Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The worst year in American history

Was 2004 the worst year in the history of the United States? Unlikely. All the years of slavery go into the Worst Year Hall of Fame, and there were some pretty bad years during the Civil War.


What about the worst year in the last 100? 1963 and 1968 were bad, as were all the late years of the Vietnam War. The difference was that there was hope in all those years, and at least the illusion that, despite everything, the United States was still a democracy with a government that believed that public policy could improve the lives of its citizens. The year 2004 saw the second crooked Presidential election in a row, with the degree - tens of thousands of recorded incidents - and systematic nature - by computers which intentionally lack evidence which could be used to judge the fairness of the voting - of the fraud unprecedented in American, and probably world, history. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that it has become fashionable, even amongst those who call themselves liberals, not to complain, and even to belittle those people who are concerned by calling them conspiracy theorists. If it wasn't for the yeoman work of John Conyers, this whole sordid incident would have been swept under the rug (I wonder if there is a racial aspect to the attitude of white liberals). The Republicans are now so expert in perpetrating this kind of massive fraud, and there is so little opposition to it, that it is probably fair to say that democracy in the United States has been permanently destroyed in the year 2004.


Oh, and what about the war? In the late years of the Vietnam War, if you can believe it, there were actually large protests against the war. That sort of thing is unimaginable now, as progressives appear to have completely given up (or maybe there are no more progressives in the United States). The utter hopelessness of opposition may turn out to be the main reason that 2004 is a real stinker. When you think of the hundred thousand or so dead Iraqis, the hundreds of billions of dollars gone down the drain, the permanent destruction of the image of the United States in the world, the thousands of dead or effectively dead American soldiers, and the fact that this sort of thing is going to go on and on and on, getting ever worse, for years and years and years, hopelessness may be the only sane approach. I almost forgot . . . Iraq is just the first war. By 'electing' Bush in 2004, the American people, in their wisdom, chose wars against Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Cuba, and probably a few others that have slipped my mind. If you think Iraq was easy, just wait for Iran, much, much more heavily armed with more modern weapons, with about three times the population of Iraq. That's going to be fun.


Guantanamo Bay? Abu Ghraib? All the domestic errors of the Bush Administration? The fact that the United States is now officially run by religious fruitcakes? Continuing assaults on the environment (which nobody seems to notice)? The ongoing process of ensuring that every American judge is a neanderthal? The lack of any opposition to any of this? The fact that Americans seem to accept and even approve of an immoral war? The fact that many of them think Bush is a good man? You don't even want to think about the economy, and the amazing size and rate of growth of the two deficits. The only thing that 2004 has going for it is that Bush now has four more years to create another worst year in the last hundred. The draft of poor people to fight Bush's wars, the destruction of social security, and the complete rejigging of the tax system to impoverish the vast majority of the population to benefit a few of Bush's friends will probably make 2004 look good in comparison, although the seeds of all future destruction were planted in 2004. The reign of 2004 as the worst year in the last hundred years of American history is likely to be short.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Rummy's latest gaffe

There has been quite a lot made of Donald Rumsfeld's latest 'gaffe', where he appeared to say that Flight 93 had been shot down:

"And I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten - indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be.


Whether Flight 93 was shot down or crashed for some other reason remains one of the great mysteries of September 11. It is particularly odd, if Flight 93 was shot down by the U. S. military, that the Bush Administration is so shy to admit it. Given what had already happened on September 11, no one could criticize the Administration for shooting down Flight 93 and saving the lives of whoever was in the terrorists' target building, particularly as the passengers on the plane were all going to die anyway. On the other hand, leaving the issue vague has allowed Bush and Cheney to allow their supporters to assume that they did order the shooting while avoiding the obvious questions about why they did not have the other planes shot down. Rumsfeld, who at one point said that a 'missile' hit the Pentagon, may have inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. Or, since he is under pressure to resign, is this 'slip' a message that he knows too much for anyone to force him out? There is something perhaps more interesting in what he said. I can parse it like this:

". . . if we imagine the kind of world we would face if


  • the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or

  • the people who did the bombing in Spain, or

  • the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon,

  • the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten

  • . . . ."


These are obviously all different groups of people, although he may be suggesting that they are all Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. The problem with that is that the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists could not have shot down the plane over Pennsylvania. The way Rumsfeld's sentence is constructed - and perhaps I'm reading too much into it - is that "the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon" are one distinct group, just as the other 'people' he discusses are distinct groups doing different bad things. Since we know it must have been the Pentagon that shot down Flight 93, is Rumsfeld saying that the Pentagon "attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon"? He goes on to say that the purpose of terrorism "is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be." Did the Pentagon stage 9-11 to alter the behavior of the people of the United States? If that was the intention, it certainly worked.

Monday, December 27, 2004

American electoral expertise

Yushchenko has already declared his victory, being ahead according to American-run exit polls, involving big-time Republican vote-spinner Frank Luntz (it was important to bring out the big guns), by no less than fifteen percent. A landslide in an election that was too close to call. The Americans really lay it on thick, don't they? The Ukraine, like Ohio and Florida, is another victim of American electoral expertise.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The progressive choice in the Ukraine

I used to think that Stephen Zunes was one of the very best progressive writers in the United States, but this article on the Ukraine has completely changed my mind. Zunes argues that progressives must support Yushchenko, and makes a number of arguments to support this proposition, none of which make any sense. He weakly concludes:

" . . . although Yushchenko may not be particularly progressive politically or capable of completely cleaning up the system, his election is currently the best hope for establishing a more open and accountable government."


I don't know what difference it makes for progressives to support either candidate in this election, but it is completely clear that the choice of the Ukrainians is between tweedledum and tweedledee. One candidate is supported by one group of corrupt oligarchs and by the Russians, and the other is supported by another group of corrupt oligarchs and by American and European interests that want to steal whatever assets aren't nailed down in the Ukrainian economy. Some choice. The fact that Ukrainians in one part of the country may honestly be deceived into thinking that tweedledum is an improvement is no reason for progressives to make the same mistake. Zunes actually seems to think it is a good thing that his candidate is supported by George Soros, a man who has made his billions, and caused enormous suffering, through his speculating in world currencies. He also writes that American support for Yushchenko "has flowed primarily through reputable nongovernmental organizations". Could he possibly be suggesting that the National Endowment for Democracy is 'reputable'? The same organization that was set up by the U. S. government in the early 1980's - a time when it wasn't politically safe to use the CIA to meddle in the affairs of other countries - as a front to subvert democracy around the world (most recently in notoriously antidemocratic actions in Venezuela and Haiti)? As I've said before, the current fad of the Powers That Be is to subvert democracy by running opposing candidates who represent exactly the same interests. It is almost as if two guys, let's call them GWB and JFK, from the same university secret society ran against each other in an election, GWB engaged in massive and systematic vote fraud and voter suppression, and JFK immediately conceded the election to GWB before he could possibly know whether he had actually lost or not. Crazy, eh? Zunes is also a supporter of concession, when it should be clear to everyone that JFK would have won Ohio had all the votes been counted (just as Al Gore would have won Florida had all those votes been counted). Just what kind of 'progressive' is Stephen Zunes anyway? Sadly, there is no good progressive choice in the current Ukrainian election.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Christian political cultists in Norway

Remember that wonderful article by Jeffrey Sharlet on creepy Christian cult group 'The Family' (aka 'The Fellowship') and its connections to American and world politicians (referred to by me here and here and here)? It turns out that the same cult also has connections to politicians in, of all places, Norway (perhaps not so big a surprise as the cult was founded by a Norwegian, Abraham Vereide). Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, as well as the head of his Christian Democrat Party, Dagfinn Høybraten, and Norway's ambassador to the U. S., Knut Vollebæk, are all participants in The Fellowship (see also here). The Prime Minister, during an official visit to the United States, actually had a secret meeting with John Ashcroft at the cult's headquarters in December 2001 (I wonder if they sang hymns to each other?). These revelations have caused some consternation amongst Norwegians, who are perhaps a little surprised that they are being led by members of a cult. It's as if Charlie Manson was Governor of California (on second thought, that might be an improvement).

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Yushchenko dioxin timing issue

The Yushchenko dioxin timing issue (or here; my emphasis):

"One senior law enforcement official said that after doctors found dioxin in Yushchenko's blood, the candidate met informally Thursday with a newly assigned prosecutor and pledged to cooperate, but only after the election on Dec. 26.

Without the cooperation, the case has taken the form of theories, and for the news media the most popular has been the dinner at the dacha. But as details and a greater understanding emerge, this version remains open to question.

First, Smeshko said, Yushchenko was ill and in pain before the meeting, and had postponed the dacha visit a day because of exhaustion and a backache. Zhvaniya confirmed this, but said Yushchenko has a history of back troubles, and his pain the previous night might not have been related to poison.

A second, more intriguing, complication is that toxicologists say that after a person is contaminated with dioxins, it typically takes three days to two weeks before symptoms appear. Yushchenko was racked with pain hours after the dacha dinner, which understandably cast initial suspicion on the meal.

But the theory was weakened this month when doctors in Vienna announced that the poison was dioxin; his would be the only known case of a dioxin acting so fast.

Dr. Arnold Schecter, a specialist in dioxin contamination at the University of Texas, said it was possible but highly unlikely that Yushchenko was poisoned on Sept. 5. 'It doesn't make sense, medically,' he said. 'I would go back 14 days before that.'"


Once you get away from poisoning at the meal with the Security Service of Ukraine, Yushchenko could have been poisoned by anybody, including members of the rather questionable group who surround him. He may not have been poisoned at all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dioxin down the memory hole?

There was a story, I'm almost certain on CBS News (at this link, but the Google cache doesn't help, and other CBS News stories are not helpful), that the poisoning of Yushchenko is very suspicious as the speed that the symptoms appeared - almost immediately after the alleged poisoned meal - is not consistent with dioxin poisoning. The original story appears to have disappeared down the memory hole, perhaps more indication that what we're dealing with is not poisoning but a sophisticated American-run propaganda campaign to have the American puppet elected in the Ukraine.

Yushchenko's odd blood

From an article on Viktor Yushchenko's alleged dioxin poisoning:

"New tests reveal the level of dioxin in the blood of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko is more than 6,000 times higher than normal, according to the expert analyzing the samples.

The concentration, about 100,000 units per gram of blood fat, is the second highest ever recorded in human history, said Abraham Brouwer, professor of environmental toxicology at the Free University in Amsterdam, where blood samples taken last weekend in Vienna were sent for analysis."


The second highest ever recorded in human history?! In human history! Sometimes they make conspiracy theory so easy. The blood sample was spiked. If he had the second highest concentration in human history months after the alleged poisoning, he would have had to have been pure dioxin on the day after the poisoning! Obvious nonsense. In their desire to make a good story, they put a little too much in. Why? To make their candidate a martyr, to put the blame on the Russians, and possibly to cover up underlying serious problems with the health of Yushchenko that would make him a bad choice to run a country.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Israel's new mack daddy

Why would Israel risk its crucial life-and-death relationship with its main protector and ally in order to transfer some American secrets and classified American technology to the Chinese? Once you ask the question, the answer becomes immediately obvious.


Every single aspect of what the Israelis do can only be understood in the light of their massive project (which I'll call the 'Project'), which may take fifty or a hundred years, to create Greater Israel in a swath across the Middle East from the Nile to the Euphrates. The coalition of Likud and Labour just clarifies that there is really no democracy in Israel, just an insane government force committed to this one goal. The hundred thousand or so dead Iraqis in the Israeli-inspired attack on Iraq are just a down payment on the millions of people who are going to have to die in the Middle East and elsewhere before Greater Israel is finished. You can't kill that many people, and cause that much disruption and destruction, without having the whole world furious with you. It is therefore imperative to have the biggest motherfucker on the block to watch your back, and the United States is that motherfucker. It would be impossible for the Israelis to treat the Palestinians the criminal way they do without the aiding and abetting of the United States, and furthering the Project would be impossible without similar help.


Problem. The United States is a giant turd circling the toilet bowl, and George Bush is flushing as fast as he can. It's funny how empires at crucial junctures in their histories sometimes find themselves with inspired leaders, and sometimes find themselves with chimps, and the United States has lucked out with a chimp. The combination of religious nuttiness, disdain for the environment, crazy class-warfare tax policy, and ruinous wars would be bad enough, but the real problem is economic, and Bush's complete disinterest in even addressing the debilitating problem of the two massive deficits, budget and trade, which are bound to become progressively worse. He has no ideas for the trade deficit, and his big ideas for the budget deficit, needless to say, involve removing what few benefits poor people now receive in return for their taxes. For all intents and purposes, the United States is bankrupt, by which I mean it will never, ever, be able to pay back what it owes the rest of the world. The only reason the rest of the world continues to fund this disaster is that it needs to keep the American economy on enough life support to maintain the value of the trillions of American dollars held outside the United States, and support the American consumer demand which keeps foreign factories running to create such massive foreign prosperity.


The American economy is just a big Ponzi scheme, with its prosperity an illusion created on its ability to borrow more and more money. Like all Ponzi schemes, this can't go on forever, and eventually the rest of the world will figure a way to get out as painlessly as possible. This will cause problems all over the world, but mostly in the United States, as the drastic decline in the value of the U. S. dollar will cause the cheap Walmart consumer goods made in China - the real opium of the masses - to become expensive consumer goods made in China. When that happens, we may get to see what revolution looks like in the surprisingly passive American poor, and those semi-secret concentration camps set up by the Office of Homeland Security may see some use.


If you're a long-range Zionist planner of the Project, you have to be alive to all these things, and be ready for the handoff of imperial power. I'm not suggesting that the United States will become powerless, but only that its economic and domestic problems will reduce it to the status of a less great power, like Britain or Russia. That much power will make the U. S. an insufficiently powerful country to provide back-up against the whole world for the Project. When the British Empire officially ended at the end of the Second World War, the Americans had Britain over a financial barrel. The British literally could no longer afford their colonial empire, and Britain handed the keys for the Middle Eastern parts of that empire over to the Americans. China will soon have the United States over the same barrel, and in return for economic concessions, will be entitled to the same prize.


The current series of American wars is just the death throes of empire, as the Americans attempt to blackmail the rest of the world into continuing to finance its profligate ways by threatening to control the entire world supply of oil. It's not going to work, as the U. S. military is simply not up to the job of winning the wars it has to win, having essentially lost both Afghanistan and Iraq. While the United States wastes money on wars, money it doesn't have, China just makes stuff, and becomes ever more wealthy.


The biggest whore in the Middle East is looking for a new pimp, and the new mack daddy is China (with India on the horizon). What better way to impress your new pimp with your loyalty than to betray the secrets of your old pimp?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Pollard redux

Everyone expected that at some point the single-minded attention of the neocons to Israeli interests would create an insurmountable conflict with the traditional American conservatives at the core of the Republican Party, and that conflict may finally have appeared over the issue of China. Theoretically, many neocons would tell you that the main international threat to American interests is China, but that threat apparently falls by the wayside if Israel can make a buck dealing with China. Israel recently upgraded a 'sensitive weapons system' for China, no doubt using expertise given to it by the United States. Fixing weapons systems is kosher, but upgrading them is treif, and the Americans are said to be furious (or, partly, here; see heavy-duty Israeli spin here and here). It has gotten to the point where Douglas Feith actually has to pretend to be insisting on the resignation of the Israeli defense minister, Amos Yaron, which is hilarious when you consider that Feith essentially works for the Israeli defense minister (Feith and Yaron are joint chairmen of a U.S.-Israeli joint committee for planning defense policy, which makes you wonder whether there is any independent American defense policy, or whether it is all run out of Israel). The rift appears to be at a deep institutional level, with the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, General John Jumper, cancelling a planned meeting in Israel as he refused to meet with Yaron. Coupled with the fact that rumors suggest that the AIPAC investigation may really be about AIPAC passing on classified information to China, we can see the beginnings of the inevitable rift when the treasonous neocons put Israeli interests ahead of American interests. This is all remarkably similar to the Pollard matter, where Israel dealt American secrets to an American enemy in order to obtain benefits for itself. The only reason Pollard is still in jail is that traditional American conservatives consider this kind of treason to be unforgivable, and the neocons may be headed down the same path.

Israeli spy chart

From the Home Page of J. Orlin Grabbe, the chart, I believe originally from France, depicting the Israeli spies arrested in the United States in the spring of 2001, particularly in Irving, Texas. Given the recent AIPAC investigation, and despite all efforts of the disgusting American media to stifle all discussion of it, the Israeli spy issue is not going to go away.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The abuses of 'The Holocaust'

Liat Weingart, on the political abuse by the United States of the Holocaust:

"Before 1967, it didn't fit into American strategic interests to talk about Jews or their history of oppression, particularly in the same sentence as the word 'justice.' After 1967, when Israel defeated Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, and conquered the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Sinai and the Golan Heights, the U.S. government decided that Israel could serve as a surrogate for U.S. interests in the Middle East. 1967 was the year when the U.S. discovered Israel, and it was the year when the Holocaust was 'remembered.'
The discovery of Israel happened as selectively as the remembering of the Holocaust. The U.S. discovered Israel as a military ally, not as a country with ordinary people, and so U.S. aid to Israel reflected that. Most U.S. aid to Israel, including economic aid, has been spent for expenses related to purchasing military equipment from the U.S. In order to justify that strategic relationship in moral terms, a new history of the Holocaust was 'remembered.'
The dominant narrative of the Holocaust is that Jews were led, like sheep to the slaughter, to the gas chambers, that they alone were murdered, and that the event of their annihilation had no precedent in history and therefore, no event in the present can compare to the Holocaust. The logical moral to the story for Jews is that we are alone in the world – no one understands our suffering because no one has experienced anything similar; we can only rely on ourselves for self-defense; we will be ever-vigilant, for danger lurks around every corner. And the logical moral to the story for Americans is that Jews need a strong Israel, and because the Jews were victims of the unspeakable, it's our duty to arm Israel to the teeth."


Americans have made a fetish out of their version of the Holocaust, all in the interests of selling arms and protecting the oil supply (why do you think a Holocaust-themed movie wins a major Academy Award every year?). Of course, the flip side to the American abuse of the Holocaust is that the Zionists use the idea of 'never again' to justify the unspeakable horrors inflicted by the state terrorism of Israel on Palestinian civilians, all on the justification that the Palestinian resistance to such state terrorism represents the Palestinian desire to push the Jewish people 'into the sea' - when the Zionists are forced by their own stupidity to up camp and move to Oklahoma they will no doubt justify state terrorism against the local Indians on the basis that the Indians want to push the Jewish people 'into Texas' - and any actions, no matter how horrible, are justified by the necessity of avoiding another Holocaust. The Holocaust, which happened (the so-called 'revisionists' are the greatest friends the Zionists have as they keep the issue in everyone's consciousness, to the extent that the Zionists should erect a statue in Israel to their greatest friend, Ernst Zundel), and was very, very bad (but not uniquely bad), has been co-opted by American and Zionist propagandists to serve as the basis for the American use of Israel as its bully in the Middle East, and as the basis for the state terrorism of the Israelis against the Palestinians. We should stop talking about it until the Israelis get their moral house in order.

Neocon plans for the world

From an excellent (as usual) article by Pepe Escobar on neocon plans for the world:

"The road to Tehran starts both in Kabul and Baghdad. This requires examination of the Afghan 'model' and the Iraqi 'model'.

Afghanistan's new democracy rests on the shoulder of the world's most expensive mayor (US$1.6 billion a month and counting), Hamid Karzai, who barely controls downtown Kabul protected by 200 American bodyguards, 17,000 American troops and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization contingent. Without all this heavy metal, Karzai would never last. The country is essentially ruled by the Tajiks and Uzbeks of the former Northern Alliance - who now control most of the world's supply of heroin - powerful regional warlords and the Taliban (in the south and southeast). So much for Afghan 'democracy'.

As for the Iraqi 'model', the crucial point is that the Americans managed to turn Iraq into a replica of Palestine - the same ghastly litany of occupation, suicide bombings, streams of refugees and death and destruction. Not only was the Iraq war entirely based on neo-con lies: these lies led, among other disasters, to Iraq's infrastructure being completely destroyed and the US alienating the Muslim world. Fallujah and Baghdad are replicas of Gaza and the West Bank."


The fact that Afghanistan is an unmitigated disaster can't be stressed enough, as I note that even critics of the war on Iraq are using their approval of what happened to Afghanistan to prove that they are real manly Americans and not just commie pinko fags who hate war. I've even read that it was necessary to attack Afghanistan to eliminate bin Laden's training camps, which is funny if you read Aukai Collins' account of what a joke these camps actually were, and even funnier if you realize that all the American attack did was spread the al Qaeda fighters throughout the world. In the long run, the attack on Afghanistan, based on the completely bogus excuse of going after bin Laden, will probably be seen as a bigger mistake than the attack on Iraq. For one thing, it made the attack on Iraq, and all subsequent neocon attacks, intellectually possible. The neocons and their enablers justified the attack on Afghanistan on the need to punish bin Laden, justified the attack on Iraq on the allegations that Saddam was a bin Laden ally and was also behind 9-11, are setting up to justify the attack on Syria based on its alleged help for the Iraqi resistance, will use the same argument to justify the attack on Iran, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. To see how grim it is going to get, read Escobar's conclusion:

"With the American military in its current state, Bush and the neo-cons cannot possibly reshape the Middle East to suit the neo-con/Likud agenda. Washington is faced with two options. It could restore the draft - provoking a minor social earthquake in the US. Or it could develop - and deploy - tactical nuclear weapons, mini-nukes. Fallujah - flattened by 'conventional' means - was just a test. On the road to Damascus, the road to Tehran, the road to Riyadh, the neo-cons would be much more tempted to go nuclear."


Since there appear to be absolutely no political constraints on Bush and the neocons whatsoever, I suspect that they will have a draft and go nuclear.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Two shots to the head

It was two shots! The Sacramento County Coroner's Office issued a statement confirming that Gary Webb committed suicide with two gunshots to the head. Note:


  • Editors all over the United States found it necessary to amend the original reports of 'shots' to the head to emphasize that he died of a single gunshot wound to the head. As we all know, editors regard themselves as the watchguards against conspiracy theory, amending the record when they feel Americans won't be able to handle the truth. In this case, they were caught red-handed.

  • The multiple-gunshot suicide occurs so often to people whose lives are inconvenient to the establishment that I regard it as not an accident or incompetence, but actually as a signal, for those in the know, that this is professional work. It's like a signature on a work of art. It is also a warning.


I'm getting sick and tired of reading people write about Webb who repeat the straw-man arguments of the disgusting American press and claim that Webb's reporting was 'flawed'. Even those who claim to be sympathetic to him seem to be unable to write about him without mentioning errors in his CIA story. He was a reporter, not God! He was trying to find out things that very powerful people were trying to hide, and he got the story essentially correct, as was confirmed later by the CIA itself. He wrote about a major tragedy in the ghettos of Los Angeles, and the cause of that tragedy, The reporters in that city apparently couldn't get up off their fat white asses to investigate the matter themselves. Any 'flaws' in his reporting were de minimus, and mentioning them just plays into the hands of those trying to cover up for the CIA and the sorry state of Los Angeles journalism.


I'm also getting sick and tired of everyone accepting hook, line and sinker the official story that each one of these writer deaths is a suicide. Steve Kangas, Danny Casolaro, Dorothy Kilgallen, James Hatfield, Iris Chang, the list goes on and on. Shouldn't the onus be exactly the reverse? In any case where a truth seeker dies, shouldn't we assume assassination, with the onus on the establishment to prove it was a suicide? I think it is particularly insulting, with the stigma attached to suicide, to assume these warriors for truth killed themselves when they in fact 'died with their boots on' in the ongoing struggle to uncover what is really going on in the world.


The CIA and Venezuela

The recent document release showing that the CIA was aware of the coup attempt in Venezuela but did nothing to alert the Venezuelan authorities is nothing less than the usual 'limited hangout' of copping to a lesser charge in order to avoid admitting the more embarrassing truth. Although the documents were forced out of the CIA by a freedom of information request, you can be sure that they would never have seen the light of day unless someone wanted them public to provide some propaganda protection (to put it into perspective, the CIA managed to 'lose' all the classified annexes to the intelligence authorization acts enacted by Congress from 1947 through 1970, annexes which they were required to produce pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Federation of American Scientists). The assassination of the investigator who was investigating the coup, Danilo Anderson, may very well have led to fears that Venezuelan anger at this obvious attempt at a cover up might lead to substantive allegations about real direct American involvement (some believe the Mossad was behind the assassination). As William Blum writes (or here):

"How do we know that the CIA was behind the coup that overthrew Hugo Chavez?

Same way we know that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. That's what it's always done and there's no reason to think that tomorrow morning will be any different."


Besides the direct involvement of the National Endowment for Democracy (the same bunch manipulating the Ukrainian election), there is reason to believe that the U. S. Navy (or here) provided direct communications assistance to the coup plotters, and that two American military attaches, identified as James Rogers and Ronald MacCammon, were in direct contact with the coup plotters just before the coup. Two of the main plotters are graduates of the School of the Americas. Hugo Chavez claims (or here) to have a video of a CIA officer giving a class to Venezuelans on surveillance. An unidentified small plane with US markings was found on Orchila Island, and three US naval vessels and three helicopters (identified by serial number) entered Venezuelan waters without permission for several hours on April 13. Perhaps the best evidence of deep American involvement is that Ari Fleischer lied about what had happened in Venezuela in order to support the coup plotters, a lie which betrays the structure of the interrelationship between the coup plotters and the U. S. government. The disgusting American press was also involved in this conspiracy, which involved the creation of a myth concerning the voluntary resignation of Hugo Chavez. This myth was key to the potential success of the coup, and was intended to allow the U. S. to recognize the coup plotters as the legitimate government of Venezuela while simultaneously deflating the hopes of the people of Venezuela who might otherwise have risen up against the coup. Fleischer's lie proves that the United States was deeply involved in the coup, and the CIA's admission of having had foreknowledge of it is just disinformation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Settling of accounts?

Here is an excellent summary by Robert Parry on Gary Webb and the CIA-Contra-cocaine scandal (see also here and here and here). The crack cocaine scandal was just a variation on the same theme of the more famous arms deal scandal, with both being back-door support of the same activities that the White House was prohibited from funding. I guess it is just a curiosity that Bush is 'reelected' with a White House replete with players from Iran-Contra, a scandal involving Iran and Israel, Iran is now in the sights of these same people doing the bidding of Israel, and the guy who embarrassed them all is suddenly dead. The saddest thing is that an illegal funding operation like Iran-Contra is no longer necessary as the Bush Administration can get Congress to fund whatever adventures it wants with a few key lies that no one will ever have to account for.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Dr. Kelly's blood

The two paramedics who were the first medically trained people officially to arrive at the scene where David Kelly's body was said to have been found are back in the news (see here, here, and here or here). They confirm the two main anomalies in the case - discussed by me here and here - that there wasn't enough blood present to be consistent with a suicide by a slit wrist, a type of suicide they had seen before, and that the body, although supposedly not disturbed from the time it was discovered, had been moved. There's more. One of the paramedics, Vanessa Hunt, said (or here; my emphasis):

"There were a lot of police around. Some were in civilian clothes and others in black jackets and army fatigues. I thought it might have been a firearms incident as there were the guys from the special armed response units."


Special armed response units!? What were they expecting to find? As well, an individual close to Kelly who does not want to be named - smart move! - claims that Kelly's personality made it highly unlikely that he would have attempted to kill himself in a manner which was so uncertain of success. Many experts, including a recent president of the Vascular Surgical Society of Great Britain, feel that the official story of the cause of death does not conform to medical realities. 'Experts' who have pronounced themselves happy with Hutton's conclusions appear to be less expert in vascular anatomy, and prepared to rely on the presence of amounts of blood which are expressly denied by the two paramedics who are the main witnesses to the amount of blood actually present.


We now know a lot more about the lying basis for the attack on Iraq, and in particular that Blair and Bush had planned the war months before they announced their phony concern about the supposed casus belli, the mythical weapons of mass destruction. In light of what we know about Dr. Kelly's own concerns about this issue, we can see how deeply dangerous he might have been to all those behind the lies which were intended to fool the British people into going along with the attack. I ask again: "Does anyone still really believe Dr. Kelly killed himself?"

Gary Webb

What a weekend for conspiracy theory! I don't know where to begin. Why not with Gary Webb? Yesterday I wrote about Potential Witness Syndrome, one symptom of which is "suicide by multiple gun shot wounds to the head". This is apparently exactly what Gary Webb died of (watch as the stories are refined to change 'wounds' to 'a gunshot wound'). Webb was one of the premier investigative journalists in the United States, and author of the classic book "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion", a book that everyone should read, both for its content and as an model of how to do investigative reporting. The disgusting American press did a hack job on him, claiming that he overstated his case, an outright lie which you can see if you read his book. He was meticulous in defining his thesis, which was that the CIA turned a blind eye to the selling of crack in Los Angeles because proceeds from the sales were used to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. This thesis was true, but was deeply embarrassing to the CIA and other journalists who failed to cover the story. It was a particularly dangerous idea because it demonstrated what a crock of shit the war on drugs is, with the U. S. government allowing extremely destructive drug sales - and drug sales which were particularly destructive to one racial group - in the United States when such sales suited it for other political purposes. The San Jose Mercury News shamed itself by failing to stand up for Webb when he was attacked, and effectively constructively dismissed him by assigning him to the boondocks. Webb's death is just another nail in the coffin of investigative journalism, and thus democracy, in the United States. What he was working on that led to his being suicided?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

PWS

Jason Korsower, a healthy, athletic 29-year-old writer on Islamic terrorism, died (or here or here) in his sleep. His mother, Karen Grablowsky, said:

"It wasn't an aneurysm. It wasn't a heart attack. It wasn't the obvious things that could happen to a healthy 29-year-old."


A completely mysterious death that apparently interests the FBI. Korsower worked for the Investigative Project, the organ of radical Zionist propagandist Steve Emerson. Coming on the heels of the FBI's investigation of AIPAC, one has to wonder if this isn't another case of PWS. PWS, or Potential Witness Syndrome, affects those with information that might interest investigators in high profile conspiracy cases. As a disease, it is quite unique, killing its victims in numerous ways including suicide by multiple gun shot wounds to the head, hunting accidents, suicide by throwing oneself through plate glass windows in high-rise buildings, murders by robbers who don't take anything, hit-and-run accidents, and, as in the case of Mr. Korsower, inexplicable deaths while sleeping. The biggest outbreak of PWS occurred during the Congressional investigations of the Kennedy assassination during the 1970's, but an outbreak of this mysterious fatal disease can occur whenever there is the danger of witnesses talking to investigators.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Farking Amway

Whoever writes the lines summarizing the links on the website Fark is a genius. Here's the one on the death of conservative rat-bastard Jay Van Andel:

"Co-founder of AmWay dies at 80. Everyone in the pyramid just went up a level"

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Bush versus AIPAC

The summer and fall FBI investigation of mega-powerful Israeli lobby group AIPAC was cleverly derailed by the neocons who leaked Larry Franklin's name along with some apparent disinformation about the nature of the investigation, and one could be forgiven for believing that once Bush was reelected (or should I say, 'reelected', or should I say 're'-'elected'), the whole thing would be swept under the rug. Instead, it appears to have been resurrected, with nothing less than subpoenas to force four top AIPAC officials to appear before a grand jury. Once a grand jury is involved, the whole matter starts to spiral out of control, as no one can predict what a grand jury might discover. I know that people like to believe that the FBI is an independent organization investigating crime without bias or political interference, but I don't believe it for a moment. It would be career suicide, not to mention possible actual 'suicide', for an FBI official to wade into a matter like this without at least a nod and a wink from the Bush Administration. The bribe recipients in Congress are already looking for the head of whichever FBI official is behind this affront to their sugar daddy, so he must be confident that he has heavy political protection. So why is the Bush Administration going after AIPAC? Are they trying to send a message to Israel of who the real boss is? Unlikely, as we all know who the real boss is. Or are they acting as agents for factions in Israel who have a problem with AIPAC, or with certain officials in AIPAC? I know it's difficult to comprehend, but is it possible that some in Israel - the extreme crazed right-wingers who pull the strings of the neocons - feel that AIPAC is insufficiently radically Likudnik for their purposes? Are we seeing played out in an American crime investigation a power struggle within the Israeli government? The Jerusalem Post has already constructed an elaborate story of an unfair FBI sting operation against AIPAC to try to spin AIPAC out of trouble, so the factions in Israel who support AIPAC appear to be mounting a counteroffensive. This could be fun!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Ukrainian 'choice'

An angle of the Ukrainian election which I have not seen tackled by any of the usual anti-globalization authors is that the so-called pro-Western candidate, Viktor Yuschenko, is far more accurately described as a pro-globalization candidate. In other words, his job is to turn over the assets of the Ukrainian people to the usual multinational suspects. Far from being any kind of radical alternative to the current corrupt nomeklatura that runs the Ukraine, Yuschenko is just another part of the same group, having been the right-hand man of president Leonid Kuchma until he was fired for his right-wing economic policies, and still being closely connected to the corrupt oligarchs who are stealing from the Ukrainian people in the crooked privatization of the Ukrainian economy (he also has connections to far right Ukrainian nationalist groups which are clearly anti-Semitic (or here), which probably explains why Israel supported the official election results).


The American election manipulators - who have had a series of abject defeats in Latin America, most notably in Venezuela (!) and Bolivia - latched onto Yuschenko as the kind of candidate who could be rebranded as a populist man of the people fighting both the current corrupt leadership and the stranglehold that Russia has on Ukrainian politics. You have to have a lot of sympathy for the Ukrainians, a people who suffered the worst genocide of the twentieth century under Stalin and who are now forced to follow policies dictacted by their Russian oppressors, but I fear they are being tricked into voting for a man whose plan is to immediately sell them out. The Americans have figured out how to use a manufactured student movement together with a mass marketing campaign to control Eastern European elections. The culprits, as usual, are the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the U. S. State Department, USAid, Freedom House and the Open Society Institute. All these groups have one goal, as described by Justin Raimondo:

"The bottom line is that our oligarchs have allied with a faction of Ukrainian oligarchs, who have agreed to add Ukraine to the European Union, sabotage the free trade zone recently established between the pro-Russian nations of the former Soviet Union, and, most important of all, join NATO. The Yushchenko-Timoshenko forces want to align with Georgia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (the other nations in the GUUAM configuration of junior league NATO aspirants) in erecting a ring of iron around Putin and the former Soviet Union."


This connects directly to the international war to control oil reserves as part of the 'Grand Chessboard' struggle (or here) between the United States and Russia (see also here and here and here).


Democracy was the worst possible tragedy for the right-wingers, until they discovered that the way to deal with it is to create a series of alternatives all of whom support the same right-wing 'consensus' of stripping the assets of the people and turning them over to big corporations. The recent American election is another example of how the two alternatives supported the same policies of the corporadoes. The mass media is typically used to brand one as the populist, the 'man of the people', who then goes on to win, probably, like Bush, with the aid of massive vote fraud. If you are a Ukrainian voter, where is your real choice? The next step in rendering democracy completely unthreatening is to attack those countries which are still lucky enough to have a first-past-the-post electoral system, a system detested by elites of all persuasions as it is too difficult to control, and replace it with various fancy new systems of voting most of which involve back-room supplied lists of those candidates acceptable to the oligarchy. Eventually, we might as well do away with human politicans entirely, and just vote for the corporations we'd prefer to be raped by.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Paying for Apartheid

From the Guardian:

". . . government papers suggest that Israel intends to bypass the peace plan, creating a Palestinian state of enclaves, surrounded by walls and linked by tunnels and special roads.

Israel has released plans for the upgrade of roads and construction of 16 tunnels which would create an 'apartheid' road network for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Existing roads would be reserved for Jews, linking their settlements to each other and to Israel. The plans came to light when Giora Eiland, Israel's director of national security, requested international funding for the project."


and:

"Ghassan Khatib, the Palestinian planning minister, said the proposals were at odds with everything the international community had proposed for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

'Two communities living under different laws and regulations with different standards of living and road networks: this is what apartheid is all about,' he said."


The double road system is intended to allow Israel to continue to develop the illegal settlements while claiming that it is technically establishing territorial contiguity in the parts of the West Bank still reserved for the remnants of the Palestinians. Israel's mistake was asking the international community to pay for the establishment of apartheid. Had they quietly asked the Americans, they would have received full funding with no questions asked. In their twisted minds, they somehow feel that the infrastructure of apartheid actually benefits the Palestinians, and so feel no qualms in asking the international community to fund it. This is exactly the reasoning of Adolf Eichmann, who felt that making the technical functioning of the Holocaust as efficient as possible actually benefited its victims. Two sets of roads is also reminiscent of South Africa and the old American South, where there needed to be multiple facilities to accommodate each race. The complexity and expense of establishing these facilities was regarded by the ruling race as reflecting its humanitarianism.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Latest 'ETA' bombs in Madrid

Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar gave testimony last week repeating his story that the Madrid train bombing was the work of ETA terrorists, a story so outrageous that it led to the defeat of his party in the last Spanish elections. Within a week, five bombs explode at gas stations in Madrid, supposedly the work of the ETA due to the fact that a telephone warning was given by someone claiming to be from the ETA. From the Guardian (my emphasis):

"The bombings brought an end to speculation that Eta, which has been quiet in recent months, was planning a ceasefire. That speculation grew after it was reported last month that senior Eta members in Spanish jails had called on the group's leadership to give up the armed struggle, as the organisation was too weak to make a serious impact.

Last night's explosions showed that the group, which has been hit by arrests in France and Spain, was still able to carry out attacks in the Spanish capital."


and:

"Two police officers who were evacuating one of the petrol stations were reported to have been among those hurt."


Hurt evacuating the area or hurt planting the bombs? This is far too convenient. The Spanish right operating through the police set off the Madrid train bombs in order to influence the Spanish election, got caught red-handed in lies about the ETA, and lost the election. Aznar gives unbelievable testimony repeating the same lies, and the ETA, which has probably decided to give up violence, suddenly reappears with more bombs. They make it easy to be a conspiracy theorist, don't they?

Hamas and the existence of Israel

On Friday, Hamas announced that it would accept the existence of Israel in pre-1967 borders, a major concession and policy shift. On Saturday, the IDF picked up Rami al-Tayah, who is described as a senior Hamas member. The Israelis had apparently been looking for him since 2002. A resident of the apartment building in which the Hamas member was staying quoted an Israeli soldier saying to his comrades: "Don't kill him, we need him alive." What do you think the chances are that Israel knew exactly where this fellow was all along and just arrested him in order to provoke Hamas into returning to its old policies, policies desired by the Israeli propaganda machine in order to continue the state terrorism against the Palestinian people required in order to create Greater Israel on stolen Palestinian lands? The Israelis simply cannot allow Hamas to make peace.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Keyser Soze in Iraq

From the latest Popbitch email:

"Spaces are now available in Guantanemo Bay 'hotel'. Finding no reason to hold many of the prisoners, the US is quietly transporting them back to the Jordanian border, dropping them off from a van.. like any terrorist group does with its ex-hostages."


They refer to the supposed leader of the al Qaeda resistance in Iraq as Abu Musab "Keyser Sose" al-Zarqawi, a good joke if you saw the movie.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Napalming Falluja

There is more and more reason to believe that the Americans used napalm or another similar incendiary weapon - when accused of using napalm in the original attack on Iraq, the Pentagon quibbled about the name, so it is possible that the incendiary used was not exactly napalm - on the largely civilian population of Falluja. Congratulations! This is the gold medal in war crimes, so I hope all the apologists for the attack are happy that its easily predictable result, the spreading of the insurgents of Falluja all over the country where they can do much more damage, was worth it. I remain flabbergasted that the attack on Falluja occurred with hardly a whimper of protest in the United States (at least the use of napalm is becoming an issue in Britain), and indeed with many 'experts' coming up with various strained justifications for it. Again, the United States has become just like Nazi Germany, where people like Heidegger fell into line out of fear of what doing the right thing might have done to their careers. The campaigns of the Zionists against free speech on issues involving the Middle East are obviously working subconsciously to create this obsequious acquiescence to the outrages committed by the Empire.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Henry Siegman

This is a superb article by Henry Siegman on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the disastrous consequences for Israel if it continues on the path it is on. If you read only one article on the issue, this is the one to read. Look at a map of the settlements from May 2002, and remember it is even worse now, and try to see how a Palestinian state could be squeezed between the lands stolen by the settlers. Since there is absolutely no political will to move even one of these settlers, and no foreseeable change in Israeli politics in the future except to become even more insane, Israel is doomed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Intervention in Sudan?

From an article on the conflict in Sudan by Christopher Lord:

"'Fears are rising that if American evangelicals continue to focus exclusively on the religious dimensions of the Sudanese war, there could be a backlash from Islamic fundamentalists, thus intensifying the conflict,' wrote Matthias Muindi of Africa News in May 2001. 'Analysts, mainstream Church officials, and aid workers are worried that the stance taken by the Christian Right might jeopardize relief operations and precipitate a humanitarian crisis in Sudan.'

This is a pretty good description of what's happened over the last three years."


It's no big surprise that the evangelicals would make things worse by imposing their view of the world on another people. There is good reason to believe that their campaign to free slaves in Africa by buying their freedom has created whatever slave trade exists in Africa.


Lord goes on:

"The Janjaweed talk of jihad and racial superiority. This kind of talk has helped give rise to oversimplification number three among foreign observers: that it is all about a racial division.

Take a look at pictures of the Janjaweed, and you will see that in large part they are as black as the 'blacks' they're murdering. 'Arab' in Sudan is mainly a cultural identity, meaning 'Arabic-speaking.' With as many as 134 languages and 497 ethnic sub-groups catalogued in the country, there is a wide spectrum of ethnic identities available, including many Arabized groups that only recently switched from a traditional language to Arabic. In America, the idea that the population is neatly divided into two racial groups - blacks and Arabs - has taken root in people's minds. It's a useful and easy distinction - but it's not true."


Again, the problem is caused by Americans imposing an American view based on American experience to a different context. American evangelicals have successfully managed to have the U. S. government label the conflict as 'genocide', a very misleading term in the circumstances.


Here is the best part of Lord's excellent article:

"The root cause of the Darfur conflict is actually ecological, with prolonged droughts and rapid desertification driving poor pastoral 'Arabs' to take over the lands of even poorer settled 'black' farmers. With extensive damage to the ecology throughout the region, what we see as ethnic conflict is really resource conflict at root, with religion even further down the list of factors.

Khartoum has denounced the Janjaweed in public, with President Omer al-Bashir calling them 'thieves and gangsters.' A few unlucky recruits have been sentenced to amputations for theft and some have even been threatened with crucifixion, but this month Human Rights Watch published documents proving that it is Khartoum that has raised, armed and directed them all along.

It's a pattern seen elsewhere in Sudan in recent years. Rich merchants in Khartoum - often retired generals or civil servants - pay desperate nomads in the interior to do their dirty work. They pretend that the motives are Arab solidarity, religious fervor or vengeance for historical wrongs. Once the land has been cleared, the paid thugs are amazed to discover that the new owners are their military patrons - and that they are still poor."


Same old, same old. The rich stir up ethnic or religious passions to manipulate the poor to attack each other for the benefit of the rich. This is the same thing the Republicans have managed to do so well in the United States. For the connections between ecology and conflict generally, see the work of Thomas Homer-Dixon (see here and here), and for ecology and Sudan, see here.


So what is to be done? Some are gung-ho to send in the western calvary to rescue the poor victims of Sudan (see here and here and here and here). Other are afraid that foreign intervention is just another ruse for western colonialism. In particular, many see this as some kind of western oil grab, and possibly part of an oil fight between Chinese and Anglo-American interests.


Frankly, if westerners with even the worst thieving motives were able to save the lives of the people of Darfur, I'd be fully in favor of sending them in. But this won't be a force consisting of troops from Norway and New Zealand. No, it will be the Gruesome Twosome yet again, the Americans and the British. After the disasters of Kosovo, Afghanistan, Haiti and particularly Iraq, can anyone hold any hope that these monsters will make anyone's life any better? Lessons of recent history tell us that a few local rich opportunists will do very well, a lot of people will be killed, most of them innocent civilians, and everyone else will end up much worse off. There will be a few photo ops of smiling locals with American troops, but once the strategic assets are secured, the suffering masses will be abandoned to the same suffering. I have no theoretical problem with a proper international force intervening to stop acute cases of suffering or violence, but I think we can be certain that the kind of intervention that Sudan will actually get will make things much worse.

The pawn sacrifice

Some time ago I suggested that Japan, which had seized Bobby Fischer for the neocons, had essentially traded him for lenient treatment of American deserter Charles Jenkins, who is married to a Japanese woman who had been kidnapped by the North Koreans. Now we know what that lenient treatment looks like. Jenkins was released after serving his thirty day sentence, less five days for good behavior. How long will it be before Japan keeps its part of the bargain and serves up Fischer as sushi for the neocons? Richard Perle has dibs on the liver.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The violins of the Holocaust

After all the unbelievable horrors of the Israeli checkpoints - not just the violence against Palestinians by Israeli soldiers but the grinding, never-ending incidents of daily humiliation intended to wear down the Palestinians so (the rest of) their lands can be stolen - the Israelis find themselves disgusted at seeing a video of Israeli soldiers making fun of a Palestinian musician by forcing him to play his violin. Why does this disgust them? Because they think it makes light of the Holocaust by mirroring what the Nazis did to the Jews! One writer wrote a letter to a newspaper saying the soldiers responsible should be put on trial "not for abusing Arabs but for disgracing the Holocaust". Hey, Israelis! Not everything is about your damned Holocaust. Some evil is evil in its own right. Your moral obtuseness about this should be profoundly embarrassing to you. The only reason we hear about the Holocaust so much is that it is used as a weapon against the Palestinians in the continuing propaganda war for the kleptomaniac state of Israel to steal more lands from the Palestinians. I don't want to hear about the Holocaust again until the Israelis make some good faith efforts to allow the Palestinians to have their own state on 100 per cent of the Occupied Territories. With Arafat gone, you have no more excuses.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Falluja and Guernica

You can compare the attack on Falluja to the Nazi attack on the Warsaw ghetto, or you can compare it to Franco's attack on Guernica (or here). Some company the Americans are now keeping! When Powell went to lie to the UN - and whatever else you want to say about Powell, the lying is the only thing that will be remembered about him in history - they had to hide the tapestry of the picture. The source of the quote from retired Marine Corps general Bernard Trainor is here. Trainor, who is no peacenik (he likes napalm, which is interesting, as the Americans almost certainly used incendiaries against civilians in Falluja), also said:

"Fallujah became symbolic on both sides that things were out of control over there. In the bigger picture, we [Americans] are incidental over there in that this is a struggle between Iraqis over what Iraq will be when we leave. The solution is not going to be a military one, it has to be some kind of political deal that is uniquely Arab. But that deal also has to be backed up with power and force, and Fallujah being taken down now demonstrates to all concerned that Allawi will not shrink from that course of action."


In other words, they destroyed Falluja to make it easier for Allawi by terrifying any possible resistance. This is exactly the same policy the Americans attempted in Vietnam, and we know how successful that was. The attack on Falluja was just another Lansdale/Conein psych op to attempt to terrify the Iraqi people into stopping their resistance of the American occupation, with the added benefit that it created turmoil in Sunni-Shi'ite relations, leading to the Israeli/neocon goal of breaking Iraq up into small, unthreatening statelets.

Israel and Iranian nukes

Here is a very smart analysis of the real reason why Israel fears Iranian nuclear weapons, based on the fact that it makes not the slightest sense for the Iranians to use the nukes offensively. I note that the threat of using such nukes might also be useful in deterring the neocons from an attack on Iran. If Saddam had had the weapons which formed the lying basis for the American attack on Iraq, he'd probably still be in power. The neocons would never do anything to put at risk the only country to which they are loyal.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Women in Islam

I recently wrote about the woman who gave part of a sermon in a mosque in suburban Toronto. It seems the idea is everywhere, if not so out in the open. If the leaders of the Muslim world really want to engage in meaningful reform, they might begin by considering the role of women in Islam, and whether treating women as if they were chattel slaves of a thousand years ago is really the path to progress.

Fitzgerald's Plame game

All those partisan Democrats who were gung-ho to hang Judith Miller over her refusal to name her sources in the Plame affair should reflect on the fact that the efforts of much praised special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald were intended to pry facts out of the journalists to absolve Rove and whichever other White House staffers were involved in outing Plame. It all turns on a technicality on the timing of the release of Novak's column. The staffers can get off the hook if Novak's column had already been published when they outed Plame, as the 'publication' would mean that they were not revealing classified information. Fitzgerald has been threatening journalists to force them to admit that they knew of Plame from information disclosed in Novak's column which was circulating before it was officially published. In other words, he's not interested in the sources, he is interested in establishing a legal defense for the White House staffers. See what happens when you throw away your principles of freedom of the press for what you perceive as partisan political gain? The Republicans get to use information forced out of some of the journalists to squirm out of legal difficulties, and the White House can use the precedent set by the jailing of other journalists to stop all whistleblowing.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Cheap oil and American politics

From an analysis of the American election by Stirling Newberry (I've fixed a bit of the spelling):

"The campaign hinged on this - the Swift Boats and marriage attacks were not distractions, but encapsulations of two simple points. The first was a way of saying that Kerry would betray the military, and therefore he would cut the military to balance the budget. Simple terms: make the cost fall on someone else. The second was a way of saying that the social changes that come with a high production, high value added economy - namely a cosmopolitan society - would happen under Kerry.

That is Kerry was presented, accurately, as being a threat to the social and economic hierarchy to the land owning classes. Land, which holds its value through having cheap gasoline, demands a military machine to obtain the oil and to maintain the social inequality should it come to that. Kerry was, accurately, presented as someone who would not go to war for oil.

If one looks at the map - the division - between the large blocks of the country whose value is sunk into rent and the smaller city areas that generate value through capital - is clear.

This social structure - paralleling the ancien regime of France is based on two alliances. The oligarchic rich place their faith in Church and State, they ally with the landowning peasants that stock the army, against the tradesman and the very bottom day laborers. The hierarchical society tries to tax by forced savings the tradesmen, and keep the 'rabble' in line with force. The hierarchy is not a mere marriage of convenience - each knows that it needs the other. The reactionary side of the ledger is not cleavable between 'economic and social conservatives' - because the wealthy knows it needs a military, and the military knows it needs someone to batter the rising professional classes into line."


and:

". . . land value is supported by cheap oil. One 'wins' the land rush by going farther out than other people, building on cheap land, and hoping enough people follow you to make prices spike through the roof. This means burning more oil.

But oil is in shorter and shorter supply - we are, therefore, burning oil to support land prices. There is an economic civil war, and the Saudis are selling both sides the ammunition. This means that the problem is that the relative land/oil price in the US is out of balance - people burn oil to pay less for land.

The oil burning classes voted for 'do what you have to do to take the oil' - which means cannibalizing the rest of society to keep the oil flowing."


So the rural land-owning class who need cheap oil to support the value of their isolated landholdings formed an alliance of convenience with the plutocrats who sell oil. 'Values' was a smokescreen for sheer economic self-interest. Both groups are nuts for violent militaristic colonialism to ensure there is enough oil to buy, and to sell. The whole analysis, which has a tinge of what you'd read in Wired magazine circa 1998, is nevertheless interesting. If true, there is no hope for the Democrats until the oil runs out, and the ensuing revolution destroys the Republican Party.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Poisoning and drowning

Is the assassination of Raful Eitan - an almost cartoon-like death, allegedly being swept away by a rogue wave - connected to the poisoning of Yasser Arafat (for Israel and poisoning, see also here)? Damn straight! The Israelis have spent the last twenty years in one of the most successful propaganda campaigns in history in the vilification of Yasser Arafat. In particular, they have constructed the myth that Arafat never wanted to negotiate with Israel, but just wanted to destroy Israel. Therefore, they have not had to enter into the negotiations which would have led to the creation of a Palestinian state and the end of the Zionist dream of building Greater Israel on stolen lands. The Israeli propaganda has become the standard picture of Arafat, and infected just about all the obituaries of him (here are more generous exceptions). Having so successfully made negotiations impossible based on the personal faults of Arafat, why would the Israelis want to kill him? The answer lies in the constantly worsening demographic problem which Israel faces. With each passing day, the number of Palestinians increases, and it is likely that the Jewish population of Israel falls, as people realize there is no future living in a state ruled by madmen. It is possible that the Arab population of the whole area already exceeds the Jewish population, but if not, it is only a matter of a few years before Arabs are in the majority. When the world insists on these people having a vote, Israel as a Jewish state will be over. The paradox is that the Israelis were so successful in stating that they had no negotiating partner, they found they had no one they could talk to when they desperately needed to negotiate while they still had the time to do so. Arafat had to go so they could install a puppet regime which would consent to the type of so-called 'generous offer' made by Barak, essentially the creation of a Palestinian 'state' consisting of separated concentration camps which could be gradually depopulated once the Palestinians realize the hopelessness of their plight. This is an absolutely crucial time for the Palestinians, when their dreams of nationhood, so close due to the steadfast stubbornness of Arafat to wait it out while the Palestinians won with each new baby, could be dashed if the Israelis manage to install a compliant stooge government corrupted by ties to Israeli intelligence (the poisoning must have been an inside job by a close crony of Arafat, with corruption being an ongoing thread in the history of the Palestinians). Of course, the converse side of the poisoning of Arafat is the necessity to convince extreme right-wingers like Eitan of the tactical necessity of appearing to negotiate with the Palestinians towards the creation of a Palestinian state. Those who can't be convinced of the tactics might have to take a swim. Eitan was out of politics but still influential, and his example will convince others like him of the wisdom of going along with the latest Zionist plan.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Iris Chang

American author Iris Chang, who wrote the book "The Rape of Nanking" about atrocities by the Japanese military on Chinese civilians, died of a gunshot wound in her car along a rural road in California. She was working on a book on Americans who fought in the U.S. tank battalions during World War II who were taken prisoner by the Japanese, and planned a documentary on the Japanese atrocities in Nanking. She had apparently been treated for depression, and the gunshot wound was determined by the police to be self-inflicted. One story tries to imply she left a suicide note, without actually calling it a suicide note. Does any of this make sense? The wound was caused by a handgun. Would a Chinese-American liberal woman from San Francisco with a two-year old son kill herself by shooting herself in the head with a (peculiar) handgun? Why did she even have a handgun? Presumably because she had been the subject of death threats from those people unhappy with her writings on the Rape of Nanking. These atrocities have been hidden from the Japanese people by the Japanese extreme right-wing, who remain unprepared to admit what the Japanese people were capable of doing (much as the American people have had the American atrocities in Iraq hidden from them by an extreme right-wing media and complicit experts and academics who aren't prepared to admit what America has become). Chang's writings resurrected an issue that had been dormant for years, and created the impetus for protests against Japan. She completely infuriated the extreme right in Japan, the uyoku dantai, who are connected to Japanese organized crime. They have a history of using violence against those who impugn what they consider to be the honor of Japan (also consider the 'suicide' of director Juzo Itami who directed the wonderful movie "Tampopo"). If someone under death threats and working on a book and a documentary which will further embarrass Japan dies in an isolated area in a way that is unlikely for her demographic group to kill themselves, wouldn't it make more sense to consider this a possible murder by a group known for its insanity and its violence, a group that has already threatened to kill her and would be motivated by stopping her future work?

Have Americans all gone insane?

From Juan Cole's (usually) excellent weblog, on the American assault on Falluja:

"But the basic idea of attacking the guerrillas holding up in that city is not in and of itself criminal or irresponsible. A significant proportion of the absolutely horrible car bombings that have killed hundreds and thousands of innocent Iraqis, especially Shiites, were planned and executed from Fallujah. There were serious and heavily armed forces in Fallujah planning out ways of killing hundreds to prevent elections from being held in January. These are mass murderers, serial murderers. If they were fighting only to defend Fallujah, that would be one thing; even the Marines would respect them for that. They aren't, or at least, a significant proportion of them aren't. They are killing civilians elsewhere in order to throw Iraq into chaos and avoid the enfranchisement of the Kurds and Shiites.

Some of my readers still want good guys and bad guys, white hats and black hats. That's not the way the world is. It is often grey, and very bleak."


Actually, this issue is completely black and white. Falluja is the United States' Warsaw Ghetto, with the exception that the Nazis captured the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto to work them to death, while the Americans, in a different economic situation, simply shoot the inhabitants of Falluja. The hard-core militants who may or may not be involved in the car bombings left Falluja long before the American attack - an attack which was telegraphed for weeks while Bush waited for the election to be over - and all that were left to die were the civilian inhabitants of Falluja defending their families against the new Nazis, and a very tiny group of Islamic fighters hoping to become martyrs. It is surreal that Cole appears to be suggesting that it is acceptable to flatten a city of 300,000 people and kill probably thousands of civilians - we'll never know how many as the Americans have effectively hidden that information - in order to achieve the possible end of removing a few easily replaceable car bombers. What end could possibly justify that means? Any sanction of the United Nations is completely irrelevant, as the United Nations didn't sanction the Americans to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. You can see the horrible effects of the building of empire when it becomes impossible to distinguish the writing of someone like Cole from the writings of someone like Michael Ledeen or Richard Perle. Have Americans all gone insane?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The name of Macedonia

Sometimes you have to give the devil his due. The Americans have announced the policy decision to start calling the country of Macedonia, 'the Republic of Macedonia', rather than the clumsy name insisted upon by Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Greece is furious - and Bush has backed off a bit - and is now threatening to block eventual Macedonian membership in the EU (ironic, as Greece has recently admitted it lied about its finances when it gained admission to the EU). The Americans made the right decision. The stated reason for it was that it would lead to a favorable result in a scheduled referendum in Macedonia that could have overturned reforms that gave minority rights to ethnic Albanians. In fact, the reforms were not overturned, but it seems unlikely that the American naming decision had much, if anything, to do with it. No doubt the decision was motivated by typical Bush Administration bad motives, probably punishment to Greece for its independent and fair-minded policies towards the Middle East. It is also true that the Greeks have a legitimate fear that the Macedonians will attempt to claim parts of northern Greece as their own, in an attempt to create a 'Greater Macedonia'. Nevertheless, the Macedonians should be able to call their country whatever the hell they want, and it is none of Greece's business. With Alexander the Great back in the news, we're going to be seeing a lot of this typical Balkan crap, with both sides making an anachronistic claim for him (Greece has enough heroes and should probably be generous and let the Macedonians claim him, even if Alexander wouldn't have the slightest concept of belonging to either of them).

Nuke the South?

Here is a funny rant by Mark Ames on the Southern and Midwestern haters who voted for Bush, and what the Democrats should do about it:

"Nothing has been learned because no one on the Left is being honest. Their reactions range from bitching about the elections allegedly being stolen - well duh! what'd you idiots expect from the Republicans?! - to grotesque, clumsy soul-searching in the form of how Democrats need to get spiritual, get in touch with Middle American 'values,' or how the Democratic party either needs to move to the center, or the flip-side to this idiocy, move farther to the Left . . . that coastalites need start going to church more often in order to learn the ways of the savages, to be less secular-humanist, to shop less, to connect with Middle America, to understand Middle America, to allow Middle America to be Middle America, to suck Middle America's hemorrhoid-bejeweled ass and tickle Middle America's balls . . . What they don't have the guts to admit, once and for all, is that THE PROBLEM IS MIDDLE AMERICA. Stop blaming the victim, folks. The problem with the idiocy and lunacy are the idiots and lunatics, not their mugging victims."


His solution is to nuke them all, which, while no doubt improving the gene pool, isn't very practical, particularly since the haters now control all the nukes. While I accept that the haters are really, really bad people and depressingly well analyzed by Ames, and that it is ridiculous and fruitless to try to pander to them, it is also clear that the election was stolen, and many of these Southerners and Midwesterners voted for Kerry and are no worse than the normal, decent human beings living anywhere else. While the Democrats have a huge problem demonstrated by the fact that with an incumbent President as obviously awful and incompetent as Bush they should have won in a landslide, the fact remains that they still won the real election. They won it with their policies such as they were and their leader such as he was. They won it with the votes of many of these Southerners and Midwesterners who are not the cretins that they now appear to be. One of the most important things for the Democrats is not to change those parts of their policies that the majority of Americans, including a large number of Southerners and Midwesterners, support. Changing to what are misleadingly called 'values' policies would be a terrible mistake, and would be political suicide. Since the Democrats have apparently given up on what are the traditional class-based elements of progressive politics, their respect for human rights is about all they have left. I need to return to this issue.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Vote again

The overwhelming evidence from Ohio and Florida confirms that there was systematic vote fraud and voter suppression on a massive scale. Recounts won't help. You can't recount the votes cast on computer voting machines with no paper trail, and you sure can't recount the votes from those voters who never had a chance to vote. The only possible fair solution is to have another voting day in each state, closely supervised by a huge team of international observers and completely videotaped. Anyone who says that a re-vote is legally and practically impossible has to be prepared to admit that there is absolutely no reason to believe that the results of the Florida and Ohio votes reflect the will of the electorate, and thus to admit that the current President cannot even claim to be duly elected, let alone have a 'mandate'. One might even question whether taxes should be remitted to an illegitimate central government. Americans, led by the disgusting American media, are trying to whistle past the graveyard, pretending that the problems are minor and would not affect the result. This is clearly nonsense. Not only is the result of this particular election in grave doubt, but the entire status of the United States as a democracy will be in a shambles unless drastic action is taken to clean up this mess.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Margaret Hassan

Robert Fisk - whose last name seems to cause enormous spelling problems for editors everywhere - suggests conspiracy theory in the death of Margaret Hassan (see also here and here). A middle-aged woman, a convert to Islam, a fluent Arabic speaker, an obvious friend to the Iraqi people, a humanitarian aid worker thus protected by Islamic law, someone whose begging-for-life videotape wasn't laden with the usual invocations of militant Islam, and someone whose release was expressly demanded by demonstrators in Baghdad, the resistance groups of Falluja, and the mythological al-Zarqawi. Violently killed. Cui bono? Anyone who was trying to destroy the basis of civilized Iraqi society. Or anyone who was trying to set up a propaganda background for the vicious and completely illegal slaughter of civilians in Falluja.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Falluja and Amerika

The German people have been justly criticized for their failing to do anything to stop the Holocaust, with Jews disappearing off the streets of Nazi Germany to be killed while the Germans pretended not to notice. It has been one of the mysteries of history how the most civilized people on earth could have allowed the Holocaust to happen with nary a voice of opposition or complaint.


How does this differ from the remarkable lack of opposition in the United States to the war crimes being committed by American troops in Falluja and elsewhere (scroll down at this site to find most of the links of eyewitness reports of the horrors)? Actually, there is quite a bit of difference. Nazi Germany was a police state, and any opposition or even a hint of opposition would have been met with instant dire consequences. Despite the best efforts of John Ashcroft, the United States is still not a full-fledged police state (but they are working on it). Nazi Germany had a completely controlled media, and any information embarrassing to Hitler's regime was simply not published. Despite the fact that the American media is disgustingly useless, Americans still have full awareness of what is going on in Falluja, largely because the Bush regime is quite proud of it. I once was impolite enough to ask some Germans in Germany who had lived through the Nazi period what they knew at the time about what was going on. They said they were very sorry about what had happened, but, although they had strong hints, they really didn't know. Unless one is certain, what can an individual do in a police state when faced with hints of wrongdoing? Americans have no such excuse. The hypocrisy of Americans complaining about what is going on in Sudan while American troops are doing much worse in Iraq is amazing.


Some people think that Americans actually like killing Muslims. I have resisted this notion, but, given the complete lack of opposition to massive war crimes being committed against a largely civilian population for a crime which amounts to being insufficiently deferential to an illegal occupying army, I am changing my mind. The only possible reason which explains the attack on Falluja and the attitude of Americans towards it is that Americans like to see dead Muslims. I think the American people owe the German people an apology. Unimaginable evil can happen anywhere, and with remarkable ease.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Women and the Eid sermon

From the Toronto Star:

"Up at the front of the United Muslim Association mosque yesterday, a confident Maryam Mirza delivered part of the Eid al-Fitr sermon. In doing so, she marked the end of Ramadan (the month of fasting) and what many called a new beginning for Muslim women as she took on a role traditionally left to men."


and:

"News of Mirza's delivery of the sermon also attracted guests from other mosques, who showed up to support and congratulate the association's move.

'This is history for me. It is a great way to start the Eid celebration,' said Faizal Kayum, who attended yesterday's service with his son Azeem. 'The religion has been dominated by males. It's about time for women to step up to the plate.'

Imam Ally said he hopes the congregation, whose members mostly come from Guyana and the Caribbean, can start a wave of positive change for women within the Muslim community."


This may not sound like much, but a woman giving part of the Eid sermon is something like the Pope deciding to get married. It will be interesting to see the conservative reaction to this. Is Islam capable of progressive change, or not?