Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How Not To Be Anti-American, Anti-Semitic, No Better Than Hitler, And Beneath Contempt

As you may have noticed, in our current so-called culture, it is extremely and increasingly important neither to be, nor to be perceived as, on the "wrong" side of certain issues.

Being, or simply being called, anti-American, anti-UK, anti-Israel, anti-NATO, and/or (especially) anti-Semitic, can jeopardize one's supposedly inalienable rights, among them: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Fortunately, it is quite easy not to be anti-American, anti-Semitic, and so on. There are ten rules that you need to learn and understand. Once you begin to apply these simple rules, you will be pleased to see that they make difficult thinking totally unnecessary.

~~~

1. Accept the (elected and unelected) great leaders (and spokespeople) of the USA, the UK, Israel, and NATO as your own (even if you don't like, and/or didn't vote for, any of them). To the greatest extent possible, (con)fuse their grandeur with your own identity. Understand that they not only lead your country (even if you live in a different country): they are your country, and by extension, they are you. Realize that your hopes, ambitions, loyalties, responsibilities, even your destiny are intricately and irreversibly entwined with theirs, and therefore you as an individual no longer have any independent meaning.

2. From now on, when we say "we", we mean "our great leaders", singly and collectively. This replaces the outmoded usage which erroneously referred to our former individually-oriented selves, and possibly also our family and our friends.

3. Whatever we do is Good. We know this because we do it.

4. Whatever we say is True. We know this because we say it.

5. Our enemies are whoever we say they are. (See rule 4.)

6. Whatever they do is Evil. We know this because they do it.

7. Whatever they say is False. We know this because they say it. (It is also Evil for them to say it. See rule 6.)

8. If we don't want to talk about something they've accused us of doing, this proves we didn't do it. If we had done it, we would talk about it, because it would be Good. (See rule 3.) But since the accusation is False (see rule 7), it is too heinous to warrant any response whatsoever. Similarly, if they don't want to talk about something we've accused them of doing, this proves that they did it. (See rule 4.) Of course they don't want to talk about it. It was Evil. (See rule 6.)

9. Any criticism of American policy or practice is inherently anti-American, and any criticism of NATO or UK policy or practice is inherently anti-NATO or anti-UK respectively. Given America's direct influence on NATO, and indirect influence (through NATO) on many countries, including the UK, any criticism of NATO or the UK is inherently anti-American as well.

10. Any criticism of Israeli policy or practice is not only anti-Israel but also anti-Semitic (see rule 4), no better than Hitler, and therefore beneath contempt. Given the support Israel receives from the US, the UK, and NATO, all anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements are also anti-NATO, anti-UK, and anti-American as well.

~~~

Current events provide numerous free opportunities for ordinary citizens to put these simple rules into action, so as not to be (nor to be seen as) anti-American, anti-NATO, anti-UK, anti-Israeli, and most importantly, anti-Semitic. It only takes a little bit of common sense.

For instance, the rules show that it is clearly Good for us (rule 2) to spend billions of dollars and engage the services of brutal terrorists (whom we didn't really engage at all; see rule 8) in an attempt to destabilize Ukraine (even though, at the time, Ukraine was a peaceful sovereign independent nation; see rule 3). And we are fully justified in calling our Good actions there "bringing democracy" and/or "enhancing stability" (see rule 4), despite the fact that our intervention has empowered monsters and brought about horrible suffering (none of which is in any sense our fault; see rule 8). But it would be Evil for the Russians (our enemies; see rule 5) to interact with Ukraine in any fashion whatsoever (rule 6), even if they merely sought to stabilize the country (which they wouldn't, especially if that's what they said they were doing; see rule 7). In other words, any Russian action with respect to Ukraine, including seemingly honest cooperation in trade, transportation, or any other area, is Evil (rule 6), and would be Evil even in the absence of the current chaos, which we didn't cause (rule 8). And anyone who says otherwise is anti-American (rule 9), anti-Semitic (rule 10), no better than Hitler, and beneath contempt.

If you understand all this, then when your friends and neighbors start talking about how fantastic it was when Obama stood up to Putin and told him to keep his grubby mitts off Ukraine, you will know how not to be anti-American, anti-Semitic, no better than Hitler, and beneath contempt. When they ask your opinion, you won't say, "America had no right to intervene in Ukraine in the first place, let alone now!" That would be anti-American, beneath contempt, and so on. Instead you might say, "Right on, bro! Obama rocks! Time to kick some Rooskie butt!" Then you could excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. And if you had to throw up, you could do it in private.

For another example: if you understand the rules, you can easily see that it is Good for us (rule 2) to commit all manner of unspeakable atrocities against the Palestinians (rule 3) but it is Evil for the Palestinians (our enemies; rule 5) to retaliate in any way (rule 6). And anyone who says otherwise is anti-Semitic (rule 10), no better than Hitler, beneath contempt, and so on. You don't want to fall that low. You don't want to be seen as having fallen that low. So when they ask your opinion, you won't say, "What the Israelis are doing is horrible, and the American support for it is sickening!" Instead you might say, "Right on, bro! Bibi rocks! Time to kick some Aayrabb butt!" Then you could excuse yourself and go to the bathroom again.

~~~

It's all very simple once it's been explained properly. And, to be honest, it wasn't very difficult to list and explain the ten simple rules. But many otherwise intelligent writers, whose work I read quite regularly, have failed to notice these valuable guidelines. I think they must have been busy with other matters.

Case in point: Chris Floyd has recently posted a brillant but anti-American and anti-Semitic column concerning Operation Protective Edge and the US Senate's unanimous and generous support for Israel at this critical time. Protective Edge, as you may have heard, is a purely defensive operation against beaches, hospitals, and other carefully selected military targets, launched by Israel in response to (and in the hope of deterring) rocket attacks from Gaza.

Floyd quotes James Marc Leas, who has assembled a timeline which shows very clearly that Israel had attacked Gaza more than a hundred times in the three weeks prior to the launch of the first such rocket attack, and this leads Floyd to conclude that we are lying when we claim the current Israeli actions -- high-tech brutalities against defenseless captive civilians -- constitute a legitimate response to the rocket attacks.

Floyd says, in effect, "They're all lying, and they know it. They have to know it. Anyone who has been following the news has to know it. But they're still lying. And they're getting away with it."

It's all very convincing, except that Floyd fails to take into account rules 3 and 4.

In other words, what difference does a timeline make? If we say we're only retaliating, then we're only retaliating. It doesn't matter if the retaliation began before the action that triggered it. If we say we're simply taking defensive action, then we're simply taking defensive action. If we say we're protecting the children, then we're protecting the children. And that's the whole story.

James Marc Leas has deliberately crafted his timeline to cast doubt on these obvious facts. Therefore, he and his timeline are both anti-Semitic (rule 10). And Floyd's reference to Leas is not only anti-Semitic, but anti-American as well (rule 9). It's no better than Hitler, and beneath contempt.

As if this were not bad enough, Floyd also quotes Max Blumenthal and Jon Schwarz -- for very different reasons, but with eerily similar results. Bluemthal has compiled another timeline, this one concerning the murder in June of three Israeli teenagers. This timeline shows very clearly that we hid critical information, and that we lied -- to our own people and to the rest of the world -- about what we knew, when we knew it, what we were doing, and why we were doing it.

It's all very convincing, except that Blumenthal also fails to take into account rules 3 and 4.

In other words, what difference does a timeline make? If we say we think the boys are still alive, then we think they're still alive. It doesn't matter if we already know they're dead. If we say we know who kidnapped them, then we know who kidnapped them. If we say we are trying to rescue them, then we are trying to rescue them. And that's the whole story.

Max Blumenthal has deliberately crafted his timeline to cast doubt on these obvious facts. Therefore, he and his timeline are both anti-Semitic (rule 10). And Floyd's reference to Blumenthal is not only anti-Semitic, but anti-American as well (rule 9). It's no better than Hitler, and beneath contempt.

As for Jon Schwarz, he dug up a quote nearly fifty years old, in which we explained that Egypt's 1967 blockade of an Israeli port was an act of war, and that therefore Israel's military action against Egypt in response to the blockade was fully justified. Jon Schwarz and Chris Floyd both wonder, if a short-term Egyptian blockade of a single Israeli port was enough to justify a war, why does't a long-term Israeli blockade of all of Gaza justify any reaction whatsoever?

It goes without saying that there's a big difference between an Egyptian blockade of Israel and an Israeli blockade of Gaza. In the simplest terms: if we do it, it's Good (see rule 3). If they do it, it's Evil (see rule 6). I'm amazed that so many otherwise intelligent people don't get this.

Max Blumenthal, Jon Schwarz, James Marc Leas, and Chris Floyd seem like very bright guys. I don't think they deliberately set out to put themselves on a level with Adolf Hitler. I think they did it inadvertently, simply because they don't understand certain things.

These writers share outdated concepts. They put credence in established facts. They rely on systematic logical reasoning. They believe the truth or falsehood of a statement can be determined without regard to the identity of the person who made it. And they believe that whether an action is Good or Evil can be determined without regard to the identity of the person who performed it. Because they have not yet abandoned these outdated ideas, they continue to say and write the most anti-American and anti-Semitic nonsense, which renders them no better than Hitler, beneath contempt, and unworthy of any serious response.

But I don't think it's deliberate. I don't think they strive to be no better than Hitler. I don't think they aspire to be beneath contempt. I just think nobody has ever taken the time and gone to the effort to explain certain things.

Until now.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

On The Trail Of The [Cutouts] Who [Set Up] The 9/11 [Patsies], Part 4: The Cutouts

A cutout is a link ...
 [Previous: Part 1: 28 Pages | Part 2: No Vortex | Part 3: The Lawsuit ]

The term "cutout" is intelligence jargon for a special sort of role that must be played in covert operations. A cutout acts as a go-between, bringing support and instructions from the planners to the perpetrators.

By doing this, the cutout becomes a link in the chain of evidence that connects the planners to the perpetrators. And the cutout's most important job is to be "cut out" of the chain if and when necessary.

The timely disappearance of a cutout can break the trail that would otherwise lead back from the crime to the people who wanted it to happen. By making cutouts disappear, covert operators can maintain a certain level of "plausible denial," even if the perpetrators are caught in the act, or tracked down later.

In the case of 9/11, where the "hijackers" were apparently patsies who were intended to be caught, the role of the cutouts was especially important -- and especially dangerous.

... in the chain of evidence that connects ...
It is sad and strange and very pathetic that we still know so little about the nature of the 9/11 attacks. It's bad enough that that we don't know who did it. But we don't even know what they did! That complicates everything except the government story, the litigation based on it, and the mainstream coverage.

We do know a little bit, and presumably Walter Jones, Stephen Lynch, Bob Graham know a lot more, about some well-connected Saudis who helped to put the patsies in a position from which they could take the blame -- and who then disappeared!

From Paul Sperry in the New York Post [or here]:
Some information already has leaked from the [28 redacted pages], which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally....

LOS ANGELES: Saudi consulate official Fahad al-Thumairy allegedly arranged for an advance team to receive two of the Saudi hijackers — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — as they arrived at LAX in 2000. One of the advance men, Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi intelligence agent, left the LA consulate and met the hijackers at a local restaurant. (Bayoumi left the United States two months before the attacks, while Thumairy was deported back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11.)
... the planners of a covert operation ...

Watch how this happens. The timing is very interesting. al-Bayoumi, who was directly connected with the patsies, disappeared two months before the attacks. Thumairy, who was connected to al-Bayoumi but not to the patsies directly, didn't disappear until after the attacks.
SAN DIEGO: Bayoumi and another suspected Saudi agent, Osama Bassnan, set up essentially a forward operating base in San Diego for the hijackers after leaving LA. They were provided rooms, rent and phones, as well as private meetings with an American al Qaeda cleric who would later become notorious, Anwar al-Awlaki, at a Saudi-funded mosque he ran in a nearby suburb. They were also feted at a welcoming party. (Bassnan also fled the United States just before the attacks.)
Bassnan (sometimes also "Basnan"), who was also in direct contact with the patsies, also disappeared before the attacks.
WASHINGTON: Then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar and his wife sent checks totaling some $130,000 to Bassnan while he was handling the hijackers. Though the Bandars claim the checks were “welfare” for Bassnan’s supposedly ill wife, the money nonetheless made its way into the hijackers’ hands.

Other al Qaeda funding was traced back to Bandar and his embassy — so much so that by 2004 Riggs Bank of Washington had dropped the Saudis as a client. The next year, as a number of embassy employees popped up in terror probes, Riyadh recalled Bandar.

“Our investigations contributed to the ambassador’s departure,” an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me, though Bandar says he left for “personal reasons.”
... to the perpetrators.
Prince Bandar, who as Ambassador was under diplomatic immunity, didn't have to disappear until he could leave for "personal reasons" by being "recalled."
FALLS CHURCH, VA.: In 2001, Awlaki and the San Diego hijackers turned up together again — this time at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a Pentagon-area mosque built with funds from the Saudi Embassy. Awlaki was recruited 3,000 miles away to head the mosque. As its imam, Awlaki helped the hijackers, who showed up at his doorstep as if on cue. He tasked a handler to help them acquire apartments and IDs before they attacked the Pentagon.

Awlaki worked closely with the Saudi Embassy. He lectured at a Saudi Islamic think tank in Merrifield, Va., chaired by Bandar. Saudi travel itinerary documents I’ve obtained show he also served as the ­official imam on Saudi Embassy-sponsored trips to Mecca and tours of Saudi holy sites. Most suspiciously, though, Awlaki fled the United States on a Saudi jet about a year after 9/11.
A cutout's most important job...
Awlaki needed a lot of help to disappear ... and he got it! Where do you suppose it came from?
As I first reported in my book, “Infiltration,” quoting from classified US documents, the Saudi-sponsored cleric was briefly detained at JFK before being released into the custody of a “Saudi representative.” A federal warrant for Awlaki’s arrest had mysteriously been withdrawn the previous day.
This timing is also very interesting, is it not? Normally, federal arrest warrants are not mysteriously withdrawn -- let alone just in time to facilitate a disappearance!
HERNDON, VA.: On the eve of the attacks, top Saudi government official Saleh Hussayen checked into the same Marriott Residence Inn near Dulles Airport as three of the Saudi hijackers who targeted the Pentagon. Hussayen had left a nearby hotel to move into the hijackers’ hotel. Did he meet with them? The FBI never found out. They let him go after he “feigned a seizure,” one agent recalled.
Hussayen "feigned a seizure" to disappear. Such a clever lad. He has even disappeared from the official story, as did they all, according to Sperry:
Hussayen’s name doesn’t appear in the separate 9/11 Commission Report, which clears the Saudis.
Poof! They're all cleared! Isn't that amazing?

Guess who else got "help" from a high-ranking Saudi, who then disappeared?
SARASOTA, FLA.: 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and other hijackers visited a home owned by Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of King Fahd. FBI agents investigating the connection in 2002 found that visitor logs for the gated community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers. Just two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi luxury home was abandoned. Three cars, including a new Chrysler PT Cruiser, were left in the driveway. Inside, opulent furniture was untouched.
... is to disappear ...
Esam Ghazzawi disappeared in a big hurry. That's the way it goes sometimes, especially when you're in contact with the "ringleader."

Some folks have more pull than others, apparently. The cutouts got away, but the senator chasing them ran into a stone wall.
Democrat Bob Graham, the former Florida senator who chaired the Joint Inquiry, has asked the FBI for the Sarasota case files, but can’t get a single, even heavily redacted, page released. He says it’s a “coverup.”
Of course it's a coverup. Sperry asks:
Is the federal government protecting the Saudis?
But that question is beneath consideration, is it not? The interesting question is "Why is the federal government protecting the Saudis?" But perhaps Sperry can't ask such questions in the New York Post. He does say this, though:
Case agents tell me they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.
... and they all did! Isn't that amazing?
Yes, curious indeed ... unless you prefer a stronger word. In my view, there is no plausible explanation, unless people in very high places wanted it to happen this way.
Just days after Bush met with the Saudi ambassador in the White House, the FBI evacuated from the United States dozens of Saudi officials, as well as Osama bin Laden family members. Bandar made the request for escorts directly to FBI headquarters on Sept. 13, 2001 — just hours after he met with the president. The two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony while discussing the attacks.
And that's how all the cutouts disappeared. Funny how that worked, isn't it? -- probably just the way it was supposed to.

Some of the cutouts didn't disappear safely enough. As Sperry notes,
A US drone killed Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.
We also know about some other cutouts who didn't disappear fast enough. We'll talk about them soon.

[to be continued]

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

On The Trail Of The [Cutouts] Who [Set Up] The 9/11 [Patsies], Part 3: The Lawsuit

William Doyle: "I'm ecstatic."
[Previous: Part 1: 28 Pages | Part 2: No Vortex]

Saudi Arabia and 9/11 have been in the news together recently for reasons other than the congressional resolution urging president Obama to release the 28 redacted pages pertaining to alleged Saudi involvement in the attacks of that day.

On Thursday, December 19, a three-judge federal panel reversed an earlier ruling which had granted Saudi Arabia immunity from a lawsuit filed in 2002 which claimed that in the years before the attacks, the Saudis had knowingly funded charities which were funneling the money to al-Qaeda. In 2005, a Manhattan district court ruled that Saudi Arabia was immune from prosecution because the kingdom had the right to finance the charities of its choice, and that ruling was upheld in 2008. But it was reversed on Thursday, and now Saudi Arabia has been restored as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The decision has received a modest amount of national coverage. ABC News [or here] summarized the decision and quoted "William Doyle, the father of Joseph Doyle, 25, a Cantor-Fitzgerald employee who was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center" as saying:
"I'm ecstatic.... For 12 years we've been fighting to expose the people who financed those bastards.... Christmas has come early to the 9/11 families. We're going to have our day in court."
I have no wish to rain on Mr. Doyle's Christmas. He has certainly been through enough. But I feel obliged to point out that he may be going after the wrong "bastards," or even the right "bastards" for the wrong reasons. After all, if the attack on the World Trade Center was not done with hijacked airplanes, but by some other means, then the question of who funded al-Qaeda takes on a much different significance, does it not?.

More detailed coverage was provided by a local sources in New York and (especially) Philadelphia, the latter being the home of Cozen O'Connor, the law firm representing the plaintiffs. Needless to say, there was no mainstream coverage from any point of view other than the presumption that al-Qaeda alone was responsible for all the death and destruction of 9/11. So, for example, at the New York Daily News [or here] we can read:
Relatives of people killed when hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field can now resume lawsuit against the Arabian kingdom.
The Daily News piece, by Daniel Beekman, features more quotes from William Doyle:
"I’m ecstatic, because we have a lot of information and evidence.... These people are getting off scot-free. They didn’t even get a slap on the wrist, and to this day we still have terrorism running rampant. We have to hold accountable the people who finance terrorism....
Beekman continues:
Doyle compared the role of Saudi Arabia to that of a mob boss hiring a hit man.

"Not only does the person who pulls the trigger go to jail, so does the person who financed him," Doyle said. "What’s different about this situation?"
One difference (to continue Doyle's analogy) is that in this case the victim appears to have died from something other than a gunshot wound. So the situation is quite messy: interesting, complicated, and dangerous in unexpected ways.

Stephen Cozen: "I think it is an
eminently correct decision"
Chris Mondics, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer [or here], gives a bit more detail on the background:
Cozen O'Connor and several other law firms sued the government of Saudi Arabia, various Islamist charities, and alleged terrorism financiers in 2003, charging that they provided financial support to al-Qaeda over 10 years before the 9/11 attacks. The firms alleged that Saudi Arabia provided tens of millions of dollars to charities that in turn bankrolled al-Qaeda units in the Balkans, the Philippines, and elsewhere. Senior U.S. government officials warned Saudis before the 9/11 attacks that government-funded charities were bankrolling terrorist units, but, they said, the Saudis failed to react.

A federal district judge in Manhattan dismissed the Saudi government and members of the royal family as defendants in 2005, saying the government was within its right to finance the charities and was not responsible for what the charities might have done with the money.

That was upheld in 2008 by the Second Circuit. But the court said Thursday that it had decided to reverse its decisions because it had allowed a related lawsuit to go forward on the same grounds cited in the suit against the Saudis.
Mondics doesn't include any comments from William Doyle, but he does quote a couple of attorneys:
"I think it is an eminently correct decision," Stephen Cozen of Cozen O'Connor said of the Second Circuit's opinion restoring Saudi Arabia as a defendant. "The kingdom and the Saudi High Commission deserved to be back in the case as defendants, and we are prepared to meet any of their legal and factual arguments with substantial legal and factual arguments of our own."
John O'Neill, former head of
counterintelligence at the FBI
and
"It means that the Second Circuit realized that it had made a mistake and did what courts are expected to do, which is fix it," said Jerry S. Goldman, a Philadelphia lawyer with the firm Anderson Kill, who represents the estate of John O'Neill, a former head of counterintelligence at the FBI.

O'Neill, who was raised in Atlantic City, sounded some of the earliest warnings about Osama bin Laden. He was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center, where he had gone to work as head of security after leaving the FBI only a few weeks earlier.
It goes without saying that the decision may complicate international relations:
Victims of the 9/11 attacks and their relatives have complained bitterly about the U.S. government's failure to turn over more information about its investigations of Saudi support for al-Qaeda and other jihadist organizations.

They are pushing for legislation that would reduce protections afforded by U.S. law to foreign governments against such lawsuits. The Saudis, meanwhile, have complained that lawsuits have disrupted relations between the two governments.
Speaking of which, Mondics mentions another potential complication, and a very interesting one:
The decision marked the second advance in the last week for lawyers representing 9/11 victims, their families, and insurers that lost billions covering businesses and properties damaged or destroyed ... On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on an appeal by Cozen, asking for the reinstatement of another group of defendants - dozens of individuals and financial institutions accused of funneling money to al-Qaeda before the attacks. The request suggests that the court views the matter as having some importance and increases the odds that it may agree to hear the appeal.
This is interesting, and complicated, and (as I read it) very challenging to the Obama administration, because widespread public knowledge of just who has been funding al-Qaeda over the years would be as dangerous to "national security" as the contents of the 28 redacted pages.

[Next: The Cutouts]

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Friday, December 20, 2013

On The Trail Of The [Cutouts] Who [Set Up] The 9/11 [Patsies], Part 2: No Vortex

A twin-engine plane leaves a
double vortex in its wake.
[Previous: Part 1: 28 Pages]

[UPDATED; see below]

In Part 1 we were discussing the December 9 piece called "9/11 Link To Saudi Arabia Is Topic Of 28 Redacted Pages In Government Report; Congressmen Push For Release" by Jamie Reno at International Business Times [or here]. In that article, Reno quotes Sharon Premoli, "a 9/11 survivor who was on the North Tower's 80th floor when the plane hit," as saying
"It makes me angry that I still don’t know what happened or who was supporting these hijackers."
There are many people who are angry because they still don't know what happened that day, some despite extensive personal efforts to find the truth of the matter. None of this is their fault. We've been hearing lies about these attacks ever since the day they happened. But hardly ever have we heard anything that could possibly be true.

So Sharon Premoli is quite correct to say, "I still don’t know what happened." In my view, her statement shows admirable courage and integrity. But, as I see it, to go on and talk about the "hijackers" is premature and speculative, irresponsible at best. I am becoming more and more convinced that all such talk is "barking up the wrong tree" in its entirety.

Dimitri Kalezov, in his remarkable book "9/11thology," dismisses the story that "hijacked planes crashed into the towers" very convincingly. If I may rephrase some of his strongest arguments:

But the fireball from the South Tower
just hung in the air.
[1] Eight of the 19 alleged "suicide hijackers" were found to be alive after the attack. They weren't even dragged from the rubble. They were already in foreign countries. Some claimed that their passports had been stolen. But clearly, if they had hijacked airplanes and crashed them into buildings in dramatic suicide attacks, they could not have been found alive later.

[2] Some of the "live video" supposedly depicting an airplane approaching and crashing into the South Tower has been shown to be fabricated (and the same can be said of some of the later video). Kalezov credits Ace Baker for his analysis, which proves beyond any doubt that the video is bogus. [For one example, see this video.] Clearly, if the crashes had been genuine, there would be no bogus video of the event.

[3] A turbofan engine spins at up to 30,000 RPM, creating a powerful vortex. So a twin-engine plane with turbofan engines leaves a double vortex in its wake. But the fireball from the South Tower, which we all saw many times, and which was allegedly caused by an airplane hitting the tower at 590 MPH, showed no disturbance in the air. As we could clearly see, the fireball just hung there. It didn't swirl or twist at all. The smoke from the burning North Tower was not affected in any way by the approach of the plane that supposedly hit the South Tower. So the air around both towers must have been quite still at the time. And therefore no turbofan-driven airplane could have been flying in the vicinity, in the seconds before the explosion. [See this video.]

The steel perimeter columns had walls two
inches thick, and aluminum cannot cut steel.
[4] The twin towers were built mostly of steel and concrete. Their frames were like cages; each face was a grid made of steel box girders with walls two inches thick. The vertical members of this grid were spaced only three feet apart. So for an airplane, which is essentially a hollow aluminum tube, to have burst into the building on impact, it would have had to cut through dozens of these girders, instantly and simultaneously.

But the "plane" that allegedly hit the North Tower supposedly entered the building "intact!" And that's not possible, because in any collision between a softer material and a harder one, the softer material suffers most, if not all, of the damage. Or, as Kalezov puts it,
aluminum projectiles can not penetrate steel targets even in theory
Here's an experiment you can try at home. Open a can of pop and drink the pop. Now throw the can at the door of a car, and observe how the can reacts on impact. Throw it as hard as you want; shoot it with a hockey stick; hit it with a baseball bat; fire it out of a cannon if you like; and pay attention to the results. In particular, does the can [a] bounce off the car door and land on the ground, somewhat deformed? Or does it [b] penetrate the car door and wind up inside the car? If you said [b], then commercial airplanes could possibly have pierced the frames of the World Trade Center towers. Otherwise not.

Therefore the planes
that crashed into the WTC
must have been digital.
If you said [a], the planes that crashed into the WTC were digital -- pixels on a screen and nothing more. This could be why so many of the people who supposedly hijacked those planes were still alive after the fact; maybe they were not killed in the collisions because there were no collisions. Maybe their role was not to hijack any planes, nor to destroy any buildings, but simply to take the blame.

If you are not now and have never been a "no-planer," this line of reasoning may cause you considerable discomfort. That's not your fault. You've been hearing lies about 9/11 ever since it happened. But if you fire enough pop cans at your car, you may find the situation somewhat easier to accept.

This line of reasoning is uncomfortable for me because it is so obvious! Of course aluminum cannot cut steel. It never has; it never will; and I should have been able to figure this out, twelve years ago, all by myself and without any help from Dimitri Kalezov.

And if the so-called "hijackers" were merely patsies, then in the days before 9/11, they may not have known anything at all about the attacks for which they were about to be blamed. So the search for those who helped them -- whoever they were, and whatever they thought they were doing -- takes on a much different aspect. But it is still an important search.

Clearly, anyone who gave the patsies support, and/or instructions, is implicated in the 9/11 attacks -- whatever they were. And by the same logic that indicates the patsies may have been unaware of the plan of attack, those who supported them may have had no knowledge of it themselves, aside from the specific tasks they were assigned to perform.

Any serious and honest investigation would concern itself with questions such as who assigned these tasks. It would not be satisfied with explanations that the individuals involved had no knowledge of the plan. And yet this appears to have happened.

[UPDATE: Most of what I wrote in this post has been challenged. And it could be wrong. I've been wrong before. For the challenge to this post, see this comment thread. And if you're curious, I was wrong about this story, at least for a while.]

[Next: Part 3: The Lawsuit]

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

On The Trail Of The [Cutouts] Who [Set Up] The 9/11 [Patsies], Part 1: 28 Pages

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
[holding hands] with
George W. Bush
There's been a bit of a buzz building on Capitol Hill recently over a report issued back in 2002 concerning an investigation into 9/11. If you haven't read anything about it lately, it's probably not your fault. With very few exceptions, the report in question has not been mentioned in the mainstream news for more than ten years.

As you may vaguely remember, in the early days after 9/11, former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) chaired a Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry into the activites of certain intelligence agencies as they pertained to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Graham's inquiry resulted in an 800-page report, of which then-president George W. Bush held back 28 pages, claiming that the information they contained would be detrimental to national security. According to hints from sources who have read the report, the redacted pages concern a number of high-ranking Saudis who provided financial and other assistance to some of the "hijackers."

The Hill is slightly abuzz over this issue because earlier this year, representatives Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) were allowed to read the 28 redacted pages, and earlier this month they introduced a resolution urging president Obama to release them to the public.

I have been reading about this sporadically from a very small variety of sources, beginning with Jamie Reno's December 9 article at International Business Times [or here], which says, among other things,
Most of the allegations of links between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers revolve around two enigmatic Saudi men who lived in San Diego: Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan, both of whom have long since left the United States.

In early 2000, al-Bayoumi, who had previously worked for the Saudi government in civil aviation (a part of the Saudi defense department), invited two of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, to San Diego from Los Angeles. He told authorities he met the two men by chance when he sat next to them at a restaurant.

Newsweek reported in 2002 that al-Bayoumi’s invitation was extended on the same day that he visited the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles for a private meeting.
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan
Newsweek's 2002 report was called "The Saudi Money Trail" and you can read it at the Newsweek site [or here]. Other early reports worth reading include "Bush Won't Reveal Saudi 9/11 Info" from Lauren Johnston of AP via CBS [or here] and "Report on 9/11 Suggests a Role By Saudi Spies" by James Risen and David Johnston in the New York Times [or here]

Jamie Reno continues:
Al-Bayoumi arranged for the two future hijackers to live in an apartment and paid $1,500 to cover their first two months of rent. Al-Bayoumi was briefly interviewed in Britain but was never brought back to the United States for questioning.

As for Basnan, Newsweek reported that he received monthly checks for several years totaling as much as $73,000 from the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, and his wife, Princess Haifa Faisal. Although the checks were sent to pay for thyroid surgery for Basnan’s wife, Majeda Dweikat, Dweikat signed many of the checks over to al-Bayoumi’s wife, Manal Bajadr. This money allegedly made its way into the hands of hijackers, according to the 9/11 report.

Despite all this, Basnan was ultimately allowed to return to Saudi Arabia, and Dweikat was deported to Jordan.

Sources and numerous press reports also suggest that the 28 pages include more information about Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI asset in San Diego who Newsweek reported was friends with al-Bayoumi and invited two of the San Diego-based hijackers to live in his house.

Shaikh was not allowed by the FBI or the Bush administration to testify before the 9/11 Commission or the JICI.
Reno also says:
Jones insists that releasing the 28 secret pages would not violate national security.
This tells me that Walter B. Jones does not understand what "national security" means. But that's probably not his fault. We've been hearing lies about "national security" ever since we were born.

We tend to think of "national security" as something involving the safety and security of the nation and its people -- ordinary people such as you and me and our families. And this is what our political system would like us to believe -- not because it's true, only because it makes us easier to manipulate. As it is actually used, "national security" refers to the survival and continuing tenure in office of those who use the term to justify their actions. More broadly, it also refers to the survival and continuing (or increasing!) wealth, status and privilege of those who currently enjoy such things.

As we have known for a long time, George W. Bush and his administration resisted every attempt to investigate 9/11, except for the belated whitewash which they felt they could control. And they used "national security" to prevent the release, not only of the infamous "28 pages" but of a wide variety of other information.

It doesn't take much guesswork to figure out why they did this. Clearly the information they censored must have threatened them, their position, and their supporters. They may no longer have their positions, but surely their supporters retain a stake in the matter. And unless I am badly misreading the situation, the Obama administration has far greater incentive to keep the 28 pages secret than to release them. But we shall see what happens. Unless we don't.

[Next: Part 2: No Vortex]

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Big Surprise: US Intel Knew Syrian Rebels Could Produce Sarin; Obama Lied About It Trying To Justify Another War

Seymour Hersh
Seymour Hersh has reported that US intelligence agencies knew the opposition forces in Syria were able to produce sarin. Some of us may recall our noble leaders asserting quite the opposite, and using said assertion to attempt to justify waging overt war against Syria.

Hersh proves that they deliberately lied. Is anyone surprised by this revelation?

Hersh usually writes for the New Yorker. But his new article, "Whose sarin?" is published online-only by the London Review of Books.

Some of us may recall being told we have a free press. Is anyone surprised that the New Yorker has not published Hersh's new article?

Hersh reports:
A former senior intelligence official ... said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’
So I have to ask: Is anyone surprised that they do this? How can any "senior intelligence official" NOT know that they do this? It's been happening for a long time, hasn't it?

The same "former senior intelligence official" told Hersh that the "distortion" of the intelligence
reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam.
So he has noticed. But apparently he hasn't caught on yet. And this is a "former senior intelligence official." How much more experience does one need to start understanding what's happening here?

Hersh mentions in closing that the agreement which will see Syria get rid of its chemical weapons will also leave the rebels in possession of all the ingredients they'd need to make more sarin. So who's kidding whom here? And are we surprised?

All of this is very disturbing. But it's hardly surprising. Is it?

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Lessons We Learn From Our Children: A Five-Legged Stool And A Potato Of Milk

This is how democracy works, kids!
My wife and I have been getting some interesting lessons from our children, two of which stand out as especially relevant. Working together, they form a synergy that explains far too much about the current political situation. And even though they're of no importance in and of themselves, it still might be worthwhile to tell you about them.

When our daughter was learning the alphabet, we gave her a DVD set called "40 Years of Sunny Days: The Best of Sesame Street." It's an excellent compilation of skits, songs (this is my favorite), and art. We had fun watching it with her, she had fun watching it herself, and she learned the alphabet and much more. But some of what she learned was wrong!

One of the older skits was done in simple drawings with a voice track. It shows a mother sending her daughter to the store for "a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter." The daughter recites the list over and over on her way to the store, and although she suffers a momentary lapse once inside, she brings home the right things.

Our daughter loved that skit, but she didn't understand it. We know this because she would walk around the house saying, "a loaf of bread, a potato of milk, and a stick of butter."

Her older brothers challenged her many times, asking questions such as, "How could you have a potato of milk?" and "A potato of milk? What does that even mean?" And every time, she gave them the same response: "a loaf of bread, a potato of milk, and a stick of butter."

Stubborn? Oh my goodness. Where does she get that from?

Meanwhile, our eldest son was involved in a group project in his science class. The assignment was to design and build a stool which would hold as much weight as possible. The teacher offered to provide all the materials, and our son suggested a hollow concrete cube.

It would not have been pretty, but it would have supported everything the class could stack on it. On the other hand, there were three people in the group, and he was the only one who liked his idea. The other two wanted to blow up a balloon, cover it with papier-mâché, and paint it blue with green stripes. So that's what they did.

They made legs out of empty pop cans, also covered in papier-mâché, also painted blue with green stripes, and they papered the legs to the balloon in such odd places that the stool fell over, even without any weight on it. So they added a fifth leg. Then the smallest girl in the class sat on it for about three seconds, and it didn't collapse. So they declared their experiment finished and their stool a success. Our son was mortified.

But this is how democracy works, kids. Two clowns with a bad idea will overrule one serious person with a good idea, every time. That's on a small scale. On a larger scale, the ratio gets worse. N+1 clowns who know nothing will overrule N serious, well-informed people, every time. So 51% is a landslide. 50.1% is a mandate. And so on.

And that's a problem. Meanwhile, most of the people -- at least, most of the people I know -- seem quite content to absorb whatever they hear. If they hear something often enough, and nothing to the contrary, they believe it -- even if it's not supported by any credible evidence, even if it's not remotely plausible, even if the very words don't make any sense at all. And when they're challenged, they'll stick by their nonsense, no matter what. That's another problem.

It's not as if honest people control the voting machines or anything. And it's not as if we control the media either. We don't even have a presence in it. So if there were no volunteer truth-seekers, everyone would hear the same lies all day long, day after day. And nobody would ever hear anything different. Then they wouldn't even need to rig the elections.

It's good to be blogging again. 

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Multiple Blogs Rolling

Not logs! I said, "blogs."
As long-time readers are aware, I have been hampered by multiple injuries for several years and my blogs have all been dormant (or mostly dormant) for a long time. However, I am happy to report that in the past month or so, I have been healthy enough to get multiple blogs rolling simultaneously. In particular ...
is rolling again, archiving news stories of interest. The newest post there is a transcript an interview from Voice Of Russia with
He might not be right about everything that he says -- who is? -- but a lot of what he says is interesting ... to me, anyway.

The archiving of news stories has been much more labor-intensive at
where I collect articles relevant to the death of Gareth Williams. At TSWKTM there are more than 100 new posts, most pertaining to Scotland Yard's announcement last month that the police now view his death as a probable accident. Some of the news articles mirrored here have been taken down from the websites on which they were originally published. Why? Hmm! Interesting...

I have also set up a new site called
which hosts a collection of tweets sent by five reporters during the eight days of the inquest in late April and early May of 2012. There's more detail here than anywhere else on the net, as far as I know. Not for everyone, surely, but vital stuff nonetheless. I am still working on the cross-reference, so it will be more useful to me as I work on
which explores the Gareth Williams case and the stories printed about it (under the guise of fiction). SHATASM has four new installments, starting with
And finally, at my music blog
there are six new posts:
  • Burn by Bruce Cockburn; 
  • brilliant renditions of Pachelbel's Canon in D from Buddy Emmons (on pedal steel guitar) and The Piano Guys (on four cellos);
  • You Can't Hurry Love, a big hit for the Supremes in 1966, which has been covered once or twice since;
  • Roxy Music's She Sells, featuring keyboardist/violinist/composer Eddie Jobson;
  • Big Day, by Roxy guitarist Phil Manzanera, with ex-Roxy studio wizard Brian Eno; and
  • Audrey Assad's Winter Snow, a gorgeous, slow, jazzy, song of Christmas.
These are the first new postings at Cold Tunes in five years, and I must say, it's fun to be able to do this again. While I've been working on Cold Tunes, I have noticed that some of the old videos are no longer available, and I have been putting up replacements if I could find them. So a couple of posts which have been broken for a long time are now functional again. In particular, if you haven't heard
this would be a good time to do so.  And whether you've already seen it or not,
is once again worth a visit.

I am working on research for a new post or two for "my main blog" as well, and I hope this will conclude my leave of absence.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Distraction 101: Why Are The Prog-Blogs Silent On Gaza? Because That Is Their Job!

Another Israeli attack on Gaza.
"Progressive" bloggers got nothing to say.
With "the American-armed, American-backed Israeli military [...] busily raining death into the cramped and crowded concentration camp of Gaza," I find it difficult to think clearly, let alone write clearly. The barbarity of the Israeli operation, no doubt carefully planned long ago, fills me with horror, rage, and grief -- and so too do the so-called "justifications" put forth by the so-called "analysts" who populate our so-called "news media." Even were I not hampered by physical injuries, I would find it very difficult to write at this time.

And yet, not writing at this time would be even more difficult, and writing about anything except the Israeli assault on Gaza would be almost inconceivable.

But the key word is "almost," and the crucial issue is context. In other words: I am an independent blogger with a small readership and no outside support. Thus, I am free (some would say "bound") to write what I think. But such was not always the case. Before I became an independent blogger with a small readership, I was a frequent and heavy contributor (and occasionally even the guest host) at a blog with a large readership, and things were very different.

Chris Floyd's latest post, "Blogging and Nothingness: Progressives Turn Their Gaze from Gaza," points out that the "leading" "progressive" blogs -- Digby, Eschaton, and Kos, among others -- have had nothing to say about current round of crimes being committed against the Palestinians, and against all humanity, by the Israeli "defense force." Certainly they are not about to call these crimes by their proper names, nor to admit that none of them would be possible without the support that flows to Israel from the United States.

As I came to see quite clearly when I was about to become an independent blogger, the big, so-called "progressive" bloggers are not interested in digging up and exposing any of the most important truths of our time, including but not limited to: the truth about 9/11, the long-standing, bi-partisan American plan to refashion the Middle East through escalating violence, Israel's outrageous use of military force against defenseless civilians, and the fact that this would not be possible without unstinting American support on numerous levels. (Perhaps you see these as multiple aspects of the same issue, in which case I beg your forgiveness for listing them separately.)

Occasionally I see the assertion made that the "leading" "progressive" bloggers are not shining bright lights on such harsh truths because they are afraid of being called "anti-Semitic." In my opinion, nothing could be further than the truth. The "leading" "progressive" bloggers are mostly interested in preventing such truths from coming to light, because they are anti-Semitic.

Let us speak plainly. Palestinians are Semites. Many Israelis, who came to Israel from Europe, are not. But Israel uses the term "anti-Semitic" to smear anyone who criticizes Israeli policies. Therefore, you will be called "anti-Semitic" if you oppose unwarranted violence against the Semitic people. But in fact it is Israeli policies, and Israeli supporters, which are truly "anti-Semitic."

This is extremely twisted "logic," using the ethnic identity of the victims to shield the perpetrators. But it is entirely typical -- the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a minefield, strewn with words and phrases whose apparent meanings and real meanings are radically different.

In my view, the "leading" "progressive" bloggers shy away from the minefield not because it's complicated -- it's really not very complicated at all -- but because that is their job. Their main purpose is to capture and nullify any potential opposition. They are remarkably successful at it, and heavily supported for doing it so well.

And therefore it is left to the "little guys" -- Chris Floyd and others -- to clear away the mines and tell the horrible truths, even though this guarantees that they will always be independent bloggers with small readerships.

As for the "leading" "progressive" blogs -- Digby, Eschaton, and Kos, among others -- I never expect them to say anything valuable about anything of importance. My expectations have rarely been disappointed.

Meanwhile, death and destruction continue to fall upon the people who are trapped in the Israeli vice. Israeli bombs continue to tear apart homes and kill whole families, while Israeli shills continue to claim that Israel never attacks civilians. And Barack Obama maintains that "Israel has the right to defend itself."

This so-called "right of self-defense" stems from Israel's so-called "right to exist." I wouldn't wait for any "leading" "progressive" blogger to explain how bogus all this is, or to point out that states exist by force of arms alone, not by right but by might. No coercive state has any right to exist whatsoever -- not Israel, not the USA, none of the others. States exist because -- and only for so long as -- none of their opponents can overcome their power.

If this obvious truth is invisible to the "leading" "progressive" bloggers, then maybe they are not so "progressive" after all ... which would explain why they are "leading."

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Are They Afraid Of? Values Whose Time Has Come

Cynthia McKinney
The United States of America, I was taught as a youngster, is the greatest country on Earth, precisely because of its freedom of speech. Everyone in America is free to think whatever thoughts he wishes, and to speak his mind in public. And no one is persecuted for saying what he thinks.

Unfortunately, this is not now and has never been true. But it sets a backdrop against which anyone who claims to have been persecuted for political reasons is fighting an uphill battle. "But we don't do that here!" and so on.

Former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney could tell us something about political persecution. She was run out of office for asking all the wrong questions, and for failing to toe the correct lines. But she keeps asking the wrong questions and stepping on those lines all the same. Thus she finds herself at the forefront of some very touchy issues, especially including the outrageous idea of American support for the Palestinians. For that reason, if no other, she's not very popular among those with the coercive forces of the modern police state at their disposal.

McKinney has never wanted to talk about being persecuted for political reasons, but after surviving twenty years of systematic battering, she's changing direction on that question. In an Open Letter released last weekend, she writes:
I am currently conducting research in order to write a paper on the violent repression carried out by individuals acting on behalf of the United States government against certain political actors of the 1960s and early 1970s. It was during this research that I came across the notion of “soft repression” and immediately recognized myself in what I was reading. I said to myself as I read, “Hey, that’s me.” So, I decided to write this Open Letter in order to blow the cover off a secret that I have walked with for years.
Among other things, McKinney says:
I have lived with this “soft repression” since, as a Member of Congress-elect in 1992, I refused to sign the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) pledge of support for Israel.
and
“Soft repression” tactics include ridicule, stigma, and silencing. I have experienced and continue to experience each one of these types of targeting. I routinely receive hate mail and withstand very active organized attempts to ridicule, stigmatize, and eventually silence me. I routinely experience strange occurrences with my computer (typing by itself) and telephone (answered by someone before it even rings on my end), and more. Strange things happen to my friends and to the friends of my friends (like police stops for nothing, and worse, calls to remote immigrant acquaintances asking for information about me).
and
Not too long ago, I received a call from a lawyer with the ACLU who tracks politically-inspired civil liberties violations and he told me that my name came up in a Texas Fusion Center of the Department of Homeland Security document as someone, associating with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and traveling to Lebanon with him, who should be surveilled for any attempts engaged in by me to push Sharia law for the U.S. It’s ludicrous, I know. It’s even more ludicrous that U.S. tax dollars are being spent to surveil people for this stupidity. But there it is.
and
Upon my return to the U.S. from Cape Town, South Africa at which the Russell Tribunal found that Israel practices its own unique form of apartheid, I was notified by my local FBI office that I was [the] subject of a terroristic threat, along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama, by some poor hillbillies from the north Georgia mountains. The FBI offered to protect me from any other hillbillies who might get funny ideas.

Well, I’ve been through this before with the FBI, when a journalist called for my lynching on my way to vote. My alarmed Congressional staff alerted the FBI -- only for us all to learn, years later, that this particular “journalist” was on the FBI payroll at the time that he made those reprehensible remarks.
and
What could they possibly be afraid of?

I will answer my own question: values whose time has come—truth, justice, peace, and dignity. Not only for the elite few, but also for the rest of us: everybody’s truth and everybody’s dignity.
and
I will begin to document and make public what has heretofore been covert activity carried out by bullies who pick on the weak.
From where I stand, this is a very welcome development. We've had too few of those lately. We should all know about these covert activities. We should know about all activities carried out by our government, at our expense, against our fellow citizens -- especially our dissident political leaders.

Since I am on McKinney's mailing list, I received a copy of the Open Letter by email. To make it more widely available, I have posted it in full on my blog-away-from-blog, Winter Parking. I hope you will read the whole thing, and I will try to keep you posted on further developments.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Judge Awards $6 Billion In Damages In Frivolous 9/11 Lawsuit

A judge in New York has awarded more than $6 billion in damages to relatives of 47 people who died in the false-flag attacks of 9/11.

These damages are to be paid by a group of defendants -- both organizations and individuals -- who have never been convicted of the crime in any legitimate court of law. The defendants include the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and Ayatollah Khamenei personally, as well as Osama bin Laden, al-Q'aeda, the Taliban, and Hezbollah.

It is interesting to try to imagine conditions under which this $6 billion might be considered collectible. It is also interesting to try to imagine what might have happened had the 9/11 attacks been subject to a thorough and independent investigation, had the perpetrators been positively identified by forensic analysis rather than simply slandered by the US government and media, and/or had the official story actually been true.

But then again, for any story to be true, it must be plausible. And this one is not. Therefore it is sobering to see how deeply the bizarre fictions of 9/11 have embedded themselves into our national mythology, not to mention our institutions of "government" and "justice."

If $6 billion seems like a lot of money, don't even think about how much has been spent prosecuting the so-called "Global War On Terror," all of which depends on an "investigation" in which the two prime suspects were allowed to specify the conditions under which they would "testify" -- together, behind closed doors, not under oath, and with no one allowed to keep notes of their "testimony."

If the suspects in any other case of murder, let alone the mass-murder of thousands of people, tried to establish the conditions under which they could be investigated, well, the idea is so absurd that it's not even worth thinking about!

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Living Under Drones and Living Under Delusions: Reflections on Faith, Evidence, Socks, and America's War against Pakistan

Would you believe me?
What would you think if I told you I was wearing red and blue striped knee-socks? Would you believe me?

If you did, it would be a matter of faith, for I would have merely made the claim, without showing you any evidence to support it. Your only possible rational reason for believing what I said about my socks would be a strong, underlying belief that I would never lie to you about such a thing.

But let us suppose, for the sake of discussion, that you had such an underlying belief, and that you believed what I had said about my socks. In other words, let's say you had enough faith in me to accept my claim without seeing any evidence to support it.

If I took off my shoes, and showed you that I was indeed wearing red and blue striped socks, then you might have some rational grounds for believing me, or at least for suspecting that I might be telling the truth. And if I continued by rolling up my pants to show you that my socks extended all the way to my knees, then you would have all the evidence you would ever need. Your faith would be justified, but it would no longer be required, because the question would have become a matter of evidence, not one of faith.

But what if I took off my shoes and you could see my bare feet? Would you still believe me? It may seem incredible, especially in the context of this trivial and hypothetical example, but if your underlying belief that I would never lie to you were strong enough, you might continue to believe that I was wearing red and blue striped knee socks, even though you could see with your own eyes that I was wearing no socks at all. It would not take a great leap of intelligence to deduce that I was lying, but if your faith were strong enough, it might prevent you from making such a leap.

These thoughts have come into focus for me lately because of the reading I have been doing. As you may know, researchers from two major universities, NYU and Stanford, have recently collaborated in producing a report on America's use of unmanned missile-launchers (which we call "drones") against sketchily defined targets in Pakistan (which our government calls "terrorists"). Pakistan, as you may recall, is supposedly an American ally.

Their report, "Living Under Drones," documents the effects of these heartless killing machines against the defenseless people whose lives they can shatter at any moment. The report provides more detail than has ever appeared in the public record. And, although it makes for very unpleasant reading, it is an important contribution to our knowledge about these quasi-secret attacks. However ...  

Having spent quite some time reading "Living Under Drones," as well as many recent pieces about it, I have been struck by the number of times the report has been described as a valuable addition to the "public debate" on the issue, and the number of times the drone campaign has been called "counter-productive" -- even in critical, dissident analysis. And it pains me to say that such analysis appears to be generally accepted among dissidents and critics as "serious," possibly even "penetrating." I see it as deeply flawed.

The ever-incisive Chris Floyd stands alone among those whom I have read, in that he has pointed out one of these flaws. In his words,  
[T]his report will have no influence whatsoever on the non-existent "debate" [...] For beyond the rare, isolated op-ed, there is no "debate" on drone warfare in American political or media circles. The bipartisan political establishment is united in its support of the practice; indeed, both parties plan to expand the use of drones on a large scale in the future. This murderous record -- and this shameful complicity -- will be one of the Peace Laureate's  lasting legacies, whether he wins re-election or not.
But among the many observers whose words on this subject I have read, no one has apparently thought to pose the question: "Counter to what?"

It is easy to see why opponents of the drone attacks would argue that they are counter-productive. The critics also argue that the attacks are immoral, but hardly anyone expects this argument to carry any weight, given that the decision-makers behind the drone attacks -- Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama and his military-and-intelligence associates -- view their roles as beyond morality.

No nation is moral, say our great leaders, so international relations must be seen, and practiced, as an amoral enterprise, in which statesmen must be guided by self-interest, not morality. Therefore, to persuade our great leaders of anything, one must appeal to their self-interest, not their morals. Thus the critics claim that the drone attacks are counter-productive, in the obvious hope that this argument will cut some ice with the decision-makers, and in the almost certain knowledge that arguments based on morality will not do so.

Why are the drone attacks counter-productive? Because by killing innocent people, including women and children, they provoke anger against the USA, creating more terrorists than they eliminate. This doesn't make America safer; it actually makes America less safe. And it is therefore counter-productive. Or so the critics say.

In making this argument, the critics rely on the unspoken assumption that the Peace Laureate's stated goals are identical to his actual goals. This assumption rests on nothing but faith, since there is no actual evidence to support it. And it is a very powerful faith. We can deduce this because it endures, even though all the evidence points in the opposite direction.

In other words, the American Empire took off its shoes and rolled up its pants a long time ago. For many decades now, the whole world has been able to see that the American Empire wears no socks. And yet, a great many people, including some who would describe themselves as dissidents and critics, continue to believe what they've been told, rather than what they could see with their own eyes if they dared to look. These people, apparently despite their best efforts, are living under delusions. Such is the power of propaganda.

One important fact which many critics tend to overlook is that American politicians speak in a peculiar double-talk -- a slightly-secret code, one in which all the key words and phrases carry meanings very different than what they appear to mean. In most cases, the apparent meaning and the actual meaning are polar opposites. This is a long-standing tradition in American politics.

The "logic" of this double-talk was in play nearly a century ago, when Woodrow Wilson claimed World War I was about "Making The World Safe For Democracy," That project was a huge success, if you consider expanding the victors' spheres of commercial and military influence to be identical with making the world safe for a system of government whose two main enemies are commercial and military influence. 

Similarly, Franklin Roosevelt told us that World War II was being fought to provide "Self-Determination For All Peoples." This project worked out even better, if you consider being ruled by the Soviet Union to be the same as "self-determination" for all the peoples of eastern Europe -- and so on (this last phrase covering countless similar successes, from Algeria to Vietnam, in which one nation achieved "self-determination" by becoming, or remaining, a colony of another).

Indeed, American history is replete with such double-talk. The United States has a long and bloody record of destabilizing foreign countries while claiming to bring "stability," of interfering with democratic processes and overthrowing democratically elected governments while claiming to bring "democracy," and of fomenting economic devastation while claiming to bring "liberty."

None of this makes any sense at all, until you understand that a country has "stability" if it is ruled by an oppressive tyrant who does what the Americans tell him to do, that it is a "democracy" if its government (which may have been installed at gunpoint) supports the American Imperial Project, and that conditions of economic devastation provide a certain "liberty" to crooks of the most unscrupulous kind -- such as the American Imperialists.

Occasionally our great leaders (or prospective great leaders) offer us unintended glimpses of the reality behind the double-talk. Mitt Romney, for example, recently claimed that the most sacred duty in a democracy is to protect the overseas embassies. If taken at face value, this statement is pure rubbish. But if we understand that by "democracy," he means "empire," and that by "embassies," he means "bases," the statement makes perfect sense. The most important job in an empire is to protect the overseas bases. And clearly Mitt Romney understands this. He just doesn't know enough to keep his mouth shut about it.

Romney's statement is one tiny example among many which support my contention that the shoes are off, the pants are rolled up, and the Empire has no socks. And yet even some of his harshest critics persist in believing that (or acting as if) our Nobel Peace Laureate President is dedicated to making America safe, and adverse to creating more terrorists. Maybe it's because he keeps telling us he wants to prevent another 9/11.

As Robert Higgs has written, "there are no persistent 'failed' policies." In other words, any policy which is truly counter-productive to the actual goals will be quickly modified. And any long-standing policy which appears to be counter-productive to the stated goals should be seen as a signpost, marking a place where the stated goals and the actual goals are in direct conflict.

The signpost represented by "Living Under Drones" appears to indicate that, far from trying to keep America safe, prevent another 9/11, and win the "Global War On Terror" (or whatever they want us to call it this week), our Peace Laureate is actually trying to extend the Terror War, keep Americans in danger and afraid, and make another 9/11 more likely, or at least render the threat more plausible.
 
If the dissidents and critics who are still living under delusions could shed their blind (and blinding) faith in America's socks, they might reach the same conclusion by simple reasoning: If Barack Obama truly wanted to prevent another 9/11, he would have empowered a full and independent investigation of 9/11 itself. Then we could have identified the perpetrators of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and we might have brought them to justice, after which we would clearly be in a much better position to prevent another such attack.

But no full and independent investigation has taken place, nor will any such investigation take place anytime soon. The Peace Laureate has made that abundantly clear. And therefore, if he wants to prevent another 9/11, Obama must kill every Muslim on the planet, so that no future false-flag shenanigans can ever be blamed on "Islamic fundamentalists."

Maybe this is what he is trying to do -- kill them all, one family at a time, while enraging and terrorizing the rest. If so, his approach has been anything but counter-productive.

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