably goes much further (after all, since they already hid what they were up to, who is to say how far it really goes?).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kitty Genovese and the NYT

Isn't it incredible how the Bush Administration has wiped out all the 1970's reforms that came out of the soul searching in the wake of Watergate? It isn't a surprise that they would do this, but it's somewhat unnerving that it was all so easy. A decade of cleaning up the excesses of the CIA, the FBI, and the White House itself has been completely destroyed on the basis of Executive Privilege (with the help of compliant legal opinions and advice of one very handy lawyer named John Yoo). Bush has the same idea that Nixon had, which is that he isn't bound by any laws whatsoever, including the Constitution, all because he is the President. He has more power than an absolute monarch.

One other thing on the New York Times. Relying on some 'war on terror' balderdash from the Bush Administration, they delayed publishing on the NSA abuses for one year, a year during which most of the abuses occurred. In other words, by not publishing, the New York Times is essentially a party to the unconstitutional searches by the NSA. It is not dissimilar from watching a murder occur and failing to try to stop it. Everyone who read the article was instantly outraged by its contents, except, apparently, the editors and publishers of the New York Times. If it wasn't for the Judith Miller scandal, you might think this was just one instance of bad judgment. Given Miller, it is clearly part of an ongoing pattern of gross violation of journalistic ethics.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

NSA domestic spying reporting delay

More on the delay by the New York Times in reporting on the NSA domestic spying scandal, from the Washington Post:

"The decision to withhold the article caused some friction within the Times' Washington bureau, according to people close to the paper. Some reporters and editors in New York and in the bureau, including Risen and co-writer Eric Lichtblau, had pushed for earlier publication, according to these people. One described the story's path to publication as difficult, with much discussion about whether it could have been published earlier.

In a statement yesterday, Times Executive Editor Bill Keller did not mention the book. He wrote that when the Times became aware that the NSA was conducting domestic wiretaps without warrants, 'the Administration argued strongly that writing about this eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues about the vulnerability of their communications and would deprive the government of an effective tool for the protection of the country's security.'"

I don't know whether that is Keller's lie or a Bush Administration lie, but it is obviously a lie. NSA domestic spying was always possible with a FISA warrant, and the terrorists, if any, would have known about that and communicated accordingly. You'll remember that one of the oddities of the Moussaoui case was that the FBI claimed that it didn't investigate his computer in August 2001 because it would have required a FISA warrant and it felt it would not have been able to obtain one, despite the fact that out of literally thousands of FISA warrant requests only one had ever been refused, and that refusal was reversed on appeal. Therefore, it was clear that the FBI, for some no doubt bad reason, didn't want to see what was in Moussaoui's laptop in August 2001. The Bush Administration no doubt didn't want to obtain warrants as the volume of warrants requested would eventually have become known, and thus become a political issue.

It appears to be increasingly obvious that the New York Times is simply a communications arm for Bush Administration propaganda. They carried the can on the Iraq lies, and the ensuing scandal is hurting their reputation and circulation. They needed a big scoop, and thus went to the White House to ask permission that this story be released, on the basis that the White House owed them a favor. Can't you imaging Pinch Sulzberger crying his eyes out to Karl Rove, begging to be allowed to publish the article so that the family stop bugging him about the circulation numbers? Rove magnanimously agrees, provided Pinch keep up the good work at spreading the gospel according to Bush. Will they now start the drumbeat of lies for the coming attack against Syria? They may have to bring Judith Miller back.

Think tank op-eds

One of the think tankers has had to resign when it was revealed that he accepted money from Jack Abramoff for writing op-eds on order from Jack to support the positions of some of Jack's clients. Another guy who took money from Jack isn't going to resign, and sees nothing wrong with taking money to write op-eds. This is all rather amusing when you think of the history of think tanks. They were set up by the extreme right-wing plutocrats - guys like Richard Mellon Scaife - when it was felt the right had lost the culture wars of the 60s and 70s, and needed to fund some surreptitious right-wing propaganda. The whole point of the think tanks was to bribe those who were willing to shill for the extreme right. No reputable publication should ever publish an op-ed from any think tanker as all of them have been bought and paid for. If the think tanks want these funded opinions to be read, they should pay for publication themselves, and not piggy-back on the reputation of 'legitimate' publications by providing free editorial filler. What the think tank structure has done is simply to institutionalize and legitimize funded opinions. American journalism has become so lost that no one even thinks this system of bribery might be a problem. The guy who had to resign seems to have been guilty only of two things: double dipping, and, more importantly, receiving money from a big-money operator whose name is now mud.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Miller effect

Good paragraph from the article in the New York Times on NSA domestic spying:

"The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted."

So what has happened in the past year to change the Time's view of what dark secrets it can let out? Answer: Judith Miller. This is a rather pathetic attempt to regain some credibility lost by publishing the Miller lies for so long, but the fact they hid the NSA scandal just reinforces the view that the Times is no place to find the truth. The double irony is that James Risen, the co-author of the NSA article, is the same guy that told the editors that his sources were telling him that the Miller stories were all crap. They published them all anyway, with nary a word that there might be any issue whatsoever about their credibility, and thus lied the U. S. into what is looking like a trillion dollar mistake.

Here's a hint on how to regain a shred of journalistic dignity. Have a bunch of reporters do a lifestyle audit - the same type of investigation that hero reporter Marcus Stern did on 'Duke' Cunningham - on every member of Congress. How many of these guys recently had big lifestyle upgrades? With the current rampant corruption, coupled with the perception, commonly held until very recently, that the Republicans were completely invulnerable, I'll bet that more than a few are living the high life and taking no pains to hide it. This wouldn't cost too much, and would have a big salutary effect on American politics. Of course, the Times would never rock the boat, so it'll never happen.

Demolishing the demolitions

The best evidence that the collapse of the two towers was not a controlled demolition is actually at the WTC site itself and is called WTC 7. WTC 7 didn't collapse at all like the two towers, but seems to have collapsed exactly like a classic controlled demolition, with the entire building collapsing onto the bottom where the explosives are placed. The two towers obviously collapsed exactly as you would expect them to, from the point of the plane crashes. Any talk about explosions in the basement is irrelevant, as we can all see that the buildings actually collapsed from the point of impact (and anyone who heard an explosion which was part of a controlled demolition would be dead now!).

If the demolition occurred from a point at or just below where the planes hit, we are left with the logistical question of how it was done. Leaving aside the question of how tons of explosives were planted half-way up each of the two towers without anybody seeing anything, how do the conspirators know for certain that their nefarious plot is going to work perfectly in each of the two towers? It has to work perfectly, for otherwise the New York City Fire Marshall is going to be wandering around a partly burned building, stumbling upon tons of unexploded explosives, and that will be tough to explain. Actual controlled demolitions are tricky at the best of times, with elaborate care taken in setting up the placing and timing of the explosions. Do you think any demolition expert could guarantee, with the 100% certainty required, that both these explosions would work perfectly, given that he knows that huge planes will be crashing at or very near where all his complex equipment is located? How can he be certain - 100% certain - that the effect of one or both of the plane crashes won't screw something up, leaving an unexploded tower and a hell of a lot of extremely incriminating evidence? How does he know that the plane crashes themselves won't cause partial detonation of the explosives, leaving a big mess but standing towers and a lot more dead people (were the controlled detonations timed to allow most of the occupants of the towers to escape, and if so, why?). Wait, I can hear the explanation now! The fire inspectors were all replaced by Israeli agents and would have covered it up!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

How to hide a murder

Have you noticed that we're seeing a consistent template for the Official Stories created when officials cause the death of an innocent civilian? The authorities commit an act of violence against somebody, probably pulling guns and starting to run after the victim. The victim, naturally, runs, and witnesses in the area, naturally, act horrified, yell, scream, etc. After the victim is safely dead, and can no longer testify, the official Story is created by reversing the timeline. Now, it was the victim who ran first, thereby acting suspiciously, and forcing the poor authorities to run after him. The witnesses are described as reacting to something the victim did, something which again forced the authorities to react violently. Thus, the predictable reactions in victims and witnesses to official violence are turned around to be the excuse for the official violence. It's going to come to the point when we're all going to have to carry video cameras with us, constantly taping everything, just to prevent this onslaught of attacks. Then, of course, they'll ban video cameras.

Aerial bombardment

Dahr Jamail writes about the increasing use of bombing attacks against civilians in Iraq (see also here; I'd cite some other sources but there aren't any, as the embedded American 'journalists', savoring their martinis in the 'Green Zone', are too busy to cover the issue). The failure by the American mainstream press to even mention this fact is reminiscent of their complete failure to report on the similar attacks on Iraq during the days of the 'no fly' zones (an undeclared war by Britain and the U. S. against Iraq, which was replaced by the 2003 attack when that undeclared war didn't achieve its desired purpose), when British and American planes went on innumerable bombing runs without the slightest mention in the press (the Iraqis noticed, which is one reason why they didn't throw flowers at the occupying troops). The only time the bombings were mentioned was just before the attack on Iraq, when the Anglo-American attack increased in order to soften up the country (while Tony Blair continued to insist that the attack was not inevitable!). Since the media (again) completely failed to do its job, Americans had no idea of the background to the shrill American demands against Iraq, and Saddam's response, in the months leading to the 2003 attack.

Leaving aside the utter immorality of bombing civilians in order to be able to steal their oil when 'empire fatigue' means you are unable to continue to bear the burden of dead American soldiers, the ridiculousness of replacing the soldiers by aerial bombardment is decisively proven by the fact that Americans are trying this strategy now, with increasing desperation. It doesn't work against insurgency, for the same reason it never works. The targets are the obvious places where civilians live. When the bombs hit, the insurgents, if there ever were any, are long gone, and the grief over the dead civilians just increases the power of the insurgency. Since some bright guy got the idea that the new technology of airplanes could be used to fight wars with bombs, we are left with millions of dead civilians, but never once has an insurgency been stopped or even slowed down by aerial bombardment (unless you are prepared to kill everybody, a tactic which starts to look like plain ordinary genocide). The complete moral and intellectual failure of the American left is demonstrated by the fact that its sole answer to the war in Iraq is to replace American soldiers with aerial bombardment.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The most evil corporations

Global Exchange has a list of the fourteen most evil corporate human rights violators in the world, with lots of useful activist links like this one (see also here). I assume Exxon and Archer Daniels Midland aren't on it only because they are in the Hall of Fame and don't have to requalify each year.

The Promised Land, further north

A bunch more Israelis have been caught illegally in the United States and deported for immigration violations, this time in South Dakota and Iowa (wtf?). Can't you just hear them talking in Tel Aviv: "What are we going to do for fun this December?" "I've got a great idea - let's go sell cheap toys to wheat farmers in South Dakota." I repeat myself, but they appear to be looking for the Promised Land. The leader of Iran got into trouble for suggesting Europe, but the plan appears to be to move Israel to somewhere in the central U. S. It sounds fair to me: the United States has caused the problem, and is morally obligated to clean up the mess once the Israelis have to cut and run.

Diebold, down for the count

Hey, who better to count your vote in a secret process than a company whose executives were allegedly involved in a massive securities fraud? Americans should start hiring serial killers as policemen, arsonists as firemen, mafiosi as bank auditors, and pedophiles as school monitors. The fraud allegedly started in the fall of 2003. I wonder if they had to get rid of Wes Vance first? O'Dell took over running the company after Vance's death. Wouldn't it be funny if American democracy was indirectly saved by greed?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mehlis explanation?

From MEMRI, the anti-Arab propaganda site (so take it for what it is worth), an article on Syrian reaction to the Mehlis report contains the following:

". . . Abd Al-Wahhab 'Adas, deputy editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya, published a similar article, stating that "Mehlis was carefully selected [as chairman of the commission], since he is German but his mother was a Jewess who lived in Germany, emigrated to Israel in 1948, and witnessed the birth of the Zionist state... It was her will and testament that Mehlis too would emigrate to Israel, the Promised Land." 'Adas added: "Mehlis's mother played a major role in bringing Jews from Germany to Palestine... Mehlis himself was a close friend of Israeli leaders... Mehlis's mother was killed on the Golan Heights by Syrian sniper fire, as she was serving as a medic on the Israeli-Syrian front.""

MEMRI of course wants us to laugh at those silly Arabs and their conspiracy theories, but the fact that Mehlis has continued to blame Syria for the death of Hariri in the face of the fact that all his witnesses have been utterly discredited, simply on the basis that he appears to have pulled some more witnesses out of his ass, means that these allegations should be seriously investigated (although I can't believe that John Bolton, when he hand-picked Mehlis, would have left such an obvious trail of bias).

Beyond a reasonable doubt

Of the first seventy falsely-convicted Americans who were exonerated by DNA evidence (unclear if this refers only to North Carolina, but the numbers are high enough that it is likely the whole country), sixty-one were convicted, at least in part, on the basis of mistaken eyewitness identification (see also here, but I note that this site, which I found via this thread in the Zodiackiller discussion board, would be improved if they cited their sources; see also here and here and pp. 20-22 of the pdf here). Considering that coroners and forensic examiners often lie to make their police friends happy (and are sometimes caught), fabric evidence is suspect, state appointed lawyers are often incompetent or in a hurry, plea bargains are often forced on defendants who don't understand what is going on, confessions are obtained through various forms of coercion, jailhouse informants are spectacularly unreliable (here is a long analysis of the problems in pdf format from a commission investigating a case of wrongful conviction in Ontario), ballistic evidence has been impugned (see also here), and even fingerprint evidence has been questioned as being largely subjective (on fingerprints, see here and here and here and here and here and here, not to mention ear prints and bitemarks and knifemarks!), one has to question whether there is ever enough evidence to really prove that a crime has been committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The entire criminal justice system appears to be an elaborate charade, where police pick up 'bad guys' who may or may not have done the crime but often accept their fate as punishment for other crimes for which they haven't been caught. Occasionally an innocent person with the massive amounts of money required for lawyers and forensic experts fights the wrongful arrest, and sometimes reveals the tip of the iceberg of all the crap that is commonly accepted as evidence.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Not as bad as Stalin

Americans won't, or can't, accept that Bush isn't an aberration in American politics, and that the United States has been up to Iraq-style adventures, admittedly a bit more circumspectly, for years. Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize acceptance speech covers the point with dramatic intensity. The decades of being able to bamboozle the world with nonsense about the inherent goodness of America have led to sufficient confidence that the American officials no longer even bother with the sales pitch. United Nations, Geneva Conventions, International Criminal Court, Kyoto Agreement, laws against torture, sovereignty of nations, international law? Fuck them all. If it doesn't fill the American SUV, it doesn't matter. Niall Ferguson, who has parlayed his remarkable ability to bend over and lube up whenever he hears the words 'United States' into being Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University (just like another primo luber celebrity Harvard professor, Michael Ignatieff, who plans to become Prime Minister of Canada!) defends the United States against Pinter's charges by playing - get this! - the Stalin card. Yes, it's come to this. The United States isn't quite as bad as Stalin, so it must be OK then. Wow!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The United States is a psychopath

One of the many benefits of the Bush Administration is that it demonstrates, over and over again, just how big a bunch of hypocrites Americans are. The United States has always been involved in attacking sovereign countries. Iraq is novel only in the fact that it was done out in the open, in blatant contravention of international law (rather than covert contravention of international law). Americans, in particular, the CIA and the Pentagon, have always been involved in torture. The School of the Americas is, amongst other things, a school for torture (and see also here and here). The only difference between the Bush Administration and other previous administrations, including those with Democrat Presidents, is that the Bush Administration is proud of what it is doing, and no longer attempts to hide it (plus we have photos). Americans are like the racist suburbanite who doesn't want 'those people' living in his neighborhood, but finds the Ku Klux Klan offensive. It's not the racism, its the in-your-face celebration of racism that is the problem. Similarly, its not the torture, its the pleasure that officials like Rice and Cheney seem to have in advocating it. Most Americans support the use of torture, they just don't like to be reminded of it. The lowest point in the short history of the American Empire has to be Rice going to Europe and insisting that the Americans won't put up with Europeans applying their own laws against torture (not that the United States would do such a thing, wink, wink).

To show you how bad things are, read Juan Cole justifying the bombing of Iraqi civilians (and let's not fool ourselves, any aerial bombardment of Iraq is essentially the bombing of civilians, especially when the insurgents get control of the Iraqi spotters and increase the power of the insurgency by having the Americans commit more and more atrocities) on the justification, if you can believe it, that Americans need cheap oil so that poor Americans not suffer under high gas prices (a lefty version of the trickle-down theory, justifying the unjustifiable because the American poor might get some scraps out of it!), and Juan Cole whitewashing the white phosphorus scandal on the grounds, if you can believe it, that the American soldiers would not do such a thing (!). Cole, who is really just a warblogger with an IQ over 100, called people who disagreed with his writings the 'looney left' (although he has since backed down). And Cole is an American liberal! The conservatives have the same views, but don't bother with the contorted justifications.

Here's a quiz: what's the difference between these three sentences:

  1. I had to shoot the bank guard because I needed the money for drugs.

  2. I had to defraud the shareholders because I needed the money to maintain my expensive lifestyle.

  3. I had to attack a sovereign country that posed no threat to me, and use chemical weapons and bombs on civilians, because I needed the oil.

Answer: It's a trick question. There is no difference. All are the statements of psychopaths who literally see no concern in harming others as long as their gratifications are met. The United States, as a country, is a psychopath, and has been since the end of the Second World War. You can see the psychopathic way in thinking in all the convoluted distinctions between 'torture' (which we would never do), and 'inhumane treatment' (which is just fine). Americans are preoccupied with not leaving physical marks (photos are bad too). If you can't catch me, I didn't do it. Stone-cold psycho.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

An execution at Miami airport

The fellow who was executed at Miami airport, Rigoberto Alpizar, was described as a 'missionary' just returned from Ecuador. The term 'missionary' has traditionally covered a lot of sins. The Miami Herald, as part of its ongoing attacks on Venezuela, has been attempting to create a bogus story concerning supposed Venezuelan involvement in terrorism in Ecuador (see also here). Ecuador is in the middle of resisting American insistence that it enter into one of those awful 'free trade' agreements (negotiations have been extended, meaning they are not going so well), the instruments by which American plutocrats rape the wealth of other countries. Venezuela is assisting Ecuador and other South American countries in resisting such agreements, in part through sharing its considerable oil wealth. It is thought that the American story of Venezuelan sponsorship of terrorists in Ecuador is intended to sour relations between the two countries, perhaps preventing Venezuela from assisting Ecuador from falling into the hands of the Americans. As the Official Story of the execution of Rigoberto Alpizar makes no sense, and continues to fall apart, you have to wonder about the assassination of a 'missionary' to Ecuador in anti-Venezuelan Miami.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rahm jets

Rahm Emmanuel, in control of the purse strings of the Democratic Party, is using those purse strings to replace anti-war Democrat candidates with candidates in favor of continuing American involvement in Iraq. Whatever you might hear from Israel concerning a desire that Americans withdraw, don't believe it. Israel wants American troops to stay (so they will). This explains the extraordinary position of the Democrats, who would have a slam-dunk political win if they just advocated immediate and complete withdrawal - 'withdrawal' with continued presence of American troops, or 'withdrawal' with a continuation of the semi-secret aerial (or here) bombardment of civilians or American-sponsored death squads, doesn't count - but can't bring themselves to do so.

Why does Israel want the Americans to stay in Iraq? Despite all its best efforts to lead to the conditions for a civil war in Iraq, with attacks on civilians, dirty ops including fake terrorist attacks and kidnappings, and ongoing attempts to foster enmity between Sunnis and Shi'ites, Iraqis are still, in the face of all odds, holding together. If the Americans were to completely withdraw tomorrow, there is no guarantee that there would be civil war. Israel's worst nightmare is the existence of a unified Iraq, unhobbled by sanctions, with a keen and unabiding hatred of Israel for what Israel and its American stooges have done to the civilians of Iraq. Israel is so terrified of this outcome that it will pull out all the stops to prevent the Americans from withdrawing before Iraq is completely destroyed.


Josh Marshall drops a hint:

"HUGH BANCROFT III,, a member of the Bancroft family that owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, buys Duke Cunningham's house for $2.6 million.

The house appreciated a mere 2% over two years.

Back in August, before the bottom fell out, Duke put it on the market for $3.5 million."

Watch for very kind coverage of Cunningham and his colorful friends in the Wall Street Journal (not that they wouldn't have received kid gloves treatment there anyway).

Joseph Cannon has done an exemplary job (and see also LieparDestin at Daily Kos) explaining the Cunningham/Wilkes/Wade connections, and the mainstream media, hobbled as it is by a lack of experience in covering the news, is following up behind. It's still early days, but it looks like the same old story of money appropriated for military purposes being directed to fund Republican politicians and put money in their pockets. What caught my eye was that Wilkes has CIA connections, through his history with a spooky, drug-money-laundering financial institution called World Finance Corp., which had connections to South American drug smuggling and Iran-Contra (same old, same old, for the CIA), and through his personal friendship with Kyle Dustin 'Dusty' Foggo, who is now the number 3 guy at the CIA. From

"According to past and present CIA officials interviewed over the past month, CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo - whose career duties have encompassed letting CIA contracts - has had a long, close personal relationship with two contractors identified (though not explicitly named) in court papers as bribing Cunningham: Brent Wilkes of the Wilkes Corp., whose subsidiaries include defense contractor ADCS; and former ADCS consultant Mitchell Wade, until recently president of defense contractor MZM, Inc. It is a relationship, the CIA officials say (with some putting a particular emphasis on Wilkes), that has increasingly been of concern."


"Another recently-retired senior agency official, while not naming Wilkes or Wade by name, also noted concerns borne out of both personal experience with and reports from colleagues about Foggo. 'If you were a case officer and worked with him, you'd be saying to yourself, 'I've got to watch this guy,'' says the former official. 'There is one contractor with whom he enjoys a very, very, very close relationship.'"

I've been going on about the inexplicable way in which the CIA has been letting itself be pushed around by the White House (Cheney appears to have the CIA's balls in a jar on his desk). When Kennedy tried to reduce the power of the CIA, the Agency stood by and let the Pentagon blow his head clean off, and then set up the cover-up. Sending Valerie Plame out to fight the Bush Administration is hardly in the same league. Is it just possible that the reason for the CIA emasculation is that some of the highest officials in the CIA have been bought and paid for by Republican corruption?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Once more into the fray

I've been reading some of the comments on my supposed turnaround on the issue of controlled demolition. It's really quite sad. Or course, there is no turnaround as I've never bought the controlled demolition story with respect to the two towers, just as I've always been skeptical about what brought down WTC 7 and always been certain - and still am - that Flight 77 didn't hit the Pentagon. We all have our own realms of conspiracy. The critics seem to have somewhat accepted the inevitable logic of my position, that the owner of the building had no economic reason to pull down his own buildings, and every economic reason not to, but just shift the rationale. Now its all about removing asbestos, which he didn't want to pay for, so he trashed the buildings. This raises the instant question of why he bought buildings full of asbestos only a few months before September 11, so they again shift the rationale to somehow making money off the stockmarket (but wouldn't the stockmarket have gone down anyway, even if the buidings had stayed up?). If it makes no sense for him to take down the buildings, why his Israeli (naturally) security company planted them behind his back. Or they used the thirty-year old explosives the Rockefellers had thoughtfully planted in the buildings during construction. Or, or, or. The sum total proof of actual planting of explosives is that they've found one guy, out of the hundreds or even thousands who must have been in the buildings over the weekend, who claims that the power was shut down in the tower he was in over the weekend. On that, and that alone (oh, there are some anomalies on some videos which you can see if you squint, and a janitor heard some explosions in the basement), a massive conspiracy, one that makes no economic sense, rests.

The most hilarious thing about all this nonsense is that these morons don't realize that their pathetic attempts at rationalizing their pet theory are letting the current owner off the hook. If the buildings weren't fit for safe occupation, the owner could be sued by the people harmed by his negligence in continuing to lease them without fixing the problems (and he could in turn claim against those he bought from, and so on back). Perhaps something could be done about other buildings which are similarly unsafe. With the controlled demolition theory, all the plutocrats are off the hook, as it was all the doing of the nefarious, and extremely mysterious, Israelis.

The controlled demolition theory is much closer to a religious belief than anything rational, and bears a strong odor of anti-Semitism. Since it must be true, anyone who even mentions the many obvious problems with it is some kind of disinformation agent, obviously paid off by the bad guys (i. e., Israel). Criticizing the theory is a form of blasphemy, and so any number of inconsistent 'rebuttals' are wheeled out to deal with the problem. If all else fails, attack the messenger.

The most recent, and predictable salvo, concerns the crash of the plane in Iran. Plane crashes into tall building, building catches fire, doesn't fall down, therefore WTC must have been brought down by controlled demolition. But the Iran crash is relevantly different. The plane hit the top of the 10-story building (or rather, it appears that it hit the eighth floor, fell to the ground, and a wing clipped the lower floors, although even that explanation may just be an assumption based on a gas explosion that occurred on the fourth floor). The key to the WTC collapse was that the planes knocked off the insulation, and the fire weakened (but not melted, which I read again and again from the controlled demolition theorists, who seem to feel that the Official Story must be nonsense as the heat of the fire could not have melted steel) the steel, causing it to be unable to bear the weight of many, many floors above. It there are no or few floors above, there is no reason for collapse. Why do you think they put insulation on the steel anyway? Just for this reason. Similarly, tall buildings which catch fire and don't fall down are no mystery as nothing has hit them causing the insulation to be knocked off (the building in Tehran appears to be structurally intact). Since the insulation is still on, it does exactly what it is supposed to do, which is to keep the steel from being weakened by the fire, and thus keep the building from collapsing. Structural engineers involved in the WTC seem to be shaken by the fact that they apparently assumed the insulation would stay on despite a plane crash, something which it would be wise to reconsider in building other tall buildings, including the new WTC (I actually wonder whether any, or the proper amount of, insulation was applied to the upper floors of the towers, something which can't be confirmed as they were built under the Port Authority - even though the buildings had nothing to do with New York city ports or transportation, and thus had no reason whatsoever to be built by the Port Authority - with the specific purpose of avoiding inspection, and all the evidence from the WTC scene has been safely buried or shipped to China). The new religion seems to be that checking people's shoes at the airport will stop a repeat of 9-11, so there is no reason whatsoever to worry again about the safety of tall buildings.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Biofuels and the environment

George Monbiot writes about some of the environmental aspects of the biofuels scam (see also here). Note that this is a different problem than the problem with using corn to make fuel, as that problem is that the whole process of growing, transporting, and converting the corn to fuel requires more energy than is produced. This is only economically possible because of obscene agricultural subsidies given to North American corn producers, subsidies which have added to third-world poverty while creating a surplus of corn. The agribusiness solution to the corn surplus is to waste more energy turning it into trendy biofuels (biofuels also serve as a crutch so people can ignore the conservation issue while feeling virtuous as they refill their SUV with 10% corn and 90% oil, and is thus paradoxically part of the advertising program of Big Oil). Now we find that the chic biofuels will further endanger the poor countries of the world - not to mention everybody else - by destroying their forests to grow palm trees. Biofuel - simply the worst idea anybody has ever had!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mr. Arm Pinner is surprised

I've been thinking about the guy who held Jean Charles de Menezes while the SAS fired bullets in his head. Dum dums or not, holding a guy while somebody fires a gun at him multiple times has to be a candidate for 'Worst Job in the World'. What are the chances you might take a few dum dums yourself? Which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that Mr. Arm Pinner didn't know that there would be shooting. Which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that the execution of Jean Charles de Menezes was actually two operations, an official one, which was just supposed to be a training exercise, and an unofficial one, where the SAS decided to kill an East Asian for various reasons, including the usual neo-fascist one of stirring up race hatred in Britain.

The explanation of two operations goes a long way to explaining various anomalies in the Official Story. Why did they pick a guy to follow without bothering to check whether he even looked like the guy they were supposedly monitoring? Why did they follow this guy and treat him as a suicide bomber when he obviously wasn't wearing a bomb? Why, if they feared he was a bomber, did they let him on a bus and into a subway station? Why did they lie about every part of the story, from beginning to end? The Official Story, even after you remove all the obvious lies, is simply baffling.

I think the best explanation is that this was merely a training exercise, and most of the Official Story has been created to try to justify the shooting after the fact. They were going to follow, say, the tenth guy who walked out of that building, wander through town with him, and grab him when he was in a critical place like a subway car, with unarmed police swarming in to practice an actual take-down of a real terrorist. Then there would have been effusive apologies, 'mistaken identity', blah, blah, blah, and the target would have been allowed to go on his way. At some point, someone in the SAS, without telling everybody, including Mr. Arm Pinner, decided to make this into a live execution. This was a 'rogue operation', if you will, but with an extremely high level of 'rogue'. Mr. Arm Pinner must have been the most surprised guy in the world when the guns came out.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lies of the Democrats

Lies of the Democrats:

  1. The Democrats like to pretend that Clinton was more moral than Bush, because Clinton didn't attack Iraq. He resisted entreaties by the neocons, which makes him smarter than Bush, but we already knew that. In fact, it was Clinton [corrected from my slip of 'Bush'; thanks to kei & yuri from the comments] and Blair who were behind the no-fly zones and the immoral application of sanctions against the Iraqi people, resulting directly in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children (on being specifically asked about it Madelaine Albright said "Yes, we think the price is worth it"). Bush has killed 100,000 or so Iraqis. Does that make Bush five times more moral than Clinton?

  2. The Democrats are screaming loudly that they were lied to by Bush who hid from them CIA qualifications about Bush's case for war. This is true. However, there can be do doubt that the Democrats wanted to vote for war. Bush actually did them a favor by giving them an excuse to vote for the war the military-industrial complex supporters of the Democrats insisted upon. The kicker is the closed-door Senate session when the Bush Administration presented its 'evidence' that Saddam had killer drones capable of attacking the Eastern Seaboard. This is laughable, but was swallowed whole by Democrats eager to attack Iraq.

  3. Some Democrats would like to pretend they present an alternative to the Bush Administration on Iraq, but I don't see it. Even Murtha's famous position is merely to redeploy American troops out of the direct line of fire of the insurgents, and keep the ragheads in line with aerial bombardments (Juan Cole's original suggestion) and some kind of 'Salvador option' (i. e., the use of paid Iraqi death squads). Since the Americans are already using aerial attacks and death squads in Iraq, these new solutions will certainly not work, and troops will be required until the Americans are ready to give up those precious Iraqi bases. When the Republicans, as a kind of political theater and bluff, presented a full withdrawal resolution, the Democrats (with three noble exceptions), voted it down, proving, as the Republicans knew, that the Democrats work for the same military-industrial complex that the Republicans work for. You will hunt in vain for any prominent Democrat to take any kind of moral position on Iraq.

The fact is that there is no opposition to the war party in the United States. When someone like Juan Cole advocates an essentially immoral position intended solely to maintain American control over oil while reducing American casualty rates, with no real regard for the Iraqi people, and all the main Democrats are far to the right of Cole, you know there is no hope. All the Democrats are doing is posturing, trying to pretend that they an alternative to the Republicans. They aren't.

Lies of London

There is a good story in the Independent describing some of the lies told by the London police concerning their execution of Jean Charles de Menezes. The actual shooting occurred while the victim was being held in the grasp of a firearms officer, pinning his arms. There was no need to shoot, and in fact the shooting might have accidentally set off the bomb they were supposedly worried about, endangering the lives of the police and the passengers. I have to wonder whether dum-dum bullets were used to ensure that the bullets stayed in the victim, and didn't accidentally hit the pinning officer. I would still like to know whether this is an example of extreme-right influence in the SAS trying to set an example by murdering someone to keep the darkies in their place (from their point of view, the only mistake was they thought they were murdering an East Asian). That would explain the series of lies told by Sir Ian Blair and other authorities. The fact that Sir Ian Blair still has a job is one of the unexplained mysteries of the world.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Porn for Bibles

In the most heartwarming story of the week (found via Daily Rotten, the source of much merriment), a group of students at the University of Texas at San Antonio, inspired by toys-for-guns programs and in an effort to get vile, disgusting, hate-filled smut off the streets, is exchanging porn for Bibles. Oh to be a Gideon in Texas!

The money problems with controlled demolition

Let me again summarize briefly why a conspiracy to somehow make money off the controlled demolition of the WTC towers is impossible. Banking syndicates lend money on the security of real estate. Money was lent to buy the WTC, and no doubt full security was taken, including a loan agreement and charges over all the assets. One of the main pieces of security which is always taken (for obvious reasons) is an assignment of the insurance. When the buildings fell down, that event would have triggered a default in the loan agreement which would have enabled the banking syndicate to call its loan and enforce its security. At that point, the main piece of security other than the charge over the underlying real estate (assignments of leases would be worthless as the tenants would no longer be paying rent) would have been the assignment of insurance proceeds. The banks, not the owner of the buildings, would have been paid first out of those proceeds, until their loans were completely paid off. The banks no doubt have this money now, and will probably, but not necessarily, be intending to lend it to the owner if and when he ever builds the replacement WTC. All the owner received was the return of his equity, after the banks were fully paid and limited to the amount of his provable loss and to the limits in the insurance binders. He is not one cent ahead of the game, and no doubt has lost considerable money in the opportunities lost in time wasted to negotiate the new building.

The added angle in all this is that there was litigation over the terms of the insurance payout, with the insurance companies arguing that the terms of the insurance binders meant that they only had to pay for the losses in the collapse of one of the two towers. As it happens, they lost that argument, but they would not have even tried to make it if they were involved in some wild conspiracy with the owner of the buildings. Since the owner of the buildings could not know he would win this argument, but could have anticipated that such an argument would be made, controlled demolition would have been foolhardy, as he might have been destroying an asset with the possibility of only receiving half its value (and of course the banks had first claim on the proceeds anyway, which would have left him owing money with no net assets left to pay it back). Since the owner controlled access to the building, and the explosives needed for the demolition could not have been installed without his knowledge, controlled demolition is impossible.

It is very rare that you can prove, with 100% certainty, that a conspiracy is impossible, but this is one such case. People who argue for conspiracy in this case don't seem to grasp the business realities.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Best investment ever

From Wot Is It Good 4:

"the other amazing thing about corruption in america is that its so fucking cheap! when you read the indictments, its like $10,000 here and $5000 there. i used to deal in cash transactions that size. hour after hour. in some weird universe, thats kinda the saddest thing. its so fucking cheap! congresscritters have an average wealth of $20 million or more - yet they sell their souls for $10k - sometimes for $10k donated in their name to some other group! corrupt officials in places like india and africa must think this is hysterical!

abramoff, for all his largesse, spent 'nearly $3million' (although its not clear what that number ex/includes) - and he donated to 171 (or something) congresscritters! if abramoff can do so much damage with just a few sprinkles of cash, imagine what a murdoch (for example) can do with lots more than $3m in 'soft' money. or GE or any of the others.

in my ex-business, $10k was a quiet day, but this sort of money in america can buy you significant slices of 'democracy'. its quite remarkable. and really fucking cheap.

at least they love democracy"

So true. By far the single best investment you can make, the one with the largest rate of return, is to buy a politician. For literally a few thousand dollars, you can make hundreds of millions. At least when the devil buys your soul he has to give you something valuable. These guys can be bought for what amounts to the pocket change of the plutocrats. Israel has the best scam going of all. For a relatively small amount of the billions the United States sends to Israel each year, Israel can bribe the Congressmen to ensure that the money keeps on flowing. It's the perpetual motion machine of American political corruption.