Thursday, June 30, 2005

More on Jeffrey Goldberg

Commentator Hal C. points out that:

"Jeffrey Goldberg is the guy who almost single-handedly created the Halabja poison gas story into its present form. His was the story that Bush made famous. (Halabja appears to have been caught in the crossfire of two armies using gas in the Iran/Iraq war and was unintentional collateral damage in an obscene war)."

The Goldberg story is called "The Great Terror". Hal C. refers to Jude Wanniski's "Memo on the Margin" on the subject. Wanniski has been writing about this issue for a long time, and has suffered withering attacks for it, but appears to have been vindicated. We'll never know what happened at Halabja, which means we'll never know who was responsible for the death of the Kurds. What is clear is that this episode is part of a Kurdish, and almost certainly Zionist, propaganda war against Saddam. Jeffrey Goldberg is the main sprayer of the gas on the Halabja poison gas story, one of the first to make an explicit Saddam-al Qaeda connection, a guy that Douglas Feith feels comfortable speaking to, and the author of an amazing whitewash on the AIPAC/Israel spy scandal. He's starting to look like another version of Judith Miller. Keep your eye out for him.

The intelligent American position

Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a former senior adviser to the Iraqi coalition government, summarizes the intelligent American position on the reasons for the current American problems in Iraq (published, needless to say, in Knight Ridder newspapers). I don't want anyone smirking about the phrase 'intelligent American position' (an oxymoron?), and perhaps I should say 'more intelligent American position'.

There are some big problems with the intelligent American position. He overstates the value of the things the Americans have done right (the schools and hospitals are a mess, and he has the good sense not to even mention the outrageous electricity and water/sewage situations), doesn't seem to understand that the evidence in the 'mass' graves is highly problematic from the point of view of proving that Saddam was as bad as he is officially supposed to have been, neglects to mention that internal Pentagon planning documents covered all the issues before the war and were simply ignored by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, and pretends not to notice that many of the problems in Iraq may be the intentional work of the neocons attempting to keep Iraq as weak as possible.

On the other hand, he nails some important points (but note that even an intelligent American can't write sense without mentioning the "foreign jihadist terrorists"):

"From the moment that Baghdad fell in April 2003 and much of the public infrastructure was systematically destroyed, the United States failed to fulfill the first overriding obligation of an occupying power: to establish and maintain order. Coalition (mainly American) forces failed to secure Iraq's cities, roads, electricity grids, oil pipelines and borders. The tenacious insurgency, fed and emboldened by an escalating influx of foreign jihadist terrorists, sabotaged roads and crucial facilities as rapidly as they were repaired."


"Why did this happen? Both the military and civilian aspects of the postwar mission were astonishingly short of resources. Not only did the coalition forces not have nearly enough troops, but America also never had enough armored Humvees and other vehicles, including helicopters, or high-quality body armor. We never had nearly enough translators and interpreters, nor enough civilians who knew Iraq's culture, history and language."

He also points out specific policy blunders, the fact that the whole occupation has been characterized by overwhelming American hubris, and the fact that the Young Republicans who have been left in charge of running things are morons. Most importantly, he concludes:

"To achieve lasting peace in Iraq, America will have to make concessions, including an explicit commitment not to seek permanent military bases in Iraq. Perhaps no issue in the coming years will more clearly expose the real purpose of the Bush administration's postwar mission in Iraq: to build democracy or to obtain a new, regional military platform in the heart of the Arab world.

Make no mistake about it: While Iraqis are glad to be rid of Saddam, they also want their country back. Only if we make it clear that we will withdraw our military forces when Iraq is stable will we create the political context in which Iraq can once again become secure. The alternative would leave us mired indefinitely in a violent quagmire in Iraq."

This is key, and is perhaps the main reason why the United States is doomed. The American government will never give up those bases, will thus never end the insurgency, and will have to watch Iraq turn into Vietnam. To emphasize just how bad things are, Vietnam is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario, and one that is far more likely, is World War III in the Middle East.

Larry Franklin, lone nut

There is an interesting article in the New Yorker by Jeffrey Goldberg about the AIPAC spy investigation. It is interesting in that it is massively slanted to protection of AIPAC and Israel from the effects of the scandal. Goldberg's basic argument is to blame the whole thing on Larry Franklin:

  1. Larry Franklin is a Pentagon employee with an odd and loony fetish about the danger of Iran ('sweet, bumbling Larry' on 'Planet Franklin');

  2. He tried to interest members of the Bush Administration about this but was too lowly an employee to get anybody to listen to him; so

  3. He talked to AIPAC and an Israeli official hoping that AIPAC and Israel would use their pull to get the Administration to pay attention to the problem.

This is so backasswards it is actually funny. The Bush Administration is not interested in the dangers of Iran? AIPAC and Israel need Larry Franklin to alert them to the supposed dangers of Iran? AIPAC and Israel need Larry Franklin to goad them into bringing this matter up with the Bush Administration? Larry Franklin is described as if he were some nut AIPAC and Israel met on the subway talking about how the CIA planted a bug in his dentures, and are now being blamed solely because they politely listened to the nut. Goldberg plays up the official Israeli spin that the whole matter is just an FBI sting operation, and the idea that what AIPAC did was just ordinary-course-of-business Washington lobbying, and doesn't mention the fact that the only reason the FBI found out about Franklin is that they were already monitoring AIPAC as part of some wider investigation which has not yet seen the light of day.

Goldberg was the fellow who did the interview with Feith, and the fact Feith consented to talk to him should have made us suspicious. Gary Leupp writes about Goldberg:

"Goldberg in 2002 published an article in the New Yorker praised by former CIA director and leading Iraq war enthusiast James Woolsey as a 'blockbuster' providing a better rationale for an Iraq attack than what could then be culled from the cautious CIA intelligence reports. He claimed that al-Ansar, a group variously described as mostly Kurdish or mostly Arab and generally shrouded in mystery, was producing weapons of mass destruction on the Iranian border. The area was so pummeled by U.S. bombing that there can be no verification of the pre-war claims. Woolsey stated at the time that the CIA "got beat on this story by the New Yorker and Jeff Goldberg." I asked at the time: "How likely is that, and who is likely to be feeding whom here - the CIA Mr. Goldberg, or Mr. Goldberg the CIA?"

Goldberg is thus one of the first propagandists to tie Saddam to al Qaeda, a fact which should color our reading of everything else he comes up with.

The New Yorker, through years of publishing the truth that others are afraid to touch, has become the preeminent American magazine. If they publish much more laughable crap like this, their hard-won reputation is going to go down the toilet. Larry Franklin is being set up as a patsy, with AIPAC and Israel completely off the hook. Franklin's only hope is to do a deal with the prosecutors, telling them the whole story about his dealings with AIPAC and Israel, the real story of his meetings with Rhode, Ledeen and Ghorbanifar, and the dark secrets of how Feith cooked the intelligence to feed lies from Sharon's office through the Office of Special Plans to fool Americans into the disastrous attack on Iraq (we know about the role of the Office of Special Plans in large part from the work of Hersh published in the New Yorker!). To do that deal Franklin needs a lawyer independent of Ledeen, AIPAC, and Israel. This article, if nothing else, should alert him to the seriousness of the danger he is in.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Reasons for Buhriz

Commentators point out that the Buhriz killings occurred in October 2004, so obviously can't be related to American collective punishment meted out to people of the area in revenge for a recent attack on Americans. Therefore, my suspicion that the attack was in revenge for a specific previous attack can't be right, and it is more likely just part of the ongoing American campaign of collective punishment against areas, like Falluja, which resist the occupation. In fact, it is possible that the recent attack against the Americans was just part of the escalation of violence which started with the massacre in Buhriz.

New and improved Unocal

A company owned by the Chinese government has put in a bid (or here) to buy American oil company Unocal. This had caused some consternation amongst those who fear the new Yellow Peril, but it is difficult to see how a country completely dependent on loans from China can turn around and say it is too good for Chinese equity money. When I think of Unocal, I can't help but think of the Afghanistan gas pipeline, a pipeline which Unocal would be developing if the United States could just get control of the country. The Taliban won't deal with an American-owned company, but the Taliban and the Chinese are old friends (something the Chinese don't like to talk about a lot these days), and presumably the Taliban would be delighted to approve the pipeline if Unocal were Chinese-owned. With the Taliban on board, the warlords who are not Taliban could be bought off for money (a share of transit fees), and suddenly Unocal is a more valuable company, just for shedding the opprobium of American ownership. Wall Street could start a new line of work, the de-Americanization of companies whose American ownership makes their products unsaleable in much of the rest of the world (and just wait to see how much worse this is after the American attack on Syria or Iran). The neocons, through destroying the value of the American brand, have started a new line of financial business where squandered shareholder value can be recovered just by selling American companies to commercial entities that are clearly not American. Removing the American taint can make money for everyone. All hail the financial genius of the neocons!

Monday, June 27, 2005

The reason for the Buhriz massacre

Dahr Jamail (or here), on Buhriz:

"People like Edelman don't want people to know what one of my sources in Baquba just told me today.

His email reads:

'Near the city of Buhrez, 5 kilometers south of Baquba, two Humvess of American soldiers were destroyed recently. American and Iraqi soldiers came to the city afterwards and cut all the phones, cut the water, cut medicine from arriving in the city and told them that until the people of the city bring the "terrorists" to them, the embargo will continue.'

The embargo has been in place now for one week now, and he continued:

'The Americans still won't anyone or any medicines and supplies into Buhrez, nor will they allow any people in or out. Even the Al-Sadr followers who organized some help for the people in the city (water, food, medicine) are not being allowed into the city. Even journalists cannot enter to publish the news, and the situation there is so bad. The Americans keep asking for the people in the city to bring them the persons who were in charge of destroying the two Humvees on the other side of the city, but of course the people in the city don't know who carried out the attack.'"

I suspect revenge for the attack on the American Hummers is the real reason behind the massacre in Buhriz.

The Buhriz massacre

A fellow named 1LT TJ Grider who claims to have led the platoon that killed the boys in Buhriz has responded to allegations that the photographs are evidence of war crimes. The gist of the defense of the actions of the American troops:

"I then took pictures in accordance with the rules of engagement. The pictures were necessary for evidence against the surviving insurgents as well as documentation of the skirmish. The initial pictures were taken without weapons because we had consolidated the RPGs away from the individuals and were guarding them while we set up security and treated the wounded. It was the tactically right thing to do as well as the morally right thing to do by treating the wounded even though they had just tried to kill us.

In accordance with orders we then took a series of pictures of the insurgents with the weapons that they had on them. You are correct there was obviously only one RPG launcher there and a few warheads. The rest of the warheads they had were already fired at us minutes earlier. Were there more launchers that they dropped while attempting to flee as they realized the overwhelming force they had just engaged? I don't know and we didn't have time to search as we started taking fire and had audio on small arms fire from nearly every direction."


"As far as the pictures go they were and are necessary. They will be used in the prosecution of the surviving insurgents, although their confessions, which have never been mentioned by Mr. Kraft will probably be enough to convict them.

It was not my requirement to take those pictures, but that of the new Iraqi government. They specifically instructed the military to take pictures of insurgents wit the weapons or contraband they had on them. That is what we did that day.

Yes the RPGs were initially moved to secure the area and pictures were taken. What if we had not had time because of coming under fire to take pictures with the weapons? We needed to have pictures at least confirming the days events. Because we did not come under fire immediately we had time to go back and take the pictures according to how the Iraqi government wanted them for evidence purposes. To suggest we planted them is ridiculous."

He has admitted that they planted the weapons, but now claims that this was done for innocent motives, as "they will be used in the prosecution of the surviving insurgents". Obviously, this won't do. It is as if a prosecutor went to a crime scene and rearranged the evidence to create photos that would more easily lead to a prosecution. These photos are useless as evidence of anything. If they were really concerned with building a case for a prosecution, they would have taken photos of any weapons found in the place where they were found, and recorded information of where the weapons were in relation to the Iraqi boys. Grider himself admits:

"Were there more launchers that they dropped while attempting to flee as they realized the overwhelming force they had just engaged? I don't know and we didn't have time to search as we started taking fire and had audio on small arms fire from nearly every direction."

In other words, there were no RPGs around the Iraqis. That seems to conclude the matter, and is an admission that these deaths were not a matter of self-defense. You will no doubt have noticed that he claims that he couldn't look for more RPGs because they "started taking fire", but two paragraphs earlier claims to have been in a position to treat the enemy wounded, and presumably take the photos, because "we were no longer taking fire (because we had just neutralized the insurgents that had fired on us)". The story falls apart in the details.

A few comments:

  1. Just a few weeks ago, the Pentagon would have ignored the blog snipers, or issued a one-line denial. Now we get a response with fairly obvious input from Pentagon PR specialists and lawyers. Obviously, the Downing Street Memo is starting to take a toll.

  2. The photos clearly show that the resistance fighters wore scarves over their heads. This makes perfect sense, as the Americans can and would arrest any fighter they could identify. Maybe Grider is suggesting that the scarves were blown off (along with the shoes - and the pants).

  3. Here is the quote from Michael Mandel again:

    "Every death was a crime for which the leaders of the invading coalition were personally, criminally responsible. When General [Vince] Brooks said the soldiers at the Karbala checkpoint were exercising their 'inherent right to self-defense' he was talking nonsense: an aggressor has no right to self-defense. If you break into someone's house and hold them at gunpoint and they try to kill you but you kill them first, they’re guilty of nothing and you're guilty of murder."

    Save me the platitudes of how "honorable" this platoon is.

Friday, June 24, 2005

More on Gelb

A commentator referred me to his analysis of Gelb's musings on the new Iraqi army. Gelb may have been focusing more on the fact that this army would be completely useless for its stated function of spelling the Americans, and less on what its specific function against Iran might be. The United States seems to be creating a massive, but completely untrained, Iraqi army. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense no matter how you slice it (particularly when you consider that Bremmer of Baghdad disbanded the old Iraqi army). What would be news is if the Council on Foreign Relations is now 'out of the loop'. Do the Rockefellers not call the shots anymore? If it is just Gelb that is uninformed, it is odd that they continue to allow him to express his rather strong opinions as President Emeritus of the CFR. I can't help but see a neocon-paleocon catfight everywhere I look.

U-2 crash in UAE

Francis Gary Powers crash landed his U-2 in the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960. Many believe that the crash was caused by sabotage by Pentagon right-wingers who were attempting to embarrass Eisenhower and stop the Paris Summit planned between Eisenhower and Khrushchev. That summit might have led to nuclear arms reductions and a lessening in Cold War tensions. Eisenhower was almost certainly lied to by the Pentagon, and when he announced the official American position was publicly embarrassed by Khrushchev, who could prove that Eisenhower's statements were a lie. It was very odd that the plane came down - it flew too high to be shot down by the Soviets - and very odd that Powers didn't take the required steps to kill himself and destroy the plane and its contents (the Soviets recovered everything). Powers eventually died in a 'accident' when the fuel gauge on the helicopter he was flying was tampered with, causing him to be unaware that he had no fuel.

Air Force Maj. Duane Dively died on June 22, 2005 in a mysterious U-2 crash in the United Arab Emirates. Although the official story was that he had been on a mission in support of American troops in Afghanistan, it isn't too much of a stretch to conclude that he was really spying on Iran. By far the oddest part of this story is that we're hearing about it. The reason we don't hear too many U-2 stories is because such espionage is supposed to be a secret. I can't help but wonder if this isn't another reflection of the neocon-paleocon battle going on in Washington over whether the United States should start World War III in the Middle East in order to please Israel. Is the crash a signal that somebody doesn't like the secret neocon preparations for war? The one thing that Iran learns from the release of this story is that it is being monitored by U-2 spy planes.

Israeli worries about AIPAC

This bizarre article in Haaretz demonstrates that Israel is much more concerned about the AIPAC espionage investigation than it would like to let on. It mentions that the investigation has widened, and the FBI is now focusing on another Pentagon official and his connections (please let it be Feith!). It accuses the FBI of anti-Semitism (yawn). It accuses the FBI of bugging the Israeli embassy based on the fact that it has information on Rosen's call to the embassy, which ignores the fact that the FBI got that information by bugging Rosen, not the Israeli embassy. It points out that the FBI must have been keeping track of senior AIPAC employees "for several years, even before Franklin was suspected of contacts with them" (true, but not something I'd think the writer would want to mention). It states: "The FBI has made an effort to talk with wealthy Jews as well, apparently in order to deter them from supporting Rosen financially." That makes no sense, but if the FBI is talking to wealthy Jews, it would be interesting to know what they are really talking about. Finally, in the last sentence, the article makes a clear threat to the FBI. I hope it makes the FBI mad.

Guantanamo Ghraib Gulag

Chris Floyd refers to this excerpt from Aleksander Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago", which proves that it is completely fair to compare Guantanamo Bay to the Soviet Gulag. Abu Ghraib is arguably worse than the Gulag was.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Resistance infiltration

A militant Islamic website has obtained video footage from inside an American base in Iraq as it comes under attack. As Neil Doyle writes:

"How the material was acquired is unknown and will raise questions about security at US military installations in the country."

Iraqi troops against Iran

Gorilla in the Room notices a wild quote from Leslie Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in an article in the Boston Globe:

"In a report to the council, Gelb was scathing about America efforts to train an Iraqi army. 'If you ask any Iraqi leader, they will tell you these people can't fight. They just aren't trained. And yet we're cranking them out like rabbits.' As for plans to train a 10 division Iraqi army by next year, Gelb was scathing. 'It became very apparent to me that these 10 divisions were to fight some future war against Iran. It had nothing to do, nothing to do,' with taking Iraq over from the Americans and fighting the insurgents."

Wow! This means:

  1. All the talk that the United States troops can be removed from Iraq as soon as Iraqi troops can be trained to do the job is just crap (a fact which should be obvious from the complete ineffectiveness of the Iraqis and the fact they appear to be infiltrated by the resistance);

  2. Use of Iraqi troops against Iran, besides being completely loopy, is guaranteed to create World War III in the Middle East, something the neocons want; and

  3. The fact that Gelb, as insider as an insider can be, is angrily stating this in public is a strong indication that there is major-league conflict in Washington over the neocon plans for Iraq and Iran.

As you may remember, Gelb was the first prominent American to mention the break-up of Iraq into three mini-states.

Headline Wars

Mr. Cieciel at Spitting Image (lots of good stuff there; I found this issue via a link on Unknown News) notes the very odd choice of headline used by the Associated Press for an article on a new weapon employed by Israel:

"Israel May Use Sound Weapon on Settlers".

When you read the article, however, you learn something rather different:

"The army employed the new device, which it dubbed 'The Scream,' at a recent violent demonstration by Palestinians and Jewish sympathizers against Israel's West Bank separation barrier.

Protesters covered their ears and grabbed their heads, overcome by dizziness and nausea, after the vehicle-mounted device began sending out bursts of audible, but not loud, sound at intervals of about 10 seconds. An Associated Press photographer at the scene said that even after he covered his ears, he continued to hear the sound ringing in his head."

The headline is effectively a form of lie as it hides the real 'news', the fact that Israel has already used the weapon against real people protesting the separation barrier. The speculation about its possible use against the settlers allows the Associated Press to bury the lede. I did not even bother to read the article when it appeared, as I found speculation that the weapon might be used against the settlers uninteresting, and had no way of knowing, based on the headline, what the real content of the article was.

We have recently seen newspaper editors in the United States use as an excuse for their failure to cover the Downing Street memo the fact that the issue hadn't been covered by the Associated Press. We thus gained insight into how easy it is for the whole content of the news to be controlled. Now we see a blatant example of the use of a misleading headline to hide the news. Sanjoy Mahajan does a masterful job of analyzing how the New York Times is managing the Downing Street memo crisis, including comparing the misleading headlines used in the Times to the straightforward headlines used in Britain (the editors at the Times are masters at spinning a headline to make it misleading and hide the importance of the content of the article). The press in the United States has become so corrupt, with so many tricks up its sleeve, that it has become worthless for assessing what is really happening in the world.

The Cheney doctrine and Iraq

Juan Cole has started a bit of a debate concerning his suggestion to save the United States from its Iraqi quagmire by having various darkies assume the white man's burden under the auspices of a UN 'peacekeeping' mission (or 'peacekeeping plus', the new kind of violent peacekeeping like the UN in Kosovo), all in return for a share in the spoils of war, the oil of Iraq. A number of objections have been raised, most notably the problem that Pakistan would be a necessary part of the force, and Musharraf wouldn't be able to sign on without suffering one of those mysterious helicopter 'accidents' that define Pakistani politics. It seems to me that the main problem is entirely American, and involves the 'Wolfowitz doctrine' and Baseworld.

The 'Wolfowitz doctrine' - which should really be called the 'Cheney doctrine' as it was prepared for Cheney, and Wolfowitz was merely the technician, the Eichmann if you will, who prepared the documents - is described as follows:

"As the New York Times explained it, the Wolfowitz Doctrine argues that America's political and military mission should be to 'ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge. With its focus on this concept of benevolent domination by one power, the Pentagon document articulates the clearest rejection to date of collective internationalism.' Its core thesis, described by Ben Wattenberg in the April 12, Washington Times, is 'to guard against the emergence of hostile regional superpowers, for example, Iraq or China. America is No. 1. We stand for something decent and important. That's good for us and good for the world. That's the way we want to keep it.'"

The doctrine arose out of the post-Cold War giddiness that fell over Washington in the early 1990's, when it appeared that all obstacles to a New American Empire had suddenly fallen away. When it leaked out, it caused such a stir in Washington that Bush Senior had it buried away, and Cheney had to wait to the end of the Clinton interregnum to bring it back to life under Bush Senior's stupid son. The key to American rule of the world is a huge series of military bases encircling Russia and China, and providing American control over strategic assets, most notably oil. The Bush Administration economic plan, such as it is, seems to consist entirely of blackmailing the rest of the world into continuing to support the unsupportable American indebtedness by threatening to withhold access to oil. To that end, the series of bases (part of 'Baseworld') being built in Iraq is an absolutely necessary part of the Cheney plan. These multi-billion dollar bases - which aren't exactly a secret but are being covered up by the disgusting American media in its normal way, i. e., it simply doesn't mention them - are required to create effective American ownership of all Middle Eastern oil fields. They are the only tangible asset obtained from spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the Iraq debacle. The United States will not give them up.

And therein lies the rub. The rest of the world, through the UN, isn't going to be keen to bail the Americans out from the results of their neo-colonial folly and their blatant breach of international law. However, to save the people of Iraq from the violence of the continued American occupation, and to stop an Iraqi civil war, it might be possible to work something out. The American concession would have to be the total withdrawal of Americans from Iraq, as the world would hardly allow the bases, the main weapon of American blackmail through control of the oil fields, to remain. Since the Americans won't agree to that kind of withdrawal, UN rescue of the United States is impossible. When Condi Rice says the American commitment to Iraq is generational, she ain't kidding. The long-term effects of Cheney's mad ideas for world domination will result in the decline of American power, as the over-extension of the American Empire becomes more and more economically and politically expensive.

Free Katie

I don't usually go in for this kind of thing, but there are a lot of details in this Fox News (!) story that a certain prominent actress is the victim of a cult abduction. Missing days, firing of long time manager and agent, old best friends lost and replaced by new weirdo best friends, people too afraid to discuss the matter, auditioning of victims (" Scarlett Johansson, who ran for her life when presented with a fait accompli dinner at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood."!), replacement of old religion by new 'religion', it all adds up to one thing. Where are the deprogrammers when you need them? Of course, all this fits into the old habits of Hollywood to protect its most valuable assets from scurrilous rumors that might make them less plausible, and thus less salable, in 'leading man' romantic roles (shades of Rock Hudson!). What looks like a silly celebrity publicity stunt is probably much darker.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Nuremberg Trial incictments

Anwaar Hussain writes (or here) about the application of the indictments of the Nuremberg Trial as applied to the Bush Administration. It is interesting that in the cases of the German invasion of Norway and Denmark, and the German invasion of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg, the Tribunal found that these invasions were inevitable as the German government had already decided to invade, and in each case expressly rejected the German claims that the invasions were made for defensive purposes. In the case of Norway and Denmark (my emphasis):

"As the German armies entered Norway and Denmark, German memoranda were handed to the Norwegian and Danish Governments which gave the assurance that the German troops did not come as enemies, that they arid not intend to make use of the points occupied by German troops as bases for operations against England, as long as they were not forced to do so by measures taken by England and France, and that they had come to protect the North against proposed occupation of Norwegian strong points by English-French forces."

and in the case of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg (my emphasis):

"On the 10th May, 1940, the German forces invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. On the same day the German Ambassadors handed to the Netherlands and Belgian Governments a memorandum alleging that the British and French armies, with the consent of Belgium and Holland, were planning to march through those countries to attack the Ruhr, and justifying the invasion on these grounds. Germany, however, assured the Netherlands and Belgium that their integrity and their possessions would be respected. A similar memorandum was delivered to Luxemburg on the same date."

The American WMD justification for the inevitable attack on Iraq exactly parallels the lying excuses which the Germans provided in their memoranda to the various occupied governments. The provision of elaborate excuses actually proves the fact that the Germans, and the Americans, were attempting to create a legal excuse for their inevitable invasions, which proves knowledge of guilt. The Americans are actually in a worse legal state than the Germans, who didn't have the benefit of the clarifications in international law provided by the Nuremberg Trial judgment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Toles on the Downing Street Memo

Tom Toles remains the best political cartoonist in the mainstream American press (I referred to one of his better efforts here). Now he tackles the fact that his colleagues in the Washington Post intentionally failed to cover the lying basis for the war on Iraq, and were thus caught aiding and abetting the Bush Administration in starting an illegal war that has turned into a disaster. In order to get this cartoon published Toles either has a lot of pull at the Post (as well he should), or there are people at the Post who are horrified (as well they should be) at what that newspaper, and almost all other American newspapers, did.

Throw-down old news

A graphic series of photos from Iraq published in Cryptome (and provided by Mark Kraft whose blog is called Insomnia) appears to show that American troops killed a number of Iraqi teenagers, took at least one into custody, and then threw weapons - apparently exactly the same weapons for each victim - on the ground beside them to take another series of photos justifying why it was necessary to kill them (there is a long waste-of-time MetaFilter thread with the usual suspects defending the indefensible American military, ironically using the new right-wing meme that this kind of thing is 'old news'). It is not uncommon for police to carry 'throw down' weapons to be placed beside victims of police violence in order to make the police attack look like self defense, and apparently this practice has made its way to Pentagon procedure in Iraq. The arrested teenager's fate should be investigated, as it is likely that he has been framed.

How not to be a great president

Russ Baker reminds us of his earlier article concerning a series of interviews that Houston journalist Mickey Herskowitz held with George Bush in 1999. Baker quotes Herskowitz referring to Bush:

"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999. It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade . . . , if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."

The idea was circulating in Republican circles that you needed a small successful war - but not a quagmire - to have a successful Presidency. You pick a small defenseless country, kill a lot of innocent civilians, and all of a sudden you're George Washington. Bush's father apparently disagreed with the war only because he feared, correctly as it turned out, that it would turn into a quagmire.

While this is interesting, and backs up the idea that the attack on Iraq was inevitable, it is also a little dangerous to think that the attack is entirely George Bush's fault. We shouldn't ignore the role of people like Cheney and Rumsfeld, the neocons, the lobbyists for Israel, and the military-industrial complex. The attack on Iraq was inevitable for the entire Bush Administration, and isn't just George Bush's mistake.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shutting the barn door after the horse has got out

Isn't it funny that we are hearing about the pre-war bombing raids on Iraq, raids illegal under international law that were used to soften up Iraq and perhaps lead to retaliation that could be used as a pretext for war, at the same time as we are hearing (or here) about exactly the same type of 'pre-war' being conducted now against the people of Iran? Shouldn't the Democrats attempting to make a political issue out of the lies concerning the attack on Iraq have to prove their bona fides by making at least as strong an objection to the pre-war that is going on now, at a time when it can be stopped? Or is the sudden Democrat interest in the attack on Iraq just more bullshit partisan politics?

The second UN resolution

Those who buy the Blair-Bush revisionist history that the attack on Iraq wasn't inevitable as the U. S. and Britain went to the United Nations to obtain the required resolution might wonder what the hell Colin Powell was doing appearing before the U. N., and lying to the U. N., on February 5, 2003. Of course, the reason he was there was to try to convince the U. N. to approve the resolution that Blair's legal advisors were telling him was still required, as the first U. N. resolution, the one referred to by Bush and Blair, wasn't sufficient for Britain to go to war. When Britain didn't get the second resolution, and went to war anyway, the woman who wrote the opinion saying that the resolution was required, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned. It was only after it was clear that the second resolution wasn't forthcoming that Blair had his legal advisor, Lord Goldsmith, 'reeducated' to provide the proper opinion (I reviewed the sordid history here). Read this article by Ben Frank on the matter. Frank also refers to the testimony to UNSCOM of Gen. Hussein Kamel regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (this was uncovered by Glen Rangwala). This testimony was referred to by members of the Bush Administration, including Dick Cheney, as evidence of the threat from Iraq. What they didn't mention was that Kamal's testimony (see page 7 of the pdf) was that:

  1. All the WMD had been destroyed; and

  2. The reason they were destroyed was because of the weapons inspectors!

In other words, the Bush Administration used the testimony to prove the exact opposite of what it said. The main thrust of the Bush Administration was that the weapons inspection process was insufficient, when in fact it was the real reason for the destruction of the WMDs. As Ben Frank says, the misuse of this testimony is a clear example of the 'fixing' of the facts in order to lead to war.

Fake memo?

The same group of scheming Republican operatives who were behind the attack on the credibility of CBS in the so-called 'Rathergate' matter are back in business on the Downing Street Memo, claiming that it and the other similar documents must be fake. They come to this conclusion despite the fact that the entire British government has accepted that the documents are genuine, and despite the fact they have never seen the originals! This would be laughable except that the disgusting American media, needing an excuse now that it has been caught red-handed in the cover-up of the British documents, will be grasping at any straw to try to regain some of its lost credibility, and will no doubt play up the fake angle as much as possible.

I note that these are the same group who attempted to interfere in Canadian politics in order to put Conservatives in power in Canada. Did that ever turn into a disaster! Not only did they fail in their immediate goal to cause an election, the nasty attack-dog politics employed by the Conservative leader, obviously on American advice, didn't play well in Canada, resulting in:

  • an agreement between the governing Liberals and the socialist NDP, resulting in the most progressive budget in federal Canadian politics in thirty years (oh oh!);

  • a popular move to the left by the Liberals;

  • huge tensions within the Conservative Party itself, with moderates questioning whether they want to be in a nasty radical right-wing party;

  • the loss of one of the most prominent Conservatives to the Liberals;

  • a scandal when they attempted to use doctored audio tapes to prove a lack of integrity in the Liberals, a trick which of course resulted in voters questioning the integrity of the Conservatives and their claim to be an honest alternative;

  • a massive decrease in popularity in the polls for the Conservatives at the expense of the Liberals and NDP.

The 'wingers know how to play the United States like a violin, but they haven't yet got the hang of Canada.

Disaster is much closer than it appears

It is difficult not to notice that the United States is a country of optimists, and optimists hate to be told that there is no hope even if, or especially if, there is no hope. In my long posting on the Downing Street Memo I was guilty of focusing on the Senate and vote fraud, and I understated the case for pessimism. The sorry fact is that even if we ignore vote fraud, there is no plausible case that the Democrats will be able to regain control of either the Senate or the House in the foreseeable future. If you add vote fraud into the mix, optimism is impossible. What is even worse is that even if the Democrats were to regain control, they have shown no sign that they can reliably be counted on to act any differently than the Republicans (as witnessed by the baffling support of some Democrats for the bankruptcy bill).

I've been reading articles for at least four years now that the neocons are on the way out, and I've seen absolutely nothing to support it. They appear to be succeeding in destroying the United Nations and appear to have undermined the moderates in the Iranian elections. Their campaign to break up Iraq by creating a civil war continues as planned. I've been reading that Bush has gone too far over and over again, that he is a lame duck President, or that he has lost this issue or that issue, but I see no evidence for any of these things. In fact, the Republican agenda at he beginning of Bush's first term is, if anything, ahead of schedule. The Wolfowitz doctrine of world domination based on large-scale wars and the creation of Baseworld is coming along swimmingly, huge tax cuts are digging the fiscal hole that will lead to the necessity for further cuts in social welfare, the environment is a plutocrat playground, Bush still has lots of time to deal with social security, and there is absolutely no chance for any sensible health care reforms. The only thing stopping another big war is that the Pentagon is understaffed, but a draft will fix that problem. Another bombing raid on another innocent country is just another faked terrorist attack away (and as long as the Labour Party dithers about removing Tony Blair, British support for the American action is guaranteed). You really have to give the Republicans credit. They never give up, and they are always at least one scam ahead of everyone else.

The Germans could have done many things to stop the rise of Hitler, but they didn't. The Cambodians didn't need to support the killing fields, and the Rwandans didn't have to support their holocaust, but they did. Sometimes people make ridiculous political decisions. Sometimes, no matter what your good intentions may be, things are going to go badly. In the short run, for at least the next ten or twenty years, the United States is fucked.

I don't mean to say that people should give up trying. I do mean to say that pretending that things are better than they are just falls into the hands of the plutocrats (and I can't help but notice that a small infelicitous bit of wording in my Downing Street Memo posting gave people a window to say the whole thing is nonsense, which is just typical of kind of debating technique used by head-in-the-sand Americans these days). Remember how much was said to be riding on Bush's first election? Remember how much more was said to be riding on his second election? In each case, progressives allowed themselves to believe that everything could be cured by an election result, and we now know that the results of both elections were fixed, the first by acts of violence by the Republican goons backed up by a crooked Supreme Court, and the second by systematic vote fraud. Not only has nothing been done to fix these problems, but 'reforms' in voting procedures have actually made things worse! Matters have gotten so bad that even people who call themselves conservative have started to advocate what the anarchists like to call 'direct action'. When the people are denied a voice, whether it be in Iraq or the United States, violence will eventually follow. Unfortunately, violence plays right into the hands of the plutocrats, who are just waiting for an excuse to defame their political enemies and increase police presence in the modern security state.

I don't have answers for any of this, but pretending that things can be fixed by going through the normal political procedures is simply delusional. I don't blame the plutocrats, as they are just acting as plutocrats always do. I blame lazy and stupid and comfortable 'progressives', who have been getting their butts kicked for so long they appear to like it. After all, if you lose every time, and are always a victim, you never have to take responsibility for anything.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Downing Street Memo

On May 5 I wrote a draft posting called 'The inevitable war', a posting which I never published, commenting on the fact that the Downing Street Memo had received essentially no coverage in the mainstream media, despite the fact that it proved that the British and American peoples had been lied to by their respective governments. Since then, all hell has broken loose. I see no reason to cover the ground that everybody else has covered, but have a few comments:

  1. There is not a snowball's chance in hell that Bush will be impeached over this issue. The Republicans control everything: the Executive, both Houses of Congress, the Judiciary, and the Media. They have demonstrated over and over again that they only care about the retention of power. The only possible chance of impeachment is if the Democrats were to gain control of the Senate, something that cannot possibly happen as the same crooked voting system is still (!!!) in place. The only reason for making a big deal out of the lies over Iraq is to attempt to stop the current campaigns for attacks on Syria and Iran, campaigns clearly based on exactly the same fundamental lies being spread by the Bush Administration and its friends.

  2. The irony of this material coming out at the same time that Deep Throat is supposedly outed has been noted by some people. The American political system, based on the separation and balancing of powers, is supposed to have been sorely tested by Watergate, but met the test. Not so. Not all power was held by one party at the time of Watergate. The press was more diverse, there were moderate judges, there were moderate Republicans, there were Democrats with spines, and the voting system was not entirely crooked. When all these things are missing, and all the power vests in one extreme group, it is impossible to distinguish the United States, with all its meticulously crafted and balanced government, from an extreme right-wing dictatorship.

  3. The original memo was almost certainly leaked by a supporter of the Conservatives in an attempt to embarrass Blair enough to earn the Conservatives a victory in the British election. This failed only because the Conservatives were too stupid to oppose the attack on Iraq. I hope they kick themselves every day thinking they could be the government of Britain now if they didn't love war so much. It is probable that subsequent leaks were by Labour supporters attempting to force Tony Blair out sooner rather than later.

  4. Conspiracy theorists have a rough time because we never have any evidence. Of course, the reason we never have any evidence is that they hide it. There are similar minutes of meetings regarding the First World War that we're still not allowed to see. The CIA battles tooth and nail over material from fifty years ago. The only reason this stuff came out has to do with the extremely unusual occurrence that a nominally 'progressive' government participated in a transatlantic series of lies in order to fool people into an illegal war, and then found itself in an election where this fact could be used against it.

  5. Harry Shearer notes that the Downing Street Memo backs up Andrew Gilligan and the BBC in their coverage of David Kelly. Gilligan used the term "sexed up", while Sir Richard Dearlove used the term "fixed". Kelly only got into trouble because he tried to say the same thing to a reporter that Dearlove was saying in private to high British government officials. Gilligan and the BBC were crucified, not because they misled people, but because they attempted to tell the truth.

  6. The disgusting American media really got caught with its hands in the cookie jar on this one. The explicit deal with its customers is that the media is supposed to cover 'all the news that fits', but for years it has gotten away with hiding anything that doesn't fit the plutocrat agenda, and in particular, anything which doesn't fit the agenda of the arm's companies that own the media. Now it looks like the media in the old Soviet Union, covering up for some harvest failure only to have to implicitly admit it lied later when it had to report on all the starved people. Reading the New York Times today is like reading Pravda during the 1970's, and experienced readers have to learn to read between the lines in order to grasp some inkling of what is really going on. It's very sad when the Pravda of today gives you a more accurate summary of what is happening in the United States than all the major American newspapers (with the exception of the Knight Ridder chain, whose ownership appears to have made the business decision to try to gain a competitive advantage in a failing newspaper market by attempting to tell the truth!). The New York Times still hasn't properly covered the issue, and I keep waiting for the hilarious Judith Miller article on the subject, but Miller is apparently too busy packing for jail, talking on the phone with Martha Stewart about how to fashion a shiv out of a toothbrush (Miller can't see why it has to have gold spray-painted sea shells glued to the handle), and writing in an attempt, using her patented ultra-qualified style which seems to say something but actually says nothing, to back up the loony Republican campaign against Kofi Annan (Kofi apparently has some aluminum tubes in his garage, which he claims are part of a tent, but that's what they all say!).

  7. One of the arguments the disgusting American media is using to cover its embarrassment at being caught red handed at hiding the Downing Street Memo and its implications is that this is 'old news', and everybody knew that Bush was lying, so they saw no reason to cover it again. As has been pointed out, this would only be a good argument if they had made the slightest effort to point out these lies at the time - a time when the truth could have stopped an illegal war - and to try this argument now is simply pathetic. Michael Kinsley's opinion piece is the most embarrassing example of this revisionist history, but Kinsley, a man about whom it can be said that he is not a liberal but he played one on TV, apparently suffers from some horrible disease which has clearly, on the basis of this opinion, made its way to his brain.

  8. Another amusing argument made by American newspapers is that they really wanted to cover the issue, but couldn't because the Associated Press hadn't written about it. Really! News doesn't exist in the United States unless and until the Associated Press covers it. The Apocalypse could be occurring, with molten lava falling from the sky and everyone's hair on fire, and the entire American press would sit huddled around their computers waiting on the story until the Associated Press deemed it to be news by mentioning it. This is the most pathetic of all the 'dog ate my Downing Street Memo' excuses. It tells you a lot about who you need to control - just one company! - in order to control the entire scope of the news in the United States.

  9. This issue only started to take off when a BBC reporter had the nerve to raise the issue at a joint Blair-Bush news conference (at the meeting when Blair flew to Washington to get action from Bush on Africa and global warming, and got absolutely nothing). Blair lied by saying he cured the discussions in the Downing Street Memo by going to the United Nations and obtaining a resolution, when he knew that the United Nations resolution concerned weapons of mass destruction that Blair knew Saddam did not have, and he knew that his own legal advice was that he needed another UN resolution in order to go to war (a problem he fixed only by strong-arming the guy who was giving him his legal advice, a step he took only when it was certain he wouldn't get the second UN resolution).

  10. If you're not entirely sick of this, I recommend:

    • the Michael Smith interview in the Washington Post (Smith is a formidable guy to be carrying the can here, as he doesn't fit into the America-hater, liberal paradigm that the Republican media attack dogs use in their usual ad hominem attacks, and he doesn't fall into traps set by questioners);

    • Justin Raimondo's excellent article putting the matter into the neocon context;

    • the Warren P. Strobel article from (natch) Knight Ridder; and

    • the John Conyers smackdown of snivelling idiot Dana Milbank's effort to continue the mainstream media cover up.

Watergate was a chickenshit cover-up of a chickenshit burglary. International law wasn't damaged by it, billions of dollars weren't wasted because of it, and no one died as a result of it (except for Dorothy Hunt and those flying with her!). The conspiracy here was huge. It is not hyperbole to say it is perhaps the greatest conspiracy in American history. Bush started illegally funding the attack on Iraq without authorization by Congress, and bombed Iraq with increased frequency months before the declared start of the war in an attempt to enrage Saddam into making a mistake. Both countries bugged the United Nations while twisting arms and lobbying for the support Bush and Blair never could get, and bugged the weapons inspectors. Bush and Blair both attempted to trick Saddam into kicking out the weapons inspectors (Blair explicitly notes this trick in the Downing Street Memo), they consistently lied to the whole world about the weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's alleged ties to al Qaeda, and they lied to their respective legislatures in order to trick them into approving the attack. Afterwards, when the war started turning into a debacle, they lied about all their lies again, and invented new ones to attempt to justify what can never be justified.

Of course, the biggest lie was that there was anything that Saddam could possibly have done to stop the attack. It was inevitable, and all the lies were simply the minimum window dressing they needed to convince public opinion that the attack was necessary (this lie worked much better in the United States than it did in Britain). An inevitable war is by definition one that does not depend on any possible threat, and is thus a war of aggression and clearly illegal under international law. There was no approval for it in the United Nations, and no real approval for it in the American and British legislative bodies, as the approvals were obtained by deceit. Bush and Blair been caught in their lies, and the American media has been caught trying to cover it up. We can only hope that our knowledge of what they've done goes some way to saving the people of Iran and Syria from a fate as grim as that facing the people of Iraq.

Friday, June 17, 2005

My guess at "Mosear Caned"

My best guess at the name pronounced as "Mosear Caned" is Musa Al-Qarni, a name taken from an extremist Saudi cleric who is a particular favorite of MEMRI.

A war of aggression

  1. Read this account, relayed by Joseph L. Galloway of Knight Ridder Newspapers (see also here; Knight Ridder continues to be almost the only honest American coverage of the war, just as it was the only honest American coverage of the lies that led to the war);

  2. multiply it by thousands, as this kind of thing happens on a daily basis;

  3. contemplate this quote from Michael Mandel from his book "How America Gets Away With Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage and Crimes Against Humanity" (found here or here):

    "Every death was a crime for which the leaders of the invading coalition were personally, criminally responsible. When General [Vince] Brooks said the soldiers at the Karbala checkpoint were exercising their 'inherent right to self-defense' he was talking nonsense: an aggressor has no right to self-defense. If you break into someone's house and hold them at gunpoint and they try to kill you but you kill them first, they’re guilty of nothing and you're guilty of murder."; and

  4. consider that we now have absolute proof in the series of memos flowing out of London that the war was illegal under international law (a clear war of aggression, described by the Nuremberg Tribunal the worst possible of the war crimes, the "supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole"), and American law (lying to the American Congress);

and you can start to get an inkling of the mess that the Bush Administration should be in, but won't suffer for, due to the fact that the American people have apparently decided to share the culpability.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Michael Jackson's legacy

Does the Michael Jackson acquittal mean that pedophilia has finally obtained mainstream American acceptance? Years of corporate shilling using sexual exploitation of minors appears to have paved the way. Jackson now is the proud owner of a get-out-of-jail-free card for the rest of his life, as no authority would dare arrest him for anything. The jurors probably strictly followed their oath to acquit him (it is almost impossible to prove something 'beyond a reasonable doubt' in the absence of a confession if the accused has the money to pay for competent representation), but must have known how he would celebrate, a fact which apparently caused them no moral qualms. I don't want to sound like a 'winger with a stupid slippery slope argument, but NAMBLA must be very pleased.

Pakistan-India gas pipeline

India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers, and often seem on the brink of war, so you would think that any economic integration between the two countries that might help to avert a nuclear war would be encouraged by the United States. Not so. Years of Herculean efforts at negotiation have led to an agreement to build a gas pipeline through Pakistan to serve India's energy needs. The United States is now threatening to cut aid to Pakistan if the project goes through. Why? The gas is coming from Iran. The neocons have it in for Iran, and neither common sense nor freedom from nuclear war will stop them in their campaign of harassment (the neocons are terrified that moderates will do well in the Iranian elections, thus making their cause of vilifying the Iranian government and leading to Perle's pogrom all the more difficult, which may explain some mysterious recent bombings). The hypocrisy of the American position can be seen in this article in the Asia Times by Siddharth Srivastava:

"Pakistan has of late adopted the policy of welcoming all schemes to transport oil in any shape through pipelines. Two other pipeline projects are being actively discussed in Pakistan. One is for oil to be brought from Sharjah under Persian Gulf waters through a pipeline - US interests seem to have some minor share in the project. The other plan is a major three-country project: hydrocarbons sourced in Turkmenistan carried through a pipeline to Afghanistan and Pakistan's newest port at Gawadar, to be exported to the rest of the world. The company that will set up that pipeline and manage distribution of these hydrocarbons is a composite subsidiary of major US oil corporations, so it is not surprising that Washington is keen that this project succeeds.

When and if this UNOCAL project - intended to transport as many hydrocarbons from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as possible - succeeds, the US may have attained its objective of acquiring access to most of the oil from the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, which is considered to be more secure than Middle Eastern oil and does not involve an implicit subsidy to Islamic fanatics."

Many of us feel that the pipeline through Afghanistan was one of the main reasons for the American attack on Afghanistan. We have not heard much about it because the Americans have found themselves unable to control any of the country except for a small area around Kabul.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

All the Hani Hanjours

Kevin Fenton in a thread in the Democratic Underground forum has some good guesses on the identity of "Mosear Caned" (also note the big discrepancy in pictures of the guy: the guy on the left, this guy and this guy and this guy are all supposed to be the same guy). Something like Mazhar Khalid might do, but it doesn't sound quite right. In particular, an English speaker wouldn't be likely to mangle the consonant sound in the middle of the last name (English speakers are fairly accurate with consonant sounds, but bad with vowels).

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Henri Paul's mysterious payments

Henri Paul, the chauffeur who died in the Paris car crash that also killed Princess Di, received £75,000 in the weeks before the crash, over three times his annual salary, mostly from British banks. Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson has sworn an affidavit in which he declared that he believed that Henri Paul was engaged as an informant for MI6 reporting on happenings in the Ritz Hotel. The stories about ties between the crash and the British Powers That Be just won't go away.

The CNN transcript for Mosear Caned

A commentator has been kind enough to provide a link to the CNN transcript referred to in the previous posting. I wonder if anyone familiar with Arab names could figure out the most accurate English transliteration of the name pronounced by an English speaker as "Mosear Caned".

Mosear Caned

Researchers are still digging up interesting material on September 11. Allan Wood has discovered (which I found from here, but with only part of the original) a transcript of a CNN broadcast from the morning of September 14, 2001. CNN Anchor Leon Harris broke away from a press conference of Rudy Giuliani - so you know it must have been important! - to talk to Kelli Arena, CNN Correspondent, who read the names of the hijackers from a list that was supposed to be officially released by the Justice Department sometime later that day (it obviously wasn't released). Although she had trouble with the names, you can do a phonetic match of all the names she read with each of the identified hijackers, except for one big anomaly. Hani Hanjour isn't on the list, but someone pronounced as "Mosear Caned" is. A few comments:

  1. Hanjour has always been the most problematic of the hijackers. Although he was officially a pilot, he is well documented as being a lousy pilot, and it is impossible to conceive that he could have flown Flight 77 as we are told it flew into the Pentagon. Since he was easily the worst of the four hijackers who are identified as pilots, it is very odd that this meticulously planned operation would assign him to what appeared to be the most difficult of the flying jobs. The original list of hijackers had only 18 men on it, with Hanjour's name missing. I have always thought that the FBI added him when they realized they had no hijacker on Flight 77 who could possibly have flown the plane. Since I don't believe Flight 77 actually flew into the Pentagon, this isn't a problem for me, but I can see somebody in the FBI worrying that someone might ask how Flight 77 was flown so well without a trained pilot amongst the hijackers.

  2. Kelli Arena said she had a list with 18 hijackers on it, and then proceeded to read out 19 names. This indicates to me that this was an intermediate list, between the original list with 18 names, and the final official list with the now infamous 19. It is likely that "Mosear Caned" was their first attempt to add a nineteenth hijacker to the list, but they hadn't yet changed the title of the list to reflect the addition.

  3. The list read by Kelli Arena is evidence that one of the main ways the FBI used to create the list was to simply make a list of all the Arab-sounding names on the passenger manifests. When they needed another guy, they found another Arab-sounding name, probably somebody who could be described as a pilot.

  4. The addition of "Mosear Caned" must have been a mistake, for we have heard no more of him. What is most interesting is that he doesn't even appear on lists of the non-hijacker passengers on Flight 77. He must have been on a manifest, for otherwise how did the FBI get his mane and how did he board the plane? If they took his name off the published list of non-hijacker passengers, why did they do so? Was his a name that wasn't supposed to be known to the public? Did they simply not want an 'innocent' Arab victim to appear on the list? The disappearance of "Mosear Caned" off the face of the earth is as interesting as his mysterious appearance.

  5. It is unbelievable that the original passenger manifests have still not been released.

Two of the biggest anomalies of September 11 are the story of Hani Hanjour and how he managed to fly Flight 77 into the Pentagon, and how the FBI so quickly came up with a list purporting to be all 19 hijackers. Robert S. Mueller III, the FBI Director at the time, said:

"The hijackers also left no paper trail. In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper – in the U.S. or in Afghanistan – that mentioned any aspect of the September 11th plot."

Nothing linked any of the names to terrorism except for the fact they were Arab-sounding names on the manifest. The addition of "Mosear Caned"/Hani Hanjour shows us how crudely this was done. They needed a pilot on Flight 77, so they just picked another Arab-sounding name off the list, and then likely substituted the name of semi-plausible pilot Hani Hanjour when someone pointed out that "Mosear Caned" was a dangerous name to have on the list. The FBI simply backtracked from the names to determine the identities. Since most, if not all, of the September 11 hijacker identities were stolen, we remain in the dark as to who really was behind September 11. Given the fact that the United States has completely shredded its Constitution and fought two disastrous wars on the basis of a theory of who was behind September 11, this is rather amazing.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Israeli Supreme Court and the Occupied Territories

An 11 judge panel of the Israeli Supreme Court decided, with one dissent, that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was constitutional. The stunning part of the decision which has been completely ignored in many stories on the matter, and which will be of great importance in saving Israel from itself, is the part involving Israel's rights to the Occupied Territories. In the absence of a full English translation of the judgment itself, here is part of the news report from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem:

"The court's landmark ruling hinged on its determination, sure to prove controversial, that the areas in question have never been annexed within the borders of the State, and thus Israel does not have full jurisdiction there. 'Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and the Gaza area are lands seized during warfare, and are not part of Israel,' noted the extended 11-judge panel, headed by Chief Justice Aharon Barak."

This is the standard position in international law and, needless to say, does not only apply to Israel. No country can acquire territory through war, and no country is permitted to move its citizens onto such territory in a plan to permanently annex it (Indonesia's attempt to do this to East Timor was stopped). The sole dissenter to the Court's decision, Justice Edmond Levy, expressly disagrees with this part of the judgment on the traditional Zionist basis that Israel was not an occupying power but had a right to these lands. That view is not the law of the State of Israel. The importance of the decision of the majority, both to the survival of the State of Israel, and chances for peace in the Middle East, cannot be overstated.


Laura Rozen writes about Curt Weldon's new book on Iranian terrorism, and in particular about Weldon's main source, Fereidoun Mahdavi, who:

". . . said he was stunned and perplexed to learn that Weldon had used his information to write a book, emphasizing that Weldon never even told him about the book.

Mahdavi also said that the bulk of the information that he had provided to Weldon was originally sourced from none other than Ghorbanifar, the subject of a rare CIA 'burn notice' after the agency found him to be a 'fabricator' more than two decades ago during the Iran-Contra affair.

'Many information that I have given to Weldon is coming from Ghorbanifar,' said Mahdavi, who was reached in Paris by telephone on June 6. 'Because Ghorbanifar used me, in fact, to pass that stuff because I know he has problems in Washington.'"

Ghorbanifar is using Fereidoun Mahdavi as a cutout to spread the stories about Iran in Washington, as he knows his own reputation is so bad that no one would believe them if it was known where they really came from. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Ghorbanifar was himself a cutout, being used to disguise the real source of the stories, his good friend Michael Ledeen.

The most recent Ledeen-Ghorbanifar controversy is the series of meetings held between Ledeen and Ledeen's people from Feith's Pentagon office (specifically, the Office of Special Plans created to create the lies required for the attack on Iraq without having to worry about any inconvenient factual objections raised by the CIA), and Ghorbanifar and his associates (of course, the original Ledeen-Ghorbanifar controversy was a little thing we now know as Iran-Contra). These meetings went on despite the efforts of the State Department and the CIA to stop them. The first such meeting was held in Rome in December 2001, and by amazing coincidence the forged Niger yellowcake documents surfaced, in Rome, in October 2002 (the man who claims to be the source of the documents, Rocco Martino, is a man the FBI is remarkably uninterested in talking to). Rozen points out that included with the yellowcake documents was a completely over-the-top memo in which all the countries under sanctions conspired together to have the sanctions lifted (in my opinion, not the kind of document that somebody like Ghorbanifar or Chalabi would produce, but right up Ledeen's alley). Vincent Cannistaro has said that if you said the forger was Michael Ledeen, you'd be 'very close'.

One of the people attending these meetings was neocon Harold Rhode. Another was Larry Franklin, who currently is in a bit of trouble for allegedly providing Israel and its American agents with American classified material. None other than John Bolton - a guy who we know was involved in the improper removal of UN official Jose Bustani, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, in order to stop Bustani from sending chemical weapons inspectors to Iraq and thus undermining Bush Administration lies about Iraq's possession of such weapons - was used to begin to spread the yellowcake lies (the State Department tried to hide Bolton's involvement). I think it is fair to say that our knowledge of the neocon conspiracy against Iraq - and the United States - is starting to come together.

All these characters got away with this stuff in order to provoke the attack on Iraq. It would be nice if they were not allowed to get away with it again and cause an attack on Iran based on the literary efforts of Ghorbanifar and his friend Michael Ledeen.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Colodny and Erlichman and Felt

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Haloscan commenting and trackback have been experimentally added to this blog. There is also a site-specific search box right at the bottom of the page. The links will come along gradually.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The new Judith Miller

Iran is the new Iraq, Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) is the new Judith Miller, 'Ali' aka Fereidoun Mahdavi is the new Ahmed Chalabi, and a hijacked Canadian airliner crashing into the Seabrook Nuclear Reactor near Boston is the new killer drones over the Eastern Seaboard. From an article by Dana Priest:

"Weldon's book is filled with 'Dear Curt' memos from Mahdavi. One of his most urgent allegations is that terrorists were plotting to fly a hijacked Canadian airliner into the Seabrook Nuclear Reactor, which is four miles outside Boston. Weldon credits Mahdavi with thwarting the attack and points to the August 2003 arrest in Toronto of 19 men, most of whom were Pakistani and who were initially thought to make up a sleeper cell."

Sounds pretty convincing. Or maybe not:

"Within a month, however, the Toronto arrests were downgraded to a case of routine immigration fraud. Seven of the men remain in Canada and have applied for refugee status, arguing that the terrorist label they now have makes it impossible for them to return safely to Pakistan."

The case of the 19 Pakistanis has become a political issue in Canada, with the RCMP having to hold an internal investigation to clear itself of wrongdoing, and the idea of racism even raising its ugly head (and a movie made about the injustice of it all). So much for the 19 (magic number!) Pakistanis. Weldon won't let the facts stand in the way of a good story any more than Judith Miller would. The CIA calls Mahdavi a 'fabricator' (more deja vu), and he is a a close associate of Michael Ledeen's pal Manucher Gorbanifar (now this is just getting silly!).

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The dog ate my Downing Street Memo

USA Today lamely attempts to explain how it somehow missed reporting on the Downing Street Memo. The Washington Post did manage to write about it, two weeks late and buried on page A-18, only after it was forced to by the demands of its readers! These 'journalists' are the same people who have the audacity - the utter unmitigated gall! - to comment on the supposed lack of ethics of the bloggers.

Intellectual basis of anti-Muslim racism

From "The War Against Islam" by James Carroll:

"The dark result of European imperial adventuring in the Muslim world was twofold: first, the usual exploitation of native peoples and resources, with attendant destruction of culture, and, second, the powerful reaction among Muslims and Arab populations against colonialism, a reaction that included an internal corrupting of Islamic traditions. The accidental wealth of oil in the Middle East made both external exploitation and internal corruption absolutely ruinous. The political fanaticism that has lately seized the Arab Islamic religious imagination (exemplified in Osama bin Laden) is rooted more in a defensive fending off of assault from 'the West' than in anything intrinsic to Islam. The American war on terror, striking the worst notes of the old imperial insult, only exacerbates this reactionary fanaticism (generating, for example, legions of suicide bombers)."


"The point is that this conflict has its origins more in 'the West' than in the House of Islam. The image of Muslims as prone to violence by virtue of their religion was mainly constructed across centuries by Europeans seeking to bolster their own purposes, a habit of politicized paranoia that is masterfully continued by freaked-out leaders of post-9/11 America. They, too, like prelates, crusaders, conquistadors, and colonizers, have turned fear of Islam into a source of power. This history teaches that such self-serving projection can indeed result in the creation of an enemy ready and willing to make the nightmare real."

The concept of terrorism is a construct attempting to explain away failings of the West by denigrating what is a defensive action from the Muslim world. In fact, the main failing of the Muslim world is a little too much Inshallah and not enough jihad. I have to add that the conceptual basis of the current American view of Islam has been created by years of Zionist propaganda from such worthies as Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington (who has seamlessly moved from anti-Muslim racism to anti-Hispanic racism), Daniel "brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene" Pipes (from here, and Pipes' unconvincing defense; see also here), and the champion, and completely over-the-top racist, Raphael Patai (whose malign influence goes as far as the specifics of the torture methods used in the new American gulags). The Nazis had a similar group of 'intellectuals' who prepared the conceptual groundwork which was required to make the Holocaust possible.

Gary Webb, revisited?

Gary Webb, revisited? Environmental investigative reporter Kevin Carmody is suicided. Is this reporting on Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Texas really what it was about? Or was he working on something that might cost somebody some money? I can't think of a more dangerous job than an investigative reporter working on environmental issues. Do you think anyone will notice when the last investigative reporter in the country commits 'suicide'? The list is getting a bit long.

Mentally ill

From Cosmic Iguana, commenting on the fact that the United States leads the world in mental illness:

"I guess it boils down to this: if you are mentally ill and poor, you are homeless or jailed. If mentally ill and rich, you get to run the country."

This isn't really a joke. Does anyone seriously question that Dick Cheney shouldn't be in a padded room somewhere?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Inelegant Indonesian Invitation

I've written about the assassination of Indonesian human rights activist Munir Said Thalib. The former head of Indonesia's intelligence agency, Abdullah Hendropriyono, has refused to testify before an official panel investigating the matter because he considered the way he was summoned to testify to be 'inelegant' (although his lawyer says he will cooperate if he is approached in the right way!).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Felt problems

Despite being published in NewsMax, this article by Phil Brennan is an excellent summary of some of the many problems with the thesis that Mark Felt is Deep Throat, and includes a discussion of the important Dean/slore thesis of G. Gordon Liddy. When you think about it for a minute, the whole Deep Throat story was meant for a mid-level employee as whistleblower. It's absurd that the number two guy in the FBI had to meet in underground parking garages with an completely unknown junior reporter for the Washington Post (Woodward attempts to explain the whole implausible story, but doesn't even seem to convince himself). Felt was picked because his family wanted to make some money and his senility meant that he wouldn't have to face any of the many difficult questions that come to mind. If you want to read more:

  1. Kurt Nimmo and Larry Chin point out that Felt was the ringleader of the FBI's COINTELPRO program. Rather than the smiling old man you see on TV, you should regard Felt as easily one of the worst villains in American history. You can't possibly overstate how deeply evil this man is, and how much harm he did to his country.

  2. John Dean raises some interesting points, although, given the Liddy thesis, it is difficult to know how seriously we can take Dean on this matter.

  3. Joseph Cannon has lots more good thoughts, including passing on more from Jim Hougan.

  4. Felt himself has taken many positions on the matter over the years.

  5. Edward Jay Epstein raises issues about the extent of Felt's knowledge. Mickey Kaus tries to rebut this. The problem with the Kaus position is that it makes this supposedly lone wolf into the head of a big FBI conspiracy of sources, with the accompanying questions about why none of the various sources of parts of the story have come forward.

  6. The official rebuttal of the conspiracies appears to be by David Greenberg, and is a rather shoddy job. He refers to the single best work on the subject, Silent Coup by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, a lot of which is available on the internet, and is well worth reading.

  7. Deep Throat was described by Woodward and Bernstein as a smoker. Felt never smoked.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

AIPAC and real power

Reuven Koret, the publisher of Israel Insider and the guy who bravely told Daniel Pipes to stuff it when Pipes tried to secretly force Israel Insider to stop publishing Barry Chamish (and thus revealed that Pipes is a covert censor of views which he feels are unhelpful to the Zionist cause), is of the opinion that the AIPAC espionage investigation is simply the American way of putting pressure on American Jews to accept American foreign policy in the Middle East, which includes the 'Roadmap' and the necessity to eventually deal with the Palestinians. Koret believes that the whole AIPAC matter is just an FBI sting operation set up to put pressure on AIPAC, a view which cannot be right as we know that the FBI had been investigating AIPAC long before Larry Franklin came into the picture, and thus must have suspected high-level espionage years before it could come into anybody's head to use it to put a damper on AIPAC's current enthusiasms. Having said that, the fact that the FBI has been allowed to continue its investigation as long as it has, and is apparently able to reach right up to the top of AIPAC with its indictments, would clearly require approval from the highest levels of the American government. In other words, even if AIPAC had committed the worst treason imaginable (and I am certain that it has), we would never have heard of it unless the Bush Administration wanted to use it to send a message to American Jews that they are not quite as powerful as they think they are, and they can't assume constant support regardless of how radical a position they may want to take. AIPAC is allowed to appear powerful only as long as radical Zionism suits the American Establishment. If the Palestinians can make a case that the existence of a viable and just Palestinian state is in the interests of the American Powers That Be, and can make that case in the context of the current American disaster in Iraq and the corresponding erosion of perceived American power around the world (not to mention the fact that it was entirely Zionists and mostly Jews that led the United States into the disaster), AIPAC may suddenly appear not to be as all-powerful as it appears to be today. AIPAC had better enjoy the blow job from Nancy Pelosi (which has to go down as one of the most cravenly mendacious speeches in American history, and enough to make anyone despair of the Democrats ever becoming a party that anyone would want to vote for), as it may be a while before they get another one.